Aw Ah Aw Sa La Kaw! Singapore Bo Bei Jiao!
That’s one of the chants that I remember from one of Singapore’s famous gang, 369 but this entry isn’t about me talking about the recent gang attacks in Singapore. Far from it, this is more so for the Aw Brothers.
I’m not sure if the Aw Brothers had been the inspiration behind Sa La Kaw’s infamous gang chant but if they did, then they must have contributed much more to Singapore than just Haw Par Villa.
Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par is of course the famous Aw Brothers who introduced to our households, Tiger Balm.
For Singapore, Haw Par Villa has been long forgotten. No longer remembered even by the Singapore Government, Haw Par Villa now sits in almost dead silence. Gone are the days where the park would be filled with visitors from all over the world who come to Singapore to visit the creators of the infamous Tiger Balm.
As a child, I had visited Haw Par Villa only once and I vividly remember the experience as harrowing for the exhibits on display. I’m not sure when Haw Par Villa began to shut down it’s operations but when I last visited in 2001 as part of my Tourism project to find solutions to revive the park, it was as quiet as a cemetery but only more colourful.
In my most recent adventure, I decided to venture down to Haw Par Villa to revisit what was once the gradiose home to the Aw Brothers and an attraction to both tourists and locals.
Driving there, I’d definitely suggest that you do not park at the park there itself as it cost SGD$5. Instead park your vehicle at the carpark opposite for just SGD$3. It’s a short walk thereafter but that walk will allow you to absorb yourself into the spectacularly huge ground that it sits on and how much effort was put in to create that park.
Admission is FREE but do be wary that there are no stalls in operation in the park except for a Chinese restaurant. So, come prepared and bring a bottle of water or some sandwiches with you if you’re planning to walk the whole park through because IT IS HUGE and you will get hungry.
Touring around the park makes you feel a tad sad at the state of what it has become.
Water no longer flows at the ponds and algaes are evidence of what’s been left as a result of rain and humidity. Statues, almost dicoloured stand in rows on parade of what was once a lively park.
The theatre, no longer in operation just sits there in silence, perhaps waiting for when’s the next time someone’s gonna use the facilities. But no trip to Haw Par Villa would ever be complete if one never visited the ’10 Gates Of Hell’.
The 10 Gates Of Hell used to be an area where travelling through the path requires one to be in a boat and on water. You’d then be taken through hell with full commentary. Since the last time I visited, water no longer flows through. Visitors can now have a walk through to read and understand more for themselves.
This next video will tell you more.
And here are more photos from the trip.
And just to end it off, here’s another video.
If you have never visited or have not visited the Haw Par Villa in a long time, please come.
It’s a place worth venturing to or I wouldn’t have been here.