Its been months that I have been eyeing to check out Haw Par Villa but since it is located in a place I am not familiar with, I did not take it seriously. Now that the new mrt circle line had opened and one of the stations is at the theme park doorstep I went there during the hari raya haji holiday. Feedback has it that the place is empty most of the days, but the day I was there its quite a bit crowded, maybe because it was holiday.
Tiger Balm Garden was the original name of this unusual theme park known today as Haw Par Villa. The person who built the place is the same person who is the maker of the very popular ointment product of the same name. Our medicine cabinet had always a stock of this ointment way back my childhood years. I said unusual theme park because instead of rides, it features life-sized statues and dioramas inspired from Chinese folklore, mythology, and history. Arranged in a hill ground garden are concrete sculptures and tableaus painted in bright colors in a story book manner. Stories of friendship , betrayals, evil deeds, consequences, and other teachings of Confucianism. And at the inner end part of the park is a building that gruesomely depicts how a person being judge and punish in stages before he/she is reincarnated into the next life. It is named 10 Courts of Hell. I find viewing those tableaus not at all scary but being inside that unusually hot building rather makes the viewing unsettling.
I did not paid much attention to each of the tableaus and dioramas written explanations as there are many to read about. Instead I just walk aimlessly and admire all the sculptures and trying to grasp randomly what really is the concept all about. And of course I was there for a photo walk. The place is full of visuals and interesting subjects.
Haw Par Villa is located along Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore. The most convenient way to go there is by taking MRT Circle Line, Haw Par Villa Station is just next to the theme park.