Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Hands up those who agree

Recently I had another ‘pleasant encounter’ with a couple of ‘old friends’ that I had not seen for decades. I was at the Safti Military Institute to witness the commissioning parade of my son when my attention was drawn away from the fanfare in the parade square to these two magnificent ‘creatures’ in the distance. Oldies, including possibly our British friends like Brian Mitchell and John Harper would probably remember these two Merdeka Lions that used to stand guard on either ends of the Merdeka Bridge along Nicoll Highway.


The big brass in the army probably have some profound logic for placing these two lions at the footsteps leading to this tower. But I daresay, readers of Good Morning Yesterday would agree with me that it can’t be more important that the thrill that guys my generation will experience when we see the return of something that we thought had been destroyed along with the many other relics of the Singapore we grew up in.




16 comments:

yg said...

'hands up' means to surrender or to agree? i thought the stone lions had been spotted at a few other places before that. so, this is their final resting ground. instead of guarding the two ends of a bridge, they now guard the approach to the tower at safti.

Brian and Tess said...

well I would like to say they are old friends but whilst one of my strongest visual memories is of the bridge (driving into the city from Changi I always recall the bridge as indicating we were almost there) I can't recall the lions at all - splendid tho' they are!

PChew said...

Elderly Singaporeans remember well of the 2 stone lions from Lim Yew Hock's government. Similarly the old Nanyang Univiersity gateway reminded you and me of Tan Lark Sye. They were all removed from their original sites so that the present generation Singaporeans would not know their existence. Unfortunately, oldies like us are still around to tell the story.

Lam Chun See said...

PChew. I am afraid I do not know about the history part. I just want them to destroy as little of the Old Spore as possible.

I suppose lion statues are strongly linked to Chinese Feng Shui beliefs. I visited a museum in Shanghai last year. I think it was at the Soong Sisters Memorial. They brought our group around on a tour and this Feng Shui master just when on and on about stone lions etc. etc. Half way through I could not take it anymore and just went out to the garden to enjoy the flowers.

tagskie said...

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peter said...

I not sure whether th SAFTI MI lions are the same ones from Nicoll Highway or the ones from the former Kallang Park.

Lam Chun See said...

I didn't know that there's another pair at Kallang Park. By Kallang Park, so you mean the Wonderland Amusement Park with famously tame roller coaster?

PChew said...

The stone lions at Nicoll Highway and Kallang Park are the same pair.

jean said...

OMG I remember these 2 remarkable lions and being scared to look at them when I was a child.I would hide in the back seat of the car until we passed the small airport strip along the highway.
Someone told me they ended up along Orchard Road for awhile.
It would be such a shame to lose any of these lions whatever site they originally came from.Somehow I always relate them to Singapore's National Anthem.*having a melancholic chill of nostalgia*

Tom said...

I remember the two lions, thay sat in front of a pillar which had a crest and sheild near the top at each end of the bridge, does any one know where the pillars are or what had happen to them?.

sgporc said...

Yes these lions were the same ones from Kallang Park and Nicoll Highway. I believe the significance of those lions were never "forgotten" by the authorities all these while... and their present location goes beyond army brass simply looking for stuff to decorate their grounds... already around 10 yrs or so ago when safti mi was relatively new, there was actually an english program on tv that talked about the history of these lions. not too sure what the name of that program was, but I think it was the same series that featured the war-time shinto shrine on an island in the middle of the macritchie reservoir, and also a formation of artillery trenches deep in the forest of some other reservoir. It was one of the better produced and more useful programs by mediacorp... The question then about these lions were why they were made to face the same direction, when most other commissioned pairs of statues were mostly mirror images for symmetry purposes...

Vince said...

sgporc,
I believe the program you mentioned was called "Hey Singapore!" I think it was broadcasted in the 90s or early 2000..

kelvin said...

Yes, these are the two lions from the Merdeka Bridge and Kallang Park.

http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_493_2005-01-19.html

They are now facing the same direction because they used to be symmetrically facing each other from two different ends of the Merdeka Bridge.

Yang^2 said...

Yes, I remember watching "Hey Singapore" when I was in primary school.

Mitchell said...

They were then, from Merdeka Bridge relocated to Stadium Walk and finally, now at SAFTI. I love this blog by the way, thanks for sharing.

Tan Choon Hong said...

These lions look forlorn in this setting. They should be placed on a larger pedestal at the top of the staircase for maximum impact. Also, the left one should be recast in reverse to face the other. Better still, they should both be recast in bronze for posterity as they are originally in hollow cement! Apparently no creative person was consulted in this exercise.