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  • #3351

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    Children

    Situation in Singapore.

    Parents who abuse their children physically, psychologically, sexually and neglecting them can be charged up in court. If children are found begging or used for illegal activities are considered ill treated. Employment Act last year to raise the minimum working age for children and young persons from 14 to 15 years. This is in line with a key International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention that restricts the minimum age of children in employment which Singapore has recently ratified in November 2005.

    Ministry investigated an average of 188 complaints of alleged child abuse each year. Only in 40% of cases did investigations reveal real evidence of abuse. Granted, the number of cases with evidence of abuse increased by about one and a half times from 61 in 2000 to 90 in 2004. This is due largely to greater awareness among those who have regular contact with children and who reported the incidents to the authorities for intervention.

    Number of physical abuse cases has gone down between 2003 and 2004.

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    #3386

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    Discussion Eassy

    Is it true that nothing intimidates men more than capable and successful women?

    While saying that NOTHING intimidates men more than capable and successful women may be stretching it more than a little, the statement is probably valid for quite a few men out there.

    Yes, it is true
     Especially so for male-dominated societies where female leadership and entrepreneurship is still relatively rare, men do not know how to react to a female boss.
     Men who are safe and secure in their belief that women are the weaker sex may find women who are more capable and successful than them very disconcerting.
     For some men, their manhood seems to be all they have and having capable or successful females around them may represent their final emasculation.
     The perception that for a capable and successful woman to be in a position they are in, given a patriarchal society, they are probably more domineering and ruthless than a male boss who does not have to work against the odds.

    No, it is not true
     Males, especially in more progressive societies, are far more evolved and liberated as compared to before, and are able to accept female leaders and bosses readily, or in some cases, prefer to work for one (especially if the female boss is one who uses the traditional qualities of women, such as being empathetic and nurturing, to get to her position of leadership)
     They may feel a little threatened by women, but there are far more important things in life to be worries about.
     Some men do not even believe in gender roles and gender stereotyping anymore. They may be threatened by more successful and capable people, but this is regardless of gender.
     Some men, equally capable and successful, do not feel the threat, and might even be drawn to women who share those same traits as them.

    Students could also consider how some men, especially the extremely bigoted ones, may not necessary feel intimidation but rather contempt for these women, who do not, in their opinions, perform their rightful roles. A good answer will show an awareness of the implications of the question, take a stand but provide a balanced response, and whenever possible, illustrate their arguments with appropriate examples (but not absolutely necessary for this question).

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    #3402

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    ’The arts disturb while the sciences reassure.’ How true is this?

    Anyone who has watched the dark psychological thriller released this year, ‘Black Swan’, will certainly remember Natalie Portman’s ballerina character’s horrific descent into insanity, as a result of being forced to adopt a persona in a performance so unlike her originally sweet, gentle personality. Her terrifying hallucination of droplets of blood appearing on the bathtub and manic fearing of the many twisted self-portraits she had painted and hung on her bedroom wall sent many
    stomachs in the audience churning, who, yet, were unable to prise their eyes away from the tragedy unfolding in front of them. This is a prime example of the sheer ability of the arts to disturb,as it exposes sides and shades of human nature when pushed to its utmost limits, and makes us wonder, secretly, if we too are indeed capable of such emotions. Science, on the other hand, due to its dealings with tangible, concrete entities and definite formulas and theories, seems to be of a more stable, constant nature, and is thus more reassuring to our human minds. However, due to the large scope of issues that the spheres of science and arts entail, as well as our human ability to turn the uses of the sciences and the arts either for comfort-giving or disturbing purposes, it cannot be said that the sciences completely provide a reassuring salve from the inconstancy of our world, nor can the arts be attested to be only capable of unsettling us.

    Proponents of the view may say that the arts have the ability to unseat us due to its dealings with controversial issues and opinions usually silenced in the mainstream media prior to their expression while the sciences have bestowed upon us many inventions that have made our lives more comfortable and convenient, and also because the sciences deal with concrete formulas and ideas accepted by the public until and if they are refuted by a new discovery. Indeed, the play ‘Blackbird’ performed by the Singapore Repertory Theatre last year elicited a slew of shocked,
    horrified and undoubtedly disturbed responses from the audience, unsettled by the portrayal of a younger girl’s sexual relationship with a much older man. Emma Yong’s unforgettable portrayal of that girl, Una, coming back after many years to her former lover, not for revenge, for she still loves him and is unsure of the purpose of their meeting – disturbs audiences firstly because of the touchy, usually avoided issue of romantic relationships between people of widely disparate ages, as well as its clever sidestepping of our human sense of justice, and revenge against our oppressors and purveyors of evil. Emma Yong’s vulnerability as the girl onstage probably made the audience inadvertently wonder at the complexities of the human heart which they might never grow to understand, and thus inevitably brought some measure of unsettlement due to the ‘unknown’rearing its head. In contrast, the sciences seem to have brought us not only reassurance of the mind in the definite, concrete formulas we learn of in Chemistry – an acid mixed with water will be diluted in that proportion – but also material comforts which technology has brought us in the 20th century, be it the efficient public transport system Singapore enjoys, our air-conditioned office buildings, or even the medical processes of In-Vitro Fertilisation that have brought many a barren couple much joy at seeing a child they thought they would never be able to conceive. However,what these creations of art and scientific innovations hold in common is the fact that both were initiated by human beings – and we, therefore, wield the power to ensure either the reassurance or disturbance, of both the spheres of the sciences or arts.

    In fact, events throughout history have shown the human ability to do just that – the arts not only disturb but can also provide a salve for emotional turmoil faced by us. Artist Frida Kahlo painted a portrait of her deceased husband to alleviate her loneliness in living without him; writer Sylvia Plath similarly wrote a letter to her husband explaining her reasons for madness and consequent suicide reassuring him that “no one would have loved her better, or made her happier than him.” On a
    broader scale, art therapy is used widely today as treatment for people who have been scarred by events in life from bullying, having suffered natural disasters or those who are shackled by the chains of depression. Many of us feel refreshed after listening to the melodious strains of
    classical music, or even the latest pop tunes today. As such, the arts definitely have the potential to reassure, and even to heal in many cases. Conversely, the sciences, when used by humans with the wrong motivations result in not merely immensely disturbing but disastrous consequences. Who can forget the two nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, a severe misuse of the discovery of nuclear power, which killed millions, or the Chernobyl incident
    whose radioactive effects last till today? Another case in point would definitely be the Tuskegee experiment, which ran for thirty years, where scientists injected the syphilis virus into the bodies of African-Americans for a “first hand observation” of the effects of the deadly virus, the African-Americans chosen due to their status as a racial minority at that time. These events throughout the annals of history, some of which continue today, are testament to the fact that the
    arts have the potential to reassure and liberate, and the sciences to disturb and destroy, depending on how they are harnessed by us.

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    #3446

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    To what extent is nature valued in your country?

    Nature has always been portrayed as a gift to mankind, and is seen as something we should treasure and appreciate. However, as the world progresses at such a rapid pace, the perception of nature in many countries has changed: once seen as a blessing, nature is now viewed as
    something disposable, and often, even something to be exploited or harnessed for some sort of practical gain. In a country like Singapore, where land is scarce and resources limited, the notion of conserving nature and its beauty is still of great importance, but it is only valued to the extent that it does not hinder but instead spurs economic growth and brings value to our nation.

    In Singapore, there have been considerable efforts by the government to protect our natural environment. The presence of well-maintained nature reserves, parks and green areas such as reservoirs proves that Singapore does indeed value nature and is willing to pour resources into conserving it. There are also existing organisations such as the Singapore Environmental Council (SEC), which oversees our local environment, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
    Animals (SPCA), which ensures the welfare of the animals in Singapore. It would be ludicrous and naïve to believe that the sole, genuine purpose of the government in such efforts is merely to preserve nature. In actual fact, it is a ubiquitous view that the Singaporean government, consisting of intelligent leaders who have produced a globally recognised “economic miracle”, would definitely keep in mind the economic gain that the act of preserving nature can potentially bring to Singapore. Nature reserves such as the Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve are developed and maintained for the primary purpose of attracting tourists and maintaining our image as a nature-loving, environmentally-friendly nation. Furthermore, the conservation of nature in Singapore also has
    much educational value. Besides tourists, many of the visitors to the nature reserves in Singapore are students who are brought there to study the fl ora and fauna. Yes, it is undeniable that nature is valued and hence protected, but it would be more accurate to say that it is valued only to the extent that it brings practical gain, in this case educational or economic worth to society.

    Some may defend Singapore’s seemingly pragmatic and inauthentic treatment of nature by arguing that the fact that Singapore is willing to expend funds and sacrifice precious land space for the sake of nature, regardless of the real intent, is commendable in itself, and could even be even considered a great feat for a resource-limited country like Singapore. Yet, these supporters have failed to look at the bigger picture and realise that the amount of money and resources spent
    on conserving nature is peanuts compared to the large amounts of time, effort, labour, land and financial resources that have been channelled towards other projects that are more economically profitable. For example, the cost of setting up the Integrated Resorts works out to be a rather sizeable figure, but the government had no qualms about building it despite some expression of disagreement by the public, due to the
    financial returns it would bring. As compared to such economically viable areas, what is spent on conserving nature is nothing. Therefore, comparatively speaking, our country values nature to a small extent.

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    #3490

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    Children

    According to the US Bureau of Census, International Data Base, there are 1819 million children in the world who are 15 years and below as of 2000. This makes up 30% of the world’s population. Children are generally vulnerable to the world outside as they are unable to protect themselves and to stand up for their rights. We shall discuss and address the problems and concerns, causes and consequences regarding children in the world today.

    Millions of children are exploited for labour. Child labour is defined as children working in economic activity that negatively affect their health and development or interfere with education. An estimated 246 million children are engaged in child labour. About 171 million work in hazardous situations or conditions, such as working in mines, working with chemicals and pesticides in agriculture or working with dangerous machinery. Millions of girls work as domestic servants and unpaid household help and are especially vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. However, research has shown that the vast majority of child labourers – 70 per cent or more – work in agriculture. Few examples of countries with high statistics of child labour would be Sub-Saharan Africa with an estimated 48 million child workers, which means almost one child in three below the age of 15 is working, Latin America and the Caribbean with approximately 17.4 million child workers.

    Trafficking children is a global problem affecting large numbers of children. Some estimates have as many as 1.2 million children being trafficked every year. There is a demand for trafficked children as cheap labour or for sexual exploitation.

    Children and their families are often unaware of the dangers of trafficking, believing that better employment and lives lie in other countries. Trafficking always violates the child’s right to grow up in a family environment. Large numbers of children are being trafficked in West and Central Africa, mainly for domestic work but also for sexual exploitation and to work in shops or on farms. Nearly 90 per cent of these trafficked domestic workers are girls.

    Sexual activity is often seen as a private matter, making communities reluctant to act and intervene in cases of sexual exploitation. These attitudes make children more vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Surveys indicate that 30 to 35 per cent of all sex workers in the Mekong sub-region of Southeast Asia are between 12 and 17 years of age. Mexico’s social service agency reports that there are more than 16,000 children engaged in prostitution, with tourist destinations being among those areas with the highest number. In Lithuania, 20 to 50 percent of prostitutes are believed to be minors. Children as young as age 11 are known to work as prostitutes. Children from children’s homes, some 10 to 12 years old, have been used to make pornographic movies.

    Child abuse often come in the form of violence. It is one of the most serious problems affecting children today. Much violence is hidden. Children experience violence at home, within their family and from other children.

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    #3530

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    To what extent does technology facilitate crime?

    In the recent movie, ‘The Social Network’, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, hacked into a Harvard newsletter site to retract a defamatory statement issued by a rival. How he managed it was surprisingly simple. No, there was no furious typing on the keyboard as depicted in movies,
    nor were there any mathematical algorithms dancing across the computer screen. Zuckerberg simply guessed that the passwords used on Facebook by the editors were the same as those they used for their email. He then pulled out his database of passwords and voila, he was in.What this demonstrates is not the fl exible morals of the Facebook founder, but that the increasing concentration of information and sensitive data available to people due to advancement in technology makes it increasingly easy to commit crime. Granted, recent technological advances like the security camera and car alarm do deter crime as well; however, I feel that technology facilitates crime, but only if the fl aws within technology remain unaddressed, and if it falls into the
    wrong hands.

    Detractors may argue that recent surveillance technology and crime deterring advancements make it harder for criminals to actually commit crime. With the increase in the amount of protection one can install in one’s home, ranging from password encoded locks and fingerprint recognition software, it may seem that physical crime like burglary and housebreak may be deterred. However,this is based on the assumption that everyone has access to such technology and that everyone is willing to go the extra mile and fork out extra for such advancements. If that is not the case, crime generally does not decrease. What these advancements do is actually to divert physical crime away from that particular household, leaving others to seem more attractive to criminals. Crime has simply been diverted to another place.

    Furthermore, with the onset of online banking and online financial transactions, criminals with an understanding of computers and technology now do not have to be physically present at the scene
    of the crime in order to steal money: there have been fake websites of OCBC bank, and even automated teller machines have been tampered with before. Criminals now can steal and rob someone from the comfort of their homes.

