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, May 25, 2016

Group pushing to save Dakota Crescent

Click HERE
Yet another article that can be related to nostalgia...
It is nostalgia (a yearning for the memories of the past) that makes us custodians of our heritage....instead of demolishing to make way for new structures....

Note though the limitation faced by Singapore mentioned at the end of the article -- land scarcity and duplication ...

1) How important is it to preserve our cultural heritage?
2) Consider the value of nostalgia.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lego toys becoming more violent: Study

Click HERE
Yeah... next thing you know, the demure Barbie will shed her gown or apron and starts wielding a sword, morphing into Xena the Warrior Princess.....Wait a minute, there's already a Xena doll in the market!

Note how LEGO defends itself towards the end of the article using the concept of 'conflict play'....

Also interesting to me is the mention of humour to temper violence....I find this to be quite true in cartoons today....Compare Transformers with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dragon Balls. In Transformers, you get a kind of 'raw' violence (is it true?), but in the latter two, there is still violence, but this is diluted through the use of humour. The Japanese are probably best in doing this, being experts in using both violence and humour simultaneously in their anime productions....

For Qns regarding violence, humour, toys, childhood and business...

Qn: Should profit be the sole objective when it comes to doing business?

Weighing environmental diplomacy against sovereignty diplomacy

Click HERE
an excellent recent example involving Singapore regarding international cooperation (the Transboundary Haze Pact)....sometimes, international cooperation may fail due to infringement (or perceived infringement) of the sovereignty of nations due sensitivity to these other nations and how their people feel must be taken into account....

Qn: How effective is international cooperation in addressing problems of today?

Monday, May 23, 2016

China's new cultural revolution led by Chairman Money

Click HERE
For those doing the nostalgia AQ, here's something if u want to write about the article, term 'Maostalgia' was coined ,i.e. nostalgia towards the period of China under Chairman Mao, which was characterized by the Cultural Revolution.....
The writer is of the opinion that being nostalgic towards the Mao era could be dangerous, as it is like asking for a second Cultural Revolution, which has been largely seen --even among the Chinese authorities today -- as a 'mistake'. The point here could be a distorted or inaccurate perception of what the past (which one is nostalgic towards) is actually like.....

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Compre Qn Type 2 revisited....

I discussed compre Qn Type 2 in an earlier post: see HERE

Please do NOT confuse these two question types:

(1)Why does Trump use the phrase 'China is raping the US' ?
(2)Why does Trump say that China is raping the US?

(1) is a language qn requiring the effect of the phrase or the writer's intention in using the phrase; whereas (2) is a content/factual qn requiring material from the designated paragraph, or (in the absence of any) your inference using any logical reasons.

Possible answers:
(1) because he wants to emphasise the exploitative behavior of China over the US in trading, make the reader sympathize with the US, as well as register his disapproval towards China over its treatment of the US in trade.....
(2) because under the current trade agreement, China's goods sold in the US enjoy tax reliefs, but many goods from the US are either banned in China or heavily taxed. (NB: this need not be factually correct; I'm just coming up with something to show you how this is a content qn requiring a content answer, which is either culled from the passage or inferred)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

How was the GPS born?

here's an interesting nugget of info...

overheard on the radio this afternoon on BBC.....apparently, the GPS (Global Positioning System) that's so prevalent today is the result of the army using it to ensure more accurate bombing during war!!!
So we have another example of how spending on military weapons and research is justified as a lot of the technology we have for civilian use today has their roots in military use...think also of examples like the internet, drones, fuzzy logic.....
If u have done the 2005 'A' level compre on aggression, one point made by the writer Arthur Woolgar is that aggression can lead to benefits, as great milestones in technology are made during war times, and the example he mentioned was the invention of the jet engine during the world war.....

Qn: Examine the extent to which expenditure on arms and the armed forces is justified in the modern world (Cam. 2014)

Russian doctors and athletes ‘switched urine samples’ at Sochi Olympics

Click HERE

This gives you some details regarding the alleged state-sanctioned doping scandal concerning Russia, in which we are told how athletes' urine samples were switched even as they were fed on a diet cocktail of drugs.....
Other than the relevance to sports questions, there is also the angle about the whistle-blower bringing to our awareness the 'dirty business' going on under the counter....and the media's role in bringing to light wrongdoings....

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Football: FA condemns fan violence

Click HERE

An example of violence in sport caused by fans.....

