Great World Park of 1950s Penang


Entering the Great World Park of Penang or Tua Seh Kai was like being teleported into a dreamy entertainment world, the stuff of fantasy and gastronomical delights, recalls tunglang.

This was definitely a happy world of nightly entertainment for Penangites of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Located at the present Prangin Mall, it was like entering another dimension of amusement arcade, cinema, food and merry-go-round. Just pay 10 cents and you were teleported into a world of great entertainment. (Mind you, 10 cents then was like a bullock cart’s wheel).

If you were addicted to Shaw Brothers’ movies, you would never miss a show every week. In fact it was the half-open-wall concept of community cinema that drew the crowds, catering to those who could afford cinema seating as well as those poor souls who could only stand watching free movies from the outside! I can still replay the One Arm Swordsman’s (by Wang Yu) moment of his losing his right arm and the advertising prelude of Shaw Brothers’ logo on a background of a sea of blue waves which raised great anticipation of the night’s movie that was about to be screened.

For the adrenalin-overflowed, a drive without brakes in two-seater bumper cars powered by electricity from nettings above was a must. You got no traffic summon for bumping the senses out of somebody’s car from the back, front or sides. The more the ladies shrieked the better for more bumping! I can still smell the rust of steel on the bumper railings and floor panels, from the heat and sparks of the night’s driving.

For a child’s dream entertainment, the merry-go-round was a magical choice. You got the chance to be like John Wayne shooting Indians as you rode in seemingly endless rounds of fantasy. The wooden decorated horses (British-style design) were a joy ride for both children and adults.

And the arcade of snooker and football tables was a noisy, smoky place to bet the night away. There you could witness football somersault kicks unmatched even by Maradona or one-arm snooker exponents playing like Wang Yu to the beat of Elvis.

The one unforgettable food was the Assam Laksa at the far end of the Park. A poor man’s bowl of decent simplicity, it really woke up one’s taste buds with its heavenly prawn paste mixed in secret recipe (neither too thick nor diluted) sour soup that lingered long after the last cinema show had finished. Which was good for the hungry souls as you couldn’t get any night hawker food past midnight.

The other eat-with-hand-while-standing-and-watching-movie food was the BBQ cuttle fish. With a brown-coloured sauce dip, it was a happy nip-nip alternative to today’s pop corn. And finger-licking good too.

For those preferring less sticky fingers, the kacang wrapped in newspaper cones sold by an Indian man on a bicycle near the entrance was a convenient choice. One packet could last way past half-time of a movie show!

The Great World Park, now a distant nightly hallucination of Penang’s past great entertainment for the Ah Peks, Ah Toks and Thaiya jis.

Time for night coffee to re-live the butter-fried aroma of Ban Eng Hong Grinding Mill Coffee of No.1 Macalister Road.

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My grandfather told me that Great World Park which used to have Ferris Wheel, Carousel and Dodgems in the 1950 and 80s. My grandfather could go there if he get good result on his exams.


The children today have McDonald’s to enjoy their Happy Meal.

This is equivalent to the joy of old timers like us who had Great World during our childhood.

Time changes things.
We must learn to accept changes.
Otherwise, you might as well carry that enormous 1st generation handphone!


So sad now, no great world park


Ning Baizura’s sang Tina Turner’s Simply The Best in honour of Penang being #1 FDI (investment) in Malaysia during the concert last Sat at PISA. She also being diplomatic to mention 1malaysia as she has Chinese & Indian blood (not Mat Salleh except her hubby is) and I believe she does not want to be gummed by BN machinery (can be blacklisted from lucrative Jom Heboh concert if not careful!). But deep down I am sure she believes in Pakatan’s effort.

So those who failed to turn up surely miss her energetic concert.

Hush Puppy

Bravo to the organiser who brings Michael Learns To Rock to Penang PISA next month !
After Air Supply we now have a popular foreigner act performing live for us.
We should get Michael Learns To Rock to promote Penang Street Food to the Scandinavian market !

Kuyt Hattrick

For those in Heritage Penang (especially those who live near Old New World Park) that do not subscribe to Astro Football, go and watch live telecast free of charge at big screen TV at Komtar Walk (the stage near KFC).
It was a big thrill to see Dirk Kuyt scored a hattrick against Man Utd !

I think Gerakan (eg Teng Hock None) being touted as Rakyat Di Dahulukan, ought to set up free football viewing at various districts in Penang to cater for the neerds of the under-priviledge poors who can’t afford Astro. What say you ???

Bowen Liu

I would suggest that the Penang government set up free screening of live EPL football on giant screen at PISA. Watching live football matches together can promote cohesiveness among all races.

Lee Guat Har

Tribute to Rose Chan on International Women’s Day:

(Passed away May 26, 1987 at age 62)


While in the mood for 50’s and 60’s, here’s another Saloma look-alike Mat Salleh: the eternal pinup Marilyn Monroe….


Mr Jingga

Voting for BN/Gerakan is like listening to these songs :
You Give Love A Bad Name (Bon Jovi) & Appetitite For Destruction (Guns & Roses).

For Pakatan, let’s have repeat of 308 to avoid Barang Naik phenomena,. Listen to Captain & Tennile’s “Do That To me One More Time” & Big Mountain’s “Baby, I Love Your Way”, Frank Stallone’s “Far From Over” & Simple Minds’s “Alive & Kicking” in next GE.


Ning Baizura can sing ‘Forget You’ (Cee Lo Green’s grammys nominated song) as a dedication to the Gerakan folks!


Have tasted Cintra Lane dumplings – of – it;s being hyped up !

try Yew Char Kuay there – you’ll love it.

Also Tim Sum at night at Ta Tung along Cintra Lane – backpackers love it there.

tunglang, have you been there ?


Hi Backpacker
It was my food haunting ground 30 years ago. Loved it and still in love with it. The Tai Tung’s Sar Hor Fun is ori-maestro…. The gravy will make you go for 2 plates. The ambience is 50 years ago and still never change – that’s classic heritage. Just look at the cashier’s counter – made of wood and art nouveau design. It is also a kopitiam that you will love to take a nap in serenity under the ceiling fan.


Hi Backpacker,
Correction to: It was my food haunting ground 30 years ago. Loved it and still in love with it. The Tai Tung’s Sar Hor Fun is ori-maestro ‘mou tak theng’.

It is actually Foo Heong Restaurant’s Sar Hor Fun and ori-maestro.
The Tai Tung is opposite, a more modern version of kopitiam. I love its Char Siow Fried Rice with sambai chilli. Also its other Chinese dishes cooked to order.

Ah Tong

Tai Tong is also packed with foreign backpackers last Saturday when I was there. I think they like the Dim Sum there.

Surprised they operate in the evening then (9pm still packed).

Bak Chang shop is close so not able to try.

Hush Puppy

You forgot to mention the home made Curry Puff on sale at front door of a house at Lorong Cintra.
Used to be RM1 each but now RM1.50 no thanks to Barang Naik (BN).


Halal tak karipap Lorong Citra?


While the Vietnam War was raging with explosions, deadly Agent Orange and noisy Chinooks, there was a special kind of hush in neighboring Malaysia. That was an unforgettable hush for mood of love all over the world in 1967.

Macalister Native

went to Prangin Canal area to observe the area prior to future development.

Most Penangites are in Prangin Mall. I have economy rice across the mall – 3 vegetable dishes costs me RM4 without seng kak teh.

Ah Tong


worth taking a bus from Muar to Penang to watch Ning Baizura’s concert at PISA (just show your ID to enter).
Why wait ? You can also savour Penang Street Food and also go to Lorong Kulit looking for 60’s & &0’s movie pictures at good prices which you can later sell them off in Spore Rochor Road for a profit.

William Yong


I understand from the chinese paper reports that some pasar malam traders in a street at Muar are not happy to be relocated following the complaints from the shop owners around it. They want the famous ‘eating street’ (mostly chinese hawkers) to be relocated for the same reason. Has the MCA flers done anything to resolve the issue?


Actually, Muar Malay traders were given 100% stalls in the markets on the riverbank and bus stands. Unfortunately many … boycott such racial based monopolized business.

Jalan Sisi is a temporary place for Malay traders to sell kuih and raya goodies before Hari Raya. Now they wanted to have permanent hawking place in the street as that famous Chinese food street regardless Jalan Sisi is fulled with shops unlike food street….


