Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Forgotten, Haw Par Villa

I am sure you would have visited a famous theme park at least once in your lifetime if not the very least, heard or seen photos of them. I get it, I do. Who can resist the thrilling 2-3 minutes on the high speed rollercoaster or watch the adorable dolphins perform tricks? What if I tell you there is a different kind of theme park here in Singapore, one that is roughly 79 years old built on Ancient Chinese Mythologies meant to educate the people?
My own fellow citizens would know them, the older generations definitely knows them. The iconic theme park which used to represent us in the past, Haw Par Villa. Honestly, I haven't been there since more than 20 years ago and feeling a bit guilty of having forgotten the only attraction in Singapore that is capable of educating the people young and old.

Arriving on the location few hours before sunset and sweating like crazy, I am feeling excited as this place brings back a lot of memories from the past. Most bits of the park still are there except the huge dragon which used to contain the 10 Halls of Hell now is replaced by something else, but thankfully the 10 Halls of Hell is still there, it is a must visit if you ever visit this theme park.
I am feeling sad for this theme park because as we approach the Age of Dharma Decline [末法], people no longer care for such educational attractions anymore. Many people don't even believe in Buddha or God or Jesus or Allah anymore; the desire for money, power and sex are becoming fast a central of worship. Look at countless events happening around us, the world is in turmoil. While technology advances to help in everyday lives, moral values decline at the same time.

Many chinese don't even believe in retributions and the 10 Halls of Hell anymore. Fair enough, a walk through the 10 Halls of Hell bring goosebumps but that is pretty much it to some people. Beware of the repercussion of doing evil because there will be hell to pay if you don't. For those who do not know, the 10 Halls of Hell each has a King who judge and decide the punishment to the soul brought in front of him. If you have made one of these crime, repent now.

1st Hall of Hell
Crime: Violating the code of filial piety
Punishment: Put under heavy slabs and boulders or squeezed in the middle of the grinder
2nd Hall of Hell
Crime: Gossiping, Stealing, Wickedness
Punishment: Having your tongue pierced, Made to kneel on steel granules, Boiled in a cauldron, disemboweled, and put in a volcanic chamber
3rd Hall of Hell
Crime: Corruption and greed, Disobedience and disrespect to elders, Violating and state a Confucian principles or being an unjust official
Punishment: Handcuffed and beaten, Have your ribs pierced, body grilled, your lungs, heart, liver, intestines and eyes torn out, Have your heart removed, knees crushed and face scraped by a mental instrument
4th Hall of Hell
Crime: General Sins, Cheating or evading income taxes, Stealing, Breaking promises
Punishment: Hurled into a torrential river, made to kneel on bamboo spikes, boiled in oil, head struck open, drowned under a heavy stone, have your hands swan off, have your lips split
5th Hall of Hell
Crime: Cruelty to animals and friends
Punishment: Have your heart torn out with hooks or thrown onto protruding swords
6th Hall of Hell
Crime: Stealing from temples, Committing blasphemy , Killing animals
Punishment: Made to kneel on iron nails, swanned in two, gnawed by rats,Have your body chopped in half
7th Hall of Hell
Crime: Rebelling against authorities , Spreading false rumors , Using drugs, causing quarrels
Punishment: Torn apart by dogs, Have your tongue pulled out , Thrown into a pot of boiling water
8th Hall of Hell
Crime: Committing crimes against Confucianism and operating houses for immoral purposes
Punishment: Crushed under carriage wheels, sliced, disemboweled, struck by lighting, and having tongues, arms and legs cut off
9th Hall of Hell
Crime: Smuggling, committing arson , Writing or painting erotic literature or scenes
Punishment: Attacked by snakes, stung by bees, tortured or trafficking drugs in boiling oil
10th Hall of Hell
Receives his final judgment and the sinner goes through one of the seven-ways in the Wheel of Reincarnation. Shaped like a wheel, wind and clouds billow out from the circle in the centre and the six other circles surrounding it. Depending on the sinner's past life, he will enter a particular way which will determine how he or she will be reborn. The rebirth of souls might become saints, human, spirits, animal, ghost or staying in the Hell.
As I walked further in, I found a sad looking statue of Confucius among the lots of mythological figures. He might even be feeling worse because the younger generations never even heard of Confucianism, not to mention the ethical values of it. Confucius taught us a lot of things and I don't even want to pretend to know everything, but I do know the most basic virtue of all, Filial piety.
Modern people's lifestyle are getting more and more hectic, we are so busy with making a living that we have forgotten to make a life. Through out history, no one have mastered the act of waiting better than Grand Duke Jiang [姜太公] who made a big name for himself at an old age. He learned that nothing can be forced, if it's yours it will be yours.
There are a lot more than this place is trying to present under the peace and tranquility as this is in my opinion not only a theme park but a park that educates. The Chinese values that existed for thousands of years is fast becoming a thing of a past with such educational attractions disappearing one by one. As people cares more about money and power, they forgot about the basic that keeps them grounded and moving, Human Touch.
With different kinds of war going on around the world, some are still positive but some feels that darker days are ahead of us or is it like what the famous idiom has been trying tell us for so long, "Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining". Maybe only times will tell.

Credit to Taoist Sorcery for their detailed writeup on the 10 Halls of Hell.

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