    Again, detractors might argue, that passwords and safeguards are there to keep all this under control. Actually, the presence of passwords and safeguards increases a person’s vulnerability to online crime or identity theft. Recently, Sarah Palin’s twitter account was hacked. The hacker simply guessed the answer to Sarah Palin’s secret question to gain access to the account. How? The hacker simply searched Wikipedia for personal information about Sarah Palin and, with a certain
    amount of guesswork, he was in. While there is merit in online banking and financial transactions,people have simply traded one hazard for another. They have traded the physical vulnerability of carrying cash for the online vulnerability of being phished, scammed or hacked, at any time. It can thus be seen, that technological advancements actually expose a person greatly to crime, and facilitates crime.

    Technology does not only facilitate crime in these few ways; it also facilitates crime through online anonymity and through the influence of violence on impressionable minds.

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    #3555

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    ‘The government always acts in the interest of the people.’ Discuss

    Witnesses to the fall of the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and the rampant corruption of dictator Kim Jong Il may invariably raise the question of whether governments genuinely take care of the interests of the people. Indeed, every single government – be it a divinely ordained
    monarch or merely a group of elders under the leadership of a tribal head – is obliged to represent the interest of the people, safeguard people’s interest and ensure a better standard of living for all.
    Nevertheless, it might be overly idealistic to jump to the conclusion that the government always acts in the interest of the people without examining real life examples of how bad governments may compromise people’s interest, and the limitations of government policies that have been formulated to advance people’s interest, but have failed due to politicians’ pursuit of their own agenda.

    At the most fundamental level, every government is obliged to shoulder the responsibility of improving the people’s living standards and alleviating their suffering as this is the very reason for its existence. A communist government promotes a ‘command economy’ to ensure fairer distribution of resources, hence promoting equality and raising the living standard of the poor. A democratic government, on the other hand, promotes capitalism and free trade, as it believes that freer trade allows for economic prosperity, thus allowing more people to enrich themselves and enter the middle class or even the upper echelons of society. Besides employing different economic policies to gain prosperity for the people, governments also invest in education so as to equip their people with the necessary skills to succeed in today’s knowledge-based economy. Additionally,governments’ expenditure on infrastructure also attests to their efforts in providing a more conducive environment for the people. All in all, it does seem that the government should, and will,act in the interest of the people to fulfi ll its responsibility.

    Furthermore, the fact that some governments even embark on less popular policies for the long-term good of its people at the cost of losing popular support also seems to suggest that governments will always prioritise the well-being of the people over other ends. For instance,
    during the economic crisis in 1997, Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong implemented the CPF (Central Provident Fund) cut to accumulate reserves for the country, despite causing much public unhappiness. Similarly, in China, the government enforced the one-child policy to
    control rapid population growth much to the unhappiness of the people. In these two cases, the governments were willing to sacrifi ce people’s support to implement policies unpopular at the moment, and yet vital to the long-term well-being of the people (in the case of Singapore, to
    alleviate future economic burden, and in China, to allow better distribution of prosperity). Therefore, one may conclude that even though some of the government’s actions prove to be less welcomed,
    they are nonetheless implemented in the long-term interest of the people.

    Another perspective that shows the government’s prompt action in safeguarding people’s interest is that during times of crisis, rather than protecting politicians’ self-interest, upright governments
    have shown their competency in dealing with crises, thus protecting people from suffering. When the fi nancial crisis swept across most parts of the globe, governments in different countries came up with measures to avert the crisis, as evidenced by the US’s stimulus package and Singapore’s ‘resilience package’. Moreover, during a disease outbreak, governments also play an instrumental role in subsidising treatment for the under-privileged, and carrying out nation-wide screening to prevent the further spread of the disease. Thus, it appears that governments do act in the interest of the people, especially in times of crisis, to protect their people from suffering the ramifi cations of the crisis.

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    #3593

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    ‘Terrorism is born out of oppression.’ Do you agree?

    ‘Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint.’ This quote by renowned polemic and neo-conservative, Christopher Hitchens, aptly describes the nature of terrorism. Indeed, terrorism is a method through which terrorists express their goals, demands and motivations. It feeds on fear and aims to create a climate of fear oftentimes by targeting innocent or less than innocent civilians. It is through publicising and glorifying these acts of destruction that they can attain their goals. I believe that terrorism is certainly one of the many tactics utilised by states, religious fundamentalists, et cetera, to achieve their own self-interests.

