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General Paper 2008 Prelim Examination Paper 1. General Paper 2008 Prelim Examination Paper 1. Adrian Samuel Bell. Adrian Samuel Bell B’Ed (Hons), M.A, MSc . General Paper 2008 Prelim Examination Paper 1 18 th September 2008. Adrian Samuel Bell B’Ed (Hons), M.A, MSc .

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general paper 2008 prelim examination paper 1

General Paper 2008Prelim Examination Paper 1

General Paper 2008Prelim Examination Paper 1

Adrian Samuel Bell

Adrian Samuel Bell

B’Ed (Hons), M.A, MSc.


General Paper 2008Prelim Examination Paper 1

18th September 2008

Adrian Samuel Bell

B’Ed (Hons), M.A, MSc.


1.“Giving people a voice only makes matters worse”. What are your views?

Key words:

“Only”: absolute - Students would be expected to refer to situations where giving people a voice has made matters better

“Matters”: Very wide - Students would be expected to consider that ‘matters’ include a wide variety of issues (not for example just their freedom / liberty) and that these ‘matters’ range from the relatively insignificant to those which they deem to be crucial.


Students should show some understanding of the term ‘Giving people a voice’ in the question and that it refers essentially to the right or opportunity for the general public to express a choice or an opinion.

Hence these two elements should be apparent in their essays:

a) Expression of choice

b) Expression of opinion



This is a global question. Students should not confine their answer exclusively to Singapore.

Moreover, it is crucial that students make reference not only to a variety of countries in their answer examining examples and policies but that they recognize that ‘giving people a voice’ is an integral part of a democracy but that not all countries are run along democratic lines.


To gain higher marks:

Students would be expected to comment that not every society is organized along democratic lines hence in communist or fascist societies for example the governments may take the attitude that giving people a voice may be un-constitutional and could make matters worse. Hence in such societies, edicts at the governmental level would by default prevent any potential benefits from the giving of people a voice to emerge.


As an option it is important to allow students to argue that it is not a matter or ‘worse or better’ but whether it is worse to the point where the ‘better’ are nullified.

It is important to allow students to argue that ‘make matters worse’ may be to different degrees

– worse could range from inconvenient to even riotous and revolutionary.


c) It is important to allow students to argue that it may be worse in some areas while being simultaneously better in other areas.

(eg. could inconvenience the prevailing government while bringing benefits to the country as a whole – as in President Marcos of Philippines – for him ‘people power’ was inconvenient and troublesome and eventually lead to his downfall – making matters worse – but for the people it resulted in more democracy and they believe it made matters better.)


2. Does education cause the death of innovation?

Key words:

‘Death’: final and absolute

‘Education’: broad – includes both formal and informal, many levels and types -:

Students would be expected to refer to:

Situations where education may result in the ‘death’ of innovation

Situations where education may stultify innovation but not kill it

Situations where education may actually lead to improved innovation



This is a global question. Students should not confine their answer exclusively to Singapore.

Students could examine some of these reasons for education being perceived as leading to a death in innovation.


Possible approaches:-

Will cause

  • educational systems usually encourage conformity to certain norms
  • school rules, examinations
  • subjects focused on in schools are usually content-heavy
  • schools mainly focus on subjects like math, science, humanities

Possible approaches:-

Will not cause

  • although subjects may be content-heavy, skills emphasized encourage higher-order thinking
  • problem-based learning, experimental learning
  • in order to innovate, one needs to have basic knowledge and understanding of concepts that schools focus on
  • math, science, economics concepts are useful foundations to draw on in “thinking out of the box”

May affect innovation but not necessarily cause the ‘death of innovation’

Where education restricts or limits innovative thought in that it promoted convergent thought - by making it difficult for the innovator to think divergently – this may still result in innovation but could delay the process.



Students should be expected to at least refer to the changes required to make innovation more viable in schools – while the questions refers to whether it causes the ‘death’ of innovation - nevertheless it is crucial that they at least consider the ramifications for education

– i.e. how education can actually encourage innovation – because this question is NOT just referring to the status quo of what is happening now – but of what CAN HAPPEN.


3. Examine the claim that patriotism is of little value in modern times.

Key words:

‘Claim’:Something that is not necessarily true and is open to intepretation

‘Patriotism’:Can be defined as the love / loyalty one has for his country. It is NOT nationalism where one feels that his nation is better than all other nations.

‘little value’:It is not worthless, but with respect to other things, it is not worth as much


The importance of ‘values’ as they can affect attitude and behavior should ideally be commented upon in a cause and effect relationship.

Values should be referred to assubjectiveand students should comment that they vary across people and cultures.

Types of values includeethical/moralvalues,doctrinal/ideological(political, religious) values,socialvalues, andaestheticvalues.

Better students may point out that it is debated whether some values areintrinsic. Whether patriotism is intrinsic inparticular is highly debatable even within the same societies.


“modern times”:

The context is set to the present or ‘now’.

Students must focus predominately on modern times and those who give a clear and relevant definition of what they mean by modern times and who follow up by consistently referring to and keep within that definition - should be rewarded with credit.



Students should be given credit if they point that patriotism means different things to different people


Possible approach:-

The main focus of the question should be for students to attempt to argue or defend the value of patriotism in the modern times.

