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.... :-)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Brunei aims to bring in more tourist dollars

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Some of the issues touched on include how religion/tradition of the country can hamper the growth potential of tourism can escalate the build up of infrastructure and attract investments that can benefit the locals, to the environment.....

Rohingya crisis takes a toll on tourism in Myanmar

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A good recent example to show how tourism is vulnerable to political turmoil in the country, whether it is terrorist attacks (think London, Paris ,etc) or in this case, ethnic cleansing....Along with the impact on tourism is the consequent effect on employment created by tourism...

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Death penalty part of anti-drug framework that works for Singapore: K. Shanmugam

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The latest comments by the govt on our controversial death penatly....

-Colorado State in the US legalised the recreational use of marijuana, and it's atttraccting tourists there (think how some tourism thrives in certain countries becoz they legalize or are lax on certain activity that are probihited or frowned upon in their own sex, child prostitution, gambling, alcohol, etc) Relate to last year 2016 Canbridge compre AQ on tourism

Colorado, which approved the commercialisation of medical marijuana in 2010 and legalised recreational marijuana use in 2014, has also become the No. 1 state for youth cannabis use

-how the death penalty paradoxically PREVENTS death!!!!
  "We do it reluctantly, on the basis that it is for the greater good of society... and it saves more lives." This includes the lives of families "ruined" by drug addiction.

A good example for the qn below on unpopular views....opening to discussion can allow the relevant stakeholders to hear our each others rationale that can possibly correct certain biases that we have which may go uncorrected if such an open debate is denied.....

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

Construction site of the future

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Latest high profile example of S'pore embracing technology...
You can read a related link HERE.

1. Should humans be hired when robots can do the job better? (PJC Prelim 2017)
2. ‘People in the workplace should embrace, rather than fear, technological advancements.’ Discuss. (AJC Prelim 2017)

Productivity loss due to sick leave to hit $3b by 2030

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Useful stats to note if u want to argue why robots are preferable than human workers, esp given our ageing population when S'poreans are expected to work till 65 or till they can't....Retirement age in the civil service may soon be pushed back to 67.

Qn: Should humans be hired when robots can do the job better? (PJC Prelim 2017)

Over 800 fall victim to scams on Carousell

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A good article to read for those doing the HCI Prelim compre on untruths where businesses engage in deceit...
note the reasons why this is rampant on the internet...

#MeToo, say EU's women lawmakers

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a case of how social media can be used to raise awareness and champion a worthy cause?

Indonesia's volcanoes serve as powerful tourist magnets

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I think there is another name for this kind of tourism... Instead of 'disaster tourism', it is also n=known as 'dark tourism' (I think)...where tourists visits places of tragedy like Chernobly, Fukushima, the Killing Fields -- locations which are the sites of great tragedies in history....the only difference for this article here is that tourists go to witness the unfolding of the tragedy -- NOT AFTER it has unfolded....
Recall the 2016 Cambridge A level GP AQ last year where a point in the compre passage says that tourism is vulnerable to natural disasters....The current impending volcanic eruption in Bali is driving loads of tourists away, but in a masochistic slant, we see how in this article that it is also attracting droves of tourists there!!!
It could perhaps be seen as a perverse twist on eco-tourism where the 'spelndour' or 'grandeur' of Mother Nature is used to attract tourists to a country....

Facebook put on the spot as Rohingya crisis goes on

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For qns on the downsides of technology, how tech can used to spread hatred, etc...and of course, how religion (or misguided religion) can cause pple to sow the seeds of hatred and commit atrocities....

Need medical help? Boot up a robot

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This helps to overcome the inconvenience of those patients who have mobility problems.. Distane is not so much a factor here unlike other coutnries which are very BIG.....but one key idea here is how the employment of technology allows the patients to stay -- and probably die --at home instead of in the hospital....

For those who did the RI prelim 2017 AQ on elderly care, try to factor this in....robots for be a good replacement for maids, esp if we want to reduce our reliance on foreign workers.... Japan is a leader in this field of using robots to care for its ageing population...

Qn: Should humans be hired when robots can do the job better? (PJC Prelim 2017)

Human or robot? Future of financial advisory

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Qn: Should humans be hired when robots can do the job better? (PJC Prelim 2017)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Why Singapore needs to make nuclear power work

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Many interesting arguments here, and all pertaining to the constraints of interesting idea that surfaced is how energy security can lead to water security, but not the other way can be used to produce fresh water either through desalination of seawater (with which we have access to plenty since we are an island, hence surrounded by the sea) or recycle via NEWater.

State govt says human error a likely cause

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

Singapore tourism doubled in 10 years, supports 164,000 jobs

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Useful stats: Singapore's tourism has doubled in the past decade to US$12.4 billion (S$17 billion) in 2016 and supports 164,000 jobs

The sector contributes US$7.6 trillion, or 10.2 per cent of global gross domestic product, and accounts for 292 million jobs. That is one in 10 of all jobs on the planet.

