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.... :-)

Friday, April 28, 2017

Shanmugam rebukes academic over remarks

Click HERE

Interesting thoughts on how the law should be a reflection of prevailing social norms and attitudes...

"criminal penalties should reflect public opinion, but that this does not equate to bowing to public pressure........when deciding what conduct should be criminalised, and the appropriate range of penalties that should be meted out for different categories of offences."

1) the failure to repeal the Penal Code 377A in Singapore that penalizes sexual acts between males
2) the controversy over the hudud law in Malaysia
3) controversy of syariah law in Malaysia and Indonesia
4) the recent arrest of the old man who sexually harrassed an Amercian on the MRT, and the middle-aged couple who bullied an old man at the Toa Payoh hawker centre by 'choping' a whole table to themselves with an umbrella.....

Do note that if people lose faith in the law in delivering justice (whether in over-delivering or under-delivering), they may resort to vigilantism (esp online ones) to ensure justice is meted out according to their wishes. What will result are disrespect for civil law and chaos and anarchy!

Cabinet changes: Two women ministers in Cabinet for first time with Josephine Teo's promotion

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Useful local political examples for gender qns. There will now be two full female ministers in the Cabinet:
1) Grace Fu: Minister for Culture, Community and Youth
2) Josephine Teo: Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

S. Korea losing Chinese, Japanese tourists

Click HERE
The volatility of the tourist industry is a well-known point, despite its lucrative trait. South Korea is now seeing an impending gip in tourist arrival as :

1) Unhappy with South Korea's decision to deploy an American missile defence system on a site south of Seoul, Beijing has imposed curbs on goods and services from South Korea, as well as Chinese tours to the country. As a result, the number of Chinese tourists to South Korea dropped 39.4 per cent last month from a year ago, South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said.

2) As for Japanese visitors, a previous increase has been nipped as a result of escalating tension on the Korean peninsula, with fears that North Korea is preparing for another nuclear test.

Keep in mind other contributors to the volatity of tourism: economic recession, terrorist attack, natural disaster, diplomatic spats btw countries, and in the case of US currently, the hostility towards migrants/foreigners, esp Muslims. If you are a Muslim or Chinese, you probably want to give the US a miss as a travel destination, given the deepset prejudice against such people.

For Qns on the viability of tourism for a country's economy.....

Old shops make way for new trends

Click HERE
Another useful local example with an excelllent point for the qn below....If you did the compre on ttraditional buildings, try to relate this to the AQ too....

Another trend: traditional shophouses - double-storey units with a commercial space on the first floor and a residential area on the second - are now a dying breed. The rise of centralised malls and town centres, which are also built by the HDB, has also directed traffic away from traditional shops.

Qn: Consider the view that traditional buildings have no future in your society. (Cam. 2016)

Oldest Hindu temple in Singapore

Click HERE
A useful lical example for the qn below....
Note that 'traditional' does not always have to mean the age of the meaning, i.e. old building. It can refer to the design of the building being traditional even as the building itself is actually newly-built, e.g. The Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (also in Chinatown, near the Sri Mariamman Temple)

1) Places for traditional (esp. religious) activities:
This ensures the continued existence of traditional buildings

2) Tourism:
Tourists seek out things that are 'different' from their home country:
She said: "It was nice... It's a whole different world and very different from Europe, which is mostly dotted with churches and cathedrals."

Qn: Consider the view that traditional buildings have no future in your society. (Cam. 2016)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Push for more efficient building techniques

Click HERE

For qns on the benefits of technology....note how it can be used to help Singapore overcome its lack of manpower problem...But note the drawback (i.e. possible rebuttal via limitation) -- the cost factor. However, this can be rebutted by having the govt coming in to subsidise and how cost will go down in the long run due to economies of scale which can be reaped as demand for the new building technologies picks up:

For one thing, the new technologies are more expensive. For instance, The Wave cost $35 million to construct. Traditional methods may require more workers, but are cheaper........
For costs to come down, more companies must use the technologies, said the BCA, which has the $800 million Construction Productivity and Capability Fund to subsidise such initiatives.
"This is a demand and supply problem," said Dr Keung. "When you have more of such projects, you have an economy of scale and, over time, costs will definitely come down."

Monday, April 24, 2017

Old buildings that are now gone....

Further to my entry earlier on old buildings and the compre and essay we have done on this topic, take a look at the following pics:
1) The old National Library building, which was demolished to make way for a vehicles tunnel opposite SMU. Many have fond memories of this place, but it's gone now, even though u can still see photos of it, and some pieces of its bricks integrated in the SMU building opposite it.

