Friday, June 09, 2006

Photo-Poetry Challenge : Photo 10

My broadband connection was giving me problems these past two days. It went MIA after the muse came back. Plus, it's another bad week at work again. Let's not talk about them now.

Here's something I wrote about from my early childhood. Not very well written, pretty forgettable, i am afraid, but hopefully entertaining. The best I can do for the moment.


Open-air Theatre
image by LazerLordz

Open-air Cinema, South Quay, 1960s

You lucky people today would have laughed and knocked
it down as a dilapidated caricature of a movie house,
the rust-bitten zinc sheets carving a rectangle perimeter
like a stalag wall, no roof, and weeds sprouting all around.

Back then in the village, it was the happening place,
the gossip exchange, the pub, the children's playground,
the lovers' night out, a respite from a hard day.

For 30 cents you may have a blockbuster, but bring your own chair
or stool, or better still lug a sofa, sure there are benches
but they are all filled up if you arrive late and they are not
comfortable to begin with and rumoured to be bug infested.

By sundown the projectionist is testing his equipment
shooting a beam of light onto the screen.

Excuse the kids, they are young and bored
and have great imaginations and this is the signal
for them to jump up on their seats and wave their hands around
in the path of the light throwing shadows of birds, rabbits, dogs
onto the screen, they are such artists.

Excuse the ah pek beside you, he is here for the show, not shadow play,
he will soon be swearing profusely in hokkien
nabeh nabeh nabeh

Excuse also the local louts, cracking melon seeds
puffing away like smoke-stacks, and wolf-whistling
at every skirt that pass their way.

Sure, sometimes there are fist fights in the stands
even before the slaughter begins on the screen
but what's a little side entertainment, no problem.

When the sky above your head is dark, the show starts,
the operator dims the lights, the projectionist
cranks up the volume to sadistic heights,
the giant bullhorn speakers shuddering every wall.

other than that it's your typical wholesome family cinema,
sit back and relax, enjoy Hollywood and Hong Kong in your backyard.

Sometimes it rains, the show goes on, you make tough decisions,
take a chance with the lightning or go home, there are no refunds.

Just as you learn later in life.



Blogger Medusa aka expiringpoet said...

Oh wow! Love it leh. Closing lines hits you. Almost makes me wish i was around then, to experience all of that. Nostalgia is bitter-sweet.

Take it easy at work ya? Telco life can be crazy, esp nowadays. More cut-throat competition but hang in there :)

11 June, 2006 02:42  
Blogger Cold Cut Ten said...

I like it that when I read your poem, I'm almost always transported to a slightly less refined time and place, yet warm and real, and you paint that time and place with such life, one feels a sort of sadness of not having experienced it.

11 June, 2006 08:53  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thanks, yah, that's a long time ago.

heh, how do you know telco life can be crazy? :)

the open-air cinema i described was just across the road from our house in the shanty town. those were tough times!

i was afraid this piece was too prosy!

12 June, 2006 01:00  
Blogger floots said...

it worked for me
book me a ticket in yesterday :)

12 June, 2006 04:24  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

first you need the GPRS co-ordinates for singapore, then you need a time machine... :)

12 June, 2006 08:56  
Blogger kittyn said...

brings me back to the days when i was one of those kids lugging a stool downstairs for open air cinema... oh dear.. am I that old??

12 June, 2006 10:02  
Blogger Medusa aka expiringpoet said...

dsnake, i resigned from the orange one a year ago. Its a sunset industry with shrinking revenue, the heyday is long gone like alot of other technology-based businesses nowadays which is here today, gone tomorrow.
Shrinking revenue= no choice, have to work even harder with fewer manpower=stress & unhappiness. Am just glad I had the option of leaving it behind. Miss the pay and bonus though..hehe...

12 June, 2006 21:56  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

you are one of the kids that lug a stool downstairs to the open-air cinema? i thought i was the only one who knew of such things! :)

the industry is stagnant, revenue is shrinking and everywhere is "cost cutting". am from the red one, and dealing with lines (lagi sunset!).

13 June, 2006 00:17  
Blogger kittyn said...

dsnake1... yah lor... but have to admit your experiences were more "authentic" cos for my case, it was some community bonding activity that was done to get the neighbours to know one another... it was a rather new estate where I stayed almost 30 years ago... hehe.. and i remember watching Jackie Chan's "She Xing Diao Shou" that nite...

13 June, 2006 09:51  
Blogger Medusa aka expiringpoet said...

Friends of mine in VoIP are also suffering from salary cuts/retrenchments. After only about a year of joining the new companies! Competition in global economy is killing alot of people but we dont have a choice but to learn new things, take a 2nd degree, move on to new, more stable industries. On and on...

Red umbrella still stable, so you're safe :)

15 June, 2006 15:43  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

this shows i'm really old! :)

red one also not safe! same lah, global competition, local market full.

15 June, 2006 22:00  

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