At the onset the school is already risking alienating themselves from the local heartland population.
There is a new kid on the block in the junior college (JC) industry. The new JC will be called Eunoia JC.
There are 18 other JCs in Singapore are simply called;
Anderson JC, Anglo Chinese JC, Catholic JC, Hwa Chong Institution JC, Innova JC, Jurong JC, Meridian JC, Nanyang JC, National JC, Pioneer JC, Raffles JC, Serangoon JC, St Andrew’s JC, Tampines JC, Temasek JC, Victoria JC, Yishun JC.
Some of these JCs have a heritage to their names, some are very established and has a long history, some are new, some choose to tie their name to the specific geography where the school is located, Yishun JC is located in Yishun, and so is Serangoon JC (well, sort of). There is some logic towards naming these schools. There were another 2 new JCs which was opened at the turn of the 21st century, Innova (in Woodlands) and Meridian (in Pasir Ris).
By the way, Eunoia JC is not even going to be sited anywhere near to ‘Eunos’, the next most rhyming Singapore word.
Even these 2 schools, which names sounds a bit more contemporary, was spared the limelight the way Eunoia JC is in right now.
Well, I can live with Meridian, or even Innova, which sounds a little cheesy, too pushy toward inspiring, but yes, Innova loosely equates ‘innovation’; well, we do openly harbour hopes and desires we have for our future generations, to be innovative.
So what is Eunoia? Why Eunoia?
(Even MS Words and WordPress spellchecker flagged it red!) It’s Greek loosely meaning ‘goodwill’ and some ethical human foundations. One of the many flak it received was it’s too difficult to pronounce, and Greek? Sounds a bit too far from Singapore, geographically speaking. On top of the economic situation they are in? Not the best example of a nation state in the current free world.
According to the incumbent principal Mrs Wong, there was a selection process and Eunoia was chosen over 199 other suggestions, this was based on an online suggestions from stakeholders like parents, students, then there was ‘brain storming’ (what a cliche!) and consultation which took them 6 months to choose Eunoia. It was revealed that, these processes are documented and recorded, as in any bureaucratic government sanctioned work. I’m sure they also document and record as to how they came about with other names for other JCs.
K.I.S.S.-Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Gen Z JC
So maybe, based on their records, they tried out ‘Meridian’ in 2003, no one really bat an eyelid, ‘Innova’ was up in 2005, well, didn’t create much of a buzz either. So base on their past experiences perhaps, no one really bothered with the names, so they were probably embolden to try something different… hence Eunoia (I’m still trying to get used to typing this Greeky word); and it hit a media storm.
Since this is the newest kid on the block, I wondered, why did they choose a name that is from an old. long dead civilization? Is Eunoia going to teach Greek philosophy? Mythology? How is Greek culture related to ours anyway? Will there be statues of Greek gods in the schools? How far will they take the Greek theme to?
And I wonder how will our young, tech-addicted, literally-glued-to-the-smartphone generation (Gen Z) take to the name? Does it even inspire them to higher Greek aspirations? I’m not sure if I am.
In my own small pragmatic way, the way to name names is a 4 word-acronym… K.I.S.S.-Keep It Simple, Stupid.
As we all can see, this is not as simple and stupid as it seems. Even big, smart organizations like MOE can trip on it. Process upon process, brain storming and consultation, group thinking will not work. Logic and sensibility will always prevails, a good name sticks quickly, has a good vibe and helps bring in the right crowd, is Eunoia trying to target a Greek audience?
No local wise cracks?
Why do we need to travel to Greece to get a name? We have plenty of smart, wise people in Singapore. All our state Presidents, past and current are great people, why not Benjamin Sheares JC? Yusof Ishak JC? They bring a sense of Singaporean-ness to the JC, students can relate and entrench to that. They can read up on these great men and also aspire great things, for Singapore, not Greece. These names are closer to home, and gives our school a local identity. Oh, why not name the JC after a great Singapore woman? Joaquim JC would be a simple one, easy to mouth as well.
Stay grounded, MOE
Most schools in Singapore are meritocratic, which means we are going to have heartlanders aunties and uncles sending their kids to this strange sounding school for their education. These folks will know nuts about Greek, and mouth something as ‘cheem‘(deep), profound and greeky as Eunoia; all they want for their kiddos is to have a good education. As much as the Eunoia JC’s principal defending the school as not wanting to sound ‘high class’ but wanting to provide ‘world-class’ education. But in this naming gaffe, people are already thinking the former, even before you can prove to deliver the latter. At the onset the school is already risking alienating themselves from the local heartland population.