The Merlion symbol has come to be identified with Singapore. Originally it used to stand guard at the mouth of the Singapore River, but in 2002, was moved to the Merlion Park, located next to One Fullerton, overlooking scenic Marina Bay. The Merlion is a mythical beast that is a cross between a fish and a lion. The fish symbolizes Singapore’s close association with the sea, while the lion head refers to the legendary sighting of a lion during the discovery of ancient Singapore. A stroll in Merlion Park is highly recommended as it yields great views of Singapore’s colonial district.
Legend of the Merlion:
As per Singapore Tourism Board’s campaign for publicity, The Merlion is constructed to honor the legend of Sang Nila Utama, who while traveling to Malakka observed a peculiar lion on an island. That very island was eventually transformed into the Temasak sea-port, Singapore’s precursor.
The original Merlion at the mouth of the Singapore River was given a face-off from 5th June, 2006 till 10th July, 2006.
The other Merlions of Singapore:
Five other Merlions also got the approval of the Singapore Tourism Board. These are:
- The 2 Merlions at the Merlion Park constructed in 1972 by Lim Nang Seng.
- Mount Faber
- At the tourism Court in The Orchard Shopping Lane
- and Merlion at Sentosa.
The Fake Merlions in Singapore
The fake Merlion in Singapore was constructed without the approval of the Singapore Tourism Board at the Ang Mo Kio and it was subsequently removed from the place.
Role of the Merlion in Singapore’s Art and Culture
Singapore’s poet-laureatte, Edwin Thumboo made the Merlion an icon of Singapore in his poem, Ulysses. Subsequently other poets followed suit and they started writing their own poems on the Merlion like “The Merlign” by the poet Alvin pang and Vernon Chan’s “Love Song for a Merlion”. The Merlion has become a cliché to Singapore as the Big Ben is to London, shown in many films and T.V. series.