Obscenity, thy name is forbidden...

Making a name for yourself, literally, is not always easy here.

According to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, the entry or alteration of a child's name in a register can be refused for a number of reasons, such as being obscene, offensive or contrary to public interest. Names resembling a title, rank or award can also be refused.

The same guidelines are stated in the National Registration Act. The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority said it receives inappropriate name requests "from time to time".

Lawyer Edmond Pereira believes names that could be considered contrary to public interest include those of well-known terrorists.

He has met clients with unusual names like San Francisco, and deals with about one deed-poll client a month. "There are some who want to change their names maybe to that of a city or a movie star, but we can't stop them as it's their choice."

Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth Senior Parliamentary Secretary Baey Yam Keng, who posted a Facebook video of unusual names he encountered while signing Edusave Award certificates, told The Straits Times he was amused at the creativity: "It shows a different generation as every generation will have some names that are popular or more common."

Mr Jason Lee, 30, manager of party planning firm PartyMojo, is seeing more unusual spellings like Derrik, Jasmyne and Alexandrine. "Young parents might add variations to add a sense of uniqueness," he said.

But National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser warned: "On the negative side, the children could be subject to ridicule and be the butt of jokes."

• Additional reporting by Kimberly Yeo

Nicole Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2018, with the headline 'Obscenity, thy name is forbidden...'. Print Edition | Subscribe