Buona Vista has 9 curves, 13 bends

From ‘Review translated names too’, 19 Jan 2011, ST Forum. Thanks to quirkyhill for the link.

(Thomas Lee): …Perhaps it is time for the relevant authorities to review some of the Chinese translation of station names as well.

One example is Dhoby Ghaut station, whose Chinese name has the meaning Many Beauty Songs. Why not call it Zhong Tong Fu (Istana) station?

Buona Vista station now bears the direct translation of its pronunciation, which is totally unrecognisable. How about the name Jiu Qu Shi San Wan (Nine Curve Thirteen Bend) station as Buona Vista was known to be one with a road that had many turns and bends?

Meaningfully translated names will make our place more vibrant.

Looks like Thomas here is living up to his award for most determined complainer of 2010. Having his suggestions shrugged off by LTA in the Today paper twice, he finally managed to bring his quest to rename Many Beautiful Songs/Many Beauty Songs up to the ST, perhaps the crowning achievement of this years-long effort to bring some long neglected dignity to Chinese MRT station names. You haven’t got me fooled, Zhi Zhi, whether it’s changing your name or varying the translations, or picking on other stations, whether it’s Somerset or Buona Vista(波那维斯达), the latter’s suggestion by the way, sounding like a title of a wuxia novel as convuluted to pronounce as what it’s supposed to describe. What’s the difference between a curve and a bend on a road anyway?

A sense of weariness is apparent upon the third try, though the crux of his argument has always been to scrape the nonsensical phonetic translation of Dhoby Ghaut to the presidential sounding Istana. Perhaps Thomas has a point, if he only selected the right bones to pick. For example, Yew Tee in Chinese is 油池, which I believe means ‘oil puddle’, Kallang is 加冷 (extra cold), Buangkok is 万国 (10000 nations), according to this wiki. Tip to ST editor if you intend to reply to this: In the spirit of Thomas Lee’s never say die copy and paste attitude and, more importantly, save time, just reproduce LTA’s redundant reply (How MRT stations got their names, 27 Dec 2010) as follows, words in bold customised to his latest complaint. Some people just never learn.

WE REFER to Mr Thomas Lee’s letter “Review translated names too” (Jan 19). In his letter, Mr Lee suggested a review of Chinese names of existing MRT stations.

The Chinese names of stations were selected based primarily on phonetic translation of their English names (eg. Bishan, Marsiling) or literal translation of their English names (City Hall, Marina Bay, Little India).

These names were endorsed by the Street and Building Names Board before they were adopted.

We thank Mr Lee for his feedback and will take in his suggestion when deciding on names for new stations.

Now all I have to do is sit back and slowly, smugly wring my hands.


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