Those traders are unreasonable… They think they own the roads. I doubt they ever pay any lesen fees.


Nasi Kandar (vendors) placed tables/chairs on public road as though they have paid road tax without prosecution. Precedence already set.


Hello nkkhoo

I read from the Chinese newspapers that there is a controversy concerning a site to erect a heritage ‘lion dance’ statue in Muar at a road junction. Care to comment?

Also, the Muar folks seem to be unhappy over the new outer ring road that is uneven with pot-holes – another lousy job by the contractors?


I was in Penang for over ten years, knowing every holes there including that lorong garit. LOL

Ah Tong

If Penang Government (read LGE & gang) can get Cliff Richard & The Shadows coming to PISA Penang (Air Supply concert has proven to be a hit among kiam siap Penangites who r willing to fork out for hefty ticket prices), then it will blow the whole island upside down ! I bet tunglang will forego his food bill to pay to see the Shadows live ! Anyway, we can watch Ning Baizura free next saturday at PISA courtesy of Penang government. Ning is a better choice than Siti who apparently backed away from original planned concert at City Stadium… Read more »

Ah Tong

probably u’ll watch The Malay Chronicles aka Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa next week. This movie from KRU should be appealing although Umi is not in it. Since u r Gunung Ledang’s fan, do note Rahim Razali (i prefer him as sports commentator in the 70’s) is in it. I think the Chinese princess in the movie is quite pretty (has the nolstagic look you will appreciate) This movie will showcase Jackie Chan’s stunt team. May be David Teo will switch from silly slapstick comedy to be more adventurous to hit global market not just kampung folks as target group. Anyway, I… Read more »

Raj Kumar

Datuk Rahim Razali was the commentator for Astro Arena in the ive telecast of the All-England badminton. With a good voice one can cari makan beyond retirement age.

Datuk Hasbulah Awang is good too with his trademarked style, but he is more a football commentator. Too bad we will miss him since RTM has lost the Liga M telecast rights to Astro. Maybe Hasbulah can lompat (the YB-style) to Astro, just like Zainal Abidin and Shauki Kahar.


Agree with the statement ‘with a good voice, one can cari makan beyond retirement age’.

Lately we are getting a familiar voice-over sound of Patrick Teoh on NTV7. This is a testimony to the earlier statement.

Besides using your mouth to savour local delights, one can also talk to make money. How marvellous if you can make the balnacing act with your mouth to literally feed yourself and your family!!!


I watched ‘Ratu’ the movie recently.

Cannot understand the storyline as I only focus on the actresses – about 8 of them, all young and new ones. However they all cannot act but only trying hard to look glamour on screen.


The 12 March PISA concert should feature Alleycats.

They are from Penang. More appropriate.

No disrespect to Ning.

Ti Beng

No Cliff Richard-lah.

But Michael Learns to Rock will be singing their musshy songs in April in Penang.


Michael Learns To Rock World Tour Date: 22nd April 2011 Venue: Penang International Sports Arena Tickets: RM323 (VIP), RM223 (PS1), RM163 (PS2), and RM103 (PS3). Michael Learns to Rock (MLTR) fans are in for a treat – the Danish pop act is scheduled to visit Malaysia this April and the band will be in Penang on 22nd April 2011! The upcoming tour of this legendary soft rock band will take the stage of Penang Pisa Stadium on 22 April, featuring all of their popular songs as well as new ones from their recent album, Eternity. MLTR recorded a sell-out concert… Read more »


Hey, men. How about Carlos Santana. The iconic music sifu of jazz, rock and salsa in pubs and night clubs around the world.
Santana, Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones were the true blue legendary rockers of 60’s and 70’s, men. Music not for the mushy, mushy Koreans though!

Here’s to you old timer rocker men:
The Rolling Stones – Angie

Santana – Black Magic Woman

Led Zeppelin-Stairway to Heaven

Bowen Liu

Santana live performance at Singapore Indoor stadium, cheapest ticket price is S$99.

Let’s settle for the free Ning Baizura concert on Sat.
Hopefully the guitarist can do a rock solo!

tunglang, anil and nkkhoo
Are you attending?

