Wanderings, travel, photographs and skiing…

Haw Par Villa, 262 Pasir Panjang Rd, Singapore – free entry

By on May 23, 2015 in Singapore

Now Haw Par Villa (虎豹别墅) – 262 Pasir Panjang Rd, Singapore – is, well, weird. I have never seen anything like it, and I may not want to see anything like it ever again! It is one of those places that leaves you thinking “Why?” and “How much did that cost to build?”.

Haw Par Villa was built by the “Famed as Tiger Balm Kings from Rangoon” and the Haw brothers moved their business to Singapore in 1926. Besides being business men the brothers, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, believed that they should also contribute to society, and so in 1934 Boon Haw decided to build a mansion and gardens for his brother, and hence Haw Par Villa was created.

Haw Par Villa was opened in 1937 with a final construction cost for the house and the gardens of over a million dollars. The completed gardens included various displays depicting Chinese moral legends.

The gardens are free to enter (there is a parking fee if you bring your car). Sadly, the house is either no longer in existence, and if it still does it exist it is closed to the public.

Haw Par Villa

Haw Par Villa

Entrance Haw Par Villa

Entrance Haw Par Villa

This way to Haw Par Villa

This way to Haw Par Villa

Some of then things defy explanation, for example, what is going on in the photo below?

Haw Par Villa

I have no idea what this is all about….

And of course there are two sumo wrestlers praising Tiger Balm…

Sumo Wrestlers and Tiger Balm

Sumo Wrestlers and Tiger Balm

And it is these products shown in the photo below that made Haw Par Villa possible.

Tiger Balm at Haw Par

Tiger Balm at Haw Par

Haw Par Villa

This was the first of the Chinese legend displays I encountered. These displays depicted Chinese legends that were designed to teach certain moral values and lessons. Yes, the place is educational!

Chinese Legend Display at Haw Par Villa

Chinese Legend Display at Haw Par Villa

The level detail in the displays is stunning.

Stunning details...

Stunning details…

Besides the legend displays there were also models of animals. Apes…

Apes at Haw Par Villa

Apes at Haw Par Villa

Kangaroos…

Kangaroos...

Kangaroos…

And of course, after kangaroos there is a turtle riding an emu…

And a turtle riding and emu

And a turtle riding and emu

Mermaids… (Why? And what has that got to do with a moral education?)

Mermaids...

Mermaids…

Below is the display for “virtues and vices”. Again, the level of detail, and the use of colours, was amazing.

Virtues and vices at Haw Par Villa

Virtues and vices at Haw Par Villa

And below is “thriftiness and wealth”

thriftiness and wealth

Thriftiness and wealth

But I wasn’t too sure what the shipwreck was telling me, although I do feel sorry for the chap on the left being eaten by the shark.

And a shipwreck

And a shipwreck

A monkey God….

Monkey God

Monkey God

And then there is seduction and temptation.

Seduction and temptation at Haw Par Villa

Seduction and temptation at Haw Par Villa

Plus, a little violence.

Charming violence at the villa

Charming violence at the villa

The gardens also contains monuments to the brothers, and the biggest monument is reserved for their parents.

Monument to parents

Monument to parents

Besides the ‘moral displays’ and the animals, there was also a Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty at Haw Par Villa

Statue of Liberty at Haw Par Villa

And a Chinese garden.

Chinese Garden

Chinese Garden

If I only had the car to go by I would guess that the brothers were a couple of characters. Imagine seeing the ‘tiger car’ coming down the road? However, combine the car with the gardens and you begin to wonder how eccentric were these two…

The Tiger Balm Car

The Tiger Balm Car – must admit I quite liked the car, and would have loved to have taken it out on the roads of Singapore

Haw Par Villa is odd, and possibly unique, well, it certainly unique in Singapore. I have not seen anything like it. It is worth going to see just for the craziness of the place, and to admire the quality of some of the work that has gone in to the displays.

FourSquare: Haw Par Villa

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