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.... :-)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Can the media ever be relied upon to convey the truth?

Article 1

Article 2a


The 2 articles here are in relation to the essay question in the title of this post. Clck HERE to access a table I did that maps out the points for this essay question.

Article 2b

Monday, August 27, 2012

Regenerating effect of the Olympics

This article appeared in today's papers, and explains very well the point I've harped on about how sport can regenerate/rejuvenate backward parts of the hosting city, giving it a new lease of life. Just like what happened to Barcelona and Athens after the Olympics was hosted there, Stratford in East London is benefiting from the same effect -- from a 'sinkhole' into a potential 'silicon valley'!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Answer Key for Compre on Non-Violence

For those who did the recent compre on 'Non-Violence' click HERE to access the answer key for the short questions and summary.
I have some problem uploading the AQ portion of the answer; so if u want the AQ answers, u gotta email me at

Saturday, August 25, 2012


For the compre paper, there's a common type of qn which contains a quotation which is pre-posed by WHAT/WHY/HOW. Usually, the answers required are different depending on whether the question is asking for the WHAT (meaning), WHY(reasons) or HOW(manner) of the quotation, e.g.
Explain WHAT the writer means by "he decimated the ass-hole". (ans: He killed the stupid, mean or contemptible person.)
Explain WHY "he decimated the ass-hole". (ans: The ass-hole ate his pet hamster.)
Explain HOW "he decimated the ass-hole" (ans: He fed him arsenic.)
However, sometimes, the answers can overlap, as in WHAT=WHY=HOW

e.g. WHY/HOW is the phrase "he is an ass-hole" true? (WHY=HOW here)

Another example is Q7 in the 2009 'A' level compre:
7. Explain how ‘specialisation has relieved us of these and similar obligatory daily tasks’ (lines 57-58). [2]

Most of us, on the other hand, have our hunting and growing done for us, living as we do in complex economies, where specialization has relieved us of these and similar obligatory daily tasks
 Explain how ‘specialisation has relieved us of these and similar obligatory daily tasks’ (lines 57-58). [2]
Those who have expertise in specific areas…[½m]

…free us from having to …[½m]

…perform chores/ labourious or irksome jobs…[½m]

…which are essential/necessary/ compulsory.[½m]

Cambridge answer:
Jobs that are irksome but essential, are done for us by those expert in them, so that we do not have to do them ourselves.

Looking at the answer, one would have thought that the question should be phrased thus: 
Explain WHAT the writer meant by ‘specialisation has relieved us of these and similar obligatory daily tasks’ (lines 57-58). 
This is a case where the meaning (i.e. WHAT) of the quotation is the manner (i.e. HOW) in which the quotation is possible, i.e. WHAT=HOW

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

 The articles here make for an interesting contrast on the relevance of patriotism. In China’s case, while patriotism can be mobilized to protect a country’s sovereignty with respect to its territorial rights, the article shows that it can be destructive in affecting bilateral ties, with enormous economic repercussions, i.e. foreign investments (which will affect employment) and tourism. The issue of education (or rather MISeducation) is also problematic here. A patriotic, propaganda-based education based on hatred that is slanted heavily on the side of the establishment does not result in the enlightenment of the masses, and is comparable to the indoctrination carried out by the terrorists.
As for Indonesia, note how patriotism is harnessed by the govt in a bid to stem the centrifugal forces within the country that threaten to tear the country apart. By getting the people to think of themselves first as an Indonesian, then as a Muslim, Chinese, blah blah blah (i.e. placing priority on national identity) it will help to create unity among the various factions (esp those which are religion-associated). This is exactly what the govt in Singapore is also trying to achieve, whether through sport, arts, etc.Getting people to be proud of their nation will cause them to place the national interests above all others, esp important for nations divided along religious, ethnic lines......
Sample Qn:
Should the love for one’s country still be encouraged?
‘The use of force is the only way to resolve territorial conflicts.’ Do you agree?
‘Education is the key to promoting peace.’ To what extent do you agree with this statement?

SPORT: Rebuttal to 'White Elephant' argument

This article contains a useful rebuttal to the 'white elephant' argument. Large venues created specially for large-scale sporting events need not languish as 'white elephants' after the games as they can be built in such a way that allows for downsizing and retrofitting for common use. A typical 'up-sized burger' can go like this:

Qn: Hosting major sporting events creates more problems than benefits. Do you agree?
1) beneficial because infrastructure in the hosting city is upgraded to welcome visitors, e.g. public transport network, such as the building of the New Delhi Airport for India's Commonwealth Games 2010.
2) However, most such facilities languish in disrepair and disuse after the games, and for those kept under maintenance, they are expensive to upkeep, e.g. Bird's Nest and Water Cube for Beijing Olympics 2008.
3) Bu this need not be the case, as large scale venues built for the games can be built in such a way that permits downsizing and retrofitting after the games is over, when there is little need for such enormous venues.....e.g. use the example mentioned in the article for the London Olympics.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sport Article on Olympics

An article worth reading with some useful rebuttals on sport arguments.....
Sample Qn
1) 'Faster, Higher, Stronger.' Are the Olympic ideals still relevant today? (CJC Prelims 2012) 
2) The reality of sport is unsporting (TJC Mid Year 2012).
3) Hosting major sporting events creates more problems than benefits. Do you agree? (Cambridge 2005)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Useful Statistic

According to an essay from the Broader Perspective, "£5 billion of energy is wasted annually by countries all around the world". Quote this to show how ordinary people like us have a role to play in saving Mother Earth as well. Green Technology may be able to produce energy with lesser adverse impact on Mother Nature, but whatever benefits gained will be futile and cancelled out if man continues to waste energy. In fact, green technology may actually make us complacent and cause us to waste even more energy if we think we are using a more efficient and greener form of electrical appliance for example those tick tick tick ones.....
Other than conserving energy to minimize wastage through lifestyle changes (i.e. recycling, or turn off aircon and lights when not in use), man can also play a role by:
1) cutting back on consumerist lifestyle, esp the wants vs the needs
2) switch to a non-meat diet, i.e. vegetarian (rearing of cattle contributes to carbon emission from the animals themselves when they fart and burp! not to mention the impact of indiscriminate grazing)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sample GP essay outlines!!!

Click HERE to access sample essay outlines...95 pages of them !!!! Try to read one per day all the way up to ur 'A' level GP paper on 5 Nov.....Email me when there are parts that don't make sense to u and I'll try to clarify....For my email address, click on the 'Drop a Howler' hyperlink that is located on the bottom left hand column of this blog. As with everything online, u need to critically evaluate them before u use them in ur essays....The ones on sci and tech located on the first few pages look good.....

Friday, August 10, 2012

Web-Related Rape Cases in Singapore -- 10%

Think I told some of u should be 10%-- that's the percentage of rape cases in Singapore that are web-related.

Sample Qn: 
'The dangers of social media cannot be underestimated.' Do you agree?

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Hydoelectric power dams -- pros and cons

This example crop up in class discussions recently....Familiarize yourself with some of the arguments for and against hydro-electric power, as in the case of the Three Gorges Dam in the article....

Sample Qns:
1) Consider the view that too much faith is placed in green technology.
2) Should there be any limits placed on science?
3) To what extent do other countries have the right to interfere in the domestic affairs of another?

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Essay Outline on Science

Should there be any limits placed on science?

Click HERE to access essay outline.