The culture that was Singapore (Haw Par Villa)

It has its gruesome side, as illustrated by this look at a traditional site for visits, Haw Par Villa:

Thousands used to throng the park, and it once stood shoulder-to-shoulder with attractions like Singapore Zoo and Jurong Bird Park. “Every Singaporean over the age of 35 probably has a picture of themselves at Haw Par,” said Desmond Sim, a local playwright. Those pictures would probably include the following statues, each made from plastered cement paste and wire mesh: a human head on the body of a crab, a frog in a baseball cap riding an ostrich, and a grandmother suckling at the breast of another woman.

But the highlight of this bizarre park are the Ten Courts. A tableau of severe disciplines are shown in painstaking detail, along with a placard stating the sin that warranted it. Tax dodgers are pounded by a stone mallet, spikes driven into a skeletal chest cavity like a bloodthirsty pestle in mortar. Spot the tiny tongue as it is pulled out of a screaming man, watch the demon flinging a young girl into a hill of knives. Ungratefulness results in a blunt metal rod cutting a very large, fleshly heart out of a woman. Perhaps the most gruesome depiction is an executioner pulling tiny intestines out from a man tied to a pole. The colons were visible and brown. The crime? Cheating during exams.

The park may be closing down, with few remaining attendees, though from the article it seems you still can go.  Hurry up.

You can read TripAdvisor reviews of the park here.  Here is Wikipedia on the park.  Here are Flickr images.  There are further sources here.

Are these the cultural preconditions of capitalism and good governance?  I know which of my colleagues will be most happy to read about this.


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