Syonan Gallery

An affront to Singaporeans dead and alive

I am 82 years old and am one of those who suffered during the Japanese occupation of Singapore, then renamed Syonan-to.

I wish to register my strongest protest against the choice of Syonan as the name of the new war museum ("NLB explains its rationale for war gallery's name"; Feb 11).

It is not only downright outrageous and insensitive but also an affront to Singaporeans both dead and alive, myself included.

I cannot help wondering if the National Library Board and those who chose the infamous name even know the meaning of the word "Syonan".

Trying to justify the name by saying it is an apt way to remember that dark period is nonsense.

The proper way to learn about that painful period in our history is through the school textbook, instead of glorifying the name.

Surely, no British government would name any bombed site in London or Coventry with names linked to Nazi aggressors, nor would any self-respecting Jew use any name associated with Hitler.

We should do the same.

Aw Foong Chen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2017, with the headline 'An affront to Singaporeans dead and alive'. Print Edition | Subscribe