Shaw Online
Tickets and Showtimes Check Booking Movies Cinemas Promotions Gifts and Vouchers premiere Shaw Theatres Lido IMAX
Connect With Us Showtimes :
    About Shaw > Amusement Parks          
Great World and New World

Newspaper advertisement, 1948

Special events at the cabaret included the annual Song and Band Championships, competitions for the Kronchong-Asli comic titles, Malay film song contests, dance competitions as well as the Annual Malaya Kebaya Queen Competition. In fact, it was the quality of the Shaws cabarets that really put their parks ahead of the competition. The most serious of these came from Lee Geok Engs (Lee Kong Chian's brother) Happy World (aka Gay World) in Geylang.

Outside of the Cabaret, dances within the parks were held in halls in the form of Malay dances such as joget and ronggeng. These were held until 11pm, and catered mainly to Malays and Peranakans. Like the Cabaret, dances with joget girls were paid for in the form of coupons.

Newspaper advertisement, 1958

Advertisement for wrestling at Great World, 1948

Wrestling events also attracted crowds. The mid-50s saw wrestlers with names such as Ho Wah Peng, Scott, Kumar and Tiger Amat vying for the championship. Boxing was also popular with imported foreign talent thrown in for added excitement.

In September 1934, tragedy struck in the ring of the New World. A young boxer from California, Joe Thunderface died during a fight with local champ Frankie Weber.

Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, S. Rajaratnam
and Shaw Vee Tzan tour the Great World
Singapore Natiuonal Economic Development
Fair, 1960

Movie premiere of Diau Charn
starring Lin Dai , Great World, 1958

When war spread to Singapore, business at the parks temporarily closed until the Shaws were instructed to re-open the parks under Japanese military control. Night life at the Great World cabaret was restored but New World cabaret could not reopen as it suffered extensive bomb damage.

In fact, the Caberets, with their bright lights were easy target for bombs during Japanese air raids. That was why the Cabarets would turn off all the lights when warnings of a raid came. These moments of blackouts were popular among the men who would indulge in a bit of hanky panky whenever the Caberet plunged into darkness. A name was subsequently coined for these events:'blackout dances'.

Shortly after 1945, the crowds returned in droves to New and Great World, including the many allied troops stationed in Singapore and Malaya. By 1950, new forms of entertainment sprang up within the parks, including revues and striptease. The first striptease show was in the Fong Fong Cafe in the New World. A famous strip artist of the time was Rose Chan.

More than amusement parks, Great World and New World were also the venue of myriad international trade fairs and industrial exhibitions. For these, stalls were rented by exhibitors to promote and sell their products.

Visitors to the exhibitions could not only enjoy displays of goods from all over the world, but side shows such as jugglers, strong man acts, miniature zoo, acrobatics, 'Miss Trade Fair' beauty contests and joget modern dances.

In 1964, Great World opened its doors for the last time. The Globe of Death featuring death defying motorcyclist stuntmen was one of the final attractions there. The 4.6 hectare park was eventually sold off to a developer in 1978. New World lasted until the mid-1980s until it too was sold to a developer. In between management, both its cabaret and Grand Theatre were rented by the Charismatic Church group.

Annie Looi, Miss Trade Fair Queen, Penang, 1960

In Malaysia too, the Shaws had a string of amusement parks - Bukit Bintang Amusement Park in KL, City Park in Malacca, Coronation Park in Taiping, Ipoh's Jubilee Amusement Park, Great and New World Park in Penang and Great World in Alor Star. For years, these parks were the favourite weekend getaway for families and crowds looking for fun and excitement.


Corporate and Group Booking | Property Showcase | About Shaw | Career Opportunities | FAQ & Contact Us | Subscribe Mailing List | Sitemap
Shaw Theatres Pte Ltd has been awarded the TrustSG seal.
To see the seal, please click here.

© Copyright 2007 Shaw Organisation. All rights reserved. Co. Reg. No.: 194700158G
Secure Payment method: American Express JCB MasterCard Masterpass by MasterCard - Officially Supported Wallet Visa Checkout Visa
Payment also available via all
Shaw Theatres box office
Andriod Pay Apple Pay Samsung Pay