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English Corner Blog

The Forced Transition

Betty Tan - Tuesday, January 08, 2013

For all our dear loyal and faithful customers. For all who are willing to take the time and the interest to find out more. And for those who are able to read this with an unbiased mind.

Firstly, we wish to apologize to our 2012 subscribers, parents, Primary Schools and Primary School Teachers who subscribed the Young Scientists magazine distributed by us, English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd. We have been coerced, framed, bullied and accused of being unreasonable and unethical.

Just before the delivery of the last October issue #122, we were threatened and strangled with 19 terms and conditions set upon us by our former Malaysian partners, Hup Lick Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd, the owners of the Young Scientists trademark. There was no way to explain about this business bully in a timely fashion to subscribers, schools and teachers who have faithfully dealt with us in the past.

This is a very brief account of what happened to the last issue of Young Scientists #122. Why did it become Science Adventures? Why were subscribers not informed nor given a choice? Why after 10 years of hard work building a failing brand to the popular brand it is today, would English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd make such a ludicrous move?

The Companies:

English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd, Singapore -

  • Official distributor of Young Scientists magazine up to 2012 under Young Readers Express Pte Ltd.
  • Official distributor of Science Adventures magazine.
  • Owners of Science Adventures magazine Level 1, 2, 3 & 4 publishing & distribution rights.
  • Owners of Young Readers Express Pte Ltd.

Hup Lick Publishing (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd -

  • Owners of Young Scientists Pte Ltd, Singapore (a shell company, used to market Young Scientists back in to Malaysia and other countries as a Singapore Product).
  • Owners of Young Scientists Readers Pte Ltd, Singapore (current official distributor of Young Scientist in Singapore).
  • Owners of Young Scientists magazine Level 1, 2, 3 trademark, publishing and distribution rights.

The legitimate trademark and copyright owner of Young Scientists is Hup Lick Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd, located in KL, Malaysia. The magazine is written solely in Malay for the Malaysian market which is not profitable at all for them. So the owners of Hup Lick Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd came to Singapore to incorporate Young Scientists Pte Ltd. While it is indeed a Singapore Registered company, it is wholly owned and managed by all partners of Hup Lick Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd.

The Unannounced Change

For many of the loyal followers and subscribers of the Young Scientists magazine, it was a very unexpected surprise that their last issue of Young Scientists (#122) for 2012 arrived in the form of Science Adventures (#122). Many were taken aback. Many were angered, furious. But for even more, they were confused. The transition was an unfortunate event brought upon by Hup Lick Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd.

Hup Lick Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd was in partnership with English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd for the last 10 years to bring Young Scientists to the children of Singapore. Their Malay science magazines (Level 1- Adik Sains, Level 2 - Tunas Sains, Level 3 - Rakan Sains) were slowly and painstakingly nurtured by English Corner.

Month by month, issue by issue, their horrendous grammar and other mind-boggling English mistakes and other issues had to be corrected in the process of transformation into the English Language Young Scientists.

The partnership came to an unexpected and abrupt end on 19 September 2012, just as only 50% of the stock for the last issue of Young Scientists (#122) arrives.

It was discovered that renewal forms were secretly printed onto the back of every issue of #122, with all customer details and payments to be sent directly to Young Scientists Readers Pte Ltd.

It was a direct attempt to steal the database, payments and customers away from English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd. It also violated their policy of “customer buying 100% content”, that there would never be advertisements in the issues of Young Scientists.

Young Scientists Level 1 #122 covers.
Young Scientists Level 2 #122 covers.
Young Scientists Level 3 #122 covers.

Issuing of #122 was immediately ceased.

A termination letter arrives via email. Hup Lick Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd officially ends this editorial, language consultancy and marketing relationship.

The next day, owners of Hup Lick Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd paid a visit to the office of English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd.
They were accompanied by an obscenely arrogant and rude Yu Chung Weng, the in-charge of Young Scientists Readers Pte Ltd.

Extreme and unreasonable demands were made upon English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd in order to continue to be the distributor for Young Scientists.

Some of their demands include:

  • Surrendering of the entire database of customers belonging to English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd.
  • Surrendering of details and contacts of all the teachers in charge of Young Scientists at all the participating schools.
  • From 2013, all subscription payments collected from school visits are to be immediately surrendered to Young Scientists Readers Pte Ltd while all duties for issuing of monthly issues and servicing customers remains to be handled by English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd for a 30% commission.
  • Deposit of SG$400 000.00 to Hup Lick Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd as a token of good faith.

