At 50, Merlion woos kids with storybook, board game, high chair and romper

SINGAPORE – For 50 years, the Merlion has been a Singapore icon embraced by tourists and locals alike.

How will this creature – with the head of a lion and the body of a fish – continue to capture the hearts of younger generations?

Perhaps the answer lies in getting children to see it in their daily lives.

A baby romper and toddler high chair are among the kids’ products launched to celebrate the Merlion’s golden jubilee.

They feature adorable Merli, an illustrated character based on the 8.6m-tall colossal statue which was launched by then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on Sept 15, 1972.

Merli has also made a splash in the world of children’s books for the first time. In comic-style storybook Marky Polo In Singapore, he plays host to his friend Marky’s overseas cousin Merry and shows him around Singapore.

Jewel Changi Airport, Kampong Glam and Chinatown are among the many places brought to life in the book by 40-year-old illustrator Nicholas Liem.

Liem, who is trained in architecture, took his kids aged four and eight to every location featured in the story to get a personal viewpoint for his drawings.