Question student should attempt to answer include why is it important to be patriotic as opposed to not being so.


Students should also bear in mind that patriotism requires one to put the interest of the nation above oneself.

With rising individualism people are increasingly putting themselves and their interest before the interest of the nation.


With the advent of globalization, making countries more connected and allowing even greater mobility and opportunities for people to leave one’s country to move on to another country where there are greater chances for one to enhance their standard of living, is there any value left in patriotism?

Arguably, monetary gain outweighs the loyalty one has for his or her country. The world is controlled by economic progress, what one can do, and not what one feels for one’s country.


The best essays will recognize that it may be the case in some societies but less so in others and that even at the individual level people will vary in the way they perceive and value patriotism.


4. Is there a justifiable need for wild life?

Key words:

“Justifiable need”: Can we defend why we need wildlife now? The context is presumably in the present.

“Wildlife”: Not necessarily wild animals. It can also mean wild plants or any organism tat is not kept in captivity or domesticated.


Possible approaches:-

This is a very area-specific question. Students need to display rich knowledge about the forms of wildlife and why we need them.

Students who write about the need for wildlife conservation is only answering part of the question.

Students who discusses the important work of wildlife organizations (Greenpeace, WWF and UNESCO) and the various work they do, is deemed to have not answered the question, as the question does NOT require a discussion about the various conservation efforts.


The best essays will recognize that it may be the case in some societies some people may be skeptical of the need for some wildlife

– especially farmers whose livelihood is threatened by encroaching wildlife while some people will even prioritize wildlife above the need for humans!

Most will put wildlife on parity with humans. In the end students should point out that it largely depends on a person’s values.


5. Is the cost of developing a national identity too high?

Key words:

“National identity”:the national identity of the individual requires his/her understanding and commitment to the nation. The focus is on becoming effective members of a society.

“Cost”:economic terms, moral terms, general social terms etc. (not just economic)

“High”:in that it affects other things



Assumption 1 underlying “comes”: We are still developing a national identity.

Assumption 2 underlying “too”: There are problems that we encounter in the process of nation-building. More importantly, these compromises are not worth it.


Possible approaches:-

  • Why we need to develop a national identity
  • How we develop a national identity

>Problems of developing a national identity


Possible pitfalls:-

> Examples of problems encounted without doing a cost-benefit analysis- and thus not addressing the work “too” (especially in the case of the student who agrees with the extreme statement and does not challenge it.


The best essays will recognize that it may be the case in some societies the cost – economically and otherwise is too high as slows productivity, enrages ethnic groups and may even lead to some people feeing their liberty is at stake (eg ID Cards) . In the end students should comment that it depends on the society, the government and the people’s values.



Students may make the mistake of only or almost exclusively discussing economic (monetary) terms and this would have to be penalized with the maximum mark being a mere pass (max content would be 15/30)


6. Morality has taken a backseat today. Discuss.

Key words:

“Morality”:should be defined – possible definition is the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct or a system of ideas that fall into those same categories

“backset”:secondary position in terms of inferior or of low status

“today”:should only discuss the present (past and future may be referred to as a comparison but must not be the dominant tenses)


Students may compare the factors that take the corresponding ‘front seat’ when morality takes the ‘backseat’.

These may include:-

1. Materialism and hedonism

2. Sexual license and debauchery

3. Criminal behavior



Students should avoid the temptation to simply blame globalization for the likelihood of morality taking a backseat.

Students may refer to television and its effects on morality but this should not form the main basis of their essay.


7. We have bred a world of ‘little emperors and empresses’. To what extent is this true?

Key words:

“Little”: students should refer mainly to young

“To what extent”: students must comment at where it has not happened as well as where it has happened as well as how some parents and governments avoid this occurring while others seem to allow and even encourage it.

Issue: whether youths today are spoilt and this is our fault


1. The vagueness of the terms ‘emperors and empresses’

- should be defined in the introduction, failing which, the essay tends to go off-track.

Many in fact happily saw the term as a “fill in the blank” activity and inserted any idea that came to mind.


For instance, many scripts discussed materialism in children, proving beyond reasonable doubt that children are indeed materialistic. And hence conclude that we have bred a world of emperors and empresses.

Throwing in the word ‘hence’ doesn’t automatically mean that you’re answering the question.


2. Similarly, links are unclear mostly.

Why would dual-income households result in spoilt children? The cause-effect relationship isn’t that clear-cut unless you explain the missing links


3. Scripts also lack concrete evidence.

Many fall into the trap of narrating what is happening.

“I once saw a boy asked his maid to tie his shoelaces”. “I see children crying in toy stores.”


1. Use of tense –

Question asks definitely if “we HAVE bred…” But many scripts discussed if “we WILL breed”.


2. Awkward stand

“We have bred a world of emperors and empresses in developed countries largely; but as underdeveloped countries do not have the ability, we have not bred a world of emperors and empresses.”


3. Negative connotation intended in the question not demonstrated also.

Some candidates simply discussed if children are living in luxury.


Balancing paragraph:

Yet, we have not bred an entire world of ‘little emperors and empresses’. In fact, children are having it worse off than those in the past. Hidden behind all the seemingly favourable environment mentioned above, is stress and pressure that today’s children are buried under.

