the Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par the King of Tiger Balm History collections

Tiger Balm

Garden Singapore

History Collections

 Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore

Created By

Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA

Copyright @ 2012




During my youngest kind in 1948-1954 my  parent always used the Tiger Balm to cure my sickness because that time this balm very popular and another medicine more expensive.

During my first visit to Singapore in 1974, I visit the Tiger Balm Garden in Singapore,and also their jade collections.and the founder Aw Boen Haw,that is why they call this garden Hauw park villa and tiger balm garden which related with the tiger balm,

I have upload the story in my web blog with caption the adventure of Dr Iwan in Singapore 1974.

Many young generations forgotten about the history of this park and the founders,duue to that soituation I have made a research about thta,

This e-book in CD-ROM still not complete, comment corrections and new info still need.

This is the sample of my research report of the Tiger Balm History Collections, the complete info in CD-Rom exist but only for premiummember,if you want to look the full illustration CD-ROM please subscribed via comment

Jakarta Mei 2012

Dr Iwan Suwandy,MHA






Haw Par Villa, formerly called Tiger Balm Gardens, was originally constructed in 1937 by “Tiger Balm King” Aw Boon Haw as a grand residence for his younger brother, Aw Boon Par, who helped create their fortune with the anagesic balm. In English, Haw Par Villa translates as Villa of the Tiger and Leopard.

This history of the legendary brothers Haw and Par and the origins of their genius trace back to Rangoon (Yangon), Burma, where it all began. Their father, Aw Chu Kin, the young son of a herbalist in Xiamen, Fujian Province, left for Rangoon in the 1800s to seek his fortune.

His first stop was Singapore where he lived for several days in a kongsi house in the Chinese quarter of Telok Ayer Street before leaving for Penang. Rangoon beckoned and soon he was on his way. Aw Chu Kin set up his own sinseh shop with a little help from his uncle, and Eng Aun Tong, or the Hall of Everlasting Peace, was founded in 1870. Uncle turned matchmaker and a bride was soon found for Aw Chu Kin. Boon Haw, the “gentle tiger” was born in 1882 and Boon Par, the “gentle leopard” in 1888.

In 1908, father Chu Kin died, leaving the family practice to Boon Par, having despaired of Boon Haw’s rebel-rousing ways. The gentle leopard, finding the responsibility too much to bear, later asked for his older brother’s return from China to carry on the family business in Rangoon. The brothers Haw and Par built an empire and a legendary fortune out of a formula for a cure-all ointment sold in a little jar. Today, Tiger Balm is sold in over a hundred countries, arguably the world’s best known analgesic ointment.

The tiger tycoon moved into Singapore in 1926 and Eng Aun Tong found a spanking new home in the busiest port in the region. A new and larger factory was built along Neil Road where production was ten times more than that of Rangoon’s.

A new mansion, Haw Par Villa, was built on a hill in Pasir Panjang surrounded by unique gardens depicting Chinese mythology for the younger, quieter Boon Par in 1937. Aw Boon Haw created this entertainment park to teach and preserve Chinese values.

The park’s colorful collection of over 1,000 statues and 150 giant tableaux centered around Chinese folklore, legends, history, and Confucian ideology. Morality tales included classic battles between good and evil and tributes to Chinese cultural heroes such as the famous pugilist Wu Song, who tamed a ferocious tiger with his bare hands.

Haw Par Villa also holds an exhibition of the 10 courts of Hell, as depicted by Chinese mythology. According to Chinese belief, hell hath not one court but ten. It is believed when one first dies, 2 guardians from Hades will come to take your soul to Hades. One has the head of a horse and the other of an ox. These are the guardians of Hell….Ox-Head and Horse-Face.

Each court is ruled by a ‘yama’ or a king, who dishes out different punishments befitting the sins committed in one’s life. The concept ‘One reaps what one sows’ is the basis of the legend of the Ten Courts of Hell. However, the influence of Confucianism is so great that punishments for failing to comply, such as disrespect for the written word, lack of filial piety or inattention in class are often equal to, or more terrifying than that for murder.

Also known as Tiger Balm Gardens, it was free to the public. (Tiger Balm Gardens was later donated to the Singapore government by the Aw family, put on public tender for re-building as a theme park under the name Haw Par Villa. This theme park is no longer associated with the Haw Par group).

