Standing proudly at the mouth of the Singapore River, the imposing Merlion fountain has come to symbolize the country of Singapore. However, unlike most mythical creatures that grace various cities around the world, the Merlion’s history cannot be traced back to ancient Singapore or Southeast Asian folklore.
Instead, it originated in the 1960s when the Singapore Tourism Board decided on it as a symbol of the city. The original statue was first opened in 1972 and relocated to its current position in 2002.
The Merlion was designed with a lion’s head as a tribute to the city’s nickname, “The Lion City”, and with the body of a fish to symbolize’s Singapore’s past status as a fishing village.
The statue is 9 meters tall and features a stream of water coming from its mouth. This has led to local citizens referring to those vomit after to much alcohol as “doing the Merlion”.
There are also several replicas around the city, including a 30-meter tall Merlion statue on Sentosa Island that has several viewing platforms.
What do you think of the Merlion? Is it a tacky tourist trap or is it a beautiful icon to Singapore’s past?