Here are the most annoying station names on the Singapore MRT network

Yishun station in Singapore. Image: Getty.

Editor’s note: On Twitter, after publishing yet another rant about London station names, I noted that I would be delighted to publish similar rants about other cities, if only anyone thought to send them to me. Here’s one now.

one-north

This station, named after a neighbouring business park, is the only station on the whole network to have a name which starts with an uncapitalised letter (and also the only one with a hyphen in its name).

Every time I see this station on the map, I get annoyed because I think that someone has made a typo. Then I remember that this is the station’s correct name and I sigh.

HarbourFront

This one’s located underneath HarbourFront Centre, which is on Harbourfront Place. Unfortunately, the station takes after the shopping centre rather than the street name, leaving yet another station with inappropriate capitalisation in its name.

Farrer Park and Farrer Road

These two stations sound they should be right next to each other: they sound so similar!

The MRT system map. Click to expand.

Unfortunately, they are about 6.6km apart, with Farrer Park being located in the fairly central district of Little India, and Farrer Road lying in the middle of an upmarket suburb. These two stations are not even on the same MRT line.

The similarity of the two names have gotten many people confused, and unfortunately for anyone who has made the mistake of going to the wrong one, it’s a 25 minute journey between the two.

Downtown

This station’s name implies that it is in the heart of Singapore’s central business district, which is slightly misleading. One of its exits literally opens out into an empty patch of grass, which is not something one usually finds in the heart of a city.

The actual “downtown” area can be found around Raffles Place, a neighbouring station about 8 minutes’ walk away.


Jurong East

There is no Jurong West station, unfortunately. The suburb of Jurong West is served by three MRT stations (Lakeside, Boon Lay and Pioneer) but it feels like a missed opportunity that none of them have been named in such a way to serve as a complement to their neighbouring station in the east.

This is especially evident when you look at the suburb of Tampines, whose three stations (Tampines, Tampines West and Tampines East) form a satisfying trio.

Beauty World

The name of this station is evocative, leading one to imagine vibrantly coloured wildflowers blooming in green meadows just lying in wait right outside.

Once you step out of the exit however, there is not much beauty in sight. This station is located in a distant suburban neighbourhood best known for its 24-hour restaurants, and is named for an amusement park which once stood in the vicinity but is no longer there, having been replaced by 70’s-era concrete block towers.

Cashew

It is a bit difficult to take a station seriously when it’s named after a nut.

In its defence, it’s actually named for Cashew Road, and is located in a neighbourhood where all the other streets are also named after nuts. They include Hazel Park Terrace, Chestnut Close and Almond Avenue.

Image: Open Street Map.

Stadium

This one is a little vague, as there are two stadiums located in the vicinity of the station (the National Stadium and Singapore Indoor Stadium), and it is not exactly clear which of these the station is named after. Furthermore, it seems to imply that there is only one stadium in the whole country, which is not the case. Perhaps a better name for this station would be National Stadium, which would solve both of these issues at one go.

Tuas Link

Many stations are named after nearby roads, which is a perfectly acceptable (if a little unoriginal) naming method. However, in this case, there isn’t an actual road called Tuas Link.

There is a Tuas Link 1, along with Tuas Link 2, 3 and 4. But no Tuas Link, which is frankly unacceptable and needs to be rectified immediately.

Image: Open Street Map.

Lavender

As with Beauty World, one almost expects to exit this station and be greeted by fields of aromatic purple flowers. No such luck. The only thing worth sniffing around for in this area is the Michelin-starred food stall selling delicious minced meat noodles in a soy-and-vinegar based sauce.

If you would like to complain about the names of stations in your city, you know where we are.

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It’s not all cool bridges and very real concerns: In defence of Teesside

Just one of the many interesting bridges you’ll find in Teesside. Image: Stephen Jorgensen-Murray.

The latest entry in our ‘In Defence Of’ series...

I have to start this with a disclaimer: I’m not writing this from anywhere in Teesside. I’m writing this from Germany, where I live and work. Some of you may remember being told by Norman Tebbit, that instead of complaining that we can’t find jobs, we should get on our bikes (or, more recently, by IDS to get on a bus), and I did. I’m paid well here, to do a job that doesn’t really exist in Teesside. And yet, every time I go home to visit my family, I almost wish I’d stayed.

This isn’t going to be a very straightforward take – I’m hoping to pay my respects to Stockton, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool as well as my native Billingham – but Teesside isn’t a very straightforward place. What county is it in? Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees, Durham or North Yorkshire depending on how old you are and where you’re standing. I always had great fun ordering online and trying to guess which of the unfamiliar options on the dropdown menu would get my parcel to me.

But regardless of where you draw the lines, Teesside is still there.

