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, April 29, 2013

National Loyalty and Patriotism still relevant?

A few arguments surface when u browsed through the articles here...
National loyalty may seem to have waned in the rising tide of multiculturalism and religious extremism/fundamentalism, where people are called to be loyal to their culture/religion instead of to their nation. This can be esp damaging in a society which is multi-cultural as one's affiliation to one's cultural/religious identity (as opposed to national identity) can have a polarising or fragmenting effect on the society.

In the recent territorial disputes, national loyalty can be instrumental as to whether the sovereignty of a nation is respected by other countries. but as article 4 shows, excessive national loyalty can harm bilateral ties and hamper trade and investment. See more info here: Link 1 ; Link 2

Sample Qns:
1) Religion has caused more harm than good. Do you agree?
2) Should the love of one's country still be encouraged? (2009)

article 1

article 2

article 3

article 4

Sun Evening class Alert!: Controversial Online Games -- Censorship?

Here's the articles on the examples:
article 1: Maple Story

article 2

article 3: MyMinx

article 4: This article is on
the merits of online games

Sun Evening class Alert! -- Censorship and Art!

1) A useful argument against censorship: Obama's speech advocating freedom of expression in spite of people abusing it to make offensive comments targeting race/religion. Note the rebuttal. Click HERE

2) Sun evening class, here's the eg I mentioned in class. There were 3 controversial cases mentioned here. Vincent Leow (not Seow) is the guy who drank his own urine, Josef Ng snipped his own pubic hair, and there's another who vomited onstage(apparently after burning some newspapers and then swallowing them)

Here are some other egs:
1) Link 1
2) Link 2

Natural Greenery 'key to diverse wildlife'

For those who have done the 2011 Compre on Green Spaces and Parks, this article on Singapore is quite useful. One benefit of green spaces mentioned in the compre passage is that they can be the habitat for rich biodiversity of wildlife. But as for article below shows, even though 47% of Singapore is covered in greenery, only about half of this is 'natural' whereas the rest are 'cultivated'. The kind of wildlife present in the latter is also limited in variety.
Note that Gardens by the Bay is considered 'cultivated', but because it is deliberately fashioned as a showcase of the vegetation worldwide, the variety is not limited.

One other useful point to take away from the article is at the end where it is mentioned that the kind of nature we 'have contact with' actually 'determine[s] the level of public support for conservation'. Indeed, one of the main reasons why Singaporeans have limited environmental conscience is because we have limited exposure to nature since we are a city. Just as it is difficult to love/care/make sacrifices for someone if we do not have sufficient contact with him/her, likewise our relationship with Mother Nature. If we d not take steps to preserve greenery in Singapore, esp that of the 'natural' kind, our contact and exposure to Mother Nature will diminish, and consequently our environmental conscience. It is not possible to care for someone (and fight for his/her rights) if we do not have contact with him/her or know him/her well.....

Friday, April 26, 2013

Compassion for Animals

Pertaining to earlier postings on animal rights in Singapore (see HERE), here's a recent one.
With regard to animal rights in S'pore's context, note:
1) the incorporation of compassion for animals into the national school syllabus for character education.
2) recent review of legislation to deter animal abuse and cruelty
3) our aim to be a gracious (and compassionate) society
4) culling of animals for human safety (whether due to the spread of diseases or physical attacks or otherwise)
5) concern for animal rights appear to be selective, focussing mainly on pets, and even then, cutes ones....(think about how animal activists mostly are interested in dolphins, seals, pandas, etc....what about scallops? see Lee Wee Ling's article HERE)

Interesting comic strips....

Strip 1: Unity is Power

Strip 2: For this strip, think of democracy, esp the Arab Spring,
where its is possible to overthrow seemingly
omnipotent autocratic regimes under a democratic setting 

Cartoonist under probe for 'insenstive' works

As a follow-up to an earlier posting (click HERE), here's an update and more info on the arrested cartoonist in Article 1.

Article 2 is a sample cartoon he drew of his experience under detention. Once again, it appears to be laden with sarcastic/ironic humour in what appears to be an attempt to get back at the govt/police through humour.

Useful for questions on artistic freedom, govt censorship and humour.

article 1: Cartoonist Under Probe
for 'racially insensitive' works

article 2

Religion -- Harm!

For those who can read Chinese, this is a classic example of how religion can be harmful, the idea of over-reliance and crutch mentality, where u put everything in the hands of God and did nothing on ur own to try to solve the problem, exactly what Marx would have meant when he said religion is the 'opiate (opium) of the masses' (see HERE).

