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A rare example of 1930s Chinese eclectic architecture, Haw Par Mansion has a bold history and a bright future

With ingredients such as camphor, cajuput oil, clove oil and menthol, this soothing balm has eased the physical pain for many people. Tiger Balm provided its creators, brothers Aw Boom Haw and Aw Boom Par, prestigious positions and enormous wealth.

Eager to continue and expand the herbal shop left to them by their father, the brothers studied the advertising methods utilized in places such as Thailand, Hong Kong, and Japan. Their market research led to the creation of the iconic Tiger Balm image. The tiger, readied to pounce, with jaw wide open and paws extended, signified stamina and potency.

Ever industrious, the brothers used their wealth and ventured into banking, rubber production, publication, and real estate. Their successes were physically represented in mansions and theme parks the brothers built in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Fujian.

They built Haw Par Mansion in 1936 on a private garden spanning eight acres of land. The mansion now stands as one of the few surviving specimens of Chinese eclectic-style architecture in Hong Kong.

Text & Photos Victoria Mae Martyn