Funny thing. When I first went to the United Kingdom to study back in 1978, Malaysia was still relatively not well known internationally. When I told people that I was from Malaysia, I got all kind of replies;
“Is that an island in the Pacific?”
“Is it a real country?”
“Is that part of Singapore?”
It kind of upset me that Singapore was much better known despite really being just a tiny island at the tip of the much larger Peninsular of Malaya. However, I got the most signs of comprehension when I told them that Malaysia was just north of Singapore.
However, back in the 3rd century AD, it was the Malay Peninsula that was ascendant and Singapore was just a backwater. A 3rd century Chinese written record appears to refer to Singapore as the island of Púluōzhōng (蒲羅中), which was probably a transliteration of the Malay Pulau Ujong, “island at the end” of the Peninsula.
The name Singapore actually is derived from the name “Singapura” which was given to the island in the 13th century AD by a prince of the Srivijaya empire (based from Palembang, Sumatra in what is now Indonesia) who reportedly saw a lion when he landed on the island and therefore named it “Lion City” or Singapura; “singa” being sanskrit for “lion” and “pura” meaning “city”. In one of the peculiarities of history, the prince was probably mistaken as lions have never been found on the island. It is most likely that he actually saw a tiger and not a lion.
Anyway, Singapore adopted as its symbol the “Merlion” a mythical creation of a PR company that has a head of a lion and a tail of a fish. Thus acknowledging its historical link with the lion and its importance as a maritime trading port.
The original Merlion statue was set up at Merlion Park which is located on Marina Bay. Much development has occurred along Marina Bay and the nearby Singapore River in recent years and the Lone Grey Squirrel risked life and sanity under the hot tropical sun to bring you pictures from the surrounding area.
I hope you will enjoy them.