Beside the Haw Par Villa in Singapore, Boon Haw also built similar theme parks in Hong Kong and Fujian of China. The one in Hong Kong, also known by the same name as Tiger Balm Garden, was completed in 1935 but demolished in 2004. In Thailand, Boon Haw contributed a Haw Par Childrens Playground (虎豹兒童遊樂場) in 1938 for the purpose of promoting his Tiger Balm

Tiger Balm Gardens: Mythological Theme Park – Singapore

Haw Par Villa is a Chinese Mythological theme park in Singapore and contains over 1,000 statues and 150 giant tableaux centered around Chinese folklore, legends, history and Confucian ideology. The statues and sets immortalize moral values and Chinese cultural heritage.

Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore

Originally called “Tiger Balm Gardens”, it was constructed in 1937 by brothers Aw BoonHaw and Aw Boon Par, who are developers of Tiger Balm. Later on it was sold to the Singapore Tourism Board and renamed as Haw Par Villa. A must see exhibit is the Ten Courts of Hell that features the ten steps of judgment before reincarnation.

Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore

Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore

Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore

Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore

Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore

Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore

Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore

Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore

Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore

Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore

Tiger Balm Gardens Mythological Theme Park  Singapore 

The History Of The Tiger Balm Park


The History Of Aw Boen Haw and Aw Boen Par

Tiger Balm Garden


Tiger Balm Gardens is also known as Haw Par Villa. There are three Tiger Balm Gardens in the world, all built by the Aw family (Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par). The first is located in Hong Kong, the second is in Singapore, and the third is in Fujian, Mainland China. The gardens contain statues and dioramas depicting scenes from Chinese folklore, legends, history and illustrations of various aspects of Confucianism.

They were opened to the public; they were created to promote the Tiger Balm products produced by the family.

Tiger Balm Gardens at different locations

  • Tiger Balm Garden (Hong Kong) – Opened in 1935, now closed following redevelopment into the “Haw Par Villa” amusement park in 1985 and then into housing in 1998. The Haw Par Mansion itself, together with its private garden, is preserved as a museum.
  • Haw Par Villa (Singapore) – Opened in 1937 and continues as a tourist attraction.
  • Tiger Balm Garden (Fujian) – Located in Yongding County, Fujian Province, China it was originally founded in 1946 but the location was abandoned in 1949. It reopened in 1994 as a museum.

The History Of Tiger Balm



The white and red versions of Haw Par Tiger Balm.

Tiger Balm (Chinese: ; pinyin: Hǔbiao Wànjīnyóu; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Hó͘-phiau Bān-kim-iû) is the trade name for a heat rub manufactured and distributed by Haw Par Healthcare in Singapore.




It was originally developed in the 1870s by an herbalist, Aw Chu Kin, in Rangoon, Burma, who asked his sons Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par on his deathbed to perfect the product.[1]

Originally named for containing tiger bone, an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine dating back 1,500 years to treat pain, inflammation and to strengthen muscle,[2][not specific enough to verify][page needed] Tiger Balm now consists purely of herbal ingredients. Tiger Balm is available in several varieties, the ‘cold’ Tiger Balm White (which is recommended for use with headaches) and the ‘hot’ Tiger Balm Red. There is also another version called Tiger Balm Ultra.[citation needed]

From the notes that accompany Tiger Balm:

Tiger Balm is made from a secret herbal formulation that dates back to the times of the Chinese emperors. The Aw brothers, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, inherited the formulation from their herbalist father who left China. They call it Tiger Balm, after Boon Haw, (whose name in Chinese meant “Tiger”) who was instrumental in devising the remarkable selling strategies that made Tiger Balm a household name in many East and South Eastern Asian countries today.

[citation needed]

During the 1930s the Aw family founded the Tiger Balm Gardens in Singapore and Hong Kong to promote the product.


Ingredient[3] Red White
Menthol 10% 8%
Camphor 11% 11%
Dementholised mint oil 6% 16%
Cajuput oil 7% 13%
Clove bud oil 5% 1.5%
Cassia oil 5%  

The remainder is a petroleum jelly and paraffin base.

The original Tiger Balm Red and Tiger Balm White have 25% of Camphor.[4] A new product named Tiger Balm White HR uses Eucalyptus oil instead of Cajuput oil.[4]


Tiger Balm is claimed to relieve the following ailments:[5][unreliable medical source?]

  • Headache Rub on temples to relieve pain.
  • Myalgia muscular pains.
  • Migraines and headaches of light intensity to moderate.
  • Mosquito bites: to relieve the itch.
  • Cough: to release the respiratory voices, in application on the chest and the back.
  • Stomach ache: rub on stomach to relieve upset stomach.
  • Nasal congestion: place a gob under the nostrils.
  • Interstitial Cystitis: cut to size, placed just above the pubic bone, can moderate pain enough to allow patients to sleep better.

