Saturday, December 01, 2012

1972: Singapore Bruce Lee Beats Thugs At Cinema

(The above video is a masterpiece, creatively crafted by Shane Woodbury showing Bruce Lee at his peak. Watch it in full.)

When martial-arts mania flexed its muscles and extended its flying kicks in Singapore 70s, "Kato" or "Big Boss" Bruce Lee became a cult hero on the big screen and "Grasshopper" David Carradine became one on the goggle box. I remember watching these two actors who had by then a large international following. 

1. Carl Douglas Album Cover
Every other day some exponent of TKD, karate or whatever else was chopping bricks, slicing wooden boards on TV or at the Community Centres in Singapore.  The mass hysteria even produced a single called Kung Fu Fighting (not Kung Fu Panda) by Carl Douglas that sold eleven million copies in 1974 (plenty in those days).

So everyone listen up, for here's a story about what happened at a cinema in Singapore in 1972 when fists of fury found their target on blackmarket ticket thugs.

2. Poster of Bruce Lee's movie in the 1970s.
The writer is a friend of James Kwok who is with our FOYers Group:

Hi Andy,

It would be nice like they say to *talk cock (pardon my language) and reminisce over the good old days, especially those days when T-Dances were so popular! One of my most unforgettable memories, and believe me, there're quite a few, was an incident at **The Orchard Theatre, which I would like to share with you.

3. David Carradine on the goggle box.
I vividly recalled, it was the first screening of Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury and the queue for tickets was almost a kilometer long.  I was in the queue, like all law-abiding citizens, when I noticed a gang of black-market thugs jumping the queue in front, shoving, and threatening those who dared to voice out.

I overheard one lady screaming, "Where's the police?" and was immediately told off by one of the gang members. That was when I sprung into action. Nobody realised that I was an arm-pai or mata-mata (plain-clothes cop).  With my revolver at my side (I was in plainclothes), and fresh from receiving a black belt in TKD (Tae Kwon Do from one of my Korean Masters at the then, Gay World), I started pulling these thugs out from the line.

They were too shocked by my action to retaliate, and before they were aware of what was going on, two of then were on the floor after having received my TKD kicks while the others took off!
4. An artist's impression of TKD which need not necessarily be violent.

I was pleasantly surprised when most of the fans in the queue started to clap and shouted their approval after what I did. How about that!  Pity it was not reported in the local media then.  Anyway, that was a REAL Bruce Lee's preview-lah and I did not even realise my action then. A mata-mata was in action to defend members of the public.

So many stories to recap Bruddher, and this is just one.  I simply love those good old days and can never, never, forget that, no matter where we are to-day.

Till we meet over our teh-tarik, and maybe, roti prata again.

God Bless,
Guru Happy.

About the writer:
Guru Happy lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada and is in the Police Harley Davidson (the latest Police Escort Bike) as their Fleet Co-ordinator, after retiring from the RCMP (the Federal Police).  He was with the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) to supervise the fleet for the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

He was the first, and only former Singaporean - an honour he is proud of - to be involved with the security for the Olympics which was a once in a lifetime dream.  He was entrusted not only with the arrangements for the local VVIPs, but also the US President, working along with the US Secret Service Agents. 
5. Letter writer Guru Happy with his Harley Davidson.
Like the saying goes, "Once a cop, always a cop" no matter where you are.  Happy promises more stories on this blog soon.

Original article/image 5:  Guru Happy Copyrights Reserved.
You Tube video from: Shane Woodbury.

Images 1, 2, 3, 4: from Google.

*Frivolous chatter. Perhaps coffeeshop talk.

**Orchard Cinema, Grange Road (1965-1995)

In 1965 when Singapore gained independence, Cathay Organisation opened their second cinema after Cathay. It is the Orchard Cinema (国宾戏院) at Grange Road.  It was closed in 1995 for renovation and re-established itself as Orchard Cineleisure today.


Wikipedia: said...

"Kung Fu Fighting" is a disco song written and performed by Carl Douglas and composed and produced by Biddu.

It was released as a single in 1974, at the cusp of a chopsocky film craze, and eventually rose to the top of the British and American charts, in addition to reaching number one on the Soul Singles chart.


