The Dark Shadow Shrine

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

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Islamic association Pergas issues guidelines on black metal music

Click HERE

"Although some black metal fans enjoy the genre and its music merely for the sake of entertainment with no intention whatsoever in glorifying Syaitan or to insult any religion, over-obsession with such music may gradually have an insidious effect on one's thinking and emotions.
"In fact, it may result in the development of a careless attitude and feelings of apathy with regard to sensitivities towards religions that will indirectly lead to unease and disruption among members of a multiracial and multi-religious society."

Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Zainal Sapari said that the advisory gives an Islamic perspective from learned Islamic scholars in Pergas and can help Muslims here make an informed judgment on their choice of music. He added: "At the end of the day, it is still up to individual choice."

Millennials could hold the key in Indonesia's elections

Click HERE
If can't access above link, click HERE

Relate to last year's 'A' level AQ on youth and politics:

Apparently, the low voter turnout among the youth was also a major contributing factor to the current Brexit crisis: see HERE

-young millennial voters, loosely classified as those aged 35 and under.

-their indifference to politics and anti-establishment tendencies will be key factors in their turnout although many are already expected to abstain, judging by previous polls.

-they had little interest in politics, and preferred sports and entertainment-related activities.

-candidates need to pay more attention to the vital issues that affect Indonesian youth, such as their work aspirations and job prospects

-a reflection of the frustration among disaffected millennials

Qn: To what extent do young people in your society take an interest in politics? (Cam. 2006)

Friday, March 22, 2019

The origins of signing off as 'yours sincerely'

Came across this when reading Dan Brown's gripping page-turner "Digital Fortress". Quite an interesting nugget of info on why we sign off using 'yours sincerely'. Whoever knew there's such an interesting background to it!

Friday, March 15, 2019

No one asks America's top CEOs where they went to college

Click HERE
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Achieving good grades has often been seen as a means to get into a prestigious university, with which ur future will be secure. With that degree from a prestigious university, doors will open for u... But is all that true? 

Of the CEOs of the top 20 companies in last year's Fortune 500, exactly one - Amazon's Mr Jeff Bezos - went to an Ivy League school (Princeton University).

Didn't anybody tell these rich parents that with their wealth, all they had to do was make a sizeable donation to get their child into a "good school", no matter how poor their grades? (Exhibit A: Mr Jared Kushner, who got into Harvard after his father pledged to make a US$2.5 million donation.)

Maybe a Harvard diploma will give a graduate an easier shot at landing his first job out of school. But that's really the only advantage, and it doesn't last long. Once you've landed the job, you have to perform. If you don't, your Harvard degree isn't going to be worth the parchment it's printed on. And if you do perform, nobody is going to much care that you went to the University of Central Oklahoma.
What you get out of your education is what you put into it. That is especially true when you enter a university because you are usually on your own for the first time. You can make your own decisions about whether to attend that early-morning class or sleep through it. ....The qualities you exhibit in college - ambition or laziness; attention to detail or sloppiness; being success-oriented or content with mediocrity - will likely be the qualities you bring to your life after college. They will matter a lot more than where you went to school when you were 18.
Qn: Achieving good grades is the only thing that matters. Do you agree?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Parents need time to adjust to policy changes: Principal

Click HERE

things are changing and parents no longer view good grades as the only route to success.

-having an interest and passion in the learning, and learning for life to stay relevant in the workforce matters more?
Note that when adults attend certain course or workshops, no grades are given. Only a cert saying u have attended the course is given. What u walk away with are not any grades but what u learn from the workshop that u can bring to your job. This applies also to certain courses or workshops that students attend to improve their academic ability.

-grades matters less coz no more stigmatising from academic streaming of EM1,EM2 and EM3 in primary schools, and Express, NA, NT in secondary schools here...?

Qn: Achieving good grades is the only thing that matters. What are your views?

Parents face charges in court for role in US college entry fraud

Click HERE

Possible rebuttal-counter-rebuttal...

1)need good grades in get into uni to have bright future
2)can bribe uni to gain admission even if no good grades
3)not true that one can bribe one's way in, will get caught....good grades still needed

The example here on Harvard and Stanford is a good one as they are world-renowned....

Qn: Achieving good grades is the only thing that matters. What are your views?

Friday, March 08, 2019

IMDA pulls plug on gig hours before Swedish band's show

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Caregiving burden holding women back in jobs: UN

Click HERE

-The imbalanced division of work within the household between men and women is one of the most resilient features of gender inequality

-nearly 22 per cent of women of working age worldwide perform unpaid care work on a full-time basis, with the level as high as 60 per cent in Arab states. By comparison, only 41 million men - 1.5 per cent of them - carry out such work on a full-time basis
-gender wage gap remains at an average of 20 per cent globally, and is nearly double that in countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
1. Evaluate the claim that equality of opportunity for females is a desirable, but unrealistic goal. (Cam. 2016)
2. Consider the view that some careers are better suited to one gender than the other. (Cam. 2014)

Technology can level playing field for women, says panel

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Technology can also provide more flexibility for women to manage other commitments such as their families and work, which in turn can help companies attract the talent they need

Ms Deborah Ho, managing director and head of South-east Asia at investment management firm BlackRock, said that when she was pregnant with her fourth child, her former boss gave her a Bloomberg machine - a data terminal used by traders - to use at home.

Note a useful rebuttal to the point that women often held back by their family obligations, esp child-caring duties. Can rebut this using the point on technology helping them to juggle home and work commitments from home....

