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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    Model Essay

    Do libraries still play a role in our society today?

    Libraries used to be a place solely containing books for you to borrow and tables and chairs for you to read these books. But with increasing competition from online shops selling books at a lower price and the presence of e-books, libraries have been differentiating themselves to be more than just a place for loaning books. Even with much more alternatives available today, it is often rare to find a deserted library in Singapore. While the traditional role of libraries may be diminishing among Singaporeans, the role of libraries remains relevant in the society. The introduction of online sources has certainly made buying and reading books largely easier than waiting for the limited quantities of each book in the library to be available to us. However, the library is still a place where reference materials are kept and these reference materials cannot be easily purchased outside. It is also still a place for parents to bring their kids to spend quality time in. The novel role today may be that the libraries are more interactive and call for participation of patrons. Hence libraries still hold a largely important role in our society.

    The availability of online resources may be threatening the role of libraries in Singapore. The progression of technology has caused many things to happen at a fast pace and people are expecting that about their lives too. To purchase digital version of the book on Amazon into a mobile device now only requires minutes and it will probably be even faster in the future. This is in contrast to sourcing for a popular book in the library that requires us to check if it is currently on loan and if yes, reserving it and waiting for the borrower to return the book. Perhaps in this waiting period we could have already finished reading it if we were to order a digital version of the book. Online shops like Fishpond and Singapore Trolley have made it very easy and efficient to purchase books online. Gone are the days where you had to trudge home after borrowing 16 books during the holiday season. While many argue that the library is still a place where books are available for free, if not at a minimal cost, the tedious process puts some off from the library and dwell in the comfort of online purchasing. The role of the library is indeed threatened.

    From another perspective, the library still holds a place in Singapore as it is a place where reference materials and national archives are kept. The library is extremely important to the government for such a purpose. These materials cannot be easily purchased outside of the library. Today, they are stored largely in the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. Some of these reference materials speak of the past of Singapore, while others are important materials to know more about a certain subject. Out of print books are also present in the library and this attracts patrons to explore them. Hence, the role of the library has not changed as people still know that not all books can be bought and the library is needed for such materials.

    The relevance of a library in Singapore is also displayed as the venue of choice for most families. Parents have not forgotten the conduciveness of a library to educate their children. With the prevalence of “screenagers” (a term coined to describe teenagers who spend a large amount of their time on their devices and gadgets) today, more parents are wary of offering their children with too much technology with a mobile device. Hence the library would be an apt location to bring their children back to flipping pages instead of tapping screens. This is especially so when the local government has the intention of making libraries more interactive so that children can look forward to. For example, meet-and-greet sessions of author of children’s books usually happen in the library and this draws children to reading books and knowing that the library is a fun place to be in. This mindset cultivated at a tender age is useful for the future relevance of the library even as today’s progression of technology may be causing the diminishing role of the library.

    What could be a novel role of the library today is that it now involves more participation of the patrons. Enrichment courses are occasionally held in the library. Learning no longer takes place within the books in the library but also through these enrichment courses. Language classes are commonly held in the library. Literature plays are also held in the National Library of Singapore. The Esplanade Library is a place that has music studios that allow patrons to practice their music pieces. The library is no longer a place solely containing books but also an avenue where enrichment can happen beyond books and this causes them to still be able to hold relevance in today’s society.

    All in all, the fast-paced society of Singapore has brought about different needs and expectations by our Singaporeans. To be able to hold a pivotal role in our society the library has to realise this and be able to adapt so as not to lag behind. Nevertheless, the library will always be a place close to our hearts and it is where the heritage of Singapore is stored in print.

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    Model Essay

    Consider the view that advertising manipulates rather than informs.
    In the modern society, advertisements take the centre stage in shaping our lives; advertisements give us knowledge about the way a product can help to build our individual identity into a unique construct one seeks to become. Yet, there is now growing doubt as to whether advertisements aim to inform the individual to help him or her shape their identity, or if it is the other way around – advertisements taking advantage of consumers’ tastes and using the information to manipulate innocent unknowing consumers. While advertisements do contain useful information, this information could at times be deceiving, often focussing on one primary aspect and leaving out the negative aspects. In fact, advertisements have increasingly become bolder in carrying out empty promises, hence giving the consumer false information. Therefore while advertisements do inform, the emerging trend is that this information is becoming less trustworthy, all the for the aim of misleading and manipulating the consumer, so as to generate wealth for the firm itself.

