Compass Point renamed twice: Other names in Singapore that drew flak

Compass Point's name change to 1 Sengkang Mall has not gone down too well with the public.
Compass Point's name change to 1 Sengkang Mall has not gone down too well with the public. PHOTO: ST FILE

This article was first published on Dec 23, 2015, and updated on May 24, 2016

SINGAPORE - Suburban mall Compass Point in Sengkang has been renamed Compass One ahead of its projected opening in the third quarter of 2016, after its previous name change to 1 Sengkang Mall drew flak online. 

A naming contest for mall launched on Oct 15, 2015, had culminated in a Facebook announcement on Dec 22, which declared that it will be known as 1 Sengkang Mall when it reopens after renovations. 

Ms Lee Sook Fong, who submitted the new name, was rewarded with a $1,000 cash prize, but not everyone was impressed. Netizens disparaged the lack of creativity and called for the mall to retain its original name.

Here are five other examples of naming attempts that did not go down too well:

1. Marina Bay


The forested Marina Bay area in the foreground as seen in this June 28, 2003 picture. PHOTO: ST FILE

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) embarked on a year-long search for a new brand name to help sell major developments in Marina Bay, but the "new" name - announced on July 21, 2005 - proved anti-climactic.

A fee of $400,000 was paid to a brand consultancy and some 400 possible names were mooted, yet Marina Bay ended up reusing its original name in what many Straits Times readers felt was a futile, resource-wasting exercise.

"The name is not new. But what has been used informally so far has now endeared itself to all parties," then-National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan explained.

2. Budget Terminal


The exterior of Changi Airport's Budget Terminal on Feb 3, 2011. PHOTO: ST FILE

A two-month campaign and contest that cost $28,000 was held in an attempt to find a name for Changi Airport's now-defunct low-cost facility, which opened in March 2006. In the end, a panel of eight judges consisting of senior management staff from the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) settled on an underwhelming choice that was lambasted by everyone whom The Straits Times spoke to.

Student Jonathan Sng's Budget Terminal suggestion was among the 12,000 entries that were submitted. The name netted him the $2,000 prize and a mobile phone after a ballot was held, but even Jonathan, 15, himself was not expecting to win.

"I was very surprised when I became a finalist because I did not think Budget Terminal was an exciting name," he said.

The terminal shut in September 2012.

3. Singapore Navy's 8 new warships


An artist's impression of the Littoral Mission Vessel. PHOTO: ST MINDEF

The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) launched a public naming contest on Facebook - complete with attractive cash prizes worth a total of $8,000 - for its eight new Littoral Mission Vessels (LMVs) in February 2015.

This unusual method of crowdsourcing meant that RSN received some rather cheeky and controversial suggestions - and over 12,000 entries. It ended up using six names (Independence, Sovereignty, Unity, Justice, Dauntless and Fearless) taken from existing ships that were due to be replaced.

Only two names - Indomitable and Fortitude - were new, drawing some flak from netizens who questioned the need for a contest in the first place.

4. Bukit Panjang LRT


A train running on the Bukit Panjang LRT's first day of service on Nov 6, 1999. PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore's first light rail project understandably generated plenty of excitement, with a month-long Name The LRT System contest held in February 1999 to seek a unique and suitable name for it before the opening on Nov 6.

"We don't think that Bukit Panjang LRT is the best name for the rail system. First of all, it's not really accurate because the trains will serve Choa Chu Kang residents as well," a spokesman said then.

Despite the public putting forth interesting names such as Sky Rail, Super Train, Western Express and Singmove, they settled on - wait for it - Bukit Panjang LRT.

5. Tan Kah Kee station


The interior of the new Tan Kah Kee station, which opens on Sunday (Dec 27). ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) first opened its feedback portal in August 2008 to seek suggestions for names of nine stations on the 16.6km Downtown Line 2.

One particular station - DT8 and initially dubbed Duchess after a road near the station - later became a point of contention when the LTA announced nearly a year later that the station would be named Tan Kah Kee, after the late Chinese businessman and philanthropist who founded the nearby Hwa Chong Institution (HCI).

The debate, which ignited in 2011, centred on the need for the name of transport facilities such as a MRT station to reflect its location clearly.

Straits Times reader Lee Kip Lee wrote in his letter on Jan 17 that year: "The MRT system and map serve commuters and should be completely integrated and aligned with the public's understanding of Singapore's urban geography. Giving a station a name that is not directly related to the location will only create confusion among commuters."

In its response to Mr Lee, LTA said Tan Kah Kee had topped a public poll for the station's name and pointed out that there was a road named after Mr Tan in the vicinity of HCI.