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.... :-)

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Beijing vows to get tough on polluters

Click HERE
Not much reasons given as to WHY Beijing is doing this, but plenty of HOW it is doing it, mostly about how to ensure laws and regulations (which are already in place) are strictly adhered to and not compromised by corruption....and this caught my eye:
"stop viewing environmental protection as a burden and to remember that the growth-at-all-costs policy is a thing of the past.... China is now seeking slower but quality growth as part of the new normal advocated by President Xi Jinping. We need to recognise that we are at a new phase now and to start viewing environmental protection as a catalyst for our economic restructuring and upgrading efforts, instead of an impediment,"

Qn: In your society, how well are the demands of the economy and the environment balanced? (Cam. 2015)

Drug confession is a bitter pill to swallow for sporting superstar

Click HERE
Note how the closing BANG (which is tinged with sarcasm and supports the writer's stand in condemning Sharapova) echoes the Opening BANG (which uses lyrics from a musical)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Articles on how S'pore is greening itself...

Click on the links below to access:

1) How-trees-can-cut-your-air-con-bill
Note that technically speaking Gardens by the Bay and other gardens and parks are man-made, i.e. not natural. So you can't use them to argue the point about preserving the natural habitat of fauna, and the idea of retaining biodiversity.
But they do help Mother Nature/environment in the sense that they contribute to fighting global warming, in three ways: 1) by absorbing greenhouse gases 2) cooling effect generated when water evaporated from their leaves 3) resulting cooling effect means air-con doesn't have to work so hard to cool your room, so less energy consumed, hence energy conserved, hence less greenhouse gases emitted from power station
Note other uses of greenery:
Besides cooling the air and being home to wildlife, it relaxes the mind and acts as a natural noise barrier.
"It even acts as an effective flood alleviation mechanism," he added, citing the ability of vegetation to retain water.

2) Buildings-can-play-part-in-green-fight

Qn: In your society, how well are the demands of the economy and the environment balanced? (Cam. 2015)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Family's failed bid to sue SAF sparks debate

Click HERE
a recent local eg for the qn below...

"By allowing the conversation to be a free-for-all, handled without nuance outside of the context, generalised conclusions can be quite easily arrived at, with detrimental consequences."

Qn: How far, in your society, should unpopular views be open to discussion? (Cam. 2011)

Japanese director alleges that beloved children’s anime Doraemon is “banned” in France

Click HERE
What's the world coming to!!!! Doraemon is banned in France!!! And this is France we are talking about, supposedly one of the most progressive and liberal countries in the world, not some backward society mired in some outdated ideology.
The next thing you know, Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse and Barbie will be banned... As a matter of fact, Barbie was banned in Iran for its threat in transmitting undesirable and corrupt Western values to young children... (see HERE)

The alleged reason for banning Doraemon is that boy's over-reliance on Doraemon each time he encounters a problem -- the danger of fostering a crutch mentality in children.
But read the rebuttal here from fans:
" in the show, more often than not, Nobita-kun’s over-reliance on Doraemon‘s gadgets just end up getting the pair into more trouble until Nobita-kun learns to confront problems on his own"

Useful as a catchy BANG for qns on censorships and cartoons, and superheroes?

Tennis: Maria Sharapova warned 5 times about banned drug

Click HERE
So she LIED after all!!! It's NOT an's sheer greed, the desire to win for fame and all the money involved in sponsorships that cause people like her to continue to take drugs despite knowing it's illegal. So at the end of the day, she is just another Lance Armstrong.....The angel has fallen from grace......
Given the above, please ignore my posting at HERE

Tourist drags swan out of lake for a selfie, reportedly leaves it for dead

Click HERE
That's tourism for you! Can you hear our poor Mother Nature screaming?
Now try to imagine tourists in Australia trying to squeeze their kids into the pouch of kangeroos and wallabies for a photoshoot, or giving the koalas a suffocating hug at their bosoms, cutting off their oxygen supply in the process....

Qn: ‘For the sake of the planet, tourism should be discouraged.’ Discuss. (SRJC Prelim 2014)

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Network of CCTV cameras proving effective

Click HERE
CCTV is a useful eg of how science&tech can both help as well as inconvenience us. It has helped to ensure safety, yet comes at the expense of our privacy and freedom...Think the use of CTV to monitor maids at home.

-police's nationwide push to have cameras in every HDB block by the end of this year.