    Advertisements have traditionally benefitted the individual, from providing the basic information on the use of the product to the benefit it brings, to who would be most suited to use the product, and the list goes on. To the busy urban commuter on a bus, the advertisement that wraps around almost the entire body of the bus can be seen as an efficient way to receive an update on the latest gizmos that could benefit him or her. After all, in the modern society each precious minute of time represents an opportunity cost and hence advertisements too become a key source of information that is useful in making decisions. One key aspect of advertisement is its ability to inform the consumer in a concise and distinct manner. Advertisements for brands such as Kit Kat spell out the benefit of their product not by producing scientific studies on how chocolates stimulate the growth of endorphins in the human body and hence uplift our moods; rather it features visual images of people from all walks of life in joy and laughter after eating a Kit Kat. Hence this succinctly gets the message through in not only the most efficient way but also the most persuasive manner. This the ability for the many tools that advertisements employ, be it appealing logos, visuals, sounds, provide the urban consumer with one primary benefit – getting the main crux of the benefit of the product in a short, sweet and simple manner. This makes advertisements one of the most accessible sources of information in the life of the busy, urban individual. Thus it seems the responsibility ultimately falls on the consumer to make a choice amongst the myriad of advertisements that he would surely chance upon daily because advertisements can only directly inform but cannot directly force the consumer to act or behave in the way that benefits the forms as the final choice lies in the hands of the consumer himself.

    However, the growing pervasiveness of advertisements in the modern individual’s life could possibly have the counter effect of manipulating consumer behaviour rather than carrying out its role in laying out the possible options for the consumers. Increasingly, advertisements look not to provide a holistic and balanced assessment of a product to a consumer but rather, to use advertisement as a tool to appeal to the tastes of the consumer, such that in feeling the need to be true to his identity, the less savvy consumer is fooled into thinking that the product is being advertised is a necessity for him or her. In this way, advertisements cross from the boundary of laying out plain facts to help improve consumer knowledge and hence make better choices, to manipulating the consumers’ behavioural patterns. Increasingly, advertisers have employed a talent pool of psychologists to predict the reactions that consumers would have towards different forms of advertisements and hence shape their advertisement around that magic formula that would generate the best results for its product sales. One key area is in the use of the knowledge that sex sells. Iconic brands that have seen long-lasting results and have managed to survive despite the stiff market competition often employ advertisements that provoke and creates a long-lasting impression on the viewer. One such example is brands like Gucci perfumes that primarily market its scents that attract the opposite sex. In particular the Gucci Guilty scent features an advertisement with what appears to the viewer as two barely-clothed models wrapping around each other in a seductive manner. Hence the advertisers appeals to the modern woman who wishes to be attractive, and attempts to evoke the belief that in order to appeal to the opposite sex, the Gucci Guilty scent has the miraculous effect of doing so. In such advertisements, the information that the advertisement brings becomes greatly distorted. Since there is no concrete scientific evidence of such an effect, it becomes a deceptive tool that encroaches upon the individual’s belief system – that to be sexy and attractive, she has to first smell good. Thus advertisements can and are increasingly headed towards the goal of shaping consumers’ mindsets and even their fundamental belief systems so as to shape their purchasing behaviour.

    Furthermore, advertisements are manipulative in the way it chooses to emphasise some of the products and conceal others, thus making it an untrustworthy source of information. For firms, this would mean that it would do anything in its power to maximise profits. Hence the question was never about how best to inform the consumer but rather how best to manipulate a consumer into buying a product. Hence, firms such as Starbucks play a clever game by highlighting a particular aspect of its product while leaving out the rest. In this case, Starbucks appeals to the fact that its coffee beans are obtained under Fairtrade and part of it goes to charity, it also hopes to convince the consumer into buying into the idea that by buying a cup of Starbucks coffee, he or she is also rewarded with the sense of satisfaction that he is benefitting society and thus belongs to the ‘wonderful” group of Starbucks-drinking group who are environmentally conscious. Yet, firms like Starbucks are deceptive in that they do not reveal that by paying such a high premium for the cup of Starbucks coffee, one would already have essentially paid the cost of the proceeds to charity and to the Fairtrade coffee source. Hence, in actuality, it was not the cup of Starbucks coffee that resulted in positive benefits for the society but rather the higher costs that the individual chose to pay for feeling that he is doing something good while drinking the coffee. In this way, advertisements are increasingly gaining an identity-based categorisation. Certain advertisements are directed at the cool-seeking crowd while others are aimed at the environmentally-conscious. Thus the side effect of this is that in focussing or creating a brand identity, the value of the information on the facts of the product the consumer gets becomes of secondary importance.

    Advertisements have traditionally been a convenient source of information but it is also taking a changing profile – one that focuses more on manipulating the consumer rather than just merely giving information.

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    Model Essay

    Do libraries still have a role to play in your society?

    In spite of many people in Singapore feeling that libraries do not have such an important role as compared to the past, libraries are still accessible around almost every area in Singapore. Libraries still fulfil their role of being a place to store information, bring people together as well as provide a conducive environment for people to go to when they need a quiet place. Thus in my opinion, libraries still have a role to play in my society.

    Nowadays, some people feel that the role of libraries is diminishing due to people being more tech-savvy in the modern society. These people feel that there is no need for libraries to be around anymore as they can easily obtain any information that used to be only available in libraries through online sources. For example news reports are available online on platforms such as ChannelNews Asia or The Straits Times and there is no need to purchase printed copies of newspapers or even look for them in libraries. Furthermore, news about other countries in the world is also available on online platforms unlike in libraries. “Bookworms” who are wealthier may even afford an electronic book (e-book) and not need to flip through traditional printed books in libraries to obtain enjoyment and satisfaction in the stories they need. Therefore, the role of libraries in Singapore may seem less important to some as online platforms may share similar roles of sharing information due to increasing affluence and higher purchasing power of individuals to afford electronic devices in Singapore. However, libraries still have a large role to play in other aspects such as providing a conducive environment for people to study or relax even though it plays a small role for some people.