Popular culture

In the James Bond novel Role of Honour, authored by John Gardner in the 1980s, one of the villain’s henchmen whom Bond faces is named Tigerbalm.

Tiger Balm is mentioned in the novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.[citation needed] It is also mentioned in the novel For the Win.[citation needed]

Gerard Depardieu was reported to have instructed Robert DeNiro how to use Tiger Balm and water to solve an erection problem while shooting a scene for Bernardo Bertolucci‘s 1900 in 1977.[6]

The song “Love Love Love” by The Mountain Goats mentions that Sonny Liston would rub Tiger Balm onto his gloves. [7]

In “Home Insecurity,” an episode of The Venture Bros., villain Baron Ünderbheit discovers his trusted henchmen have betrayed him, and thus forces them into resignation. They are presented with Tiger Balm as a seemingly amicable parting gift, though it turns out to be an omen for Ünderbheit’s retaliation for their betrayal, subsequently revealed to be “tiger bombs.”

Tiger Balm is sometimes used in the context of BDSM sexual activities to intensify sensation.[citation needed]

In the UK drama, “Whitechapel”, DI Joseph Chandler rubs Tiger Balm on his temples to relieve headaches

The History Of Aw Boon Hauw  and Aw Boon Par


Aw Boon Haw


It may be called “hǔbiao wànjīnyóu” in its native tongue, but it’s just Tiger Balmto me. I’ve been using this Chinese remedy since my hippie mom rubbed it on my chest during the cold New England winters of my youth. The burn on my skin still has a calming, comforting effect.Tiger Balm was invented by Chinese herbalist Aw Chu Kin in the 1870s, using the healing combination of menthol, eucalyptus, clove, cassia and mint oil. Kin had two sons, Aw Boon Haw was a hell-raiser known for street fights and mad business skills while Aw Boon Par was gentle and more reserved.  Together, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par would make their father’s tincture a global phenomenon by the early 1930s.

Aw Boon Haw in China 1949

Aw Boon Haw in China 1949

While Par honed the recipe down to what is now a legendary cure-all, Haw used his persuasive business skills to organize a medicinal empire. A born salesman, Haw knew how to market his product to the public giving the family recipe a strong and sexy name, Tiger Balm. Haw began promoting Tiger Balm across China going so far as to build a custom car featuring an enormous roaring tiger’s head on the grill.

Aw Boon Haw in Singapore 1941

Aw Boon Haw in Singapore 1941

By the time he was 40, Haw was the richest man in Rangoon. He built an enormous mansion and named the extensive botanical gardens after his quiet-natured brother. In spite of his showmanship, Haw was also a great philanthropist, donating his family’s magic ointment to doctors all over China and building countless schools and hospitals.

Tiger Balm Building in Singapore 1941

Tiger Balm Building in Singapore 1941

Aw Boon Haw Showing His Medicines in China 1949

Aw Boon Haw Showing His Medicines in China 1949

Haw opened his gardens to the public in the early 1950s, and promoted good heath for all. Eighty years later, savvy business sense paired with a generous, caring spirit, has made Tiger Balm a worldwide classic.

Aw Boon Haw Gardens in Singapore 1941

Aw Boon Haw Gardens in Singapore 1941

School Children Walking Through Aw Boon Haw Gardens 1941

School Children Walking Through Aw Boon Haw Gardens 1941

The Tiger Balm Kings
?Aw Boon Haw & Aw Boon Par
Aw Boon Par & Aw Boon Haw
 Aw Cheng Hu
(Daughter of Aw Boon Par & Grandmother of May Chu Harding)

Barely a decade after the brothers started to manufacture and sell Tiger Balm from their mothers kitchen in Rangoon, they had already amassed a string of pharmaceutical companies stretching from Burma to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the East Indies, Hong Kong and China. By the eve of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937, the Aw brothers had built a business empire with 10,000 workers toiling in the Tiger Balm factories.
Just when everything was going so great, a squad of policemen showed up at the brothers house to serve them with an arrest warrant. Boon Par and Boon Haw were charged with illicit trafficking in opium, and counterfeiting.

Well, you have to start, somewhere…

Aw Boon Par’s Daughter Aw Cheng Hu
Aw Cheng Hu
Aw Cheng Hu, known as “Emma”
with husband, Lee Chee Shan

Aw Cheng Hu, known as “Emma,” was born in Rangoon, and brought to Singapore by her father, Aw Boon Par. Emma is May Chu’s grandmother.