Bruce Lee, traditional (李小龍) born Lee Junfan; 27 November 1940- 20 July 1973 was an actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher and filmmaker.

JAMES KWOK said...

Hi Happ
There you are: Happy on a Harley in the Internet.

By the way, you might remember that back in those days more than 30 years ago there was a popular Hong Kong Show on Singapore TV: 'Man in the Net', starring Carole Cheng and Chow Yuen Fatt.
Next time you see them in Vancouver, they might ask you for your autograph.

Have fun, brudder.

JUSTMY2BIT said...

Remembering those years, there were a lot of street fights and gang clashes in Singapore before the PAP wiped them out.

I love the song KUNG FU FIGHTING especially the oriental feel of the music, although commercial, makes the song a winner.


Yes. Can. Andy. Season's greetings!
Best - Juliana

HORACE WEE said...

Hi Andy,

You may want to post this as it is about Singapore musicians from the 60's.

Theresa Filmer (nee Khoo) the pianist wife of bassist Winston Filmer passed away on November 8th 2012 in Melbourne Australia. She was 70 years old and died of cancer. She had been in ill health the past few years.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Horace,
Will write about Theresa Khoo Filmer in my next posting. I happen to have a copy of her EP with Decca.

Appreciate your interest in our 60s music makers and for supporting this blog.

GURU HAPPY said...

Thanks Andy, and keep up with the good work!

You know what? Whenever I've the opportunity to relate some of these "episodes" (from the 60s) to the younger Generations, I was pleasantly surprised of their interest...

GURU HAPPY said...

Was alss involved with helping Brian (Richmond), during his DJ Days at Merlin Hotel, playimg mostly "Oldies but Goodies" numbers.

During that time, Larry Lai, Bernard Salosa (all very popular DJs and radio hosts), Brian and myself, used to spend time together too over teh-tarek & roti-toast,no Jakun kaya-lah!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Guru Happy with all the information you have provided about Singapore scenes in the 60s and 70s. You are an asset to our society and if you are still living here, the Singapore Memories Project would probably pull you in for their national pride and joy where they encourage netizens to write about their memories.


60s Footwear: when horseshoes weren't just for horses.

Andy brings us back to the 60s when trendy men's fashion meant fitting the soles of your shoes with metal cleats.

Why? All the better to dance with!

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Again thanks Noel By Nature for spreading the noose about horseshoes.

Now we know that horseshoes and boots existed in Singapore way before Matthew and his Mandarins hit our lonesome trail in the 70s. We actually paved the way for them.

SingaporeMemoryProject said...

Dear Sir/Madam,

On behalf of the National Library Board (NLB), we would like to invite you to pledge your blog to the Singapore Memory Project as part of efforts to collect memories that are already manifested in existing online channels.

The Singapore Memory Project (SMP) is a national initiative to collect, preserve and provide access to Singapore’s knowledge materials. Spearheaded by NLB, the SMP aims to build a national collection of content in diverse formats (including print, audio and video), to preserve them in digital form, and make them available for discovery and research.

By pledging your blog to SMP, you are affirming that every memory matters. Whether your posts are an account of your daily life, or an expression of your thoughts, the SMP hopes to find a home for your memories so that it can help build towards an understanding of Singapore. You will also receive a badge that you can display on your blog in recognition of your contributions.

Contributors to this blog pledging initiative will be listed on Singapore Memory portal’s blog pledging webpage. All blogs pledged to SMP will archived using NLB’s web harvesting software, in addition to images of each blog’s landing page.

If you are keen to pledge your blog to SMP, simply fill up our response form at this following URL:

You may find out more about this initiative at

We are looking forward to your contribution.

Yours sincerely,

Hetal Mandalia|Social Media Analyst|Simulation Software & Technology (S2T) Pte Ltd
583 Orchard Road #14-02 Forum The Shopping Mall S(238884), Singapore

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Again thanks for the offer but I need to think about it. I might just lose my copyright to the blog.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

This posting has been rejuvenated with more pictures and information.

The gangs mentioned were actually from the 60's but there were still many of them left in the 70's.