    On the other hand, libraries provide a quiet and conducive environment for people who are not able to concentrate on their work at noisy places or even at home. Libraries still have a role to play in Singapore and this is evident by the numerous public libraries such as the National Library and the Marine Parade Library which is located close to the central district area and community area respectively. The library provides different functions for the different groups of individuals in Singapore. Children are able to visit the children’s section where there may be an activity room and where events are held once in a while and simple books in various languages are available and appeal to the different groups of children. This is also applicable for both youths and adults as there are sections in the library which appeal to the different age groups. Moreover, libraries would definitely have places for people to study or do their work as students and adults can concentrate on their work or do research in a peaceful environment. Thus, for people who work efficiently in a quiet environment, visiting libraries would be their choice and therefore it still plays a role in Singapore similarly as in the past as people may not experience a change in their lifestyle or habits.

    In addition, libraries are still places for people to stay connected and develop a shared identity as it is a public area where everyone is able to visit and enjoy the families available. Libraries are one of the places to relax from their hectic lifestyle, enables families to develop stronger ties or individuals to connect with their peers. In this fast-paced society, libraries still provide a place for people to stay connected and this is observed by parents spending time with their children by reading to them at the children’s section of libraries. Even though there is a significant increase in the number of dual-income families in Singapore, we would still observe parents spending time with their children at libraries especially during weekends where a cheerful atmosphere is created at a particular section of the library. Also, to accommodate to the multiracial and religious society in Singapore, the library contains information in all languages to cater to the needs of different individuals so that no one is left out. This further strengthens the Singaporean identity as we are taught to be tolerant of and accept each other regardless of our differing backgrounds. Therefore the role of the library as a place for people to stay connected and develop a shared identity has not changed as the needs of all individuals are considered.

    Furthermore, libraries still play the role of storing information which may not be available elsewhere. Although the people in Singapore are tech-savvy and many are able to afford electronic devices to obtain accessible information quickly, not all the citizens in Singapore may be able to afford it. Some people who are less wealthy may not afford to purchase their own devices and may need to visit the library to obtain the information they want. Computers are placed in libraries to cater to these people and they may also print essential information on the spot in libraries as they can borrow these facilities and not need to feel burdened by not being able to own their private devices. Books, magazines, discs and newspapers are available for borrowing and these cater to other people who still traditional methods of reading or viewing information. Also, some information about the past may not be available on online platforms and can only be found in libraries or may not be available for borrowing as they are precious records and can only be referred to in the library itself. Thus, the role of the library of storing information is still relevant as traditional sources of information may be more reliable than online sources where almost anyone is able to post them online.

    In conclusion, libraries still play a vital role in Singapore as many people still visit libraries to obtain what they want or enjoy the facilities and environment provided. This is proven by the many public libraries still available in Singapore even though our society may have changed. Libraries still function as a place where bonds are formed and information is provided.

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    Model Essay

    Can the large amounts of money spent on sports nowadays be justified?

    With the rise of media sports in general has gained a wider viewership today. The world is thrown into a sea of sporting events both local and international, from national interschool games to the highest and most grand sporting event: the Summer Olympics. Clubs and players alike have become instant celebrities when they win and many of these clubs boast an international fan base. Just take a look at the British Premier League with clubs such as Man U or Liverpool having fans in Asia. Large amounts of money are pumped into the sporting scene and whether the money used as a reward or to maintain equipment is justifiable. However, when the money is mishandled in the form of cheating or is wasted, it brings about major problems and is unjustifiable. After all, aren’t the majority of these funds derived from fans?

    Today, sports enthusiasts feel that the large sums of money used to reward sportsmen and sportswomen for their hard work is justifiable. I agree to this statement. It is true that large rewards do entice the sportsmen since many have put aside their education in pursuit of their passion for sports. Many sports people are full-time athletes and have placed their careers into their sports. Such extreme cases include many footballers in less developed nations who consistently train in hopes of ‘hitting’ the big leagues so as to alleviate themselves and their families out of poverty. Such examples include famous international stars like Pele and Cristiano Ronaldo. The reward for their hard work and effort should keep them motivated to pursue their goals. The large sums of money also help to attract famous international stars to the competition. Therefore, the reward system is justified because it serves as a starting platform for sportsmen to pursue excellence.

    Furthermore, proponents of sports state that huge sums of money are used by clubs and sporting societies to train young athletes as well as to maintain the equipment. In addition, clubs require the use of this money to train athletes so that they can perform at an international level of excellence. Such examples include the youth camps and youth training programs sponsored by clubs and even local governments. In local contexts the Singaporean government has groomed young talents through the Singapore Sports School where athletes are trained with the best equipment and trainers. The cost of subsidising these athletes is roughly $18000 annually per student. These funds help make sports more accessible to the poor at the same time ensuring the quality of the training regime. Thus the huge sum of money is justifiable to a large extent.

