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.... :-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Budget's direction in narrowing income gap

In the recent Budget announcement, note the following measures to reduce income gap and create an inclusive society to alleviate the downsides of meritocracy:
1) WIS-WTS (Workfare) -- see HERE
2) GST vouchers for the poor
3) Comcare for the poor
4)investment in pre-school education (S$3billion)
-to give those from poor family a headstart to catch up with those from rich families...note statistic in earlier post about how every 6 out of 10 students from top schools here live in private property, i.e. rich, hence enjoy social capital which will likely tranlsate into better academic results and eventually better jobs, thus securing their position in the upper strata of society, leaving the poor trapped below.....this is one major problem of meritocracy....see HERE
5) progressive taxation
-rich taxed more...income tax, luxury housing, luxury cars

Sample Qn: 'Many developed countries are paying increasing attention to the needs of the disadvantaged.' How far is this true in Singapore? (2008)

Work-from-Home policy inhibits innovation

The example of CEO Yahoo, Marissa Mayer (see an earlier link HERE) is an important one that you want to remember, her having breached the glass ceiling at all fronts: she's a woman, young, beautiful, married, a mother and pregnant when she was chosen to be CEO! (CEOs usually man, older; if woman, then not much in the looks department, may even look like a man! if female, they also tend to be unmarried with no children, hence no distraction from family commitment. And pregnancy is often considered 'career suicide' for women!) The only thing she's not is that she's not a black, a lesbian nor a handicapped!

In this article, note the arguments for working from home, and the main argument about how doing so inhibits innovation. Note also the dilemma for Singapore, as according to the Worker's Party recommendation, we should be tapping more on our residential labour and relying less on foreign talent. But this would require working from home as an option to entice women and the elderly into the workforce, esp in the climate of low fertility rate and ageing population. (women are more likely to give birth if they have the assurance that their jobs will not take time away from their children, elderly have mobility problems) Yet innovation is crucial to Singapore's survival, esp if it wants to move up the value chain into knowledge-based economy.

Sample Qn: Consider the view that most work these days could and should be done from home. (2010)

article 1a

article 1b

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Was reading about the latest Budget when it clarifies things a bit for me which I'd like to share here. A unique Singapore feature u want to remember is that Singapore doesn't do Welfare, we do Workfare instead. Under the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme, the govt will give money (in cash and CPF) to those in the low-income group, but the condition is that they must go find a job first. Ths is unlike welfare states where if u are poor and dont have a job, the govt still gives u money. (then WTF, why get a job?) With WIS, the idea is that people wont just sit there and wait for handouts, but would actively go get a job if they want to receive the grants from WIS from the govt. In short, help from the govt comes with strings attached!

WTS (Workfare Training Support) Scheme is to encouraging low wage workers to undergo training so that they can move up the value chain and earn higher pay. The govt, through WTS, helps to foot up to 95% of the course fees. WTS complements WIS and both abide by the philosophy that if u give a man a fish, he will eat only for a day; but if u teach him how to fish (i.e. equip him with the skills), he will eat for a life time. Self-reliance is the keyword here, as opposed to fostering crutch-mentality.
WIS-WTS also go towards narrowing the income gap and building a more inclusive society.

For more info on WIS-WTS see HERE!

Monday, February 25, 2013

GM Food -- solution to food shortage problems and world hunger?

For those who had done the Aggression compre recently, read these in the light of what Woolgar argued about how sci has now enabled us to increase agricultural productivity. Article 1 and 2 are of opposing stand with regard to GM Food. You want to familiarise yourself with some of the pros and cons regarding GM food......
article 1a

article 1b

article 1c

article 2

Sunday, February 24, 2013

3 Gorges Dam's impact on culture

Sun morning class, we mentioned this just now....HERE is an earlier post on the impact of the Three Gorges Dam. For a more detailed insight into how the building of the dam is at the expense of the rich cultural heritage of China (some of the architectural sites and towns can be traced back to the Ming and Qing Dynasty, but are alas, now submerged under the rising water), check out  THIS link.
By the way, the number of people forced to relocate as a result of the building of the dam is about 1 million.
Sample Qn: 'The key criterion for good government is how well the economy is managed.' Is this a fair assessment? (Cambridge 2012)

Friday, February 22, 2013


If u not doing anyhing tomorrow evening, try to catch the movie 'Wall-E' on Channel 5 at 7.30pm. There are quite a few GP-related issues to it -- click HERE. It also makes for a good example of a movie that carries a message. The most intriguing part of the movie is on the spaceship, where technology is so efficient that all humans move around in mobile seats (wheel chairs?) and are so fat with tiny feet that make them unable to walk --- literally a statement about how the over-efficiency of technology cripples instead of helps us.