In a poll by The Sunday Times (Singapore), nearly half of primary school children says that they do not have enough sleep due to heavy schoolwork commitments.


Such commitment and the necessity to perform well academically create immense pressure for children in Singapore, who work very hard to match up to societal expectations.

Furthermore, children in less developed nations are even treated like slaves.


The chocolates that people enjoy may be made by child slaves in African cocoa factories; our sport shoes may be made by child labourers in Indonesia; or children of poor families in India may be forced into prostitution - all these just to make ends meet.

Therefore, there are children across the world who do not portray any self-centredness nor arrogance, and are in fact working very hard to survive.


8. Is the importance of censorship overrated today?

Key words:

“Censorship”: about the control/regulation of objectionable material in society.

“Overrated”: deemed more highly than it deserved


Candidate must be able to evaluate (from ‘overrated’) the importance of censorship.


Students may wish to bring out the point that censorship is over-rated in that it is often ineffective and is thus a waste of time – if this is the case then it has to be deemed over-rated given the amount of hype and money that goes into censorship.


8. History has shown us that crime never pays. Do you agree?

Key words:

‘History’: past events

‘Crime’: violation of law; a grave offense especially against morality; criminal activity

‘Never pays’: absolute term; leads to a negative consequence, has no merit (usually considered in the perspective of the perpetrator)

Examiners have commented that they prefer to see ‘Do you agree?’: behind the script – one who is individual and personal. As such students would be expected at least in part, to relate their answer to their own individual values and life



Some students may refer exclusively to economic gain when the question is broad and includes all types of possible gain.

Students fail to discuss a range of crimes and confine themselves to Internet crimes.


10. ‘Divorce has become a modern epidemic.’ Discuss.

  • Two key aspects of the nature of epidemics.
      • 1. Spreading rapidly and extensively
      • 2. Widely prevalent

Students must attack this question with reference to it being a GLOBAL phenomenon and this allows them to give examples from several countries.

They may or may not argue that it has become a modern epidemic in all or in just some or one.


The focus must be on whether these reasons have contributed to divorce becoming a modern epidemic:-


Over ninety percent of couples that responded to polls admitted to arguing over money at least once, while only thirty-four percent cited money as their major problem, but most of the thirty-four percent conceded that other problems did exist in conjunction with their monetary woes.



This was a frequently mentioned problem, but solid data is inclusive because many spouses were unsure if other problems would or would not correct themselves if the abuse did not exist.



Since physical causes are considered rare, most of the dissention in the bedroom realm stemmed from improper attitudes about sexual relations. A notable amount of cases considered sex to be the single largest problem in their marriage, citing a range of problems from prudence to infidelity.



Understandably, many marriages that ended after a short period of time regarded lack of adult behavior as the intolerable trait of a spouse.



Excessive demands placed on one spouse by another drew a line slightly toward the feminine side, but interestingly, stepchildren and natural children were found to be the objects of envy as well as the usual rivalries.



Although violence was cited in less than five percent of the cases studied, the actual figure is believed to be higher because of men’s reluctance to admit they had been a victim of domestic abuse.



Younger age groups complained about in-laws far more often than forty and above age groups. The most common complaint mentioned by couples was meddling, followed by excessive demands.



A fairly recent addition to the list of top causes of divorce is the unrealistic expectation of what marriage is supposed to be. Now being referred to as the "Hollywood Myth" because it is believed that the increasingly distorted view of marriage is a result of motion pictures that focus on the romantic side of matrimony


11. ‘Art is an individualistic expression.’ How far do you agree with this statement?

Key words:

‘Art’:A huge area of discussion. It can range anywhere from Literary arts, performance arts and visual arts. It is the student’s responsibility to narrow the scope of discussion.


Note: -

Students may make either of these definitions of art :

The manipulation of space and time with any form of artistic expression that results in an aesthetically communicative experience.

Art as a realization of passion - passion of the creator of art.


Better students may recognize that some Art may be appreciated by the audience yet remain individualistic in the sense that it is an expression of the artist’s individuality.

This is a subtle different and an important point that should be rewarded with credit.



Students cannot only discuss ART as painting - when it refers to all types of ‘the arts’

– Art in reality should refer to a diverse range ofhumanactivities, creations, and expressions that are appealing or attractive to thesensesor have some significance to themindof an individual.


The word "art" may be used to cover all or any ofthe arts, includingmusic, literature and other forms.

It is most oftenused to refer specifically to thevisual arts, including media such aspainting, sculpture, andprintmaking. However it can also be applied to forms of art that stimulate the other senses, such asmusic, anauditory art.


12. Advancements in science have forced us to rethink our values’. Comment.

Key words:

‘Advancements’: plural - refers to technological as well as intellectual progress.

‘Rethink’: The essay should not be on how our values are threatened but to discuss how the new developments require us to reassess our traditional values.

‘Forced’: pressure due to multiple reasons – desire to conform as well as moral and real dangers.


‘us’ – (global question) -developed as well as developing countries with various political systems

‘values’ – a group conceptions of the relative desirability of things – what we consider to be important .


Report on Examination Performance November 2007

Centre Number: S3022

Centre Name: Anderson Junior College

Syllabus: H1 General Paper Syllabus/Component number: 8806/01


Planning and Introductions

On this component, quality of a script is often indicated by the strength, or otherwise, of the introduction.

Planning is a very important factor in achieving this, but there was sometimes insufficient evidence from the scripts themselves in the sample that candidates at this Centre were spending fully adequate time on this.


Planning and Introductions

A plan is a means of setting out the main points of the argument and ‘sowing the seeds’ of a coherent argument. The introduction can then establish the areas of discussion that are to follow.


The introduction must reflect the key points of the content paragraphs with definitions and the explanations of key words if necessary.


Less successful scripts tended to fall down immediately in the area of having grammatically secure openings.

For example, one candidate’s opening definition of the ‘environment’ needed to much more clear, succinct and accurate to give the examiner confidence in what was to follow:

‘Not only does it includes the concrete jungle that we are familiar with, it also involves natural environment such as mountains, woodlands, oceans, including all the wildlife that lives in these places are part of our environment.’


The danger of too many points in one sentence

Similar problems could be seen in some other candidates’ more ambitious openings where a clearer, crisper style would have been much more successful rather than a sentence such as the following:


‘This is because advertisements highlight the ‘greatness’ of the god in question as well as it engages well-known figures in society in order to create that sense of want in the consumers.’

Here the linking phrases attempted to draw together three distinct ideas within a single, vague sentence: quality, celebrity and desire. And effective introduction is not over-long nor repetitive. Whilst it is good examination technique to refer to the wording of the question, this should not be overdone to the extent that the script loses a personal approach and becomes relentlessly formulaic.


Candidates are always advised to choose their question carefully and then ensure that they have specific points and examples to ‘ground the material’ in a coherent answer.


Less successful scripts in this sample could get tangled in a series of vague abstractions, as in this response to the philosophical question about a state’s rights with regard to monitoring:

‘Another reason is that executing such right [not previously clarified by the candidate] will bring about little opposition forces from the citizens. This is because the extreme actions disturb social order usually hurt the interest of another citizen or group of people. Hence, to protect their own interests, majority of the citizens would support the state for the right to monitor.’


Whilst this is an individual sentence, it is characteristic of an overall tendency to generalize, rather than provide specific examples of the abstract ideas, which was a significant factor in preventing some of the scripts in this group from scoring higher.


Excessively long lists can also compound the difficulty of providing a succinct and secure opening.

The use of semi-colons, rather than commas, could be useful here, but linguistically less confident candidates may just rely upon a series of simple sentences.

This can also apply to more sophisticated discussions, as in this attempt to highlight a range of pertinent issues in the medical field:


Here, the issue is unclear – very confusing

‘Today, along with corporate led globalization and the commercialization of pharmaceutical companies, and for public research accounting for a miniscule [sic] portion of total medical research, the decision on what, from the entire host of pressing medical problems, should scarce resources be used to tackle, lies mostly in the hands of these private firms.’

This candidate clearly has a grasp of some interesting areas of discussion, but far too much is being asked of the sentence, which begins to lose clarity and balance as a result.


Even shorter sentences could start in an insecure way because of the wrong choice of word in the opening phrase, often involving a preposition.


A common example here was

‘To my opinion…’,

Or an even more complex ‘starter’:

‘Drawing a parallel to my opinion…’.


Candidates would benefit from practicing simple, but effective words and phrases such as:


‘In addition…’

‘On the other hand…’



As noted in the Principal Examiner’s Report, the structure beginning with ‘Although…’ requires practice and care.


Spelling was generally sound from these candidates, although there were occasionally some common errors or agreement and verb tenses that are more characteristic of low/ below average scripts.


The most successful script had the following fundamental qualities:

a succinct and thoughtful introduction; a topic sentence for each paragraph;

relevant illustration; a qualifying phrase to indicate balance;

a further topic sentence to indicate the next stage of the argument, and so on, with a relevant and concise conclusion.

Such a pattern would be a good model for many less confident candidates.


Quality of argument

In general, a pleasing sense of ‘balance’ emerged from the scripts at this Centre. It was rare to see candidates who were not aware of the need to see the questions from a different perspective.

There was the occasional script where a response was very firmly on one side rather than the other with regard to an issue, but even then there was invariably evidence of an attempt to consider and alternative point of view.



In some cases, a problem arose when a candidate attempted to modify an idea within the individual sentence. As a result, the initial point was barely made before it was already being qualified, as in this discussion of ‘failure’ in education;

‘You may be scoring pretty fine but not attaining pretty good grades as targeted, though that shows that your hard work and efforts are not paid off and your failure in achieving your goals, but that would not be a total failure in your education system.’



Aside from the language uncertainties here, the sentence was trying to achieve a level of balanced perspective that it could not withstand.

The qualification of the argument needed to come later in the paragraph, or even later in the essay as a whole, once one side of the discussion had been reviewed.


Use of qualifying phrases

Less secure scripts could even slide into contradiction in their attempts at over-complex balance.

For example, in the final five lines of the introduction, one candidate could affirm that ‘it is not true that the environment can be protected’, yet conclude the paragraph with the assertion, ‘Thus, I believe that it is possible to protect the environment when countries need increasing amounts of energy to progress.’

