In Singapore, all National Servicemen Full-Time (NSFs) would be put on the subscription systems of Pioneer magazine at the beginning of their enlistment. If you asked your superiors or the administration why this is so, they might furnish you with these postulations:
– This automatic subscription is for the convenience of all servicemen.
– Pioneer magazine allows Singaporean males to keep in touch with developments within the Singapore Armed Force (SAF).
– The cost of your monthly copy of Pioneer is kindly subsidised.
– The Ministry of Defence is consistently gathering feedback to improve the publication.
Unfortunately, they are fallacious arguments. The main question is this: what are the rationales for making subscription to Pioneer magazine compulsory for all within the system (accompanied by the institution of a rigid opt-out mechanism)? Shouldn’t individuals have the prerogative to choose whether they would like to purchase a publication, and not be asked to be removed from the mailing list? What is the logic with the present mechanism? It makes good sense, on many dimensions, to make it a fair opt-in system.
I Don’t Want No Pioneer In My Mailbox
Some might contend that forty cents is quite a negligible sum, and that we’re making a mountain out of a molehill (when we could – I suppose – dedicate more time for actual policy considerations), but I reject these propositions. I would like to choose what ends up in my letterbox (as clichéd as it may sound, it is a matter of principle), and I think going for an opt-in system would generate more impetus for Pioneer to heighten its quality (at the present moment, the editorial team has no incentives to improve its articles or commentaries).
In my opinion, I see no real value in Pioneer magazine (other than, probably, using it to fold makeshift containers for leftover bones or scraps of food, or the occasional promotion of a good cause in Singapore). You know what will intrigue me though? If Pioneer – and its writers – acknowledges that our military is probably far from perfect, and therefore decides to incorporate constructive elements of policy discourse and discussion (here).
How Do You Unsubscribe?
If you are a NSmen: Write in to email@example.com (which was given to me through an email correspondence with the MINDEF Feedback Unit) directly. For your convenience, you could use or adapt the following template in your email to the team.
Dear Sir / Madam,
Unsubscribing From Pioneer Magazine
1. I am Mr. XXX (S________), and I am writing in to express my desire to be kindly removed from the automated Pioneer subscription system.
2. I would also like the administration to reconsider the current mechanism of making subscription to Pioneer magazine compulsory for all NSFs at the beginning of their enlistment. It makes good sense, on many dimensions, to make it a fair opt-in system, rather than an opt-out one. Singaporean males would appreciate the liberty to choose whether they would like to receive the magazine, based on the quality of the publications.
3. [You can also choose to – at your own discretion – add in other concerns that you might have with the magazine, so that the relevant representatives would be able to process constructive feedback. For instance, some have environmental considerations (glossy pages wrapped in needless plastic wraps), others might be unconvinced by the repetitive content or uninspiring columns et cetera].
4. Thank you very much for taking time off to read this email.
If you are a NSF: You can approach your Unit S1 or Manpower Officers to discontinue your subscription; if applicable, you could also consider using the aforementioned template to explain your reasons or justifications.