Restore stone lions on Merdeka Bridge

As Singapore prepares to mark the 200th year since Sir Stamford Raffles' arrival here, it may be apt to remember another significant period in our colonial history - when we attained partial self-government in 1955 to when we attained full self-government in 1959.

A symbol of Singapore's aspiration for independence then was the Merdeka Bridge, which still spans the Kallang Basin and adjoins Nicoll Highway.

It was opened with great fanfare in 1956 by our then Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock.

One distinctive feature of the bridge was the majestic stone lion at either end of the bridge.

Each was positioned crouching and roaring at the base of a tall stone pillar covered with blue mosaic and bearing the old Singapore coat of arms.

They stood there with pride until 1966, when the pillars were demolished due to the widening of Nicoll Highway.

They were then moved to the nearby Stadium Walk.

Today, the lions are at the Safti Military Institute and mostly out of the public's sight and mind.


PHOTO: NANYANG

Without these lions, Merdeka Bridge looks nondescript and like just another ordinary road.

In fact, a number of Singaporeans, especially the younger ones, may not even realise that they are travelling on a historic bridge.

I hope the government ministries will be able to restore the Merdeka lions to their rightful places of pride on the bridge and even rebuild the stone pillars.

This will be a fitting tribute to our pioneer generation's aspirations during those colonial times towards nationhood.

Edwin Pang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 31, 2018, with the headline 'Restore stone lions on Merdeka Bridge'. Print Edition | Subscribe