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Essay outlines

Notes: These outlines are compiled by the collective work which all of you did. Quality varies, but the min grade for each of these outlines (if properly written out) would be an A grade. The outlines are categorized loosely into their content categoriesplease remember some questions cross topicsto avoid printing twice Ive placed them under one category only, so take a look through the entire list. esp note that the general/philo category contains many essays which are in part derived from the concepts/stands taught in other areas, such as mass media and social issues. The many examples listed are good for data mining even if youre not specializing in the topic. In many of the outlines, multiple examples per point are giventhese have been left in for study purposes. In an actual exam essay, one or two apt egs per point would suffice. Also useful as learning points are the stands takenthe concepts, original synthesis points, etc. The outlines represent only ONE way of writing the essay. There are, of course, many possible points, counters and original synthesis points which can alternatively be written. Also, for more complex questions where the 2nd Qs are open-ended, there are more than one ways of defining itas long as it is a workable, practical definition, it goes. Remember that in GP, it is a living template, so NEVER just memorise and regurgitate. Dissection and analysis matters more, the thought and critical thinking you put into your writing.

Science and Tech


Should richer nations take more responsibility than poorer nations with regard to climate change?
Definitions: Richer nations - Developed nations Poorer nations - Developing nations Climate change- Any long-term significant change in weather patterns due to human actions such as deforestation or pollution. Climate change can result in adverse effects such as desertification, intense storms, melting of the polar ice caps, and rising sea levels.

Thesis Statement: Richer nations should take more responsibility than poorer nations due to past history and a higher capacity to enact changes but poorer nations should still do whatever they can within their financial means to combat climate change.

Thesis 1: Topic Sentence: Richer nations should shoulder more responsibility as they are more affluent and hence better able to ensure conservation of the environment, which helps to prevent climate change. Elaboration: Richer nations can afford to invest in research and development for green energy such as nuclear technology to produce cleaner energy and reduce greenhouse emissions. Also, people from richer nations are relatively more affluent and are able to afford the relatively more expensive but cleaner technology, and richer nations are able to subsidise the use of such technology to a larger extent than poorer nations. Example: Though small, Singapore is definitely one of the richer nations with a per GDP capita of $56, 797. A nation that has recognised that its mere survival depends on the wise and judicious stewardship of its resources as Minister Lim Swee Say says, Singapore has taken responsibility for its effect on climate change and used its affluence by setting up a $20-million Innovation for Environmental Sustainability Fund to provide financing for innovative projects that will help the nation attain its goal of environmental sustainability. Evaluation: The pursuit of reducing climate change requires substantial amount of wealth and financial capacity and poorer nations just do not have the ability to place focus on combating climate change as they have other focuses. Thus, richer nations should be more responsible with regard to climate change. Thesis 2: Topic Sentence: Richer nations should shoulder more responsibility as they are historically primarily responsible for the effects of climate change that we see today. Elaboration: The richer and developed nations, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution and the resulting industrialization, are responsible for nearly all of the deforestation, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that we see today. In the name of fairness, richer nations should step up to clean up the mess that they have created. Example: In terms of historical emissions, industrialized countries account for roughly 80% of the carbon dioxide build-up in the atmosphere to date. Since 1950, the U.S. has emitted a cumulative total of roughly 50.7 billion tons of carbon, while China (4.6 times more populous) and India (3.5 times more populous) have emitted only 15.7 and 4.2 billion tons respectively. Evaluation: In the midst of developing the nations, such nations have neglected the environment and since they were the primary cause of the climate change we see today, they should take responsibility for their past actions and thus richer nations should take more responsibility with regard to climate change.

Anti-Thesis 1: Topic Sentence: However, poorer nations need to step up to take responsibility for climate change too. The amount of responsibility that a nation bears should be based on the amount of carbon emissions and pollutants emitted currently, and not by the affluence of the nations. Elaboration: It does not matter if a country is rich or poor as this is not the factor that obligates a country to take up a higher responsibility for combating climate change. Rather, countries that emit the most and contribute the most to global warming should have greater responsibilities. Richer nations such as Denmark have been actively reducing the amount of emissions and thus it is unfair to them if they were to shoulder more responsibility just because they are developed nations. Example: China has recently overtook the US in the amount of carbon emissions, contributing to 25% of the worlds total carbon dioxide emissions, and India with the 3rd highest at 5.3%. Moreover, the US has been actively decreasing its carbon emissions by engaging more in greener activities and its carbon emissions has been decreasing for 3 years in a row. Evaluation: As the responsibility of a country towards combating climate change depends on the amount of emission and not the affluence of a country, the countries with the highest emissions currently should shoulder a greater responsibility and not just the richer nations. Anti-Thesis 2: Topic Sentence: Poorer nations should also do their best in combating climate change to the best of their financial abilities since climate change is a global event that affects every single country and not just the wealthy ones. (notion of global responsibility) Elaboration: One must realise that we live in one small world and that we will either flourish or go extinct together, so every country has to play their part in combating climate change. The US and China may have contributed the most to greenhouse gases emissions but climate change affects the whole world and not just the highest emitters. As such, every country should do whatever they can and not push the blame onto which countries should shoulder more responsibility. Example: Natural disasters are blind to the morality and sins of the various nations. The Maldives may have contributed very little to carbon emissions but they are the ones that will soon sink below sea levels should the rise in sea levels go unchecked. Evaluation: Therefore, poorer nations must also do their best in combating climate change in the face of a changing world caused by climate change that will affect every single nation. Environmental conservation will never be a sustained effort without every countrys commitment, financially or politically, as it is our responsibility as a global citizen to take care of the world that we life in. Original Synthesis: In conclusion, richer nations should do more solely based on their affluence but poorer nations should also act to the best of their financial capabilities as assigning responsibilities would ineffective if every nation does not collaborate to combat climate change. Moreover, combating climate change does not necessarily require huge amounts of resources as even simple practical steps taken by every single

person in the nation can go a long way in mitigating the consequences of climate change. For example, in the Maldives people are encouraged to plant trees so that beach erosion is prevented. Hence, it is clear that wealth is not the only necessary factor in tackling climate change.

To what extent do government policies need to take into account new developments in Science and Technology?
Nowadays, science and technology have penetrated into almost every aspect of the society. As a result, it is relevant in government decision-making. However, the purpose of a government is to answer peoples needs in the first place, thus the government should also pay attention to other issues like resolving social problems and reinforcing cultural identities. Therefore, science and technology should be taken into account in government policies only to a limited extent.

1. In a modern world, people are craving for higher efficiency and greater convenience. With the help of new developments in science and technology, these dreams can easily come true. Therefore, the government is responsible to integrate these developments into its policies and thus enhances the productivity of the nation and satisfies peoples needs in one way or another. E.g. In order to improve the transport network in the country and solve the history-long problem of congestion in urban areas, Chinese government encourages ordinary people to take diversified means of transport. The new policies in Beijing, one of the most crowded cities, not only limit the entitlement of private car ownership, but also introduce the revolutionary and prominent elevated high-speed bus which can hopefully alleviate the headache of masstransportation; at least 1,400 people per carrier do not need to suffer from the frustration and exhaustiveness during the long commuting journey. As such, new developments in science and technology meet the demand for a more efficient and comfortable life and thus government policies need to recognize and make use of the advantages of these developments.

2. Furthermore, people nowadays are more green-conscious, and an entire new industrythe green industry has sprung up. Government policies would do well to join in and promote new developments such as renewable resources. This would create a new industry, as well as ensure sustainable development of the country E.g. Western European countries invest handsome amount of money into research of renewable energy and integrate the latest findings into their nation building. For instance, the city of

Freiburg, Germany, implements energy policies such as energy conservation, the use of new technologies such as combined heat and power and the use of solar energy to meet new demands of resources. The government wants to create a self-sustainable city while attracting foreign investments and providing a sustainable environment for the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In a way, government policies cater to the need of sustainable development and facilitate future progress of economy by taking into account new developments in science and technology.

3. The pace of policy making needs to keep in step with developments in science and technology. Government needs to provide laws and regulations to standardize procedures and safeguard social values associated with new developments in science and technology rather than simply avoid contentious issues. E.g. Ex-president George W Bush completely blocked the use of any government money to fund research on human embryonic stem cell in the face of great controversies. However, the incumbent president Barack Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding for the benefit of medical breakthroughs and human advancements, coupled with strict guidelines and careful considerations regarding issues such as human dignity. Despite encountering heated contentions, government policies still need to address new developments in science and technology because they can bring benefits for future generations. If the fear of conflicts overrides the genuine potential of these developments, they stand no chance to make progress and thus limit the overall improvement of human beings.

