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, July 31, 2013

Pakistan's 'Wonder Woman'

For those who have been going through the gender lesson with me, this article will come across as quite interesting...
-the use of media to change perception by glorifying the female in a new role....erode traditional stereotype?
-the media's function of creating awareness and as a means of fighting for the rights of the oppressed and marginalised
-the function/effect of cartoons/movies/TV programmes -- often a vehicle for messages instead of just entertainment
-the double edged sword regarding media -- it can both reinforce acceptance of traditional norms by making it 'cool', or challenge/debunk it by introducing something new(often opposing) as 'cool'

Sample Qn:
To what extent is our perception of reality influenced by the media?

Article 1a

Article 1b

Article 1c  Doesn't she look like a ninja instead?!

A MUST-READ on Social Media

Excellent article on another downside of social media...
Not only does it contribute to narcissism, i.e. self-love (as u go about decorating your 'shrine' with flattering photos and updates about yourself), it can also lead to a stalking/voyeuristic mentality and along with it, depression and envy!!!! Exhibitionism on one side, Voyeurism on the other -- certainly a recipe for disaster!
There's also an insightful comparison btw Facebook and Instagram (the writer feels the latter is more deadly and insidious!), useful for evaluation!

Article 1a

Article 1b

Benefits of Machines

A useful article on the pros of technology, esp in the context of Singapore where there is a labour crunch and quota on foreign workers. Note how machines are not only more efficient, it is also about safety and keeping costs down in the long run. Note also the possible rebuttals about high costs, and possible retrenchment of workers who are replaced by machines. This latter point can be counter-rebutted........THINK!
 Sample Qn:
How far do you agree that technology makes life more difficult for the poor? (TJC Mid Yr JC2 2013)

Article 1a
Article 1b

Ethics vs Profits

This article brings up one important point...for all the talk about ethics, we need to realise that a business needs to break even to pay the rentals, utilities and salaries of workers, i.e. it must be sustainable, not just in the long run but also immediate short run.

For points on the ethics part, think about:
-casinos, esp our IRs
-our Biopolis centring on pharmaceutical industry
-Sanlu Milk Powder
-horse meat scandal
-haze (plantation owners)
-doctor's/lawyers' exorbitant fees
-education, esp international schools which are run for profits
-SMRT (the local controversy...think why the previous CEO had to step down amid huge public outcry even though she had managed to improve the value of the SMRT shares tremendously during her reign)
-Collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh
-'News of the World' scandal -- forced to shutdown due to infringement of privacy (see background HERE)

Sample Qn:
How far do you agree that ethics are more important than profits in business today? (ACJC Prelim 2010)

Space Research -- Singapore

An article that caught my eye because it mentions ‘space research’ and it’s about Singapore. Relate to the qn below that came out two years ago…u may also want to think about North Korea’s launching of space rockets (the one that crashed spectacularly in mid-air allegedly cost them US$1billion!) and of course China’s recent frequent space escapades, with female astronauts to boot….

Sample Qn:
Can space research be justified nowadays? (Cambridge 2011)
Article 1a


Article 1b

Guess WHO invented the thumb drive?

Bet you didn’t know the ubiquitous thumb/flash drive that we can’t do without today is invented by a Singaporean!!!! Without him, we might still be using the bulky floppy disks! It’s a pity he didn’t get it patented in time, and lost out on the intellectual property rights, and with it, the tremendous amount of royalty he could have been entitled to…..otherwise, he could have been the Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg of Singapore!

Article 1a

Article 1b

Biased Media Reporting

An excellent current example on why the media cannot be trusted….some media companies have got political affiliations. In this case, the Al-Jazeera is funded by the royal family of Qatar that is sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt.

Note also the important example of the fruit-seller who set himself on fire – a video of which went viral on the internet and sparked off the Arab Spring. Al-Jazeera’s broadcast of this video on traditional media added on to the momentum of the revolution.

Sample Qn:
Can the media ever be relied upon to convey the truth? (Cambridge 2003)

Functions of Sport

Note some of these functions of sport...

Sample Qn:
Does sport merit the vast sums of money that are spent on it? (Cambridge 2010)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

SAF recruiting women

Yet another example how women are moving into jobs that are traditionally the domain of men....
note the REASON(s) for this...

Sample Qn:
The world of the future will be a woman's world. Do you agree?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Business with a Heart

Social Enterprise
Social Responsibility
Corporate Social Responsibility
Business with a Heart

Do the above terms still ring a bell? refer to these previous postings: Link 1 ; Link 2
 I happened to be having coffee with a friend this afternoon at this café that featured this big sign below. The café employs autistic people as waiters to provide them with a livelihood, resulting in an 'inclusive quality workforce'. This is an example of the increasing trend in business that embrace not just the profit motive, but also the 'give back to society' philosophy. Of course, this latter is good for their branding and can contribute to their profits too by making their business more popular.

Sample Qn:
Should doing business only be about making profits?

Stuff on Gender

Quite a few classes touched on the topic of gender these few weeks.....if you belong to one of them, it'll be good to read up all these related links which I'd posted some time back...most of the stuff I mentioned during lesson are from here:
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4
Link 5
Link 6
Link 7

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Price for Economic Growth in Bangladesh

Article 1 can be seen as a fusion of two recent incidents: the Rana Plaza Collapse in Bangladesh (see article 2), and the Forest Fires in Sumatra.
Note how the garment factories in Bangladesh are causing not just pollution of environment (just like the Sumatra forest fires), but also exploiting the workers via low wages and harsh or dangerous working conditions (jut like the Rana Plaza collapse).

Useful Points to bring away from Article 1:
-more than 1000 people were killed from the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh, an 8 storey building. In contrast, about 1,400 people died in the collapse of Tower One (of the World Trade Centre) in the 9/11 catastrophe! And this latter is a towering skyscraper! (for source, see article HERE)
-exploitation of cheap labour in 3rd world nations by MNC
-MNCs are more likely to attend to the welfare of workers, but Mother Nature usually always take the last priority.
-reluctance to contain damage on environment because of desire to save on utility costs in bid to maximize profits
-laws are there to protect workers and environment, but these are often 'toothless', not enforced due to the clout of the MNC (lack of political will on the part of the govt due to the country's need for foreign investments, corruption, bribery...)

article 1

article 2

Attitudes and Actions of Youths Online

If u recently did the HCI Prelim 2012 on Future of Mankind, this article can come in useful on the second part of the AQ regarding the attitudes and actions of ur generation....Note how the couple in question (one of them was even a law undergraduate, i.e. highly educated) were defiant even after their blog had been shut down. Incidentally, they were also the infamous couple who uploaded pics and videos of their sex acts online last year, with no hint of shame. The comment at the end of the article could be right in that this kind of online misbehaviour is a societal problem, not a law problem. But do take note that the couple did eventually apologise......
One reason you want to think of in relation to the rationale behind their action is narcissism and attention-seeking which are often linked to the social media, as on social media, one is also a content-creator, which allows you to upload content to a wide reach of viewers, gaining you instant celebrity status......

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Article related to 2005 Compre on Aggression

An excellent article here for those who did the Cambridge 2005 compre on Aggression. It confirms the writer's view that aggression can be beneficial as war can be an impetus to medical science, in this case, in the area of prosthetics (artificial limbs). Note also another more famous example (not mentioned in this article) that is a by-product of war -- the internet!!!
article 1a

article 1b

'Green Walls' Pic

In case u have no idea what's a 'green wall' (click HERE for an early post on this), here is it:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gender Articles.....

Article 1:
-Useful local statistics: women make up 44% of local workforce, but only 7.3% of board members in these companies are female in 2011.
-Note how our lack of manpower and talent means that we cannot afford to discriminate against the women.....
-companies whose boardroom has women tend to perform better? Why? (try recalling Hana Rosin's reasons in the compre we did)
-note the reasons given that constitute the 'barrier', i.e. glass ceiling

Article 2:
The example of Malala again...
-note how she can be used as an example to show BOTH women oppression and emancipation (rebuttal). She is a living example reflecting the plight of women in developing countries like Pakistan where girls are denied access to education, hence their consequent subjugation in society. But she is also living proof of women fighting back against oppression for their rights, hence providing hope for women emancipation. The role of the media is crucial here in her battle against the Taleban and in inspiring other women to turn against their oppressive culture.

Sample Qn:
1) 'Men rather than women face greater challenges.' Is this true today?
2) Women have it easier than men in today's society. Do you agree?
3) The world of the future will be a woman's world. Do you agree?
article 1

article 2a
article 2b

Work-Life Balance: Pros nd Cons

Sample Qns:

1) Is achieving work-life balance a realistic aim in your society? (NYJC Mid Yr JC1 2013)
2) How important is it for people to have balance in everything they do? (TJC Mid Yr JC2 2013)
3) 'The concerns of young people are often heard but disregarded.' Is this a fair comment? (AJC Mid Yr JC2 2013)

SAT Late Afternoon Class ALERT! -- Essay Outline on Gender Comparative Qn

Click HERE to access the essay outline for the qn we discussed just now:

'Men rather than women face greater challenges.' Is this true today? (SAJC Prelim 2011)