Home/ Pressroom/ News + Stories

Pressroom

News + Stories

When I opened the exhibition “Syonan Gallery: War and Its Legacies” on Wednesday, I explained that we had designed this exhibition to capture the dark days of the Japanese Occupation, and remind ourselves never to take for granted our peace, harmony and sovereignty. 


2 Far from expressing approval of the Japanese Occupation, our intention was to remember what our forefathers went through, commemorate the generation of Singaporeans who experienced the Japanese Occupation, and reaffirm our collective commitment never to let this happen again.


3 The name of the exhibition reflected the time in our history when Singapore was forcibly renamed “Syonan”. We have used the word “Syonan” before to factually describe this difficult period. For instance, in 1992, for the 50thAnniversary of the Fall of Singapore, we held an exhibition at the National Museum, titled “When Singapore was Syonan-to”. 


4 But this particular exhibition name provoked a strong reaction. Over the past two days, I have read the comments made on this issue, and received many letters from Singaporeans of all races. While they agreed that we need to teach Singaporeans about the Japanese Occupation, they also shared that the words “Syonan Gallery” had evoked deep hurt in them, as well as their parents and grandparents. This was never our intention, and I am sorry for the pain the name has caused.


5 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”. 


6 The contents of the exhibition remain unchanged. They capture a painful and tragic period in our history which we must never forget, and which we must educate our young about. It is vital for us to learn the lessons of history, and reaffirm our commitment never to let this happen to Singapore again.


Speech by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications & Information and Ministry of Health, at the Future China Advanced Leaders Programme Commencement Ceremony at Mandarin Orchard Singapore on 26 May 2017 at 6.40pm News Public Comms 26 May 17
Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at Infocomm Media Business eXchange Opening Ceremony, Marina Bay Sands Singapore Convention Centre, 23 May 2017, 9.25am Speeches Infocomm Media 23 May 17
Speech by Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, at the Ministerial Forum on ICM 2017, at Marina Bay Sands Singapore Convention Centre on 22 May 2017 at 10am Speeches Infocomm Media 22 May 17
Remarks by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Health, at the Launch of Mediacorp’s Movie Mixing Studio on 17 May 2017, Wednesday, 10-11am at Audio Post, Mediacorp Campus Speeches Infocomm Media 17 May 17
MCI’s response to PQ on cybersecurity incidents involving government websites Parliament QAs Cyber Security, Infocomm Media 08 May 17
MCI’s response to PQ on cable cuts Parliament QAs Infocomm Media 08 May 17