How Tanglin Halt Got Its Name

When the British first started to expand out in Singapore, they were very unused to the heat and humidity (which is why their soldiers used to wear shorts).

The story goes that one fine day, a group of surveyors was surveying the land around the region now known as ‘Tanglin Halt’. In those days, the area was a secondary forest with thick undergrowth and Nipa palms.

This intrepid group of British surveyors went hacking their way through, carrying theodolites, compasses, binoculars, and other tools of their trade. The hot, humid weather soon took a toll on them and they began to curse the “d@mned tanglin’ branches” that hindered movement, got tangled with their equipment, and ripped their clothes. Eventually, the lead surveyor let out a blasted oath that caused the local earth diety to tremble in his shrine and exclaimed to his fellow-surveyors that “Crikey, too much blasted tanglin’, let’s halt!” and they stopped and sat down for some tea and digestives.

Among their number was the obligatory translator whose name has now been lost to history. Being not a very proficient speaker of English, he presumed that they had decided to name the place Tanglin Halt and so it went down in his map.

In short, the leader of the team protested upon seeing the unauthorized name on the maps (he wanted to call it Tuppence, because that was the value the thorns took off his breeches) but the Chief Surveyor liked Tanglin Halt better and overruled him.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of how Tanglin Halt became known as Tanglin Halt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *