haw par villa is a sort of a theme park built in 1937 in singapore by aw boon haw and aw boon par, the inventors of tiger balm (an ailment extremely popular in asia, used to cure all sorts of muscular pains). the extravagant park contains hundreds of statues and dioramas, “depicting scenes from Chinese folklore, legends, history, and illustrating various aspects of Confucianism”. an educational experience.
it’s a bit rundown, but still quirky, fun, and with lots to explore. as an highlight, it includes a 60-meter cave which depicts the “10 courts of hell”, the gruesomely detailed fate of those who have fallen in disgrace. christian hell is nothing compared to those who don’t listen to the doctrine of confucius, i tell you. and they have it all explained for you, in explicit nightmare-inducing detail.
for instance, “drug traffickers and addicts” are “tied to red hot copper and grilled”, while “money lenders with exorbitant interest rates” are “thrown into a hill of knives”…
you get the picture. or, if you don’t, you can see a ton more pictures on this flickr set!
it would have been nice to have a chinese person to tell us all the stories behind the statues and scenes, but all in all, a highlight of our stay in singapore. for me, it’s always the quirky places that make the best memories!