#857 The Merlion, Singapore
Inaugurated in 1972, moved in 2002, struck by lightning in 2009, the Merlion in Singapore is an icon -- and what a strange one to have chosen: the mix of a lion and a fish. Where does such a symbol come from? Well, the answer is Indian murals, Etruscan coins, western heraldry, at one time claimed by Portsmouth, Manila and the East India Company, so not really uniquely Singaporean at all. And did you know there are actually 5 official merlions recognized by the Singapore Government? The 8.6 meter original, a 2 meter cub behind it, a 37 meter on Sentosa Island designed by an Australian, and two 3 meter ones in Tourism Court and Faber Point. There's also an official merlion in a restaurant of that name in California. I wonder what it means to be an official merlion! Interestingly, while it's body is concrete, the skin is porcelain plates and the eyes are red teacups!


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