Short travel ‘actuality’ film; ‘Scenic’ film
Original title in French: Jeux comiques à Singapore à l’occasion du jour de l’an
(literally translates as ‘Comic games in Singapore on the occasion of the New Year’)
English Title (U.K.): Amusements in Singapore on New Year’s Day
English Title (U.S.A.): Comic Games in Singapore
Produced by Pathé Frères / C.G.P.C. (Compagnie Générale des Établissements Pathé Frères Phonographes & Cinématographes)
Year of release: 1911
Film Locations: The Race Course (at Farrer Park)?
IN SINGAPORE, THE YOUNG AND THE OLD take part in joyous sports and games on the occasion of the New Year. Games such as the “coin-in-the-flour-pan”, “wheelbarrow race”, “coconut games”, “logrolling”, “high jumps” and “elephant riding” are played. [This is our attempt at a simple translation of a synopsis of the short film written in French.]
Both the The Singapore Free Press and The Straits Times (30 Dec 1910 p. 8 and 3 Jan 1911, p. 7) posted reports on the New Year ‘Land’ sports that were held on 2 Jan 1911 at the Race Course (the Farrer Park open space in Little India today). The Straits Times report wrote that “the larger part of the afternoon… was taken up with humorous events,” which were likely the same “comic games” as portrayed in the Pathé film.
The short film was screened in Singapore in June – July 1911 at the ‘Alhambra’ and ‘Malborough’ Cinematographs. At the ‘Alhambra’, Amusements in Singapore on New Year’s Day was even shown in the same programme as a short documentary film The Funeral of Lee Cheng Yan (producer unknown; presumably shot in Singapore as well). (Lee Cheng Yan was a prominent local Chinese merchant, philanthropist and one of the founders of the Straits Steamship Company.)
Comic Games in Singapore (a.k.a. Amusements in Singapore on New Year’s Day) is in the collection of the British Film Institute (BFI) and the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé’: