The Dark Shadow Shrine

If u think u need extra coaching in General Paper/English/Literature at the 'O'/'A'/International Baccalaureate level, the gates of my shrine are always open.....Drop me a note at or wadsapp me at 91384570 for more Singapore only hor.... :-)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Singaporeans are living longer – but are they ready for old age?

Click HERE

Extra useful info not in article:
-1 in 4 Singaporeans will be above 65yo by 2030 (up from 1 in 8 now); that means 900,000 old people above 65yo!

Note some useful stats in article:
-Singapore's life expectancy at birth has risen from 59 to 80 years in males, and 63 to 85 years in females from 1960 to 2015. It is conceivable that we will see life expectancies of 90 years and beyond in the near future.

Pros of longer life (from article):
-contributors to well-being: healthy living, social engagement and financial security.

-A society with a population that lives longer can draw relevant lessons from a greater and accrued pool of rich life experiences and deep perspectives.

Cons of longer life (from article):
-Yet rising life expectancy, accompanied by a falling fertility rate and an ageing population, brings its own set of challenges: the prospect of more seniors at post-retirement age, possibly outliving their financial resources; a shrinking old-age support ratio; the unknown impact on the quality of life of seniors; heavier caregiver burden; the inexorable growing healthcare expenditure, and the higher possibility of inter-generational conflict.

Qn: Longer life expectancy creates more problems than benefits. Discuss. (Cam. 2016)

Modi condemns 'cow vigilantes'

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Interesting anecdote for opening BANG:
A week ago, a Muslim boy was stabbed to death on a train on suspicion of possessing beef - the latest of an estimated 28 people killed in cow-related violence in Hindu-majority India since 2010.

Relate to role and impact of religion to crime, violence, prejudice, economy, business....
- The slaughter of cows is banned, and consumption of beef restricted, in most states. But millions in the minority Muslim and lower-caste Hindu communities depend on work in the meat and leather industries.

Facebook boasts 2 billion users, doubling in size since 2012

Click HERE

useful stats...

The user base is bigger than the population of any single country, and of six of the seven continents. It represents more than a quarter of the world's 7.5 billion people.

Singaporeans prefer privacy to mingling with neighbours: Poll

Click HERE

Relate to qns on pple becoming more self-centred, indifferent to others, loss of kampong spirit, etc...

Qn: Do you agree that city life is becoming increasingly unattractive? (Cam. 2002)

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Oxley Road dispute: Two ways to preserve buildings and sites

Click HERE

contains a few good examples, including the House of Tan Yeok Nee. This is an excellent example of how traditional buildings need not be dilapidated. To the argument that traditional buildings are often in bad shape such that it cannot fulfil the function of accommodation properly, rebut by saying that conSERvation (not conVERsation hor!) allows for the building's facade to be combined with modern furnishings within, such that it can still fulfil the requirements of modern day comforts.

To have an idea of the national significance of this Oxley house, Click HERE:
-- the Government has to be involved because the house is "not just any old piece of property. It is intertwined with the history of the nation".
It was where the country's founding fathers met to make important and historical decisions that led to internal self-government, merger and eventually independence, she said.
"The strategies to outflank the communists were developed there. It is where the People's Action Party was formed....

Qn: Assess the view that traditional buildings have no future in your society. (Cam. 2016)

Why robots won't steal accountants' jobs

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Use thos to rebut arguments on how technology can replace human workers, or destroy jobs

Qn: To what extent has technology had a negative impact on the skill levels of people? (Cam. 2010)

Rising fears that US role in Syria conflict is expanding

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Compare this example with US role in the Gulf War to save Kuwait from Iraq, the Iraq War to save Iraqis from dictator Saddam Hussein, Vietnam War, Korean War, North Korea, South China Sea territorial disputes, Syria to save Syrians from dictator Assad, and now Syrian war to curb ISIS's influence....

Other than the 'kaypoh' US, US presence in Syria has also led to a proxy war between US and Russia...

1.  ‘Countries experiencing conflict should be left to sort out their own problems.’
How far do you agree? (Cam. 2016)

2. Does the presence of a foreign power ever help a country with problems?
(Cam. 2008)

Great Barrier Reef 'worth $59b to Australia'

Click HERE

Note the useful stats...and relevanc eto environment and tourism issues...

the reef - bigger than Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands combined - was worth A$29 billion to tourism, supporting 64,000 jobs.

At A$56 billion, the reef is valued at more than 12 Sydney Opera Houses

[Australia] has been criticised for backing a huge US$16 billion (S$22 billion) coal project by Indian mining giant Adani near the reef, which environmentalists warn would harm the natural wonder.

Qn: Environmental concerns and economic growth cannot co-exist. Do you agree?
(Cam. 2011)

Indonesia's prison woes: Packed but understaffed

Click HERE

Note the limitation/problem with imprisonment or jail sentence as punishment.

Qn: "Punishment is the best way to reduce crime." Do you agree?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

China's dog meat festival opens despite ban rumours

Click HERE

-Think of the role of tradition on business, identity

-South (and North?) Korea is another country where its people are known to eat dog meat.

-compare with similarly dubious traditions such as: eating shark's fin, bull fights, cock-fighting...

-Note argument by analogy/comparison:
"This is a part of local culture. You shouldn't force people to make choices they don't want to make, the way you wouldn't force someone to be a Christian or a Buddhist or a Muslim. It's people's own choice what they eat."

1. How important is it for people in your society to retain a sense of tradition?
(Cam. 2010)
2. To what extent are the rights of animals protected in your society? (Cam. 2012)

Rohingya seek new escape routes from Bangladesh

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The Rohingyas are much like the Jews of the past, constantly persecuted by others, unwelcomed anywhere they go, and without a home to call their own. They were brutally killed by the majority 'Buddhists' in Myanmar, and denied citizenship in Bangladesh, where they allegedly come from.

1. To what extent does the immigration of people have a positive effect? (Cam. 2008)
2. Can prejudice ever be eliminated? (Cam. 2011)

S. Korea may get North to co-host Olympic ski events

Click HERE
the idea of sports diplomacy....recall that one of the functions of sports is to promote peace and bonding....

Qn: Hosting major sporting events creates more problems than benefits. Do you agree? (Cam. 2005)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

South Korea to scrap all plans to build new nuclear reactors

Click HERE

"South Korea is not safe from the risk of earthquake, and a nuclear accident caused by a quake can have such a devastating impact," he said.
South Korea currently operates 25 nuclear reactors, which generate about 30 per cent of the country's power supply.

He also vowed to introduce "post-coal" policy in line with his campaign promise to abandon coal power to ease air pollution in the country, which has the highest level of small air pollutant particles among OECD member nations.
But experts say shutdown of coal power plants could dramatically hike utility cost in the country where coal power generates about 40 per cent of entire power needs.

For qns in safety of nuclear power...impact on the environment.....

Qn: Should there be any controls over the production of energy when the need for it is so great? (Cam. 2015)

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lack of Objectivity in Tabloid Papers

With a pic like that, it is clear whose side this Chinese Newspaper is on in this ongoing saga of the Lee family... The truth is not out yet, and the papers can choose such a pic of LHY's wife laughing like a witch -- on the front page some more, and looming like a menacing presence! Now we know why we should not trust what we read in Wan Bao totally....

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bringing people together with art

Click HERE
The role of the arts in its ability to promote creativity and bond people and bring about better understanding, esp in multi-racial Singapore and one that has a lot of migrants, whether PRs or foreign talent/workers....

-the event aims to use art to celebrate the creativity and innovative spirit of Singaporeans.

-About 50,000 people are involved with co-creating works of art with local artists

-The works fuse art with mathematics and science

Qn: ‘For the majority of people, the Arts are irrelevant to their daily lives.’ How true is this of your society? (Cam 2014)

The 38 Oxley Rise Saga....

Unless you've been living in a cave, this scandal currently involving our PM would have come to your I won't insult your intelligence by posting a link here....

Pertaining to Q2 below, there are arguments that reminder of the past or our heritage can still be achieved with replicas, art installations, oral and photo archives instead of the physical building itself which land-scarce Singapore can hardly afford....But what are the limitations of these inferior substitutes? (see HERE for article on capturing our oral history)

1. ‘There is no such thing as bad publicity.’ To what extent is this true? (Cam 2015)
2. Assess the view that traditional buildings have no future in your society. (Cam. 2016)

Busting shark's fin sustainability myths

Click HERE

-Opening BANG using interesting famous examples and question to lead reader to topic of discussion
-Closing BANG using 'sharks', 'tide'  and 'oceans' to unify idea

-the argument that the solution lies with the consumers to curb be ethical consumers....relate to the compre on shaming we did recently...using shame to nudge/pressure people towards a desired behaviour or action....

-Singapore is a major trading centre for shark's fin (Singapore characterisitc feature for AQ)

-useful stats: 70million sharks are removed from the oceans every year....

Nearly a third of world population obese or overweight, study shows

Click HERE

USeful stats: one third of world population obese...