13% GDP Growth is in 2010

Think I made a mistake during last night's lesson....The spectacular double digit GDP growth of Singapore was in 2010; see HERE. The Gini Coefficient that year is between 0.45-0.47, depending on whether govt subsidies had been factored in; see HERE. It is thus possible to have high economic growth but unequal income distribution; i.e. the benefits of the growth are confined only to the rich and did not filter down to the poor.....

Sample Qn: 'The key criterion for good government is how well the economy is managed.' Is this a fair assessment? (Cambridge 2012) 

The Singapore Spirit

Thur evenig class, we discussed the 'Singapore Spirit' just now. Here's the definition by PM Lee: Click HERE.
Essentially, it's the mindset that the govt hope we will come to embrace. In the Population White Paper entry I posted in this blog earlier, note the PM's rebuttal to the point that influx of immigrants will dilute our core and erode Singapore's identity. His denfense (for having more immigrants) is that the Singapore core is not about numbers but spirit. Even if the core is not sizeable (projected to be only 55% if population reaches 6.9m in 2030), but the Singapore spirit is strong, then the core (and our identity) will still stay strong.
Note: The Singapore Spirit is NOT some kind of ghost!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Liveable vs Loveable City

Read this and relate to an earlier post HERE. Ponder about quality of life, happiness, concept of a liveable city and how economic growth is not the be-all and end-all.

Sample Qn: 'The key criterion for good government is how well the economy is managed.' Is this a fair assessment? (Cambridge 2012) 

article 1a

article 1b

Social Media's role in political reforms

A good article that shows the impact of social media on us politically. Walk away with the point that perhaps, social media (i.e. technology) should also be used for speeding up social/political reforms other than just for financial benefit.
Article 2 echoes similar concerns. Note the two examples that trigger off the revolution that overthrew the dictatorial regime in both Tunisia and Egypt. The Tunisian eg is also mentioned in article 1, but the date of the incident is inaccurate; should read as Dec 17 2010. This latter is the one that sparked off the Arab Spring. The Egyptian one is a follow-up. For article 2, note the possible rebuttal to the oft-quoted point that social media is responsible for the revolt and attendant social/political instability.
Note also:
-the issue of govt control and need for censorship
-the authenticity and reliability of the media (see first 2 paras of article2)
-relate the youtube eg in both articles to the self-immolation of Tibetans in seeking attention from international media to apply pressure on the Beijing Govt to grant independence to Tibet

Sample Qn: How far is it acceptable for technology to be used only for financial benefit? (Cambridge 2012)
article 1

article 2

Sunday, February 17, 2013

One Child Policy elevates Women in China

For those who had just done the 2005 Aggression AQ, one of the points raised is how the one-child policy actually contributes to the rising status and influence of women in China...Here's the article which talks about it....
article 1a

article 1b

Sun Morning Class Take Note.....

Sun Morning Class,

1) we did this article today. Click HERE to see the points that you can bring away with you....

2) I also made a mention of the so-called 'rat tribe' in China (see link HERE) , an example of how merely managing the ecomony well, is not a good gauge of the govt doing a good job; they need also to ensure a decent, reasonable quality of life for their people, particularly so if the economy of the country is doing well. Note that China has overtaken Japan as the second economic powerhouse in the world, and it's only a matter of time before it usurps US from the number one spot!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Online ranting leading to trouble....

