Saturday, October 30, 2010

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The Merlion, Singapore

The symbol of Singapore

The Merlion on Sentosa island, December 2008.

The Merlion is the symbol of Singapore. That's why I have chosen the logo and placed it on every post about Singapore, so people can immediately know I'm writing about the famous Lion City. The Merlion is half fish, half lion. The origin of the name for Singapore (Malay singa pura means lion city) connects Singapore with lions, although they probably never lived in the area. The founder of Singapore has most likely seen tigers, hence he should've named the settlement Harimaupura, which would probably result in the English version Hairypore. But luckily for Singapore, that has never happened.

The Merlion was designed in 1964 as an emblem for the Singapore Tourism Board and has later become a symbol of Singapore (Singaporeans know how to promote their tiny country, hats down to that).

There are 5 statues of the Merlion in Singapore today. I've seen three of them. The most famous is in the so called Merlion park, which is located in Singapore's downtown, close to the Fullerton Hotel (as seen on photos below). Behind it is a small replica. The biggest is located on Sentosa island and is 37m tall (as seen on the photos above). You can go inside that one, watch a cartoon and go on top and see Singapore from his mouth.

See some of my photos of the Merlion. I took them in December 2005 and December 2008.

Merlion in December, 2005.

Merlion in December, 2008.

See also my high-definition Merlion photo here>>

Merlion on December, 2008, on the right is the Esplanade.

Merlion in December, 2008, behind is Singapore's downtown.

There is a statue of a fish with a lion head in Hsinchu (Taiwan), that resembles the Merlion. But this one looks more like a dragon mixed with fish, the face looks very fishy, though. I'm not sure, whether it's a copy or not.

[My SINGAPORE page][All photos by MKL, 2005, 2008 and 2010]


  1. Interesting I never knew Singapore had such an interesting symbol. I kind of like it...a Lion/ statues.

  2. @Becks: Well, I had no clue about this legendary creature until I visited Singapore for the first time in 2005. Pretty cool idea. They know how to advertise their city, it's full of tourists, although the history is pretty meager compared to the Slovenian. But we're still not so known and usually mistaken for Slovakia... -_- We need to learn from Singapore.

  3. there was a legend saying that the founder is sang nila utam and it use to be called temasek.

    another myth/legend is on singapura dilanggar todak ie singapore atack by swordfish. i cant find good translation for you in english but its an interesting story.

    we need to study singapura as part of our history lesson due to spore use to be part of malaysia.

  4. @Lily Riani: Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Just to share a local term that Singaporean clubbers use.

    When we say "She is doing the Merlion", it means she drunk so much alcohol that she is puking. =p

  6. @Shingo: Cool. I did not know about that :-P Thanks for sharing :))