ABOUT

The intent of this blog is simple. To scout for locations in Singapore’s filmic history for an upcoming film project. To explore and deliberate the film locations in moving images – feature films, narratives, documentaries, videos, television programmes, drama series, personal film diaries – created in 20th century Singapore.

These moving images would have been produced by Singapore film production companies (eg. Shaw brothers’ Malay Film Productions, Cathay-Keris), or are foreign films entirely or partly shot in Singapore. Also included are documentary films produced by the various incumbent governments of Singapore (eg. Berita Singapura) and films created by individuals (eg. Ivan Polunin’s films).

For a listing of Singaporean or made-in-Singapore feature films, the author have mostly referred to the “Filmography” in Raphael Millet’s “Singapore Cinema” (2006 edition). However, the author realised that the list, especially of “Foreign movies entirely or partly shot in Singapore….”, is incomplete. For example, a very famous cult film Black Magic 2 (勾魂降头) produced by Shaw Brothers (Hong Kong) Ltd, is shot mostly in Singapore but not included in the Filmography in Millet’s book.

This Singapore film blog project is undertaken by Hun Ping, a freelance artist-filmmaker based in Singapore. Comments, contributions, references to youtube and download links are welcome.

34 comments on “ABOUT

  1. faiz zohri says:

    hi Hun Ping,
    thank you for sharing your research. It is so wonderful.
    An interweaving of space, history, and film !!! Thank you : )

    • sublime4199 says:

      Hi Faiz, thanks for visiting the blog.

      Well, that’s sort of my intent, to dwell on the history of filmmaking in singapore and deliberate on the social history, geography, and architecture (where applicable) of places depicted in the films, places that were either ‘lost’ to redevelopment or those that I wasn’t aware of…

      It’s still a bit messy in some places but the direction of the blog should get clearer in the long run…

      Hope you enjoy reading the posts!

  2. zaldaf says:

    wow, this site is brilliant!

  3. Philippe Mather says:

    This website is quite remarkable, my compliments. I’m currently doing research for a monograph on western representations of Singapore in fiction film, including films not shot on location (such as the 1947 film “Singapore” with Fred MacMurray…). I’d be happy to correspond further via email. Cheers…

  4. atyg says:

    Hun Ping, could you send me a larger version of your top image, as my grandaunt saw it as said that was our old house by the sea! Where was this image taken from? I study interwar homes, and maybe can say more about its architecture with greater visual clarity.

  5. Burgherbugger says:

    fantastic work! i’m working on a screenplay set in Singapore during WWII and your work helps greatly…stimulating my creative mind thanx🙂

  6. Andrew says:

    Burgher, make sure it’s authentic, there are streetscapes of Singapore that, given the right time of day/night, evokes 1930s 1940s Singapore.

  7. Burgherbugger says:

    thanx Andrew, I’d like to keep it as authentic as poss and film as much as poss in Singapore… there are heaps of good places….particularly drawn to Fort Canning…that old house thats an arts building on Emily hill and many others. If anyone can come up with pics of Fort Canning during the war i’d be most grateful……screenplay has a long way to go though!….also looking for pics of Lim Bo Seng doing everyday stuff….I’m a very visual person and also audible in terms of the music of the period….anyone tell me what were local fav songs i’d be grateful…especially Chinese or Indian popular stuff. Cheers:)

      • sublime4199 says:

        I suggest the following books if you are keen to find out more about Lim Bo Seng. There is a tendency in Singapore’s mainstream history books to focus on his heroics, which I personally think are often exaggerated. Lim was a KMT agent – his allegiance was to Chung King (Chongqing, China, provisional capital of Republic of China’s KMT government during WWII) – who was deemed a martyr/patriot even after his ill-disciplined intelligence network failed him during Force 136’s infiltration mission in Malaya.

        Lim was brave nonetheless, but he was merely a minor figure in the anti-Japanese resistance efforts in Malaya as compared to the MPAJA (Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army). MPAJA got sidelined in the mainstream history books because they were anti-colonial and were essentially supported by the MCP (Communist Party of Malaya). The post-war Malayan Emergency and subsequently, PAP’s fear-mongering about communists made sure that the real story of the MPAJA remained(and remains) obscure in Singapore’s WWII narratives.

        READ:
        1. Chapter 4 “The Chinese War Hero” in ‘Kevin Blackburn & Karl Hack, “War Memory and the Making of Modern Malaysia and Singapore”, NUS Press, Singapore, 2012.
        2. Cheah Boon Kheng, “Red Star Over Malaya”, 4th ed., NUS Press, Singapore, 2012.
        3. Chin Peng, “My Side of History”, Media Masters, Singapore, 2003. (In one of the chapters, he talked about his encounters with Force 136 and Lim Bo Seng, who used an alias — “Tan Choon Lim”.

      • thankyou🙂 link didn’t work though

  8. 123ABC says:

    Your blog is very well done and unique too…involves lots of effort, I salute you for that! Very nice to see old places of SIngapore too.

