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, October 28, 2012

Useful Quotes from the Bible

On top of ur Ten Commandments (thou shalt not kill), 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth' as well as that if someone slaps u on the left cheek, turn and let him slap ur right cheek too (love thy enemy).....thee's also:

1) Then God said,"Let us make man in our iamge, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground' -- (Genesis, the Bible)

The above can be invoked to show that man should not be too bothered about animal rights (think ethics) as God has given us permission to use animals as we deem fit, esp when it concerns our survival. Besides, the law of the jungle dictates that as a higher order species, we have every right to use animals -- survival of the fittest. But the rebuttal of course is that being the one at the top, we have the obligation to protect them instead of linflicting unnecessary harm on them.

2) The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (Genesis, The Bible)

This was how woman, Eve, was created, from one of man's ribs, so goes the narrative in the Bible. The very rationale for her existence is to keep Adam company and be a 'suitable helper', not dominate over man.  Many have quoted this to justify their less than flattering treatment of women. Indeed, most major orthodox religions tend to be sexist.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The marketised/monetised society of Singapore

Article 1a
These are two good articles to read to get a sense of the society Singapore is......
Sample qns:

1. ‘Meritocracy has led to greater inequality’. To what extent is this true of your society? (AJC Prelim 2012)
2. Should government policies be concerned mainly with economic gains? Discuss with reference to your society. (VJC Prelim 2012)
3. How far does your society value community service? (PJC Prelim 2012)
4. To what extent is economic development pursued at the expense of the well-being of groups of people in your country? (YJC Prelim 2012)
5. To what extent is economic progress the indicatior of success of a nation?

Article 1b

Article 2

Tech and Sustainability

if you doing a qn on the above, remember to include water recycling technology, which is envirnomentally-friendly, reduces wastage and sustainable.......Singapore's Newater and desalination plants as well as Hyflux comes to mind. Note also Singapore's switch from fuel oil to natural gas for generating electricity, use of natural gas in public transport, implementation of the emission-based vehicle tax (to encourage use of energy-efficient cars which emit less CO2), and BCA Green Mark (which can involve the use of solar panels, LED lights, etc.) as our steps in going green.

Sample qn: Technology is the key to building a sustainable society. Discuss. (TPJC Prelim 2012)

Social Enterprises

Article: Sweet Taste of Success
 Social enterprises are a good example to know of businesses that do not regard profit maximization as their primary objective. Their main aim is to contribute back to society (by employing handicapped, ex-convicts, single parents, old people, etc) or with the environment as their uppermost concern. Note though the potential rebuttal that they still need to make sure that they at least make enough to cover the cost; so profits are still a consideration even though they may not be the main consideration.
Sample Qn: Entrepreneurship is just another name for greed. Do you agree?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Revision Core Notes

Here's some last min revision core notes for those who are studying these topics:
1) Sci and Ethics
2) Education
3) Environment
Check today's Straits Times headlines. Singapore is building a $500m stroage tank for LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas). It'll be useful to note that as part of our efforts to reduce carbon footprints, we have switched from fuel oil to natural gas, which which is less polluting and emits less CO2. Statistically, 80% of our electricity is generated using piped natural gas from Malaysia and Indonesia. The other 20% comes from fuel oil and other sources such as waste and renewable energy.
4) Sport
  a) Summary of Pros and Cons of Sport
  b Notes on Sport (source: NYJC)
5) Media
  a) Characteristic Features of New Media
      be sure to weave these into ur arguments when doing qns on new media
  b) Reliability of Media
  c) Pro&Cons of Censorship1; Pros&Cons of Censorship2

Hope the above will be of some help to u....Note that the idea is not to overload urself with too much content at this point in time. Read selectively, and if anything does not clarify what u already know but confuses u instead, either ignore it or clarify with me.  'Over-eating' can lead to choking and indigestion, so 'eat' in moderation and selectively! Treat it as a buffet spread; go for what u want only....
If any queries, u can email to


Problems with Rebuttals

For those who are into rebuttals/evaluation in ur essays, do take note that it can be a problem sometimes. Many a times, students think they are rebutting when in effect, they are merely just giving another view point on the other side of the argument. The following handout may make things clear a bit:  click HERE to access. (source: SAJC)

When  rebutting/signalling:
1) take care to signal clearly with proper signposting so that u do not end up contradicting urself
2) to have some assurance that u r really rebutting, make it such that ur rebuttal is either the opposite or the solution to the point u r rebutting
Note that u can rebut(2 layers: OV-SV)) OR evaluate (3 layers: SV-OV-SV) by arguing:
1)long vs short term
2)past vs present
3)1st vs 3rd world
4)rich vs poor
5)male vs female
6)old vs new/young
7)traditional vs new media
8)public vs private
9)conservative vs liberal
10)day time vs night time

