Singapore’s Merlion

The Merlion is a fictional animal which is half-lion and half-fish. And although it is often described as a ‘mythical creature’ and does have symbolic origins dating back a few centuries, in actuality it was created as recently as 1964. And it was done so specifically for the purpose of advertising Singapore, as in serving as the mascot for the country’s tourism industry. In fact this character is trademarked by the Singapore Tourism Board. Thus in addition to there being a few Merlion statues situated throughout the country, souvenirs depicting the figure can also be obtained at various venues.

Seven Merlions

As of the writing of this article there are actually seven official Merlion statues located throughout Singapore. The largest one is 37 meters (over 120 feet) tall and is situated on Singapore’s trendy Sentosa island. However the demolition of that structure is slated to commence in late October 2019.  And the reason it is being done is due to the government’s plan to build a state-of-the-art thoroughfare linking Sentosa to another nearby island, Pulau Brani.

When this occurs, then the hands-down most-prominent Merlion statue in Singapore will actually be the one originally built in 1972.  This particular construct, which stands at 8.6 meters (approximately 30 feet) is located in Merlion Park itself, which is a relatively-short distance away from Sentosa. In fact it stands right at the entrance of the Singapore River, where it leads into the Marina Bay. And this Merlion statue actually spouts seawater from its mouth, which is pretty cool to behold. Moreover a smaller statue, dubbed the “Merlion cub”, can also be viewed inside the Merlion Park.

The other four authorized Merlion statues can be found at different locations in the Lion City. Two relatively-small ones are located in the Ang Mo Kio residential district in northeastern Singapore. Another, which was actually grafted in the Philippines, is setup at Tourism Court, the headquarters of the Singapore Tourism Board, which is on the country’s famous Orchard Road.  And the last one, which is arguably the most-famous of these three locations, can be observed at the peak of Mount Faber, a popular tourist destination which like Sentosa and Marina Bay is located in southern Singapore.

So as a visitor to Singapore, you will undoubtedly come across some Merlions.  And now you know what the symbol represents. It is basically the Lion City’s way of welcoming you to its lovely shores.

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