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, September 28, 2017

Playing the role of me is not easy: Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West

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We discussed her recently in the AQ for freedom, privacy and security, where I mentioned that no privacy can compromise security (contrary to govt's position that we need to sacrifice our privacy to the govt to ensure our security). In Kim Kardashian's case, she was infamously robbed at gunpoint in Paris last year of $10m worth of jewellery, including her $4m engagement ring from Kayne West -- all this because she flaunted her engagement ring on her social media for the whole world to see, including the thieves.....

She is a good example of how in our social media age now, privacy is a goner as we are constantly exposing our privacy online -- voluntarily! The public and the private self are hence blurred, as everything previously private is not made public, as people realise that our private lives contain salacious details that can be used to whet the appetitie of online viewers and attract their eyeballs....Kim Kardashian brings it one-notch higher in this game as her family actually has a reality TV show ("Keeping Up with the Kardashians"  Lit and IB Students pls note the alliteration here!)watched by millions around the world, and it's now into its 10th year and 13th season!

But note that reality show, as well as what we show online on social media, can be said to be not totally real, but scripted, curated and selective bites of the real picture...hence, some amount of privacy can still be retained. We only showcase those versions of our private life that fits our agenda, in most cases, those that portray us in a positive light, but in some cases, those that are very 'drama' and gossipy so that viewers will tune in for more....which menas that some could be totally fabricated (think fake news) cos c'mon, REAL LIFE CAN BE BORING, so we gotta spice it up for the viewers to create entertainment value....

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

Many hail Saudi Arabia's move to let women drive

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Conservative clerics in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy ruled according to Islamic syariah law, have long opposed lifting the ban, arguing that it would lead to promiscuity. One of them even claimed that driving harmed women's ovaries.

For those who just did the humour compre and we discussed the effect of the word 'even'...can u see it in operation here in the quote above?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Controversial Singaporean graphic novel wins 'Oscars' of comic world

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Sonny Liew's "The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye"....

Compare this with Tan Pin Pin's  movie, "To Singapore With Love" which was banned in Singapore. Both works touched on the same subject, offering a version of Singapore's history that competes with that of the official narrative promoted by the govt....

For qns on humour, the arts, censorship...

For those who did the humour compre, this is a good example of the writer's point on humour being a powerful political weapon...a political satire that critique the govt....
In Singapore, there is the possibility that either the law will be used to suppress this (think censorship, bans, defamation suits, etc) , or funding will be withdrawn to discourage artists from engaging in such works....

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Asean Para Games: A most important moment for gold medallist Jason Chee

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Another local disabled sport example to add on to the likes of Theresa Goh and Yip Pin Xiu.....

Victory is needed to build self-esteem/ self-worth? :
"Winning this gold was the most important moment for me. I have waited so long to win the gold,"

Or is participation in / qualification for major competitions alone enough, esp for disabled since they know they can never be the best (against the 'normal' athletes) and that they're competing mostly against their own self (i.e. their own handicap)? Hence, earning a place to compete is already seen as a major achievement and a great milestone for themselves?

1. Winning is everything. Do you agree?
2. Consider the view that sport brings out the best in people.

Comic book to promote good habits

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Note how humour can be an effective vehicle for getting a message across, as it can capture one's attention:
The light-hearted approach to reach the hearts and minds of all, whether locals or foreigners....The illustrations and humorous situations depict commonplace faux pas that often seem to stem from a lack of knowledge......producing humorous television skits that could be incorporated into popular local shows

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

Donald Trump Mocks 'Worst Ever' Emmys Ratings on Twitter

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Note the use of humour here:
1) Emmy host Stephen Colbert using humour to mock Trump
2) Trump using humour (sarcasm) as a weapon to get back at his detractors

"I was saddened to see how bad the ratings were on the Emmys last night - the worst ever," the former Celebrity Apprentice host, 71, tweeted late Tuesday, September 19. "Smartest people of them all are the 'DEPLORABLES.'" -- Trump

Relate to functions of humour for those doing the humour compre recently....

Angelina Jolie's Cambodian genocide film deserves to be watched

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For qns on movies and celebrity influence...

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

Paths to peaks: University dropout lands $1.5m in funding

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-In the first year of his degree course, the younger Mr Shetty felt "frustrated doing theoretical stuff in university even though it was an applied maths degree". "I looked at the modules I was going to take. Even in statistics, the parts where we used real-life data were limited," he said.

-Still, he knew he had to put university on hold if he wanted to succeed with PlusMargin.
"For example, can anyone copy Grab or Uber now? It's a game of how fast you move, especially in the tech start-up scene. We could come in later and solve the problem as well, but there would be other companies which would have already built a substantial client base and we will always be a small company relative to them."

Qn: "There is little value in schools today". To what extent do you agree with the statement?

