Do you know where – or what – Singapore’s first cinema was? Or did you know that Singapore’s first locally produced drama was aired in 1982? We bet you don’t! Read on to learn more about these 5 fun facts from the Singapore entertainment scene – some more surprising than others.
1. A 10-year ban was once imposed on government funding for performance art
Photo Credit: The Singapore LGBT encyclopaedia Wiki
The Singapore Government is estimated to have spent tens of millions on the local art scene, so it may come as a shock that they once imposed a decade-long ban on government funding for performance art. Now this came following a controversial performance by local artist Josef Ng in 1994. Called Brother Cane, the performance showed Ng canning slabs of tofu and baring it all (back to the audience of course) before snipping off some pubic hair. While he did this for a cause – to protest against police entrapment, arrest and caning of 12 homosexual men – Ng was still charged and banned from performing in public. Whew.
2. Seletar Robbery was Singapore’s first locally produced drama
The first locally produced drama in Singapore was Seletar Robbery, and it was aired in 1982 under the Singapore Broadcasting Cooperation (SBC). The drama only had a screen time of 90 minutes, and was based on a true police case about three criminals who stole from a Seletar Reservoir construction site.
While the drama drew some criticism from police officers saying certain scenes were overly dramatic, we still have to give credit to SBC for attempting to showcase how Singapore police officers brought criminals to justice.
3. You can buy worn or used items from Mediacorp’s TV productions
Photo Credit: Mediacorp
Who knows? You may be the new owner of that top or prop item previously used in a Mediacorp TV production – several even won by popular celebs! Mediacorp has held many warehouse sales where previously used clothes, accessories, shoes and props are sold off, some for even as low as $1. Unfortunately, the events are only open to internal staff, but you can still get a chance to buy them if you know someone who works there.
4. Capitol Theatre was the first cinema in Singapore
Photo Credit: State Of Buildings
Back when it first opened, Capitol Theatre was one of the finest cinemas of its time. From its luxury foyer to sculptures of winged horses, the theatre also hosted a string of high profile events including pre-event cocktails and red carpet entrances. Most of us weren’t even alive during the 1930s, but we definitely wish we were there to see The Grand Dame during its prime!
5. Many Singapore movies and dramas were filmed in Malaysia
Photo Credit: Gastrology
One of the most notable period dramas filmed in Malaysia was The Little Nyonya (2008). Filmed at the Pinang Peranakan Museum in Malacca, The little Nyonya had a star-studded cast consisting of Jeanette Aw, Qi Yuwu, Pierre Png, Joanne Peh and Xiang Yun; most recently it even had a Chinese remake!
Another popular movie that we can’t leave out is of course, Crazy Rich Asians, and while it wasn’t a Singapore production, it was a movie based in Singapore with certain scenes filmed in Malaysia. You may remember that scene where Eleanor Young had her bible study group – that scene was filmed at the Belanda House, Kuala Lumpur!