OKJ at Reliving Haw Par Villa
Its been 17 years since I first set foot into the ever imaginative world of Haw Par Villa. Back then, I was only 4 years old, yet I still can vividly remember my experience of going through the 10 courts of hell.
Depicting the path and punishments of those who had sinned, the 10 courts of hell served as a vivid warning to never do wrong or face the consequences.
As a "joke", my cheeky father carried me up and placed me over the ledge on the second court of hell. As I peeked over my shoulder, the volcano pit with tortured sinners terrified me, and the height from the ledge was too high for the small timid me to get down on my own.
I cried in fear, and this return trip back to Haw Par Villa can be seen as a time to relive that experience. And that is truly what it is all about.
Reliving Haw Par Villa is a 2 week initiative as part of the SG50 campaign - one that I am getting increasingly involved to broaden my own perspective of Singapore and being a Singaporean.
A generous gift to society from the Aw brothers, Haw Par Villa was one of a few places in old Singapore where locals could relax and spend time with family and friends while learning about Chinese and Asian values and beliefs.
Much memories were made there, with images of the park's unique and stunningly bizarre statues lingering on in our minds.
Tales of great battles between kings and deities and of moral values stretch across a path of Haw Par Villa, delivering the story more vividly than the black and white television of those days.
Haw Par Villa still maintains its rustic feel, making one truly feel like he is stepping back into the good ol' days.
Sadly the iconic dragon boat ride was removed a few years ago due to low traffic as Singapore moved on and past the once lively attraction.
But looking at the crowd that turned up yesterday, I would say that the hearts of Singaporeans are still with Haw Par Villa.
Reliving Haw Par Villa continues next weekend on 22, 23 March from 9:30am to 6pm, with guided tours, a flea market and various performances.
Umbrellas are provided - though stocks are limited - so I do recommended bringing your own to shelter yourself from the intense heat or rain (depending on the mood of Singapore's weather).
If you are heading there next weekend, why not share a picture or two with the hashtag #rediscoversg to shout our your memories of Haw Par Vila.