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Humour Crossing the Line

Pertaining to my earlier posting on Humour (click HERE), the article below contains a local eg of humour went wrong when it touches on racial issue, and when it questions the integrity of local institutions like the judicial system.
Compare this to the Prophet Mohammed Cartoons controversy in 2007 (see HERE) and the recent local movie "Sex.Violence.Family Values" (click HERE for some background on the movie). And if u have done the compre on humour, see how this eg shed a different light on the point that humour is used to bond society and knock self-absorbed politicians off their high pedestal.

Sample Qn:
Can humour ever be serious? (2012)


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More on the Internet....

Walk away from the article with:
1) Socrates' comment on the internet (good for BANGing)
2) the kind of person we have become due to the internet e.g. dumb? which includes the pros and cons of the internet
3) the 3 characteristic features of the internet (decentralised, anonymous, user-driven) and their attendant pros and cons. For other characteristic features, click HERE. (note: 'user-driven' and 'content-creator' are the same)
4) one important characteristic feature/disadvantage of the internet: our tendency to gravitate towards like-minded individuals, which can encourages fragmentation into virtual enclaves that thrive on prejudice, bigotry and racist attitudes or narrow views. (potential rebuttal to the point that the internet widens our horizons and alleviate bias) This point can also be given a positive twist as extremist groups (or any groups for that matter) who wish to convert people's views online thru online propaganda are likely to have limited success since they will attract and influence only those 'like-minded' ones who bother to seek and read what they have put up online. See HERE,

Sample Qns:
To what extent has technology had a negative impact on the skill levels of people?

article 1a
article 1b

Monday, April 22, 2013

A quote from Margaret Thatcher....

'It is not the creation of wealth that is wrong, but the love of money for its own sake.' -- Margaret Thatcher.

Similar thoughts on wealth and money:
- It is not money, but the love of money that is the root of all evil. -- Bible
- Money is like manure; hoard it at one spot and it will stink, but spread it all around and trees will grow.
- Charles Dickens' 'Christmas Carol' where the character Scrooge starts off hoarding money and ends up finding happiness when he uses it to help others.

Sample Qn:
Wealth is a curse. Do you agree?

My Father is Li Gang!!!

Click HERE for the background on this eg. This is a good example to show:
1) social media's role as the watchdog to apply pressure on influential authorities to take action, esp where corruption or abuse of power is suspected, hence restoring social justice
2) the corrupting influence of wealth and the consequent curse to society, were the wealthy can buy themselves out of trouble with the law by using the influence their wealth or social position accords them; social injustice is often the end result.....

Sample Qn:
Wealth is a curse. Do you agree?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Should every country have the right to carry out unlimited scientific research?

Sun morning class, pertaining to the 2009 qn above, attached are:

1) A sample answer key:


2) Cambridge Examiner Report 2009:
Should every country have the right to carry out unlimited scientific research?

This was probably the second most popular question overall. There was a sense that this was the topic which enabled candidates to ‘unload’ their prepared material in many cases. The emphasis of the question was on the ‘rights of countries’ as much as the notion of ‘unlimited scientific research’. Not infrequently, the former part of the question was ignored, or simply ‘tagged on’ as a token gesture to the question at the end of paragraphs or even the essay as a whole. This could not constitute sustained relevance to the question and could score little more than a moderate mark for Content.

A wide variety of answers appeared, many broadly agreeing that research should be ‘unlimited’ in areas such as medicine, global conservation / the Green Revolution, and areas which contributed to human wellbeing. Many candidates were concerned that developing nations should spend more on priorities such as education and infrastructure, leaving wider research to the developed world.
Ethical issues were raised, and support was given to the application of science via GM food and alternative energy sources. Weaker candidates were prone to be distracted by one or more of these areas, and so the overall essay lost balance or candidates often produced a broad list of these topics without enlarging upon each one. Nuclear technology was commonly raised and North Korea/Iran were cited as ‘rogue’ (often ‘rouge’) nations; some prepared answers crept in here. Very few offered any ideas as to how limitations might be monitored, although some referred to a government committee operating in Singapore and its ‘biopolis’. 

3) Sample Link on an earlier post (click HERE), check out Article 2 especially!

4) A handout on science and ethics which you will find useful for this qn (click 

5) Pertaining to the cost of North Korea's failed satellite launch last year, the sum is about US$1billion (US$1000 million). Check out link:
An excerpt from the lnk as follows:

­The price to pay
South Korean intelligence officials have estimated the launch will cost their northern neighbor some $850 million, Yonhap News Agency reports.
With the launch site itself costing around $400 million, the rocket and its payload will cost $300 million and $150 million respectively.


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Religion impeding social progress

Some of you would have already come upon the point that religion impedes economic progress (think stem-cell research and the building of the IRs). Here is an article to show that it is not just economic progress, but also social progress/reforms that can sometimes be hijacked by a strict adherence to religion, esp outdated ones.

On a separate matter, note also how the notion of multi-culturalism (and hence multi-religion) can be an impediment to social/national cohesion and the strengthening of the national identity. LKY has mentioned before that Islam has resulted in a close-knitted Muslim group in Singapore, but this has also incidentally become a barrier to their integration to the rest of the Singaporeans who are not Muslims. This problem is not ours alone but also in many European countries where a lot of Muslim immigrants have problems integrating into the society because of their religion. In France, it was so bad that at one time, the govt passed a law to ban the wearing of the Muslim head-dress (the burqa).

Sample Qns:
1) 'Religion has caused more harm than good.' Do you agree?
2) How far should religion influence political decisions? (2009)

article 1a

article 1b

Sat Late Afternoon Class Alert : Edusave Character Award

This cropped up during lesson just now....u may want to take a look.
Edusave Character Award:
Link 1
Link 2

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Media's role as watchdog

The social media's role as watchdog is clearly shown in the article below. It is the extensive, hence influential reach of the social media that forces powerful organizations like the govt and MNCs to take immediate actions on urgent issues and at the same time, prevent them from attempting to do a cover-up that could be harmful to the people. A cover-up that denies or withholds information on the spread of the bird flu to the people may lead to a threat to their lives. It is only when people are informed of the threat that they can be more alert and take extra precautions. To keep people in the dark is tantamount to murder! The govt's defense would be that it wants to prevent an outbreak of panic that could make it harder for the govt to bring the bird flu situation under control.

Sample Qn:
'Governments should not interfere with the right of the people to express themselves freely on the internet.' Do you agree?

article 1a

article 1b

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Double Standards in Gender issues

1)For some background on the Marissa Mayer saga mentioned in the article below, read HERE.

2) Walk away with the point that women who managed to rise to the top are often judged more harshly than their male counterparts because:
a) they are a minority up there, i.e. different, a rare breed, hence eliciting more attention
b) the men don't want them up there, and hence are looking for any minor faults they make to discredit them

3) Note also how Marissa Mayer is demonised as 'the Stalin of Silicon Valley', a fate unlike that of Angela Merkel aka 'The Terminator'(See HERE) and Margaret Thatcher aka 'The Witch' (See Article 2 HERE )

4) Read more HERE (article 1) to get examples and stuff on this double standard in the treatment of women at the top.

Sample Qns:
1) 'Women have it easier than men in today's society.' Do you agree?
2) 'Men rather than women face greater challenges.' Is this true today? (SAJC Prelim 2011)
3) 'Women are edging men out from their comfortable niches.' Comment.

article 1a

article 1b

Rape lyrics in music

Here's a good example of a song/celebrity whose influence is negative.

Sample Qn: To what extent does music have a positive influence on society today?

More on Thatcher, and Humour

1) Follow up to an earlier post on Thatcher (click HERE), article 1 below gives a clearer picture of why she is such a divisive figure, esp the part about why she is so hated in some quarters despite her immense contributions to Britain and the world.

2) Article 2 can be an example on music and humour. For those who have done the humour compre, there was a point on how humour is used as a weapon against powerful politicians; likewise the compre from last year's paper on music.
Note also the link to the idea that powerful women who made it to the top are often demonized. See a previous posting on this HERE.

article 1a

article 1b
article 2

More on Humour (the Confucian explanation)

Pertaining to my earlier post on humour (Click HERE), here is an excellent account of how Confucian values have shaped us to be 'humourless'. In the Asian context, excessive humour can be 'indicative of a lack of intellectual depth and inattentiveness to one's place and role in life'. In other words, one can be perceived as not being serious about one's job, hence compromising one's sense of professionalism and competence. Eg: would u trust a surgeon who's always laughing to perform a major surgery on you?
article 1a

article 1b

Monday, April 15, 2013

Religion and Rights

1) Click HERE for a quote on the bible that appears sexist. Religion has been known to oppress the rights of certain groups of people, primarily women and gays & lesbians. Here's an article showing how the Koran preaches the same secondary status for women:
Article 1