4. However, government should firstly answer peoples basic needs and thus in the less developed countries, bread and butter issues, instead of an obsession with the newest scientific invention/development, should be on the top of the agenda. E.g. In North Korea, more than half of the people are below the poverty line, but the government maintains its stubborn attitude on the issue of nuclear development and directs huge sum of money and resources to such an area. This worsens the current state in the country and aggravates the plight of the people. Without firstly addressing the basic needs of people, any further pursuit for the advancement of some science and technologies will only be attributed to the selfishness of the incumbent government which seeks after its own interests.

5. In more developed countries, government should give attention towards development of culture and resolution of social problems, instead of focusing excessively on addressing science and technology advancements. E.g. Singapore has shifted its development focus from the pursuit of economic prosperity to the creation of a vibrant cultural scene. Also, Singapore government is extremely cautious with social issues like racial and religious harmony, demonstrated in the arrest of three young bloggers who posted racist comments under the Internal Security Act. While the majority of people no longer worry about food and living, government policies should place a greater emphasis on the development of soft powerunique cultural identities and social harmony. These cannot be achieved by the pursuit of new developments in science and technology alone, and a more comprehensive consideration has to be taken.

A part of Nature, yet apart from Nature. In what ways can mans unique relationship with Nature be regarded as both a boon and a bane?
Question Type: Broad-based. Need to address the implications of the quote as well as the question itself Random Trivia: Apparently a quote by George Perkins Marsh, one of the first environmentalists. Key Qualifier: In what ways 2nd Qualifiers: Boon, Bane, Nature, unique relationship, a part, yet apart Definition of key terms: Boon, Bane: Nature: the entire Planet Earth, the world we live in plants and animals, wildlife To whom (to Mankind or Nature?)

Unique Relationship: A part of nature o (Gaia Hypothesis) Man, together with other organisms and inorganic surroundings, forms a complex self-regulating system that is nature. o Concept: anima mundiWorld Soulthe belief, particularly in animist religions, that everything in the world is interconnected.

Apart from nature o One rank above Nature: Man can exploit other plants and animals and can extract natural resources on a large scale. Man has a vast knowledge of Nature, and can control and shape Nature to a certain extent through means such as Science and Technology. Since Man has command over nature, Man can be seen to be a rank higher than Nature and thus apart from it. o Separation from Nature: Man is able to create his own human environment, his own self-sustaining cities that can provide food, water and shelter. These constructs are human constructs and do not occur naturally.

Thesis: Mans unique relationship is both a boon and a bane in that Man can gain from Nature if he utilizes Nature acceptable, but the relationship may become a bane if Man goes overboard and exploits Nature. The unique relationship may also result in a boon for one party and a bane for another. Ways in which Mans unique relationship is a boon (for Man himself): User of Nature: Man knows how to harness the available resources in Nature and use it to develop, grow and progress. o Human societies flourished because people extracted large amount of natural resources from Nature and used it for development. Britain was able to develop quickly and efficiently during the Industrial Revolution because she had rich natural resources such as coal and tin. Note: This is a boon for Man, but not necessarily a boon for Nature. o Link to the quote: Like Nature (wildlife), Man utilizes resources from Nature (Earth). Yet, by being a user of Nature (Earth), Man is apart from it. The way Man is different from Nature (wildlife) is that Man can harness resources on a much greater magnitude. Master/Ruler of Nature: Man is able to alter and change Nature according to his needs and wants. o Farmers are able to use selective breeding to produce plants and animals of desirable traits. o Man can now use his knowledge of genetics to create genetically-modified plants. Some of them, such as the high-yielding pesticide-resistant variants, help to provide more food for the human society. o Link to the quote: Man is a part of Nature as he, like other wildlife, live on Earth. Yet Man is apart from Nature as Man is the ruler. Separation from Nature: Man can create his own landscape, his own environment and live in a world that is technically separate from Nature.