From the book:

My grandfathers name was Lee Chee Shan, but I called him Kong Kong, Cantonese for grandfather. My grandmother, Emma, was Mamak, literally, great mother. Formally, my grandfather was known as Dato Lee Chee Shan, and my grandmother, Datin. Dato and Datin are Malaysian titles originally bestowed on tribal chiefs and their wives, but now reserved for the rich—especially the Chinese rich. Of course, at the time, I knew nothing of such things.

So much deference was shown to Kong Kong by Mamak, that you would never guess that she was the one with all the money. This did not mean that Mamak was subdued, or mousy. Not at all. While Kong Kong usually ate in silence, Mamak did all the talking. She was very animated, gesturing as she talked.

She enjoyed herself and laughed easily. She was truly Boon Pars daughter. Still, out of respect for her husband, Mamak always dressed as he wished—colorfully, in traditional Chinese cheongsams, always with matching red lipstick and nail polish. Each cheongsam had its own matching set of jewelry—nothing subdued ever, not even during the day. Mamak made Kong Kong very happy. Everybody made Kong Kong very happy, and even at the bank, all the ladies wore cheongsams—they had to.

Sally Aw, OBE, the (Almost) Bankrupt Hieress
Sally Aw

Sally Aw, the adopted daughter of Aw Boon Haw, inherited the Aw’s newspaper empire at the age of 23. In 1988, she won the most prestigious American award for journalismthe Carr Van Anda Award from the University of Ohio, a distinction which is usually reserved for the most outstanding figures from the American media such as Walter Cronkite and Ted Turner.

May Chu first met Sally Aw in Hong Kong.

From the book:

In impeccable English, she [Sally] greeted me saying, “Who would have thought you were a relative of mine? If I saw you on the street, I wouldn’t even recognize you.”

Did I look wrong, somehow? Not Chinese enough? Had I made a mistake by sitting down? Should I be kneeling?

In 1999, Sally found herself deep in debt and verging on bankruptcy. She also faced a serious legal problem.

From the book:

Sally finally managed to squander the vast fortune, which luck had dumped in her lap, and reached the brink of bankruptcy. In 1998, she was arrested for falsely inflating the circulation figures of the Hong Kong Standard, her English-language Hong Kong newspaper. Even the U.S. State Department protested when Sally got off the hook, citing her close ties to Beijing.

There is a Chinese proverb that wealth in a family lasts for only three generations. Sally managed to make it in two.

Tiger Balm (虎標萬金油)or Tiger Ban Kim Ewe or “Ten Thousand Golden Oil” is the trade name for a heat rub or ointment manufactured and distributed by Haw Par Healthcare in Singapore. It was originally developed in the 1870s by a herbalist, Aw Chu Kin, in Rangoon, Burma, who asked his sons Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par on his deathbed to perfect the product. Oversea Chinese around the world will remember Tiger Balm, especially the old generations, this was the medical herbal oil that accompanied them from childhood to old age.

Even the young generation of today is are familiar with Tiger Balm.

Tiger Balm is available in several varieties, the weaker Tiger Balm White (which is recommended for use with headaches) and the stronger Tiger Balm Red (which is not to be used on the head). There is also another version called Tiger Balm Ultra.

Aw Chu Kin(胡子钦)

Aw Chu Kin (胡子钦, 原名胡诞钦) ? – 1908 in Rangoon, British Raj) was a Burmese Chinese herbalist. He is best known as the original inventor of Tiger Balm.

Aw Chu Kin’s father was a Chinese herbology practitioner in Xiamen and a Hakka from Zhongchuan, Yongding, Fujian Province, China (福建省永定下洋中川村客家人). Being of a poor background, Aw Chu Kin first immigrated to Singapore in 1863 where he stayed at the kongsi of his clan at Telok Ayer Street.

He then moved to Penang and started to work as a practitioner of Traditional Chinese medicine, known as a sinseh (先生) in Penang Hokkien. Afterwards, he moved to Rangoon where, with the help of his uncle, founded his medical hall or medical shop, named Eng Aun Tong(永安堂药行)(“The Hall of Eternal Peace”) in 1870, located at 644,Canton Road (仰光广东街644号).

Aw Chu Kin was married in Rangoon. He had three sons, the eldest of whom, Boon Leng (Gentle/Refined Dragon) died young. He was survived by his two sons, Boon Haw (Gentle/Refined Tiger) and Boon Par (Gentle/Refined Leopard).

