Singapore 2015: Haw Par Villa

Part two of adventures in Singapore with Sherwin led Jesca and I to Haw Par Villa, a place that both of us had not visited since childhood. We talked about it a while back with some of Nano’s friends when they visited, but missed the opportunity due to the monsoon rains. This time, the skies cleared enough for us to go when Sherwin visited! It was everything we hoped for and more.

Colourfully-painted animals in a state of feral anger were abundant: here’s Sherwin and what we can only assume to be a family of pandas which happen to look like hell spawn.
The scariest seals I’ve ever laid eyes on.
Angry swine and her brood of hungry piglets.
Gigantic opera masks and their creepy smiles.
One of the rare cute sculptures in the park- a pair of tigers holding Tiger Balm products, the medical ointment that started it all.
These mermaids were ridiculously awesome.
Not sure I could say the same for this chimeric monstrosity.
There was a statue of Liberty.
This cool frog was perched atop an ostrich at what the three of us dubbed ‘Australia-land’. It’s actually the perfect spot for a picnic.
Just one of the many statues depicting scenes from Journey to the West, this beauty is Tripitaka’s magical white horse, a dragon prince of the sea who was punished for devouring the original white horse and given a second chance to redeem himself through this transformation.
Buddhist statues are pretty prevalent in the park as well.
Goddess of mercy.
Bodhisattva Buddha.
Loved the design of this walkway.
We saved the best for last, the Ten Courts of Hell. This was one of my most vivid childhood memories of Haw Par Villa. It was a boat ride back in the day, and I remember being so terrified that I buried my head in Mum’s lap throughout. Jesca had also visited Haw Par Villa as a kid, but she’s seven years my junior and apparently the boat ride was replaced by a walking tour by the time she went. The inscription here warns the visitors that bitter seas are vast, but the shore is right behind.
Before entering the cave, there’s an inscription about karmic retribution, which basically says that good deeds will be rewarded with good, while bad deeds will be repaid alike. However, retribution will not be immediate.
On we go.
It’s torture time! Every level of hell was reserved for a certain misdeed ranging from the lack of filial piety to murder.
This is the fifth level of hell, reserved for crimes in which one plotted a murder of another for their property and money, and for money lenders with exorbitant interest rates. These people would then be thrown onto a hill with knives. Ouch! It’s one of my favourite scenes because of its absurdity.
Nothing horrified us more than the scene which greeted us upon exiting the cave though… filial piety at its finest?
Took some photos to commemorate our visit with Sherwin. Also, Jesca was the only one who spelt ‘Haw Par Villa’ correctly.