Qn: There is too much attention on sport nowadays.' Discuss.

Reducing carbon footprint requires everyone's effort

Click HERE
Contains examples of measures taken by the govt in S'pore to curb carbon emissions...
For the Qn below, note that 'environmental problems' is not just carbon emissions, but also deforestation, pollution, causing animals to become endangered, and lack of fresh water .....

Note this goal of S'pore:
Singapore made a commitment ahead of the Paris Agreement to reduce its emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise emissions, with the aim of peaking around the same time.

Qn: 'The government is key to solving environmental problems.' How far do you agree?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Compre Question TYPE 2

1. Trump claims China 'raping' US with unfair trade policy (click HERE)
2. Ex-House Speaker calls Ted Cruz 'Lucifer' (click HERE)

still remember the compre qn type 2? let's comes with any of these three phrasings:
a) what does 'XXX' reveals/suggests/implies...?
b) what is the effect of using 'XXX'?
c) Why does the writer use 'XXX'?

Why does Trump use the word 'raping' to describe US's trade relations with China?
What is the effect on the voters when the ex-House Speaker labels Ted Cruz 'Lucifer'?
What does the use of the word' Lucifer' suggest about Ted Cruz or the writer's attitude towards him?

ANSWER TYPE: usually would include some of the following:
--emphasise (... )
--meaning of 'XXX' (direct vs implied)
--reader's feelings (what they want readers to feel)
--writer's feelings (what feelings/attitude/bias of their own that they want to reveal to the reader; could be either intentional or unintentional)
--context under discussion

Possible answers:
Trump uses the word 'raping' as he wants to emphasize the unjustness of China exploiting or taking advantage of the US in trade relations; to make the reader feel that China is the bad guy blah blah blah so that they will vote for him; to register the writer's disapproval/criticisms of China

The main idea to note here is that when a writer uses certain word(s), they do so DELIBERATELY to create certain meaning or effect that they want to achieve. Your job is to realise this and then EXPLAIN what is the intentions they have behind their choice of word(s).....

Security forces on alert as Filipinos pick president

Click HERE

'Comelec commissioner Luie Guia told reporters: "We are receiving reports that everything is being used to buy votes, not only money. It could be (plastic) basins, groceries."
At least 15 people have died in election-related violence'

While the recent election in Singapore comes across as quite mild in comparison, there have been accusations of the PAP engaging in 'gutter politics' of 'character assassinations' of Chee Soon Juan by respected figure of the local arts community, Neo Swee Lin (Phua Chu Kang's mother). There was even an online petition on this....
And don't get me started on the US....all that Trump's talk about 'building a wall' to keep out the migrants and muslims and Mexicans.....and China 'raping' US.....Not a very pretty scene...
But I must say the Philippines one takes the cake....just re-read the excerpt above ....And by all accounts, the Filipinos are gonna pick as their President someone who made a sexist joke on rape (see earlier post) and who threatened to burn the Singapore flag!!!

Qn: Consider the view that efficient government is more important than democracy. (Cam. 2011)

Putting the interests of the people first?

One way to learn in GP is to compare parallel situations in other parts of the world and then compare with Singapore, and then asks yourself WHY we are the same and/or different from them....In recent weeks, the media is abuzz with reports of countries round the world holding elections, the recently-concluded by-election in Singapore notwithstanding; think the US, the Philippines and Sarawak.
Note also how democracy is executed in these various countries and both positive and negative effects....

1. Residents trust PAP to look out for their interests: Murali [Click HERE]
2. The politics of charm (in the Philippines) [Click HERE]

Regarding the Qn below which some of us discussed during lesson, the crux of the issue lies in the definition of 'interests of the people'.
Giving emphasis to people's interests may strengthen their trust in the govt, but it may also erode this trust if the people's perception of their interest does not coincide with the govt's definition of the people's interests. And if the govt interpret 'placing the interests of the people first' as giving the people what they want, such a populist govt will bring about the ruin of the country.

Qn: 'A good government should always put the interests of the people first.' How far do you agree?

Want to be taken seriously in US politics? Be funny

Click HERE

Qn: Can humour ever be serious? (Cam. 2012)

Hooked on white rice, but some ready to change diet

Click HERE

potential good BANG using an interesting stats:
a bowl of white rice contains more sugar than two cans of soft drinks!!!

Qn: The key to good health is lifestyle rather than medicine. How far do you agree? (Cam. 2010)