In 1892, Aw sent Boon Haw to his grandfather’s village to be instructed in traditional Chinese methods while Boon Par stayed in Rangoon to receive a British education.

In 1900, his two sons Aw Boon Haw, who had returned to Rangoon, and Aw Boon Par decided to manufacture and market the medicinal ointment under the name Eng Aun Tong, the name of the medical hall.

In respect of the said balm, they adopted a trade mark consisting of the device of a tiger. The word “TIGER” is taken from the name of the elder brother Aw Boon Haw. “Haw” (虎) in Chinese means the animal tiger. The Chinese word “Par,” the name of the Younger brother means the animal leopard.

The trading name Eng Aun Tong was coined to denote the quality of the product from the popular medical hall in Rangoon. The trade mark TIGER and the device of a leaping tiger have been used in respect of the balm since 1900.

When Aw Chu Kin died in 1908 at Rangoon,he left his medical hall, Eng Aun Tong, to his son, Aw Boon Par, having despaired of eldest son Boon Haw’s rebel-rousing ways. The gentle leopard, finding the responsibility too much to bear, later asked for his older brother’s return from China to carry on the family business in Rangoon.

Aw Chu Kin’s wife: Lee Kim Peck
Sons: Boon Leong; Boon Haw, Boon Par

Aw Boon Par(胡文豹);

Aw Boon Par (胡文豹); born 1888 in Rangoon, died 1944 in Rangoon, was a Burmese Chinese entrepreneur and philanthropist best known for introducing Tiger Balm. He was educated in English school in Rangoon, Burma. He was the lesser known, and a quiet leopard, compared to his brother, Aw Boon Haw.

Boon Par was the son of Hakka herbalist Aw Chu Kin, who upon his death in 1908, left the business to Boon Par. Boon Par then called his elder brother, Aw Boon Haw, to help run their father’s apothecary Eng Aun Tong (“The Hall of Eternal Peace”) together.

“I will learn all I can about Western medicine, you can prescribe Chinese medicine,” Boon Par said to his brother. “Together we won’t lose a single patient. He can choose between east and west and the fee will stay with us.”

To perfect and exploit their late father’s recipe, the sons took over their mother’s kitchen. Boon Par, the quiet leopard, toiled whilst Boon Haw, the gregarious tiger organised. Together they produced Ban Kim Ewe, Ten Thousand Golden Oil, panacea for all ills.

In 1918, Aw Boon Haw co-developed Tiger Balm as a trade mark, with his younger brother Aw Boon Par. Through artful packages and clever marketing, with the brand name of Tiger Balm (虎標萬金油) or Tiger Ban Kim Ewe or “Ten Thousand Golden Oil” is the trade name. The brothers later made their versatile balm a household standard, first in their native Rangoon, then Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, and the rest of Southeast Asia.

Just when everything was going so great in Rangoon, a squad of policemen showed up at the brothers’ house to serve them with an arrest warrant.

Boon Par and Boon Haw were charged with illicit trafficking in opium, and counterfeiting. The British Chief Inspector of Police, Cyril Taylor, put the brothers under house arrest. But the police were not able to pin anything on the brothers. Still, this was humiliating to the brothers, Boon Haw decided to leave Burma and move the business to Singapore.

Although Aw Boon Par wished to stay in Rangoon, it was because in addition to his two official wives (Piah Lan, Daw Saw who remained in Rangoon), he had a secret wife, Hong Yin, in Rangoon.

Nevertheless, Boon Haw who had settled in Singapore in 1926 convinced him to immigrate, move the family business and found the precursor of today’s Haw Par Corporation.

By 1926, the headquarters of Eng Aun Tong “House of Eternal Peace” had been transferred to Singapore. A new and larger factory was built at 89 Neil Road where production was ten times greater than that of Rangoon’s.

The factory building, a 3-storey neo-classical building, is still standing prominently at the corner of Neil Road and Craig Road – it was built by Aw Boon Haw in 1924.

Boon Par took up a residence at Tanglin Road in Singapore. The house eventually become known as the “Jade House.” Boon Par later moved to larger mansion at 178, Pasir Panjang Road.

The Aw brothers launched Sin Chew Jit Poh – their first paper – in Singapore in 1929; mainly to advertise their tiger series of products.

In 1932, a Limited Company was incorporated in Singapore, know as Haw Par Brothers (Pvt.) Ltd (“虎药有限公司”). It took over the business of the two Aw brothers including their assets, such as trade marks.

From Singapore, the company continued to carry on business and export Tiger Balm to various countries, including India, until the Japanese occupation of Burma and Singapore during World War II.

