Burning bright in the forests of the night

Tiger, Aw Boon Haw Gardens, Hong Kong, c.1952, Love collection, BL05-32.

Tiger, Aw Boon Haw Gardens, Hong Kong, c.1952, Love collection, BL05-32.

This tiger sculpture was in the Aw Boon Haw Gardens amusement park (Tiger Balm Gardens) in Happy Valley, Hong Kong. The Tiger Balm Gardens were a sort of Chinese Disneyland theme park, but somehow even more gaudy, ostentatious, sometimes bizarre, and even psychedelic.  This however is a sober black and white photograph (complete with a reality check of barbed wire), taken by an unidentified photographer about 1952, in an album, entitled ‘In and Around Hong Kong – with my Rollei’.

The Aw Boon Haw Gardens have since been demolished and the site redeveloped, although the nearby Haw Par Mansion, which was also built with the Tiger Balm fortune, survives today – see Wikipedia article. This blogger well remembers the comforting whiff of camphor, when rubbing the balm on his temples to relieve headaches, his vintage Tiger Balm tins below.

Tiger Balm.  Photograph by Jamie Carstairs.

Tiger Balm. Photograph by Jamie Carstairs.

This entry was posted in Favourites, Photograph of the day and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Burning bright in the forests of the night

  1. Andrew Bailey says:

    There was also Tiger Balm Gardens and Haw Par Villa, in Singapore around this era. My father was posted to RAF Seletar from 1955-57 and we lived there with him at that time.
    These ‘gardens’ seemed to me ( as a boy of 12 ) to be largely a grisely portrayal of the Japanese war atrocities, but there may have been a lot more to it. Tiger Balm funded many things there too, I recall.
    And, it too has been long since demolished, no doubt too gruesome for tourists these days!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *