When’s the last time you’ve been to Haw Par Villa?

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.

Haw Par Villa

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.

Haw Par Villa

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.

Haw Par Villa
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.

Haw Par Villa

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.

Haw Par Villa

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.

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.

Haw Par Villa
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.

Haw Par Villa

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.

Haw Par Villa

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!

Haw Par Villa

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.


Feeding the fishes at Haw Par Villa from rinaz on Vimeo

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.

Haw Par Villa

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!

Haw Par Villa

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 πŸ˜€


Malique and CC being silly from rinaz on Vimeo

We then explored the area, whereΒ we saw theΒ monuments that I can still remember from time back.

Haw Par Villa

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.

Haw Par Villa

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.

Haw Par Villa

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.

Haw Par Villa

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 πŸ™‚


Taking a picture for memories from rinaz on Vimeo

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?

Haw Par Villa

Links to other blog posts :

Sidenote : Shaun thinks that I am down to earth and thinks I’m a winner! *flattered!*

20 thoughts on “When’s the last time you’ve been to Haw Par Villa?”

  1. Hi Rinaz, thank you for the link love and looks like everyone are having memories flooding back. I was waiting to see the catfish picture because nobody caught them on cam I think.

    Very nice meeting you for the first time.

  2. Malique

    I really hope not too! I’m willing to do a demonstration if that should happen …

    Ed

    It was very nice to meet you too! Haha! You’re not as scary as your avatar πŸ˜›

    DK

    Indeed, I really enjoyed myself that day too. It was a good outing. Actually, I’d like to go there again, and hopefully have enough time to explore the ten level of hell! πŸ˜€

    Next time, we’ll remember to bring a portable fan and insect repellent πŸ™‚

  3. maybe the gambling statue tells us that we become so engrossed with gambling that we failed to care about our loved ones. Maybe the story is like the boy misses his father so much (since his father always gambles and is never home – something like that) so he ran to where his father is and well.. died.

    Just what I thought. πŸ™‚

  4. Waaah. It’s been like a decade since I went to HPV. The last time I was there was when I was a little kid.. I had a pic of myself on one of those colorful rock thing.. picture is lying somewhere around the house..

    And your friends are like wearing Threadless tee shirts all the timeeee! I love threadless tees πŸ˜€

  5. Sylv

    Something like that … hahaha … The diorama explanation said that while the father was busy gambling, the mum was busy tending the shop. So she told her son to get some groceries and he was careless at not looking at the traffic, thats why he was knocked down.

    I think the story is a little bit far away from the connection of avoiding people to stop gambling πŸ˜›

    Mintea

    Definitely! Thank you so much for coming and making everyone’s day! *hugs*

    CC

    There is a plentiful of wonderful places to re-discover in Singapore πŸ™‚ Yes! Lets do it again! πŸ˜€

    Fudgey

    Haha! Yes, I have more pictures in the old photo albums but its in a box right now, underneath many heavy boxes … its not easy for me to retrieve them. I’d love to compare the old pics with the ones now tho … πŸ™‚

    Many of my friends love threadless tees … I should see if I can find one that I like πŸ™‚

    p.s. Very good news to tell you! I’ll try to email you by tonight!

    Schmin

    Not that difficult to guess πŸ˜›

    Yin

    The water slides were from the 90’s so its been a while πŸ™‚ But why do you think that its creepy?

  6. Wow, I was a little kid when I last went to haw par villa! And I agree that the water ride was creepy. Scared the bejeesus outta me alright! I think it could have been the depictions of the levels of hell, hmmm…am I remembering the right thing?

  7. to think that even though i live so close to haw par villa, i’ve only ever been there once – when the water slide was still functioning. pass by it each time i’m heading over to the s/o’s house. it still gives me the creeps each time i pass it.

  8. it’s not so scary in the day as it is at night. the lantern-lights that light up at night make you feel as if you’re travelling into jigoku (japanese for hell). could be the play of light on the statues that give it a sorta eerie feeling or there really is just something there.

    when i was there with my family and relatives, my cousin with the third eye was there with us as well. she’s usually quite a lively girl but just remain pretty subdued the whole time we were there. kept tugging her mum’s arm to bring her back home.

    my dad also told us the story about a friend who was a security guard and used to work there and how things ‘come alive’ at night and if possible he stays away from the parade square or something. need to verify that.

    just that it’s a lot more different at night than it is in the day.

  9. Looks like its lots of fun there that you guys had. I remembered Haw Par Villa as my maternal grandmother used to live just behind it, and we could see the silhouette of the Tiger and a giant Snake just beside it. Recalling it now some 30 years later, it seemed almost surreal, like a kitschy playground of mythical Chinese tales with a dash of cheek.

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