To be honest, it was a good speech by Watson for UN Women. Felt like Week 2’s lecture in class.
But then, the people sharing it on Facebook are complete retards - more fascinated by her stardom, then her words. And these readers/sharers, for the lack of a better word, are the completely…
Topic: Taman Jurong Drive-In Theatre
As we walk through the memory of this unique theatre that once dominated the local movie scene by challenging the mainstream cinematic experience, I wish to highlight its unique aspects that brought much joy to the Singapore population at that point in time. Beyond that, we will examine the reason for its eventual closure in the mid 1980s despite its early success. Finally we would look through the general memories of this one of a kind theatre.
This distinctive theatre was a project by Cathay Organisation. Cathay drew inspiration for this theatre from O’Halloran Hill cinema in Adelaide, Australia.(Lim, 1991) It was located along Yuan Ching Road and it was able to house 880 cars and 300 walk-in customers. It was the first of its kind in Singapore and Malaysia. The laid-back nature of this new-concept theatre was a draw for Singaporeans as people were able to enjoy watching these movies privately in the comfort of their own car. This was possible as there were special car speakers attached to individual cars that played the movie soundtrack besides the 899 speaker stands that were placed on the drive-in grounds. Hence, people were attracted to the drive-in theatre due to the privacy that these theatres provide. (Luther,1950)
Other than being able to provide a private movie watching experience, this theatre was popular due to its suitability for a family outing. Any family would be able to drive in and have an instantaneous family movie and picnic outing. Of course, the novelty of heading to such a unique theatre was itself, an attraction. People were drawn to the Taman Jurong Drive-in Theatre because there simply wasn’t anything that was as special in the post war period. Robert Luthner sums it up perfectly by highlighting the specific patrons who were certainly attracted to such a theatre.
“ As such, there is little doubt that drive-in theaters offer strong attractions to certain identifiable types of patrons: (i) parents who ordinarily face the costly and troublesome problem of finding a baby sitter; (2) the aged and handicapped; (3) wage earners and farm residents who dislike the necessity of dressing-up and who possibly resent the stylized amenities associated with a visit to a conventional in-town theater; (4) those others’ who have reason to enjoy the drive-ins’ novelty, their wide variety of convenient services, the open- air atmosphere, car-side refreshments, and the special sense of informality that is characteristic of the typical drive-in and its audience. “(Luther,1950)
Thus, these were the main attractions of this movie theatre that resulted it to take in $12,000 in its heyday. This was a spectacular feat considering that tickets were sold at $2 for adults and $1 for children. Furthermore, there were only 2 screenings everyday. Thus, it would be safe to assert that the theatre was highly popular in its early days. Source A illustrates a packed drive-in theatre, operating almost at full house.
However, despite the success this drive-in theatre enjoyed in the 1970s, it was certainly not sustainable for Cathay organization towards the end of the tenure of this drive-in theatre. The reasons for its failure are due to its constant battle with nature, video piracy and ultimately, illegal racing activities.
Firstly, drive-in theatre are unable to remain competitive against traditional theatres as it is limited to two screenings per night while traditional theatres were able to screen movies during the day as well. Furthermore, even during the night, the drive-in theatre remains at the mercy of bad weather conditions.
Drive-in theatres are simply too dependent on the weather. In other words, there were no wet weather contingencies for this drive-in theatre. Movies were simply cancelled at times when the weather was not suitable for screening of movies. Hence, this affected the turnout for each screenings, as Singaporeans were unwilling to plan for a movie outing at an unreliable outdoor theatre when they had the choice of a comfortable traditional movie theatre.
Besides its dependence on the weather, another reason that can be attributed for the dismal turnout for the movies is the increase in video piracy.(Gutierrez, 1985) With the surge of video piracy, Singaporeans were able to watch movies at the comfort of their own home at a much cheaper price. Thus, it led to the dismal turnout for the Taman Jurong drive-in theatre. During the few years before the end of its tenure, only 100 to 200 cars turned up for each screening, occupying only a fraction of it 880 cars capacity. This led to another problem that culminated in the closure of this unique theatre: Illegal car racing.