    I’m finding this documentary (or mini-clip), of ‘kampung life’ taken at Pulau Tekong (near Kg Pasir), if I’m not wrong the title of the documentary is “Sailors around SIngapore” or something like that, probably in the 70s. I tried searching for it online but couldn’t find any.

    Saying that, I’m not too sure If any ex-Tekong folks ever did any recording of the island or at least have photographs from there. Lots of history over there but sadly little is remembered….

    Thank you, keep up the good work!

    • sublime4199 says:

      Hello there,
      Thanks for visiting the blog!
      I’ve not heard of the documentary “Sailors around Singapore”. Was it produced for television or for release in the cinemas? Will keep a look out for it anyway.

      Will contact you if I come across any film/video footages that feature P. Tekong before the resettlements.

      Hun Ping

      • 123ABC says:

        I’m not sure myself, I got the info from an ex-villager. Probably produced for TV.
        Thank you for the interest.

  9. Hung says:

    Hi HunPing,
    Hung from Vietnam here… Good jobs bro. It’s very interesting to me! hope to met you again.. long time no see.

  10. I am a friend of Ben Slater and would like to talk to you about an anthology book devoted to Singapore film locations.
    I am in town for a couple of weeks and my local mobile is (65) 9234 5222.
    Best regards

  11. Andrew says:

    Ask his descendants.

  12. Rebecca Kenneison says:

    Hi Hun Ping,
    I’m very interested in your source for your information on Chan Yeung Pan/Chow Yeong Ping – and the origin of the photo.
    I can fill you in on Abdullah bin Ta’ami (who features in the same post) if you’re interested.
    Hope to hear from you!

    • sublime4199 says:

      Hi Rebecca,
      Apologies for the delayed response. I was away overseas and wasn’t able to access the books on MPAJA until now.

      The source for the photo of Chan Yeung Pan/Chow Yeong Ping is Cheah Boon Kheng’s “Red Star Over Malaya: Resistance and Social Conflict During and After the Japanese Occupation of Malaya, 1941-46” (4th edition, published 2012, NUS Press, Singapore).
      It was cropped from a black and white group photo of the “Members of the Malayan Peoples Anti-British Army” found in the middle of the book. (The group photo belonged to a series of images (unpaged) found after page 124; this photograph that Cheah used was in turn from the US National Archives [RG59 846E.00/3-2849.])

      The information on Chan came from various sources. That he was the commander of the 1st Independent Regiment of MPAJA during the time of the Japanese surrender in 1945 was acknowledged in various Chinese texts, eg. Feng Zhong Han “The Price of Peace” (1999, page 19).

      In the book “Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History” by Chin Peng (published 2003, Media Masters, Singapore), on page 229, there is a photo of the MPAJA contingent to London’s Victory Parade celebrations in 1946. Chan was part of the contingent. He is labelled as “Chou Yang Pin” here, and is also acknowledged by Chin Peng as the commander, 1st Regiment. Chin Peng added, “Chou became a Special Branch agent during the Emergency.”

      Yes, I’m keen to know a thing or two about Abdullah bin Ta’ami. Do wish to update my post if you can furnish me with the information. How did you arrive at wanting to know about the Burma Star and 1939-45 Star awardees?

      Thanks!
      Hun Ping

      • Kenneison, Rebecca says:

        Hi Hun Ping,

        Many thanks for your reply – I hope you enjoyed your overseas trip.

        I should have to look in Cheah BK – I have his book on my shelf. I did look at my notes from Chin Peng’s book (I don’t have my own copy) but clearly that was something I never noted down: I only had access to it for a week or so on inter-library loan. I now have a policy of taking photographs of any interesting pictures in books I borrow, for future reference, but I didn’t then.

        In case you are interested, there is a film clip with Chau Yeung Pan (the spelling varies a lot) available on the net – if you go to the British Pathe website (http://www.britishpathe.com), and type Singapore MPAJA into the search box, you’ll find a clip of a marching band, Mountbatten and – finally, as you are about to lose hope – a few MPAJA being given their medals. One I think is Itu. Chau Yeung Pan’s name is called out very clearly. It’s very blurry, but very evocative.

        Abdullah: Haji Abdullah bin Tami (again, spellings vary) was a Force 136 recruit. I suspect he was one of the Malays stranded in Mecca on the Hajj who was collected up for special ops. To simplify matters, I’ll give you the info bullet by bullet complete with source:
        1. He was dropped into Malaya in January 1946 to join Operation Hebrides, which built up a Malay guerrilla force in northern Perak (the Askar Meleyu Setia – AMS). (HS1/108, UK National Archives)
        2. He worked as an instructor and received a glowing report from his OC (‘tough and full of courage… much respected’ and so on) (HS1/121, UK National Archives)
        3. He was awarded a Mention in Despatches (London Gazette, 2nd Supplement, 7 Nov 46, No. 37780)
        4. Seems to have turned to a life of crime post-war (Straits Times, 19 Sept 61)

        Re 1 and 2 above, I have digital photos of the relevant paperwork if you’d like copies. The London Gazette can be accessed online, like the Straits Times.

