After shooting and lunch, we decided to take advantage of the fact that we were out and Kyle didn't have to go back to work to explore the newly-opened Circle Line. When we moved here, the Circle Line had three or four stops, but now there are 29 stops linking the three other Singapore subway lines.

First stop: Haw Par Villa.

Haw Par Villa is sort of like walking into an ancient Chinese hallucination. The villa and park, originally called "Tiger Balm Gardens", was built in 1937 by Burmese-born brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the developers of Tiger Balm, an herbal rub, sort of like Vicks. Boon Haw built it as a gift for Boon Par as a home and a venue for teaching traditional Chinese values.

Soon afterwards, the Japanese occupied Singapore and the brothers fled--Boon Par to Burma, Boon Haw to Hong Kong. The Japanese used the villa's hill-side location to keep a watch over ships at sea. When the Japanese left Singapore, the villa suffered damage from residents who vandalised it out of hatred for their captors. Boon Haw returned to Singapore from Hong Kong, only to be greeted by an abandoned villa. His brother had died in Burma. Boon Haw tore down the ruins of the house, but the statues and the rest of the decorations remained. The property changed hands a few times--from the estate to the Singapore Tourism Board, etc. Now it's free to the public and right on the Circle Line. 

Most of Haw Par's statues are allegorical, depicting ancient Chinese history, illustrating Buddhist stories, but others are free of rhyme and reason as far as I could tell. The highlight (lowlight?) of the complex is a building housing depictions of hell. But it was closed while we were there. That's ok, there was more than enough crazy (and violence!) without the walking tour of hell.

There were plenty of things that made no sense (to us) at all.

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With this much craziness, it was too tempting not to interact a bit. After all, when else do you get to take tea from a turtle?

Or be manhandled by a gorilla?

Don't worry. They made up.

And then of course there were just some things that defied even interaction:

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