A big hello to everyone from Kuala Lumpur! Selamat Hari Raya; I hope everyone has had a good long weekend.
Four years ago on 28 April 2018, I sent out the very first issue of We, The Citizens. Back then, the newsletter ran solely as a free weekly, a personal project that I ran because I felt like there was much more going on with Singapore politics and civil society than many people were aware of, and I wanted to create a space for pro-democracy and rights-based perspectives, independent of the traditional mainstream outlets and commercial platforms in which space for views from activists, organisers, and other members of civil society are conditional upon pressures from the powerful elite or fear of reprisals.
I'd wanted to do something on 28 April this year to mark We, The Citizens' fourth birthday, and how it's grown from this small labour of love to a resource on Singapore civil society and politics, and a space where I can continue writing independently about Singapore and try to pay it forward with a mini-mentorship initiative for aspiring writers. All those plans went out the window with the horrible death penalty-related developments last week. It was much more important to write about Nagen and Datchina, to process all the grief that I've borne witness to, and to work through my own anger and sadness.
Still, it makes sense to do something today to make up for We, The Citizens' fourth anniversary, since it's World Press Freedom Day. As we all know, press freedom is a problem in Singapore, which is why I feel like it's especially important to hold as much space as possible, for as long I can. I'm glad that this newsletter can be a part of that effort.
Currently, We, The Citizens has 4,225 subscribers, out of which there are 420 Milo Peng Funders. I won't lie, that's about 4,000 more subscribers than I'd expected when I first started this newsletter.
The subscription fees from Milo Peng Funders provide me with an income stream that allows me to keep writing this newsletter independently, to work on my book, and to do the activism that I do. For example, over the past two weeks (honestly, it feels so much longer) I've worked full-time on anti-death penalty campaigning and providing support for Nagen's family. Because of We, The Citizens' Milo Peng Funders, I was still able to have some income during this period. So thank you, thank you, thank you to every single paying subscriber!
To celebrate We, The Citizens' fourth birthday, I've set up a 20% discount for most subscription tiers. For some reason Ghost doesn't let me just specify a discount code that you can plug in, so you'll have to click for the specific tier that you want:
If you'd like to subscribe to We, The Citizens but have financial constraints that make it difficult, I also have a discount that takes 50% off the first year's subscription. It's usually something I keep for students, but I'm going to open it up here:
This newsletter is basically a one-person show so I don't have enough spoons for any giant marketing plan to get the word out about this. I'm really grateful that so many We, The Citizens supporters have amplified this newsletter and encouraged people to subscribe — things wouldn't be where they are today without you! I'd really appreciate it if you shared this issue with everyone you know, too.
After all, got lobang must tell people, right?