Caught totally unawares and off-guard, English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd still had to carry on with their commitment to deliver a last issue to their subscribers.

There was no choice but to use products made for overseas market as an immediate replacement.

Hence, Science Adventures was introduced in a frantic rush. Rush to get the books ready. Rush to get all the books delivered before the year-end holidays.

However, there has been some confusion and accusations made against Science Adventures.

Pictures and comparisons of issues of an Indonesian publication “Kuark” were shown side by side with issues of Science Adventures. It showed that both publications were identical and that only names and language were different.

Comparisons between Science Adventures and Kuark.

This incited new talk that now English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd has taken an Indonesian publication as its own and sold it off in Singapore as a Singaporean product. Talk is rife about Singaporean English standard as being lowered and people are further angered and disappointed.

English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd is proud to be associated with PT Kuark International. The partnership is a win-win situation whereby PT Kuark hold the Indonesian copyright and English Corner Publishing holds the English Rights. This is what is called CO-PUBLISHING.

The two publications may share similar cover pages, however, the materials inside are not entirely the same as well. English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd owns the English version of the content and have additional material in Science Adventures not found in Kuark issues.

It is very normal for a publication to buy content from others, just like how a TV station buys content from other parts of the world for local broadcast.

“Kuark” is made and catered for the Indonesian market. It was never meant to be marketed in Singapore. It was definitely not meant to be brought in to compete with Young Scientists.

Young Scientists is after all, the hard labour of the last decade of English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd. However the change of publication – from Young Scientists magazine to Science Adventures magazine, was entirely beyond English Corner’s control as circumstances forced them to take such a drastic action.

Nonetheless, regardless of it being Young Scientists Pte Ltd or Young Scientists Readers Pte Ltd, both companies are wholly owned by the partners and family members of Hup Lick Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd. It is a good business mode to translate the Malay Science magazine into English to distribute in Singapore. Not only does it gain a 100% profit margin, it also brings a “Singapore brand” to their Malaysian market.

Young Scientists magazine sells for RM70 (S$28) in Malaysia to poor response but in Singapore it sells ($55) to a much larger volume.

Young Scientists 2013 Level 1 selling for RM70 inclusive of postage. http://www.leebook.com.my/details.asp?prod_code=TYSL1-2013&page=1
Young Scientists 2013 Level 2 selling for RM70 inclusive of postage. http://www.leebook.com.my/details.asp?prod_code=TYSL2-2013&page=1
Young Scientists 2013 Level 3 selling for RM70 inclusive of postage. http://www.leebook.com.my/details.asp?prod_code=TYSL3-2013&page=1

Young Scientists Readers Pte Ltd was established to mislead subscribers, as it shares a very similar name with Young Readers Express Pte Ltd. Many customers have called up English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd to express their confusion, thinking that both are companies run by the same people.

Young Scientists is published by Hup Lick Publishing (M) Sdn Bhd, but it is printed by their family member Percetakan Tatt Sdn. Bhd. to keep the profits within the family. Part of the deal for distribution of Young Scientists by English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd is to accept this clause with no choice, no control of the quality, printing schedule and delivery schedule of the final product. Countless times, the magazines arrive late. And occasionally arrive with corrected mistakes still in them. English Corner have no control over this and can only endure all these years, and to bear the consequences of customer complaints, anger and displeasure.

Moving On

As with every new product, there will be a phase of changes and improvements, hence your feedback is most valuable to us. Now that we are the owners of this new product, we are in control. We can make changes and cater more adequately towards our customers’ needs.

However, please do not expect us to BE Young Scientists, because we are not. But we do wish Science Adventures to become a magazine uniquely special on its own, for a new generation of children starting from 2013.

Our customers and teachers, especially those who have subscribed and worked with English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd for several years, know that there must be a good reason behind such an extreme move. And for all of you, English Corner Publishing Pte Ltd wishes to apologize for this forced transition. We have met many children when they were in Primary 1, and said goodbye to them when they left in Primary 6. They have faithfully subscribed with us, and grown with us over the years.

You have all helped us make Young Scientist a success over the years, and we thank you for the support and patience you have given us. Unfortunately, we will now have to compete with our own success. We hope that you will continue to support us, as we build upon a new local product, to build another success.

Thank you for reading.

See also:

http://www.facebook.com/notes/science-adventures-magazine/fabrications/523627361010662