After Sun Xu (comapres Singaporeans to dogs), Amy Cheong (Malay Weddings at void deck), Reuben Wang (profanities at DPM Teo), Jansen Lim (Tampines accident; see earlier blog entry), now here's another one to add on to the list......
Other than the issues mentioned already under the Jansen Lim's posting, this article raised another useful point to take way with -- 'Most current and former servicemen who spoke to the Straits Times said it did not reflect the attitudes of the majority of commanders'.  This comment is important as the media (esp social media) has a tendency to misrepresent reality by passing off the views of the minorty as those of the majority. A post that goes viral online will give viewers the impression that the scenario depicted in the post is the reality. This is cemented by the 'echo-chamber' effect where some viewers post false comments on the original post, thus giving validity to it. Other viewers who are none the wiser will then embrace this false version as the truth. The end result is that in the virtual world, the views of a minority takes on the guise of the majority. A racist post by a Singaporean online will give others the impression that the whole of Singapore is racist. A report in the media about a local housewife absuing her maid will give the impression that all (or most) housewives in Singapore ill-treat their maids. A report on an immigrant grabbing seats on the MRT will give us the impression that all immigrants are ungracious. In the example in the article, the post will give people the impression that the entire SAF is sadistic, hence the need for SAF spokesman to come out and do damage control.  In a nutshell, the voice of the minority can be amplified and suddenly become the voice of the majority online -- thanks to the anonymity/faceless nature/opacity of the internet. A lone soldier behind the screen can be perceived as an army of soldiers at the other end. Note that this illuson of strength in numbers need not be negative, but can be exploited by minority or disenfranchised groups to fight for their rights in the face of a hostile majority.

Sample Qn: To what extent does the media influence our perception of reality?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Unethical Business Practices

Ponder on:
- the role of MNCs on health problems faced by society
- should business only operate on the profit motive?
- the impact on advertisements/media on society (esp on those that target children, which some govt have placed under their radar already)
-where ethics of business are concerned, think of the recent food scandal in Europe where horse meat is mixed with beef and sold as beef burgers....

Sample Qn: How far is it acceptable for technology to be used only for financial benefits? [think technology as in social media)

article 1a

article 1b

Confession Craze

Article 1a (towards the end) reiterates the same point in an earlier post on cyber-warfare about how classified info that impacts the security of a nation should be denied access to the public.
The confession chamber syndrome in both articles operates on the idea of anonymity that allows for the therapeutic function of social media to come through -- where the real world is not conducive for the airing of certain views and feelings, the privacy and anonymity afforded by social media provide the much-needed outlet for them, hence therapeutic, so that you dont have to keep them all bottled inside you. Letting them out also makes u realise that there are others like you out there, hence enabling the forming of a kindred spirit, or the fostering of a sense of shared experience and solidarity, from which one can draw emotional support whilst going through a gruelling ordeal (NS?).
Note that the articles also raise the point that the authenticity of views can be questionable.

article 1a

article 1b


Useful article to think about the following points:
-relationship btw internet and crime
- transnational crime (across boundaries of countries), making it easier to commit a crime without havig to be physically there, hene more difficult for police to arrest you? Not so easy to just go and arrest someone in a different country
- power of the internet: extensive reach, beyond boundary of countries and time zones;  overcome time and geographical barriers
- making friends online -- pros and cons
-intrusion of privacy
- anonymity giving illusion of safety to potential victims, but cloak of anonymity is also the reason why perpetrators use the internet to commit crime  (anonymity in this sense is not so much u can't see the person, but that the person u see in the webcam is a total stranger, i.e. u can see the person, but u dont know who he or she actually is).
- how internet/technology has influenced our behaviour (not just in committing crime but also in letting down our guard)
- the statistics given in the article not very accurate concerning the amount involved in the blackmail. One particular case involved almost $100,000 ($97,000 to be exact) HERE to read.
-need for media-literacy or govt intervention/regulation
article 1a

article 1b

Role of Art(s)

Note how art (sculptures) can be used to beautify our surroundings (in this case, the Gardens by the Bay), making Singapore a more attractive and liveable city (We're ranked one of the top liveable cities in Asia...go google it!), with the consequent impact of attracting foreign talent, tourists, stemming brain drain....
This enhancement of the quality of life here also goes towards making Singapore not just a house/5-star hotel, but also a home which we can be proud of.

Sample Qn: 'The key criterion for good government is how well the economy is managed.' Is this a fair assessment? (Cambridge 2012)

Foreign worker dilemma

This article outline very clearly our love-hate relationship with foreign talent/workers. Potential rebuttal can be created over the prevalent arguments about how foreign workers steal the locals' jobs. We need to be mindful that their presence here actually also preserves and creates new jobs for us. Their impact on SMEs should also be noted, not just in providing the much-needed labour, but also in ensuring that MNCs remain here, which is crucial to the survival of SMEs.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Restriction of Info and threats of cyber warfare

This post is in response to a query raised by the Thur evening class on cyber warfare.
For questions on whether there should a restriction to access of info (whether on traditional or new media), you want to raise the point that classified info that impacts the security of a nation should be denied access to the public. This pertains to not just military secrets but trade info that affects the economy of the country. Nowadays, wars are not just fought on the military front, but also on the economic front as ecnomic might becomes a proxy (i.e. subsitute) for military prowess.
War in the conventional sense has also been transformed -- now shifted to cyberspace where enemies try to hack into the computer system of rival countries to steal military or trade secrets that can be used to cripple the latter. The anonymity element on cyberspace makes it a convenient platform from which to launch cyberattacks calculated to exact maximum damage but with minimal casualty (no lives lost) on the side of the perpetrators. As seen in the article, anonymity is not a given as digital footprints can be traced, as in the case of China. But it's possible to still feign ignorance as a diplomatic response and claim that one is innocent as what takes place in cyberspace is hard to prove, unlike in the real battlefield where it's for all to see. When employed by terrorists (once again under the cloak of internet anonymity), this phenomenon is known as cyber-terrorism.

Incidentally, a debate surfaced recently in Singapore over the need for a freedom-of-information-act to ensure more transparency. But PM Lee was apparently not enthusiastic on the idea. Recognize that more transparency may lead to more accountability on the part of those who wield great influence (helps prevent corruption), but the arguments goes that it will also compromise security if sensitive info falls into the wrong hands and is used against our interest.

article 1a

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

GM Fish

Relate to the 2005 AQ on Aggression about how science can increase agricultural productivity. Note the resevations and potential drawbacks of this technology that have led to the modified fish being labelled Frankenfish. Note also how these reservations are rebutted in the article. (a three-layered argument can be structured here)

Sample Qn:
1) How far is it acceptable for technology to be used only for financial benefit? (Cambridge 2012)
2) To what extent are the rights of animals protected in your society? (Cambridge 2012) [while the research was conducted in Canada, the point is that the experiments still have to be conducted on the salmon before such a technology can be realised. Singapore's ambition to be a biomedical hub means some animals have to be sacrificed. See article 2]

3) Is violence ever justified? (Cambridge 2012) [towards the animals in experiments]

article 1a

article 1b

article 2

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Celebrity Influence and Music

1)Note the impact(both positive and negative) of celebrity/media(esp social media)/music on society, esp with regard to the values it propagates...'pop culture defines our social norm'
2) limitations: some people don't even focus on the lyrics...'they just like a good beat'. Relate to the music compre we did on last year's paper. For music to work its magic, it is not just the lyrics (sometimes this doesn't even matter), but also the 'beat' or melody that is instrumental in influencing our behaviour..

Function of Tradition

Main point is about how traditions help to keep the family unit strong e.g. CNY reunion dinner. Note also the various characteristic features of Singapore mentioned here…..
Sample Qn: How important is it for people in your society to retain a sense of tradition? (Cambridge 2010)

PM's Speech on the White Paper (Population)

Read the article below and see if u can find the answers to this qn:
Sample Qn: 'The key criterion for good government is how well the economy is managed.' Is this a fair assessment? (Cambridge 2012) 
article 1a

article 1b
article 1c

Animal Rights

This makes for a good example to show that there are organisations here that act as a watchdog to ensure that the welfare of animals are not sidelined. ACRES and SPCA are two such major NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations). The govt organisation that deals with animal rights is AVA (Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority). These organisations make sure that big organisations (like RWS) toe the line by using the media to report on any wrongdoings (note role of media here as watchdog). In today's world of social media, any big organisation (including govt) worth its salt will act fast to protect their own image and reputation.

Sample Qn: To what extent are the rights of animals protected in your society? (Cambridge 2012) [think also the sharks' fins eg]

Friday, February 08, 2013

Obedient Wives Club

Article 1 talks about the example of the Obedient Wive's Club. This eg is interesting for a few reasons. It is a refutation of the point that education can liberate women from their traditional subservient position in society. Why? The person who started the club holds a doctorate (i.e. phD) and is educated in France. The Vice-President who is mentioned in the article, is also a phD holder.

Another useful point is how Islam is invoked for the practices advocated by the club. Note that invoking the authority of religion is very powerful as people (esp uneducated ones) are unlikey to question God's words, even if the practice is controversial. To them, faith is blind, and sometimes beyond logic. But the article also goes on to defend religion, arguing that the Koran does celebrate women's achievements. Also noteworthy is the point about how traditions that may work in the past need not necessarily apply today, esp since more women are in the workforce today, making thier subservient role in society incongurent with reality.