    There are grounds to argue that terrorism is born out of oppression. For one, proponents of this stand often argue that when the oppressed are forced to the point of desperation with no possible alternatives to voice their injustice, it may well work as the only way for the oppressed to seek redress. This argument has many similarities to the concept of Bellum Iustum – “Just War”. For one, just as how nations are justifi ed to use self-defence as a right and justifi cation to enter a
    war, “just-terrorism” is possible for the oppressed to defend themselves. The Umkhunto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) was a case in point. An armed wing of the African Nation Congress in South Africa during the Apartheid, it was responsible for bombing many government infrastructures, for example, schools, museums, etc. The leader was of course, the now widely respected Nelson Mandela. Now the actions of Umkhunto we Sizwe were certainly deplorable, for it caused immense pain to those who lost their loved ones to bombs and grenades planted by the
    African National Congress (ANC), but it was an expression of injustice by the black South Africans who were discriminated against by apartheid policies. They were denied suffrage, access to government-provided public goods, as well as access to higher education by the White rulers, and terrorism was, to the ANC, a necessary tactic to force the government to the negotiation tables and to restore fundamental human rights once denied to them. Thus, in this case, terrorism was born out of oppression. Another example would be the recent Domodedovo nternational Airport blast in Moscow, which killed more than thirty innocent civilians. Planted by Chechen separatists, it was, again, a tactic born out of their desperate need to force the Russian government into granting them independence. Again, the method of terror is perhaps objectionable, but it will be folly not to recognise its origins. Since the Cold War, Chechen people have been subjugated under Russian rule. Even after decades, they have yet to enjoy social and economic progress, and have had to contend with poor education and high unemployment. They thus see the bombing of Domodedovo Airport as a way for them to express their desire for the right to self-determination. Here again,
    terrorism was born out of oppression.

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    #3641

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    IS OUR AGING AND SHRINKING CITIZEN POPULATION REALLY SUCH AN URGENT ISSUE?

    Last year, our first cohort of Baby Boomers, those born after the Second World War in 1947, turned 65. Between now and 2030, over 900,000 Baby Boomers or more than a quarter of our present citizen population will enter their silver years. By 2025, our citizen population will start to shrink if we do nothing. At a Total Fertility Rate of 1.2, for every 100 Singaporeans in this generation, there will be 60 Singaporeans in the next generation, and only 36 in the generation after that. And this poses a huge challenge to the sustainability of our Singaporean core population.

    What does this mean for the lives of Singaporeans? For our seniors, many will continue to live active, healthy lives. But as age catches up, they and their families will want the assurance that their needs can be met, and that there will be enough care-givers and health workers to look after them.

    Today, our Singaporean workforce is still growing, slowly. But as our Baby Boomers retire, and fewer school leavers enter the workforce, our citizen workforcewill start shrinking by 2020. What does this mean? Today, we have 5.9 working-age citizens for each citizen aged 65 and above. By 2030, this will fall to 2.1, or roughly one-third. We can mitigate this by creating more opportunities for Singaporeans to continue working beyond the current retirement age. But, the support ratio will still fall significantly.

    What does this mean for Singaporeans? Higher taxes on those working, to fund subsidised healthcare for a much larger number of seniors. Slower business activity and less investment in new sectors leading to fewer job and career opportunities. Young Singaporeans may decide to leave for more exciting opportunities in other growing cities. This would hollow out our population and workforce further. This is a real worry not just on a national level, but for parents too who wonder whether their children will go abroad in search of better opportunities, and they will be left here alone here during their silver years.

    Take Japan as an example. In 2011, 23.3 percent of Japan’s population was aged 65 years and above, the highest in the world. In 2011, for the first time, Japan’s largest diaper maker, Unicharm Corporation, reported that it sold more adult diapers in Japan than baby diapers.
    Japan moved from an aging population as defined by the World Health Organisation where 7% are over 65, to an aged population where 14% are over 65, in 24 years. This is much faster than Italy, which took 61 years, Sweden 85 years, and France 115 years.4 So Japan took 24 years. Singapore will age even faster, taking just 18 years to make the same transition. We are projected to be an “aged” population by 2016.Japan’s population started falling in 2005, and is expected to fall by one
    million people every year in the coming decades. The Japanese population will shrink by around 30 percent by 2060, with 40% above the age of 65.7

    The social and economic implications are enormous. Singapore is a much smaller country with a much smaller population and economy. If we do not take decisive actions now to sustain our Singaporean core population, we will decline more quickly and sharply than Japan.

    In conclusion, our shrinking and aging citizen population would cause serious trouble for the further development of the nation due to the lack of manpower and pool of talents. Hence its is critical and urgent to make sure some efforts are made by the government to solve this issue for the long term benefit of the country.

