Friday, 29 January 2010

The Lion City, 1957

Here's a lovely film that was shot several years before we arrived in Singapore. It's all just how I remember it. There are clips of the airport and views of an old-style bus taking people from the plane to their hotel which, at the beginning of the film, is Raffles. Raffles looks very posh, we certainly never stayed there!
There are also shots of the local fishermen with their huge nets and footage of the beaches around the coast. The quay looks very busy with many boats and the many sampans on the Singapore River can also be seen.
Then, there are many views of Singapore including the shops, temples and markets. It's good also to see all the people and the many old cars and buses passing Sir Stamford Raffles' statue. The area has certainly changed a bit over the years.
It's interesting seeing the old film posters and 'Kismet' is showing at the Cathay Cinema. I think that I spotted a Chinese Cary Grant on one of the posters!
Next, there's a trip down to busy Chinatown which shows much washing hanging from windows on bamboo poles. The markets all look very busy and colourful with plenty of stalls selling fruit and other goods with many trishaws cycling up and down.
A Chinese funeral is also featured which shows many mourners carrying umbrellas while a man strikes a gong to frighten away evil spirits. It seems a lot more solemn than I remember.
Next is a place that everyone will recall - Tiger Balm Gardens! Suddenly, there seems to be a lot more Westerners around and the narrator tells us that these are the visitors from the airport who were seen earlier in the film. This is just how I remember the place before it was knocked around and torn down. It looks a lot better than the Tiger Balm Gardens I visited again in 1990.
The next scene takes us to the Botanic Gardens where people are seen feeding the many cheeky monkeys. The Aquarium is also featured but I can't remember if we ever visited it during our stay in the 1960s.
Lion dancers, Change Alley, night time entertainment, Chinese food, crazy Western dancing are also all featured. Did people really dance like that?
The film ends with the tourists leaving on a lovely old BOAC plane. This is just how I remember Singapore and I hope this film will bring back very many happy memories for many of you.


  1. Derek. Just want to say a very big thank you. I've lived here all my life but you have allowed me to see things I would probably never see but have only talked about with my dad who is in his seventies now. Thank you so much for sharing the past with us. Vincent Paul Carthigasu

  2. Thanks, Vincent. I'm glad that you're enjoying the blog. I hope to include a lot more photos, films and memories in the future. I really appreciate all the nice comments. Thanks and best wishes,