Article 2 is a humourous anecdote about how women are defined by their role at home as a keeper of the house. A woman is someone who does house chores at home, not someone in the corporate or political world who wields great influence. The woman in the story could have been a high-flying executive, but in the eyes of the man (and society?), she is just someone who should be doing house chores at home. Such a social mindset of women is a big obstacle in the advancement of women. Think glass ceiling. Religion, tradition and culture are a major contribution to this social mindset of women too.  
article 1

article 2

Equality does not mean Equal Treatment? or does it?

Articles 1-4 shows that 'equality' may not always be a reality. Article 4 is slightly different from the rest as most would regard the different (hence unequal) punishment received by women as 'proper'. But in all cases, it can be argued that the unequal treatment is actually 'equal'. As pointed out insightfully in article 5, real equality need not always be about treating the parties concerned equally. It requires the accommodation of the inherent differences in the parties concerned, consequently leading to them being treated differently.  To pretend that a paralympic Gold is the same as an Olympic Gold is unfair to the winner of the latter; it can also be seen as mocking the achievement of the former since he may perceive it as a form of disguised sympathy.

Article 4 shows the harshness of the Syariah Law (which is based on Islam) where the punishment seems disproportional to the magnitude and nature of the wrongdoing. Think also about other examples: adultery and taking part in beauty contest are punishable by stoning to death, stealing by cutting off the hand, etc. But even under the harsh Syriah law, women are treated differently from men. Compare with the law in Singapore, where women are never caned (reserved for men only, and even then, male adults over a certain age (50 yo?) are spared), and there's no such thing as male rape! The different treatment of males and females, whether in their favour or otherwise, seems to suggest that there is no equality of treatment. But viewed in the light of the argument in article 5, one can rebut and maintain that 'real' equality still exists, as it takes into account the inherent differences of both gender, i.e. women are physically weaker than men.

Nonetheless, the version of 'true' equality mentioned in article 5 is not necessarily desirable. Imagine if a woman is recruited to become a firefighter or soldier based on a more lax physical fitness test criteria. She may not be able to carry out her duties effectively and may injure herself or even die in the process. Recognise that fire or bullets have no conscience. They will not spare a woman just because they are physically weaker than men. In a nutshell, affirmative measures which seek to accommodate the inherent differences of the parties concerned may actually compromise the efficiency of the organisation. Even as they seek to help the more disadvantaged party, they may instead hamper their effectiveness in performing their duties, to the extent of compromising their safety or lives! So is the kind of 'true' equality mentioned in article 5 still fair and desirable? Should universities reserve a quota for or have a separate set of admission criteria for students from ITE as compared to those from JC/poly in order to accommodate the former's more inferior academic ability and give them a leg up?

In light of the above, ponder over this: There is no greater inequality than the equal treatment of unequals'.

Sample Qn:
1) 'Religion has caused more harm than good.' Discuss.
2) In your society, how far is equality for all a reality? (Cambridge 2012)

article 1

article 2

article 3

article 4

article 5

Gender Gender

One common thread cutting across all the articles here is the role of technology in empowering women, accounting for their rise in society. Technology is known to have levelled the playing field for both gender by taking physical strength (the lack of which is the main stumbling block for women) out of the equation and shifting the emphasis from brawn to brain. What is often neglected is also technology's role (in the form of media, esp social media) in creating awareness and allowing women to use it to champion their causes and mobilise support in fighting for their own rights.

Article 1 shows how it is the internet that allows women to play a more active role in terrorism.

Article 2 shows that it is education that is going to make a difference to women's plight. But the promotion/creation of that awareness is forged through the traditional and social media. Realise that Malala's influence hinges upon the media putting the spotlight on her. It is significant that she first rose to prominence with her blog.

Article 3 is useful for throwing up the importance of the media in its role as the watchdog, highlighting social injustices so as to exert pressure on the relevant authorities to take remedial actions, hence speeding up social reforms.
Note also how tradition and religion are often to be blamed for the oppression of women, and the series of atrocities inflicted on them. Look at how the Taleban invoked the Islamic/Syariah law to deny the women of their rights. There is mention of how women 'must wear a head-to-toe burqa veil, which covers the face with a mesh panel'. See pic of this below.
Just as legislation/law is used to deny women of their rights, recognise that there are actually laws to protect their rights too, but these are often not enforced, probably because the pull of religion and tradition is too strong.