The company devised various trade markets to be used in various countries, the essential features of each of which was the device of a leaping Tiger, the word “Tiger Balm” written in English and also in Chinese characters. These trade marks were registered in different countries all over the world.

Aw Boon Haw bought land in 1935 to build a villa that would be a unique and fitting residence for his beloved brother, Aw Boon Par. He commissioned Ho Kwong Yew, a brilliant young architect, to design a house that would complement the gardens which were to feature thousands of statues and tableaux depicting Chinese myths and legends and which were to become well known all over the world as the Tiger Balm Gardens. The villa was originally called “Tiger Balm Gardens”. A new mansion, Haw Par Villa, was built on a hill in Pasir Panjang surrounded by unique gardens depicting Chinese mythology for the younger, quieter Boon Par in 1937.

Haw Par Villa was opened in March 1937 and many guests were invited to the grand reception hosted by Aw Boon Par, the lord of the manor.

By the eve of the Sino-Japanese war in 1937, the Aw brothers had built a business empire with 10,000 workers toiling in their Tiger Balm factories.

Aw Boon Par lived in Haw Par Villa only a few years before the second world war broke out in 1939.

The Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War II occurred between 1942 and 1945 after the fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942.

Military forces of the Empire of Japan occupied Singapore after defeating the combined Australian, British, Indian and Malayan garrison in the Battle of Singapore.

The occupation was to become a major turning point in the history of several nations, including that of Japan, Britain and the then colonial state of Singapore. Singapore was renamed Syonan-to (昭南島 Shonan-to), which means “Island of the Light of the South” or “Southern Island (obtained) during Showa period”.

During the Japanese occupation of Singapore, Aw Boon Haw moved to Hong Kong to manage the business from there, while Aw Boon Par stayed in Singapore to run the factory.

In 1942, Boon Par was forced to close the Singapore factory and flee with his family to Rangoon, which was also occupied by Japanese.

The Allies drove out the Japanese from Singapore in April 1945, but unfortunately Aw Boon Par died in Sept 1944, prior to the victory.

Boon Par’s wives: Piah Lan, Daw Saw, Hong Yin
Sons: Cheng Chye (胡清才) who died in Chile in 1971, Cheng Tek (胡清德)
Daughters: Cheng Sim or Suri Santipongchai, married to Lee Aik Sim(李森, Lee Santipongchai), who in 1971 was given Sing Sian Yit Pao to manage. The newspaper is now managed by their children Netra and Winn. This may be the only company set up by Aw Boon Haw which is still in the hands of the family ; Cheng Hu (Emma), married to banker Lee Chee Shan(李志城,1909-86) who became the President of the family owned Chung Khiaw Bank. The bank was subsequently merged into Haw Par Brothers International Ltd (by then a public company) which was taken over over by the predator firm Slater Walker Securities to whom Aw Cheng Chye sold his shares.

Aw Boon Haw (胡文虎) 1882-1954

Aw Boon Haw (胡文虎); born 1882 Rangoon, Burma – died 1954 Hong Kong, was a Burmese Chinese entrepreneur and philanthropist best known for introducing Tiger Balm. He was the son of Hakka herbalist Aw Chu Kin, with his ancestral home in Yongding County, Fujian Province. A very good negotiator and businessman. His life was not only business, how he managed to deal with KMT, CPC, Puppet government in China during Japanese occupation, and Japan government during WW2 was amazing…

Aw migrated to Singapore in 1926, where he began the business of Tiger Red Balm with his brother, Aw Boon Par. Aw also founded several newspapers, including Sin Chew Jit Poh (星洲日報) on 15-1-1929 in Singapore, Sin Ping Jit Poh(星槟日报), now known as Guang Ming Daily (光明日報) was founded in 1939. Both of these newspapers are now based in Malaysia. A third Aw brothers newspaper, Sing Tao Daily (星島日報), dates back to 1-8-1938 and is currently based in Hong Kong. A fourth newspapaer, Sin Siam Jit Poh (星暹日报), was founded in 1951 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Aw Boon Haw moved to Hong Kong during the Japanese occupation of Singapore and managed the businesses from there, while his brother stayed in Singapore until he closed down the factory and went to Rangoon. Aw returned to Singapore after the end of World War II and re-established his business.

While on a trip to Hong Kong from Boston in 1954, Aw died at the age of 72 from a heart attack following a major operation. His legacy is found in the Haw Par Villas throughout Asia, with locations in Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Fujian Province.

