Despite being embroiled an embarrassing inappropriate naming of the Syonan Gallery, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote on his Facebook saying such “conversations” bring Singaporeans together:
“Many Singaporeans have spoken up in recent days about the exhibition at the Former Ford Factory. We initially called it “Syonan Gallery: War and its Legacies”. The name “Syonan” was meant to evoke that dark and traumatic period in Singapore’s history. But quite a few felt that the name itself, used like this, caused them pain. Many Singaporeans of all races suffered terrible atrocities during the Japanese Occupation, or had family members who did. My colleagues and I honour and respect these deep feelings. So we have renamed the exhibition to bear witness to these painful memories. Thank you all who shared your thoughts and views. Such conversations bring us closer together. I hope that Singaporeans will go and see the exhibition. We must never forget the events that so profoundly impacted our lives and shaped our society. – LHL”
You may view Lee Hsien Loong’s Facebook post here.
Syonan Gallery has since been renamed “Surviving the Japanese Occupation: War and its Legacies” on Friday (Feb 17), despite the Prime Minister’s earlier refusal to change the name.