Just when I was about to resign to the fact that Singapore is generally a serious-minded place, where everything is carefully thought out and fulfills some sort of purpose, I was relieved to encounter my friend, The Absurd. I would like to take a minute to write about Haw Par Villa and Kickapoo Joy Juice.
Haw Par Villa:
The guidebook called Haw Par Villa the “eyesore” of Singapore, so naturally I had to go. Built by the creator of Tiger Balm, Haw Par Villa is a wacky, almost creepy, carnival-like park, littered with bizarre statues depicting Chinese folklore (and other things).
Upon entering, I was so over-stimulated by the life-size gorillas, the half-girl half snail, a turtle riding and ostrich, and a miniature Statue of Liberty, that I hardly knew what to snap a picture of first. For a moment I stood frozen before I felt the magnetic force of the Absurdity radiating from all directions, causing me to involuntarily drift from one strange sight to the next. For a girl who finds limitless entertainment in sending pictures of creepy dolls to her friends and endless fun in posing with bizarre statues, Haw Par Villa is a playground of strange photo opportunities.
Kickapoo Joy Juice:
It’s too bad I didn’t have a Kickapoo Joy Juice to sip as I meandered through Haw Par Villa. You may have heard about Kickapoo Joy Juice from the Li’l Abner comics. Or like me, you had not. Although, I am familiar with Li’l Abner, I was confused when I read the soda pop can – “The two famous comic characters on the can are best buds Lonesome Polecat and Hairless Joe from the USA!”
Relatively well-versed in classical cartoons, I didn’t have a clue as to who Lonesome Polecat or Hairless Joe were and apparently they were famous enough to have a beverage. This perception of obscurity could be a consequence of my age, but even so, a Li’l Abner soda pop would be more appropriately displayed in an antique toy museum.
With no indication of what flavor beverage might be inside or where these characters came from, “Get That Kick,” and “Original USA Joy Juice Recipe,” was all the information that I needed to give up my dollar. Am I an easy sell? Only when the product raises its freak flag that high.
Although the drink depicted in the Li’l Abner cartoon was a moonshine type beverage, this Kickapoo is florescent green, citrus soda with slight ginger notes – probably an improvement in flavor, but with less of a kickapoo. Although I’m inclined to keep buying the drink for the novelty of the thing, I might be better off with a Tiger Beer.
Apparently, the beverage is exclusively distributed in Brunei, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Malaysia, Mongolia, and Singapore and has been on the market since 1965. I wonder if these places are familiar with Li’l Abner, or they too, just like saying “Kickapoo”?