EG1: detractors may argue that green spaces are not popular with Singaporeans because of the hot weather...but u can argue night time this won't be a problem, hence can still be popular (note rebuttal in opposite sense)
EG2: admittedly, new media is useful for collecting feedback from public....but this is usually confined to young people or rich countries only, as old people no IT skills, and poor countries have undeveloped internet infrastructure....(hence not useful -- opposite)

Language Errors to take note

For the language aspect, other than the list of commonly misspelt words I put up recently, it is also timely for u to re-read what I showed u some time back regarding the common language and organisation hiccups that have been repeatedly surfaced by Cambridge: click HERE.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beefing UP ur content

This link was published in Straits Times yesterday...contains some good content put up by some RI boys...worth a read if u have time, as they have some content notes organised according to topics. Click HERE to access.....The link for Dirty Tricks for English Essays: A Primer is esp useful when it comes to writing essays.....

AQ Structure

For those still unsure about the AQ structure u can use, u may want to consider the following:

For Single Passage:

P1) intro (if Stand is AGREE with writer)

P2)Quote and AGREE

P3)Quote and (DISAGREE) AGREE [optional DISAGREE first to swing 2 sides]

P4) Balance para: Quote and DISAGREE

For Contrasting Passages (i.e. have opposite stand):

P1) intro (if Stand is AGREE with Passage A)

P2)Quote Passage A and AGREE

P3)Quote Passage B and (AGREE) DISAGREE [optional AGREE first to swing 2 sides]

P4) Balance Para: Quote Passage A and DISAGREE OR Passage B and AGREE

For Parallel Passages (i.e. have same stand):

P1) intro (if Stand is AGREE with BOTH Passages)*

P2)Quote Passage A and AGREE

P3)Quote Passage B and AGREE [optional DISAGREE first to swing 2 sides]

P4) Balance Para: Quote Passage A and DISAGREE OR Passage B and DISAGREE

* if stand is DISAGREE, swap accordingly; possible also for stand to be agree with A but disagree with B.

Whenever doing a balance para in P4, do make an effort to signal ur Shift with 'However, it must be acknowledged that there may be some truth in/ some instances where......'

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Social Divide includes Gender/Racial Divide

Mon evening class: think I made a mistake juz now....Social divide is not just income divide (i.e. upper vs lower income group) but can also include gender and racial divides.

Qn: Education only serves to worsen the social divide in today's society.

So for the above qn, u can argue how education raises awareness of the rights of the marginalized groups (e.g. women/LGBT/minority races) and influences them to fight for their rights, hence bridging the divide.
Also, now that I think about it, u can also have the point that education have OTHER effects, such as ensuring that culture is transmitted to the next generation and is not lost. (Note however, that the slant of this qn doesnt allow you to go too much into OTHER factors, so keep it to just one point at the max, i.e. bulk of argument should focus on whether edn mitigates or worsens social divide)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Role of Fiction

A useful article for qns on arts, fiction.... A few points emerge: sci-fi does not just predict and inspire us about the future, it is also a cautionary tale telling us what to avoid by presenting a dystopian view. This latter has a moral perspective to it, like a moral compass guiding us not so much towards, but away from a dreaded end point. Sample Qns:
1) 'Fantasy stories and fantasy films merely serve as means of escapism.' Do you agree? (DHS Prelim 2012)
2) Does fiction still have a place in your society? (IJC JC1 Mid-Yr 2012)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Technology's impact on Privacy/Security

Fri evening class, we discussed the qn on impact of technology on security and privacy. You may want to check out a previous blog entry HERE. Scroll down to the link dated and entitled:

Friday, May 14, 2010


It contains the article on the bodyscanner at airport involving the Bollywood actor. There's also an essay outline on privacy, where I organised according to points instead of examples.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Some Commonly Misspelt Words...

Now that u r in ur last lap, u may want to take a look at these commonly misspelt words, esp those with double lettering and those with no plural 's'. Take a look also at those compiled in the examiner reports which I showed u some months back.....

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

More on Censorship and New Media

Article 1

Note how the ban on the local film on grounds of racial sensitivity is reminiscent of the recent Anti-Muslim film that caused mayhem to break out in Arab nations…The Amy Cheong incident can be seen in relation to the article on ‘Why we are so rude online’. The latter explains very clearly why intelligent people like Amy Cheong do foolish things online that destroyed her career. Make sure you know some of the arguments here as they can be quite useful for new media questions. Some of these include: anonymity making us feel invincible, lower our self-control cos we don’t have to see the reactions of those people we are addressing, hence dehumanising effect, don’t feel consequential cos everything’s so alienating with just the click of a button…. This last article also examines why we are the way we are due to the intrusion of new media into our lives, eg, impatient and give up easily, narcissistic, binge eating (obesity and health issues?), more credit card debts? Good for questions on technology has made us what we are today. Note also the point that social media causes friends to break up rather than form new friends…..
Article 2a

Article 2b

Article 3a

Article 3b

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Another scandalous artwork! GASP!

'Holy Virgin Mary' by Chris Ofili

After the earlier post on 'Piss Christ', here's another unbelievable one:

One of his paintings, The Holy Virgin Mary, a depiction of the Virgin Mary, was at issue in a lawsuit between the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art when it was exhibited there in 1999 as a part of the "Sensation" exhibit. The painting depicted a Black Madonna surrounded by images from blaxploitation movies and close-ups of female genitalia cut from pornographic magazines, and elephant dung. These were formed into shapes reminiscent of the cherubim and seraphim commonly depicted in images of the Immaculate conception and the Assumption of Mary. Following the scandal surrounding this painting, Bernard Goldberg ranked Ofili #86 in 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. Red Grooms showed his support of the artist by purchasing one of Ofili's paintings in 1999, even after Giuliani famously exclaimed, “There’s nothing in the First Amendment that supports horrible and disgusting projects!”[6] The painting is now owned by David Walsh and is on display at the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania. (Source: Wikipedia)

Why depiction of the Muslim God and Prophet is frowned upon

Regarding the furoe over the Prophet's cartoons and the recent anti-Islam video, two offences are at play: the negative portrayal of the Prophet, as well as the depiction of the Prophet himself. Muslims regard any visual portrayals of the Prophet and their God as a mark of disrespect to their religion, and the same used to be true of Christianity. They regard their God to be too sacred and holy to be depicted properly by man, and more importantly, they are afraid that it will be portrayed inappropriately and even distastefully. For a better background, read this......

Monday, October 01, 2012

Gender Equality? Physical Strength Argument Rebuttal


One main reason for men's superiority over women is physical strength, which is why women are relegated to be home-makers while men go out to hunt. But this article presents an interesting case. Other than the usual scenario of men discriminating against women due to culture, the interesting thing here in this article is that the men made the women do all the heavy chores and physically-taxing manual labour, which is not befitting of someone who is deemed physically inferior.The argument goes that if men consider women to be of a lower status because they lack physial strength, (hence it should be the macho, stronger men who do the heavy labour, thus justifying their higher status), then the men should not be asking the women to do the heavy labour. This smacks of hypocrisy and irony. In a nutshell, to place the women at a lower level because of their physcial weakness, and then turn around and make them do all the heavy labour while the men themselves do nothing, flies against the face of logic, as well as refute the claim that women are physically weak. For a comparison, think of how the male lion (despite the title of the king of the beasts, hence the most powerful) makes the lionesses do the job of hunting the prey instead of doing it himself.

The above rebuttal is based on the idea that women are not necessarily physically weaker than men, as seen in the kind of hard labour they have been put through, while the so-called more physically stronger men did nothing. But do not forget the more common rebuttal of the physical strength argument, which is the advent of technology that renders this competitive edge of men (i.e. physical strength) redundant, since now technology has levelled the playing field to shift the emphasis from brawn to brain.

Why Singapore renewed F1 race contract

Remember that other than the 2010 YOG, the F1 race is a high profile sporting event hosted by Singapore; the other one is the Standard Chartered Marathon. Here're some articles where the govt explains why it inked the new contract to resume the F1 race here. The usual arguments are mentioned, but two comes across quite strongly: national pride and branding. Pertaining to the latter, recognise that we want to shed our dull, fuddy-duddy image. Hosting F1 gives us that buzz, branding us not just as an efficient, innovative nation, but also as the 'world's playground', thus helping to draw tourists, investors and foreign talent -- the last of which is not just looking for a place to work, but also a fun place to live. Note that Singapore was voted one of the most liveable cities in the world, and hosting the F1 surely has a role to play in it. Useful statistics: cost of staging F1 each year is S$150 million; tourist receipts each race weekend is S$150 million. This appears to break even for us, but there's also S$1 billion of 'additional value-add' over ten years. Go figure!
Sample Qn: 'Hosting major sporting events creates more problems than benefits.' Do you agree? (Cambridge 2005)


Compre Answer Key for Liberal Eugenics

Mon evening class: here's the compre answer key for liberal eugenics that we did last week. Click HERE to access and read up on the AQ portion.

Click HERE to access this short article on the controversial 'Graduate Mothers Scheme' that was implemented in Singapore quite some time back, when the govt was encouraging only graduate women to reproduce more babies -- clearly a case of social engineering or eugenics at work. Note though that the govt did not carry this out by force, and leave it to the parents to decide, though the govt did dangle some carrots to encourage it.....