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    #3665

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    ’The arts disturb while the sciences reassure.’ How true is this?

    Anyone who has watched the dark psychological thriller released this year, ‘Black Swan’, will certainly remember Natalie Portman’s ballerina character’s horrific descent into insanity, as a result of being forced to adopt a persona in a performance so unlike her originally sweet, gentle personality. Her terrifying hallucination of droplets of blood appearing on the bathtub and manic fearing of the many twisted self-portraits she had painted and hung on her bedroom wall sent many
    stomachs in the audience churning, who, yet, were unable to prise their eyes away from the tragedy unfolding in front of them. This is a prime example of the sheer ability of the arts to disturb, as it exposes sides and shades of human nature when pushed to its utmost limits, and makes us wonder, secretly, if we too are indeed capable of such emotions. Science, on the other hand, due to its dealings with tangible, concrete entities and definite formulas and theories, seems to be of a
    more stable, constant nature, and is thus more reassuring to our human minds. However, due to the large scope of issues that the spheres of science and arts entail, as well as our human ability to turn the uses of the sciences and the arts either for comfort-giving or disturbing purposes, it cannot be said that the sciences completely provide a reassuring salve from the inconstancy of our world, nor can the arts be attested to be only capable of unsettling us.

    Proponents of the view may say that the arts have the ability to unseat us due to its dealings with controversial issues and opinions usually silenced in the mainstream media prior to their expression while the sciences have bestowed upon us many inventions that have made our lives
    more comfortable and convenient, and also because the sciences deal with concrete formulas and ideas accepted by the public until and if they are refuted by a new discovery. Indeed, the play ‘Blackbird’ performed by the Singapore Repertory Theatre last year elicited a slew of shocked,
    horrified and undoubtedly disturbed responses from the audience, unsettled by the portrayal of a younger girl’s sexual relationship with a much older man. Emma Yong’s unforgettable portrayal of that girl, Una, coming back after many years to her former lover, not for revenge, for she still loves him and is unsure of the purpose of their meeting – disturbs audiences firstly because of the touchy, usually avoided issue of romantic relationships between people of widely disparate ages, as well as its clever sidestepping of our human sense of justice, and revenge against our oppressors and purveyors of evil. Emma Yong’s vulnerability as the girl onstage probably made the audience inadvertently wonder at the complexities of the human heart which they might never grow to understand, and thus inevitably brought some measure of unsettlement due to the ‘unknown’ rearing its head. In contrast, the sciences seem to have brought us not only reassurance of the mind in the definite, concrete formulas we learn of in Chemistry – an acid mixed with water will be diluted in that proportion – but also material comforts which technology has brought us in the 20th century, be it the efficient public transport system Singapore enjoys, our air-conditioned office buildings, or even the medical processes of In-Vitro fertilisation that have brought many a barren couple much joy at seeing a child they thought they would never be able to conceive. However,
    what these creations of art and scientific innovations hold in common is the fact that both were initiated by human beings – and we, therefore, wield the power to ensure either the reassurance or disturbance, of both the spheres of the sciences or arts.

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    #3713

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    Family

    Problems:
    In a family, communication is always a problem between parents and children. In this modern society, there are a large number of broken families due to the lack of communication or mis-communication.
    Another problem present in family might be unhappy marriage between couples.

    Other problems include siblings’ rivalry, such that siblings are vying to be the apple in their parents’ eyes.

    Last but not least, is that the problem of poverty happening in the family when the bread winner of the household loses his or her job.

    Lastly, it is the career minded of both parents.

    Causes:
    The causes for a lack of communication within family may be because of the little time the parents spent on their children as compared to their work. This may due to the fact that both of the parents focus more on their career than pay more attention to their children. Studies have shown that in the world today, there is presence of generation gap between parents and children.

    Secondly, the cause foe an unhappy marriage may be due to the following factors, adultery, unhappy sex life, the lost of privacy, unable to accommodate and compromise among family members, abuse cases and more.

    Thirdly, parent practices favourism may result in siblings’ rivalry. Siblings may grow up fighting against one another, do not have the kinship between them.

    Lastly, it may be the cause of retrenchment that leads to financial crisis and affect the whole household.

    Consequences:
    Due to the fact that the children are being brought up in the broken family, children would grow up to become ill-mannered and have violent tendency. Studies have shown that a child growing up in a broken family has a higher tendency to be more violence then normal child.
    Apart from that, it may also result in divorce cases. It may result in fighting of children custody. Besides that, children may have to go out to work at such young age in order to support or contribute to the household.

