Haw Par Villa
- For other gardens of this name see Tiger Balm Garden
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Haw Par Villa (Chinese: 虎豹別墅; pinyin: Hǔ Bào Biéshù) is a theme park located along Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore. The park contains over 1,000 statues and 150 giant dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese mythology, folklore, legends, history, and illustrations of various aspects of Confucianism.
The park, originally called Tiger Balm Gardens, was built in 1937 by the Burmese-Chinese brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the developers of Tigwer Balm, as a venue for teaching traditional Chinese values. They moved their business from Myanmar to Singapore in 1926 and purchased the site in 1935.
In 1988, the Singapore Tourism Board took charge of the Tiger Balm Gardens and renamed it "Haw Par Villa Dragon World". The Haw Par in the park's name is based on the Aw brothers' personal names—Haw and Par, which literally mean "tiger" and "leopard" respectively. The dioramas and statues were restored, while plays, acrobatic displays and puppet shows were organised and held there. The management imposed entrance fees but the high fees discouraged visitors, so the management incurred a loss of S$31.5 million over 10 years. The park management made a profit during its first year of operations after renovations in 1994, broke even in 1995, but started incurring losses over the next three years and was forced to provide free entry in 1998. In March 2001, the Singapore Tourism Board renamed it "Tiger Balm Gardens". The park is now open every day from 9 am to 7 pm and admission is free.
The best known attraction in Haw Par Villa is the Ten Courts of Hell, which features gruesome depictions of Hell in Chinese mythology and Buddhism. This attraction used to be set inside a 60-metre long trail of a Chinese dragon but the dragon has been demolished, so the attraction is now covered by grey stone walls.
Other major attractions include dioramas of scenes from Journey to the West, Fengshen Bang, The Twenty-four Filial Exemplars, Legend of the White Snake, Romance of the Three Kingdoms; statues of mythological figures such as the Laughing Buddha and Guanyin, and historical personages such as Jiang Ziya, Su Wu and Lin Zexu; the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac, and others. There are also monuments dedicated to the Aw brothers and their parents.
Media related to Haw Par Villa at Wikimedia Commons
- "Tiger Balm Gardens". National Library Board. Retrieved 2011-01-31.
- "Speech by Mr Raymond Lim, Minister for Transport, at the Visit to Kim Chuan Depot, 25 January 2008, 9.00 am". Singapore Government Media Release. 25 January 2008.
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Haw Par Villa