-it can be used to cut down on need for manpower an address manpower crunch in Singapore (reduce need for human traffic police, police patrollers,

-possible 3-part argument using the 'up-sized burger' method in paragraph development:
SV: CCTV can deter undesirable acts
OV: [REBUTTAL] " surveillance, if effective, tends to displace the behaviour to other locations rather than change the behaviour." [remember to keep this middle layer of OV short]
SV: [COUNTER-REBUTTAL] Still, cameras can be useful as one tool among others....They can help create the habit of proper behaviour - which can then be reinforced with education about "communal norms of right and wrong...Fear of being caught by camera surveillance inculcates a habit, and if the person is educated with the norms, the camera will then subsequently remind him of the norms".

You can think of the OV as being true in the short-term, but in the long term, the SV is still valid, i.e. evaluating according to long term vs short term.  

Qn: To what extent has technology had an impact on both privacy and security in your country? (Cam. 2009)

Gay bashing signals Indonesia's growing intolerance of minorities

Click HERE

I thought this was quite funny:
"The award for the most ridiculous statement goes to Mr Arief Wismansyah, the mayor of Tangerang township adjacent to Jakarta, who said eating too much instant noodles can lead to homosexuality. Incidentally, whether he is aware of it or not, Indonesia is the world's largest producer and exporter of instant noodles."

This may be an exaggerated example, but it can shed some light on the qn below...people often hold misguided and wrongheaded notions about certain issues or people. Only open discussion of such topics can allow the misperceptions to be dispelled. If there is a blanket ban, then there will be no chance for such perceptions to be clarified and people will continue to hold on to this bias, thinking it's the truth.

Qn: How far, in your society, should unpopular views be open to discussion? (Cam. 2011)

Life with plastic, not fantastic

Click HERE

Filling the information vacuum responsibly

Click HERE

Qn: How far, in your society, should unpopular views be open to discussion? (Cam. 2013)

Populists and the dumbing down of politics

Click HERE
Use for:
1) social media's role in degenerating democracy into populism
2) critique of it can throw up ill-suited leaders like Donald Trump and Italy's Berlusconi (a womanizer). There's also been cases in the past of a professional clown and a porn star voted into parliament in Brazil and Italy respectively!  

Tennis: Sponsors ditch Maria Sharapova after revelation of failed drug test

Click HERE
Barring further developments of Sharapova being deliberately dishonest, I see her case as similar to Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei. In both cases, they are found to have taken banned substances. But there are mitigating factors we can use for rebuttal. They took the banned substances for health reasons without realising it was on the banned list (Lee Chong Wei took it due to a shoulder injury or something), and it was an innocent oversight on their part as the list of banned substances include stuff that can be found in many ordinary things out there (i.e. you won't realise unless you check very carefully ).....
This is arguably a different category from those of the likes of Ben Johnson, Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong, who took banned substances knowingly, with the full knowledge and intention that it will help enhance their sporting performance.

For sports issues concerning athletes taking drugs, you can thus argue that the statistics does not mean that all of them are due to a lack of morals and sportsmanship. 

Of course, for those who do not support Sharapova, she joins the ranks of Lance Armstrong as an example of celebrities who are not good role models and do not deserve the benefits (esp financial ones) that are enjoyed by celebrities.

Qn: To what extent should celebrities be treated differently?

Oil stays above US $40 mark

Click HERE

Qn:  Should there be any controls over the production of energy when the need for it is so great? (Cam. 2015)

Iran defies sanctions with missile tests

Click HERE
The nuclear agreement US signed with Iran last year gives hope that diplomacy can be effective in fostering peace. Iran agrees to cut back on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.
But as this latest episode shows diplomacy is not a silver bullet. While it appears to abide by the nuclear deal, it continues with its missiles programme on the sideline. This, in spite of the sanctions imposed on it by the US.
Use this eg to evaluate on the effectiveness of resolving conflicts (esp those involving rogue nations like Iran and North Korea) using these methods:
1)diplomacy and talks
2)imposing sanctions and trade embargoes

One of the reasons for the failure is perhaps that some nations see US/UN's attempt to control their weapons programme as an infringement on their sovereignty, esp their sovereign right to defend themselves.

Qn: To what extent are international efforts effective in resolving conflicts?

Sunday, March 06, 2016


Click HERE
A student introduced me to this website this morning....What I find useful about it is that it's a discussion forum on LOCAL issues, providing u with much-needed content for those 'in your society' P1 qns and ur P2 AQ.
Every issue comes with a short background, and you can either just read the comments of others or give your two-cents worth....all responses are categorized under the two sides of the issue like the balance required of a GP essay....
So do make time for it and try participating in the discussion to hone ur GP skills....