Ah Tong

tunglang I just downloaded mp3 Midnight Oil’s Beds Are Burning & Hall & Oates’ Maneater. If u r keen can share them with you over kopi at Madras Lane. Here’s r some of my 80’s favourites : The Smith Human league Duran Duran – Hungry Like A Wolf is good theme song to describe the moment I face Penang Street Food ! Gonna set up a kopi shop playing 80’s music (or 70’s or 60’s) at heritage Penang. Do you think it will work besides getting those backpackers to throng my kopi shops ? How I wish there are more… Read more »


I’m pondering branding my old-style line of Kopitiam as strictly Penang franchise with original inner city George Town butter-fried coffee kau-kau and other typical 60’s breakfast cuisine thrown in. And get only sifu ori-maestros to joint venture in these Kopitiam franchise selling good street hawker food at affordable price. Of course with 60’s and 70’s music, jukebox and posters to enhance the ambience. And coffee boys and coffee girls (why not?) wearing the white Pagoda singlets and wide black trousers. The rest of A&M strategic tactics will follow. Then, the real Art of Penang Food War with foreign plastics of… Read more »


You can approach Ivory Properties Group to lease a unit (take ground floor) at Penang Times Square as they are desperately trying to improve its occupancy rate with F&B outlets.
Maybe they can offer low rate for you.


if ivory’s food court at times square fails to take off, i suggest you approach them of your authentic concept that can help to make Penang Times Square a magnet for Penang shoppers !
For goodness sake don’t keep hyping about Bruce lee – go for Ip Man the sifu lah.


Yeah, you’re right. Go for the master sifu that is Ip Man of the sifu that is Bruce Lee. But first must turn Penang Times Square into a ‘Wooi Koon’ for Penang’s ori-maestros to exercise their formidable art of heritage street hawker food of ONE inch knock-out for Tham Chiak Kuis! So, the wannabes of other slippery cleanliness obsessed food courts like HongKee KG and Korean SG can come to learn from Penang’s ‘Yat Lao’ ori-maestros at Times Square! Agree? And I will volunteer to be the master organiser of Penang ori-maestro food sifus with a Walk or Wall of… Read more »


Just listen to the BBC Radio playing this ‘Shake, Rattle & Roll’.
My oh my! I feel like wanna shake. It was a time at one of the kopitiams in Penang Road where they had this colorful Jukebox with LPs playing this Shake song. It was also popular at parties, Tua Seh Kai and E&O Hotel where the Ang Mohs had their fun time. This was also a song for you to shake heads (Yeo Thau).
Enjoy nostalgia and shake if you want:

Ah Tong

how to receive BBC radio in Penang ? Are u using gadgets like satelite radio ? don’t forget to come to Ning Baizura’s concert at PISA next Saturday. I am awaiting for Hannah Yeoh’s return to Penang from her stint in Japan. She’s a true babe – should be appointed Food Ambassador of Penang. What do you think ? btw, if you miss Empat Sekawan cast members, you can catch some of them appearing in Mandarin local dramas over NTV7 & 8TV. Lai Meng just had cameo appearance in last 8TV series. Lai Meng rocks ! She can be food… Read more »


Want to listen to BBC?
It’s easy.
Just go on line.

Better still go get one of those smart phones.
Download a radio app and you can tune in to clear BBC reception over the net.


People living in JB can tune to BBC world service on FM (in mono, tune to 88.9) broadcast from Singapore.


A Tribute song to the Legend of Malay movies by Saloma.
Without P.Ramlee, there is no complete nostalgic Penang of the 50’s and 60’s.
Di Mana Kan Ku Cari Ganti:


I bet you will not bother about P Ramlee if you have Wah Lai Toi in those days.

Jalil Din

Kita orang tanjung sudah dapat cari ganti.
KTK diganti oleh LGE. Terima Kasih!!!


An old Cantonese song during my parent time, 槟城艳 [Belle In Penang]


Have a glimpse on old Penang in 50s. I was still no exist in this world. LOL

Penang really need a heritage museum to show us what old Penang looks like.



hi, nkkhoo,
The videos truly transport me straight back to the early 60’s even though these were scenes from Singapura. I can still smell the canvass roof of the becas and hear the singing from Rediffusion. Time was comfortably slow and everything has its place. The singing also reminds me of how my dad truly enjoy his evening smoking ‘rokok chow’ while listening to these relaxing music.


