I literally stumbled upon The Cathay Gallery while traipsing around The Cathay the other day. The Cathay Gallery features the history of the Loke family and their various business interests in Malaysia and Singapore. (The patriarch of the family, Loke Yew, was a famous businessman and philanthropist who “played a significant role in the growth of Kuala Lumpur.” His son, Loke Wan Tho, was “a cinema magnate, ornithologist, photographer,” and founder of Cathay Organisation in Singapore and Malaysia.)
The gallery displays an incredible collection of memorabilia related to their businesses and personal interests, including glass cases full of early cameras and projectors; rows of cinema chairs; and photographs of a host of Hollywood stars, including one of my style icons, Audrey Hepburn.
Most interesting, to me at least, were the television screens playing clips from the “Cathay Classic Film Library,” a collection of 270 Mandarin, Cantonese and Malay titles. When I popped by, scenes from The Greatest Civil War on Earth (1961, Mandarin/Cantonese) and The Wild Wild Rose (1960, Mandarin) fluttered by.
I hope I can get my hands on these two films and other classic films of the era. I assume the National Library will have copies. My dear Singaporean readers, are there any films from your youth you’d like to recommend? I’ll watch anything… as long as it is subtitled!
(Additional credits: Photograph via The Cathay Gallery.)