The Merlion is a species of Friend that has only appeared in a tweet by Mine Yoshizaki for CharaExpo 2017, a two day anime convention held in Singapore which hosted an event featuring several Kemono Friends voice actresses.
Merlion has pure white, shoulder to waist length hair which is styled in flat ended bunches cut at different lengths. At the front of her head she has two white lion ears. She also has vibrant emerald colored eyes and thick, dark lashes.
Merlion is dressed in a white three button waist coat featuring a Singapore flag pocket square within it’s breast pocket, a white undershirt with a white cravat and pulled up sleeves. She also wears a pair of colonial breeches inspired white leggings and white gloves. The shoes Merlion wears are a pair of white penny loafers with a ribbed tongue.
Merlion has a very large fish tail covered in scallop shell shaped scales, with a slight rainbow-colored shadow along the bottom. Her tail fin unevenly rounded.
The Merlion is a national icon of Singapore, often depicted as an embodiment of the country. Merlion is most well-known for it’s statue in downtown Singapore.
The Merlion was originally designed as a corporate logo in 1964 by the British ichthyologist Alec Fraser-Brunner for what is now known as the Singapore Tourism Board. According to the Board, the lion half of the design is inspired by the legend of Sang Nila Utama. The 13th century Palembang prince is said to have encountered a lion during his founding of a settlement on Temasek island. Sang Nila Utama then named the settlement Singapura, a Sanskrit derived Malay name which translates to “Lion City”. This settlement eventually became modern-day Singapore. The fish half of the design is said by Board member, Ms. Serene Tan to represent Singapore’s old roots as a fishing village. Although, this design was retired in 1997 the Singapore Tourism Board retained their control over the Merlion design with the Section 24 amendment of the Singapore Tourism Board Act. Today the design is very prominently featured on tourist souvenirs sold in Singapore.
The most famous and recognizable piece of Merlion media is it’s sea water spouting, 28.2-foot-tall (8.6 metres) statue, located in Merlion Park at the Marina Bay waterfront in Singapore’s Downtown Core. This statue is one of five different, officially authorized Merlion statues in Singapore. It, along with a much smaller twin statue, was designed by Kwan Sai Kheong and sculpted by Lim Nang Seng in 1972, as a result of Brunner’s original Merlion design gaining much local popularity. The two statues were unveiled on September 15th of that year by then Singapore Prime Minester Lee Kuan Yew, in the former Merlion Park at the mouth of the Singapore River. The statue was intentionally faced in the eastern direction as it is believed by some to be a direction of prosperity. With the construction of the Esplanade Bridge in 1997, the view of Merlion’s iconic statue from the bay waterfront was obscured.
In 2002 the statues were moved to the eastern side of the bridge, 394 feet (120 metres) away, to a newly built pier overlooking Marina Bay. Merlion Park was also extended to include an area more than four times it previous size. The Merlion statue was then unveiled in it’s new location on September 15th, again by former Prime Minister Lee, on the 30th anniversary of the statue’s original debut. Despite this relocation, the statue’s original eastern direction was preserved. Since it’s debut in 1972, the Merlion statue has become one of Singapore’s most popular tourist attractions.
- In 2009 the Merlion statue was struck by lightning, damaging a section of it’s head. This damage was later repaired.
- In 2011 a small temporary hotel room encasing the Merlion statue was built atop scaffolding surrounding the statue. This was constructed as a promotional piece for Singapore’s Biennale festival, a contemporary art exhibit. Dubbed “The Merlion Hotel” this room was made available for guests at the cost of 150 Singapore dollars a night and lasted from April 4th to May 6th.
- Leadbeater, Chris. “Mane Event: Singapore's Merlion Statue Is Turned into Hotel Room for Biennale Festival.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 24 Feb. 2011, www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-1360421/Singapores-Merlion-statue-converted-hotel-room-Biennale-festival.html. Accessed on 26th, Febuary, 2018.
- “Lighting Strikes Merlion.” 938Live.sg, MediaCorp, 28 Feb. 2009, 11:00 PM, Internet Archive. <https://web.archive.org/web/20090305095404/http://938live.sg/portal/site/938Live/menuitem.43735da1634c4377d21b2910618000a0/?vgnextoid=a96bb1d5b8cbf110VgnVCM1000001f0aa8c0RCRD&mcParam=18d2638896593110VgnVCM100000e101000aRCRD>. Accessed on 26th, Febuary, 2018.
- “Merlion Park.” Visit Singapore, www.visitsingapore.com/see-do-singapore/recreation-leisure/viewpoints/merlion-park/. Accessed on 21st, February, 2018.
- Rahman, Nor Afidah Abd. “Sang Nila Utama.” Infopedia, National Library Board Singapore, 4 Apr. 2016, eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_93_2005-01-26.html. Accessed on 18th, February, 2018.
- Ting, Yeo Kai. “The Symbol of Singapore: The Merlion.” Channel NewsAsia, Mediacorp, 17 Mar. 2017, www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/the-symbol-of-singapore-the-merlion-8228784. Accessed on 17th, February, 2018.
- Yuan, Yong Chun. “Merlion.” Infopedia, National Library Board Singapore, 30 June 2011, eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_938_2004-12-27.html. Accessed on 18th, February, 2018.
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