Saturday, March 28, 2009

shaw malay studio at jalan ampas




today, i went exploring the side roads of balestier road with a very interesting young man who shows a lot of concern for the environment. i have got to know him through my blogging. tony had commented on my postings on my old kampong and on balestier road. he had memories of trudging along some narrow lane that led to his uncle's house in the kampong.

i was supposed to show him around. instead, it was he who pointed out a lot of interesting finds to me. besides looking up a number of chinese temples and a burmese one, we also looked for the shaw malay studio at jalan ampas. we found the place but could not see much as the gate was locked. i managed to take the two pictures of the buildings through a gap in the gate.

after the war, the shaw brothers spent about a million dollars to rebuild the studio facilities at jalan ampas. it set up the malay film productions (mfp) in 1947 to produce films in malay.

the studio produced over 160 movies, making it the most prolific in the history of singapore's cinema.

the first film produced by the studio was 'singapura di waktu malam'. it was a comedy drama directed by b s rajhans and it starred siput sarawak.

no account of mfp is complete without the mention of p ramlee. he was spotted by rajhans during a performance in penang. p ramlee acted in 42 films and directed 16 films at the jalan ampas studio. the last film he made in singapore was 'tiger abdul'.

the last film produced at 8 jalan ampas was 'raja bersiong'. it was directed by jamil sulong.

the people who made the movies used to live in some company quarters located in the next street, at boon teck road.

9 comments:

Philip said...

I am quite familiar with Balestier Road area especially before 1970. I passed Jalan Ampas very often. It was a dirt road full of pot holes and muddy when rained. Ah Hood Road was nearby. I remember a 'kapor' factory and a shop dying cloth/clothes into black or blue colour. In the 60s, I used to walk from Balestier Road to Braddel Road through Ah Hoo Road. There was no Toa Payoh HDB housing estate. The Teo Chew temple (siang tng) was up on a hillock. I walked pass many pig sties, chicken and ducks were on the loose. Nearer the Braddel Road side were many vegetable gardens. At Braddell Road itself were a few motor workshops. I used to send my car there for repair.

yg said...

mr chew, from balestier rd to braddell was/is quite a distance. you would have to go through some 'sua pah' to reach your destination. did you have to cross any river from ah hood rd to toa payoh? i heard there were cemeteries in toa payoh, is this true?

PChew said...

long distance agreed. I had many stops and talked to the shopkeepers, farmers and residents as I moved on. The people I came across were all very pleasant. It was 'sua pah' but not many trees. There was no river, only small streams. I don't remember any cemetery.

Anonymous said...

Night pasar malam was every Mon along Balestier Road and in one of these night bazzars, a fire broke out resulting in loss of PSLE result & Primary school report book by a classmate. The teowchew Siang Tng operated a primary school called Nan Ann Primary School after the name of the Siang Tng and they gave free textbooks to their top scholars in every class, very generous by the standard of that time. Now they have relocated at Paya Lebar area and stopped operating the school. Ah Hood Road ( previously a straight road joining Balestier Rd to Jln Toa Payoh) could be flooded occasionally due to high tide of Whampoa/Kallang River coupled with heavy rain and many of the dwellers had to suffer damage of their furniture & belongings. I remember a noodle factory operating there and they was a rumour that Tan Howe Liang stayed there and his weight lifting ability was due to carrying these heavy noodle baskets....probably a hear say or a joke only..

yg said...

hi anonymous, i can vaguely remember the pasar malam along balestier rd. in an earlier comment - made a few months ago - mr chew mentioned stalls in the evening, spread between ava rd and pegu rd, selling perishable stuff in the evenings.
i was not aware that balestier rd was joined to toa payoh.
thanks for sharing these memories of the past.

PChew said...

Yes, there was pasar malam at Balestier Road every Monday. Dried goods such as sundries, clothings, articial jewellries and others including cooked food were exposed for sale. But the evening market selling perishable goods was daily.

nah said...

Besides Shaw brothers at Jln Ampas, Cathay-Keris Studio at East Coast Road, adjacent to Cathay’s Ocean Park Hotel, also produced many black-and-white Malay movies. One of which was ‘Pontianak’, a tale about a female vampire. The film was such a hit that it was dubbed in Cantonese for the Hong Kong market.

tony said...

I'm very glad to have made your acquaintance! I have learnt alot from you that morning despite the heavy downpour.
I found an unverified answer to my question of what so many roads in Balestier is named after places in Burma...
http://historicalbalestier.blogspot.com/
wonder who is this respected burmese resident...

yg said...

tony, you people in the travel/tour line definitely know a litte bit more than i. thanks for sharing the website.