Friday, September 19, 2008

film show in the open

(photo from national archives of singapore)

before the advent of black and white television, entertainment for the masses was not something that was readily available on a regular basis during those early kampong days. the screening of old movies and documentaries by the ministry of culture, which was awaited eagerly by the children especially, was carried out a few times a year. in spite of the inevitable breakdowns and sometimes, lengthy intervals, nobody really complained. sometimes, we would watch 'silent movie' when the sound system failed. in the dark, we would have to wait for sometime while the projector man changed the spool.

long before the projector was set up, the younger ones in the village would have taken up their positions at vantage points near the huge piece of white cloth. we had to wait until the lighting condition was right before screening began. while the majority watched the show from the front, there were some who opted to watch it on the other side of the screen. it was standing room or sitting or standing on chairs or stools.

as the show was practically at our doorstep, nobody bothered to dress up for this kind of 'outing'. we went in our singlets, pyjamas and whatever home clothes we were in. although some of the films might be re-runs, it did not really bother us as we were there more for the chance to enjoy the togetherness and the atmosphere.

the kachang puteh man, the drink seller and the other small-time hawkers would be there to cash in on the large number of people outdoors at such an occasion.


Lam Chun See said...

In our kampong, we too had such a cinema. This one didn't even have proper walls like the Nam Kok (South Country Theatre) in Kampong San Teng. I remember we paid 10 cts and had to bring our own stool I also remember watching 2 very exciting movies complete with cool special effects. One was Rocket Man. Another was Journe to the West (Xi You Ji - Sun Wu Kong). I was too young to remember much else. But the location would be around the present Australian School in Lorong Chuan.

yg said...

the open air film shows were free; it was provided by the ministry of culture and they screened documentaries most of the time. once in a while, we would be treated to a movie. i remember paying 10 cents to watch a mandarin show 'the ten brothers' at one of the open-air cinemas.