My favorite cheesy attraction in Singapore by far is Haw Par Villa (pronounced Whore Paw Villa). As an Ang Mo, of course I love it for the pronunciation of the name alone, but the putt putt golf-like plaster sculptures of bloody Chinese mythology and fables are, like, the best thing ever.
The guy who invented Tiger Balm built this park a couple of decades ago and it’s in the middle of renovations, which makes me really happy. Pictured left is the Laughing Buddha. If you rub his belly, supposedly it will bring you prosperity, good luck and wealth. I think they should turn this place into a putt-putt golf course.
Imagine sinking a golf ball right into the Laughing Buddha’s belly button. Because if rubbing his belly is good luck, imagine how much good ju-ju you might get from penetrating it. No, with a golf ball, people. A putt-putt golf ball.
Ok – that might be offensive. I get it. Please, no emails about how I’m a horrible person. Historically the Laughing Buddha had a good sense of humor and I like to think he would be ok with it.
The Ten Courts of Hell are the goriest dioramas ever. My friend Jin Hong, who grew up in Singapore, remembers her parents bringing her here as a little girl and telling her that if she wasn’t good, that demons in hell would torture her.
My favorite of all the gore is the entrails being pulled out, – check out the shadows on the wall behind it, gives it extra creepy cred. I think that’s what happens to adulterers. Or maybe to people like me who poke a little fun at Chinese deities.