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.... :-)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fashion with a Message

For those who did the Dunman High Prelim Fashion Compre, here're some good examples:

1) Fashion with an Environmental Message:

I am NOT a Plastic Bag (click to see)

2) Fashion with a Social Message:
Lady Gaga's infamous 'Meat Dress', which -- according to her -- 'For me this evening, if we don't stand up for what we believe in and if we don't fight for our rights pretty soon, we're going to have as much rights as the meat on our own bones. And, I am not a piece of meat." She explained further that she was also using the dress to highlight her distaste for the US military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.' This latter is about discrimination against gays and lesbians in the US military. Lady Gaga is thus using her celebrity influence to be an advocate for gay rights -- by donning a meat dress! Click HERE for more info....

Sample qn: 'Fashion is as much a good thing as a bad thing.' To what extent do you agree?(Cambridge 2009)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Govt intervene in Family Matters?

The example here can be used for:
1. How far should the state be involved in family matters?(DHS Mid-Yr 2012)
2. Discuss the appeal and the dangers of alternative methods of healing. (CJC Prelim 2005)
Other than health matters, consider these other areas where govt may/may not intervene: Parents' Maintenance Act, 'Eat With Your Family Day' Campaign, divorce, having babies, getting married, spousal abuse, child abuse, education(made compulsory by law in Singapore)......

More Gender Examples....

For those focusing on the gender topic, it may help to have more examples of women in the corporate world than just Ho Ching (CEO Temasek Holdings) and Olivia Lum (CEO Hyflux), both of whom are Singapore examples..From the article, u get to have four more international ones that are instantly recognizable to ur Cambridge examiners.....If u can't memorise their names, I think it is sufficient to mention that four of the world's best known IT firms are helmed by women, i.e. CEO of Yahoo, IBM and HP, as well as the COO (Chief Operating Officer) of Facebook.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Forgive or Forget?

Note the 2 ways to disagree.....

Appearance vs Quality

Mon evening class, the beauty contest thingy is on the middle left hand side of the page. You can see the 3 winners of the beauty contest. One of the 'colouful' comments by netizens in the article reads thus: 'Being born ugly is not a crime; but coming out to scare others with ur looks is not such a good idea.' See how in beauty contests, the appearance IS the quality!!!
Qn: 'Society places more importance on appearance and packaging than quality.' Discuss.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

No More 'Africa' as a country, plzzzzzz!

This cropped up during a lesson today...tot I'd mentioned it time u want to use 'Africa' again as an example of a poor 'country', consider 'Zimbabwe'. See excerpt from Cambridge Examiner's Report 2009:

'More Examiners this year commented on the failure in less successful scripts to provide specific examples, relying on broad, general assertions instead. Africa is constantly used to provide a contrast with developed countries. Still, far too often, it is referred to as a ‘country’ and sweeping generalisations are made regarding its poor agricultural land, widespread poverty and inherent corruption. Zimbabwe was the standard example for any discussion of these features in impoverished African states.'

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Check out this AWESOME link if have time....

Click HERE to view this awesome ad.....Goes to show that advertisement need not always be about can be vehicles for very powerful social messages.....

Fri Afternoon Class P2 Test Ans Key

 Answers plus some articles related to the AQ....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Notes on Tackling Comparison Questions

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Blarney Rock!

 Mon evening class.....this is the Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland which I told you about. Right at the top of the castle is the famous Blarney Rock. According to legend, kissing it will endow you with the gift of the gab i.e. eloquence. You have to bend yourself backward to kiss it, suspended high above the ground at the top of the castle -- definitely not for the faint-hearted! That's me attempting to kiss it, but banging my forehead against it instead!
Qn: 'Tourism is all about exploitation.' Discuss.
Depending on how you see it, this can be regarded as using its 'colourful and interesting' culture to attract and share with tourists. The cynics among us will say that this is just a gimmick to exploit the tourists and dupe them into parting with more cash by charging admission fees and selling associated merchandise. This is all the more so if the whole thing is a story cooked up by the locals to market to the tourists. Nothing wrong with milking one's culture for what it's worth, but cooking up fake and exaggerated versions??! Go figure!

Ordering Broader Perspective Essay Issues

Those who want to order the Essay Issues of the Broader Perspective Magazine can email to order. To mail, it's $4 per issue. To self collect at school of thought, it's $3.50 per issue. 

Friday, July 06, 2012

Nuclear unsafe? or is it human error?

Yet another article proving that the 3/11 Fukushima incident is not solely to be blamed on the often-cited unsafe nature of nuclear technology. The rebuttal here is that it is a 'man-made accident' . It would not have become the major catastrophe that it is known to be if not for the failure to adopt global safety standards that could have helped prevent the disaster. The problem is hence one that is based on human error rather than one due to the deficiency in the technology itself. Read the second article which I have posted before, which says the same thing of the Chernobyl incident.
Sample Qn: Is the pursuit of nuclear technology still desirable in today's world?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Oversimplification with regard to media's influence

Here are two articles which are useful for questions related to using the media (specifically the new media) to influence our mindset regarding terrorism and political views. The central idea here is that it is an oversimplification to assume that we will automatically get influenced by what we are exposed to on the internet due to TWO reasons:
1) We have an inherent bias that will 'filter' whatever info we're exposed to. At the end of the day, we will only be influenced by what we want to be influenced by, i.e. things that do not contradict our bias. Eg: just because you're exposed to a lot of violent material online does not mean u will become violent -- if u r brought up in a peace-loving family, or if ur religious background if one that frowns upon violence. We're not brainless automatons that are susceptible to the 'monkey see, monkey do' phenomenon.
2)  It is even more difficult for online material to have an impact on us as unlike traditional media (where info comes to us and bombard us each time we switch on the TV and flip the papers), we have to go to the online material before it has a chance to affect us. We have to search for the site by keying in the URL or keywords into the search engine. Hence, those seeking to influence and convert others with their views online are unlikely to be very successful as the sites preach only to those who are already converted or wanting to be converted. Netizens tend to gravitate towards those sites that are in accordance with their bias, ignoring those which are not. They go online not so much to search for contrary views, but for views to reinforce or validate their bias. Eg if Lady Gaga set up a fan page online in the hope of converting' more fans, she is unlikely to be very successful, because those who are not interested in her are unlikely to 'actively' make their way to her website for the info there to have a chance to influence and convert them. Those who do so are likely to be people who are already interested in her (i.e.biased in favour of her), such that they bother to search for her fan page online for the info there to reinforce or seal their loyalty towards her.
Sample Qns:
1) Can terrorism ever be eradicated?
2) The media is solely to blame for the worldwide increase in violence.
3) To what extent are we manipulated by the media?

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Demonisation of Women

For those who did the Duman High Prelim 2010 Compre on gender recently, the writer Hanna Rosin made a claim that men conspired to resist the rise of women by vilifying accomplished women, e.g. Lady Gaga's music video "Telephone" and Polanski's "Ghost Writer".  See how Angela Merkel suffered the same fate over her unrelenting stance on the Euro debt crisis. Consider also the character of Miranda (acted so successfully by Meryl Streep in the movie version) in the novel "The Devil Wears Prada", and the hit Korean movie some years back, "My Sassy Girl".