Sunday, April 16, 2006

Scenes: Sarikei Cathay Cinema 1970

Sarikei Cathay Cinema - circa 1970.
Nice car & no parking lines.

Sarikei Cathay Cinema - 1970s.

Cathay 國泰 was known as the old cinema while Rex was the new cinema. "See you at the 2nd night show at the old cinema" in local jargon translated to 9pm show at Cathay. The Cathay show times were 10am, 2pm, 7pm & 9pm in the 70's. There were 2 ticket windows: One for 50 sen & RM$1.10 and another for RM$1.30 & RM$1.60 (upper circle seats). There was no queues so for popular shows, it's a free for all scramble outside the small window for the 50 sen and $1.10 tickets. Cathay brought in martial arts movies like the Bruce Lee classics, Chinese love stories and live stage shows (Lan Hee in Hokkien) from abroad. Mega hand painted movie posters on canvas were hung outside the cinema. The old wooden chairs inside were homes to some lice in the later years and you would get more than love at first bite at the romantic movies.

Bruce Lee movie poster - 1970's

In the mid 80's, cheap videos killed the popular family outing - movie watching. In the early 1980s, it transformed into a supermarket. It was burnt down in 1983+ (updated) and replaced by a modern 4-storey building in late 2005. What a pity. Cathay had one of the most distinctive architecture in town with its unique late 60's facade. The kopi tiam (coffee shop in Hokkien) in the same block housed the first billiard table in town with a mom & pop stall in front selling cinema tidbits. A Chinese sinseh (doctor in Hokkien) who specialised in dislocated bones lived above the kopitiam. In the early 70's, street hawkers sold kacang putih (white beans in Malay) in conical newspapers cup and jagung (maize in Malay) boiled in recycled cooking oil containers.

Sarikei 2006 - Central Road

Sarikei 2006 - 4-storey building at the original site of Cathay

If you are the person in the first picture, apologies for covering your face. I found that picture in my auntie's mouldy album. Identify yourself and we can do kopi (coffee) to discuss Bruce Lee, can?


Chen said...

I was trying to recall what's the name of the supermarket which was burnt down in the late 80's or early 90's.. Is it Katrina Supermarket or ... can't remember cos the supermarket has very short life span..

arep said...

hi daniel.. may i know how much is the price of 4 storey shophouse in Jalan Masjid? the new one.

Daniel Yiek said...

Sorry, I won't know about the price or rental rates as I have been working outside sarikei for many years.

Can any reader help when you chance upon this comment?

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