Flashback Friday: 'Tiger Balm King' Aw Boon Haw dies of a heart attack on Sept 5, 1954

Aw Boon Haw -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Aw Boon Haw -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Siblings Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par were the founders of the iconic Tiger Balm. -- PHOTO: HAW PAR CORPORATION
Siblings Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par were the founders of the iconic Tiger Balm. -- PHOTO: HAW PAR CORPORATION
Haw Par Villa built by Aw Boon Haw in 1937 at the cost of $1 million. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Haw Par Villa built by Aw Boon Haw in 1937 at the cost of $1 million. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Mr Aw Boon Haw, best known for establishing the herbal medication brand Tiger Balm, died in Honolulu on Sept 5, 1954, after a heart attack. He was 72 years old.Mr Aw and his brother Aw Boon Par inherited their father’s recipe for the soothing Chinese ointment and successfully marketed it throughout South-east Asia.

By 1920, he was easily the richest man in Yangon, Myanmar, where he was born. Other “Tiger” products include Tiger Headache Cure, Balashin Sai (Pat Kwa Tin), Chee Thone San and Chinkawhite Wind Mixture. Mr Aw Boon Haw is also the governing director of Sin Poh (Star News) Amalgamated Ltd which publishes nine newspapers, including the Singapore Standard, the Hongkong Standard, the Sin Chew Jit Poh in Singapore and Sin Pin Jit Poh in Penang.

He was also well-regarded for his generosity as a philanthropist. His other contributions include building the Haw Par Villa, which was originally known as the Tiger Balm Gardens, in 1937.

The gardens depict Chinese mythology and is most popularly known for its Ten Courts of Hell where, for instance, sinners are punished by having theirintestines pulled out. The park became a tourist attraction. The park has more than 1,000 colourful statues and dioramas depicting Chinese folk tales, myths and Confucian beliefs.