Merlionicity Part II: Familiarity breeds afection

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Marine and Island Cultures, 2017, 6 (2), pp. 78 - 88
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2017 Institution for Marine and Island Cultures, Mokpo National University. The merlion is a figure that comprises the upper half of a lion and the lower half of a fish. In an earlier issue of this journal (1[2], 2012), I charted the merlion’s invention and introduction as a logo for Singaporean tourism in the 1960s and its memorialisation as a fountain statue in 1972. After examining a variety of cultural engagements with it during the 1970s-1990s, I concluded by analysing interpretations offered by artists contributing to the 2006 and 2011 Singaporean Biennales. In this follow-up article I explore the extent to which Singaporeans, expatriates and visitors have developed an increasing degree of affection for the figure. As subsequent sections detail, various recent deployments indicate that for some tourists, expatriates and Singaporean nationals, at least, the merlion is now regarded as a symbol that can be used in playful, ironic and/or often personalised manners, such as, most notably, a logo that they are willing to have inscribed on their flesh.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: