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The One Thing The Media Missed On Sentosa Island

Sentosa Island, what a charming name in Malay. I mean, did the name came by accident. In Malay, "sentosa" means peaceful or tranquility. Ta-dah ... Sentosa was the new name for the island, renamed by smart Singapore government officials. Does anyone have a clue of its old name? I think, if they stuck with the old name, there WOULD HAVE BEEN LOUD GUFFAWS heard around the region.

The previous name for Sentosa Island was Pulau Belakang Mati. Literally it translates to "Stabbed In The Back Island" or "Died In The Rear Island". I cannot fathom anyone wanting to name an island with that name. Can you imagine a casino with the name Belakang Mati Casino - man, talk about bad fengshui - Masuk Hidup, Belakang Mati (Enter Alive, Die In The End ..) could be the slogan then. The thing is the words "Belakang Mati" are so vague, it could literally taken to mean so many things, for example:

a) Stabbed in the back
b) Died in the rear or back alley
c) An unfortunate homosexual incident
d) Standing in the queue and finding out those behind have somehow died
e) Possibly a very good punchline to a good Bengali joke
f) Something died around your anal area

Whatever it is, I seriously cannot find any positive connotation with the name used. It would have been cool though to have Belakang Mati Integrated Resort emblazoned in bright lights!! "Belakang Mati hotel reservations, may I helpthch chew?"

p/s for a more politically correct history and opinion on Sentosa, please visit the following site of a fellow blogger which also posted on Sentosa Island:


the ultrabeast said…
Did you know too that some Singaporean dissident was jailed there... on that resort island... from... the sixties until recently... that's for almost .....half his life?

You've got to salute this guy's tenacity... he was jailed just because he refused to admit to something for all those years... "prisoner of conscience"....

There are some websites with news on this guy, you can try a search if you are interested in his account of events.
the ultrabeast said…
For those who are interested, these are the sites that I read his story from
zentrader said…
"some Singaporean dissident was jailed there"

now the turn of Malaysian and American cow (best cash cow maybe?)
Umminajah said…
It's not nice to make fun of someone's birth place. I was born on the island, and spent all of my childhood there. I had a great childhood way back in the 1960s.
I remember accompanying my elder sister on her rounds, sending ketupat, rendang and other raya goodies to my father's favourite Chinese and Indian friends on the first day of raya. And they would reciprocate during Chinese New Year and Deepavali.
It's spelt Blakang Mati. Never thought why it was called so, but where Fort Siloso is now, was the site of fortress, complete with dungeons and all. Fort Siloso is on the rear side of the island,if one were to view from mainland Singapore.

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