There was a story of racing rivalry of Au Boon Haw and Sultan Ibrahim of Johore. Sultan Ibrahim was a sportsman and hunter. The incident took place when the Sultan, enraged at being overtaken by Aw Boon Haw in his famous Tiger Car. Sultan Ibrahim shot at the Tiger Car on Bukit Timah Road. It was considered lese-majesté to overtake royalty even on foreign roads. Notwithstanding, the British colonial administration forbade the Sultan thereafter from visiting Singapore ever again except for purpose of going to and from the Singapore airport, then at Kallang. (source:

1908: Taking over the business from the late father, together with brother Aw Boon Par.

1911: First branch outside Rangoon set up in Bangkok

1926 : He moved his head office to Singapore after the British conducted an unsuccessful opium raid in his house. He opened the Eng Aun Tong Medical Hall in Singapore. Turnover of his company reached $10 million.

1929 : Founded Sin Chew Jit Poh, a Chinese newspaper competing with Tan Kah Kee’s Nanyang Siang Pau. To further promote his Tiger products he also published the Tiger Standard.

1932 : Moved his head office to Hong Kong to capture the China market

1935: Built Haw Par Villa in Hong Kong for his 2nd wife, Kyi Kyi.

1937 : Built Haw Par Villa otherwise known as the Tiger Balm Gardens for his brother, Boon Par. The gardens depict Chinese mythology.

1938 : An OBE conferred on him for his philanthropic contributions.

1950 : Set up the Chung Khiaw Bank. He placed the management of the bank under the leadership of his son-in-law, Lee Chee Shan, also a Burmese Chinese who arrived in Singapore in 1929.

1954 : He died in Honolulu in Sept 1954 at the age of 72 years old, half-way home after a stomach operation in America. His empire was divided among six of his nine surviving children and four nephews. Sally Aw taking control of what is now the Sing Tao group (centered in Hong Kong with Sing Tao) and cousins forming Haw Par Brothers (centred in Singapore and including titles such as Sin Chew Jit Poh, which later experienced difficulty in competition with that nation’s two dominant players).

After the death of Haw Boon Haw

1961 Aw Boon Haw’s will provided all estates in Hong Kong to be given to Tan Kyi Kyi and Sally Aw. The other children of Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par were not happy and demanded for the return of Haw Par Villa and Eng Aun Tong(永安堂) to be equally shared by the next of kin.

There was a legal battle between Tan Kyi Kyi and Sally Aw on one side, and, on the other, the other children and nephew of Aw Boon Haw for the estate of Aw Boon Haw. Sally Aw applied for liquidation of Haw Par Brothers Ltd. The outcome of the legal battle was that the Eng Aun Tong and Har Par Villa was owned by Haw Par Brothers Private Ltd.

1964 Sing Tao edition launched in San Francisco

1969 Sally Aw launches daily editions of Sing Tao for diaspora Chinese.

1969 Haw Par Brothers Private Ltd was listed as Haw Par Corporation Limited in the Singapore Exchange on 16-8-1969.

1971 Slater Walker Securities gains control of Haw Par Brothers International Ltd (inc Chung Khiaw Bank and newspapers such as Sin Chew Jit Poh, Hong Kong Eng Aun Tong). It was sold by Aw Cheng Chye(胡清才), son of the Aw Boon Par, when he cashes out by selling all his shares.

1971 Union Overseas Bank (UOB) acquires 53% of Chung Khiaw from Slater Walker. The Haw Par Deal was later reported irregular by the Singapore government. On 22-8-1971, Aw Cheng Chye reportedly committed suicide in Santiago, Chile. Some said he died of stroke, but some said it was the curse of Aw Boon Haw.

1972 Sing Tao Holdings goes public

1973 UOB raises holding in Chung Khiaw to 82%

1973 Sing Tao closes The Asian

1983 Sing Tao launched in Vancouver

1983 Sin Chew Jit Poh in Singapore merges with Nanyang Siang Pau as Lianhe Zaobao

1985 launch of JobMarket recruitment magazine in Hong Kong

1986 Sing Tao relisted in Hong Kong after move from Australia

1986 launches and closes English-language Evening Standard in Hong Kong

1986 launches monthly business magazine Billion

1987 Sing Tao’s Newspapers of Fiji Ltd (Fiji Sun) withdraws from Fiji after second military coup

1987 Sin Chew Jit Poh delicensed in Malaysia under Mahathir crackdown, later acquired by Sarawak timber tycoon Tiong Hiew King