Once again, the choice of qualifying phrase, such as ‘to some extent’, may be an important factor in overcoming such a blatant volte-face.


Do not change the question

There were certain topics which some candidates used as a platform for their own wider ‘agenda’, history being one of these.

Whilst it is possible, in the interests of balance, to argue that factors other than history are important in determining a nation’s future, it is still expected that the central topic, history will be discussed in some depth before other factors are taken into account. If this is not the case, as in one candidate’s desire to get onto the topic of stem-cell research, the reader will inevitably feel that the original question has been ‘twisted’ for the candidate’s own purposes.



The use and quality of the examples is a key factor underlying the impact of a script.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is probably, together with Thomas Edison and Bill Gates, the most-overused reference every year, whatever the topic.

Candidates should continue to be encouraged to try to keep up with recent news stories and developments, especially in their own country. Very good scripts were noted as the element of original input in this sphere. It was fortunately uncommon in the scripts at this Centre for essays to contain completely insufficient specific examples.


Some candidates made effective use ofquotation, giving a degree of authority to the answer, as in a reference to a statement by the Head of the United National humanitarian branch.

This was followed up by a forceful personal comment in support of the argument. By contrast, on another occasion, a quotation by Sir Winston Churchill was used to conclude an essay, but the precise relevance was clouded by insecure expression.


Serious factual inaccuracies will inevitably undermine the confidence of the examiner in the ability of the candidate.

For example, the claim that Yellowstone National Park is in the middle of a city in America will hardly add value to the script. The rules must be: only use facts when their validity is hardly in doubt—or preferably not at all.


Adherence to rubric and time management

There were no problems for the most part with these areas at this Centre.

Occasionally, the conclusion was a little rushed.

This might have been countered by a more concise introduction and style, based on more careful planning (see comments earlier).





1.“Giving people a voice only makes matters worse”. What are your views?

Sometimes the problems that are attributed to the presence of the freedom of expression may have other root causes, namely the government or mass media, amongst others. While giving people a voice is important to society on various counts, it hinges on a somewhat utopian assumption that everyone has perfect access to all the information they need. In reality, this is not possible due to economic and social inequality, the lack of education and literacy or simply for the sake of confidentiality…



1.“Giving people a voice only makes matters worse”. What are your views?

However, the government and mass media may sometimes intentionally provide inaccurate information for vested interest. They may fabricate information, downplay or exaggerate the importance of various articles all for certain aims. For example, in the months preceding the Second Gulf War in 2003, the United States government published reports on the presence of weapons of mass destruction to sway public opinion in favour of the war, victory in which can boost approval ratings…



1.“Giving people a voice only makes matters worse”. What are your views?

Today, it has been admitted that this report is inaccurate due to flawed intelligence and negligence. The media also made much news out of the reports without questioning their credibility, often for profitability. This suggests that while the voice of a misinformed public may not be good for society, it usually has more to do with the vested interests of the government and media than with the presence of the voice itself.



2. Does education cause the death of innovation?

Again, it must be emphasized that the discussions made thus far is highly pertaining to and are more relevant to developed countries with the capacity and restructure current education system or establish better ones. In fact, the question holds a close relationship to less established educational systems in developing countries. Yes, the education system in certain rural parts of India or Sub-Saharan Africa indeed may cause the death of certain components of innovation….



2. Does education cause the death of innovation?

Remarkably, such countries may not even have any significant innovation in the first place. For these countries, education is sustained only up to the primary education where poverty set in and government do not have enough political will to provide higher level of education without implementing costs. There are in many cases inadequately qualified teachers or even proper infrastructure in these schools…



2. Does education cause the death of innovation?

Even then, it is a hasty comment for one to say all innovation ceases to exist totally. This would be too absolute a statement. Informal education provided at their homes could possibly in one way or another trigger the potential of innovative thinking. For example, in rural villages in India, the children portrays [illegible] of innovation through using scrap materials like coconut shells to device a form of entertainment for them. If one were to analyze critically, their ability to innovate can have a tendency to be far more advanced to students in developed countries…



2. Does education cause the death of innovation?

For these children, innovating could be second nature and part and parcel of surviving. Hence, the issue of education is broad and complex with inclusion of informal education. Though largely formal education inhibits innovation in these developing countries, one cannot eliminate the possibility of informal education fuelling their capacity to innovate.



4. Is there a justifiable need for wildlife?

According to a convention conducted by the United Nations on wildlife recently, wildlife trade account for the livelihood of more than a billion people in the Asia and the Pacific alone. The influx of tourists catching the magnificent annual migration in Africa and tourists paying for a holiday in a safari all demonstrate the point that wildlife seem as lucrative source of income for the poorest people in the world as such in this context, there a justifiable need for wildlife. Without wildlife, it is estimated that the standard of living of these people will at least be halved…



4. Is there a justifiable need for wildlife?

The degradation of standard of living of people living in poverty, or are living at the border of poverty is one compelling force for the need of wildlife. These people, lacking other means of achieving a basic standard of living turned to the riches of Mother Nature for survival. Losing wildlife and thereby condemning these people to greater destitute is one of the least humane things that can be done. Hence there is in some cases a justifiable need for wildlife.



