Friday, February 03, 2006

It was a night out wif the guys & gals. We were passing time actually at the river before we went ahead to catch a movie. We were an eclectic bunch: Ez Jazz with the enigmatic auntie Zie, Firdaus & his Dee, Viali, Yuslie & Liza. And of course, myself & Mr SES.
The guys were as usual making an ass of themselves, posing for the camera while I became in focus myself by two pairs of eyes. I do understand why though. People often find it strange that amidst such strongly bonded circle of friends, I had always seemed aloof. It just takes them awhile to understand.

I was fixated on the Merlion. Not that it was my first time seeing it, just that particular night, it brought a new meaning to me. So, I went over to take a look from another angle.

The merlion (???) is a statue with the head of a lion and the body of a fish. Its name comes from a portmanteau of mermaid and lion. The merlion was designed by Fraser Brunner for the Singapore Tourism Board in 1964 and was used as its logo up to 1997. The Merlion continues to be its trademark symbol. It also appears frequently in STB-approved souvenirs. The original Merlion statue stands at the opening of the Singapore River while a taller replica can be found on Sentosa Island.

According to the Singapore Tourism Board's publicity, the lion head and fish body of the creature recalls the story of the legendary Sang Nila Utama, who saw a lion while hunting on an island, en route to Malacca. The island eventually became the sea port of Temasek, a precursor to Singapore.

Apparently, there's someone in the Singapore Tourism Board who'd lived through Sang Nila Utama's time to tell the tale.
I remembered a long time ago when an uncle brought me to see the original Merlion in the mid 80s. The water gushing out of the Merlion's mouth were on a timer. Water flowed intermittenly. I asked my uncle why it does that, and he mentioned something about agendas and trade labour unions...well something to that effect.

Nowadays, the Merlion coughs away steady jets of water without needing to exhale. The very same question popped up in my head...why?
I looked around me. It was Chinese New Year and there were lots of people around. Then I looked at my friends and my focus dropped to a single individual. Ah, that's why... And realized that, if I was a Merlion, I'd probably do that too. Spilling my guts into the river, out to the sea!