Thursday, 3 August 2017

Remember Singapore: Alternate names of Singapore places and roads

Most of Singapore's places and roads were named in English, resulting the Chinese-educated, illiterates and maybe other races difficulties in reading/pronouncing the names in early Singapore.

Alternate names were then given to these places either through the types of business conducted there, or landmarks like temples, fruit trees grown there, distance markers, etc, so that local people had a common understanding of the names. Names like:
  • tua po (big city)
  • sio po (small city)
  • ang sar lee (red zinc roof - Serangoon Gardens as the houses had red roofs)
  • peh sua (white sand - Pasir Ris)
  • ah bah kweh (Albert Street, direct translation, or maybe duck meat street)
  • si bai po (Singapore General Hospital)
  • mang kah kar (Lavender Street, meaning space at jackfruit tree or mosquitoes bite legs), etc.

A granite distance marker or milestone used in old Singapore. Image from
Here are some blogs that remember old Singapore. It may help you when you talk to your old relatives or parents where such places may be mentioned, especially the places where they last lived.

Remember Singapore - old names
Remember Singapore - new and old names
Long and Winding Road

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