    However in certain contexts, these huge sums of money have been mishandled where people resort to cheating to gain more money. With greater emphasis on honesty in sports, these cases are disheartening and disappointing to everyone in the sporting world. Such examples include the recent doping scandals at the Russian World Track and Field Championships where Tyson Gay, a world-class Olympic finalist sprinter was found to be using illegal substances. To add on to this dishonourable list, even local Singaporean businessmen have been found match-fixing by the World Soccer Association. When these funds are mishandled or are involved in gambling it creates distrust in the professionalism of sportsmen and their abilities, therefore it is crucial that these funds are allocated to those who have worked hard and hone their skills rather than to cheat.

    In conclusion the huge sum of money spent on sports will increasing over time is undeniable. The funds should be handled properly by the clubs and associations and governments should also enforce stricter measures to deter anyone from cheating. On top of that clubs should also find more ways to give back to the community such as hosting more youth camps to ensure that the community benefits. The passion for sports is incited in everyone and thus should be the driving force behind sports and not greed. Fans should play their part by boycotting clubs or sportsmen using dishonest acts to win.

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    1. The view of the majority is always right. Do you agree?

    ‘view’: opinion, perspective, values
    ‘majority’: larger group, such as racial/ religious/ economic/ class
    ‘always’: absolute
    ‘right’: what society accepts as the norm, or what is universally ‘right’, or what is in the best interest of the society

    Question Requirements
    • Students should show understanding of the different definitions of ‘right
    • Students should explore a range of issues to show that the majority can define what is socially ‘right’, which has negative repercussions

    • Students give standard scenarios (eg. Hitler, Holcaust)
    • Narrow scope, with an emphasis on democracy

    Possible stands

    The view of the majority can be right
    • The view of the majority is the basis of democracy. Decisions are made based on consensus.
    • Wisdom of the majority.
    • Efficiency in decision-making, as compared to taking everyone’s views into account

    The view of the majority may not always be right
    • Possible discrimination. Tyranny of majority over minority. Holier-than-thou attitude
    • Decisions based on lowest common denominator. Tends to be conservative.
    • Mob instinct.
    • Assumes that people are educated and are able to make the right decisions. Could have ignorant majority.
    • Cultural/ social norms of majority may lead to social problems ie. Morally wrong eg. Honour killing
    • People act in self-interest and may not make decisions in the best interest of society

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    2. Can a belief in the supernatural be sustained in the modern world?

    Key words:
    Belief: To analyse how it affects one’s mental condition and actions
    Supernatural: That which cannot be proven or which is ‘illogical’ e.g. ghosts, fengshui Sustained: Maintained, remaining relevant and continuing to be embraced

    Modern world: The world/society today!

    Question Requirements:
    Student needs to demonstrate that the belief in the supernatural seems to be at odds with the context of the modern world, however the student needs to recognize that belief in the supernatural can still persist today. The student also needs to predict what the future scenario will be based on observations of the present and perhaps the past. Better scripts would deal with different forms of the supernatural not necessarily restricted to religion.

    Merely discussing problems of belief in the supernatural in the modern world, or how the supernatural is not to be believed in favor of maybe science. Such scripts would also discount or overlook the keyword ‘sustained’ hence not discussing the future scenario.
    Students may overly focus on discussion on religion.

    Possible stands:
    Yes, a belief in the supernatural can be sustained in the modern world, and how these two elements may not even necessarily contradict each other.
    • Scientific theories cannot refute some supernatural beliefs
    • Scientific texts can even proof the validity of certain religious beliefs/texts/supernatural beliefs
    • Belief or at least interest in the supernatural continues to be a source of artistic inspiration for the arts
    • Conservative and cultural practices based on belief in the supernatural continues to remain in the modern world.

    No, it cannot be sustained in the modern world
    • Scientific evidences have proven many supernatural beliefs to be false.
    • People pride scientific proof and rational belief over supernatural beliefs which have no scientific basis.
    • Prevalence of modern day philosophies like humanism instead of belief or reliance on the supernatural.

    Yes, it may even gain more relevance in the modern world.
    • People increasingly turn to religion to find the answers to their existentialist issues.

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    Model Essay

    3. ‘The arts cannot change the world, but they make it more beautiful.’ Discuss this view with reference to one of the following: painting, sculpture or music.

    Key words:
    – ‘change the world’  affect real-world outcomes; alter people’s viewpoints with regards to various social, political, etc issues; influence the way people think; challenge set notions / the status quo

    – ‘make it more beautiful’  serves a purely aesthetic purpose

    Question requirements:
    – discuss the purposes of art  challenge the notion that the sole purpose of art is to beautify the world

    – discuss society’s perception of the arts, and how far it has the potential to successfully influence society itself

    – specific examples of whichever art form is chosen

    – students spend too much time discussing what ‘the arts’ encompass

    – failure to see the link between changing the world and making it more beautiful

    Possible stands / viewpoints:
    – the arts can change the world, by influencing people’s views on current social & political issues affecting their society or raising awareness of these issues  art as a reflection of society, hence having the potential to change the world by highlighting what the artist sees as a problem e.g. Goya’s etchings (scenes of war)

    – art uses aesthetic value to arouse emotions, hence changing mindsets  artist changes the world by manipulating the audience’s emotions to the point where they might take action to make a negatively perceived situation better e.g. the Vietnam wall

    – however, art can simply be for art’s sake  art doesn’t try to change people’s views or attitudes, it can merely be a vehicle for entertainment or something whose main purpose is to beautify the world e.g. still life art

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    Model Essay

    Is killing ever acceptable?

