Tiger Balm Gardens Hong Kong
The Tiger Balm Gardens a.k.a. Haw Par Villa is an oriental theme park located off Pasir Panjang Road, on the Southwestern side of Singapore. It is famed for depicting traditional Chinese legends, in particular the unforgettable 10 Courts of Hell. A similar garden had been built by the Aws in Hong Kong.
The Gardens was first built by Aw Boon Haw for his brother, Aw Boon Par in 1937. Boon Haw acquired the hill-side property in 1935 and spent US$1.95 million and two years to build his fantasy world. Born in Burma, Boon Par relished his British education, whilst his elder brother Boon Haw rebelled against it. In their adulthood, they concocted the pain-relieving ointment, popularly known as the Tiger Balm, which soon became a household brand. Boon Haw was known to be a philanthropist contributing over half his income to charities. Owing to his exposure to both Eastern and Western culture, Boon Haw sought to create a park which told traditional Chinese stories but displayed it in a modern, Western way. As both brothers were affluent, the park had to reflect their level of prosperity. When it was opened in March 1937, the sprawling villa had a recurring theme in its compound: the circle motif. This was meant to represent family harmony. In fact one of the reasons for building the Tiger Balm Gardens was to create a public space for families to visit and recount Chinese tales and stories. In the early days, the Gardens had a zoo of live animals.
Unfortunately, Boon Par did not reside in the villa for long. He fled to Burma with his family before the Japanese invasion. During the war, the Japanese occupied the villa, using its hill-side location to keep a watch over ships at sea. When the Japanese left Singapore, the villa suffered damage from residents who vandalised it out of hatred for their captors. Boon Haw returned to Singapore from Hong Kong, only to be greeted by an abandoned villa. His brother had died in Burma.
You might also like
Close-up of a statue of Buddha, Tiger Balm Gardens, Hong Kong, China Art Print, Size 18 x 24 inches
Home (Great Art Now)
The Tiger Pagoda, Tiger Balm Garden Hong Kong, Hong Kong Original Vintage Postcard
Entertainment Memorabilia (CardCow.com)