#onthisday (15 Sep 1972) The Merlion Statue
#onthisday (15 Sep 1972) The Merlion statue was unveiled by then-PM Lee Kuan Yew, at the mouth of the Singapore River.
📷: The Merlion statue at the original location it was unveiled, near the mouth of the Singapore river. [NAS]
The Merlion was conceptualised in 1964 as an icon for the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). Meant to embody our island’s history, the Merlion’s fish-like body commemorates the island’s origins as a fishing village (then known as Temasek), while its lion-like head pays homage to our city’s original name, Singapura (“The Lion City”).
The 8.6 metre-tall Merlion statue, built by local sculptor Lim Nang Seng, was special in more than just its design, which boasted a water spout and unique part-lion, part-fish body. It personified Singapore’s efforts to become a global city, worthy of attracting the world. The influx of tourism and foreign investment in the coming years would eventually cement Singapore’s status as a regional travel and economic hub, bringing economic prosperity to the island.
📷: Local sculptor Lim Nang Seng (left), who sculpted the Merlion statue. [NAS]
In 2002, the Merlion statue was relocated to its present home at Merlion Park, overlooking Marina Bay. Then-SM Lee Kuan Yew remarked at the inaugural ceremony that the move would “mark a new chapter in making Singapore into a major tourist hub”.
Indeed, the Merlion statue witnessed the development of iconic landmarks such as the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer, as Singapore progressed and prospered. Today, as we celebrate the Merlion’s golden jubilee, let us reflect on the important role that tourism played in Singapore’s growth and continue to welcome the world to our shores.
[From 15 Sep to 29 Sep, the Merlion statue at Merlion Park will be lit up in a golden hue to commemorate its 50th birthday.]
📷: The Merlion statue at Merlion Park, overlooking Marina Bay. [Fad3away@Flickr (Creative Commons)]