Mar 2, 2009

Our Merlion Struck by Lightning

Have you read the news?

Our national icon was struck by lightning! On the last day of February.

The original Merlion statue located at One Fullerton was struck by lightning this afternoon, causing quite a commotion.

Claire Huang caught up with some witnesses to find out what happened.

Nature sure knows how to throw a tantrum.

In its fit of anger, Singapore's longstanding original icon - the Merlion, was damaged by lightning flashes.

23 year-old Ms Swee Xueping who was having lunch with 5 other friends said the incident caused a stir.

"So we were actually sitting at Coffeebean, and then we were buying (food) and then we heard a loud thunder sound. Then we saw the lightning which was quite, it's kind of orangey and then there was a commotion, and we heard a loud noise, but we didn't know what actually happened. We were just wondering how come there's this big commotion."

A staff who wants to be known only as Mr Yap said the incident happened between 4 and 5pm.

Mr Yap who works in a shop a few metres away from the damaged statue, describes how some passersby who were stranded in the rain, dashed into the restaurant for cover.

"Something like an explosion sound, very loud. Then after that some of the pieces fell off the Merlion. All the people under the umbrella (3 parasols) ran in, towards our shop. They were scared that there'll be another thunder (lightning) strike."

Mr Yap's colleague Ms Toh said she didn't realise that the lightning had struck the statue until a customer drew her attention to it.

"I heard the thunderstorm and I saw many of the customers running into our outlet. I just heard from a customer then noticed "Hey, why the Merlion's head dropped?""

The explosion, caused by the lightening, created a hole the size of a soccer ball, on the Merlion.
But according to eye witnesses, no one was hurt.

In fact, many passersby and tourists didn't even notice the rubble on the walkway.

The statue is one of five Merlions in Singapore.

The 8.6 metre tall statue was originally located at the mouth of the Singapore River but was moved to Fullerton in 2002.

Image and report from Lightning strikes the Merlion at Fullerton.

Bad omen for the nation? You decide.

Here's a little heritage snippet from the bold sentence (emphasis by me). Do you know where are the five Merlions in Singapore?

From wikipedia entry on Merlion,

These five Merlions in Singapore are the only ones recognised by the STB:
  • The original statue at Merlion Park
  • The two-metre tall cub statue standing behind the original statue
  • The 37-metre tall gigantic replica — with Mouth Gallery Viewing Deck on the ninth storey, another viewing gallery on its head and The Merlion Shop — at Sentosa Island
  • The three-metre tall glazed polymarble statue at Tourism Court (near Grange Road) completed in 1995
  • The three-metre tall polymarble statue placed on Mount Faber's Faber Point in 1998


Victor said...

I don't understand why a lightning conductor was not installed on that Merlion statue in the first place. It's only now that they are considering installing one. Don't they know that lightning never strikes twice at the same place?

Icemoon said...

I read a lightning conductor was installed at the old site ....

Anonymous said...



I'd say I'm surprised that we have lightning conductors on such insignificant structures as temporary bus shelters, yet not on the Merlion, which is supposed to be so iconic. I hope they actually do install one, and quickly. Either that, or move it somewhere with tall, grounded buildings so it can never be struck again.

Who knows? There might be another storm this week, and the Merlion might be struck again. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if it did.

Azmee Mohamed said...

Actually, Merlion went for brain surgery thats why.. Hahaha

Adelin said...

Same case as the flyer. Tsk. What happened to the backup for that?

N then now... then build the lightning conductor. lol. Maybe they thought lightning won't so 'heng' tio the Merlion?

Bad omen or not, but it sure brings mockery and commotion drawn to it.

(got paper also say the Merlion 挡灾)

Anonymous said...

Is it considered as good luck to be struck by lightning and survived or perhaps a bad omen?

Wan Oligarchy said...

Hey dude, totally love your blog. There's actually 7 recognized Merlions in Singapore.

Icemoon said...

Thanks for the clarification Wan Oligarchy! Now I know there are more merlions at AMK, haha