The Merlion at 40

18 09 2012

A few more photographs of the Merlion during its 40th birthday celebrations, taken on the last evening of the light, sound and pyrotechnic display, Merlion & I: An Inspiring Journey on 16 September 2012. More information on the event can be found on my previous post ‘Looking sexy at 40‘.


Looking sexy at 40

13 09 2012

A Singapore icon that has for much of its life been an instantly recognisable one is the Merlion, a creature which, much like Singapore, combines the best of two worlds. Conceptualised in the early 1970s for use in the promotion of tourism in what was a Singapore that was beginning to find its feet as an independent nation, the Merlion has become much more than that, becoming a well-loved symbol of Singapore and perhaps one that can be seen to have heralded the remaking of Singapore into what it is today.

An icon of a developing and newly independent Singapore, the Merlion, stares at the icons of the new Singapore across a body of water that played an important role in Singapore’s development.

Originally located at the mouth of the Singapore River, the Merlion was certainly one that was much photographed, including serving as a backdrop for the bevy of beauties that graced our shores during the Miss Universe pageant that Singapore hosted in 1987. And as it celebrates it 40th birthday, having been unveiled by Singapore’s elder statesman and first Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, on 15 September 1972, the Merlion provides an opportunity for Singaporeans to celebrate it and be photographed in a new light. A 7 minute light, sound and pyrotechnic show, Merlion & I: An Inspiring Journey, presented jointly by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and event sponsor Far East Organization (FEO), will come on six times a night up until 16 September 2012 (Sunday). The show which was launched yesterday evening includes spectacular 3D projections on the icon, fresh from a 2 month long makeover, as well as a musical segment, and a video segment shown on a 8m by 4m LED screen set on a floating pontoon facing the Merlion, which includes a nostalgic element in the form of photographs of past encounters both Singaporeans and visitors have had with the Merlion over its 40 years.

A look back: the Merlion at its original location at the mouth of the river in 1976.

The music and lyrics of An Inspiring Journey is the work of music director, Mr Kenn Chua, who has been behind concerts for local artistes such as Corinne May, Kit Chan and Stefanie Sun. The song is performed by Mr Jim Lim, a member of the popular local group Dreamz FM (a MTV version of the song has also been recorded by Ms Serene Koong). The light projections are the work of Mr Andrew Gardner who has worked extensively in South East Asia, and is behind the lighting of Singapore’s Esplanade Theatres on the Bay. The show will also see an energetic street dance, choreographed by Mr Ryan Tan to accompany the song. Showtimes (13 to 16 September) are 7:15pm, 7:45pm, 8:30pm, 9:15pm, 10.00pm and 10:30pm. For more information, do visit

Photographs from the launch of the Merlion’s 40th Birthday Celebrations

The celebrations are launched ….

There was also a birthday cake in the shape of the Merlion.

The bag that sold for $1001.68

16 09 2010

I attended the “Love Cuts Meet-the-Cast Sharing session at the K Box Union at Cineleisure Orchard on Monday. Present during the session were the Producer, Jack Choo; the Director, Gerald Lee; Scriptwriter, Lee Shyh-Jih and the Queen of Caldecott Hill, Zoe Tay, who played the main character Sissy in a movie that has touched the hearts of many who watched it. The appearance of what is undoubtedly the star of the very moving movie that attempts to bring about a greater sense of awareness of breast cancer and the importance of early detection in the effective treatment of what is today a common disease, wasn’t the only highlight of the evening. The session also provided an opportunity for some of the breast cancer survivors present to share their views on what the movie had meant to them.

Members of the Love Cuts production team and the Queen of Caldecott Hill, Zoe Tay, were present at the session. From left to right: Scriptwriter Lee Shyh-Jih, Producer Jack Choo, Zoe Tay (who plays main character, Sissy) and Gerald Lee (Director).

Central to the theme of the movie was the importance of the support of the family and friends in a victim facing the disease, and this was certainly emphasised by the survivors in the comments made, with even one Rita, going on to say that what she would like to have seen is the main character Sissy, sharing that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer with Kristy who had confided in her first about her fears about the disease. What they felt was really touching was seeing how in the movie, the family in which maybe bonds were taken for granted, had come together when Sissy had found out that she had fourth stage breast cancer. Another survivor, Esther, noted that even the rich boyfriend who seemingly is attracted to Kristy for her looks, does not leave her as she had feared. Esther recounted a poignant scene in which a wedding invitation comes in the mail – Kristy’s, with a tastefully done nude shot of her and her husband to be, which Esther feels was one that carried the message through. Overall, the survivors gave their thumbs up to the movie and to the awareness of the disease that it brings with it.

The sharing session.

The sharing session also provided an opportunity for some of the participants to share their views of the movie and also pose questions to the production team and to Zoe Tay, and in the process of that, it was apparent how the movie had touched and reached out to the audience. It is in the scenes of everyday life that struck a chord with many. One participant recounted how she had cried on each of the four occasions in which she had watched the movie (wow the movie just came to the screens on the 9th of September – and she had already watched it four times!).

Zoe Tay, who was hand-picked for the role as Sissy, looked radiant throughout the one-hour session.

Zoe Tay, who was hand-picked for the role as Sissy, looked radiant throughout the one-hour session.

One of the more interesting questions that did crop up, directed at the production team, was about the choice of Zoe Tay for the role of Sissy, with there being several other possible candidates who might have fit the role just as well. The question was answered by Director, Gerald Lee, who said that Zoe Tay was who the team had in mind from the outset. Zoe Tay whom I had found out in a newspaper article earlier was 8 months pregnant, looked radiant throughout and whilst seated, certainly didn’t look as if she was expecting. Zoe had during the session, admitted, that she was herself, touched watching the movie, recalling a poignant moment when the daughter of her character in the movie had smelt the clothes of the character Sissy – something which Zoe had a personal experience of. She graciously also provided two personal items for an auction at the end of the session: a Emporio Armani dress which she bought in New York, and a 4 compartment shopping bag which she had picked up in Japan. The bag surprisingly went for a larger sum at $1001.68 to a self professed Zoe Tay fan Tarren (10.01.1968 being Zoe Tay’s birth date), while Esther got the dress for $350.

Zoe Tay with the $1001.68 bag.

Breast cancer survivor, Esther, with a Emporio Armani dress donated by Zoe Tay that she won the bid she put in of $350 for in an auction to raise money for the Breast Cancer Foundation. The dress was bought by Zoe Tay on a trip she made to New York.

The audience was also treated to a moving rendition of the theme song for the movie, Shou Zhong Xian (手中线) by none other than the recording artiste herself, Serene Koong. Serene shared her experience in the making of the music video for the song which was shot at Fort Canning Park in which she had continued with the shoot despite ants biting her feet. I guess that kept her on her feet … and based on the response to her delivery of the song … would certainly keep a few of her fans on theirs.

Serene Koong who recorded the theme song, Shou Zhong Xian (手中线), making her appearance ...

performing a very moving rendition of the song.