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.... :-)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

9th Night Festival aims to dazzle the imagination

Click HERE
The Singapore Night Festival -- a good example of the arts, and how the arts can be a tourist magnet.

For Qn 2 below, note that usually, it is modern art (as opposed to traditional art) that is more captivating and appealing to the audience due to its potential interactive nature....esp the increasing use of colourful LED lights in art installation, adding to the dynamism instead of something passive and static....Click HERE for an example of such a light installation artwork from today's Life Section.

1.     For the majority of people, the Arts are irrelevant to their daily lives.’ How true is this of your society? (Cam. 2014)
2.     Only modern architecture and modern art have a place in today’s world. How far is this true of your society? (Cam. 2011)
3.   'In societies that are technologically advanced, there is no room for the artist.' Do you agree? (TJC CT3 2016) 

North-South Corridor tunnel works to affect Ellison Building

Click HERE
Time to update your examples....other than Bukit Brown and the more recent Cross-Island Line (CRL), here is another instance of heritage building making way for a major expressway.

Qn: To what extent is it important in your society to conserve cultural heritage?

Values and Sportsmanship in SPORTS?

In answer to the question in the title above:

1) YES! Click HERE
2) NO! Click HERE
Note that the education of values (of which sportsmanship is one example) is not confined only to the competitors, but also to the spectators. For all Qns on sport, unless the qn specifically says so, otherwise, don't forget to consider the issue from the perspective of the spectators, non-competitive participants (i.e. leisure sports participants), and host country, apart from the obvious angle of the athletes/competitors.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Worries raised over limits on speaking freely about cases

Click HERE
For some background context to this article, click HERE

A new law has just been passed in Singapore that has the potential to curb free speech...

Some validity behind this law is the fear that the media reports of the discussion can prejudice the court, resulting in a miscarriage of justice -- what is called 'trial by the media'

But the passing of the bill is yet another example of how the free speech space in Singapore is getting smaller and smaller.....Note however, the minister's defence of the law....

Compare also with the Online Licensing Scheme in Singapore, that requires websites with more than 50,000 unique visits per month to place a $5000 deposit with the MDA, which can request the site owner to take down any posts it deems objectionable -- a disguised form of online censorship?

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

We need to talk about race issues, says minister

Click HERE

fear of offending others, getting flamed online, being seen as racists.....all these, while maintaining a semblance of racial harmony on the surface, have actually not brought about true racial acceptance....

Frank, open discussion is needed to get true info, understand each other better, correct racial stereotypes and prejudices in our path to real racial acceptance....Even if untrue and prejudiced views are thrown up in the process, let it be so, as this will provide the opportunity for them to be challenged and exposed as lies and for people to realise their misconceptions.... This is the position taken in the Carlie Hebdo incident in Paris some years back, and very much a US attitude towards freedom of speech too (as opposed to censorship). Such a position will advocate the removal of the Sedition Act that discourages racial discussion in Singapore....

Or will, as the govt has long deemed, the open discussion of racial/religious issues likely lead to more fissures in our society?

Or has our society reached the stage of maturity and is now educated enough to partake in rational discussions that will alleviate prejudices?

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

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Free from tyranny of choice

Click HERE

Note the colourful phrase in the title....

Excerpts from article:
-It seems that the more choices I am offered, the choosier, and more dissatisfied, I become.

-in the modern world, we are so bewildered and overwhelmed by choices that the only way we can find freedom and contentment is to temporarily limit them, to voluntarily give some of them up for a time.

For those who have done the 2004 'A' level compre on choices, make the link....
Think also about difficult choices like abortion, euthanasia.....
But what about choices like democratic election (think Brexit), future spouse, career choice, our dress code (think women in Saudi Arabia)...?
And now that we can intervene in nature (think cloning, genetic engineering....) to make choices about ourselves or our children, is it a good thing? Note that technology empowers us by allowing us to make choices, whether by providing info or linking us up with others thru the internet, or more invasively, by manipulating with our genes.....

What about religion? What if our religious faith forbids or restricts our choices, consequently robbing us of our freedom to choose? Think religious taboos like no pork for muslims, no conversion to other religion (punishable by death under syariah law), no LGBT, no pre-marital sex, no contraceptives, no stem-cell research, no blood transfusion for Jehovah Witness, etc.....

