Day M243: The 10 Courts of Hell

Sun 27.05.12: 

Today I met up with Maryanne, the CouchSurfer who shared Mike’s flat with me in Hong Kong. Together with Kuni and our new CouchSurfer Callum we headed over the Haw Par Villa Theme Park to go see the TEN COURTS OF HELL!!

Hell isn’t an exclusively western concept. What happens to you after die has obsessed the upright ape since it first climbed out of the trees, touched the monolith and killed off all the Neanderthals. In some instances the fanciful fables of the hereafter have assumed the status of myth (that place religions go when they die), but for many people on this planet hell is as alive and as real as Disneyland. So why not make a theme park out of it?

That was the idea of brothers Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, the developers of Tiger Balm, who came up with the idea of Haw Par Villa in Singapore in the 1937 – a venue for “teaching traditional Chinese values”, or in other words, a venue for “scaring the shit out of children”.

The English translation said ‘Ten Courts of Hell’, and I only counted ten, but I was assured by our Chinese-speaking friends that there are indeed 18. And how wonderfully gruesome they are. Saw meets Hostel meets Hellraiser via the Texas Chainsaw Massacre but all done out with delightful little mannequins. Guts being pulled out, tongues being cut off, heads being sawn in half down the middle… and the place was full of KIDS! Seriously! Man, there’s some sweet-assed nightmares right there. I guess this is where you take little Timmy if you want him to wet the bed.

Well, this doesn’t look too bad…!
A spot of skinny dipping – just what Satan ordered.
Okay now things are getting rather gruesome…
It was the first and last time I was asked to present Jackanory.
Yes that is a man being sawn in half. But it could be worse…
…he could be getting sawn in half lengthways!
Happy Nightmares, kids!

Personally I hate the idea of hell, I find it an insult to the forward march of science and logic. I hate that kids all over the world are lied to by their lazy hack parents – is ‘doing good makes you feel good’ not a better line? No, kids are told (pretty much) ‘do as I say or you’ll burn in hell’. F—ing lovely.

“BLAH BLAH BLAH you don’t have kids, Graham, you don’t know what it’s like.”

Yeah I don’t have a million dollars and a coke addiction but I’m still happy to point and laugh at celebrities who do. Teaching kids not run into the road by slapping the backs of their legs is one thing, having some asexual freak in a frock tell kids that the universal punishment for ‘being naughty’ is TO BURN FOR TRILLIONS OF YEARS IN A FIERY LAKE OF POO is another entirely. What the hell is wrong with these people?

There are a vast number of chumps who seriously believe that all ‘non-believers’ will burn for billions of years in a boiling reservoir of excrement. Thanks a bunch, pal. I don’t go home and fantasise about Fred Phelps falling into a super-sized Glastonbury portaloo that’s just been set ablaze, I just kinda hope one day someone lobs a grenade at him. While he’s having sex with a rent boy. In Sweden. Oh and don’t forget, the list of ‘non-believers’ doesn’t just include atheists like myself, it also includes people of the ‘wrong’ faith and people of exactly the same faith (but a different denomination).

So the guys who think this God character wears a blue hat are firmly convinced that those LUNATICS(!) who believe God wears a red hat will, for the ‘crime’ of Christ-Knows-What, be tortured for ETERNITY. That’s a jolly long time. I know your brain ain’t too good with large numbers (I’m assuming you’re human) but have you ever stopped to consider how many human lifetimes actually go into an eternity? Ever heard of a ‘googol’? It’s a big number. A one with a hundred zeroes after it – and therefore a bigger number than the number of molecules in the universe. A bit abstract for you? Here:

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!

That’s a googol. Now that’s a long time expressed in Earth years. But most religious people don’t just desire MORE THAN A googol of years extra bonus post-death life. Yes, they are that greedy, that bizarre, that full of themselves that they believe they will not only magically survive their own deaths, but they will also live for ETERNITY. Which is a hell of a lot longer than a googol of years.

A ‘googolplex’ is a one with a googol of zeroes after it. I can write it like this: 10googol (ie 10 to the power of a googol), but if I tried to write it out in long form it would take me more time than the universe has left to exist. Just to give you an example, here is a one followed by a 1,000 noughts:

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!

Now copy and paste all of these zeros out 999 more times. Then you’d have a one followed by a million noughts, a number that doesn’t have an official name so I’m going to call it a Moogol. A Moogol is quite hard to conceptualise, so I’ve written it out in long form for you:

CLICK HERE TO SEE A MOOGOL…!