    The recent Boston bombing incident in 2013 saw both world leaders and earnest youths alike coming together to discuss the efforts that should be undertaken to calm the furore brought about by citizens around the world – namely the severity of the punishment that ought to be dished out to those responsible for the incident. The fire was then intensified when the government and Boston officials stated that the verdict for the bombers was still death, but in its wake it left behind many debates forming about whether killing can ever be acceptable and the criteria for it to hold true. Killing should be seen as acceptable if the majority of the world are advocates as the government’s job is to ensure that the needs of the many are fulfilled, not the needs of the minority. It should also be acceptable if it brings about more benefits than harm which can come in the form of closure stemming from revenge or deterring future incidents and also if it is done in order to ensure one’s survival such as self-defence or protecting the family. Yet, recent years have also seen a new form of killing, euthanasia, which is also controversial. All in all it is of my opinion that killing is indeed acceptable when it brings about more gain than harm, but not when it is done to satisfy twisted desires such as enjoying the intentional cessation of life.

    Indeed, murders are not acceptable when they are done not in the pursuit of self-defence but rather as a means to eliminate someone’s life for selfish reasons. There are times when murderers justify themselves in a way that sounds logical, such as when one wants to cause a genocide of the human race because he or she is an advocate of the environment and they feel that Mother Earth would be better without humans selfishly consuming but rarely giving back natural resources. When they justify themselves in this manner, it is indeed a grey area and intricate to discuss about because of its multi-faceted nature. After all no one on earth can provide a rebuttal that humans benefit Gaia, as it is very clear that we have consumed much more than the relatively few trees we have planted back. However, this does not make it acceptable as allowing them to cause mass murders is tantamount to passing a mandate for people to kill anyone. Hence the killing by such a person is unacceptable because the majority of the world does not place the environment over their lives and since the needs of the many outweigh those of the few, it cannot be justified. Thus, in cases such as these and including other similar murders by the mentally insane are all not acceptable because benefits do not outweigh the cost of human lives.

    However, killing is acceptable when it provides closure stemming from retribution, something essential in calming the storm in the hearts of the victim’s kin. There is an obvious benefit of alleviating the pain that the murder has inflicted on society because when one is murdered, that person is not the only one who feels the pain. The people who have shared their lives with the victim also feel scared and damaged indirectly by the murderer. In these cases, killing the murderer will provide relief for the victims and this can be seen as compensation for the losses the victim’s kin suffered. In the case of the Boston bombings, the furore and fiery hatred that have emerged would not have been calmed if the perpetrator who caused the bombings was spared from the claws of death – death row penalty – and governments would also come under fire as they may feel that the judicial system is flawed and useless. Others may argue that humans, as represented by the government, should not play god and determine who should live and who should perish. Hence the benefits do outweigh the cost of these murders and as such it is acceptable. Furthermore, the fact that the government considered sparing the bomber’s death but was futile points to the notion that the government decided that calming people’s anger was more important and hence went with the decision to end his life. This supports the fact that benefits outweigh the cost and that it is hence acceptable.

    As difficult as it may be to justify murders, killing is acceptable as it acts as a strong deterrence to potential murders and hence it keeps the world safer in the long run. By showing the world that the intentional cessations of life will not be tolerated and that severe punishments will be meted out, of which its severity will be proportional to the atrocities of the crimes committed, it provides a disincentive for potential murderers to not commit these crimes. As they fear the punishments that await them, they will not be as willing to kill. For example in the case of Singapore, the death penalty exists and has been largely attributed as the reason for low crimes in Singapore. Precisely because Singapore has a zero-tolerance policy on kidnaps, murders and other major crimes, there are very few brave or rather naïve enough to try and commit these acts of atrocities. If Singapore did not dole out the death penalty for drug traffickers then Singapore would be largely filled with drug lords who are motivated by the massive wealth from such trafficking acts. This supports the notion that without fear, people will do just about anything as long as they desire it. Hence in this case it is justifiable to kill offenders to make an example out of them. While detractors of the death penalty – the critics, skeptics and luddites – may argue that if the point is to instill fear in the world, then it would be the same as an enslaved society with people at the top having absolute power. I disagree with this because the fact that we have jails and that only the harshest of crimes are met accordingly with death sentences all point to the notion that we still are cognizant of where to draw the line. Hence, these killings are acceptable.

