TriviaTuesday: The Merlion is one year older than Singapore! British zoologist Alec Fraser-Brunner started working on the design of the Merlion in 1963, and it was officially adopted as the logo for the then-Singapore Tourism Promotion Board (STPB) in 1964. Singapore only became a nation in 1965, making the Merlion one year older than Singapore.
First used as a logo by the then-STPB, its name combines ‘mer’, meaning the sea, and ‘lion’. The fish is supposed to allude to the country’s beginnings as a ‘fishing village’ – a narrative debunked by historical records which show Singapore was a thriving harbour as early as the 14th century. The lion head represents Singapore’s original name – Singapura – meaning ‘lion city’ in Sanskrit.
The Merlion has since become synonymous with Singapore. The original statue of the creature, at the mouth of the Singapore River, was made by sculptor Lim Nang Seng and unveiled by the late founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1972.
The view of the famous water-sprouting Merlion was obstructed when the Esplanade Bridge was built in 1997, so the statue moved 120 metres away from its original position in 2002. At eight metres tall and weighing 70 tonnes, the creature now stands at Merlion Park, overlooking the Marina Bay. It has subsequently been joined by a Merlion cub, which is located near the original statue and measures just two metres tall.
There are a total of six Merlions in Singapore. Two of the other four statues, at three metres tall, are at the peak of Mount Faber and the STB headquarters near Grange Road. The remaining two Merlions are a pair in the heartland, in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1. Flanking the entrance of a carpark that leads to Blocks 216 to 222, the creatures were built in 1998 for $30,000 by the Ang Mo Kio Residential Committee.
#TriviaTuesday #Merlion #MerlionPark #MerlionSingapore #Singapore #Singapura