Mandarin names of MRT stations
SMRT has just ended its trial to announce Mandarin names of MRT stations. The reason for this trial is due to request by the senior citizens who don’t understand English station names. I think this is laudable on the part of SMRT to be responding to the needs of the commuters. I can understand how difficult it is for the oldies who were mostly illiterate to understand names like Somerset, City Hall, just as examples. Suo Mei Sai, Zheng Fu Da Sha must be more familiar to them, I think. I must confess I have never heard of Suo Mei Sai and find Zheng Fu Da Sha familiar. Bugis, what is its Mandarin name? Would it Peh Sua Por or Bai Sha Po? Should Little India be called Tekka or Zhu Jiao?
What the SMRT could do better is to understand what the oldies are familiar with, what kind of names they used, never mind if the English educated do not have a clue what Suo Mei Sai means. Perhaps it would be more comfortable if they use dialect instead. Chinatown could be Niu Cher Sway or Goo Chia Chwee, or should it be Zhong Guo Zheng?
It’s a pity that this trial has come to an end. I was kind of getting a Mandarin lesson in the train, learning new names that I have never heard of, some in my entire life. If successful, I am sure the possibility of using Pinoy and Hindi names could be considered, if they requested for them. That would make our foreign talents feel more welcome as well. This is like killing several birds with one stone. And many Sinkies could benefit from learning a few Pinoy and Hindi words for sure.
I can understand Hong San instead of Ang Swa or Si Kar Teng. What is Dover called? Or what was Commonwealth?