For qns on promoting tourism, esp with regard to job creation....

Qn: Should poorer countries develop their tourist industry when the basic needs of their own people are not being met? (Cam. 2007)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Pollution kills nine million people every year: Study

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Useful stats....

How tech is used to distance and dehumanise others

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Note the point about how technology removes the need for human contact, which can affect social cohesion. We are already glued to our screens when interacting with humans in our daily lives. Can you imagine how it would be like if service-providers are all replaced by robots in future? In fact, it's not even in the future, it's already here: when you withdraw money from the ATM, do transactions at AXS machines, internet banking, buying food from the vending machines....etc...

A society where daily transactions are conducted with machines and robtos is one where there is minimal human contact. This will lead to a society where people do not interact much with each other, one which is devoid of warmth and compassion and graciousness, and may even be a breeding ground for hatred towards certains groups as our bias against them has no chance to be cleared up since we have little opportunity to come into contact with them to really get to know them....
Qn: Should humans be hired when robots can do the job better? (PJC Prelim 2017)

Monday, October 16, 2017

500 firms hit by cheating scandal: Kobe Steel CEO

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This is reminiscent of the Volkswagon 'diesel-gate' scandal where a firm lies about the nature/quality of its products.....
Some countries may want to hush it up for fear of tarnishing the reputation of the country...but as mentioned, there is safety issues involved here as the steel is used for planes, bullet trains, buildings and even nuclear reactors.

Qn: To what extent should news media present views which are considered offensive? (MI Prelim 2017)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Kobe Steel scandal hurts Japan's reputation

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The Gist:
The industrial scandal engulfing Kobe Steel began to reverberate overseas as Japan's third-biggest steelmaker said its staff falsified data about the strength and durability of some aluminium and copper products used in planes, trains and potentially a space rocket.
For Qn below, think 'offensive' to WHO? MNC? Govt? public? consumers?
This incident is similar to corporate lying scandals like the Volkswagon 'diesel-gate' where they lied about their car's emission engine being environmentally-friendly to dupe consumers into buying their products...This is where the media has an important role to play as the 'watchdog' by exposing such clandestine workings to safeguard consumers' interest. So yes, even while it may be 'offensive' to MNCs (and hence affect their profit margins) and 'offensive' to country by tarnishing the brand/image of the country (for MNCs whose image is closely associated with the image of the country), there is still the case for the media to report such views in the interest of the public/consumers.
Qn: To what extent should news media present views which are considered offensive?
(MI Prelim 2017)

Singapore should now aim to be First World society: Lim Siong Guan

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I like the distinction made here about how Singapore may be a first world economy, but not yet a first world society; i.e. attained remarkable economic progress, but in some ways, still very much backward when it comes to social progress (think lack of graciousness, the way we treat LGBT, women, minority races, etc)

Note the idea that graciousness (like all relationships) is usually hard to legislate. You cannot use the law to make one love another, but you cannot create the environment to encourage this to happen:
-- In forging graciousness, the Government can merely facilitate, he said, by building more common spaces in housing estates, for instance. Responsibility lies with each person taking the initiative to befriend his neighbours in those spaces.

--the Chinese saying, san sui ding zhong shen, which means: "At age three, you know what a person will be like for life."

--Values like graciousness are more often "caught by example" than "taught by instruction"

Muslim preacher held for sedition after criticising sultan

Click HERE

Biased views, or valid observations?:
- "Chinese usually don't wash after they urinate or defecate. What about menstrual blood on their underwear? Or if they had hugged a dog, or spilled alcohol or food containing pork? If they want to enter a laundry, then just go to a normal one."

'offensive' (in the Qn below) should be regarded in a wider context, not just to government, but also groups like race, religion, LGBT, disabled, the low income, women, etc....
- Malaysia's sedition law prohibits discourse that sparks hostility towards other races, the rulers or the government.

Pertaining to Qn below:

- open the misguided and prejudicial view up to be challenged and debunked by the  public and have it exposed for the lie and bias that is its true face...the open debate about the biased view provides an opportunity for the truth to surface and this may actually end up with the public correcting their inital misconceptions

-the public (esp uneducated ones) might be swayed, resulting in a divided society, preventing social cohesion
-gives country a bad reputation internationally (think Saudi Arabia ban on female drivers) and might potentially deter tourists [note: ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia has very recently been revoked]

For an equivalent example in Singapore, think Amy Cheong, Amos Yee, etc.

Qn: To what extent should news media present views which are considered offensive?
(MI Prelim 2017)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Dove gets flak for racist ad

Click HERE

This ad kinda remind me of the other one selling detergent where a blacks guy emerges from the washing machine as a white guy....(see HERE)

Note also this one by Nivea mentioned in the article:
Earlier this year, German skincare company Nivea was slammed for a deodorant advertisement that said "White Is Purity".

