Friday, 8 January 2016

What's in a name? Eunoia JC spells it out in a letter

It may be hard to pronounce, but it was picked for its enduring meaning: Principal
By Amelia Teng and Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 7 Jan 2016

The principal of Singapore's newest junior college (JC) has defended its unusual name, Eunoia, after many said that the word with Greek roots is not the best choice for a local school.

In a letter to Catholic High School (CHS) students on Tuesday, Mrs Wong Mei Heng acknowledged the strong public feedback that surfaced after the name was unveiled last week.

Eunoia means "beautiful thinking" and "goodwill towards others".

"At Eunoia... our aim is not to be seen as high class, but to be known for delivering first-class education," says principal Wong Mei Heng, addressing claims that the name was pretentious.
Posted by The Straits Times on Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The junior college will take in its first batch of Integrated Programme (IP) students from CHS, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School and Singapore Chinese Girls' School (SCGS) in 2017. IP students go on to JC without taking O levels.

Shortly after the new JC's name was revealed, jokes and criticism surfaced online, with many saying the name was hard to pronounce, lacked local heritage and was pretentious.

The Straits Times understands the Eunoia school management team is visiting the feeder schools this week to address students' concerns about their new JC.

Mr Boy Eng Seng, Eunoia's vice-principal, spoke to the CHS boys on Tuesday, when they were given Mrs Wong's letter.

The letter said the school had reviewed the naming process following the strong public reaction.

Explaining the naming process, Mrs Wong said parents had been invited to submit suggestions online in April, while students were asked for their input in May.

There were brain-storming sessions to discuss each of the 200 proposed names, all of which were meticulously documented and systematically reviewed, she said.

The Eunoia team met students again in October to share their findings after six months of discussion.

Only one name that "best captures the collective aspirations of our stakeholders" could be chosen, she said. While it could have been challenging to pronounce, "we were captivated by the enduring meaning the name presented us with".

Language experts have differing views on how the word should be pronounced, Mrs Wong said, adding that the college has decided that it should be "yoo-noh-iea".

"At Eunoia... our aim is not to be seen as high class, but to be known for delivering first-class education," she wrote in her letter, addressing claims that the name was pretentious.

Some parents and students remained unconvinced. A parent with a Secondary Two son at CHS was unaware of any consultation. "What are the other 199 names? Who were the stakeholders they consulted?" said the parent, who runs a voluntary welfare organisation.

A Secondary Four CHS student, who will enter Eunoia JC next year, said of the name: "I don't like it, but I'm not going to disrespect it either."

An operations manager in her 40s with a daughter at SCGS said: "Instead of spending so much time treading backwards to explain and get students' buy-in now, it would be more productive to get the students to take a poll out of the top 10 choices."

Thanks for your creative interpretations on how to pronounce the name of our newest JC - Eunoia.You know ya, it's an...
Posted by Ministry of Education, Singapore on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Too much ado over JC's name

There has been much controversy surrounding the name of a new junior college ("What's in a name? Eunoia JC spells it out in a letter"; last Thursday).

Despite the fact that this JC has yet to open its doors, it has already gained much attention because of its name - Eunoia - which has Greek origins.

Netizens have criticised the name of this JC, and even started rhyming it with words like "ammonia", "paranoia" and "euthanasia".

Although I agree that the Ministry of Education (MOE) could have selected a better-sounding name for this JC, I cannot fathom why this has generated so much harsh criticism.

A school, by definition, is an institution for educating children to prepare them for life beyond the classroom.

Hence, things as superficial as school names should not hold any weight over the type of education provided at these institutions.

Moreover, this name was chosen to represent the teachings that the school wishes to impart to its students, such as "aspiring to learn with grace".

Why is it that so many Singaporeans are merely focusing on what they perceive as the "repugnant" name of the school instead of applauding the Government for opening a new JC to help our youngest and brightest reach their fullest potential?

Instead of inventing jokes to mock Eunoia JC, let us focus on more significant issues regarding our education system to show the world that Singaporeans are not facile citizens who base their opinions on language that may not be as vernacular as we are accustomed to.

Ashley Tan Yu Yi, 15, Secondary 4 student
ST Forum, 13 Jan 2016

And the memes have begun. Deputy editor Ignatius Low, a Catholic High alumnus, is outraged by the name, asking "how...
Posted by The Straits Times on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How do you say "Eunoia"? The new JC's name means "beautiful thinking" and "goodwill towards others", but the pronunciation's all Greek to us. Let us know what you think in our poll.
Posted by The Straits Times on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment