Archive for September 25th, 2008

My Memories Of Geylang Serai – Singapura Cinema

This Singapura Cinema was there when my family first shifted in to the flats at Haig Road in the mid 70s. I’m wondering when was this cinema built. During one of my post in my other blog “Images Of Singapore”, Philip Chew told me that the Singapura Cinema was previously known as Taj Cinema.

Finally found one photo of the Taj Cinema in 1963;

Credit : National Archives of Singapore, PICAS

How it looks like now in 2008 from slightly the same view;

Below shows the artist’s impression of the Geylang Serai Redevelopment Plan probably in the 60s;

Credit : National Archives, Singapore 1986. From book : Geylang Serai – Down Memory Lane.

And this is how the aerial view looks now in 2008 with the rebuilding of the 5 blocks;

Do you still remember the bus station before the Block 2 was built?

Credit : Chief Surveyor, Survey Department, Ministry of Law. 1988 Singapore Street Directory.

The name Singapura Cinema sounds so “National” and big like Plaza Singapura. Probably the name “Singapura” is a bit misleading here for this cinema. It is neither big nor grand but still, it’s an icon of Geylang Serai.

When the government redeveloped Geylang Serai in the 60s, the first phase of flats was completed in 1965. The government added facilities like mosque, a theatre and a vocational institute to meet the needs of the residents there. That theatre was the Taj Theatre or Cinema.

A check at the National Archives show building plans were submitted by Shaw for the Taj Cinema in 1965 to be built at Jalan Turi / Changi Road.  The Taj Cinema was a prominent landmark there and was renowned for showing Malay classics or Hindustani movies with Malay subtitles. Too bad there isn’t any photos showing the Taj Cinema in the 60s.

In the 70s, saw the emergence of cinemas like the Singapura , President, Savoy, Liberty, Republic, Woodlands and Changi. Singapura in Geyang Serai (probably renamed from Taj Cinema at this time) still showed Malay, Tamil and Hindustani films.

Below shows the aerial view photo of the Singapura Cinema probably taken in the 70s from the Block 1;

Credit : Kampong Ubi CCC, From book : The Heart Of Geylang Serai.

The spiral staircase can only be visible from the back view. This is how the back view of the Singapura Cinema look like now in 2008;

I remember there used to be a McDonald outlet at this cinema some years back when the cinema was not in operation as shown below;

Credit : Kampong Ubi CCC, From book : The Heart Of Geylang Serai.

Now the cinema was not in operation for quite some time and the McDonald outlet was gone too. There is an eatery, a PUB/KTC outlet and some other shops;

Luckily the Singapura Cinema was left untouched during the recent SER (Selective En-Bloc from Block 1 to 5) on this part of Geylang Serai, else we will have one less heritage icon.

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