Sunday, October 16, 2011

haw par villa, land of crazy

All that was missing was the actual golf course.  And the hallucinogenic drugs.

Last weekend I finally visited Haw Par Villa, a 'theme park' in town.  This description is technically correct:  it is indeed a park, and there is a theme.  But it's missing every other aspect of what you'd think would be there.  There are no rides.  No rigged games of chance.  No cotton candy machines.  Instead, on a small hill on the south side of the island, and consisting of a winding path, is a land of crazy and bad acid trips.

The overall theme of Haw Par Villa is lessons from Chinese mythology, with an emphasis on hell.  Along the path are 'statues' depicting various scenes of insanity, apparently.  They're the type of statues one would find at a miniature golf course.  Except instead of windmills, you're treated to a gigantic crab with a woman's head.  Or some rats and elephants, dressed in blue slacks, white button-up shirts and ties, with spears and guns, overseeing two gigantic grasshoppers kissing.  A central highlight of Haw Par Villa is the tunnel of hell.  Here the lucky visitor is treated to graphic scenes depicting the various stages and judgements of hell in Chinese lore.  There's a 'frozen pool', a pool of 'filthy blood', and statues of various people being tortured.  It's quite a treat to walk through, seeing a scene showing a person bent over a log and being cut in two by a huge saw, complete with loads and loads of blood.  Oh yes- blood everywhere.  Chinese hell is full of blood.  And even though you must be dead to be in hell, if you're a sinner you get to die again, clearly in a bloody manner.  

Elsewhere in the park are various statues of animals from foreign countries.  There's a whole row of kangaroos, for example.  Or the family of gorillas bearing a striking resemblance to Homer Simpson.  At another section, there's a wall of scenes from everyday life.  Assuming, of course, that your everyday life is full of car accidents with bleeding victims, or ships sinking while being attacked by men wearing fish costumes.  

The park is generally hard to describe- it's really not much more than a path up a hill, with decorations.  But those decorations are SO weird, and there are a lot of them.
The whole park is fairly small, which works to the visitors advantage by minimizing the nightmares you'll have later.  If it were any larger, there are doubtless people who might never recover.  I, of course, thought it was totally interesting, but won't be in a rush to get back.  


No comments:

Post a Comment