Haw Par Villa to be closed until March 2021 for upgrading works

The popular theme park will be closed from Oct 1 to March 31, 2021 for upgrading works. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Visitors keen to snap photos of chicken-headed women, pig-headed men and deities battling monsters at Haw Par Villa will have to wait until next year.

The popular theme park will be closed from Thursday (Oct 1) to March 31, 2021 for upgrading works, according to a notice on its website.

When contacted, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said that it will be conducting upgrading and conservation works in Haw Par Villa.

These include enhanced night lighting works for the park, ventilation works for the 10 Courts of Hell diorama, as well as conservation works for the sculptures.

STB did not reveal the costs due to business confidentiality reasons.

Ms Jean Ng, STB's executive director for attractions, entertainment and tourism concept development, said that the upgrading works have been planned for.

"Given the protracted recovery of mass tourism and the current safe management measures, attractions are operating below their pre-Covid-19 capacities," said Ms Ng. "Thus, STB is using this downtime to expedite the completion of upgrading works. We look forward to welcoming visitors back to the park with improved offerings."

Haw Par Villa said on Facebook, in response to netizens' comments, that the park is "upgrading as we gear up (for) new experiences next year".

It also told netizens that the park "will definitely be bringing more quality content" to visitors and that "there may be new things coming your way".

The 10 Courts of Hell diorama after dark during the weekly twilight tour. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Known for its assortment of some 1,000 sculptures depicting Chinese legends and folklore, the park in Pasir Panjang was closed from April 5 to June 30 due to circuit breaker measures.

On Sept 17, Haw Par Villa put up a notice that its 10 Courts Of Hell diorama would be closed for maintenance works until the end of October.

Built in 1937, Haw Par Villa was lovingly created by business tycoon Aw Boon Haw for his brother Aw Boon Par. It was formerly named after the Tiger Balm medical ointment created by their father.

The Myanmar-Chinese Aw brothers opened the villa to share Chinese values and provide a recreational area for Asians.

Fans who are hungry for the park's surreal grotesqueness can rent the Last Artisan from The Projector, an 80 minute documentary of the last painter working with the park's sculptures.

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