Singapore's Merlion turns 40 this September

Singapore's iconic Merlion turns 40 on 15 September 2012 this year. Following four decades of being in the limelight as a key tourist attraction, the Merlion is eagerly awaiting its first holiday in years.

From 22 June to end-August 2012, visitors to the Merlion Park will be greeted with cheery illustrations of the Merlion visiting various attractions and landmarks around Singapore, including the Singapore Zoo, Jurong Bird Park and the Henderson Waves. Plain large boarding, or hoardings, will first be installed on 15 June 2012.

Flickr: B_cool

These illustrations will adorn temporary hoarding surrounding the Merlion statue as it undergoes restoration works to repair fine crack lines, clean stubborn stains as well as to replace the waveform on which the Merlion sits. These reconditioning works will be completed in time for the Merlion’s birthday celebration in September.

"The Merlion statue at the Merlion Park started out as a tourism icon 40 years ago to help us embody Singapore in the minds of visitors as part of our destination promotions," said Mr Chew Tiong Heng, Executive Director of the Destination Experience Group at the Singapore Tourism Board. "Today, this unique icon is now widely held as a must-see attraction by many of our overseas guests. More significantly, the Merlion has also evolved over the decades to become a deeply-rooted symbol of Singapore in the minds of many Singaporeans, one that has been through thick and thin, bad and good times with all of us here in Singapore."

With the Merlion Park consistently being one of the top five most-visited free-access attractions in Singapore, the STB worked with Ms Elaine Chan, a young local illustrator who is also an avid Merlion fan, to develop the hoarding visuals so that visitors to the Park could continue to enjoy a Merlion experience.

"The Merlion has been a source of inspiration for me because it symbolises the hopes and dreams of Singapore. When drawing the Merlion, I try to bring it to life, and I hope my illustrations portrayed the vibrancy of Singapore. I am very excited to be part of this project and on a personal note, it is a great way of remembering the Merlion's 40th birthday!" said Ms Elaine Chan, illustrator of the Merlion on Holiday visuals.

Before the Merlion's September birthday celebration, there are also other ways for the public to remember and create new memories of this well-loved symbol of Singapore.

Follow the Merlion's holiday in Singapore

Fans can look forward to special 40th birthday photo opportunities with the Merlion. With visuals adapted from the hoarding illustrations, some life-sized cut-outs will be placed at selected attractions and landmarks such as the Night Safari, Singapore Flyer and the Jurong Bird Park from July to end- August.

Sharing Memories of the Merlion

As part of the Merlion's 40th birthday celebrations, STB and the Singapore Memory Project (SMP), led by the National Library Board, are collaborating on irememberMerlion. This initiative aims to collect precious moments and memories of the Merlion from Singaporeans and overseas friends through the SMP portal at To share rich stories and experiences on the Merlion, one can open a personal memory account via the website and tag "Merlion" to the post.

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