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Merlion and Merlion Walk

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Merlion and Merlion Walk

          The Merlion is a cross between a lion and a fish. It is the National Symbol of Singapore. The lion symbolizes courage, strength and excellence. The five partings of the mane and the five stars represent the ideals embodied in the five stars of the Singapore flag - democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

          The moment you enter Sentosa's true Merlion, get ready for a fascinating encounter and memorable experience of your life. Walking side-by-side with legendary sea dragons and mythical mermaids as you watch all your greatest and wildest imaginations of the ocean come alive is truly magical. Next, relive the origins of the Merlion in an enchanting animation feature and discover what fortune lies in store for you at the mouth of the Mercubs.
          The biggest replica of Singapore’s most enduring symbol, Merlion, is to found right here in Sentosa. The Merlion – half-lion, half-fish – on Sentosa is 37 metres high and has 320 scales sculpted from glass-reinforced concrete. Merlion is considered Singapore’s benevolent guardian and is one of the many mysteries of the sea. By night, these scales are a sight to behold as they glow in different colours. You can take the lift to the top floor and from there you will be rewarded with a 360° view of Sentosa and Singapore’s southern shores. From the Mouth Gallery Viewing Deck on level 9, you can even spot Singapore’s impressive skyline.
          To fully appreciate the beauty of Merlion you should know a brief history of Merlion. Over the years, the Merlion symbol has become well-known through its wide use and has come to be identified with Singapore. With the change of the Board's corporate identity in 1997, a new corporate logo was adopted. The Merlion continues to be a symbol protected under the Singapore Tourism Board Act and the prior approval of the Board has to be obtained before the Merlion symbol can be used. The Merlion is very significant to Singapore. The choice of the Merlion as a symbol for Singapore has its roots in history, The Merlion commemorates the ancient name and the legend taken from the "Malay Annals" (literary and historical work from the 15th or 16th century) explaining how Singapore received its present name. In ancient times, Singapore was known as Temasek which is Javanese for the sea. It was then, as it is today, a centre of trade. At the end of the 4th century A.D, Temasek was destroyed by the Siamese, according to some historians, but by the Javanese according to others. As recorded in the legend in the Malay Annals," Prince Nila Utama of the Sri Vijaya Empire rediscovered the island later in the 11th century A.D. On seeing a strange beast (which he later learnt was a lion) upon his landing he named the island Singapura which is a Sanskrit word for Lion (Singa) City (Pura).


          The Merlion, with its fish-like body riding the waves of the sea, is symbolic of the ancient city of Temasek. At the same time, its majestic head recalls the legend of the discovery of Singapore by Prince Nila Utama in the 11th century, when Singapore received its present name.
          When you’re satisfied with gazing at the splendid views from the head of Merlion, head out the back and stroll down the Merlion Walk, a 120-metre-long Gaudi-inspired mosaic walkway. A mosaic is a pict
ure or decorative design made by setting small colored pieces, as of stone or tile, into a surface. Gaudi (1852-1926) is a Spanish architect who worked mainly in Barcelona, developing a startling new style that paralleled developments in art nouveau. His most celebrated work is the façade of the Expiatory Church of the Holy Family. As you walk down the walkway, treat your olfactory lobes to the aromas exuding from over 50 types of spice and herb plants in the Spice and Scented Gardens flanking both sides of the Merlion Walk. The water features in and around the Merlion and Merlion Walk are a joy to look at. The Merlion walk is just behind the Merlion and it is fun watching the sprouts of jumping water. At night, this place is lit with thousands of tiny bulbs and it's almost always deserted. Merlion and the walkway in front of the Merlion is hailed as one of the most romantic spots in Singapore.


          Merlion was recently (around June of 2004) renovated and upgraded, offering new interactive experiences for visitors. This is part of the plan that Sentosa is undertaking to renew its attraction to usher in more visitors. The new Merlion experience begins with a pre-show that introduces visitors to sea mysteries from many cultures. Lively and original music follows guests as they pass dioramas depicting mermaids, lake monsters, sea serpents; movie creatures and other deep-dwelling enigmas.

Upgrading

          The Merlion has been given a $1.5 million facelift. The 37-metre tall national icon and tourist attraction, which has been closed for nearly half a year, now tells the Merlion story. A narrator on the screen said: "Well hello! Welcome, welcome to the Merlion on Sentosa Island." The Merlion still stands tall on Sentosa, but the inside of the national icon has been totally refurbished.
          Visitors will find themselves in an underwater world and learn about the mystical Merlion and other creatures of the deep - some beautiful, some menacing.
          Since the facelift, it now costs $8 to visit the Sentosa Merlion - up from $5. But from mid-July, visitors can buy a $26 Sentosa Experience ticket which includes entry to the Merlion, several other attractions and a cable car ride.


          The attraction’s main theatre showcases Singapore’s own sea mysteries–the storm that threatened Prince Sang Nila Utama in the 11th century as he travelled to the island he would name "Singapura," or Lion City; and the development of the Merlion as a symbol of welcome and guardian of Singapore’s good fortune. These stories, presented using animation from Hollywood’s ACME Filmworks, are told in a themed space that puts audience members into the heart of the action. Afterward, visitors can participate in an interactive experience, which allows them to see whether they, too, have been touched by the luck of the Merlion.
          Jack Rouse Associates (JRA), an American design and master planning firm, designed and produced the new Merlion experience as part of their project to redevelop several attractions at Sentosa Island.
          JRA has been working on the project in conjunction with Los Angeles-based BRC Imagination Arts, which is responsible for revamping Sentosa’s Images of Singapore, Warehouse of the Four Winds, and Celebrations attractions. Those attractions are slated to open next summer. Also opening next summer is a JRA-designed refurbishment of the Merlion plaza area and a new food court and retail store associated with the BRC projects.
           The admission fees for Merlion are priced at S$8 for adults and S$5 for children between 3 and 12 years old. Merlion is opened from 10am to 8 pm daily but last entry is only allowed by 7.30 pm. Merlion Walk required no admission fees. Merlion and Merlion Walk are easily accessible. You can reach there by taking a Blue or Green Bus Services.
 

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 Copyright Material of Group 88.
Last updated: 08/15/04.