Project Nostalgia: Haw Par Villa — Part 1

Project Nostalgia is an attempt to capture forgotten bits of yesterday. Mostly old and run-down, but altogether sentimental and charming.

Oh, who doesn’t remember a trip to Haw Par Villa and getting scared out of wits in the dungeons of hell? Looking back, I’d often wonder why any parent or teacher in his/her right mind would regard such a frightening place as a family-friendly theme park?!

In my fuzzy memories, much of the Haw Par Villa experience was limited to a scary boat ride inside the dragon cave that represented the ten courts of hell. Only after some 20 years later did I realize how much more there was to this old and abandoned park.

Expansive, decorated structures tell of religious mythologies, ancient Chinese stories and even modern, multi-racial scenarios that are reflective of Singapore then. They all tried to educate the young of traditional moral values, albeit in ways that may be debatable today.

Haw Par Villa now belongs to the government and is open to the public for free from 9am-7pm daily.

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