    Lastly, the newest kind of killing is due to the idea of euthanasia where patients can end their lives peacefully without pain or to speed up their inevitable deaths. Killing is acceptable in these cases as it allows them to cheat death by dying sooner rather than later and hence bypass all the pain of waiting for death. This is especially so when family members know that the victim is suffering just by living perhaps due to kidney failure, or that they are in a comatose state and are unable to truly live life. Their loved ones can pull the plug on the victim hence ending his or her suffering. This is then morally acceptable since it would be immoral to deny them euthanasia and instead force them to live in agony or to find more painful ways of committing suicide. Over the years euthanasia has experienced a rise in popularity, evident from its increased presence in media such as newspapers and social media. This supports the point that this form of killing is acceptable. It is only not acceptable in cases where the victim is still hanging on to his life but it is the family members who want to pull the plug on him as there is an extreme financial burden of keeping the victim on life support such has plugging him to a kidney dialysis machine. Hence, killings done by euthanasia are also acceptable so long as the victim wants to undergo it. Thus, killing is acceptable in this case.

    In conclusion, while there is extreme hardship in justifying murders and accepting it, the need for killing is an undeniable reality. In obvious cases where killing is done for self-survival or to protect the people around him, the act of killing for revenge and closure killing is largely acceptable by both the government and the public. However, grey areas such as killing to ensure that natural resources in the future are still available are not seen as acceptable because the costs of human lives are too much. Hence the most important criteria in assessing whether or not killing is acceptable has much to do with the opinion of the majority. The minority may never accept killing, arguing that everyone should be given a second chance, but the harsh reality of the world is that if your kin was murdered, you would challenge the entire world in order to get revenge and closure for yourself. Hence it may not be acceptable but for some, they have to accept that it is a necessary act.

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    Model Essay

    ‘Education does not develop individuality but conformity.’ Discuss this view in relation to your society.

    In Singapore, a modern yet relatively conservative Asian society, an individual who strays too far from the norm and sports an appearance perceived as too ‘flashy’ or behaves in too outlandish a manner often finds his picture featured online on STOMP, a Singaporean forum that citizens go to upload pictures and articles of interest. This is not to say that Singapore is by any means an Orwellian society that strictly adheres to conformity and any antics or appearances perceived as different are punishable. However, the Singaporean society is indeed relatively conformist in nature and this inevitably is largely rooted in its manner of educating its youth: both in school and at home. Therefore, while there are some elements of individuality and efforts being made to hone holistic and individual thinking in the education of its youth, education in Singapore still largely develops conformity more than individuality.

    In most Singaporean government schools, there is a rigid and unyielding adherence to a set of guidelines on how students should appear and the manner in which students ought to wear their uniform which generates an image of conformity to the point where students appear as finished products fresh off an assembly line. There is a strict dress code that students must follow or risk disciplinary actions that can range from a stern warning to the involvement of parents and potentially, a suspension. In secondary schools, rules dictate a plethora of restrictions on the appearance of students from the size of one’s ear studs, the colour of one’s hair accessories to the length of ones socks. This strict and unyielding code of conduct recently culminated in a scandal in a renowned secondary school, St. Margaret’s Secondary. In this school, like many others, rules dictate that girls are not to have “punk, unfeminine or sloppy” hairstyles. Therefore when several girls shaved their heads for the “Hair for Hope” cause, the school’s principal, Mrs Marion Tan, instructed them to wear wigs to school and the issue reached the attention of the media as several of the girls’ parents were rather disgruntled with the situation as the wigs had given them rashes. However, Mrs Tan was reluctant to step back until the Minister of Education intervened and allowed the girls to attend school without wigs. This incidents clearly demonstrates how education in Singapore breeds conformity to the extent that guidelines for the appearance of students are so inflexible that there is no leeway even for students whose intent is to bend the rules to support a noble cause. Hence education in Singapore extensively develops conformity over individuality.

    Having said that, the vast array of compulsory co-curricular activities offered in schools from the primary to junior college level does largely develop individuality as students are given the opportunity to develop their personal skills and interests. Singaporean students are exposed to a wide range of activities and interests, from sports to the performance arts to debate, where they are allowed to select an area of interest or talent to have and nurture their ability in. Co-curricular activities play a rather significant role in Singapore’s education, such that students with prowess in a particular field can use that skill to apply for schools of their choice, despite being not as academically inclined. This specialisation of each student in a particular field of interest helps hone their individuality and an identity separate from their peers and generates a generation of Singaporeans who are largely differentiated in their area of interest and specialty. It also cultivates in young Singaporeans an appreciation for activities and life beyond their studies to an extent. Hence, in this aspect, education in my society does indeed develop individuality over conformity.

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    Model Essay

    How important is censorship in today’s society?

    According to the United Nations, human rights include the freedom of speech and freedom of expression. With this definition many believe that censorship is an infringement of human rights and it should not be tolerated. If we think about it, the people of the past may not feel this way. However, with the rapid advancement of technology and increasing globalised world evolving, we cannot help but think twice about the use of censorship. This has been a question thought about by the governments in the world and even their people: Is censorship essential in our society today? The majority in today’s society who are supportive of freedom of rights and expression may immediately say no. However, in my opinion censorship is still largely important in today’s society. It actually is even more important today than it was in the past. There, however, is an exception of repressive regimes abusing the use of censorship to dictate the views of its people. For this I feel that censorship is not important in this aspect. Nevertheless, observing the trends of people in today’s society, children are becoming more impressionable and less discerning ironically and thus have to be protected from the erosion of moral values. With advancements in technology, war-time censorship becomes more important than ever and with increased mobility of people and more people of different races and religions living together censorship has become more important in today’s society to prevent the denigration of other races and religions. Thus in my opinion, censorship is largely important in today’s society.

