March 16, 2008

The recent brouhaha over the theme which the Singapore Sports Council (SSC) christened for a party at St James Power Station, championing sporty lifestyles brought home the realisation, on my part at least, that Singapore really has a long way to go in terms of creativity. 

Despite only having one complaint from an irate person (which was enough for mypaper to feature as its cover story last Thursday), the SSC actually ran a public apology, to the person, on the possible insensitivities the name may bring across.

I personally feel the need to advocate creativity as well, and what better way to do it than through public events as such?

However, I believe that there has to be a line drawn somewhere between “creativity” and “trash”.

The acronym SPAM is the theme of the party, and is abbreviated for “Sports Party Animals Movement”. From good ol’ trustworthy, we see spam being defined as:

Spam noun, verb, spammed, spam·ming.

1. Trademark. a canned food product consisting esp. of pork formed into a solid block.
2. (lowercase) a disruptive, esp. commercial message posted on a computer network or sent as e-mail.

The negative connotations behind the word is blatant, and does not exactly put forth the notion which I feel the SSC intends to pass to the public via the party.

In addition, what it stands for does not exactly make sense in pure simple English either (whether happened to the “Speak Good English Movement”?) The phrase “Sports Party Animals Movement” is grammatically wrong no matter what way you look at it, nor does it make any sense at all.

I mean, seriously, why “Sports Party Animals Movement” when it could have been “Sporty Party Animals Movement”, which makes more sense? Even “Support Party Animals Movement”, which has a totally different contextual meaning, makes more sense.

The SSC could possibly have considered other themes such as “Sweat!”, for instance, to crystallise the link between sports and party, instead of referring to guests as “party animals” which, in itself, seem to be an insult, or “spam”, which sounds remarkably cheesy.

I won’t be surprised if, sooner or later, acronyms such as SCUM (which can always stand for “Singapore Children Union Movement” or something), or any other possible variations, start appearing.

Of course, it’s difficult to please everyone, and henceforth, I am finding it ridiculous that the SSC actually put forth an apology regarding the entire issue – they could’ve just stuck with the name but learn the sentiments of the public along the way.

Well, with this issue, I realise that local organisations seriously have much room for improvement the way events, companies, venues and such are being named. Even when competitions are open to the public for suggestions as to how venues should be named, the best Singaporeans seem to be able to come up with is “The Budget Terminal” and “Terminal 3”. At least “Ion Orchard” gives the shopping centre some leeway to play around with molecules and chemistry in its design and pyrotechnics.

We shall see what kind of suggestions get thrown up for the Singapore Garden Festival’s “Name the SGF Mascot” competition, shall we?