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Re: AJ

>Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2001 11:51:26 +0200
>From: Luca Specchio <lucky_luca at mclink_it>
>Subject: AJ

>As he is a close friend of you, I'd love to know why Vectrapoint didn't
>refund of my money that I spent for a 36 issues (3 years) subscription,
>while I've received only 6!
>Just wondering ... as vectrapoint hasn't answered ANY of my mails about
>this subject! :-(

Hi, Luca,

I'm sorry about what happened to your subscription to the Aqua Journal.
Frankly, I kind of knew this would happened, that someone would ask
me about his refund should I mention that the publisher is a close friend
of mine.  It's a question I dread answering, particularly so if it was asked
on a mailing list.  I should have omitted that line about him being my
close friend
when I wrote that post about how the moss got its name.  But then, it's isn't
my style to lie about things.  Dave Gomberg didn't know how right he was
when he said I was honest :)

What do you do when a close friend do something that is deemed
unethical?  Do you drop him as a friend?  I did think about doing that but
then again, I have friends who park in handicap lots and others who cheat on
their wives too. Should I strike them all off my list of friends too?  If I do,
I guess I will be left with very few friends.

To Luca and all those who feel cheated when their magazines stopped
arriving, let me just state the facts.

1.  James Lim, the publisher of the Aqua Journal is a close friend of mine.
We were friends even before he embarked on this business venture of
publishing the Aqua Journal.  My wife gets along very well with his fiancee
and my daughters adore her.

2.  Although we are close friends, I know little about his business.  I don't
know how many subscribers are there to the magazine.  I don't know how
must it costs Vectrapoint to publish one magazine and I don't know if he
made or lost money in this venture.  But it would be highly unlikely that
Vectrapoint made any profits.  If they had, they wouldn't have stopped
publication.  James did ask me for my opinion when he was thinking about
abandoning the business project and I encouraged him to continue.  I reminded
him of his obligations to his subscribers who paid up in good faith.  But then
again, it wasn't my wallet that had to live up to the obligations, so it was
definitely easier for me to be ethical.

3.  I have to pay for my subscription too and like every subscriber in
I got a refund when the magazine went bust. I did ask James about his foreign
subscribers and he told me it's very difficult
for him to refund anyone not living in Singapore.  He gave me several reasons
which I'm not prepared to disclose here.  Let's just say I accepted his reasons
although if it had been me, I might have done the right thing and give
everyone back his money.  That would probably ruin me, though.

4.   There was never any intention to cheat, I can vouch for that.  It was
James' dream to publish an aquatic plant magazine for the international
market and when Amano gave him the rights, it was like a dream came true
for him.  But the problems he had to face were many and I guess they became
insurmountable after a while.

I can't speak for Vectrapoint and I'm not making excuses for them.  I'm just
stating what I know.  Even if it's unacceptable to you, please do not ask me
anything more about the Aqua Journal.  Even before Luca's question, I knew
the ghost of the magazine would come back to haunt me one day.  Sending
this reply is my way of burying the ghost.  Please don't ask anymore.  I won't
answer any more questions relating to the Aqua Journal.  I'm sorry.  I know
it's not good enough but there's nothing I can do, really.

But if there's something you want to know about the christmas moss, narrow
java ferns and what you can do for the defense fund, I will be happy to
answer them.

Loh K L