        Does Chin Peng say when Chau/Chan went over to the British? I think that would be interesting… He worked very well with Force 136 in 1945.

        I’m trying to find out about all this as I am doing a PhD on Force 136 during World War II and what impact, if any, its former members had on the Emergency. My father’s cousin was involved with Force 136 – he grew up at Batu Caves – which is where my interest started.

        Many thanks again for replying, and just let me know if you want the images.
        All the best,
        Becca

        ________________________________

      • sublime4199 says:

        Hi Rebecca,
        Thanks for the information on Haji Abdullah bin Tami. Those brief notes you provided will suffice. I will update my blogpost in a while.
        Unfortunately, Chin Peng merely mentioned Chau/Chan once in the entire book, that he switched sides to become a Special Branch agent during the Emergency. He didn’t specify which year during the Emergency.
        An intriguing thesis topic you are pursuing. The few books on Force 136 that I have come across in Singapore usually focused on their exploits (and heroisms; and a heavy bias towards Lim Bo Seng) during the Second World War. Indeed, did any of them participate in the much extended “war” in Malaya later, after 1948?
        Thanks again and all the best for your PhD,
        Hun Ping

      • Kenneison, Rebecca says:

        Hi Hun Ping,

        Glad the info was of use.

        Agree about the Lim Bo Seng bias: undoubtedly a very brave man but not the only one. He is sometimes given as F136’s ‘only casualty’ which was not the case.

        Quite a lot of ex-F136 involvement in the Emergency – Ferret Force in the early months was dreamt up by former F136. Involvement in jungle forts and ‘hearts and minds’ as well.

        By the way, I would like to mention you in my acknowledgements – is Hun Ping your full name/ name you would like to be known by?

        Thanks for your good wishes, Becca ________________________________

      • sublime4199 says:

        Hi Rebecca,
        Thanks for the acknowledgement. ‘Hun Ping’ will do.
        Do let me know if you need me to refer you to feature films or documentaries made about the SOE, Force 136 or the Emergency. Or perhaps you’re already familiar with them. (I’m still on the search for such films.)
        Cheers,
        Hun Ping

  13. ZiWei says:

    Hi, I saw that Nan Chaiu High Sch photos ( at Kim Yan Road), I am wondering if any permission need to be applied to gain access to the compound for a walk and photo shoot?

    • Hi, the former Nan Chiau High campus is now used as rental spaces for offices, private schools and business — The Herencia. I believe the public can visit the place freely, but you probably need to ask before photographing, or just be discreet…

  14. Andrew says:

    Do you have a list of films featuring extensively the waterfront (Collyer Quay)?

    • Hi Andrew,

      http://sgfilmlocations.com/tag/collyer-quay/
      http://sgfilmlocations.com/tag/clifford-pier/

      The “sgfilmlocations.com” web database is a work-in-progress. It has covered films up to the year 1958 so far. Will be updated in the months to come.

      Some of the 1960-80s films that may be of interest to you (they feature collyer quay/clifford pier):
      1. “Che Mamat Parang Tumpol” (1960) Malay film
      2. “China Wife” (1957) – a Kong Ngee Cantonese film
      3. Jefri Zain Gerak Kilat” (1966) – Malay film, James-Bond-inspired
      4. Kommissar X: In the Claws of the Golden Dragon (1966) – German spy film, features Telok Ayer Basin, with Collyer Quay in background
      5. Five Ashore in Singapore (1966)
      6. Wit’s End (1975) – Clifford Pier appears in many scenes
      7. Saint Jack (1979) – Fullerton Road, GPO
      8. The Nuclear Conspiracy (1986) – Clifford Pier, German film

  15. Veronica says:

    Hi there,

    I am making a documentary for Channel News Asia about wartime singapore, specifically 1942 and I was wondering who owns the copy right to the films shown around 1941-1945 in Singapore? I would love to use them in our upcoming series.

  16. Sandeep Ray says:

    Hun Ping, your blog is astonishing in its detail and scope. I am a historian (currently at Rice University) who studies propaganda film and I have just arrived in Singapore to look at the Japanese propaganda films made in Malaya in the 1940s. I am actually going to the National Archive this morning but started googling a bit during breakfast and stumbled upon this treasure trove. Just wanted to say thank you for your dedication and that I would like to reach out to you if I have some questions please.

    • Thanks Mr. Sandeep. I’m always glad to know of historians taking up the research of Japanese propaganda films made in Malaya during the occupation. I’m no historian myself, and merely do this out of interest. But I’ll be keen to assist in any way. Please do feel free to reach me at sublime4199@hotmail.com. ~ Hun Ping

  17. Sandeep Ray says:

    You indeed are a historian. I have learned a lot just reading your notes. I went to the National Archive yesterday and you were mentioned as soon as I brought up this topic. Thanks for your email!

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