Arts groups organise activities to keep seniors healthy and happy

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-use the arts as a platform to engage persons with dementia in activities, connect them with their past experiences and to gain new skills.

-Making art raises patients' selfesteem and provides a way for them to connect with their families

Qn: ‘For the majority of people, the Arts are irrelevant to their daily lives.’ How true is this of your society? (Cam. 2014)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Analysts: Global match-fixing has strong Asian links

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Qn: 'Gambling on sport undermines its spirit and should be banned.’ How realistic is this position? (Cam. 2015)

Watch the movie first, then read the book

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I thought there is an interesting point to be made here...would u rather read or WATCH "Fifity Shades of Grey"? What about stories involving romping dinosaurs going on a stampede (think "Jurassic Park") and those with spectacular battle scenes (think "Lord of the Rings")?

Qn: ‘Any adaptation of a novel for film, television or the theatre is never as effective as the original’. Discuss. (Cam. 2016)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Spending money to buy time is worth every cent

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A useful idea to know for GP....

Qn: Wealth is no guarantee of a better life. How far do you agree? (TPJC Prelim 2017)

Indonesian police uncover 'fake news factory'

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How is this for an opening BANG!...a quote from Indonesia's President Jokowi about the internet scene in his country:
Vicious. That was how Indonesian President Joko Widodo described social media users in his country who, in recent years, have taken to the Internet to propagate hate speech, slander and fake news.

For qns on new media.....

Sunday, September 17, 2017

F1 successes go beyond the track

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-useful list of the benefits of hosting major sporting events for the host country....(see a similar link I posted some years back when S'pore first renewed the F1: Click HERE)

-Note the need to resort to compare/contrast to elaborate a point sometimes due to the nature of the point:
Fourth, the Singapore Grand Prix is not just for sports fans. Its wide appeal is on two levels, namely the accessibility of F1 racing as a sport and the multifaceted nature of the event itself. Tennis or golf tournaments, for example, appeal more to enthusiasts who are interested in the sport itself. However, the F1 race is a spectator sport for all, regardless of whether they know the teams, drivers or even the rules.

1. Hosting major sporting events creates more problems than benefits. Do you agree? (Cam. 2005)
2. Does sport merit the vast sums of money that are spent on it? (Cam. 2010)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Superman's new villains: White supremacists

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For qns on comics, cartoons, the media's ability to influence our mindsets and values.....

F1 a boon to economy but some activities need spicing up, say observers

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About S$150m is spent by Singapore in hosting the F1 annually.

1) heighten Singapore's international profile; putting us on the world map; branding exercise:
-"Hosting the F1 race gives Singapore greater visibility globally, given that it is a popular sport around the world....
-"It allows us to showcase the city and the beautiful skyline. As a brand, Singapore is associated with efficiency but we are also generally seen as a less exciting city than other places. F1 helps to increase the fun and excitement quotient for the country.

2)contribution to local economy via tourism and in giving local SMEs the credentials to expand abroad:
-Statistics provided by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) indicate F1's strong contribution to the tourism sector. From 2008 to 2015, the night race attracted a total of 350,000 international visitors, generating an average of $150 million incremental tourism receipts annually.

-about 90 per cent of Singapore Grand Prix's race organisation being sub-contracted annually to these SMEs....."Over the years, these companies have reaped economic benefits and also built capabilities, gained exposure and established new business opportunities as a result of being involved in race-related work, and some have expanded their business overseas."

-The money spent on organising the race goes back into the Singapore economy and not out of the country; there is a recycling effect."

1. Hosting major sporting events creates more problems than benefits. Do you agree? (Cam. 2005)
2. Does sport merit the vast sums of money that are spent on it? (Cam. 2010)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

What a woman learnt from interviewing 100 convicted rapists in India

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The writer draws a link between societal upbringing (and with it the inculcation of traditional mindset and values) and the rape culture in India:
"Men are learning to have false ideas about masculinity, and women are also learning to be submissive.... a lot of these men don't realise that what they've done is rape. They don't understand what consent is"....

For qns on the harms of tradition and culture....

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Physical campaigns in politics still matter in social media era

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This doesnt just apply to politicians, but any relationships where you want to earn the trust of the other party and foster greater bonding....There is a limit to how much technology can accomplish in of its limitations is that tech cannot give us the sense of touch, which is very crucial in giving assurance to the party you are trying to reach out to, be it an affirming hand-shake, an affectionate kiss, hug, pat on the shoulder or a friendly slap on the back......This is why politicians cannot be complacent behind their screens but have to walk the ground to interact and meet with the people, esp during weekends when people are not cooped up in their office but roaming the public areas...not forgetting the Meet-the-People sessions on certain weekday evenings....
Making reference to something I mentioned in class recently, the politican's workload is not visibly lightened just because technology is available....