On a last note, when at McDonald's, do you prefer to go just for the fixed set menu, or do you prefer the latest version where they allow u to mix and match to ur liking? What about Subway Restaurants?

1. Do choices actually make our lives better? (VJC Prelim 2015)
2. ‘Human actions should be based on scientific fact, not religious faith.’ How far do you agree with this statement? (Cam. 2015)

Thursday, August 04, 2016

New Note7 scans iris for added security

Click HERE
It wasn't too long ago when Apple came up with the finger-print recognition locking mechanism for we have the biometric lock from Samsung. Just goes to show you how strong the impetus for innovation competition can be.....

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

2. Competition is the key to success. Do you agree?

UN agency urges airports to prepare for climate change

Click HERE

A useful eg for the qn below...possible point could be that predicting trends helps us to anticipate upcoming problems so that we can use the lead time to come up with the solutions to mitigate them, such as by upgrading infrastructure.....

Qn: Is there any point in trying to predict the future trends? (Cam 2013)

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Najib makes call to reject foreign intervention

Click HERE

Note the various examples mentioned by Najib where foreign intervention has not improved the situation....Note the various reasons he gave against foreign intervention:

"We have seen the devastating results of foreign intervention in the Muslim world, often based on incomplete, wrong or partisan information. We must make clear that we reject it," he said.

Mr Najib said while leaders must work to resolve their problems and issues together, they must also insist on respect for their own sovereignty, laws and democratically elected governments. [as opposed to letting foreign institutions intervene in domestic politics and perhaps even installing a puppet government that cater to the interests of these foreign powers...]

Obviously, if you find Najib to be corrupt, then the argument will swing the other way.....having foreign intervention is useful for exerting pressure on the corrupt government to come clean and be accountable for its actions, much like having a UN watchdog making sure everything in the house is clean. Incidentally, ex-PM Dr Mahathir is trying to do exactly that -- getting the influence of foreign media and Swiss Banks? to unseat Najib by exerting pressure on him to come clean on his alleged corrupt involvement in the 1MDB scandal...

Qn: Does the presence of a foreign power ever help a country with problems? (Cam. 2008)

Use of Big Data at odds with privacy

Click HERE

Quotation for Banging: "Data is the new 'oil' of the 21st century."

Note the opening BANG using an interesting anecdote, but avoid this kind of 'narrative recount' type of anecdote in ur essay intro unless u can keep it short.....
Note how the drive towards a 'smart' nation may not be so smart after all if looked at another perspective....

1.     To what extent can the regulation of scientific or technological developments be justified? (Cam. 2014)

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

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

An ambitious breaker of glass ceilings whose goal is to become prime minister

Click HERE

interesting term: not glass veiling but 'a sheet of metal'!!!

She once compared herself to US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, famously saying: "Hillary used the phrase 'glass ceiling'. It's often a sheet of steel in Japan."

Monday, August 01, 2016

Former minister Yuriko Koike elected as Tokyo's first female governor

Click HERE

Another good recent example of a female who shattered the glass ceiling, coming after Theresa May of the UK and Hillary Clinton....
As seen in the extract below, she is a good example of how having a female at the top will bode well for the welfare of women in society. Being a woman, she will be able to empathise more with those of her gender and understand their needs and plight better, and have a greater impetus to advance their interests......The rebuttal to this is Margaret Thatcher, who has been accused of not doing much to advance women's progress in the country during her reign as Britain's PM. 

"Visibly moved, her voice cracked as she alluded to shattering a glass ceiling in a country that traditionally ranks low in gender equality indices.
She told her supporters: "I will firmly advance pro-women policies that can lead to a better, happier Tokyo." Her top priority, on this front, is to ensure there are enough places in childcare centres. A shortage has led to over 8,000 children being placed on waiting lists in the capital."

Qn. The world would be a better place if more political leaders were women. What is your view? (Cam. 2013)

Europe's vital tourism sector another victim of terror attacks

Click HERE
For those who just did the tourism compre AQ, this article clearly shows how the tourist industry is highly susceptible to terror mentioned in the comore passage....The volatility can also be due to natural disasters like earthquakes, the haze, military coups, zika virus, etc....