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.... :-)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Singapore's concerted efforts to reduce emissions

Click HERE
Note the various ways undertaken by Singapore to curb carbon emissions, esp in our pledge to cut emissions by 37% under the Paris Agreement. Pertaining to the Qn below, how effective are these measures?

Singapore has designated 2018 as the Year of Climate Action.

Qn: Assess the view that attempts to control climate change can never be truly effective. (Cam. 2017)

Mount Everest, the world's highest rubbish dump

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Pursuing economic progress via tourism can have repercussions on the environment. see also equivalent example HERE.

1. Environmental concerns and economic growth cannot co-exist. Do you agree? (Cam. 2011)
2. Should poorer countries develop their tourist industry when the basic needs of their own people are not being met? (Cam. 2007)

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Trending: The Mysterious Wikipedia Editor

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Quite an interesting podcast I heard from bbc just now....the example of wikipedia is useful to show how stuff we get from the internet may not be reliable....

For those taking ur Orals soon, note the good spoken English here....

Saturday, June 16, 2018

EU deal to end palm-oil transport fuel

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Palm oil, being a form of biofuel, is actually considered a solution to global warming as the use of biofuels emits much less carbon dioxide compared to the burning of fossil fuels. However, the problem is that the growing and production of biofuels (i.e. palm oil) actually releases carbon into the air due to deforestation to clear land for planting the crop. It is not just the destruction of trees (esp the peatlands in Indonesia which serve as 'carbon sink' to trap carbon in the ground) but also the method of clearing the land -- think the haze from Indonesia. Also, the planting of biofuels results in the drainage of the peatlands, causing the emission of nitrous oxide -- a greenhouse gas:
"palm oil and soya bean oil had the highest indirect greenhouse gas emissions because of the deforestation and the drainage of peatlands associated with their cultivation."

Useful stats to know about the EU's commitment under the Paris Agreeemnt; Singapore's commitment under the same agreement is to reduce carbon emissions by 37% by 2030:
"Under the Paris climate deal struck in December 2015, the EU pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and make renewable energy account for 27 per cent of energy use."

Qn: Assess the view that attempts to control climate change can never be truly effective. (Cam. 2017)

Football: A new chapter beckons for host

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1) Hosting mega events like this (c/f S'pore's hosting of Trump-Kim summit) is a chance not just to put the country on the world's radar, but also to project a certain image about the country, While S'pore's recent success in hosting the summit has sealed our reputation as a neutral, safe and efficient country, Russia is hoping to use the World Cup as a public relations exercise to repair the damage to its reputation due to the major doping scandal when it hosted the Sochi Winter Olympics a few years ago.
"the spectre of systemic doping still looms for a country that has had a record 41 Olympic medals stripped from its clutches due to such violations."

2) Note the staggering stats involved in the staging of these world class sporting events:
"In the build-up to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Russia faced criticism after spending a record US$51 billion (S$68.5 billion) on roads, railways, power plants and operating costs. This World Cup is expected to cost US$12 billion, behind only Brazil's US$15 billion in 2014."

3) Hosting the Olympics is also a way to rejuvenate lesser-known parts of the country to give it a much-needed 'resuscitation', as the world's media crew will be there to beam it to the screens of millions(?) across the globe, and investments will be pouring in to build the infrastructure needed to host the games. The London Olympics did just that for Stratford (see HERE). Now Russia is trying to do the same too:
"the World Cup will help to promote lesser-known cities such as Samara and Saransk, as the Winter Olympics did for Sochi."

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

Singapore may have gained over $700m in exposure as host of Trump-Kim summit: Analyst Meltwater

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Useful stats to rebut the S$20m we spent on the Trump-Kim summit:
Singapore itself may have gained more than $700 million in exposure by hosting the historic Trump-Kim summit

Qn: "Hosting global international events has more benefits than problems." Discuss.

Trump-Kim summit: Singapore's improbable role in the North Korean imagination

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If can't access above link, click HERE

Note closing BANG making reference to earlier mention of 'improbable role'

An interesting point brought up on Singapore's contribution to the peace process is not so much our providing a neutral and safe venue for the summit, but how we can be a role model or possibility for North Korea to envision themselves of the future, which will nudge it on its commitment to the peace process....After all, it has often been commented that Singapore did just did when Deng XiaoPing visited Singapore in the 1970s, sparking off the opening of Chins's economy....May history repeats itself here again?:
Perhaps being in Singapore these few days will remind Mr Kim and his fellow North Korean leaders about what is possible: That it is possible to open up economically, and evolve domestically at its own pace in a way that its people can accept, while retaining control of its own destiny.

In the end, Singapore's contribution to the summit might go beyond the fact that it provided the venue and hosted the event.
If Singapore, in some small way, shifts the mindsets of North Koreans when they envision a future for their country, to one that is both peaceful and prosperous, nudging it towards integration with the world and greater economic development, then we would have had an impact on the world far greater than we could have hoped for when we agreed to host the event.
1. How far should countries address problems they did not contribute to. (SRJC Mid Yr 2017)
2. 'Small countries should not have a say in international affairs.' Comment. (SRJC Mid Yr 2017)
3. Consider the view that small countries cannot exert any real influence in world affairs. (NJC Prelim 2016)

Japan planning to welcome more low-skilled workers

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good example on need for migrants....

But note also:
there is concern that an influx of foreigners will upset the social order, increase job competition and weaken traditions.

Some job curbs on ex-offenders to protect public interest: MHA

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some residents might be comfortable knowing a security guard at their condominium was an ex-offender, but others might not, he said, suggesting the man could look for work in other sectors, like food and beverage.

Qn: Should crimes that were committed many years ago simply be forgotten? (Cam. 2006)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

$20m cost to host Trump-Kim summit worth bearing: PM Lee

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Compare with the budget involved when S'pore play host....
-YOG (Youth Olympics) 2010: S$400m
-F1 race: S$150m
-Trump-Kim Summit S$20m

1. How far should countries address problems they did not contribute to. (SRJC Mid Yr 2017)
2. 'Small countries should not have a say in international affairs.' Comment. (SRJC Mid Yr 2017)
3. Consider the view that small countries cannot exert any real influence in world affairs.
(NJC Prelim 2016)
4. "Hosting global international events has more benefits than problems." Discuss.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Trump-Kim summit: Positive impact on Singapore brand likely to be big in the long term

Click HERE
If can't access the above link click HERE.

"If you didn't know where Singapore was before, you would now,"

While many international events like the Formula One race reach niche audiences, a major political summit reaches a mass international audience

For Qns on the pros and cons of hosting major international events....

Hand it to the robot to make that perfect latte

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If can't access the above link, click HERE

After a third visit, the software will be able to "use data" to help customers find their "perfect drink", Mr Pathross said, adding: "After a couple of visits, the app will be able to start guessing what the customer likes to make better recommendations," he said

"I'm no longer busy with making coffee like a machine. The robot can do the job and I can focus my energies on sharing my knowledge and promoting coffee culture," said the Hubei native who has been working in Shanghai since 2014. On average, the robot takes less than a minute to whip up a cup of latte and one to three minutes to make a cocktail.

Qn: To what extent is advancement in artificial intelligence beneficial? (NYJC Mid-Yr Exams 2018)

Deforestation for profit in Cambodia

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useful example to show how difficult it is to enforce the rule of law in third world nations to protect Mother Nature

Cambodia has among the highest deforestation rates in the world, according to a study published in the journal Science Advances last year...It lost 1.6 million hectares between 2001 and 2014, including 38 per cent of its "intact forest landscape"
1. Assess the view that attempts to control climate change can never be truly effective. (Cam. 2017)
2. In your society, how well are the demands of the economy and the environment balanced? (Cam. 2015)

Friday, June 08, 2018

Loan sharks turn to tech to harass and bait victims

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He also said technology has allowed them to target more people.

Some even receive cold calls from syndicates which, The Straits Times reported in February, had bought databases of mobile phone numbers.

For qns on the bane of technology....Link also to last yr (2017) 'A' level compre AQ on sharing of data -- how users are exploited as their personal data (in this case, contact numbers) are sold to interested parties who target them as potential customers....

The final straw: How Singapore can curb plastic pollution

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'O' level students, pls note the pun in the title....

Interesting anecdotes and stats for BANGING:
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation warns that on current trajectories, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Asia is at the heart of the challenge, given that more than half of the plastic leakage into the ocean occurs here. The focus for this year's World Environment Day on Tuesday is on how to tackle plastic pollution.

People in Singapore use an estimated 2.2 million straws per day. If laid end-to-end, Singapore's daily plastic straw consumption would cover the coastline of Singapore more than twice over.

Lack of social mixing is a symptom of inequality, not a cause

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Qn: In your society, how far is equality for all a reality? (Cam. 2012)

Michael Crichton: from print to screen

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Good example for the qns below:


1. How far is science fiction becoming fact? (Cam. 2017)
2. ‘Any adaptation of a novel for film, television or the theatre is never as effective as the original’. Discuss. (Cam. 2016)
3. Do films offer anything more than an escape from reality? (Cam. 2014)

New council to look into issues over AI use

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Note the following 2 good examples on AI, and how they are used as OPENING BANGs to the article:

Should a self-driving car, in an attempt to protect everyone in the vehicle, veer off the road and into the sidewalk - potentially knocking into pedestrians - to avoid a collision with another car?
If a chatbot run by a company starts spewing racist or offensive messages because it was exposed to online trolls, should the company be responsible, and should learning data then be issued only by the company and not open to the public?
Note useful definition of AI:
AI refers to technologies which attempt to simulate human intelligence and thinking processes like learning, reasoning and problem solving. This is done through software algorithms which let machines "learn" for themselves from vast amounts of data.

Qn: To what extent is advancement in artificial intelligence beneficial? (NYJC Mid-Yr Exams 2018)

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Growing perils of Myanmar's tourism industry

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IF can't access above link, click HERE

Note adverse impacts of tourism, notably the strain on the environment, as well as child exploitation -- either as cheap labour or worse still, as child prostitutes. Third World countries are seen as a sex haven for sex tourists, including paedophiles, due to the lax law enforcement and poverty which fuels the sex trade.

For qns on tourism.....

Oh baby, it's a leap of faith

Click HERE

An example of how culture can be used to attract tourists....
Conversely, it also shows how the tourist dollar helps keep certain cultural practices alive, esp the superstitious ones that are increasingly regarded as outmoded in today's modern world...