For qns on humour, and advertising, how media perpetuates prejudice and stereotypes, the need for media regulation, etc....

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Consensus works best for Asean, say diplomats at conference

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Asean is often criticised as a toothless tiger due to its policy of non-interference and seeking consensus from all members

Qn: To what extent should foreign countries interfere in the domestic affairs of another country?

Free can be fatal, especially when it comes to news

Click HERE

Interesting read, especially how we are actually paying with our privacy when we access free stuff online....our browsing habits are actually monetised by the search engine companies as they sell our contacts to companies whose products match our surfing habits.....  Now you know where those spam ads come from....and why the same kind of ads keeps popping up when u log on into ur gmail....

Friday, October 06, 2017

'Oi what's going on. I'm alive', tweets Stefanie Sun

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Latest local example on fake news....

Link also to downsides of being  a celebrity...

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Climate change stumps Hollywood

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Note celebrity influence in films:
He used the star power of Leonardo DiCaprio for his latest environmental film, Before The Flood, which examines global warming in a way he hopes would inspire viewers to change their habits.

Note impact of the media in generating awareness and galvanizing pple to action:
hopes to see discussions generated via "more movies, more television, more music

Note futility of films in rousing people to actions on climate issues:
"It's not a very sexy subject and people just don't want to deal with it and think about it."
"As opposed to terrorism or drugs, there is no clear enemy with climate change," he noted. "We're all participating in the climate crisis - if there is an enemy, it's us. And it's hard to go to war against ourselves."
And when climate change is depicted on screen, it is often an apocalyptic vision that hardly leaves room for a hopeful human response.
"Typically, if you really want to mobilise people to act, you don't scare the hell out of them and convince them that the situation is hopeless,"
Copious research shows that this kind of dystopian framing backfires, driving people further into denial and helplessness.

Despite this futility, one could perhaps argue also that unlike issues on terrorism and drugs, precisely because we are the 'enemy' when it comes to climates issues, it makes it easier for us to effect the change. After all, it's easier to convert and start with ourselves than with other people....We may not be able to control and stop others, but we are perhaps more likely to be able to do so with ourselves.... no?

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

Smash stereotypes to close the gender gap

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According to ADB, a woman in Asia on average is paid 23 per cent less than her male counterpart. An Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD) report in 2015 found the situation was even worse in regional economic powerhouses South Korea and Japan - the two countries with the worst-paid female employees among 35 OECD countries, with the difference being 36.6 per cent and 26.6 per cent respectively.

In Vietnam, we have a saying that is in complete harmony with the Confucian principle of women being completely subjugated to men in the family: "As a woman, what makes you stand higher than other women is your husband."

Chinese business tycoon Jack Ma once said women were the "secret sauce" behind his firm's success.

Qn: In your society, how far is equality for all a reality? (Cam. 2012)

Mainstream media a 'serious-minded, responsible player', says DPM Tharman

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"The mainstream media in Singapore is not a free-for-all. Neither is it the heavily controlled media that some critics caricature it to be...."That is not how things are in Singapore - the media doesn't wait around for instructions and it doesn't excuse everything Government does,"
In some mature Western democracies, people have segregated themselves into media bubbles, both in the mainstream media and online, and public trust in the media is "at an all-time low".

Qn: Can the media ever be relied upon to convey the truth? (Cam. 2003)

Inclusive art sessions draw kids together

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Everyone can access art. It's not like reading and writing, where you leave out those who are minimally verbal.
"It's a blank canvas. Art shows that every child has a point of view... There's no right or wrong.

1. Can prejudice ever be eliminated? (Cam. 2011)
2. ‘For the majority of people, the Arts are irrelevant to their daily lives.’ How true is this of your society? (Cam. 2014)

Asean risks credibility over its 'silence' on Rohingya issue

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Note that the bedrock of ASEAN's founding principle is that of non-interference in the domestic affairs of another member country. Decisions by ASEAN must be based on consensus, i.e. collective agreement of all member countries. This is to ensure respect of sovereignty of member countries. Also, we may not be privy to the way things work in another country, esp one with a different cultural setting.
However, the recent Rohingya crisis has called into question whether this policy of non-interference among ASEAN countries is still justified. Malaysia, for one, has spoken out forcefully against Aung San Su Chyi's administration.

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

Catch iconic Singapore films, Asian spy flicks at film festival

Click HERE
Two good local examples:
 "I Not Stupid" ("the film was produced to reflect the reality of our education system and how it affects communication between parent and child")  and "TalkingCock The Movie" ("poked fun at current affairs and local politics, with segments such as eAhLong. com, about loan sharks")

1. Do films offer anything more than an escape from reality? (Cam. 2014)
2. Can humour ever be serious? (Cam. 2012)