Due to the space available due to the low turnouts, illegal car racing were often organized within the compounds of the drive-in theatre. This was a huge concert for Cathay organization as it warranted much unwanted attention. Thus, illegal car racing and the dismal showings were major concerns for Cathay Organization. In view of these factors, Cathay Organization decided not to renew its lease from Jurong Town Corporation. On 30 September 1985, Jurong Drive-in cinema screened its last shows and closed its chapter after 15 years of operation.
In this short 15 years of operation it brought about many memorable experiences for Singaporeans. These experiences are relived today through blogs and museums.
One of the bloggers was particularly critical of the nature of the drive-in theatre. Blogger Chua See Lam highlighted some of the shortcomings of these theatres.(Chua, 2013) Firstly, he pointed out that such a theatre was not suitable for Singapore due to our tropical weather. Besides that, he also mentioned that the quality of the speakers were sub-par, oftening ruining the whole experience of the drive-in theatre.
Despite the limitations of this theatre, it was part of an unforgettable experience that remained close to the hearts of Singaporeans. This is epitomized by an exhibition of this theatre at the neighbourhood museum named: Our Museum @ Taman Jurong. In the exhibition, there is a series of photo that jolts the memory of this historic theatre in the minds of Singaporeans. (2013)
Source A, Photo of a full-housed Taman Jurong Drive-in Theatre
Lim, K. T. (1991). Cathay: 55 years of cinema (p. 69). Singapore: Landmark Books.
Uhde, J., & Ng Uhde, Y. (2000). Latent images: Film in Singapore (p. 157). Singapore: Oxford University Press.
Gutierrez, L. (1985, September 29). Its curtains for Jurong Drive-in tomorrow. The Straits Times, p. 10.
"littledayout.com." Our Museum @ Taman Jurong. http://www.littledayout.com/article/our-museum-taman-jurong—artland-in-the-heartland.html (accessed September 21, 2014).
Chua, See Lam. “Good Morning Yesterday.” : Taman Jurong Heritage Trail. http://goodmorningyesterday.blogspot.sg/2013/04/taman-jurong-heritage-trail-jurong.html (accessed September 21, 2014).
Luther, Rodney. “Drive-In Theaters: Rags to Riches in Five Years.” Hollywood Quarterly 5, no. 4 (1951): 401-411.
What is Bexley?
Name might sound a bit unfamiliar for many - Bexley is a French footwear company, born in 1985 in Lyon, specialized in selling fine and affordable shoes for men - offering classical and fashionable products at a reasonable price as the main objectiveas they say at their website.
Most interesting about Bexley is definitely the pricing. All dress shoes are priced as 139 euros for the first pair and 89 euros for the second pair. For more casual shoes such as driving shoes, moccasins and sneakers the pricing is 79 euros for the first and 59 euros for the second pair. They’ve also got a full range of shoe care products, accessories, leather goods and even clothing - which all follow basically the same pattern. The more you buy - the cheaper the price.
Most of Bexley shoes are made in Europe and the leathers come mainly from the tannery of d’Annonay. The lasts and designs are made in house. Bexley does not have any retailers - only their own boutiques (10 in France and one in Brussels) and web shop. A decision that has probably been one of the biggest reason that has helped them to keep the price range as low as it is.
My experiences with Bexley
For me Bexley in fact was one of the first brands (together with Barker and Cheaney) I invested in when I started to build up my shoe rotation and moved from cheaply made Vagabond and such brands to “real leather shoes” with goodyear-welted construction. For a student at that time - the pricing method sounded interesting and gave a chance to get 2 pairs of shoes basically with a price of one pair from many other “semi-quality” makers such as Loake, Sanders, Markowski and others.
1/2 my first ever Bexley purchase - chocolate brown wholecuts for office use. After a few years of wear they are still holding up nicely.