Dear reader,

Who else is in our Jommunity? And what do you like and dislike about Jom?

It’s been a year and a half since Charmaine, Waye and I decided to co-found this publication, and nine months since we started writing this weekly newsletter. There are over 3,000 of you receiving it, and today is an opportunity for us all to take stock. We have just published the results from our first-ever reader survey, which 318 of you responded to. (Thank you!)

Many of you said you like Jom because of its honesty; fearlessness; independence; balance; quality of writing; depth of research; and humour. Some of the criticisms include the sense that Jom is (eeks) “pretentious” or “too atas”. Some readers think we’re too harsh on the government and the mainstream media; others think we’re too soft.

You can see all our key findings in our summary piece. Please do so, and then click reply to this e-mail to let us know what you think, what resonates or not. It’s an ongoing conversation, and we’d love to hear your thoughts about the survey results. The first two to do so will win the two remaining Jom tote bags that we had reserved for respondents #400 and #500. (And yes, since many have asked, we’ll soon start selling these in our online shop. Akan datang.)

More than that, we’ve also decided to write a full article that addresses one common criticism: why do you keep mentioning Lee Kuan Yew? It’s an understandable sentiment. The mythology around one man has dominated Singapore for so long that many believe we should just move on, or even erase bits of it. It’s an important question, and we felt the need to explain our position clearly. Read the piece here.

At one level, these results will help us tailor the product for you. At another, it’s a small step toward fostering a sense of Jommunity with like-minded people who understand the importance of independent media in Singapore.

In keeping with our belief in openness and transparency, and our desire to grow this company with you—the highs and the lows—Jom believes in an approach that’s sometimes called “build in public”. Yes, a market framework suggests that we are the sellers and you the buyers, but that’s really not how we view our subscribers. We’re actually just travelling companions on this shared journey.

I met some of you last night at the opening of the Per°Form Open Academy of Arts and Activations (check out the incredible line-up of events today and over the weekend, featuring artists from Brazil to Iran and Palestine). Aside: I’ve now gotten used to people introducing me as “Jom” or “Mr Jom”, rather than Sudhir, an identity crisis that I’ll one day discuss with a therapist.

Anyhow, it was so good to meet readers, including new friend Noorlinah Mohamed, whom we coincidentally have written about in Singapore This Week, as well as old friend Emmeline Yong (JC yearmate), who runs Objectifs, a visual arts space. I haven’t seen Emmeline since Jom started. She asked me how it felt to see something taking shape out of nothing. I told her I hadn’t really had time to process it, but ya, feels nice. Love the people, love the nascent Jommunity.

And so, in that spirit, and for those who might have missed our early “build in public” newsletters, I thought today’s an appropriate time for us to revisit some of them (see below), take stock, and maybe raise a glass to all of us.

Just a small one lah. Still much work to be done.

Sudhir Vadaketh
Editor-in-chief, Jom

Jom’s “build in public” approach

  1. Whats in a logo?
  2. Isnt it risky starting a magazine in Singapore?
  3. Why a Malay name for an English-language magazine about Singapore
  4. How we choose our blurbs and essays, including this weeks on Chinese dramas
  5. How Jom decides on our political stories

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