Debate over double-edged sword of technology

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Note the limitations of technology,,,it may solve the probblem at the surface level, but do little to address the root cause, which is our character or attitudes or behaviour...:
-- although the technology may help manage undesirable behaviour, it may not change the mindset that causes the behaviour.

-- "A sense of civic-mindedness has to do with attitudes towards others, which is perhaps better addressed through education at the formal and informal level

--it was important for people to "internalise" social values so that the use of smart devices would not make them careless, irresponsible and lazy.

Qn: 'Despite our rapid technological advancements, we have not improved our lives.’ Do you agree? (CJC Prelim 2016)

Asia's ageing population: A golden opportunity for business

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Qn: Longer life expectancy creates more problems than benefits. Discuss. (Cam. 2016)

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Social media 'can be a bane and a boon in politics'

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1) when it is nasty
-Two women speakers recalled being threatened with sexual violence by people who disagreed with them
2) perpetuates misinformation
-due to its spontaneous nature and its lower, or even non-existent, thresholds of verification
3) prompts hasty judgment
-cues users to pass immediate judgments on complex issues that require more thought and deliberation
4) build echo chambers
-These are "chambers" which lack diverse viewpoints because people over time block from their news feeds what they dislike to hear....echo chambers do form, with opposing sides on an issue pushing each other further apart, worsening polarisation.
But without social media, people could end up living in worse echo chambers, consuming only from media outlets that reflect their own biases. Social media at least allows for some "incidental exposure" to contrary views.

1) forges more direct and authentic connections
It also has the potential to build more direct and authentic links between voters and politicians, making the latter more accountable and responsive.
The German government does this well by using social media as a two-way channel. It tries its best to answer questions posted on its Facebook page...Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who would post a photo on Facebook and ask Singaporeans to guess where he had taken it...."That's a personal touch which I really enjoy. We do have the impression that he can connect with people, and he's just one of us," ....

2) projects underrepresented views
- provides a platform for disadvantaged or minority groups and viewpoints to get organised and be heard ... Egyptian protesters in the 2011 Arab Spring using social media to communicate and avoid the government crackdown.

Qn: To what extent can social media influence politics?

Mainstream media can take on social media and stay ahead: Panel

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"For democracies to survive and to work, it's absolutely critical that you have a good source of reliable information... fair, impartial, objective,"
-Note how the proliferation of fake news led to the undesried outcomes for Brexit and the US Presidential Election...

Note the potential pair of rebuttals the past, people tend to turn to social media for the truth as they do not trust the traditional media, esp in countries where the govt controls the info on traditional media. But today, probably due to the proliferation of fake news online, people tend to distrust social media and are doing a U-turn to traditional media to verify the rumours circulating on social media...:
Malaysians typically dismiss traditional media outlets as propagandists. He attributed this to what he described as the Malaysian government's heavy media regulations, which he said have eroded trust in the mainstream media.
But the opposite was true in Thailand, said Mr Suthichai, and Thais have turned to traditional media to verify partisan views and stories making the rounds on social media . "Social media has empowered the existing traditional media in a big way. People come to us to get verification," he said.

Qn: In the digital age do newspapers still have a role in your society? (Cam. 2011)

Monday, September 04, 2017

Solar-ready roofs for new HDB blocks

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Putin warns of large-scale conflict over North Korea

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1. How far would you agree that social inequality is the primary cause of conflict in the world today? (CJC Prelim 2016)
2. 'The use of force is the only way to resolve conflict.' Do you agree?

Friday, September 01, 2017

Six dead as floods hit Mumbai

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Yet another example of flooding -- a natural disaster that can be traced back to human activity:
"It pointed to how continual building activity, such as the reclamation of land, had led to the choking of waterways. Reclamation of land had been carried out to link the seven islands that form Mumbai. The Mithi river, a major drainage channel of Mumbai, has become increasingly clogged with plastic and other solid waste."

Qn: Assess the view that most natural disasters are the result of human activity. (Cam. 2016)

Harvey, the storm that humans helped cause

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Obviously, some extreme weather events are unrelated to climate change. But a growing number appear to be related, including many involving torrential rain, thanks to the warmer seas and air.
"The heaviest rainfall events have become heavier and more frequent, and the amount of rain falling on the heaviest rain days has also increased....

Here's another interesting reason why human activity is to blame:
In Houston's particular case, a lack of zoning laws has led to an explosion of building, which further worsens flooding. The city added 24 per cent more pavement between 1996 and 2011, according to Professor Samuel Brody of Texas A&M University, and Houston wasn't exactly light on pavement in 1996. Pavement, unlike soil, fails to absorb water.

Qn: Assess the view that most natural disasters are the result of human activity. (Cam. 2016)