2) Some religions also have strict rules, such as food taboos (Muslims can only eat halal food, no alcohol, Jews can only eat food that is kosher). Other than food taboos, Jehovah Witness are not allowed to undergo blood transfusion, Catholics are against abortion, same-sex relationships, contraceptives, stem-cell research. But the one that takes the cake goes to the Seventh Day Adventists, who cannot drink coffee and -- get this -- go to cinemas! See article below.....The point of all these is that the observance of some religious rules can have a serious impact on our freedom and result in inconvenience and even downright annoyance......
Article 2: Seventh Day Adventists Going Strong

Sample Qns:
1) Religion has caused more harm than good. Do you agree?
2) How important is it for people in your society to retain a sense of tradition?
3) Does religion have a place in the world today?

Sutff on HUMOUR

For those who have done the HUMOUR compre/essay, here are some related links which make for good examples:

1) Video clips on local funny man and drag queen, Kumar. Be forewarned! Can be offensive; not for the faint-hearted!
Link 1 (on foreign talent)
Link 2 (racist jokes Part 1)
Link 3 (racist jokes Part 2)
Link 4 (racist jokes Part 3)

2) Prophet Mohamed
(a)Link 5 (background on the controversial film "The Innocence of Muslims" last year that was disrespectful of Islam )

(b)The following 3 links are on the Danish Cartoons controversy:
- Article on the violence triggered by the Prophet Muhammad Cartoon
- Dog (the pic that started it all!)
- Comic Strips (including Prophet as terrorist)

(c)Click HERE for the South Park cartoon controversy concerning Prophet Muhammad

3) King of Thailand and US Political Figures
-Thai King with monkey face and feet in face
-Write-up on Thai King video clip controversy
-Ex-President George W. Bush

4) The latest one on Margaret Thatcher:


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sat late afternoon Class Alert: BCA Green Mark

We talked about this just now....check it out:
 Link 1 ; Link 2

Stuff on Tradition/Culture/Religion

For those whom we have discussed tradition/religion/culture, you may want to check out these links:
1) Link 1: Dowry Practice in India (note the potential rebuttal that the original rationale behind the dowry practice is actually for the welfare of the women; it is men who abused and perverted the traditional practice into a monetary transaction; see highlighted portion. Hence, we can't really blame tradition for oppressing women here.)
2) Link 2: Honour Killing
3) Link 3: Religion Pros and Cons
4) Link 4: Tradition's role in fostering the family unit
5) Link 5: Driving Ban for women in Saudi Arabia
6) Article below on female circumcision/ genital mutilation

 Sample Qn: How important is it for people in your society to retain a sense of tradition? (Cambridge 2010)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fri Evening Class Alert! -- on Selfishness

Some links here related to what we discussed just now:
1) Click HERE for article on how Singapore scored lowest in the Graciousness Index for the past 5 years.....
2) Click HERE for article on Edusave Character Award
3) An earlier post on the Kindness Movement HERE
4) Click HERE for how social media has made us less sensitive to other's feelings and made us more narcissistic and self-absorbed......

Sample Qns:
1) 'Singaporean youths today are soft and selfish.' Do you agree?
2) 'Young people today have only selfish desires.' Discuss.

Margaret Thatcher

For those who want to use Margaret Thatcher as an example, be sure you know some background about what she has done. Among these are:
1) Falklands War where she fought to victory to retain a colony of the British far away in Argentina
2) her battle against the trade unions in Britain as she scaled Britain down from an unhealthy state welfare model
3) privatisation of important industries as opposed to having them state-owned (think how SIA/DBS/PSA/SingTel/SMRT today is private companies as opposed to being owned by our govt)
4) serves as a 'bridge' between the US and USSR during the Cold War period
5) opposed the move to have UK join the EU and adopt the euro currency....her famous 'No! No1 No! speech. (if not for this, UK would have been sucked deep into the Euro Crisis currently plaguing the EU)

Soil Pollution

Here is an excellent example about the environmental price we pay in the pursuit of economic progress and profits.
Note the importance of the media's role as the watchdog if the state decides to impose a media blackout on these controversial findings under the convenient label of 'state secret'.

Sample Qns:
1) 'Science never provides complete solutions.' Do you agree?
2) 'The environment must be sacrificed for progress.' To what extent do you agree?
3) 'More than ever before, censorship is needed today. Do you agree?

