Monday, 24 February 2014

Old Cathay

I came across this old picture of the Cathay cinema in George Town, Penang on facebook. The picture must have been taken sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s. I am saying this because the film, Anastasia starring Yul Brynner and Ingrid Bergman, was released in 1956 and would most probably have made its way to our shores very much later, possibly by several years.

But it was not the film that interested me. Rather, what sprang foremost to my mind was an old coffee shop that used to operate beside the cinema. If one looks closely at this picture, one would see that next to the cinema were some trees. That was where the old coffee shop was operating from a bungalow. 

Of course, everything is gone now. No more bungalow, no more trees, no more coffee shop. And along with them, there is also no more satay babi, no more lor bak, no more koay teow thng, all of which were very good. And outside the bungalow but still within the compound near the gate pillars was an Indian hawker selling his pasembor and poh piah

Obviously, the coffee shop was very popular and during its heyday, it always had a ready clientele from the cinema patrons. Always hard put to find a seat, especially if one's party was big. I believe that the coffee shop was still around until sometime in the late 1970s. I miss it.

The Cathay cinema itself has stopped its business. The premises has now been turned into a supermarket. At the very edge of the picture, one can still see the exterior of the Wah Bee Co Ltd. This business is no longer there too and in its place is an eatery selling some fusion Japanese food.

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