Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Singapore History 101 - Part 2

The Waterfront Area

We are standing around the memorial stone of Agnes Joaquim located in the Armenian Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator -Memorial Garden. This woman is famous for discovering the hybrid orchid called Vanda Miss Joaquim, Singapore's national flower. This Armenian Church was built in 1835 and was the first permanent place of worship in Singapore.

The statue below is that of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore. It is believed that this statue marks his landing site in 1819. Raffles came to Singapore because he wanted to establish a British port that would be a stopping point for traders traveling between India and China. It would seem that he succeeded. Singapore now has one of the largest shipping ports in the world.

The fountain you see behind us is called the Merlion. It has the head of a lion with a fish body. The lion head represents a lion seen when a Malay prince rediscovered Singapore in 11 AD. He named the island "Singapura", meaning lion city. The fish tail represents Temasek, the ancient name of Singapore, which means "Sea". This commemorates Singapore's humble beginnings as a little fishing village. The Singapore Tourism Board designed the Merlion as a symbol for Singapore in 1964. This statue was installed at Marina Bay in 1972.

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