Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Scenes - Sarikei Bai Sheng Cinema 1953

Bai Sheng 百勝 Cinema - 1953



Updated: This wooden cinema was called Bai Sheng 百勝 (Hundred Victory in Mandarin), not Rex. It was opposite the current Rex cinema, across the Repok Road. It had live shows including Cantonese operas (ie the type where actors and actresses had painted faces). Street vendors peddled food outside the cinema.


Dua Puluh Sen Shop at the ex-Rex Cinema - 2006


In its hey days, Rex was called the "new cinema" (built in 1970) while Cathay was called the "old cinema". Watching movies was a favourite past time in this small town. Rex differentiated itself from Cathay & the 3rd mile suburbian cinema (Updated: Ta Kwong) by bringing in Hollywood blockbusters (eg: James Bond 007) & Indian Bollywood musicals (endless singing & dancing around the trees). In the old days, movie tickets cost only a few sen. In the 1970's, tickets were 50 sen to RM$1.60. Children sneaked in behind the shadows of adults. (lompang ie. take a ride). Many creative folks would buy the cheapest tickets and then crept up to the best seats in the house. The cinema manager (kilipan in Foochow), Mr Wong, & the ushers would use torch lights that beamed like prison spotlights to catch the people crawling along the corridors to the RM$1.60 seats.

In the early-mid 80's, pirated videos killed the movie stars. Slowly business dwindled while video shops mushroomed. Then LDs, VCDs and now DVDs ruled the day. Ironically, Rex cinema then became the "20 sen shop" (Dua Puluh Sen Shop) selling cheap merchandise and that closed shop in 2005. It stands empty now as a stark reminder to what disruptive technology & piracy can do to a thriving business & a great family outing.

8 comments:

Sim Y said...

The third cinema was called Ta Kwan. (Small and made of wooden structure)

I still remember sitting on those broken rattan chairs (yap, big hole on the seat) when it was full house. The coolest spots are those near entrance when sometimes you can conviniently go out and take some fresh air (no air con in the old days).
You peed in the bush (day or night, no toilet!). Parked your cars on the stone road side or near that long lalang bushes (beware of snakes).

It was later closed for a number of years before it was reopened with concrete structures, fully air-con and double the size.

Unfortunately, it was closed down again (in 1980s?) due to competitions of mini cinemas and popularity of VCR rentals at that time.

fred said...

Oh!!! my GOD!!!

Seem that your templates is alright.... I take back what I have said before.. seem that the template having some problem in my Firefox broswer... the white background is not visible.... then I open in IE.. everything is ok...

Sorry from the heart..

cheers...

Daniel Yiek said...

Sim,
Yes, the suburbian cinema is called Ta Kwan (Big Bright in Chinese). It's in a very sorry run down state now when I passed by.

Chen said...

I still remember following aunty (your mum) in the early 80's to the old cinema in the 3rd miles to watch movies.. I remember watching Incredible Hulk there :)

how time flies :)

Fred is here as well.. Introducing to u Fred's sister, with the nickname Hornbill. She is a blogger too, but lately she is busy and didn't update her blog so frequently as before.

Anonymous said...

In the late sixties, Ta Kwan was my half way pit stop before I proceeded to my home in the farm (Sungai Anyit). I used to spend quite a few minutes pipping through the holes at the back of the cinema enjoying a short moment of afternoon enterainment.

Yan said...

The Mr Wong of Rex Cinema that you mentioned was my late dad!

edulink said...

How do i get in touch with Ivan Ignatius? We Lost contact since 1980's......

Anyone please...?

Anonymous said...

I used to watch some chinese old movies when I was in my primary school. My grandma's house was just opposite the Ta Kwong cinema. I remember, my uncle and me sued to sneak to the cinema at night to catch up with the 2nd show. Next morning we woke up with sleepy heads and my uncles had to do his normal routine in the pepper garden.

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