2) The National Theatre, which no longer stands there (in River Valley Road, near Clark Quay). But on its spot is a sculpture indicating its former presence, and of course photos of it in the archives are aplenty. Are are they the same as the real thing?

Photographer spent 30 years capturing old HDB estates

Click HERE
For those who just did the compre and essay qn on conservation of old buildings, this article illustrates just what those old buildings stood for....But most are gone now, and together with them, the memories of the people associated with those places, and the bonds they have with the land, and probably the ties they have with the country of that land....

Note also the role of phogotgraphy and the arts here in capturing our past and heritage, in fostering our sense of belonging to a past that we may have forgotten, or which exists before we were born....

Some would argue that the old buildings can be demolished to free up soace for new taller buildings in land scarce Singapore....After all, they can be documented and preserved in photographs and art exhibits in museums and the archives, so there will still be something to remind us of the past...but can these be as effective as the real physical buildings to trigger our fond memories of the past? photos and the arts cannot be a perfect replacement of the real thing in triggering nostalgia....

a. Photography has little artistic value today. Is this a fair comment? (NYJC 2015)
b. Can your society do without the Arts? (SAJC 2015)
c. Consider the view that the arts will play a more significant role in your society.
(TPJC 2015)
d. ‘The Arts should play a significant role in your society.’ How far do you agree?
(JJC 2015)
e. Consider the view that traditional buildings have no future in your society.
(Cam. 2016)

Push against contentious Lebanese rape law heats up

Click HERE

If the law is unreasonable and unfair towards the criminal, perhaps we can argue that criminals should be shown greater leniency. For example in Syriah law where the punishment is disproportionate to the severity of the crime committed -- left hand is chpped off is caught stealing; caning if females caught driving in Saudi Arabia; stoning to death for adultery; death for homosexuals and those who converted their faith from Islam......
But the argument can also swing the other way if the law is unreasonable not towards the criminal, but towards the victim, as is the case here in the article, where the rapist get away unpunished if he marries his raped victim. In an ironic twist of logic, he criminal gets 'rewarded' for committing a crime.....

Qn: To what extent should compassion be shown towards criminals?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

7-year-old boy imitate cartoon character by jumping off a building with an open umbrella!

For those classes whom we did the question below recently, note that influence do not come from parents alone, but also from friends and the media. The one in this article is a colourful one for BANGing in your intro and conclusion, but can also feature as an example in ur elaboration. I suppose this jumping from high floor with an umbrella can be inspired by the Joker from "Batman" too, or was it the Penguin? And who can forget superman? Every kid who has watched superman probably has tried tying a large towel round their neck as a cape and jump off the bed or somewhere high! Just dont jump off a tree or building! I've read in an article last time about a kid who killed his classmate with a knife, and when probed on why he did such a ghastly thing, he replied that he thought it would be like in the cartoon he had watched on TV, where the guy who was killed "resurrected" in no time! And he had thought that the same would happen to his dead friend!

By the way, for those who can't read Chinese, the article is as the title above says -- a boy jumped off the 5th floor of a building with an open umbrella as he was trying to imitate a cartoon character.

Qn: "Parents have much influence on the lives of their children." Do you agree?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Great Barrier Grief as bleaching cripples reef

Click HERE

A good example of how the desire for economic growth (via tourism) can spur the country to protect Mother Nature....and that both ecnomic and enironmental needs can co-exist....

Qn: Environmental concerns and economic growth cannot co-exist.
Do you agree? (Cam. 2011)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Can't help being a Pinocchio parent

Click HERE
We did a compre AQ on this not too long ago...try to relate this article on the need for untruths sometimes when it comes to parenting....
The innocent children's world is one of sugarplums and fairy dust (as epitomised by the tooth fairy and of course, Santa Claus!), and has no place for terrorists....

Qn: Should the truth always be told?

Real men do cry

Click HERE

Men often have this macho iamge to protect, so have to supress emtions and not shed tears, which can be a torture, unlike women, who are 'permitted' to shed tears, being creatures of the fairer sex. In fact, tears are even a 'weapon' for women! But times have changed...who can forget that classic image of LKY shedding tears on national TV upon announcing S'pore's divorce from Malaysia? And of course, thanks to the Korean Wave, shedding tears adds brownie points to a guy.

Qn: 'Women have it easier than men today.' Do you agree?

