Singapore's 'tricky' place in archipelagic history: To understand Singapore's history, look at it from the sea, not land

To understand Singapore's history, look at it from the sea, not land. This would show that far from being a sleepy fishing village in the 19th century, it was already a busy port in the 16th century.

A recent public lecture on historical sources of pre-colonial Singapore has piqued popular interest about an early, unusual name for the island.

As reported in The Straits Times on Oct 10 (Singapore once named as 'tricky place to stay'), the Portuguese described Singapore as a falsa demora, meaning the "wrong or tricky place to stay". The Lion City name that Singapore is best known for today was just one rendition of what the name Singapura might have meant.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2018, with the headline 'Singapore's 'tricky' place in archipelagic history'. Print Edition | Subscribe