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Exposing Children to Social Media

There are a few things happening in this article, but one main idea is the impact of exposing children to social media at a young age. For those who have done the social media essay recently, or read the brainstorming strategies handout, consider how activating the 5W-1H (WHO?) method may cause us to think of young children, and therefore derive the point that social media has made young children less social, as it deprives them of the opportunity of acquiring useful social skills by interacting with people in the real world. This of course applies to people of all ages, but particularly so for young children, who have not acquired a sufficient buffer in real world experience to counteract that of the virtual world. Read further for details.....

Sample Qn: 'Social Media has made us less social.' Do you agree?
article 1a

article 1b

Goose that Lays Golden Eggs

Regarding an earlier post on the Robin Hood Syndrome, which is used to describe the progressive tax structure of Singapore where the rich are taxed to help the poor (Click HERE), the article below has some reference to it. What caught my eye is the warning via the goose imagery. Prior to this, I have been using this goose metaphor to show how profit and Mother Nature can co-exist if we are to take into account long term sustainable profits where Mother Nature (i.e. the goose) need to be well taken care of if we want to have a continued stream of resources (i.e. golden eggs) from her in the future. If we are overcome by short term greed and exploit Mother Nature indiscriminately, eg cut down all the trees (i.e. kill the goose), there will be no more resources or trees (i.e. golden eggs) for us to cut down years down the road. In a nutshell, long term sustainable profits demand that Mother Nature's well-being be part of the equation.
This same metaphor is applied to our tax structure in the article below: the goose are the rich people, and the golden eggs are the tax revenue derived from the rich. Milk them too hard and the rich will flee the country and there goes our goose, and together with it, the revenue that comes from their taxes. Note the point that unfair or extreme taxation goes against the philosophy of meritocracy, where the abled and competent are justified in having a greater reward (i.e, higher income) -- and keeping them. Taxing them mercilessly to narrow the income gap is tantamount to 'punishing talent', in the words of French actor, Gerard Depardieu, who migrated to neighbouring Belgium to escape the high taxation in France. Singapore cannot afford to do this as meritocracy is the cornerstone of our success as we depend on attracting and retaining talent, given that we have no natural resources and have to depend on human resource/capital.

Sample Qn: To what extent is the government effective in narrowing the income gap in your society? (use the above content as rebuttal to govt's measure of taxing the rich)

When Doing Good is Hard....

With reference to an earlier post (click HERE) on Kindness and young people being selfish nowadays, the article below on China offers another perspective. People's selfishness can be attributed to the legal system that allows a Samaritan to be sued by the person he has helped, resulting in a fear or aversion towards helping others.
1) the Wang Yue and Peng Yu incidents which are apparently landmark cases that are often cited
2) the opening with a BANG using a quotation
3) the idea that legislation has its limitations when it comes to influencing social behaviour...... one cannot legislate altruism, love and relationships; think the Parents' Maintenance Act in Singapore where the law is in a sense trying enforce filial piety.....Consider the idea that legislation may be effective in trying to deter one from doing bad things via the use of threats of punishment, but to use the same method to 'force' one to do good things is a different story altogether. To do good things, the willingness and sincerity must be there, otherwise it is only for show and makes a mockery of the good act.

Sample Qn: 'Young people today have only selfish desires.' Do you agree?

article 1a

article 1b

5 billion pounds worth of energy wasted worldwide yearly in monetary terms!

Sun classes, I checked it up! It's 5 BILLION sterling pounds alright, not million! Check out the link HERE, and link it to the rationale behind the Earth Hour campaign, which is to cut down on wastage of energy by changing our lifestyle habits to save Mother Earth.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Thur Evening Class Alert! Graduate Mother Scheme

We were discussing this controversial 'Graduate Mother Scheme' last night, which u can read for urself below....It was introduced by the govt many years ago in an attempt at social engineering, i.e. influencing the kind of people that is being bred. This is selective breeding, i.e. eugenics. Hitler tried to do it also, except that he did it forcefully by packing those he deemed 'inferior' to the gas chambers, so that only the 'superior' Aryan race populated Germany. Singapore, as well as many other countries, tried to achieve the same outcome, by incentivising rather than by force. The bottomline is that people still get to choose, only that the govt tried to influence this decision-making via sweetening the desired choice with incentives or conversely. But yup, the 'less desired' were given incentives to undergo voluntary sterilization!!! (note though that they were not forced, but perhaps 'coaxed')
In the light of the question discussed last night, letting people have children by artificial means can create a similar social divide, as usually it is the richer ones who can afford the expensive technology, and hence get to have 'designer babies'. Even if they use the technology just to have 'normal' babies in cases where they have fertility problems, the fact remains that it is only the rich who can have the option because of their wealth, whereas the poor are denied this option. Society will thus be segregated into the 'haves' and the 'have-nots', or the 'superior' race of designer babies vs the normal or regular ones who are now deemed 'inferior' by comparison.

