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2009 NYJC GP Prelim Paper 1 suggested approaches

2009 NYJC GP Prelim Paper 1 suggested approaches

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Nanyang Junior CollegeJC2 Preliminary Examination 2009Paper 1Suggested Approaches
Is it the responsibility of the richer nations to help the poorer ones?Interpretation
Main thrust of the question-
whether it is the duty or obligation
(key word
and not
) of the rich countries (on moral, social, political or practical grounds etc) to help poor nations lead a better life and the
why it isor it is not their duty.
Possible stands:
1. Agree that it is the responsibility of the rich nations to help the poor ones, but thepoor nations must also help themselves.
Disagree – because poor nations are largely responsible for their plight and theyneed to address the problems that they have created-eg over-population,corruption etc.Note: 1st stand is more sensible.
Requirements of question: Stand 1
1. Must give reasons why it is their responsibility.2. Qualify it with the balancing explanation as to why the poor nations must alsohelp themselves.3. How the rich can help should be only a minor part of the essay and should onlybe part of the elaboration of the rich nation’s duty .4. Note that the essay is not about the different ways rich nations can help.5. There must be ample coverage and illustrations.
Some possible reasons why it is the responsibility of the rich.
1. Interconnectedness of the world with the rich prospering at the expense of thepoor nations:
Exploitation in the colonial era; compare pre-colonial self sufficiency toneo-colonial dependence caused by colonialism. (also a historicalresponsibility)
The existing unfair trade system with unfavourable terms of trade for thepoor, with prices set by the rich. The principle of fairness demands thatthey not only change the trading system, but also make up for theinjustice by helping the poor nations to compete competitively ininternational trade.2. The brotherhood of all men binds the rich nations to help their poor fellow humanbeings.3. Moral duty- man’s conscience- humanitarian grounds.4. Also man’s obligation to prevent the potential threat to his survival that resultfrom a divided world (conflicts) or a damaged environment (caused by poor nations in their struggle to survive).
For their own benefit too- if poor nations become more well off, they can be amarket for their goods etc.
Balance (Poor nations must also help themselves)
1. Over dependence on rich nations can cripple poor nations.2. Rich nations must also ensure that poor nations use aid wisely.3. In some cases, it is beyond the ability of rich nations to help as situations can goout of control.
2. ‘Everything has been figured out, except how to live.’ How far is this true of Singapore? (NOTE: this outline must be modified to suit the Singaporecontext)Background:
This quotation was taken from the French existentialist – Jean Paul Sartre. It is acomment on our ‘rational’ age.
Possible interpretation of the statement:
We live in an age that values scientific rationalism. There appears to be nosupernatural mystery. Everything can be dissected and explained with scientificstudy & explanation. Mysticism, the supernatural & religion are seen as quaintcultural relics – important for their cultural or historical significance but they have nobearing in explaining the world.
we have developed a scientific & moderncivilization, but we seem to have lost the ability or the savoir-faire of ‘living’.‘Live’ as defined by Collins, can mean to exist and it also means living life to thefullest.The candidate is not supposed to attack the veracity of the statement ‘Everything hasbeen figured out’ by showing that there are some mysteries of life that science hasyet to explain. While this is not wrong, this is not the main focus of the question.
Suggested approach:
The candidate has to explore the irony of modern life. In this modern age when Manis a supposed to have a scientific and rational answer for all the situations in life, heis apparently losing the ability to live life.The student can explore the different areas (which are not exhaustive):TechnologyMan has developed very high levels of technology. Man has managed to harnessthe power of technology to do what was previously impossible. Modern methods of communication & the invention of the computer & Internet has resulted in greatconvenience today. The
that while Man has figured out all these technologicaladvances, he has actually made the pace of life and work so fast that the quality of living has actually decreased.Example: The laptop and the mobile phone has improved communication.However, this has made it impossible to draw a line between work & personal time.Man is devoting more time to work, and his life has suffered. Growing rates of workrelated stress, anxiety disorders & depression in the developed world.
PoliticsMan has developed complex and rational systems of governance & internationalrelations. International bodies have been set up to deal with international conflicts.The irony is that this age has seen severe deprivation of human rights and the riseand fall of totalitarian regimes which were based on supposed enlightened theoriesof governance like socialism.Example: International bodies like the United Nations have been set up to advancethe cause of world peace. However, man has not learnt to live with each other inpeace & conduct his international relations with harmony. This age has seenlocalized and international conflicts: Sri Lanka, the former Yugoslavia, Palestine,Colombia, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Timor Leste.ScienceScience has allowed Man to understand his own body, to repair it with newmethods of surgery and use new types of medicine. What is ironic is that many of thesenew types of medicine and surgery have actually led to more severe illnesses which hasled to a decline in the quality of life.Example: Antibiotics have allowed Man to control most severe infections. Manhas figured out how to deal with these infections. On the other hand, the widespread useof antibiotics has led to the growth of lethal strains of illnesses which are resistant toantibiotics. It has also led to weaken immunity in the community as people do not buildup resistance to illnesses. Paradoxically, he is threatening his own existence.EconomicsMan’s development of highly advanced economic systems has allowed him tomaximize the development of his resources. It has also allowed him to create aglobalised & interconnected world. However, the raison d’etre of the current economicsystem has fostered unlimited greed and led to the development of a consumeristculture, which has exacerbated the depletion of Earth’s resources/Example: The creation of the credit card has meant the easy advance of credit tothe masses and has allowed to masses to purchase goods with ease. However, this hasled to irresponsible spending habits and people who become slaves to their debts andthis has generated greater unhappiness.3.
Is cultural diversity more a boon than a bane for societies today?Interpretation
 Whether a culturally diverse society is more beneficial than problematic in a rapidlychanging and globalizing world.
Possible stands:
1. More a boon if such societies are able to move in a more positive direction,towards acceptance and tolerance of differences.2. More a bane when differences are allowed to erupt into conflict and violence.

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