In the heart of Singapore, a mystical creature stands as an iconic symbol, captivating both locals and tourists alike with its enigmatic charm. The Merlion, a hybrid creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, has become synonymous with the city-state’s rich heritage, culture, and progress. As we explore more about this captivating mythical creature, let’s uncover the lesser-known Merlion facts that make it more than just a tourist attraction.
The Merlion is the icon of Singapore. When people talk about Singapore overseas, most of them will commonly relate Singapore to the Merlion symbol. And, this is a perfect case study of successful marketing by Singapore Tourism Board over the years. If you are curious about Merlion, here are some the little known Merlion facts that you probably didn’t know.
- Origins of Merlion
- Merlion Facts
- 10 FAQs on Merlion
- What is the Merlion?
- What does the Merlion symbolize?
- Where is the original Merlion statue located?
- Are there other Merlion statues in Singapore?
- What is the significance of the Merlion’s fish tail?
- Can I toss coins into the water around the Merlion?
- What are some myths surrounding the Merlion?
- How has the Merlion influenced pop culture?
- Are there any variations of the Merlion?
- How has the Merlion evolved with technology?
Origins of Merlion
The tale of the Merlion began in 1964, when the creature was conceptualized as a symbol to represent Singapore’s unique identity. The brainchild of Singapore’s former Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Toh Chin Chye, the Merlion’s lion head pays homage to the city’s original name, “Singapura,” which means “Lion City” in Malay. The fish body symbolizes the nation’s origin as a fishing village and its maritime history, emphasizing its close connection with the sea.
Merlion is older than Singapore
The Merlion is 1 year older than Singapore. It is designed in 1963 and then officially used as the then Singapore Tourism Board’s logo in the year 1964. Singapore becomes an independent nation in 1965, thus Merlion is 1 year older than Singapore
Purpose of Merlion
You probably wonder why Singapore created Merlion. Merlion’s fish body symbolises Singapore’s origins as a fishing village and it is created to welcome all visitors to Singapore. It has been successful since its pilot launch.
Merlion struck by lightning
Merlion survived a lightning strike! In 2009, Singapore’s Merlion Park is damaged by lightning during a thunderstorm. It was quite severe that parts of the statue dropped off near a group of tourists. Fortunately, no one was hurt. This incident was covered by quite a number of major news portal.
Highest Merlion in Singapore
Guess where you can find the highest Merlion in Singapore? It’s not the Merlion in Sentosa! The highest Merlion in Singapore is located in Mount Faber. You will be able to find a 3 metres high Merlion situated in Faber Point, the highest point of Mount Faber.
Largest Merlion in Singapore
While the original Merlion statue stands proudly at the mouth of the Singapore River, there are actually several other Merlion statues scattered across the island. One of the most prominent is the 37-meter-tall Merlion statue located at Sentosa Island, showcasing a majestic view of the city skyline. Yes, the largest Merlion in Singapore is in Sentosa. It measures 37m in height as compared to other Merlions which measures 16.6m combined. Do you know that the Merlion in Sentosa is the only Merlion in Singapore where you can enter its body?
Tooth of Merlion
Each tooth of Merlion represents an ethnic group in Singapore. It signifies prosperity for all different races in Singapore. Want to know how many ethnic group Singapore has? Next time, if you have the chance, count its tooth.
Merlion appeared in Anime
Japanese love Merlion! I don’t know why exactly though. Merlion has appeared in several Japanese anime like Cowboy Behop, Hajime Satō’s, Hidamari Sketch, Seitokai no Ichizon and more. Maybe next time, Singapore should invest in a Japanese anime to promote Singapore culture. See how PM Lee (Prime minister of Singapore) encountered a Merlion during his vacation here.
Cost of building Merlion
Singapore spent millions building the Merlion statues. The cost to build the original Merlion in Merlion Park is around S$165,000, but the relocation and expansion of Merlion Park are around S$7.5M. As expected the 37m Merlion in Sentosa is the most expensive and it cost S$8M.
What is Merlion made up of
Many wonder what Merlion is made up of exactly. To be exact, it has a lion head with the body of a fish. It is an imaginary creature designed by Fraser Brunner.
Merlion has an owner
Like most pets, Merlion has an owner too. Its owner is the Singapore Tourist Board.
Merlion embraces AR Technology
Singapore is striving to be a smart nation. So does Merlion! The pop-art Merlion statue at RWS Sentosa will transform into a white Merlion sprouting water if you scan it using the Trickeye Museum AR App.
Hope you have fun with these facts about Merlion! If next time if you visit Singapore, be sure to check out the Merlion. You can’t say you visited Singapore without having a photo taken with the national icon.
10 FAQs on Merlion
What is the Merlion?
The Merlion is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. It is an iconic symbol of Singapore, representing the city-state’s history, culture, and maritime heritage.
What does the Merlion symbolize?
The Merlion symbolizes Singapore’s origins as a fishing village (“Singapura” means “Lion City” in Malay) and its strong ties to the sea. It also embodies prosperity, protection, and good fortune.
Where is the original Merlion statue located?
The original Merlion statue is situated at Merlion Park near the mouth of the Singapore River, offering a stunning view of the city’s skyline. This location has become a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
Are there other Merlion statues in Singapore?
Yes, there are several other Merlion statues across Singapore. One of the most well-known is the towering 37-meter-tall Merlion on Sentosa Island. Various adaptations, including the Merlion cub, have also been created for special occasions and celebrations.
What is the significance of the Merlion’s fish tail?
The fish tail represents Singapore’s maritime history and its connection to the sea. It reflects the city’s reliance on water for trade, development, and its transformation into a global economic hub.
Can I toss coins into the water around the Merlion?
Yes, tossing coins into the water around the Merlion has become a tradition. It is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. The collected coins are often donated to charitable causes.
What are some myths surrounding the Merlion?
There are various myths and legends surrounding the Merlion. Some tales depict it as a guardian of the city’s shores, while others weave it into ancient folklore, adding an element of mystery to its identity.
How has the Merlion influenced pop culture?
The Merlion’s influence extends beyond statues. It has become a symbol in Singapore’s pop culture, appearing in merchandise, movies, literature, and more. It represents the blending of tradition and modernity.
Are there any variations of the Merlion?
Yes, variations of the Merlion have emerged over time. These include adaptations for different events and celebrations, showcasing the Merlion’s adaptability and evolving significance.
How has the Merlion evolved with technology?
In recent years, the Merlion has been transformed into a digital avatar, representing Singapore’s technological advancements. The concept of the “Virtual Merlion” showcases the city’s ability to seamlessly integrate tradition with innovation.
The Merlion is much more than a tourist attraction—it’s a testament to Singapore’s history, culture, and aspirations. With its roots intertwined in maritime heritage and mythological narratives, this mystical creature stands as a guardian of prosperity, a link to the past, and a harbinger of the future. As you walk along the shores of Singapore, take a moment to appreciate the Merlion not just as an iconic statue, but as a symbol that encapsulates the essence of a nation’s journey.