Did you know that “Merlion” is actually a word combination of a mermaid and a lion? So, if it's a mermaid...it must be female. Wait...it could be a combination of a lion and a mer-man, right? So it could be a male! And it's head has long hair like a male lion, so it MUST be a male!
The Merlion has become an almost visual cliché to Singapore as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. This symbol has become well-known and has come to be identified with no other country in the world but Singapore.
If you would look at it closely, the Merlion, aside from its obvious lion-headed-with-fish-like-body features – it is actually riding a wave! *a surfer's icon? Whoa!* This is as important as the other parts of the symbol as it represents the ancient city of Temasek (the Javanese name of the island before it was named “Singapura”). Singapore adapted the Merlion as its symbol exclusively for the Singapore Tourism Board in 1972.
The original statue of the Merlion is 8.6 metres tall and weighs more than 70 tons! It was sculpted by a Singaporean craftsman named Lim Nang Seng as commissioned by the great Lee Kuan Yew. It cost over $165,000 to build in 1971! The statue was installed at the mouth of the Singapore River to welcome all visitors to this brilliant city.
Exactly 30 years after its installation in 15 September 1972, the original Merlion was moved to an area overlooking Marina Bay on 15 September 2002. Marina Bay is a now the cultural center of Singapore and the home of the future Singapore F1 Circuit.
As we all know, the Merlion has to be the most photographed structure in Singapore. You never been to Singapore if you don’t have any picture next to it. Please bear in mind that the Merlion (and much taller) in Sentosa is a copy-cat *I mean copy-mermaid or copy-merman, whatever*. Its head is twisted to the right and sprouts light. Ha! The original sprouts water, thank you very much.
Whatever you do, no matter how the guidebooks says Merlion Park is in Marina Bay -- never get off Marina Bay MRT Station no matter how you insist the Merlion is there and piss your friends. *this goes for me :p* Just follow the directions below. Take the MRT to Raffles Place and take exit H. Follow the signs to One Fullerton where it is just 5 mins walk to it. The Asian Civilizations Museum and the Esplanade are also just a stone-throw away.
So! The Merlion was a female all along! And a mom! Take that!
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