SMU apologises for condom promotion e-mail
Students from the Singapore Management University (SMU) had a condom promotion sent to them via e-mail by the school on Monday night. The e-mail was recalled within an hour.
The advert, sent at about 9.10pm, featured a 10 per cent discount code offered by online condom store Happy Mail on Durex and Okamoto condoms.
Aside from tongue-in-cheek descriptions of the different types of products available, the mailer told students to "Study hard, play even harder!"
Within an hour, the e-mail, sent by SMU Bizcom - the business development arm of SMU Students' Association - was recalled.
The recall e-mail read: "We hereby apologise for the mistake in sending out the previous e-mails and are deeply sorry for any inconvenience caused."
Happy Mail told The New Paper that they had hoped the e-mail blast would create awareness that condoms can be bought online.
"Very often, we find that youths can be shy to purchase condoms at convenience stores.
"As such, one of our key objectives was to provide them with an alternative to purchase condoms conveniently in order to practice safe sex," said the retailer.
Some SMU students TNP spoke to, however, were shocked by the e-mail.
One SMU student said: "I am not sure if everyone is ready for such a liberal ad."
In response to TNP's queries, an SMU spokesman said the e-mail was recalled because it was not in line with the institution's rules.
"The Bizcom under the SMU Students' Association occasionally receives requests from vendors and merchants to send out electronic direct mailers to SMU undergraduates for a nominal fee," the spokesman said.
"SMU has rules in place prohibiting the dissemination of mailers by certain companies, including those selling alcohol, tobacco and condoms."
In the case of the condom promotion, a newer member of the Bizcom team did not read the rules carefully before issuing the mailer, said the SMU spokesman, who pointed out that condoms are not sold on campus.
The team immediately tried to recall the mailer but was unsuccessful, resulting in the hour-long delay.
Describing the use of condoms as "a taken for granted knowledge" among university students, National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser, said: "I doubt it'd cause any harm to anyone, but some would find it inappropriate, even offensive. Most would find it puzzling, as it was unexpected."