Haw Par Villa or Tiger Balm Garden Entrance Gate (Photo by Broewnis Photo from Shutterstock.com).

Haw Par Villa will reopen for free public access from 1 March 2019, announced the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Monday (25 February).

Haw Par Villa was closed temporarily for three months period due to repair works, starting from 1 December 2018 to 28 February 2019 to ensure public safety.

The board announced earlier that the admission to the park will remain free.

“We thank the public for their understanding during this period,” the board said.

Haw Par Villa – formerly known as the Tiger Balm Garden – is an 8.5-hectare Asian cultural park, the last of its kind in the world.

The theme park is located along Pasir Panjang Road in Singapore, which contains over 1,000 statues and 150 giant dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese mythology, folklore, legends, history, and illustrations of various aspects of Confucianism.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the park was a major local attraction; it is estimated that the park then welcomed at least 1 million annual visitors, and is considered as part of Singapore’s cultural heritage.

As of 2018, under the park operator Journeys, efforts to revitalise the park are ongoing with the holding of themed events and the planning and construction of ancillary museums.

Burmese-Chinese brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the developers of Tiger Balm, moved their business from Burma to Singapore in 1926. The site, which is in front of a small hill and faces the Singapore Strait, was deemed suitable based on considerations of feng shui, and was purchased in 1935.

Between 1937 and his death in 1954 (when the park was declared public property), Boon Haw commissioned statues and dioramas in the park that served to teach traditional Chinese values.

In 1988, Singapore Tourism Board took charge of the Tiger Balm Gardens and renamed it “Haw Par Villa Dragon World”. The Haw Par in the park’s name is based on the Aw brothers’ personal names—Haw and Par, which mean “tiger” and “leopard” respectively. The dioramas and statues were restored, while plays, acrobatic displays and puppet shows were organised and held there.

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