Merlion Goes Gold: The Merlion Park statue celebrates its 50th anniversary in style. Photo / Joshua Ang, Unsplash
It’s not a mermaid, nor a lion. Either way, Singapore has made the Merlion its own and it has stood on Singapore’s waterfront for five decades.
Since 1972, the Merlion statue has seen great changes in the Singapore skyline. Part fish, part cat, the Merlion’s location has made it one of the top free attractions for international visitors. Otherwise the best selfie spot in Singapore.
As the Merlion Fountain turns 50 in September, the city celebrates its unconventional mascot and the role it plays in tourism.
The creature is now an enduring symbol of Singapore around the world, said chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board, Keith Tan.
“It is also synonymous with tourism, which has helped make Singapore a vibrant city and a home of which Singaporeans can be proud. After two difficult years for our industry, it is time for us to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the Merlion and invite both locals and visitors to join in the celebrations,” he said.
From September 15-29, the fountain in One Fullerton Square will be the center of the world’s largest – and only – Merlion-themed festival.
There will be a carnival, with a Merlion themed treasure hunt game – AKA the Merli-Go-Round. There will also be Merlion products and Merli ice cream cookies. At the center of the feast will be the statue itself, which will be illuminated for the Golden Jubilee.
The nearby Fullerton Hotel will also join in the festivities in September, offering afternoon tea on Singaporean bumboots to guests passing Sealion Park.
The marine feline is 50 years old and looks good.
Half fish, half cat, all from Singapore
The mascot was commissioned in 1964 as the logo for the newly formed Tourist Board.
Coming from maritime tradition and the name of the city Singapura – which means “Lion City” – the mythical creature was not natural for the country.
It has since become a symbol of the city in films, literature and even computer games – appearing in Mario Kart races.