Ambassador at Large, Professor Tommy Koh
Dr Victor Savage
Ladies and gentlemen
1 Welcome to the National Library and to the official launch of the book Singapore Street Names: A Study of Toponymics.
2 While some people are quick to say that history is boring, in truth, there is a lot of interest in the past. As evidence, I merely need point out that this book, Singapore Street Names, is so popular that it is now in its fourth edition. This volume covers everything from Adam Road to Zubir Said Drive. At close to 600 pages, it is more than 150 pages longer than the third edition as well. Victor and Brenda have done a wonderful job on the book by constantly adding, refining and improving the list.
3 A book like this meets a real need. We have all encountered road signs that pique our interest. Who is Anamalai Avenue named after? How did Tractor Road in Jurong get its name? Where is Jalan Satu, Jalan Dua, Jalan Tiga and Jalan Empat? If you want to know the answers to these questions, this book has the answers.
4 A book like this is also of great interest to people who already know how a road got its name. Usually, this is because it is literally their grandfather’s or great-grandfather’s road. My friend Bennett will undoubtedly want a copy of this book because his grandfather is Neo Tiew, whose name has been attached to various roads in Lim Chu Kang where Neo Tiew lived.
5 I am very pleased that Victor and Brenda decided to launch this book here at the National Library building. The book very much fits into our plans to be a Singapore Storyteller, to find ways to interest people in Singapore’s history and heritage. There is perhaps no better way of getting people interested in history than by satisfying their curiosity about the ground beneath their feet.
6 For people who are interested in places and place names, I urge you to check out our Curiocity website. Here you can learn more about specific places and about our shared Singapore heritage through text, maps and digital photographs. Our quarterly publication, BiblioAsia, also has a regular feature on places in Singapore such as Opera Estate and Sennett Estate. And, of course, the National Library Board has primary materials regarding some of the pioneers of Singapore. The family of Neo Tiew, for example, has donated documents and photos which you can ask for and examine. Some of these items will be featured in the April 2023 issue of BiblioAsia, by the way. That issue will have an essay on Neo Tiew’s life, and will detail how he reshaped the Lim Chu Kang area. It will also showcase some of the more interesting documents and photographs in our collection so do watch out for it.
7 I would like to end by congratulating everyone involved in producing this volume, which I predict will be very popular. I am sure it will be as popular, if not more, than the previous edition. Thank you everyone and have a good evening!