    While censorship is largely important in today’s society, it is not so when it is abused by the repressive regimes in suppressing information from its people for their national interest, which is more often than not at the expense of their citizens. For instance, China abused the use of censorship to conceal information about their tainted milk scandal in 2008. China’s government declined to release updated figures of the number of children affected in this incident, the more prevented swift actions from being taken to contain the problem and more citizens suffered from the incident. This clearly shows that censorship is not important when it is used to conceal information from the public who has the rights to know about what is happening in its country and to prevent themselves from being harmed. China used censorship as a tool to boost confidence in its food and safety standards, however at the expense of the real safety of its people. In another example, North Korea, many are aware that the repressive regime misuses censorship to influence the thinking of its people. Censorship is often used for propaganda purposes in North Korea and television, and radio receivers are locked to government-specified frequency. Its journalists are all required to go for ideological training every week where they are told what ‘news’ they are allowed to publish. Information presented by the government is deemed as the truth to its people as they have no alternative sources of information to compare facts with. In such examples we see how censorship is actually unimportant when misused as a tool by the government. In today’s society, people should have the rights to know more about the world and should not be presented with half-baked lies which dictate and distort their views.

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore


    1.Fill in each blank below with the right answer/form of the word given.
    2. Underline the subject of each sentence as well.

    Enculturation (1)__________( verb to be) the passing on of culture, traditions and customs which (2)________( has) to be taught to children by parents for them to fit into society. This (3)_________(verb to be) sometimes called socialization.

    It (4)_________ (verb to be) also argued that forming a family through marriage (5)__________(allow) for the stabilization of adult personalities. This (6)________(occur) when they (7)____________( take) on multiple roles as husband/wife or father/mother and (8)____________( assume) the responsibilities that (9)_____________( come) with these roles. This allows for their personal development.

    Contrary to the stereotype that today’s youth (10)________(verb to be) self-centred, our young citizens are starting interest groups, non-profit business & enterprises to support issues such as alleviating poverty to give delinquents a second chance.

    In a highly globalized world, travel and new media (11)___________ (has) exposed young people to issues and social justice efforts abroad, and have prompted many to get involved .Experts also (12)____________ (suggest) their activism may (13) _____ (stem) from the interest in volunteerism that the education system has tried to inculcate in students.


    Institutions like social security (14)___________ ( has) taken away responsibilities of a family because people (15)_____________ ( rely) on them to take care of the elderly instead of doing it themselves.

    Childcare is another institution that (16) ______ (has) gradually (17) __________ (become) more popular as a result of the emergence of the dual-income family. Although childcare services (18)___________( provide) much-needed support for families, they at the same time (19)_____________ (reduce) the role(20)______________( play) by the parents in nurturing their children.

    The media (21)__________( verb to be) part of our everyday enculturation. We (22)__________( verb to be) bombarded with popular culture through television, radio, advertisement and the internet to help us (23)_____________( determine) our views of the world. Findings in 2008 (24) _____________ ( reveal) that the average child spends nearly 45 hours a week immersed in the media – almost three times the amount of time they spend with their parents.

    In short, these institutions (25)_____________( compete) with the family’s role in shaping our young. And yet, there is no doubt that a weak family foundation (26)_______________( engender) a number of social problems such as alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, vandalism, theft, gang violence which (27)_______ (plague) our youth. (28)__________( verb to be) it time to glean wisdom from our forefathers?

    1. is
    2. has
    3. is
    4. is
    5. allows
    6. occurs
    7. take
    8. assume
    9. come
    10. are
    11. have
    12. suggest
    13. stem (remind students that verbs after modals remain in base form – no SVA needed)
    14. have
    15. rely
    16. has
    17. become
    18. provide
    19. reduce
    20. played
    21. is/are (it is now acceptable in Standard English for ‘media’ to take either a singular or plural verb – 2005 Cambridge Markers’ Report)
    22. are
    23. determine
    24. reveal
    25. compete
    26. engenders
    27. plague
    28. is

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore


    Question Engagement & Relevance Please tick

    The essay plan / essay demonstrates a clear understanding of question keywords and requirements and is relevant to the question.

    The scope / breadth defined is sufficient and suitable for the development of the essay.


    The essay starts in a way which makes the reader want to read more.

    Contains a thesis statement that states your position/stand and provides justification.

    Provides background information and/or context to show significance of the issue


    The thesis statement is supported by at least 3 relevant arguments.
    These arguments are well illustrated or supported by a broad range of relevant facts and/or figures.
    Appropriate balance is achieved through relevant counter arguments/alternative perspectives that are presented.
    Alternative perspectives are effectively addressed.