    Solutions:
    The couples should know each other well enough before getting married. This is because they will be able to understand one another better and get along well with each other. This will help minimize the conflict in a family when couples are married together. Couples must also have trust and faith in one another.

    To ensure that the children would be able to grow up in a healthy environment, parents should try to spend more time with their children. For example, parents can keep Sunday free, to bring the whole family out for an outing. This help build interaction between parents and children. Or everyday after dinner, the family can sit down and share their daily experience in school or at their work place. This also help to keep the bond in the family, parents would be able to know what their children are going through.

    Future Trend:
    In the years ahead, more and more people will be getting married at an older age. There will be less divorce and abuse cases, as couples understand one another better. However, women may have difficulty or face danger in conceiving as they are at an older age. This will in turn lower the birth rate around the world and as a result, the world population may decrease.

    Situation in Singapore:
    Singaporeans get married at a later age as modern women are more educated therefore focus more on their work. Due to their heavy work load, they have little time to spend with their children. In order to make up to their children, parents usually buy them the things that they like or want. This in turn making their children too pampered. While in the poorer family, children grow up to work at a young age. This is to help lighten up their parents burden and also take care of their siblings.

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    #3731

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    Is pragmatism an impediment to real progress in Singapore?

    Singaporeans are often seen and stereotyped as a pragmatic group of individuals who are constantly hard at work, extending their office hours or striving in the rat-race of working life in order to get the next big promotion. These habits are by no means harmful or perfectly noble intentions that we as individuals should aspire to, but the complaint often voiced by Singaporeans themselves is that our pragmatism has become a stumbling block to our own success. Often, this is due to the over-emphasis on materialistic rewards as the sole yardstick for success. The resulting consequence is that Singaporeans fear innovation and taking the path less trodden simply because it is not as secure to do so or because the fear of failure is too great. I believe that pragmatism has become an impediment to real progress in Singapore as the nation needs mavericks and new innovations in order to remain at the forefront of progress in the future.

    Opponents of the given statement would argue that it is precisely the pragmatic nature of Singapore – in terms of governance, education and societal aspects – that propelled Singapore from a Third World to a First World nation. After separation from Malaysia, Singapore was forced to quickly rebrand herself as an attractive manufacturing hub for Trans-national Corporations (TNCs)in order to ensure her economic survival. The large-scale urban redevelopment and planning that ensued in order to create proper manufacturing zones in Jurong and Paya Lebar resulted in the displacement of many village communities, which caused unhappiness to the people. However,these policies were necessary in order to ensure the long-term economic viability of the nation.Being pragmatic about this affair may not have been easy for the government, but on hindsight, it acted to ensure progress for this nation.

    In another aspect, Singapore is pragmatic in its investment in new tourism ventures. This has allowed most of its ventures to be carried out with optimal success precisely because the government was realistic and ‘safe’ in adopting tried-and-tested tourism ventures. Some examples
    include, the building of the Singapore Flyer which was modelled after the famous London Eye, the building of the Integrated Resorts on Sentosa and at Marina Bay, which are modelled after the Las Vegas Casino and Entertainment Strip, as well as the hosting of the Formula One Races, which was an improvement of the Formula One races held in neighbouring Malaysia’s Sepang Circuit. Singapore has a penchant for modelling other countries’ successful tourism ventures and injecting improved infrastructure and management with the intention of superceding these models-cumrivals. While detractors may argue that this lack of innovation and ‘Singapore’ method of practical investment is uncreative, who can argue with the landslide success that all these attractions have
    had in attracting tourists to Singapore as well as diversifying the entertainment scene in this country?

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    #3754

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    ‘Democracy is not for everyone.’ Comment.

    A comparison between the lives of people living under the tyranny of Saddam Hussein and the lives of the citizens of Singapore might lead one to conclude that all countries should adopt democracy, as it tends to ensure the welfare of the people while dictatorships tend to lead to the
    encroachment of human rights. However, one must note that a good and successful democracy requires a transparent and dedicated government, sharp voters and also a level of pragmatism in society. Hence, I believe that currently, democracy may not be a suitable political model for certain countries, but countries should strive towards implementing a democratic government as it can truly engage its people to maximise a country’s potential.