Sample Qn: 'Science can never provide us with complete answers.' Do you agree?

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Tomb Sweepers for Hire

Think of how traditions can have both a commercial value as well as an erosion of its intrinsic value. The commercialisation of traditions/festivals can also be compared to Valentines' Day and Christmas, particularly the latter, where Santa Claus seems to be worshipped more than Jesus Christ, who was the original reasons behind the celebrations. Think also of other festivals which appear to be celebrated to draw the tourists rather than because the people want to celebrate it.
Note also the trend of 'outsourcing' nowadays which has its roots in the corporate world to cut cost and time. This trend has now eaten into our daily life which is slowing demanding the same efficiency that dominates corporate life. But when traditions and relationships are 'outsourced', it makes a mockery of the value of such relationships. Eg: the article below, the hiring of surrogate mothers, the hiring of maids to take care of the child, the hiring of a mate to bring home during Chinese New Year to show one's family, the recourse to a match-making agency to find a potential life partner, Japan's Valentine's Day Gift-shopping service for the busy......Time appears to be a problem here and we are willing to pay to let others do it for us, i.e. outsource. But some would argue that when it comes to relationships between people, no substitute or outsourcing will work as it requires our investment(or sacrifice) in time to show our sincerity.

Sample Qn: How important is it for people in your country to retain a sense of tradition? (Cambridge 2010)
article 1a

article 1b

Horse Meat Scandal

-Note how the horse meat scandal can be a parallel to the melamine milk scandal from China some years back, except that this is now in a developed region.
-such food adulteration cases are also increasingly hard to prevent due to globalization where food are sourced from worldwide in the case of food companies, and for some places like Singapore, mostly imported (more than 90% of food here is imported)....This makes it hard to control these supply chains.....Use this on qns on pros and cons of globalization.
-note also the ending of the article, that uses the method of a quotation

Sample Qns:
1) 'Fear is good.' Comment. (NYJC Prelim 2011)
2) To what extent is legislation effective in influencing human behaviour?
article 1a
article 1b

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Tue Afternoon Class Alert!

1) Check out THIS link which I put up earlier; it contains some useful links on social media, one of which is on the  brainstorming techniques handout I showed you....

2) Click HERE for a list of the characteristic features of the social media. When writing on the social media/new media, it's imperative that you try to weave some of these characteristic features into your argument.

3) Click HERE to see a sample essay written using Model 4 to reinforce the structure lesson we had.

GM Food -- limitations

This subject on GM food crops up in some classes in relation to the qns below....u may want to check out my postings on it HERE, esp arguments pertaining to cost (in article 2 of link), etc....

Sample Qns:
1) 'Science can never provide complete solutions to problems.' Do you agree?
2) How far do you agree that science and technology has worsened the plight of the poor?

Laika the Space Dog

A student shared this link (click HERE) about how the dog Laika was used in space research by the Russian scientists. Apparently, she was sent to space with the intention that she would not come back to earth. Relate this to the recent postings I made on the use of animals in research and the attendant issues on their rights.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Kindness Movement in Singapore : Are We Selfish?

Relate to the kiasu-ism phenomenon in Singapore, which is actually a kind of survival mechanism for Singapore in the first place, given our lack of natural resources and shortage of manpower. This relentless pursuit for Number 1s can be said to have contributed to our selfish mentality, as we pursue our goals zealously to the exclusion of all else. Only a thin line separates kiasu and unkind.
Pertaining to Qn 2 below, note that progress need not be seen only in economic terms, but can have a moral dimension to it, i.e. social progress (think gracious society). This kind of progress need not be at the expense of Mother Nature, but on the contrary, calls for the protection of Mother Nature. Gandhi's view that the greatness of a nation lies in the way it treats its weakest members, also rings true here. A truly great nation, one which is said to be on the path to progress, is one that also looks after the welfare of the animals (which are part of Mother Nature) whose existence are threatened by man's activities.
Note also the fabulous quote in the article below that 'the chain is only as strong as its weakest link'.
This goes in line with Singapore's aim to forge a strong nation by ensuring an inclusive society by strengthening social cohesion and narrowing the income gap.

Sample Qns:
1. 'Young people today have only selfish desires.' Discuss.
2. 'The environment must be sacrificed for progress.' To what extent do you agree with this statement?