Han Chin Pet Soo is open! Book now at www.ipohworld.org/reservation
Han Chin Pet Soo is open! Book now at www.ipohworld.org/reservation

January 2014

Famous Names – Run Run Shaw

By |2014-01-09T09:18:18+08:00January 8th, 2014|Categories: childhood, history, Identify Photographs, Memories, People, tourism|Tags: , , , |

runrunshaw(Picture 1: Run Run Shaw)

LOM-028(Picture 2: Runme Shaw)

We pay tribute to Run Run Shaw, of the famed Shaw Brothers, who passed away in Hong Kong yesterday.

The Shaw Organisation began in 1924, with operations in Singapore screening their own brand of silent movies. Frustrated by local distributors, they set up their own cinema, “The Empire”, to screen their movies. Led by brothers Run Run and Runme Shaw, they began to branch out into Malaysia building new cinemas and operating a mobile cinema for rural areas. However, it was only with the advent of sound that movies began to really launch themselves – by 1933 the Shaw’s had produced the Cantonese opera film ‘Normal Dragon’ which proved a breakthrough for them in both Singapore and Hong Kong. [more can be found at –  http://www.hkcinema.co.uk/Articles/shawbronews.html ]

I’m sure many movie-lovers out there remember these famous brothers and their contribution to the cinematic industry. I was not born in that era, but from what I’ve read (and heard) the Shaw Brothers always had interesting ways of advertising the up-and-coming movies. (see sample below)


September 2013

The Chinese Opera

By |2013-09-23T22:13:31+08:00September 23rd, 2013|Categories: festivals/celebrations, ipoh|Tags: , |


We’ve heard about and have even watched many famous operas. To some fans, it doesn’t matter what if said operas were not in English!

Today, we’d like to know if any of you remember the Chinese Operas. From what we know, they began in Ipoh when Yau Tet Shin built the New Town Complex in 1907.

Those who watched them (and probably took part in them too?), we’d like to hear from you 🙂

April 2013

The Cowan Street/Brewster Road Landmark

By |2013-04-19T09:15:30+08:00April 19th, 2013|Categories: childhood, history, Memories, movies, Natural Heritage, Restoration, tourism|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


This is none other than the Grand Theater & Jubilee Park – before the Shaw Brothers renovated it. From the clues in the picture, some of you may be able to roughly guess the year this was taken. What was YOUR early memory of this famous landmark? Were you a patron of the Cabaret? Did you frequent the amusement park? Or, were you one of the many movie-goers?

We thank Edwin Seibel for this picture.

May 2012

Did You Watch a Movie at Mayfair?

By |2012-05-07T12:18:08+08:00May 7th, 2012|Categories: history, ipoh, movies|Tags: , , , |

Y K Choong sent us this photo in October last year and it went on the the pile called “Must do site visit”.

Well this morning I actually got out to Jalan Theatre in Pasir Pinji to find that nobody 25 years old or less appeared to have ever heard of the place. However an aged Chinese gentleman in a little wooden shack pointed out the large square indoor badminton court building that stands on the theatre site today. This was opened in 2004.

So, with apologies to Choong, here is his photo of what I think was the concrete projection room of the otherwise wooden theatre.

Does anyone remember anything about the Mayfar Theatre which I understood from this morning’s conversation showed Chinese movies.

May 2011

February 2011

April 2010


By |2010-05-01T03:02:19+08:00April 30th, 2010|Categories: Memories, People|Tags: , , , |

In 1929 my dad was just a young lad of 9, staying in the little tin mining town of Batu Gajah. According to him, cinemas and televisions were unheard of then. Chinese operas (called tuk tuk chiang in Cantonese) were popular instead, especially during festivals, mostly held near the Kuan Ti Temple ground, near the Kinta River that flows along some small towns in Perak.But opera is heavy stuff, too boring for a kid of 9.

He preferred circus. Watching the trapeze swinging from bar to bar, the clowns with their funny antics and animals like elephants or tigers performing stunts kept him mesmerized. These circuses travel from town to town, performing to large crowds of young and old in huge tents.

So when he heard that a circus is coming to town, he was very excited and determined not to be left out. Having gathered a few equally enthusiastic boys, they cycled from their village to town to watch the circus.

The problem is, none have enough money in their pockets to buy a ticket each. But this does not deter them from having a jolly good time, because boys will always be boys!

Upon reaching the circus ground, dad began to hatch a devilish plan and whispered it into their ears. All understood and nodded approvingly. Halfway into the performance, these mischievous boys sprang into action.

One of them gathered some pebbles from the ground in his fist and creeping quietly from behind, threw them at the old fat guard sitting near the entrance of the tent. He was rudely awoken from his little nap.

Infuriated, the poor fellow gave chase and while the entrance was left unmanned, the rest of the boys would make a quick dash into the tent and assimilate into the crowd. The boy who threw pebbles would run off and disappear into the bushes, leaving the poor guard panting and swearing.

The same tactic is used the next night and the next. All the boys took turns to throw pebbles at the poor fellow while the rest ran inside and watched the circus without having to pay!

Some 70 years later as dad puts his little grandchildren on his lap and watches the circus together on TV, he would recall his juvenile folly and burst into a toothless laughter, tears streaming down his wrinkled cheeks.

Note: Sorry, I do not have a photo for this post.  As a little boy from a poor family, dad could not afford to buy a ticket, let alone own a camera to capture what he saw at the circus. 

November 2009

And Now One for the Cinema Buffs

By |2009-11-09T15:48:58+08:00November 9th, 2009|Categories: Ipoh Town, Memories|Tags: , , , |

This is Ipoh’s Cathay Theatre which still stands to day, but no longer as a cinema having been overtaken by Metroplexes and the like. It was once a beautiful single-screen theatre, built in Cockman Street in late 1956 and opened on August 31, 1957 with the movie, ‘The King and I’, telling the fictitious romantic story of Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam. At that time the 3rd Class seats (front rows downstairs) cost 60cents per ticket, while 2nd Class further back cost around $1.20. 1st Class upstairs (mainly for Europeans or VIPs) cost $2.

However, this picture above is a little strange for there is still waste ground opposite the theatre, but the posters are all torn, yet it must still have been a working theatre as it is advertising Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in the Paramount Picture “Pardners” which dates it as not long after the opening in 1957/58. Does anyone have any ideas as to when the buildings opposite were built?

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