Doubts over effectiveness of Khmer Rouge trials

Click HERE

Examples like this article or Hitler's killing of Jews deserve little or no sympathy for the perpetrators due to the severity of the crime cases like these, probably fairness and justice is not so much about reforming the criminal (coz they're beyond reform, these coldblooded murderers!) but about giving emotional closure to the victim (if still alive), or more importantly, closure for the loved ones of the victim. Something must have been seen to be done to the perpetrators for there to have been any sense of justice being delivered, and this 'something' cannot be just compassion but an act that is unpleasant or can cause suffering for the perpetrator. Criminals should not be seen to be able to get away scott free after the terrible things they have done. This is the notion behind the revenge theory of punishment.
Other than reform/rehabilitation and vengeance, consider also deterrence, education of public/social morality as rationale and objectives behind punishment and justice.

1. To what extent should we show compassion to criminals?
2. 'The focus of the criminal justice system should be on reform'. What are your views? 
3. Too much attention is given to criminals; not enough to their victims. Is this true?
(Cam. 2005)

United will stop using cops to eject overbooked passengers

Click HERE

Note the impact of the video clip (visual image, not just words, as evidence) that went viral (extensive reach of the internet) that is instrumental for this fiasco...

Note other examples of bad publicity in the left panel of the article...BreadTalk is one of them too....

Qn: ‘There is no such thing as bad publicity.’ To what extent is this true? (Cam. 2015)

Video consultations rolled out to cut hospital trips

Click HERE

Note the importance of such service given Singapore's:
-manpower crunch
-ageing population

1. How effectively is public health promoted and managed in your society? (Cam. 2015)
2. Does modern technology always improve the quality of people’s lives? (Cam. 2006)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Thai man’s viral post about farang girl’s stinky feet on van headrest raises questions about behavior

Click HERE

Caucasian tourist behaving badly...
Relate to any tourism essay qns as well as the tourism AQ (last year's 'A' level compre)  -- ignorant or insensitive to local sensitivities.....:

"In Thailand, feet are considered extremely dirty and should not be placed near other people or pointed at them."

Recall also the incident a couple of years ago where six Canadian tourists strip naked for selfies at the summit of Mt Kinabalu -- a scared mountain to the locals...this is akin to going naked in a holy shrine!!!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

NEA rubbishes fake message claiming used tissue left uncleared leads to $200 fine

Click HERE

Here's another local example of fake news that is good for BANGing due to the humour....

Singapore goes dark and green for Earth Hour

Click HERE

Note how the sport events here can be a platform for environmental messages....Ohter examples of sports that carry meaningful social messages:
- Great Eastern Women's Run to raise funds for Breast Cancer Foundation
-Yellow Ribbon Run about giving ex-convicts a second chance

Daily Mail 'Legs-it' front page criticised as 'sexist, offensive and moronic'

Click HERE
With competent women in positions of power, the problem is that the media/people are sometimes more interested in discussing/criticiszing their looks instead of their policies/ability. Political discourse/discussion thus becomes trivialized....This can be unfair to the female politicans as their competence gets sidelined or overlooked as people are more interested in their appearance.
Of course, the men get this too, with famously goodlooking politicians like JK Kennedy and the current Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. But women tend to be judged more harshly -- as the fairer sex, they are expected to be beautiful i.e. seen as sex objects.

1. Evaluate the claim that equality of opportunity for females is a desirable, 
but unrealistic goal.  (Cam. 2016)
2. The world would be a better place if more political leaders were women. 
What is your view? (2013)

Nuclear power: More bad than good

Click HERE

People in Singapore spend over 12 hours on gadgets daily: Survey

Click HERE

USeful stats to know...and note the consequences....

Fake news leads to Bata losing $158k in a month

Click HERE

here's the hilarious example of fake news on Bata shoes...never knew that shoes can be halal!!!

Qn: ‘There is no such thing as bad publicity.’ To what extent is this true? (Cam. 2015)

Examples of falsehoods in Singapore and other countries

Click HERE

note some of the useful examples here on fake news...

If I were you, I'll definitely try to remember this one: "WikiLeaks CONFIRMS Hillary Sold Weapons to ISIS... Then Drops Another BOMBSHELL!"

and of course, the hilarious one on BATA shoes.....

Fake news: Current laws 'offer limited remedies'

Click HERE

More women should break glass ceiling, says Chuan-Jin

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-"The aim is for women to hold at least 20 per cent of board seats on Singapore Exchange-listed companies by 2020, 25 per cent of seats by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030. Currently, women hold 9.9 per cent of directorships."

Superhero versus princess divide aids gender bias

Click HERE

-"Gender stereotypes can lead to the expectation that women, not men, should take charge of caregiving and housekeeping."
-relate to the media and a diet of fairytales in childhood...

-"Policies - for example, significantly more maternity leave than paternity leave - may also reinforce the mindset that women are in charge of caregiving,"

Qn: Evaluate the claim that equality of opportunity for females is a desirable,
but unrealistic goal. (Cam. 2016)