Monday, November 10, 2014

Exploring Singapore: Haw Par Villa

2 miles away from my lovely college campus there is a bizarre theme park called Haw Par Villa. I only figured this out because I was bored one day and got off the MRT at a random stop, left the station to see what was nearby, and discovered that the MRT station was named for this neat attraction. I didn't have time to visit the park the first time I learned about it, but the glimpse I saw from the edge of the grounds intrigued me so much that I decided to hike over and take some pictures another day.

First of all, what's the purpose of this colorful place? According to Wikipedia, "the park contains over 1,000 statues and 150 giant dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese mythology, folklore, legends, history, and illustrations of various aspects of Confucianism". Basically, it's a giant art/sculpture walk with tons of hyper-colorful (and occasionally violent) stories around it, in a way that's mildly reminiscent of Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch, only more colorful and more Asian.

I'm not entirely sure how to describe all this, so for the most part I'm going to let these pictures speak for themselves... To start with, here are some cool architecture/structural things I found.

Yes, the water was actually this green. No, I don't know why.

This one is for anyone who has ever read "The Hobbit"...


Along with amazing architecture, there were a lot of curious animal statues around. Like Alice in Wonderland meets... I don't know, Chinese fairy tales and what-Roald-Dahl-might-have-come-up-with-had-he-been-Asian. I don't even know.

And just because we all know tortoises are masters of the universe and usually use large birds as steeds...

Still can't decide if the above pandas are extremely cute or extremely terrifying.

Finally, here are some photos of the stories depicted through sculptures. Though I read the summaries provided throughout the park, I still don't understand a lot of what's happening here!

A lot of the sculptures at Haw Par Villa are actually pretty violent... take these, for examples.


And I didn't even get to the really gruesome parts, apparently, because if you Google the park you can find pictures that show a lot more blood. I found a lot of strange things, though, like this mermaid village...

Of course, no Asian theme park would be complete without... wait, the Statue of Libety? What?

So there you have it; a quick tour of Haw Par Villa, as seen from my (rather perplexed) perspective. :)

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