Syonan Gallery : The Art And Fart Of Naming Convention


By: B Goode

So our Propaganda Minister, Yaacob Ibrahim finally admitted defeat and decided to re-name Syonan Gallery into something loooooooong…

But the name change happened not before he gave a good fight in trying to explain stuff.

In the first place, if you had to explain the meaning of a name, it simply meant that the name wasn’t that great to begin with. A good name should be self-explanatory. The meaning should be inherent and obvious. The same reason why the National Museum is called just that and not The Stamford Building.

The same reason why this website has a terrible name because people still think that it is a website devoted to religion….

And I guess the same reason why Syonan Gallery has now been changed to Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and its Legacies.

A mouthful, yes. Self-explanatory, yes. Long, YES!

But not to worry. People will just call it The Ford Factory.

Like many others, when I first heard of the name Syonan Gallery, I said: WTF? I thought it was a place to glamourise the life under the Japanese until it was explained to me that it was actually a place to document the terror and atrocities of Japanese occupation.

Which brings me to the second point:

You see, words are like humans. They are not born equal. Some words are more powerful and when put together with another word, they will dominate and infused it with its own aura.

Take Syonan Gallery for example. You might think that between the two words, Syonan is the powerful one. Nope. It is the seemingly decent and innocuous word, gallery.

When people mention the word gallery, people will think of art, music, sculptures, paintings and other nice cultural stuff. So when you put another word with Gallery, that word automatically becomes nice.

That’s why you can never find something called The Nazi Gallery.

But you will find a lot of things with the word Durian in it….mmmm yum….

But it doesn’t matter now. It is all water under the bridge.

And with Yaacob Ibrahim apologising for the naming booboo only after much condemnation, it just proved the point that:

Sorry seems to be the hardest word.

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