    Paragraphs are used appropriately.
    Paragraphs have clearly stated topic sentences related to the thesis statement/stand. The other sentences in the paragraph are clearly connected to the topic sentence.
    A range of linking devices is used and paragraphing is coherent and controlled, with smooth transitions between paragraphs.
    Appropriate transitional words/phrases are used to indicate the direction of the discussion.
    The development of the argument can be easily followed from paragraph to paragraph.

    The conclusion briefly reiterates the thesis statement and ends effectively (e.g. with a quotation, afterthought, or recommendation).

    Accurate use of Standard English to add to the positive impact of the essay:
    a) Tenses
    b) Spelling
    c) Tone
    d) Topical Vocabulary
    e) Expressions
    The essay is written tidily and legibly.

    Final Grade:
    Content ( / 30)
    Language ( / 20 ) / 50
    What is one of the best things about this essay?

    What is one important area for improvement in this essay?

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    General Paper: Paper 1 Part 1
    Revision Guide (Skills)

    Receiving the Question Paper

    Question Selection (5 mins)

    a) Identify the topics that you have studied for by looking at the topical terms

    i) Do you know current issues pertaining to this topic?
    ii) Do you have at least 3 concrete examples?

    b) Identify the generic concepts that are familiar to you

    c) Identify questions that contain clear assumptions you can address

    d) Pick the question that is left!

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    General Paper: Paper 1 Part 2
    Revision Guide (Skills)

    Starting Out

    Sample Question: Has enough been done to score an “A” in General Paper?
    1. Perform a detailed question analysis (10 mins)
    a) Clarify the key topical terms
    i) What are the current issues to do with this term?
    ii) What are various understandings of this term?
    iii) Are there any examples that can best illustrate this term? [This will be useful in crafting general statements (GSs)]
    iv) Is this in line with the key generic concept? [Remember: The topical term ‘Education’ is usually defined by its function because of the generic concept used]

    b) Clarify the key generic concept [Revise generic concepts and approaches]
    i) What is the approach demanded by the concept?
    ii) What must you SHOW to agree/disagree with the question?
    iii) Come up with a list of approaches
    [Eg. To show that something is ‘enough’: Show that there are limitations to our efforts and that these limitations cannot be overcome within our abilities]
    *If there are many requirements, it is likely that the approach has to be carried out between paragraphs. **If there are few requirements, it is likely that the approach has to be carried out within a paragraph.

    c) Identify the assumptions
    i) Apply the 5W 1H Approach [Use this to guide your generation of GSs]

    d) Identify the possible POVs (Stands) you can take
    i) What is the variable of the question? [There is usually only one and it is usually the main generic concept]

    2. Plan your essay (10 mins)

    a) Come up with at least 5 Topic Sentences (TSs)

    b) Categorise them into acknowledgements and arguments that prove your ultimate stand

    c) List at least 1 example for each TS (ie. it has to illustrate the TS not just something to do with the topic or generic concept used)

    d) Organise your TSs beforehand to avoid contradictions.
    i) (+, +, +, -, -)
    ii) (-, +, +, +, +) etcetera

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    A Level GP/General Paper Tuition Singapore

    General Paper: Paper 1 Part 3
    Revision Guide (Skills)

    Writing the Essay

    1. Introduction

    a) General Statements
    Deal with the assumptions to highlight the significance of the issue.
    Choose one to two ways of showing this:
     Provide a clarification of key terms relevant to the issue/generic concept
     Provide quotes and a following ‘wrap-up’ to link it back to the issue
     Provide examples that illustrate the significance of the issue
     Provide points of view (POVs) and discuss explicitly the significance of the issue

    b) Thesis Statement
    • Provide an acknowledgement (the view you don’t quite agree with as much)
    • Provide your ultimate stand (the view you agree with more)
    • Provide some clarification: Why do you not agree as much with the one view? Why do you agree more with another view? What are the conditions you are going to consider?

    c) Brief Overview of Arguments
    Provide a summary of your TSs.
    [Ask: “How am I going to prove my ultimate stand?”]
    *If you have a clear thesis statement and you’ve already discussed the significance of the issue quite extensively, this is not needed.

    2. Body Paragraphs

    a) Topic Sentences
    i) Does this provide a reason for your stand?
    ii) Have I engaged all the key terms of the question?
    iii) Do I have clear transitional phrases to distinguish between my supporting, counter and rebuttal

    b) Reasoning
    i) Have I explained ‘Why/How/When/For Whom’ something happens?
    ii) Can I keep asking why/how/when/for whom?

    c) Examples
    i) Does the example illustrate the reasoning?
    ii) Is the example a concrete one?
    (“For example, there are many poor people in China” – is not a concrete example!)
    iii) Have I used the key words of the TS to provide coherence?

    d) Link back to the TS
    i) What have I shown in this paragraph and with the example especially?

    3. Conclusion Paragraph

    a) Have I summarized the arguments presented earlier?

    b) Can I provide an insight or afterthought?
    [This provides the (rarely observed in the present moment) conditions that would allow the acknowledgment to be true]

    c) Have I reiterated my ultimate stand?

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