The Lido cinema in Sibu was a long ago institution where many people who are now in their 40's and 50's and even 60's would remember their dating moments, centre of life, and a place of amusement.
A friend now dare tell us in a joking way that he used to hang out in the foyer and when the lights went out he would slip into the cinema to sit with his girl friend who had already been given her ticket by him. Once when the film projection mal functioned, the lights turned on too quickly for him to make an exit, he was caught by his father who happened to be there. His father gave him a good scolding.
Most of the girls of my class never went to Lido on their own. They would be accompanied by their family. I attended many movies with my grandmother. My mother never went to the cinema. She had at that time, sentence herself to a perpetual mourning period and furthermore, she missed my father so much she could not watch a movie without him.
My paternal grandfather actually was the first owner of the Lido Cinema and the family had lived temporarily , while waiting for their new house to be built.
But what really attracted me to the cinema was the opportunity my maternal grandmother would give me. And that was to buy 10 cents worth of roasted dried squid, rolled up tightly with a red cotton string and kept in a small wooden box which also acted as a small counter for the sotong man.
The dried squid (sotong) was roasted over an open charcoal fire and then hammered (with a real hammer) into a very fine thin ,flat layer of exotic goodness.
10 cents was able to buy me two small pieces. A small bowl of dipping sauce, made of pounded chili, some vinegar and sugar was placed on the small table. We would dip the rolled up squid into the bowl of chili sauce, trying to get as much sauce as possible and then pop the squid into our mouth. Some girls would prefer to chew the sotong bit by bit, slowly and with relish. The roasted quid was exotically chewy and aromatic at the same time.
That was a real treat for a Foochow girl like me who did not get a lot of spicy food at home. In fact to be able to eat hot and spicy food was something my "down river" cousins would go shivering or what the Foochows would say "bu lun chung..." or having goosebumps....They would laugh and say..."Hey, you have become so Malay now living in town.."
I did not realise, at that time,that that our taste buds do change when we change our environment.