Dear reader,

Jom now has over 700 paying subscribers, including many foreigners. You don’t have to be a citizen to enjoy Jom! (A question I get.) We’re a registered, legit subscription product, no different to (eeks) The Straits Times. Please get a paid subscription if you enjoy our work.

What 700 means is that we’re a quarter of the way to breaking even. Help us get there before the money runs out. We appreciate every little bit of evangelising that you do, even just mentioning Jom to a friend or forwarding this free e-mail newsletter to somebody interested in Singapore.

What does it mean to pay for Jom? Well, on the surface, it’s about buying a weekly magazine. At a deeper level, it’s also about buying into our values. One of them was in the spotlight this week because we’ve just raised our contributor rates. Jom will now pay S$450 for essays and S$400 for visual art (both up by S$50).

One of the reasons we started Jom was to try and create a platform where artists, journalists and other creators could make a decent living in one of the world's costliest cities. As subscription revenue comes in, we will progressively increase contributor rates. Our hope is to build a business that promotes equity and transparency in pay, where the gap between senior and junior workers is never big.

So, when you subscribe, you are not just getting journalism, but also joining us on this journey.

From raising rates to downing drinks. This week’s essay, “Postcard from Chicago: chasing the moth herb”, is by Myle Yan Tay, a Singaporean studying creative writing there (and playwright of a show that will be staged at Checkpoint Theatre, this month). He compares the Windy City’s drinking culture to the one in our little red dot.

“I put it in the microwave for two minutes, unaware of its potent rate of heat transfer. The jar came out burning to the touch. I waited for it to cool, its pungent aroma filling our kitchen. I waited. I took a sip. I burnt my tongue. I hated the taste, even more bitter perhaps because I accidentally cooked it.”

I’m not going to name the potion he’s talking about there. Read the piece. Yan’s breezy, meandering, whimsical style here perfectly suits the subject, and brought back memories of numerous drinking experiences: my first drink, 11, when I stole some Gordon’s Gin from my father’s cabinet (spat it out) to all-day-drinking escapades at MacRitchie Reservoir and around Berkeley, California, the latter not unlike the one Yan describes in Chicago.

(A note to Jom’s readers below 18: alcohol is a poison; treat it with care. I’ve had friends suffer from addiction and Yan describes one too.)

For those who’ve missed our previous postcards, please see our selection here. I’m really thrilled with how this series is shaping up. Your money is supporting not just Singaporeans on the island, but those far away too.

Jom minum,
Sudhir Vadaketh
Editor-in-chief, Jom

p.s. In Parliament yesterday, a book I wrote before co-founding Jom, The battle over Lee Kuan Yew’s last will, was criticised. I wrote a rebuttal on my own blog and Jom wrote something in Singapore This Week. Singapore’s Today newspaper also wrote a great piece incorporating my rebuttal. Please reply to this e-mail if you’d like to discuss anything about the issue!

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Correction: an earlier version of this newsletter said that Yan's play at Checkpoint Theatre is currently on, this is incorrect. "Brown Boys Don't Tell Jokes" runs from March 23rd to April 2nd.

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