kheru2006 (kheru2006) wrote,

Chan rose to become star in towns, entertainment parks

KOPI KOREK was well known in the old days. Those who wrote about entertainment parks of those times must know kopi korek, since they remember the joget, Chinese opera, Malay bangsawan and cabaret.

Entertainment parks could not afford to disregard kopi korek. Some people said that kopi korek first started in Alor Star; others said it took up in Malacca.

A good many also said it started at Coronation Park, Taiping. Kopi tiam, teh tarik and roti canai were not yet in the public index.

However, kopi hailam and roti kaya were the favourites of the elites in those days.

Unlike kopi hailam, kopi korek operated at sunset only, and would continue until the wee hours of the morning.

Towns that did not have any entertainment park would have their kopi korek somewhere else.

While this enjoyment was going steady, there appeared another major attraction that shook every town and entertainment park in the peninsula.

It was Rose Chan, the striptease dancer. Chan became famous overnight.

However, housewives were not happy with her, since they always had to watch over their husbands.

Chan was said to come from Sitiawan, Perak. So, the nearest place for her to perform at first was at Empire Theatre, Kuala Kangsar.

Kuala Kangsar was a small town, but it was populated with many battalions of the Commonwealth Forces, who took almost all the seats in the theatre.

These Commonwealth Forces were stationed there as a reinforcement in fighting Communists.

It was said that there was an unwritten truce between Communists and the Commonwealth Forces, since both parties loved Chan’s show.

Thus, Kuala Kangsar remained peaceful for as long as Chan was there. Chan performed the striptease dance in all towns.

She travelled by train, because that was the only transportation in those days. She stopped at every station.

At Gemas, she performed in a cinema theatre. People as far as Bahau, Tampin and Segamat flocked to the theatre, and third-class seats became VIP seats.

Eventually, Chan went to Singapore, where the British armed forces were stationed.

Her show was awesome. It was said that England at that time had yet to see such a performance.

Later, it was said that the American navy landed in Singapore, heard about Chan and went to the Happy World Park to see her.

They were transfixed and spellbound by the dance, since Americans, too, had yet to see such a persuasive performance.

Abdullah Sani Ismail, Tanah Merah, Kelantan  The NST Letters 14 AUgust 2015
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