6. Morality has taken a backseat today. Discuss.


Next, as we all should know, a large part of morality would be having the willingness to help others. Though we like to think otherwise, we are somewhat losing this willingness and in this sense morality has taken a backseat. Many people like to think of themselves as highly altruistic, generously giving to charities and doing community work. One has to admit, that on the community level, we are indeed doing our part…



6. Morality has taken a backseat today. Discuss.


However, on a broader perspective, altruism is steadily losing ground. While at home we seem to be rendering our help to those who need it, globally we actually do not have much of an impact. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, such as in Rwanda, where many people depend on agriculture for survival in poverty despite lacking substantive knowledge of it. The developed countries, in the interest of domestic industries, maintain trade barriers on such developing countries while demanding that the impoverished countries lower theirs…



6. Morality has taken a backseat today. Discuss.


We who live in high income countries, such as in Singapore, are making the situation worse by what we call ‘food aid’, since wholesale dumping of such stocks destroy the domestic farmers’ agricultural livelihood. While we like to think that we are doing our part, on moral grounds, we actually act for our own interests, worsening the situation in many other countries and hence indirectly morality is taking a backseat. Our willingness to help others has somehow warped into a distorted self-interest, thus providing evidence as to how morality has lost standing today…



6. Morality has taken a backseat today. Discuss.


Moving on, increasing secularization of our societies is clearly seen today. As countries become increasingly developed and advanced, people tend to move away Religion has been mankind’s moral compass for countless centuries and perhaps millennia, and it is no doubt that this loss of attachment to religion is one of the reasons which lead to morality losing ground today and taking a backseat from religion and become more individualistic. We, in some cases, are indeed losing sight of our values…



6. Morality has taken a backseat today. Discuss.


Societal problems such as divorce and polygamy are becoming increasingly frequently observed, across many societies. What used to be entirely disapproved of in the past is now simply frowned upon but is not felt as strongly about. Some may argue after having noted this changing perception, that morality has indeed taken a backseat. For example, when ex-president of the United States Bill Clinton had an affair with Monica Lewinsky, he was impeached but not long later reinstated. With such a move what is the message being sent to our children? …



6. Morality has taken a backseat today. Discuss.


That it is normal to commit adultery? Clearly, it is our increasing separation from religion and our moral values that has caused morality to be relegated to a lower importance today. When adultery becomes a norm in society, then I believe morality has in effect taken a backseat.



6. Morality has taken a backseat today. Discuss.


Lastly, I will discuss the place of morality in basic survival issues. In less developed countries, where many live in poverty, people are often driven to neglect morals due to their desperation to survive. Crime rates are highest in regions of the United States known as the ‘poorer neighborhoods.’ Crime and drug abuse is prevalent amongst the African Americans, probably because they have the highest proportion of individuals living under the poverty line. Where survival instincts come to play, few would have the capacity for self-restraint and logical debate on morality…



6. Morality has taken a backseat today. Discuss.


They simply do what they need to do to survive, and where economically viable jobs are scarce to the poor and poorly educated, people are left with no choice but to turn to crime. While this may not only be true of the world today, it reflects the morally degenerative nature of man, in which morals take the back seat in the face of struggles to survive or keep up with the rest of the world, accounting for why morality are increasingly losing its place in society today, since more and more factors come to play in this rapidly changing world.



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


In an era of globalization today, the world has become “small” as people across the globe are more connected. Coupled with the east of disseminating information, via the new media, which includes the Internet and digital satellite, the censorship of the mass media has increasingly become more pertinent today in order to minimize the availability of undesirable content, as such, censorship is not overrated….



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


Such content may threaten world peace, national stability and the standards of morality. As such, moral censorship and religion censorship are indeed important today. Clearly, the importance of filtering and monitoring of contents available on the mass media may not be overrated.



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


Censorship of materials that may pose a threat to world peace, such as contents that facilitate or encourage terrorist activities, is highly important in today’s world. Thus, once more, censorship is not overrated. The ease of the dissemination of information across the internet, which is a powerful tool of transmitting information, has contributed towards increased terrorist activities. Materials, such as bomb-making techniques posted on some radical Islamist websites, may result in the presence of more potential terrorists, hence making the world a less secure place.



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


Such undesirable contents may motivate terrorism which is a menace to world peace and stability and no country can afford to expose its people to this risk. Hence, the removal of materials which proliferate the mass media, that have a possibility of disrupting the world peace and instilling an atmosphere of fear, is very important and may not be considered as overrated.



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


Another reason why the importance of censorship is not overrated today is due to the need to censor materials that are deemed offensive to certain groups of people in the world. This is because very often, when people have access to material in which they deem offensive to themselves, or to society as a whole, they will take legal action in a bid for the relevant people to take down the material.



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


However, in more severe cases, where usually the entire society is involved, riots and protests may break out. This often leaves the country in a limbo as economic activities are almost entirely stopped and both private and public property may be destroyed, possibly incurring huge losses for the government. The importance of censorship today is perhaps best exemplified in the Thailand and YouTube case, where a video of images of Thailand’s king are put beside a pair of feet is uploaded into the popular website. ..