1988 UOB acquires remaining shares in Chung Khiaw Bank

1989 Sing Tao closes Billion

1989 closes monthly news magazine China Review

1992 The Chinese government returned the 10 storey Canton Eng Aun Tong(广州永安堂药店)building to Sally Aw

1993 pays US$40 for stake in Hong Kong newspaper and comics publisher Culturecom

1998 Sally Aw sells Hong Kong property holdings for HK$100m

1999 loses control of Sing Tao to Lazard Asia Fund after debts of US$274m

2000 Sally Aw sells Tiger Balm Gardens to Li Ka-shing for US$13m

2001 sells 55% of Sing Tao’s Canadian arm to Torstar for US$14m

2001 cigarette mogul Charles Ho Tsu-kwok buys 51.4% stake in Sing Tao Holdings

Aw Boon Haw’s family

Father: Aw Chi Kim(胡子钦), a herbalist from Zhongchuan, YongDing, Fujian Province in China.

Brothers: Aw Boon Leong(文龙) (“gentle dragon”) died early; Aw Boon Par(文豹) (“gentle leopard”).

Wives: Boon Haw had four wives. First wife, Tay Piang Hong(郑炳凤, 郑氏是广东惠阳客籍人,生长于仰光?); his second wife, Tan Kyi Kyi(陈金枝), he built a special home at Tai Hang Road, Hong Kong for her. Third wife (黄玉谢) was from Penang,and fourth wife (邱秀英).

Adpted Sons: Dato Aw Kow(胡蛟), wife Tan Kah Joo, became General Manager(社长) of the Sin Chew Jit Poh in 1941, the Singapore Tiger Standard and the Chung Khiaw Bank; Aw San(胡山), who became general manager of the Eng Aun Tong Medical Hall and its Canton factory; Aw Hoe(胡好),1919-1951, became general manager of the Medical Hall and managing director of the Tiger Standard and the Sin Chew Jit Poh.

He died tragically in a plane crash in North Malaysia in 1951. A Standard-owned Dakota airplane crash-landed in Thailand, killing everyone on board, including Aw Hoe. He was only 32 years old. Aw Boon Haw was very sad when Aw Hoe died so oung.

Aw Kow and Aw San were the adopted sons of Tay Piang Hong, the first wife. Aw San was disliked by Aw Boon Haw and did not get any inheritance from the father. Aw Hoe and Sally Aw are the adopted children of the 2nd wife, Tan Kyi Kyi, the two children were the most capable.

Sons: The 3rd wife(黄玉谢) has two sons It Haw(胡一虎), Er Haw(胡二虎) who passed away during WW2. The forth wife(邱秀英) give birth to two sons one daughter, Aw Sin(胡星),Aw San Haw(胡三虎)who passed away during World War II.

Aw Si Haw (胡四虎). Aw It Haw(胡一虎) and Aw Si Haw (胡四虎) were still young when their father passed away. Aw It Haw (胡一虎) and his Japanese wife (胡晓子) however open a Japanese supermarket in Singapore.

Adopted Daughters: Sally Aw Sian (胡仙), who was a Hong Kong businesswoman and former Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference member, and a renowned Hong Kong newspaper publisher but had to sell of much of the family’s fortunes to avoid bankruptcy.

In 1931, Aw Boon Haw and the second wife Tan Kyi Kyi, adopted the five-year-old daughter of a distant relative from Burma, changing the girl’s name from She Moi to Sian. Aw Sian inherited her late adopted father’s assets. Aw Sian and Aw Hoe are the adopted children of Aw Boon Haw’s second wife, Tan Kyi Kyi, and their most favorable children.

Daughter: Aw Sin(胡星), the daughter of 邱秀英.

the end @ copyright @ 2012



7 responses to “the Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par the King of Tiger Balm History collections

  1. Dear Iwan

    I would like to buy your book or CD of Tiger Balm. I live in Sydney. Pls email me. Thanks

    Phillip Au

    • hallo Mr Phillip Au
      If you want to buy my CD-ROM,please contact me via my email,and after you send the administration fee and postal cost I will send to you,don’t forget to send me your adress. I have contact you via your email
      I am waiting more info from you and thanks for visit and prefeded my CD-ROm
      DSr Iwan suwandy,MHA

  2. Hello

    I’m trying to find where Eng Aun Tong was located in Yangon. Above it says #644 Canton Rd, but I can’t find any road in Yangon that used to have that name. I was wondering if you know what the current name would be (or a later colonial-era name)? And would you be able to tell me where you found this address?

    Thank you.

  3. Excellent page – great work!

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