Sunday, June 14, 2009

Haw Par Villa's ten courts of hell sure lends itself to a lot of jokes.

I went to hell and back. I had to pay a $1 entrance fee for my ticket to hell. It was so warm in there, we were almost burning in hell. And the gates of hell were closed when the shutters were pulled down at 6pm.

When I stepped into hell, I didn't take any pictures of the various punishments meted out to evildoers, because trust me, I have seen enough of hell while working at Morons Inc.

But here's a sign detailing the various crimes dealt with by the sixth court of hell - and the penalties for your transgressions.

Take note, you people who fold book pages, or tear out pages from library books: you will have your body sawn into two. I can't say I feel sorry for you, you book vandals. Also note that misuse of books is on the same level as possession of pornographic material. Therefore, book vandals = immoral people.

Hell aside, Haw Par Villa is a strange mish mash of statues and tableaus, a lot of which don't really make sense. It's a bit hallucinogenic, a bit Alice in Wonderland: the Chinese mythical version.

Just outside the courts of hell was this tableau showing a bloody war between black rats and some orange thingies (weasels? beavers? no idea). Besides a lot of spearing and biting, this war scene also had black rat paramedics carrying their injured counterparts away on a stretcher, and, inexplicably, a white rabbit standing in the midst of the action looking like a disinterested observer. No explanatory signboards to be found.

The pictures below are extracted from the same scene and shows the oldest trick in the book - 美人计.

"There, there, everything will be all right, as long as there's you and me against the world. Never mind that we are sleeping with the enemy."

But most of all, a recurrent theme that appears to run through the statues in Haw Par Villa is the anthromorphising of animals.

No idea. Don't ask.

Chinese mermaids.

Chinese mermaids who are also acrobatic (but of course).

Crabby woman.

Anorexic clamshell woman wearing revealing Chinese lingerie taunting the man with the chopper.

Lao fu zi-type turtle man.

Garoupa woman with shrunken breasts.

Who says you need to take hallucinogenic drugs to see weird and wonderful things?


S said...

Thanks for the walk down memory lane (erm, hell, I mean!). :) Makes me wanna re-visit Haw Par Villa again, after a long hiatus since childhood... ;)

peanut butter wolf said...

Bring insect repellent - lots of mosquitoes there! No doubt released by the management itself, to make you buy some Tiger Balm to apply to your bites!