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Singapore to Demolish Sentosa's Merlion to Make Room for New Development

One of Singapore's most well-known attractions is heading for a date with the wrecking ball.

According to Straits Times, the city-state's iconic Merlion statue on Sentosa Island will be demolished to make way for the construction of a thoroughfare called Sensoryscape. This will connect the north and south shores of Sentosa, a popular tourist destination thanks to its amusement parks and other attractions.

News of the demolition has saddened many Singaporeans, who recall their own personal memory with the statue on social media. While most tourists only know of the Merlion in Merlion Park, which is stilll intact, the Sentosa statue is an important part of many older residents' childhood memories. The disappearance of this national symbol on Sentosa has left some people lamenting the loss of a Singaporean sense of belonging on Sentosa island.

The US$65 million Sensoryscape is a part of the Sentosa-Brani Master Plan, which will refurbish Sentosa and the adjacent island of Pulau Brani to boost tourism. The project will divide the two islands into five zones with different leisure features.

Although the removal of the Merlion has stirred public dissatisfaction, the news source reports, the Singapore Tourism Board is confident that there would be more to look forward to in the new Sentosa after the project finishes.

Designed by Australian sculptor James Martin and built in 1995, the Sentosa Merlion is the largest of the seven Merlion statues in Singapore. The half-fish, half-lion animal is a national icon that represents Singapore’s origins as a fishing village and the lion-like cultural values of courage and bravery.

[Photo via Flickr user mvbalaji]

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