Tree, Mandai Reservoir


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The name “Mandai” was first mentioned on the 1828 Franklin & Jackson’s Plan of Singapore. A river called Mandai River was marked on it. It is said that the river probably got its name from an unidentified tree species called Mandai.

I personally think it’s a misspelling of mandi which means to bathe. So the Malays would refer to it as Sungei Mandi (bathing river) and some guy or lady misspelled it on the map.
I can hear the conversation between a husband and wife:

Wife: Saya pergi mandi (I’m going to bath)

Husband: Di-mana? (Where?)

Wife: Sungei Mandi lah, bodoh! (The bathing river, stupid!)

And the guy who worked on the first map couldn’t spell it very well. But I tend to have an overactive imagination (and it sounds better than being named after an unidentified tree species).

Mandai Road (from where I took this picture) was laid in 1855.

And so, to bathe.

 

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