If you have done the 2005 AQ on Aggression, link to the point on the 'gradual but unstoppable growth of the power and influence of women'.
article 1a

article 1b

article 2
article 3

article 4
Gasp! How does she eat/drink?!

Male Domestic Helpers

Soon, instead of maids, we are going to see more of domestic helpers who are males. This article is useful for rebutting the view that only women can cross over to men’s jobs but men can’t move in the reverse direction. We now see more men filling up jobs that used to be associated with women only. See a similar article I uploaded previously at THIS LINK (scroll down to post entitled 'Anything a Woman can do, a Guy can too!) One can thus argue that the gender divide is increasingly being breached with this eg.

article 1a

article 1b

Impact of Expanding Population on Environment in Singapore

This article highlights a main problem for Singapore. The emphasis on economic growth to ensure our survival, is often at odds with eonvironmental concerns. Too keep the economic engine running, there is a need to expand our population size to 6.9 million by 2030 and this means more land is needed, with the consequence that nature has to make way for development. Remarkably, 47% (or about half) of Singapore's land area is covered in greenery, though most if it are artificial parks or landscaping rather than natural forestry (think Gardens by the Bay). The concerns raised by the NMP is not without validity. Think the Bukit Brown saga last year (try search for an earlier post I did on this last year) With the destruction of the forests, the habitats of animals are also destroyed.
But to the govt's credit, Khaw Boon Wan did promise that by 2030, at least 85% of all residents will find a park within 400m of their homes. Nevertheless, the reality in Singapore is that mother nature always takes a back seat in the face of economic survival. It is always the rights of Singaporeans that come first, then foreigners, then Mother Nature. While we do not set out deliberately to disregard the rights of animals, these are often overridden when they clash with the rights of man.

Sample Qn:
1) To what extent are the rights of animals protected in your country? (Cambridge 2012)
2) 'The key criterion for good government is how well the economy is managed.' Is this a fair assessment? (Cambridge 2012) [shouldn't the govt's report card on environment be factored in as well, esp carbon emissions? what about the creation of a liveable environment? Can you imagine Singapore being just a concrete jungle with skyscrappers and factories all around with nary a patch of greenery in sight?]
3) 'Environmental concerns and economic growth cannot co-exist.' Do you agree? (Cambridge 2011)

Media ads role and impact on values

This ban on ads for luxury goods comes in the wake of rampant corruption in China, where the increasing income gap has caused widespread discontent among the people. Note the role of the media here in educating the masses, and the potential problems of the media/ads in cultivating materialism and undesirable values.

Immigration and National Identity

Same old argument about the PROs (revving up economy by providing the much-needed labour, both the high skilled ones that we lack and the low-skilled ones for jobs that locals shunned ) and CONs (competition for good jobs, homes, overcrowding of public space, compreomise social cohesion, and erosion of national identity) of admitting too many immigrants, This national identity argument is of interest here as it brought up the cautionary eg of Dubai, where only 10% are locals. Our govt has always emphasised the need to maintain a strong Singapore core, made up of citizens who are born and bred here, as these are the ones most in touch with our values and have a direct stake here.  This diminishment of our core has in recent years been exacerbated by low marriage rate, low fertility rates (1.21), brain drain, and increased influx of immigrants.
The importance of this core group is seen in the colourful metaphor employed in article 2. Only the core of the apple is linked to the stalk, which connects the fruit to the tree (and its roots) from which it is derived. Hence, the day Singaporean citizens become a minority in our country which is awashed with immigrants, is also when there is nothing to hold us to the tree we sprung from (i.e. we become a hotel, not a home).
Article 3 is about the same issue….It argues against the need for Singapore’s population to reach 6.9 million in order to sustain our economic growth.  A lower population of 6 million (hence lesser need for immigrants) will suffice, as seen in examples of small successful cities like Toronto and Stockholm. The way to achieve this without overpopulating Singapore and admitting too many immigrants is to restructure our economy, to wean off cheap foreign labour by moving into less labour-intensive, more capital intensive industry that capitalises on technology to raise productivity, i.e. move up the value chain.  Note again the comment on fostering identity so that Singapore does not become merely a hotel, but a home.
Sample qn: The key criterion for good government is how well the economy is managed. Is this a fair assessment? (Cambridge 2012)
article 1a

article 1b

article 2

article 3