Friday, March 04, 2016

The seduction of the simple

Click  HERE

Some points u can walk away with, with reference to the qn below:

open discussion is not about getting people to agree with you (though it is a bonus if they so), but to inform people WHY you (e,g, the govt) made the unpopular decision that you did, so that even if they still disagree with you after hearing u discussed it, at least now they know WHY u did it. It could also be that after they hear your explanation, they might agree with u. Either way, both support the need for open discussion of unpopular issues:
Citizens need to be informed and by that, I do not mean that everyone should always agree. I am saying that agreements or disagreements must be fact-based, reasoned, premised on mutual respect and a recognition that an opposite position may also have claim to legitimacy.


can lead to this, which is non-constructive:
Complaining is a low standard of democratic involvement. But hiding anonymously behind a keyboard and banging out opinions, slander, expletives, invective and accusations is no standard at all.

Qn:    How far, in your society, should unpopular views be open to discussion? (Cam. 2013)

Beijing goes pop to engage millennials

Click HERE

 useful for qns on music, social media, cartoons and the arts in general....

1.   Do the arts, such as music and literature, really play a significant part in Singaporean society? (Cam 2005)
2.   'For the majority of people, the Arts are irrelevant to their daily lives.’ How true is this of your society? (Cam 2014)

Many flights to catch rare sight of solar eclipse

Click HERE
It is this excerpt from the link that caught my eye:
Common myths about eclipses
In ancient times, eclipses, both solar and lunar, were associated with bad omens. Before the science of astronomy emerged, early civilisations across Eastern and Western cultures interpreted them as supernatural phenomena.
In those times, it was common for the apparent disappearance of the sun - the primary source of life - to cause panic. A common interpretation involved animals or demons devouring the sun. The Vikings thought solar eclipses were caused by wolves eating the sun, while the ancient Chinese believed a dragon was devouring it.
In other tales, mischievous elements were supposedly trying to steal the sun or moon.
Eclipses still have an impact on certain religions today.
In Singapore, the four temples under the Hindu Endowments Board (HEB) will be closed for services during a lunar eclipse that is expected on March 23.
Temples across the island have been informed of the eclipse times by HEB as well, in order for them to observe the necessary religious procedures during the event.
Ng Keng Gene
The above provide useful examples for discussing how certain natural happenings that used to be explained by religion are now given a scientific explanation.
Note that religious explanation of natural phenomenon can sometimes lead to superstitious beliefs that can cause man to harm others, e.g. attribute the bad omen to an innocent person, sacrifice virgins or children to appease an angry god, etc.
1.     ‘Human actions should be based on scientific fact, not religious faith.’ How far do you agree with this statement? (Cam. 2015)
2.     The more science advances, the more religion will decline. To what extent do you agree? (Cam. 2008)

Ah Boys To Men star Noah Yap jailed for taking cannabis

Click HERE
A useful example for celebrities doing bad we no longer have to keep using Jack Neo's extra-marital affair as an example.....

Qn:  As long as people in the public eye do their job well, does it matter what they do in private? (Cam. 2009)

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Singapore must keep removing glass ceilings for women

Click HERE

Consider also the impact of this ad on the minds of viewers....

No doubt social perceptions may render certain jobs suitable or unsuitable for a particular gender, but campaigns can override this.....

Qn: Consider the view that some careers are better suited to one gender than the other. (Cam. 2012)

Influencing and changing mindset using campaigns and the media

Chanced upon these ads by S'pore's TAPEC (Tripartite Alliance for Fair and progressive Employment Practices):

Qn: Can prejudice ever be eliminated? (Cam. 2011)

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Winners speak up on pet causes

Click HERE
useful quotation for BANGING:
'the most existential crisis our civilisation has ever known' -- that's how Leonardo DiCaprio describes climate change.

you can also BANG using his movie "Revenant", for which he won an Oscar for Best Actor...this movie is like Stephen Chow's "The Mermaid" -- both touch on the theme of environmental destruction/protection.

Note also the idea of how celebrities are not just about looking good and prancing in front of the cameras for us to ogle at. They can harness their celebrity influence to bring attention to and galvanise support for important socio-environmental causes...

Qn: Do films offer anything more than an escape from reality? (Cam. 2014)