SINGAPORE - As one of Singapore's most famous national icons, the Merlion has been widely featured, from chocolates to plushies. It even had its own Starbucks drink.
However, its latest appearance may come as a surprise and a delight to local Cartoon Network fans - a 15-second cameo in popular cartoon We Bare Bears.
The series, now in its fourth season, revolves around the adventures of three anthropomorphic bear siblings - a panda, a polar bear, and a grizzly bear - awkwardly trying to fit into human society.
In one of the show's latest episodes, titled Lil' Squid, the bears attempt to reunite a baby squid with its family. In one scene, the bears hide behind a statue of the Merlion while sneaking into an aquarium at night. Afterwards, one of the bears turns to the Merlion and says: "Farewell, beautiful creature!"
The show's creator, Mr Daniel Chong, visited Singapore in April 2017 to speak at a workshop jointly organised by Cartoon Network and the Infocomm Media Development Authority.
Mr Chong's parents moved from Singapore to the United States in 1973. Though his cartoon is popular with children, it addresses deeper issues such as diversity, tolerance and multiculturalism, and aims to be relevant to adults as well.
We Bare Bears first aired in Singapore in 2015. Since then, the show's characters have become increasingly popular locally, appearing on the shelves of retailers such as Miniso, as well as on ez-link cards.
Earlier this year, over 300 inflatable versions of the bears were placed at Palawan Green on Sentosa.
Readers can watch We Bare Bears on the Cartoon Network channel on StarHub TV Channel 316, Singtel TV Channel 226 or the Cartoon Network Watch and Play app.