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


Although this is mostly seen as inoffensive in other parts of the world and some may even assume that it is an example of censorship being overrated , the Thais deem this as very offensive as their culture indicates that a person’s feet is the dirtiest part of the body and should not be seen by any others. This caused a major uproar in Thailand, where the citizens asked for the video to be taken down by the people in charge of YouTube. For them, censorship is far from overrated in this situation ..



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


After many protests by the people and banning of YouTube in the country, the people in charge of YouTube finally took down the video, easing the ban made on YouTube by the Thai government and the protests that the citizens carried out in bid to pressure the relevant personnels to take down the video…



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


Therefore, in the world today where information from all over the world can be easily accessible to the general public due to technological advancements, the importance of censorship is not overrated as what is deemed offensive to an individual in one part of the world may not be deemed offensive to another in another part of the world, making it difficult for the facilitators of this transmission of information from one part of the world to another to decide whether it should be allowed to be put up in the first place. ..



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


Thus, it is necessary for the governments of individual countries to enforce censorship to ensure that there is peace and stability in the country and that economic activities can carry on in order for the country to prosper. Therefore, in a world today where information across the world can be easily transmitted to different parts of the world with people of different culture and habits, the importance of censorship is not always overrated.



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


First and foremost, the importance of censorship is not overrated today as it is essential in upholding the moral values of the technologically savvy generation. Due to the proliferation of technology in developing and developed countries in the world, many people are being exposed to the internet, high-speed cable television and handheld games with crystal clear graphics. However, with these technological advances, come problems.



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


With the advent of the internet and the recent advancement to using high-speed internet connections combined with digital satellite technology, it is becoming increasingly easy to download almost anything on the internet in a matter of seconds. Without censorship, anyone can download hard-core pornography. Although some adults may want such videos, these should not be available to young children and teenagers.



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


Even after taking into consideration that the age limits to watch pornography differ in countries, there is general consensus that children under sixteen should not watch pornography. If there is no censorship, inquisitive young minds may watch such videos and become adversely affected. As such censorship is definitely important. It is definitely not overrated as there is currently easier access to pornography. Censorship might be the easiest way to stop children from watching pornography.



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


Censorship might be the most efficient way to stop children from watching pornography. Moreover, pornography is not the only problem that technology has given us. With the prevalence of the mass media, especially the television, censorship is becoming increasingly more important. Violence is becoming common on television programs, movies and most importantly games….



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


Young children are being exposed to violence at a young age when they cannot make morally upright decisions. It surely not overrated to censor violence in order to uphold moral values. The value of life is downplayed in games such as World of Warcraft, Defense of the Dark Arts and Grand Theft Auto. These games are popular with young children, yet they have violent images and violent actions done by the characters in the game “Grand Theft Auto”.



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


The lack of censorship in Thailand was thus highlighted and subsequently Thailand banned the game. However, if censorship had been present fright from the start, the innocent life of the taxi driver would not have been lost and the youth would not have been misguided. As such, censorship is increasing necessary in today’s world—where violence is prevalent for children to watch on the mass media—in order to uphold our moral values.



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


The importance of censorship is not overrated as it might save youths from being misguided through violence or pornography. However, it might be overrated if the censorship was done by an authority which does not take into consideration all of its citizens. The Media Development Authority of Singapore, for example, has categorized games into three broad categories so that the majority of people can be entitled to them.



8. Is the importance of censorship overrated?


Violent games or games and movies with sexual scenes are rated M18 or R21. Those which has not many sexual or violet scenes can be watched by those above 16 as they are rated NC16. If censorship is by a efficient watchdog such as the MDA, it is not overrated.



10. ‘Divorce has become a modern epidemic’. Discuss.


To suggest that divorce has become a modern epidemic would be, in my view, to say that in our world today, divorce has spread rapidly and worldwide, infecting” many individuals and speedily causing detrimental effects in the process. It is hard for me to agree that divorce has become a modern epidemic as equating divorce to a epidemic would also be equating the effect of divorce to be as disastrous as an epidemic which is more of an exaggeration.



10. ‘Divorce has become a modern epidemic’. Discuss.


Indeed I agree that in our modern times, there has been a rapid increase in divorce rates worldwide. In an international survey Belgium was ranked first, an astounding sixty out of a hundred marriages ended up in divorce and the United States, one of the top. Perhaps the most distinctive similarly divorce rates and epidemic has would be the rate at which if increase and spreads. The rapid rise of divorce rates around the world may be fuelled, in part, by globalization.



10. ‘Divorce has become a modern epidemic’. Discuss.


Globalization has been described as a runaway train leading for imminent disaster. Characterized by increased airplane travel as well as greater connectivity between nations, globalization leads to the increased fluidity of individuals, goods services, et cetera. As such, unlike the past people are no longer physically close to one another and in such circumstances divorce may be more likely to occur but need not necessarily become and epidemic. Consequently, the bond between couples are generally weakened to a large extent. Research by sociologists on family has identified long distance relationships as a reason for divorces. ..



10. ‘Divorce has become a modern epidemic’. Discuss.