Here's some more I can recall:
33% of US obese
11% (about 10%) of Singaporeans obese

Note the importatn reasons given:
-sedentary lifestyle
-shift from vegetable-rich diet to processed food high in fats and sugar...REASON: CHEAPER!!!
"It is all very nice to talk about the need to eat less unhealthy foods and more healthy foods," he said. But "unhealthy foods cost less; healthier foods often cost more. People eat what they can afford".

-interestingly, NOT doing sport is not a major contributing factor to obesity.....relate this to 2015 'A' level compre AQ on sport where it was mentioned that sport can help combat obesity:
The report said a worldwide general slowdown in physical activity was probably not a major factor.

Qn: The key to good health is lifestyle rather than medicine. How far do you agree?
(Cam. 2010)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Discussion on Shaming

Some of us discussed shaming recently in an AQ, about how shaming can be used as a tool to make people behave properly, or discourage one from behaving in a way one deems inappropriate. Here are 3 articles that can add to the discussion:

1) pink-dot-draws-120-local-sponsors
Some decide to shame those local companies which have come forward to sponsor Pink Dot, by listing the names of these companies and asking people to boycott them. This can be considered shaming as these people considered the LGBT lifestyle as inappropriate, even indecent, hence anyone associated with it should be ashamed, hence the shaming....However, shaming fails to have any effect here as:
Local companies, however, said they were not afraid of a backlash.
Ms Calsia Lee, managing director of kitchen and wardrobe design firm Mudian, said: "We were not worried.
"We have been in business for 20 years, with diverse, all-inclusive, people-centric company values. We think that will carry us through for a long time more."

2) china-couple-who-returned-13k-surprised-by-attention

Other than shaming, we can use other methods to influence behaviour by praising and giving recognition to the right behaviour. In this instance, if we want to discourage people from pocketing money that is not theirs, we need not shame those that we have caught; we can praise those that do not do so instead...

3) paying-people-to-lose-weight-works-study

Other than praising, we can also incentivise desirable behviour or outcomes by rewarding...This works in the same way for IPPT when it comes to Operational Ready NSmen. There is no need to shame those who are fat or unfit. USe monetary incentive instead. Encourage desirable acts by using feel-good methods of incentives instead of feel-bad methods of shaming....

Friday, June 02, 2017

Sport and religion separate for Malaysia's bodybuilders

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"As a Muslim, I consider bodybuilding as a sport. I do not think by exposing my skin (it) contradicts with my religion,"......According to the organisers, budding female bodybuilders are only able to compete outside of Malaysia, after the country stopped hosting competitions for women in the 1990s due to religious sensitivities over their revealing outfits.

Note how religion (in this case, Islam) can be an impediment to certain sports by frowning upon the excessive exposure of the body and body-worship that certain sports demand....Worse affected are the women, who need to be all 'wrapped up'...think of the consequences for swimming, gymnasts and bodybuilding for women....
Relate this to 2015 'A' level compre on sports where there's comment on how women sports are hampered by cultural norms, e,g, requirement on attire.....

Global fashion giants panic over Indian ban on cattle slaughter

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"Cows are considered sacred by Hindus and the new ban was justified on the grounds of avoiding animal cruelty."

A good example of how religion/tradition/culture can have an impact on economic growth....Think also of parallel examples like the banning of Christmas in Brunei, the requirement of women to be covered up (no sleeveless attire) when entering government buildings in Malaysia, the syariah law in some extremist Islamic countries.....These impact not just the raw materials needed by the industry, but also discourage foreign talent from working there, consequently hampering economic growth....

We also see an instance of the majority group in a society imposing its values on the minorities...But in Singapore, our mutli-cultural context demands that no one group/race should impose its values on the rest (e.g. muslims not being able to eat pork does not mean no pork for all Singaporeans).....the only exception appears to be the major orthodox religion against the LGBT group.

In Singapore, note how religion/tradition/culture usually has to give way to the economic imperative....The IRs were built despite the heavy oppostion from our Asian values that are averse to gambling.....the Biopolis was built despite certain major orthodox religion's opposition to the use of animals in experiments....

Qn: Religion has caused more harm than benefits. Do you agree?

Mandatory treatment order aims for balance in sentencing

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Note the example of the Mandatory Treatment Order (MTO) in the context of Singapore....

Qn: To what extent should compassion be shown to criminals?

Fraud at 8,848 metres: Are Everest ascents too easy to fake?

Click HERE
A good example of cheating in sport (of mountaineering) due to pressure from sponsors...
Note also that the cheating arising from competition is not just among the sportsmen but also the business operators organising these climbing expeditions....