The scenes in this video all were taken from Penang.

Yes, another video is mixed up with KL and Singapore scenes.


Well, well, well.
Since you are here in tropical island Penang blog of,
why not enjoy this early 80’s mood of “Echo Beach” by Martha & The Muffins:


Hi tunglang,

Did you ever experience the joy of joget with the kebaya clad lady on the upper floor of chowestra market?… I was so damn scare that my ticket was given away. No dance for me…. I can tell you the place is terrific man. Packed full with multi race, no issue. Enjoy.


I wish I had. It was every man’s dream given the chance in Pulo Pinang. New World Park of the 50’s and 60’s was the definite hot-spot for kebaya clad female fatales but too bad today it is Wifi hotspot.
Nowadays you can still see kebaya clad ladies at Nyonya events but these are for show only. Gone is the 20 inch waist beauty, the hour glass dream of Baby Boomers generation (those born between 1946 -1964).

Ahmad Sallehuddin

do you know where I can go joget without being caught unnesarily in Pulau Mutiara these days ?
I heard there is plan to revive Prangin area (where the canal is). I shall volunteer to offer my suggestions for retro 60’s & 70’s joget free style.
are you game enough ?


Hi, Ahmad Sallehuddin.

Any chance of Joget still in Penang?
It will need a change of time back to the past to enjoy this exciting but hands-off or free style entertainment…

Ahmad Sallehuddin

RTM2 still showing P Ramlee movies over and over again on weekly basis.

Yhose days, P Ramlee used Arab as parody (eg Ali Baba story). if he is still alive today, he shall have problems casting ladies of good figures because of the diet Malaysian women take daily now (fatty and coconut suntan nasi lemak).

Before ABIM and JAKIM, our Malay ladies wear decently sexy. … How I yearn for Saloma & Uji Rashid days …….


I’m in the midst of heavy workload. Will try to share my unforgettable and care free childhood of fun, adventure and Hokkien Mee orimeastro @ Madras Lane off Macalister Road in the 60’s and 70’s to the envies of hitech game mind-controlled, security camera spied-on & caged, GPS locked-on, brainless-toy brand dependent and sissy children of the so-called wealthy but fearful Penangites of today.

Ahmad Sallehuddin

Arabisation of our cultures make the ladies less appealing because being concealed only make the ladies attractive to their hubbies. That’s the intention…


Well said. That’s why there is a lack of incentive for the minah to stay slim nowadays…


The closest to the look of the pre-Merdeka Malay actress is the beautiful Umie Aida (of 90’s) from Kelantan. She has the captivating essence of Malay charm and class and put her in Gunung Ledang and your life over there is transformed back in time to the days of Hang Tuah! (I’m not sure how she looks now).
To look for the slim cultured ones, go to Kelantan where Umie comes from. And they are not that materialistic as those from KL or even Penang.

Jalil Din

For a moment I thought tunglang refers to Ummi Hafilda Ali. Gosh!


I will be guilty for making this dreadful choice – Hafailda Alee!..


Those Malay ladies in the P Ramlee’s films are modern, flamboyant and damn sexy than today’s Malay girls. LOL


Those Malay ladies in the P Ramlee’s films are modern, flamboyant and damn sexy than today’s Malay girls.

And from Singapore?
My nephew got a half Chinese/Malay girlfriend over there. And what I gathered, there is no issue of religious conversion in order to get married. If given a chance, I would prefer a pretty Malay girl of culture and grace. Actually, Malay women has similar features as the Thais, an exotic beauty among Asians. Koreans?…..


You can see malay ladies drinking in the pubs in Singapore with those mat salleh. No question asked.


all all the time and efforts tunglang contributed to this blog, i thnk tunglang deserve a special meals along Macalister Road (Town View Seafood ?) from Anil.
what say you readers ?


I agree with you fully.
He deserves a treat from all of us. 🙂

Looking at the response, it is certainly an instant hit to many old timers here.

S Muniandy

G K,
go n play spiders n fly kites (on your internet) with Teng, Hock & None.
if not satisfied ask for “Orange Book” psp3 version this Sat at Pitt Street 7.30pm.