Our circulation department staff at PJ headquarters and various branch offices have been very busy answering calls and entertaining readers walking in to subscribe Sin Chew Daily over the past one week. Colleagues from the other departments, including the reporting desk, advertising and public relations departments have taken the initiative to come up and help relieve their unusual workload.
We have not seen something quite like this for many years, and I would say we are moved by the unyielding loyalty of our readers.
Our northern region senior reporting chief Chua Ching Joo rang up last Friday: “The Penang office phone has been ringing non-stop since yesterday. I’m both happy and worried, because many casual newspaper buyers now want to subscribe from us, but I also worry we might not be able to entertain all their calls and have to keep some waiting at the other end of the line.
“Seeing so many readers showing up at our circulation department, I have to arrange for less busy reporters to help pick up the readers’ calls and take down their particulars.”
Melaka’s reporting chief Sim Paul Seng said his office phone was also equally busy, reminding him of the time when newspapers were selling like hot cakes back in 2000, when Sin Chew chalked enviable sales both in newspapers and advertisements.
Meanwhile, Johor’s senior reporting chief Ho Wan Mee told me Sin Chew Daily has always been the number one choice for Chinese newspaper readers in the southern region, and as such, after we announced to raise the retail selling price of the newspaper but with a promotional offer for subscribers, our colleagues at the front desk and circulation department have been taking calls non-stop, patiently explaining the details of our promotional package until they almost lose their voices.
A good friend of mine texted me after learning about the higher retail prices of newspapers that many people would continue to support Sin Chew despite the price hike. He told me the message was forwarded from his father back in hometown.
And another friend sent me this message: “Mrs Tan said she would still support because even a glass of coffee has now gone up to RM2.50 while a plate of wanton noodle is RM7.50. Newspaper is the food of our soul and Sin Chew is my absolute favorite. How can I stop supporting it?”
My heart is overwhelmed with excitement by the endless stream of heartwarming events taking place around us. So are our colleagues, who feel so motivated as we vow to make Sin Chew Daily even better in the days to come so as not to disappoint the readers who have showered us with so much love and passion all these years.
Compared to other daily necessities that have seen their prices soaring multiple times, newspapers remain very affordable even after the latest price adjustment.
The decision to raise the selling price of Sin Chew Daily from RM1.50 to RM2.00 has been a very hard one to make. Whenever possible, we still hope to be able to continue bearing the skyrocketing operation cost. But the thing is, newsprint price has surged by a staggering 80% in European markets over the last six months to €670 (approximately RM3,107) per ton, while in Malaysia, newsprint price has doubled from US$400 (RM1,600) per ton two years ago to $800 (RM3,360) today.
The actual cost of a copy of Sin Chew Daily now should be around RM3.00!
Since its establishment 93 years ago, Sin Chew Daily has remained faithful to the Malaysian Chinese community through the long years of historical events in this country, and will continue to voice up for the community without fear and favor in the many more years to come.
I have kept encouraging my colleagues at the reporting desk that we can never take press freedom for granted. If we are forced to move back two steps under pressure, we will seize every opportunity to reclaim three steps as we steadfastly overcome each hurdle that stands our way. This is how I reflect on my journalistic career in the past ten years.
In the meantime, we keep talking about media transformation. Yes, what is changing is the way we approach the readers, not our credibility, value system and reliable news content.
For RM2, you are not only buying news information, but a legacy, a culture, a conviction, Chinese education and an undying passion for this land, too.
Credibility is everything a media organisation relies to sustain its existence, while media workers are obliged to create value for the media they serve in boosting their own credibility as a beacon for the society, and not to lose themselves in the world of ubiquitous information.
Other than serving as a tool to disseminate news information, Chinese newspapers in Malaysia also have an irrefutable responsibility toward the community they serve.
Despite the higher selling price of newspaper, we at Sin Chew Daily remain committed to do our utmost to bring the most updated and truthful content to the readers who have trusted and supported us for decades.
We know very well we won’t have a future without these faithful readers.
To reciprocate the goodwill of our readers, Sin Chew Daily will strive to become that unique voice that speaks and does what it ought to do during those crucial moments, guiding the society to the right path instead of being led by the nose by popular consensus.
We do make mistakes from time to time throughout our 93 years of history, but each time the readers point that out to us, we are willing to look back and review our missteps, and make amends. The media business is like an ongoing Long March in which our destiny is inextricably intertwined with that of the local Chinese community. We came from the Chinese community and must therefore go back and serve the Chinese community.
In our highly convoluted and unpredictable world today, we as the guardians of responsible reporting vow to pass on our unyielding commitment to journalistic principles from one generation to the next in defending the rights of Chinese Malaysians and promoting greater national unity.
Against the backdrop of the utter chaos that characterizes the era of online information overload, we at Sin Chew Daily strive to keep innovating in pursuit of excellence as we work diligently to create content that is close to the hearts of our readers and meets their every need.
We make sure the voices of the underprivileged are not left unheard, their needs overlooked. We will also make sure that those in power are kept under our close watch. We will and must do this with all our hearts and souls.
During the past six years, we have been serving our readers with heartwarming stories taking place in our society through our dedicated Warm Power column. And in a world inundated with misinformation, our persistence in seeking the truth has been rightly manifested in our “Seeking Truth” column, while the “Easily” column feeds the readers with useful and practical health info. We have also started a column to highlight the motivational stories of young Malaysian entrepreneurs, and another to uphold the noble spirit of unity among Malaysians from different cultural backgrounds.
In post-pandemic 2022, Sin Chew Daily will introduce a new column “Discover Asean” from April 15 in conjunction with the reopening of our national borders after two whole years, with the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) as our adviser to help our readers rediscover and know our neighboring countries as well as a host of opportunities they offer, through a series of interviews, insightful articles and analytical pieces.
We also believe in the strength of collective effort as we team up with other major players in the media industry such as Sinar Harian, The Star and Astro Awani to forge a media alliance to reinforce the clout of media reporting.
Through cross media collaboration, resource sharing, investigative reporting on various issues related to public interest, we reach out to ordinary Malaysians from different backgrounds in delivering more diverse, comprehensive and original content to reflect the voices of all Malaysians.
The above columns painstakingly designed to tailor to the needs of our readers will require a dedicated team of professional, highly motivated and passionate reporters to go out to the field and harvest the information to generate unbiased, objective and truthful news reports for our readers.
And we need the continuous support of our readers to make this happen.
To inspire our reader remains Sin Chew Daily’s foremost responsibility. The torch that we have lit up will need the concerted effort of our readers to be passed on to the next generation of media practitioners, and readers.
For RM2, you are not only buying news information, but a legacy, a culture, a conviction, Chinese education and an undying passion for this land, too. Most importantly, it will allow us to work together to preserve our precious cultural root.
We thank our readers for your undivided support all these years. We are glad you have seen our hard work, and your goodwill is deeply felt and appreciated.
We simply can’t thank you enough!