In the 1930s there were two very flamboyant and very rich brothers, famous from their tiger balm products, decided to build a park where everyone could enjoy and at the same time learn about Asian values.
As a child, my family would bring me out there and we’d spend time together picnicking and just having a lovely time together. At the time, entry to the Haw Par Villa was free. It was bustling with people strolling about. I’d always have a blast in my imaginary world, believing that I was interacting with the statues there.
Then came the 90s when the government took over and did a number of changes to the park. The attractions were developed, and they started to charge money for entry. Though the place seemed well taken cared of, the entire feeling was different and commercialised. The number of visitors dwindled.
This is possibly inspired by Antonio Ligabue
It was only several years later when Haw Par Villa became a public park again. Some of the segments being adopted by various organizations for its continued upkeep. Unfortunately, the number of visitors did not go back to its heydays. Reasons cited ranging from being unaware that Haw Par Villa was opened to lack of interest.
Regardless, I’m missing Haw Par Villa a lot. Even more so when realised how close it was by the company headquarters. A sense of yearning keeps coming back to me. The following months could possibly be the last time that I could visit it freely.
Hence, I asked a couple of blogger friends who might be interested in visiting and last Saturday, and eventually, we visited the amazing Haw Par Villa.
It was a rainy saturday morning. Fortunately, it did not last for too long and I was able to ride out and reached the Haw Par Villa Carpark safely.
After parking my scooter in the designated motorcycling parking area, just as I stepped on the entry steps, I saw Nicole, Chillycraps, Xizor and Endoh coming out of a taxi cab. Together, we walked up the hilly entrance where Mintea was already waiting.
Xizor is pointing to the disappearance of a large dragon
While passing through, it did not take too long for me to feel a deep sense of nostalgia. There were heaps of figures that I can remember from my childhood – it was as if I stepped back in time.
We stopped by the signature pool and Nicole decided to get some fish food to feed the fishes there while waiting for DK to arrive. I was amazed at how the group were intently looking at the pond animals – In the hustle and bustle of life, its been a while since I’ve seen anyone stop to admire nature’s work.
Normally seeing turtles swimming around brings me a sense of calm. But that day, it was really funny to see the turtles pushing each other to get to the food, while the fishes shyly swam underneath. And that was when we noticed something very mysterious swimming by. It was rather large and it had whiskers!
It was a catfish! I’ve never seen such a large catfish in real life before. I was enthralled when I spotted some. It was strangely captivating.
After emptying the 2nd pack of fish food, finally DK arrived and together, we went to search for a sheltered area for picnicking. We stumbled upon a large and colourful sheltered area, and shortly after we played a couple of classic games such as Snap and this odd game called Indian Poker.
It was quite amusing for me to see the losers having to eat the lovely food from our pot-luck as punishment. When can it be punishment when you get to eat yummy food? Such as Mintea’s Curry Puff, Dk’s nuggets, Malique‘s Cupcakes, Nicole’s Chips and my Chiffon Cake. I loved it all!
But at one point of time, poor CC had to stuff himself with the food as he lost as much as 5 times in a row!
After stuffing ourselves silly, what better way than to ease the feeling with a little dancing 😀
We then explored the area, where we saw the monuments that I can still remember from time back.
I remember posing by this very display when I was a little girl! In the background there is a flower vase with a human hand. Mintea thought that it was creepy. But I guess I’m used to it.
DK tells me that the guy in the middle is a priest and he was caught in the middle with some spider spirits disguising themselves as women. They believed that by eating his flesh, they will become immortal.
Personally, I thought that this diorama was strange as it was entitled ‘Gambling causes you to lose a life’ since the boy died from being careless at not looking at where he was going on the road rather than his father’s gambling habits.
And before we know it, it was already nearing the closing hours at Haw Par Villa already. Time really does pass by quickly when one is having fun. We took a group picture to remember and cherish our moments in the future 🙂
I really enjoyed myself at the Haw Par Villa a lot. And I do hope that it’ll still be around for more years to come.
Have you been to Haw Par Villa? When was the last time that you went there? What did you think of it?
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