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1U vs OU: How did 1 Utama shopping centre get its name?

1U vs OU: How did 1 Utama shopping centre get its name?

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The great 1U vs OU debate has been one of the longest running debates for Klang Valley residents.

Many go to great lengths to defend and justify their
preferred acronym for the famous 1 Utama Shopping Centre at Bandar Utama.

Well, now it looks like the arguments can be put to rest because the admins of Malaysia’s biggest shopping mall announced on Twitter that the proper acronym is… 1U!

As one can expect, the revelation blew the minds of Twitterjaya
as Malaysians spent a good portion of the day discussing it.

However, Malaysians being, well, Malaysians, stuck to their guns and Team OU continued asserting their superiority over Team 1U.

This raging discussion prompted us to ask, “How did 1 Utama shopping mall get its name in the first place?” So we scoured the depths of the internet to present you our findings.

A little bit of history

To go into the history of the land where the shopping centre
sits on, Bandar Utama Damansara was originally an “ulu” place that consisted of
palm oil plantations.

Then, See Hoy Chan Holdings Group came in the 1990s and started developing the area into a township with residential, recreational and commercial appeal. (Judging from the area’s infamous traffic jams, the plan clearly worked.)

1 Utama Shopping Centre opens

1Utama OLD WING.
(Screenshot from Google Maps)

1 Utama Shopping Centre opened its doors in 1995 to much fanfare with Jaya Jusco (now AEON) drawing in Klang Valley-ites of all ages. To this day, it remains as the after-school lepak spot and the “mum-needs-to-buy-a-new-something-for-the-house” spot.

In an interview with The Edge Markets, Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok of Bandar Utama City Centre Sdn Bhd said that the plan for developing a mall started around 1993 with the developers looking into the design of US malls for inspiration.

We tried scouring the developer’s websites, news sources and
even messaged the mall for any mention of the 1 Utama origin but failed to get
an answer.

It could just be that the developers were inspired by the “Utama”
(meaning first) in Bandar Utama and adopted the “1” concept in the name, as
seen in the First Avenue building as well.

1U vs OU debate begins

The mall officially opened as 1 Utama Shopping Centre but
people apparently found it quite the mouthful and so abbreviations popped up.

Created via Imgflip

The running theory is that Petaling Jaya people call it OU while
Kuala Lumpur “visitors” call it 1U.

However, there is no fixed theory as the 1U vs OU hypothesis also claims preference according to one’s age or even race.

There is no establishing timeline of the 1U vs OU name as both teams claim to remember their preferred acronym being used since Day 1.

Created via Imgflip

But with 1U officially announced as the right acronym, we’d also like to clarify the old wing/new wing confusion.

  • Old Wing – The original building with AEON and TGV cinema, next to TV3’s Sri Pentas and near the Bandar Utama MRT station.
  • New Wing – The newer building opened in 2003 with GSC cinema, opposite Central Park Bandar Utama.
1Utama NEW WING.
(Screenshot from Google Maps)

Well, now you (sort of) know the origin story of 1 Utama
Shopping Centre and the power of its name.

Are you Team OU or Team 1U? Let us know on TRP’s FacebookTwitter, and Instagram!

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