Sleeping with the Merlion

Sleeping with the Merlion

IMG_0636Half fish and half lion, a merlion. (That is a new one for me). This mythical creature was created by the Singapore Tourism Board in 1964. It represents a fish/mermaid to symbolize Singapore’s maritime industry and a lion which was spotted by a prince back in 11 AD as he stepped onto Singapore’s shores.

The Merlion is 28 feet high, weighs 63 tons and is made of cement, with little red teacups for its eyes (not sure what that is all about) and porcelain plates for its scales. One of the most photographed statues in Singapore and probably the world, it is magnificent to behold as water cascades from his mouth into the bay.

And for one month in 2011 it was made into a single room 5 star hotel. Temporary walls were erected around the statue, a bathroom was installed, and a butler assigned. Part of an art exhibit, this is one of the most creative marketing tools I have ever seen. The hotel sold out in hours and was publicized throughout the world. Quite a bargain for $125 US a night!

So China has their dragon as a national symbol, Scotland has the unicorn and Singapore has its Merlion. I wonder what other mythical creatures exist?