THE SINGA | Germinal of Singapore

The word 'singa' is actually the Indonesian and Malay word for 'lion'. Therefore, Singapore is sometimes referred to as the 'Lion City'. 


The SingaSang Nila Utama, an imaginative adventurous king was restless by nature and wanted to travel to far away places. He loved hunting wild animals, so when he heard that there were stags in the jungles of Tanjong Bentam which were not easy to hunt, he was excited and took with him a great fleet of ships to Tanjong Bentam. 
When the king arrived upon the island, he and his subjects had a hunting expedition that lasted several hours, slaying many wild and savage beasts, but no stags. This disappointed the king, for he had a sense of unfulfillment in his heart. 

Suddenly, a large stag darted out of the bush in front of Sang Nila Utama, giving the king a shock...but the king drew his silver dagger and hurled it at the stag, only grazing the animal. The stag began to run and the king pursued it (in those days, it was either your feet or nothing.

The stag ran through the jungle and darted up a knoll. The king followed the stag up the hill, but upon reaching the summit, the stag was nowhere to be seen. There was a large rock, so the king climbed it and looked the land and sea spread out around him. In the distance, he saw a stretch of white sand - an island. 
Sang Nila Utama was fascinated by the sight of the island. He turned to one of his subjects who had followed him. 

'What is the name of that island?' The subject looked into the distance and smiled. 

'That is Temasek, Your Highness.' 

'Then we are goingthere.' 

The king ordered his fleet to set sail and they began on their journey towards the island. 
Suddenly the once clear blue skies were covered with black clouds, heavy rain poured from them and strong bursts of wind threatened to tear the ships apart. The ship carrying Sang Nila Utama was in the very eye of the storm. The crew lowered the sails, started to bail the water from the ship and get most of the cargo for jettisoning. 
However, an idea came to the king's head. He remembered a story his grandfather told him of how one of his ancestors became the Sea-King and that his crown was the only thing which belonged to his ancestor. He removed his crown immediately & threw it into the sea. 
All at once, the storm broke. As suddenly as it started, the skies began to clear and the crew gave a shout of joy and set sail once more to the island of Temasek. 
When the king stepped upon the island, a creature stepped out of nowhere, and the king and his men were awe-struck by the magnificent creature. It was large and moved with grace, had a black head, covered in a furry mane, a whitish neck and a red body. When the king drew his bow & arrow, the beast stared back at him with golden eyes and let out a deafening roar before leaping into the jungle. 

'What sort of animal was that?', the king asked. 

A wise old man stepped forth. 

'I have seen animals in potraits from the Far West. Perhaps this is a 'singa', but I wonder how it got all the way here.' 

'This must be a great place if it breeds such a beautiful animal. Let us live here...here on the island of Singapura.' 

Footnote: The word 'singa' is actually the Indonesian and Malay word for 'lion'. Therefore, Singapore is sometimes referred to as the 'Lion City'.

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