Sentosa Merlion too dear an icon to be demolished

Work to demolish the 37m-tall statue, the largest of the seven across Singapore, will begin by the year end.
Work to demolish the 37m-tall statue, the largest of the seven across Singapore, will begin by the year end.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

I was disappointed to learn that the Sentosa Merlion is going to be demolished because of its size (Sentosa Merlion to make way for themed linkway project, Sept 21).

It is one of Singapore's most iconic structures. Designed by Australian sculptor James Martin and constructed in 1995, it has stood watch over Sentosa and its visitors since then.

A simple Web search for the Sentosa Merlion brings up websites advertising it as a landmark not to be missed.

More than just a tourist attraction, the Merlion is the official mascot of Singapore, and because of its size, there has always been something special about the Sentosa Merlion. Standing at 37m tall, it is the largest and tallest Merlion and the only one that visitors can walk around in.

To build a nation, you need heartware as well as hardware. Heartware means safeguarding those places and things that are dear to Singaporeans.

I am astonished that something as iconic as the Merlion cannot be relocated. If there is enough space on Sentosa for a casino, there must be enough space for one stone sculpture.

I am aware that there are six other Merlions in Singapore. But some things cannot be replaced. And some things are important enough that they should not be replaced.

Lee Yue Lin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2019, with the headline 'Sentosa Merlion too dear an icon to be demolished'. Print Edition | Subscribe