Dear reader,

Events. These two events are reserved for our Supporters and Patrons:

The above events are free for Supporters and Patrons, though sign-ups are required for the 40 Book Bar spots at Leon’s event. We’ll e-mail you directly next week with details. Fastest fingers first.

Members (S$10/month) who want to upgrade so you can meet Aleithia and Leon, click on “Account” now, and then “change plan” to “Supporter” (S$25/month) or “Patron” (S$950/year).

A third event is open to all:

  • 8-9pm, May 15th, Zoom: Faris JoraimiJom’s history editor joins us from New York City to talk about Israel’s war on Gaza, particularly his on-the-ground observations. (What’s happening in Columbia University?) I’ll also share some thoughts on meeting Ang Swee Chai, and Jom’s overall coverage of the war. The webinar is free for all, but spots are limited. Register here now.

In Singapore This Week, we look at the worrying conflation of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP); the private driving instructor cabal; why Malaysians move to Singapore to make roti canai/prata; the Singapore Heritage Festival; smol art; and more.

Postcard from Colombia: land, life and lessons for peacebuilding is our essay of the week. Aleithia, a Singaporean who graduated from Yale-NUS College’s inaugural batch, was in Colombia for a six-month field placement, part of her Master’s in International Peace Studies programme at the University of Notre Dame.

“After five months in Bogotá, the capital city, which is known for its cold and rainy weather, and rigid and uppity people, I’m now in Sincelejo, which is warm and bright, and where people move to bullerengue and vallenato rhythms. But Sincelejo and Montes de María, the adjacent region, are also infamous for the intense violence between guerillas and paramilitaries that inflicted suffering on the campesinos, or peasants.”

Why is a Singaporean studying peacebuilding? It’s a question she often gets.

“Readers will know very well the types of violence in Singapore that fall into the latter two categories [structural and cultural], such as forced conscription for men, the inability to recognise and criticise racism in Singapore, the enforcement of heteronormative family structures, the erasure of ‘unofficial’ dialects and narratives, and the violences that are displaced onto other countries and bodies.

Peacebuilding for us, then, is not just about eliminating the presence of direct or physical violence (what academics call ‘negative peace’) but creating the conditions that reduce inequity and injustice, and promote human flourishing and dignity.”

In a week where we celebrated, for the second year running, a genuinely grassroots-driven labour rally at Hong Lim Park, Aleithia’s message, from Sincelejo to Singapore, rings true.

And on that note, I wanted to end with a shout-out to the numerous less-visible contributors to Jom this week: Marie Toh, for yet another signature postcard illustration; Bill Kakenmaster and John Lee, for their respective contributions to Aleithia’s essay; and Nicholas Yeo, for his rally photograph for “Singapore This Week”.

For all of your labour, we are grateful.

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

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