    A transition into democracy can lead to chaos in a country if people have vastly different viewpoints and are unable to compromise. In such cases, riots and protests by the people would only fuel a country’s slide into anarchy, thus destabilising the country. Perhaps with such negative outcomes, such countries are probably not best suited for democracy, hence the saying “Democracy is not for everyone”. For example, Thailand’s transition from an autocratic regime to a democratic constitution in the late 1990s appeared to be a shining beacon of hope for a region that badly
    needed such good models. Yet, its upward transition was dogged by riots and unhappiness such that many people have wondered if an autocratic regime was perhaps better. In 2008, yellow-shirt protestors in Thailand took control of the Bangkok airport as part of their riots, upsetting business activities in the country. Such a case is also evident in post-Saddam Iraq, where many of Saddam Hussein’s former militants have banded together to cause trouble in the country and oppose government forces, exacerbating the problems Iraq already faces in its transition to democracy. With stubborn citizens who are unwilling to bring their dissent to proper channels (such as forming proper political parties instead of causing social instability), democracy may not be suitable for such
    countries. Democracy would definitely not ensure peace and welfare of the citizens when such groups band together to disrupt government activities.

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    #3777

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    To what extent does technology facilitate crime?

    The media is perhaps the most powerful entity on earth today. Everyone from celebrities to politicians to the average Joe next door attempts to harness its immense power and make an impact on the community or even the entire world. Indeed, the media is becoming more influential, yet more accessible since the advent of the Internet. For better or for worse, every individual can find a platform to make himself heard. Some critics argue that this is detrimental to society as it promotes a culture of mediocrity due to the lack of “quality control” of material that the media
    publishes today. However, this argument is fl awed because it assumes that selectivity no longer exists. The media is creating more opportunities to discover talent and genius, rather than creating mediocrity.

    It seems difficult to deny that the greater accessibility of the media is creating mediocrity when so much of media offerings are undeniably mediocre. YouTube has certainly provided an irresistible
    opportunity for anyone wanting to get their 15 seconds of fame by showcasing their various talents, imaginary or otherwise. Pop singer Rebecca Black gained widespread attention after her first single
    “Friday” went viral and received more than 60 million views on YouTube in less than a week. The song received negative critical reviews for its poor lyrics and singing. This highlights the potency of social media – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter – to create overnight sensations based not on talent but the obvious lack thereof. As Brendan Behan remarked, “there is no such thing as bad publicity”; the negative reviews are secondary to the disproportionate attention given. In this sense, the media, especially the Internet, is promoting mediocrity as it gives their efforts acknowledgement, making them temporarily famous and encouraging others to do the same. Even beyond the online community, talent seems to have taken a backseat. Reality TV series such as ‘Jersey Shore’ and even ‘The Bachelor’ are far from “reality” and more of an opportunity for contestants to cause as much drama as possible. While it may be shocking that only one Bachelor couple eventually got married, perhaps it is more of an inevitability as the show is primary aimed to create tension,
    catfi ghts and an altogether unrealistic expectation of romance. On such shows, contestants are chosen for their capacity to cause drama, attracting many desperate aspiring actors. Mediocrity, indeed. Even with professional actors, the media’s insatiable appetite for scandals has overshadowed the industry. Charlie Sheen gained more attention, or notoriety, for alleged drug abuse and charges of domestic violence than his Emmy-nominated role in the popular sitcom ‘Two and a Half Men’. With the media’s desire to over-expose gossip and scandals, and to a certain extent glamorising such lifestyles, the media is certainly promoting mediocrity. By giving attention, and hence credit, to things bad and undeserving, the media encourages mediocrity.

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    #3789

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    How has the regulation of arts and the media evolved in Singapore? How has new media affected this development?

    A. INTRODUCTION

    Why regulate?

    It is important for democratic societies to have a wide range of independent and autonomous means of communication, in order to be able to reflect a diversity of ideas and opinions…subject to such conditions and restrictions as are prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society.

    The exclusions cover: the prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of health or morals, the protection of the reputation and rights of others (including the right to privacy), preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, and maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

    B. BACKGROUND ON THE SINGAPORE CONTEXT
    The Key Players in Singapore
    1) MICA (Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts)
    2) MDA (Media Development Authority of Singapore)
    3) The Individual

    Principles of Censorship in Singapore
    The guiding principles behind MDA’s regulatory work are:
     To protect the young while providing more choice for adults;
     To uphold community values and support racial and religious harmony;
     To safeguard national and public interest;
    In deliberating on and responding to the CRC (Censorship Review Committee) recommendations, we have relied on two key principles. Firstly, we should move with, rather than move ahead of society. While we want to increase content choices for adults, we also have to first ensure that society is generally comfortable with the direction and pace of the changes. Secondly, within the broad parameters defined by our norms and values, we want to make more choices available while we enable parents to exercise more effective control over these choices on behalf of their children.

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