Hard to say goodbye

Hard to say goodbye

SINGAPORE - Mr Mono Chong, head honcho of the Yangtze cinema, is not looking forward to the day the curtains come down on his iconic Chinatown hotspot.

Three years ago, he had spent at least $600,000 on renovations, splurging on a new box office with plasma television screens flashing show times, a snack counter, new seats and carpeted floors in its two cinema halls.

"It is a pity to let these go after investing so much," says the 60-year-old owner of the theatre, which is known for its raunchy flicks and elderly clientele.

The 23-storey Pearls Centre that houses the cinema will make way for the $18-billion Thomson MRT line next year, sweeping aside its mostly mom-and-pop businesses of tailors, barbers and Chinese medicine shops.

Last week, Ms Indranee Rajah, MP for Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency which Pearls Centre falls under, said she was appealing on behalf of tenants and owners who were seeking more compensation.

It is unlikely that the 44-year-old Yangtze would see a rerun at another location says Mr Chong. "It is not easy to find some other place that can hold big cinema screens," he explains.

He owns the two-storey cinema on the fourth floor and declines to reveal the amount of compensation paid out to him by the Government.

He adds: "The Chinatown location fits my clientele. And over the years, so many people have come to know the place, so I have many loyal customers."

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