Sunday 27 December 2015

No contest: In defence of Compass Point’s new name, 1 Sengkang Mall

Want to make $1,000?

Just enter a contest to rename a mall in Sengkang “Sengkang Mall”.

When I read that joke on Twitter, I laughed so hard I announced the wrong winner at the Miss Universe pageant.

No, wait, that wasn’t me. It was Steve Harvey. He mistakenly said Miss Colombia when it should’ve been Miss Philippines.

When it was announced last week that the winner of the contest to rename Compass Point is the woman who submitted “Sengkang Mall”, many wished it was a mistake too.

And actually, it was.

The initial announcement was wrong. The winning entry was not “Sengkang Mall” but “1 Sengkang Mall”.

Yes, that “1” makes all the difference.

It’s like an online password. Just letters of the alphabet aren’t good enough. You need a combination of upper and lowercase letters plus at least one numerical character.

Who could’ve guessed that in a year where teen troll Amos Yee falsely accused his bailor of molesting him and MediaCorp executive Sharon Au played Mrs Lee Kuan Yew (badly) in The LKY Musical, the biggest scandal of 2015 would be the renaming of a shopping centre?

Everyone really seems to hate “1 Sengkang Mall”. I mean everyone.

Well, except the woman who won $1,000 for coming up with it.

And the people running the contest who chose it.

And one person who commented that “Sengkang Mall is so much better than any condominium names such as Le Classique, Le Lush Flora, Le Frenchie or Le Fart”.

And me.

Call me goondu, but I like my shopping centres to be named after the MRT station they’re closest to.

I wonder how many tourists headed for Raffles City Shopping Centre have taken the train to the Raffles Place station only to find out they should’ve gone to City Hall.

Great job naming a shopping centre after two different stations. Confusing much?

But to many, calling a mall right above the Sengkang station “Sengkang Mall” is just too obvious and uncreative.

Well, that’s why you have the “1” in front. To make it less obvious and more creative.

Hey, at least the new name isn’t “1 Sengkang Square” because that’s the actual address of Compass Point.

To name your building after the address is just pretentious. I’m looking at you, One Fullerton, One Raffles Place, One Raffles Quay, One Raffles Link and TripleOne Somerset.

But I believe the reason “1 Sengkang Mall” is so hated has less to do with the name than the renaming itself (and someone winning $1,000 for it).

Everyone was perfectly fine with the name “Compass Point”. So if you change it, the new name had better be a hell lot better — especially after crowdsourcing through a contest — and “1 Sengkang Mall” wasn’t.

But then could any name be good enough?

The renaming contest was held in October before the mall was closed for refurbishment. It is expected to reopen next year under different management.

On Nov 12, the top eight names were announced on Facebook:
  • Sengkang Central Mall
  • Sengkang Mall
  • One Sengkang
  • SengKang Square
  • One Sengkang Square
  • Sengkang One
  • #1 Sengkang Square
  • 1SM

Notice they all have the word “Sengkang” — except 1SM, short for “1 Sado-Masochist”, which I don’t think is appropriate for a place meant for the whole family.

How can anyone be so blur as to shorten his name to “SM”?

Also notice that “1 Sengkang Mall” was not in the top eight.

Even then, people commented that they preferred the current name, Compass Point, and didn’t want it changed.

But on Tuesday when the winner was finally announced, that was when the Seng really hit the Kang.

People threatened never to step into the mall again if it’s renamed. Someone even tweeted that he will move out of Sengkang all together.

Some offered alternative names like Darth Mall, One Direction and the most creative of all, Plaza Sengkangpura.

Another guy thought it was a democracy and tweeted: “We need a by-selection!”

Some thought it sounded like a Noose story — even Michelle Chong, who starred in The Noose.

Sounds like a Noose story....
Posted by Michelle Chong on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

It was likened to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) paying a brand consultancy $400,000 to rename Marina Bay “Marina Bay” in 2005.

Although in this case, many would’ve preferred Compass Point to be renamed “Compass Point”.

Someone even created an online petition to keep the name.

Maybe URA knew what it was doing after all.

The Compass Point petition is likely to be about as successful as the petition to get Adam Lambert off the New Year’s Eve show.

Already on Wikipedia, if you search for Compass Point, you will be redirected to 1 Sengkang Mall.

The thing is, if the mall was christened “1 Sengkang Mall” when it first opened in 2002, I believe no one would’ve objected (that much). But now everyone has grown accustomed and attached to “Compass Point” after 13 years.

I live in Choa Chu Kang and have always found it weird that the shopping centre next to the Choa Chu Kang MRT station is called Lot One Shoppers’ Mall — but I got used to it.

If they ever hold a contest to rename it, I’m not going to submit “1 Choa Chu Kang Mall” because that’s what everyone will be doing.

My entry will be “Star Mall: The Shopping Awakens”.

Give me my $1,000 already.

- Published in The New Paper, 27 December 2015