This is in stark contrast with the post before globalization has been embraced by majority of the population around the globe. Some people may disagree with this, arguing that this may not be the case especially when both parties love each other dearly, they maintain that no distances can separate them due to the strong love and feelings that keep the relationships going. However, I maintain that this argument has failed to realize that even scientists are uncertain whether or not humans are monogamous in nature.



10. ‘Divorce has become a modern epidemic’. Discuss.


Moreover, we are living in a practical world and can never be certain of whether relationships do mean anything; if they do, how can we explain the conflicts between individuals who have close relationships with one another for along period of time? Hence, it is obvious that divorce may have become a modern epidemic, to some extent, because of the effects of globalization; unless the process of globalization slows down (which is almost never possible), it is reasonable to assume that the role of divorce will continue to soar.



10. ‘Divorce has become a modern epidemic’. Discuss.


In conclusion, it is my contention to posit the notion of the question to be primarily determined by the societal and individual context. Due to the complexity of this social issue to divorce, there is certainly no litmus test to check if divorce has indeed become a modern epidemic. It is not an exact science. In the short term, individuals should achieve work-life balance in all aspects of lives while in the long run, we should discourage co-habitation or other factors that will promote divorce.



10. ‘Divorce has become a modern epidemic’. Discuss.


In that way, the complexities, conundrum and controversies of the issue can then be greatly resolved for the goodness of mankind as well as to maintain the sanctity of marriage.



11. ‘Art is an individualistic expression.’ How far do you agree with this statement?

Moreover, art is also used to portray one’s view, expressing an individual stand, so as to press for changes. One example is shown through the paintings of renowned artist Pablo Picasso. His very dark portrayal of an anti-war symbol ‘Gurenica’ showed groveling images of death, bloodshed and how war is a threat to humanity. All of this are contorted and featured in Picasso’s signature style, through his works of art.



11. ‘Art is an individualistic expression.’ How far do you agree with this statement?

Art is also used to express individual expression, including opinion, on war and the detrimental effects that it brings to mankind. It serves to remind mankind why what has happened should never happen again, through the works of Art. Not only is ‘Gurnica’ an example of Picasso’s expression of his views, it also acts as a reminder to why past events like war should not be repeated again and, as such, is even more than Picasso’s individualistic expression, rather it is also through his expression a vehicle for the public’s expression of life.



12. ‘Advancements in science have forced us to rethink our values’. Comment.


Advancements in science have brought alongside moral dilemmas, forcing us to rethink our values. Many advancements in science have contradicted human moral values and ethical issues. This has forced us to reflect upon whether advancements in science bring good for all. It has in some ways forced us to rethink our values. For example, developed nations like the United States and Germany have eased their regulations on stem cell research. This has caused us to reflect upon our moral values.



12. ‘Advancements in science have forced us to rethink our values’. Comment.


Human embryos are extracted and used in laboratory testings, in the hope of finding new cures for diseases. However, what is the moral point we are trying to make when we are merely using lives just to save lives? The ends do not justify the means. Advancements in science are used to prolong people’s lives. However, this has also run contrary to our ethical and moral values and as such, has forced us to rethink our values. Moreover, advancements in science have led to the rise of Neo-Luddites, who believe that science is causing more harm than benefits.



12. ‘Advancements in science have forced us to rethink our values’. Comment.


Revolts and rebellions by Neo-Luddites have forced us to rethink our moral values again. Perhaps one can argue that these people are being too cynical. On the other hand, if advancements in science are really that beneficial, why are people rebelling? Hence, it is true that advancements in science have forced us to rethink our moral values.



12. ‘Advancements in science have forced us to rethink our values’. Comment.


All in all, the discovery and pursuit in scientific knowledge has no direct conflict with our values, but it is what we do with the discovery and what is sacrificed in the advancement in science that have forced us to rethink our values. We cannot neglect the fact that advancements in science have helped to improve lives, but we must also be aware that in the midst of acquiring greater discoveries in science, our moral values are not forsaken.



12. ‘Advancements in science have forced us to rethink our values’. Comment.


Advancements in science has indeed forced us to rethink our values. In this essay, we are particularly interested in the medical field of science where more often than not, individuals are put in a position to reconsider their values. However it is important that we clarify that this essay does not limit “science” to only medical advancements. Firstly the whole issue on euthanasia, otherwise known as mercy killing.



12. ‘Advancements in science have forced us to rethink our values’. Comment.


Who should have a say in the pulling the plug on a patient? On one hand euthanasia would mean putting an end to one’s prolonged misery but conversely who should that responsibility fall on? Thus, in this sense, the debate on euthanasia has brought about questions on whether an individual, be it a doctor or a family member should be given the right to end the life of a person, if the patient is mentally not fit to make a decision. It is an example where advancement in science has forced us to rethink our values.



12. ‘Advancements in science have forced us to rethink our values’. Comment.


Take for instance a terminally ill bed-ridden individual. Even though it might seem ‘practical’ to some to put an end to one’s misery out of love from a family member, and to hospitals it would mean more hospital beds, who are we to put a price on one’s life! This brings up the whole issue on sanctity of life, which over many decades society has been unable to clearly decide on what is practical vs what is ethical. Therefore in the case of euthanasia, we have indeed been forced to rethink our values.