Syonan-Go or Syonan-To?

via International Man

Unless you’re living under some rock, you’d be seeing news and talk of the Syonan Gallery splashed all over the Internet and newspapers during the past few days.

The naming of the gallery located at the former Ford Factory drew some flak as many felt it was honouring the period of the Japanese Occupation.

Apparently, the National Library Board decided on the name after it consulted with the public via focus group sessions which included history academics, museum guides, students and parents.

Soon after active discussion on the name happened on social media, the signs of the gallery were tweaked to reflect its full name, “Syonan Gallery: War and its Legacies. An Exhibition at Former Ford Factory”.

Guess what, Singaporeans have been told that the name of the exhibit is to be changed AGAIN.

What a big U-turn.

Yaccob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information had apologised for the naming.

“I have reflected deeply on what I heard. We must honour and respect the feelings of those who suffered terribly and lost family members during the Japanese Occupation. I have therefore decided to remove the words ‘Syonan Gallery’ from the name of the exhibition, and name it ‘Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and its Legacies’. ”

The original name was probably decided by a civil servant who could have been a little insensitive. But what’s more important in this case, is that we come to a common understanding that we have to remember to do what we can to prevent such atrocities of war from happening to us again.

But hey, sounds like the government is listening.

 

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Arthur Lee

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