Jom’s first-ever print issue will be ready for shipping next Thursday! I’ve been involved in numerous book-length print projects, and that feeling of excitement and expectation mixed with nerves (did we miss a typo?) never gets old.
Last call for those of you who are Members (S$10/month) to upgrade your subscription to Supporter (S$25/month) or Patron (S$950/year), in order to receive a free copy. On Monday morning, we’ll close out this year’s print benefit, and start asking Supporters and Patrons for their mailing addresses.
You can also, of course, just purchase the print issue outright for S$36, including local shipping. Shout-out to the person who just purchased 20 copies to give away as gifts. Seeing “S$720” on our Snipcart order page made my eyes pop.
Our essay of the week, “Linying’s three chords and a truth”, is a profile of the Singaporean singer making her mark around the world. Jonathan Chan’s third essay for Jom is special for many reasons. Most importantly, for me, it’s a celebration of a unique talent that’s been cultivated through passion and hard work in an unforgiving society, one that still places a huge premium on traditional career paths.
And yet, as Jonathan shows us through Linying’s story, Singapore is changing, it is becoming a more nurturing place for artists: the Noise Singapore’s Music Mentorship Programme, which helped Linying’s fledgling career in 2014; the widening network of Singaporean collaborators, including producers Evanturetime and Josh Wei; the musical influence and support of her mother Doris; and the fandom of the “Linguines” or “Linyingators”, with whom Linying shares an intimate, symbiotic relationship.
Jonathan is an unabashedly gleeful member of the tribe:
“Not a single seat in the Esplanade Theatre is empty. Not bad for someone who was once told her music was too sleepy to fill it. She bops and she grooves and she plays the piano. She sings songs she’s written, both released and unreleased, and songs she’s loved. Like songs by ABBA and My Chemical Romance. Voices swell in unison to the music. ‘I’ve found my people,’ she says. It is vindication. It is a moment of triumph.”
The profile is also experimental, both in literary form, structured like a song, but also in terms of its generous embedding of multimedia content. It’s a 24-minute read, but that could easily extend to 45 minutes if one watches Linying’s YouTube videos and listens to her Spotify tracks along the way.
The traditionalist in me was a little bit hesitant about this much experimentation—can’t we just have one video?—but I’m glad that Jonathan and the rest of the team persisted. I think it’s important for Jom to push the literary form as much as we can. We’re young, we’re adaptable, there’s no reason to be bound by the strictures of last century’s publishing norms.
We’d love to hear what you think, reply and let us know. Your view will help guide our future multimedia pieces—we’re building Jom together.
The profile is also special because, like all our profiles, it’s really a whole-of-Jom effort. In particular, much credit to Sophie Chew, a contributing writer who did a lot of the initial research and actually introduced us to Linying. And to Charmaine Poh, my co-founder, who took the beautiful, dreamy photographs of Linying, which for me capture the ease and confidence of an artist who’s moved past the adolescence of her career.
Finally, in “Singapore This Week”, our weekly digest, we look at the problematic so-called “Tharman Amendment” just passed in Parliament, the need for more clarity on prices and promos from funeral service providers, pre-school education, the dance events ringing in the year-end, the return of auto manufacturing in Singapore, and much more.
Jom baca & dengar & tonton,
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