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2010年10月20日 星期三

The Tiger Balm Garden

The Tiger Balm Garden was one of the most famous garden in Hong Kong in the 1940's and 1950's. It was built by Aw Boon Haw, who was known as "The King of Tiger Balm". The Garden was built in order to advertise their products and as a way to have contribution to the community.

Hong Kong Tigerbalm Garden 1949-60

The Tiger Balm Garden was open to the public for enjoyment without charging any admission fee. That attracted many local visitor as most of the Hong Konger at that time are quite poor and did not have much leisure activities. The Tiger Balm Garden is one of the collective memory of the middle-aged Hong Kong people.

The colorful murals statues in the Gardens are based on the ancient Buddhist stories and legends. They are all full of Chinese national features. Mr. Aw tried using these cautionary tales to advise the idea of 'one good turn deserves another'. There were totally 29 points of visit in the Garden, and the most famous are "Tiger Tower" and "eighteen layers of hell". "Tiger Tower" was a seventh floor pagoda and was the only one in Hong Kong. The "eighteen layers of hell" described the different situations in hell, such as cutting the tongue, cutting something in half, putting in hot oil, etc. These murals were certainly unforgettable for those visitors.

Next to the Tiger Balm Garden, there are a private garden and the Haw Par Mansion, which were also built by Aw Boon Haw. The Haw Par Mansion as well as its private garden were originally the private mansion for the Aw's family.

Architecturally, the Mansion was built in the Chinese Renaissance style with a blend of Western and Chinese construction methods and architectural theory. The plan is, however, more Western being roughly symmetrical with the adoption of porches, bay windows and fireplaces. Internally, there are beautiful painted glass windows from Italy, carvings and mouldings, gilded with gold and murals showing Indian and Burmese influence. Wihout many changes to the Mansion over the years, the Mansion retains its authentic appearance as before.The social value and local interest lie in the Mansion's image of a residence of a rich and powerful merchant family in the 1930s and a focal point of Chinese culture in Hong Kong.

However, in the late 1990's, both the Haw Par Mansion and the Tiger Balm Garden were sold to the Cheung Kong Group and stopped open to the publid. In 2004, The Tiger Balm Garden were even demolished to build new luxury houses. The famous "Tiger Tower" and "eighteen layers of hell" have all gone. Luckily, under the hard work of the government, the Haw Par Mansion is preserved and will be re-open to the public in 30/10, 31/10, 5-7/11, 13/11 and 14/11. Interested visitors can reminisce their old memories and provide their own opinion on revitalization of the Mansion.
The Garden under demolished

The Masion being preseved

Opening hour: 10am to 4pm in 30/10, 31/10, 5-7/11, 13/11 and 14/11