Our accent is similarly hard to pin down: Geordie, Mackem, Yorkshire, even Scouse, depending on who’s imitating us. I’ve been pegged as Irish, American and South African by determined people in the past. Our slang is stolen from Scotland, Northumberland, Newcastle and Yorkshire, and, not satisfied, some words are purely our own. Hoy, shan, howay, dinner nanny. We have as many words for classless people as the Romans did for murder.

But regardless of how it sounds to you, Teesside still talks.


On a map of the UK, Teesside sits as an isolated blob of civilisation between the Dales and the sea. Half-urban, half-rural, half-seaside, half-inland, half industrial estate and half nature reserve. A Labour heartland with a Tory mayor. Places that sprang up fully formed in the ICI rush of the 1950s, but that still have Viking place names.

We’ve been portrayed in fiction by Richard Milward, in song by Maximo Park, in statistics by Lady Florence Bell and in cinema by Sir Ridley Scott (our chemical works and power plants inspired the look of Blade Runner). More recently, we’re being portrayed in documentary in The Mighty Redcar, and in the media as an area of left-behind, white working class racists who all voted Leave. But while most of the area is whiter than the average, Middlesbrough mirrors the UK average for racial diversity and has been assigned to resettle more refugees than any other town in the UK – and more than its cut-back council can look after.

And when you look at the numbers, the proportion of the population of Teesside who voted to leave the EU is much less than many other areas. (And yes, of course I voted Remain from my now slightly more precarious home in Frankfurt, joining 100,000 other Teesside Remainers.)

We’re pitied for the loss of the Teesside steelworks and derided for blaming the EU for it (when of course it was our own government’s sabotaging of EU attempts to block Chinese steel dumping that drove that knife in). Even the people who profess to be on our side take our angry, uneducated racism as fact, baking it into the premises of their arguments, which consist of addressing our “racist but real concerns”, and how to reach us.

But whether you understand us or not, whether you miss the point or not, we’ll continue to exist, long after we’ve been forgotten again.

Billingham town centre. One of the first pedestrianised town centres in the UK. Image: Stephen Jorgensen-Murray.

Still, while we’re in the spotlight, why not see what we have to offer? Come to see our rather wonderful collection of interesting bridges. See where the first public steam train ran, from Stockton to Darlington. Visit Mima, the modern art gallery in Middlesbrough and the 1960s utopia of Billingham’s pedestrianised town centre. Feel slightly uncomfortable around all the things that are named for Captain Cook (though the replica of the Endeavour at Stockton riverside is impressive regardless on your thoughts on its captain – and it’s the best you’ll see until they work out whether they’ve found the real one yet). Wander Middlesbrough’s thriving student/hipster district on Linthorpe RoadD – despite being a punchline during my youth, Teesside University has become a respected institution. Visit Billingham’s Folklore Festival in August, where as schoolchildren we’d watch troupes of folk dancers from across the world open-mouthed, and get their autographs afterwards as though they were celebrities.

Fried chicken, white sauce and cheese make the Teesside parmo. Perfect. Image: Stephen Jorgensen-Murray.

Try a parmo. Try the Billingham Catholic Club’s real ale, and stay for the bingo, which is called by a man with the most acrobatic mental arithmetic skills I’ve ever seen. Try a lemon top ice cream from Pacitto’s in Redcar and wonder why no one else has ever done this before. Lemon sorbet and vanilla ice cream! Together at last!

While you’re at the beach, take a ride on the Saltburn Cliff Lift, the oldest operating water-balance cliff lift in the UK. Pretend Saltburn is sort of in Teesside while you’re enjoying the view. Look out on beaches black with sea coal, washed up from undersea seams and nearby coal mines. Visit the golf course by Seaton Carew to catch a glimpse of a curlew or two, and watch the young seagulls pick up golf balls to crack them open by dropping them from a great height. Visit Seal Sands, whose owners can be observed lazing on the estuary banks whenever the tide is out. Or visit Saltholme, the RSPB nature reserve, where you can see avocets, Britain’s weirdest-looking and most beloved seabird.

Nature coexists with industry on Teesside. Image: Stephen Jorgensen-Murray.

Go white water rafting, bell boating or paddleboarding at the Tees Barrage, where there are so many seals that they’ve had to put up guards to keep them out of the way. The Tees used to be too polluted even to support salmon and trout, and now we have too many of one of Britain’s largest native mammals. The return of the seals to the Tees was the first documented case of seals returning to an industrial area. You’d be surprised at how well nature can thrive in the shadow of industry, colonising the quiet fields and marshy ponds on private land that are never disturbed, haunted by sika deer and shelducks, redshanks, knots, stonechats.

Teesside has plenty to offer. What it doesn’t have is the jobs to keep its younger generations from having to get on their bikes and leave. We aren’t aliens, or Jacob Rees-Mogg’s army of goblin henchbrexiteers. We’re just like you, but with more seals and fewer employment opportunities.