[FOUNTAIN]There’s much in a name, for good or ill

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[FOUNTAIN]There’s much in a name, for good or ill

Writer Jo Jung-rae created more than 1,200 characters in his three epic novels “Taebaeksanmaek,” “Hangang” and “Arirang.” Each character received a unique name reflecting his or her personality, some intellectual, some silly and ignoble. Mr. Jo must have invented more names than anyone but professional naming specialists.
Names often determine image, which is why they should be chosen carefully. A few recent name choices have caused controversy. Early this year, the city of Gwangju named a new thoroughfare “Sendai Road” after Sendai, Gwangju’s sister city in Japan. But many citizens weren’t comfortable with a Japanese name for a road in Gwangju, center of the student independence movement during the colonial era and said it should be changed. Last month, Seoul changed its Chinese name from “Hancheong” to “Shouer” after a year of discussion and debate. When Gyeonggi province announced it would build an entertainment complex called “Hanryuwood” to promote hanryu (“Korea wave”), the Korean popular culture fad in Asia, Internet users criticized the name for being a knockoff of “Hollywood.” The Grand National Party has been debating whether to change its name for months.
Recently, a very strange name was created. With the creation of a united headquarters overseeing the Korea Stock Exchange, the Kosdaq and the Futures Exchange, the Korea Stock Exchange’s name was changed to Stock Market Division. Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motors, among others, are listed under it. But stock means “the proprietorship element in a corporation usually divided into shares and represented by transferable certificates.” This covers the items traded not only in the Korea Stock Exchange, but in Kosdaq and outside the markets. Confusingly enough, the name Stock Market Division could imply that the Kosdaq Market Division does not deal with stocks.
The Ministry of Finance and Economy came up with this inappropriate name; until the law is revised, we are stuck with it. Last year, the Finance Ministry made a fuss over a contest to choose a name for the “Korean New Deal”; the very plain result was “Comprehensive Investment Plan.” This same ministry that was so sensitive about naming the economic revival program created a misleading name for the stock division. Are these bureaucrats ignorant, or indifferent?


by Lee Se-jung

The writer is an editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo.

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