New road names should reflect locations

In our fast-evolving country, I recognise the need to have an anchor to the past by remembering and commemorating our heroes and pioneers.

I am glad to see glimpses of history every time I go down to Haji Lane, Elias Road, Balestier Road and Ah Hood Road, just to mention a few.

Yet, should we name a street after Majid Ariff, local football player extraordinaire though he was (Can street be named after football legend Majid Ariff?, by Mr A. Thiyaga Raju ; Feb 14)?

Pioneer medical luminaries who spent their lives establishing basic health policies that now allow Singaporeans to enjoy one of the longest lifespans in the world do not even have a small annex in hospitals named after them to mark their sacrifices.

Our founding fathers do not affix their names on edifices and roads, to discourage the rise of personality cults.

The retention of heritage should be considered, but it is a fine balance between retaining vignettes of the past and vernacularising our street names.

New roads and renamed old roads should reflect their location, surrounding developments and nature of the development served by them.

It is cold and impersonal, but it is totally effective and natural.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2018, with the headline New road names should reflect locations. Subscribe