Not to be confused with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Most Singaporeans around me like to poke fun at the Merlion as a silly, artificial mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish.
It is supposedly the personification of Singapore and was designed as a logo for the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), in use from 26 March 1964.
No such creature ever exist in the history of Singapore, not even in legends and myths. The Merlion is an urban construct created in a meeting room by advertising executives. There is nothing real about it that endear it to Singaporeans.
Hence imagine my surprise when I received an anonymous email tip-off from a reader that there is an Asian-American pornstar with a tattoo of a Merlion on her back:
Seriously, of all ugly things to inked permanently on one’s body, a Merlion?
Anyway, the girl with the Merlion Tattoo is called Ashley Spalding, better known by the pseudonym, Kaylani Lei.
Via wikipedia: Kaylani Lei, is an exotic dancer and a porn actress currently working for Wicked Pictures. Outside her adult film work, she was the host of a radio show on KSEX, Me So Horny With Kaylani Lei. Lei has made an appearance on the Howard Stern radio show while he was on national broadcast radio (pre-Sirius satellite radio change over), and makes appearances on Playboy TV. In 2007 she was the co star of the Cinemax series The Erotic Traveler, as Allison Kraft, apprentice erotic photographer.
Most important of all, she was born in Singapore on August 5, 1980.
This explains the tattoo I suppose. For someone who been living out of Singapore most of her life, but yet still feel some sort of emotional attachment, the Merlion may actually mean something as it is an often used as a symbol of Singapore in our outward image portrayed to tourists.
Btw, a google image search on “Merlion Tattoo” churned out quite a few other images of people with Merlion tattoos, including a guy called Kenny from the US who had studied in Singapore for a while.
Looks like Kaylani isn’t the only one who is drawn to the Merlion. A disclaimer though, most of the Merlion Tattoos seem to be found on foreigners. I really doubt any Singaporeans would want a Merlion stamped anywhere on our bodies.
Do you know of someone with a Merlion tattoo? Drop me an email if you do. I am really curious – especially if the person is a Singapore-born, long-time Singapore resident!