Monday, 25 November 2002

took a spontaneous and random trip to Haw Par Villa this afternoon to finish up the roll of film in my LCA .. haven't been there since i was twelve or so (way before they made the place a silly amusement park and started charging exorbitantly high entrance fees) even though it's only like 5-mins drive from where i stay. I remember that it was mosquito-infested and the ten courts of hell were scary as.. er.. hell.. (durrh..).. on my way there, i wondered if the place would still charm me as much as it did when i was a child, looking up at the life-sized, coloured plaster statues of deities, mythical beings and all things odd and bizarre....

boy was i impressed! even though the place has really suffered from poor maintenance and it was still mosquito heaven, it is one-of-a-kind, a true original - something i think we should all be proud we have in Singapore.. where else in the world can you see a no-holds-barred depiction of crime and punishment at it's very extreme?? parents with their kids at the ten courts of hell can't help but explain (even if they don't believe in stuff like heaven and hell) to the bewildered but definitely captivated kids the importance of traditional chinese virtues such as filial piety, honesty, hard work, albeit the rather morbid setting.. the whole place is amazing, a work of art meets mythology meets 60s hip… no wonder they tried to change it into an amusement park (i'm glad they failed.. it could have done much damage to the inherent beauty and magic of this place)..

go visit it.. it's really really cool.. a tad bit kitsch but cool... (you'll be seeing some pics from me on this place soon :))

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