Draw Something: Tiger Balm and Snake Brand Prickly Heat Powder

Though Singapore is much advanced in the medical and technological sector, it is still essentially a very Asian country with deep roots of traditional medicine and cures.

I, for one, am extremely repulsed by the taste of Western medicine, because of my inability to swallow pills. Having to crush tablets or twist open capsules, and ingesting them, is no joke and I dread falling ill for this fact. Traditional Chinese Medicine is hence my preferred choice (when I can help it), as the taste of herbs is definitely more palatable than western medicines of 10-syllable chemical names.

That aside, let me introduce to you two time-proven Asian (medicinal) products which have been in my life forever, and which my family has used for decades.

Tiger Balm 
What it is: a minty, pain-relieving ointment
Where to get it: all supermarkets and drugstores in Singapore (and probably Southeast Asia)

Image from tigerbalm.com

There has always been a tub of Tiger Balm in my house for as long as I remember, but I first learnt about the amazing history behind this Singaporean brand in university (in a module titled ‘Chinese Businesses and Beyond’). The Tiger Balm, created by a Chinese Herbalist, was made popular by his two Burmese sons, Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par, who sold the herbal ointment successfully in Singapore and the region. Haw Par Villa, an often-overlooked tourist attraction in Singapore, was also set up by the brothers to teach their offspring Chinese values such as filial piety.

Snake Brand Prickly Heat Powder
What it is: a metholated cooling, heat rash-relieving body powder
Where to get it: major supermarkets in Singapore

Image from ebay.com

This is an interesting powder spammed with mint so it’s quite nice for our crazy hot weather here.

And because I had nothing better to do, I did some sketches of the products. Their packaging is so pretty and intricate! So unlike the modern sleek products we see everyday now.

Sketch of Tiger Balm

Sketch of Tiger Balm

Sketch of Snake Powder Prickly Heat

Sketch of Snake Powder Prickly Heat

Note. Despite their names, no animal parts were used in any of the products featured above. And again, my apologies for the disgusting tints on the sketches 😦

[Updated on 26 June 2015: images uploaded with scanner, much better now!]


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