Haw Par Villa celebrates 80th anniversary
Haw Par Villa used to be the family playground, with his children and grandchildren growing up and playing around the sculptures at the theme park, which depict scenes from Chinese folklore such as the gruesome 10 Courts of Hell.
Mr Teo Veoh Seng and his family moved out of a two storey zinc-roofed house in Pasir Panjang behind the park in the 1980s. Tonight, 30 of the family members will reunite there for the Haw Par Villa 80th Anniversary Fiesta.
The 84-year-old, who has repaired and painted sculptures at the park for more than seven decades, told The New Paper with a smile: "I am very excited over the party. I am happy when people come to the park."
The two-day fiesta marks a "long-awaited revival" of Haw Par Villa.
Among the highlights are a sneak preview of Hell's Museum, which will explore death and the afterlife as understood across religions and cultures.
Another attraction is the Revival of the Tiger Car, an authentic remake of the 1925 Buick that belonged to brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Pa, who founded the park. It is complete with a tiger head on the bonnet and distinctive stripes around the chassis.
More than 5,000 visitors are expected to attend the fiesta this weekend.
The inaugural Noise Invasion Festival, an initiative by the National Arts Council, will also be held there at the same time.
It will feature musical performances, art and dance.
A Noise spokesman said the festival's concept revolves around the idea of stepping out of one's comfort zone and "embracing all that is strange and beautiful".
That "aligns perfectly with the aesthetic and history of Haw Par Villa".
The park was built in 1937 and attracts an average of 200,000 visitors a year.
It has, in recent years, seen a resurgence in popularity, including a "significant number" of youth, said Mr Jeya Ayadurai, director of Journeys, the company that manages Haw Par Villa.
Ms Jolene Gina Abelarde, 20, a volunteer worker, said she had her first date at the park two years ago.
She said: "Younger couples might like (Haw Par Villa) because it's so different from everything else you can do in Singapore."
She initially thought the park was "scary and foreboding" but has since found it to be "familiar", with a "quaint charm".
Mr Ayadurai, 56, said his team is looking to encourage youngsters to take ownership of the park.
"A whole generation has gone by without being exposed to Haw Par Villa... (Young people) are usually curious... So for us, this is a group that we need to engage," he added.
The team are targeting half a million visitors a year by 2020.