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New York has the Statue of Liberty. Paris has it’s Eiffel Tower. London has got Big Ben.

Singapore has a massive statue of a Merlion which has laser eyes and shoots a jet of water out of it’s mouth. This half-lion, half-mermaid creature is one of Singapore’s top attractions.


There are, as far as I can tell, two explanations for the statue. They are as follows:

Prince Sang Nila Utana led a naval expedition and discovered an island. On his way, he spotted a strange mythical beast in the seas. Upon arrival, the island’s inhabitants informed him that what he had seen was a lion.
The lion, he concluded, must have provided them with safe passage, and thenceforth also protected the island from harm.
‘Singa’ (Lion) and ‘Pura’ (City) thus combines to form modern Singapore. The lion statue represents this story and also reminds us of Singapore’s humble beginnings as a fishing village.

“The Merlion helps to sell Singapore overseas” says local tourism expert Pamelia Lee. It was designed in 1964 by World Souvenir Committee member Fraser Brunner on behalf of the Singapore Tourist Board. It now attracts 1million visitors per year, and even has a family with a nearby mini-merlion and Sentosa-based behemothic copy. Admirably shameless self-promotion!

[Pictured: Merlion copycat at Sentosa Resort World]

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