So a couple of days ago I visited the Haw Par Villa.
Haw Par Villa is a (free) place to visit in Singapore. It is filled with statues based on traditional Chinese stories that are focused on teaching traditional Chinese values. For someone like me who didn’t grow up hearing these stories I found the place somewhat weird and wonderful at the same time. But don’t worry, if you’re like me there is a stand in front of each section that gives a brief summary of the Chinese folk legend which was extremely helpful.
Other than Haw Par Villa being cultural, the place and how it started is a story itself. Haw Par Villa was started by the Aw brothers, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par. If you haven’t figured it out already Haw Par Villa is a combination of both their names (Haw = tiger and Par= leapord). The villa was a gift from Boon Haw to Boon Par as a show of brotherly love. The brothers also have a well known family business. Their father Aw Chu Kin invented Tiger Balm. Tiger Balm is a Chinese ointment used for minor pain or ache relief for muscles and joints. It is commonly used and very popular in Singapore. Haw and Par also have a third brother, the eldest, Aw Boon Leng (which means Dragon) however Haw and Par were the closest. After the death of Aw Chu Kin, the Tiger Balm business was left to Haw and Par who took the business to Singapore and expanded to neighboring countries.
Although Haw Par Villa may not seem as exciting or fun as places such as Universal, the Zoo and Gardens by the Bay; the rich history and the meaning of the place is just too beautiful to dismiss. It’s definitely a place I would recommend tourists to visit when they are in Singapore. Haw Par Villa is more than traditional Chinese stories, the place itself was created by love and is a reminder of the importance of family. In modern society today that is something we often take for granted or forget in the midst of ‘life’.
(Of course, I took some photos so here’s a bit of a preview for those who haven’t been)