The crazy thing is that a Moogol is nowhere NEAR an googolplex. Seriously, if you clicked on that link just to see what a one with a million zeroes after it looked like, you could times that big long number by A MILLION and still you’d only have a one with 1,000,000,000,000 zeroes after it – nowhere near the 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
zeroes you’d need to make a googolplex.

Considering the UNIVERSE has only existed for 13,700,000,000 years, it would seem that people who believe they will continue to exist for eternity are living in cloud-cuckoo land. A googolplex of googolplexes and you’ve still not reached 0.00000000000000000001% of an eternity.

If I was a Christian, I’d honestly spend every waking moment praying that Christianity wasn’t true, since I have no vested interest in the continuous torture of dead people and I really, honestly, don’t want to magically survive my own death and then to continue to exist – EVEN IN HEAVEN – for 101000000000000000000000+ years. If you do, you’re either a dimwit or a whack-job. I hate to sound so harsh, but COME ON BE REASONABLE!! If you grant me that there is no tooth fairy and there is no Santa Claus (sorry to break it to you!), then death absolutely, totally and utterly IS the end. All that will survive of you are your deeds and, if you’ve managed to breed, some of your genetic material. Deal with it, kiddywinks!!

But like I say, hell isn’t just as Christian idea, the notion of post-mortal justice has entertained the minds of the twisted and deranged for millennia. In ancient Greece, poor old King Tantalus (whose only ‘crime’ was to murder his own son, cut him into bits, cook him in a pot and, erm, serve him to the gods for dinner) was thrown into Tartarus – the nastiest bit of the Underworld, and there he was forced to spend eternity hungry and thirsty while the most sumptuous food and drink would float agonisingly just out of reach above his head (that be where we get the term ‘tantalise’ from!). There’s Hindu hell, Buddhist hell – hell, there was even a Viking hell – for warriors who died dishonourably (presumably while having a poo).

The Chinese hell is more logical than the Christian concept, but to be honest that’s like saying 2012 (the film) is more logical than The Core. It’s still a terrible movie, but at least in Chinese hell you get judged, horribly tortured for a limited time and then you get reincarnated – no googolplexes for the maths-savvy Chinese. The mad thing is that before your re-incarnation you get your memory wiped, which kinda makes the whole torture bit rather redundant. Can we skip the judgement/torture/memory wipe/reincarnation shenanigans and just have bad people in the world, you know, just die? I don’t want to live in a world where Hitler is still alive as a squirrel.

Have you learnt your lesson? Good. Now drink this magic tea so you forget the lesson you just learnt.

That evening, Christoph and I headed off to Singapore Zoo for the Night Safari. As 80% of tropical animals are nocturnal, it makes a lot more sense to go and see them after dark. As flash photography isn’t permitted, my night-vision function on my camcorder came in incredibly handy.

Author: Graham

Adventurer, filmmaker, blogger, double Guinness World Record Holder. The first person to visit every country in the world without flying. I currently live on a private island in The Caribbean that I won in a competition.

4 thoughts on “Day M243: The 10 Courts of Hell”

  1. I agree with you at 99,moogol%, but I think catholics got the point: no need to type all zeroes: go out the cyber and enjoy Sri Lanka (seems cool !!)

  2. “A googolplex of googolplexes and you’ve still not reached 0.00000000000000000001% of an eternity…”

    Mate, for a “champion of science and logic” this is lazy… You can’t wack a percentage on an infinite…

    Otherwise, great post!

    1. Oh come on, I was trying to prove a point: an ETERNITY is way way more than a googolplex of googolplexes!

      LORIEN: We’ve lived too long, seen too much. To live on, as we have, is to leave behind joy, love, and companionship because we know it to be transitory; of the moment. We know it will turn to ash. Only those whose lives are brief can believe that love, is eternal.
      [pause]
      LORIEN: You should embrace that remarkable illusion. It may be the greatest gift your race has ever received.

  3. How could u not want Hitler alive as a squirrel. Imagine the dictator alive and hopefully aware in the body of a squirrel. Suddenly realize he is about to encounter certain death from his mortal foe… Not Britain, not America, Russia or even France. No on this day. The mad dictator. Killer of millions. The man you set the world on fire will be taken down…………By miss Prissy pants an 86 year old Jewish woman’s cat. Complete with a pretty pink bow.

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