1. Evaluate the claim that equality of opportunity for females is a desirable, but unrealistic goal. (Cam. 2016)
2. Consider the view that some careers are better suited to one gender than the other. (Cam. 2014)

China must weigh costs of Xinjiang crackdown

Click HERE
If can't access above link, click HERE

Muslims are also often seen as a community apart because of their practices (they do not eat pork) and even physical appearance (facial hair and skull caps).

Some observers like Professor James Millward of Georgetown University see another reason for the re-education camps in Xinjiang - the drive by Chinese policymakers to enforce a homogeneous national identity, the Zhonghua identity, which is based on Han culture.

Food for thought: in prioritising national interests, is it possible that there can be a backlash on other national interests or the larger national interests? 

1. Can terrorism ever be eradicated?
2. Is it justifiable for nations to always prioritise their national interests? (EJC Prelim 2018)

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Speaking up is not enough

Click HERE
If can't access link, click HERE

-International Women's Day

-#MeToo movement

-in a review of the Penal Code this year, the Singapore Government will finally repeal a marital immunity clause which previously allowed husbands to rape their wives.

-financial security gives women the power to be independent and to make decisions for themselves. Being able to reach the top of their professions gives them the power to make decisions that affect other women. But, in Singapore, women still earn less than men, with the gender pay gap of about 20 per cent remaining unchanged over the past decade. More women than men also drop out of the workforce or put their careers on hold, to look after children or ageing parents.
-Council for Board Diversity has been set up, with the President of Singapore Halimah Yacob as its patron, to get 20 per cent female representation on Singapore-listed boards by 2020, up from the current 15.2 per cent.

-Some think the equality pendulum has swung too far the other way. Several men have told me they feel women are now being promoted - instead of them - just because they are women.
Qn: “It is a good time to be a woman.” How far is this true of the world today?

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

The wistful weight of distance

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If can't access above link, click HERE

A good reflective piece that is worth reading....

Some colourful vocab and also ideas, of which here are just a few:
 To live away from home - or what was once home - is mostly a choice and to journey is often a privilege, and yet, distance has its own tyranny and, in effect, we live two lives.

To stitch a new life is to first cut old threads.

We travel to build futures, and yet, we carry crumbs of the past - recipe books, picture frames, a mother's dinner set, a father's tie. 

It reminds us that the best gifts aren't perfumes and shirts but simply presence.

all of us divided by borders but joined by a giggle. 

Because when bodies touch, distance briefly dies.

Mixed feelings over Beijing's move to clean up hutongs

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Note the signpost for shifting to give a balance:
Having said that, many residents say they support the move to turn chaotic streets, filled with drunken revellers, back into quiet residential neighbourhoods.

1. How important is it for people in your society to retain a sense of tradition? (Cam. 2010)
2. Has your society sacrificed too much for progress? (EJC Prleim 2018)

Diplomacy matters, but deterrence even more so to safeguard Singapore's interests

Click HERE
If can't access above link, click HERE

Government will spend about $22.7 billion this year, or about 30 per cent of its total expenditure, on defence, security and diplomacy efforts. Of this amount, some $15.5 billion will be allocated to the Ministry of Defence (Mindef)

Note the 'outsourcing signposting of OVs:
Some contend that defence dollars could be better utilised domestically, such as on healthcare and social needs. Others query the logic of procuring big-ticket conventional military platforms in an era of rising non-traditional security threats.

At the end of the day, might is still right in the 21st-century jungle of international politics, and the species with the sharpest claw has a better chance of survival.

Diplomacy and deterrence are two sides of the same coin during peacetime, and they have a symbiotic relationship....Diplomacy is hollow without a credible deterrent force capable of putting action to resolve....Think Russia's aggrandisement in Crimea, where Ukraine's diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis were arguably hindered by the military imbalance between the two sides....had the SAF been weak, it is possible that the diplomatic efforts to resolve the Pedra Branca issue might have developed differently - with Singapore negotiating from a disadvantage. Ditto the ongoing maritime and airspace disputes.

"Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far," Mr Theodore Roosevelt once said. The 26th US president was one of the foremost proponents of a realpolitik foreign policy where a strong military (big stick) backs up diplomacy (speaking softly).

Note the impt idea that diplomacy needs to be backed up with a strong military force (the idea of deterrence used in this article). Without a strong military force, diplomatic talks will be futile; in fact, you may not even make it to the table as your adversary will not even be interested in talking to you at the table. The best example of this is the Trump-Kim summit. Do you think Trump will be willing to come to the table to negotiate with Kim if not for the fact that Kim possesses nuclear weapons? No wonder Kim is so reluctant  to give up on his nuclear arsenal, It is indeed his trump card ! -- pun intended! He really knows how to play his trump card so well!!!!

If it's a comparison qn on whether diplomacy is more important than deterrence or defence spending,  remember that you can always lump the two together instead of being forced to make a choice. You can say BOTH are important; in fact, in this case, BOTH are related, as the effectiveness of diplomacy is dependent on the effectiveness of one's military prowess. So dont just choose A or B and discuss the merits/demerits of each. Try to see if you can see a causal link btw the two and then make the stand that you need BOTH.

Qn: Examine the extent to which expenditure on arms and the armed forces is justified in the modern world. (Cam. 2014)

To spank or not to spank

Article 1: bid-to-ban-physical-punishment-for-youngsters-in-philippines-fails
Article 2: japan-revising-laws-to-ban-corporal-punishment-of-kids

Qn: Is violence ever justified? (Cam. 2012)