Animals need to dash into caves or hide under leaves to hide from the weather elements. Humans can build their own man-made structures and shelters. o Desert animals need to develop highly-specialized adaptive features in order to survive. Even so, they still need to fight for their survival (over waterholes and scarce food) with other animals. Humans just build their own oasis over the desert. The comfortable human environments remove the need for humans to think about day-to-day survival. o Link to the quote: Man is a part of Nature as technically the human environment is still a part of Earth. Yet the human environment is very distinct from the natural ones, and thus stands apart from it. Evaluation: o The benefits that Man gets are utilization and independence. Utilization: Man is able to get the most out of Nature and develop himself. Independence: Unlike other animals, Man is less constrained by Nature. He is less worried about food, water and shelter, and is less affected by the weather elements. Due to this, he gains more autonomy and is able to use his time to develop other aspects such as arts and culture instead of worrying about daily sustenance. Boon for Nature: Man can utilize his skills and knowledge to protect the different species and the environment. o The Green Movement, organizations such as Greenpeace, the creation of a list of endangered species to protect these animals o Debatable whether Man uses or protects Nature more Despite the surge in the Green Movement, deforestation is still rampant, carbon emissions continue to rise, and talks such as the Copenhagen Summit failed the address the problems Dilemma on what to protect due to the Darwinistic Nature of Nature (US) National Marine Fisheries Service wants to kill a few seals to protect the salmon population, but the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) lobby against it. Both seals and salmon are endangered species.

Ways in which Mans unique relationship is a bane: Mans actions affect Nature drastically. Therefore, any wrong move can result in fatal consequences which affect Nature. Hence Mans actions are a bane to Nature. o Introduction of new species (be it accidental or intentional) into a new environment (Human Loss) Introduction of Asian Long-Horned beetles into United States severely crippled the forestry industry by damaging millions of acres of hardwood trees. 30 million US has already been spent to attempt to eradicate this pest from the affected regions.

(Human Loss) Decline of pollinator services and loss of fruit production caused by the infection of honey bees by the invasive varroa mite. Oil Spills BP Oil Spill 2010 (Natures Loss) More than 400 species of animals are affected. (Human Loss) The fishing industry was crippled (estimated loss $2.5 billion), and there was widespread panic about the safety of seafood.

When extraction of resources from Nature turns into exploitation and depletion, harm is done not only to Nature but eventually becomes detrimental to human society. further emphasising how Man is ultimately a part of Nature, no matter how separated he may seem to be. o George Perkins Mash argued in his book Man and Nature that the ancient Mediterranean civilizations collapsed due to environmental degradation. Persistent deforestation led to erosion and subsequently decreased soil productivity, eventually resulting in the civilizations demise.

Our independence from Nature has resulted in growing detachment and loss of concern for Nature. We forget that we are not totally apart from Nature and are actually still a part of it. o People nowadays are increasingly losing contact with Nature. Animals search for the nearest river or waterhole when they are thirsty, or hunt and forage when they are hungry. Humans get everything they want from the supermarkets. An average human no longer passes through the phase that gets him directly in contact with Nature. o Due to this detachment, we do not see Nature as an integral part of us. We see it as something that is separate. The very distinction between a human environment and a natural environment shows this. We see Nature more as utility, a resource pool where we can get anything we want, and we relentlessly exploit it without taking good care of it. In the end, we suffer, for no matter how apart we claim to be from Nature, our human environment is still a part of Planet Earth, a part of Nature. Trouble in Nature spells trouble for us too. During the Industrial Revolution, many countries, just as Britain, furiously pursued growth but neglected eco-friendly ways of dealing with industrial wastes. The emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide in Britain to skyrocketed and resulted in acid rain. Acid rain killed millions of trees and created dead lakes. Its corrosive characteristic also allowed me to wear down statues and buildings. Even today, this problem persists, especially in China, Russia and USA. Since 1998, Harvard University needs to wrap up bronze and marble statues with waterproof covers every winter to protect them from acid rain.

China is the economic miracle of the 21st century. But China is also home to some of the most polluted rivers, such as the Yellow River and Songhua River, in the world. In the pursuit for economic growth, the environmental condition of China was neglected. In 2006, 150 villagers were diagnosed with cadmium poisoning from drinking water from the Xinjiang River. The river, once surrounded by fertile plains and banks capable of growing crops that will feed the province, is now laden with a variety of heavy metals, farm chemicals and human waste due to irresponsible dumping by nearby factories.

Evaluation o Our unique relationship with Nature, especially our independence from Nature and our mastery of it, may have caused us to forget that we are still a part of it. This unbreakable link between Man and Nature means that whatever errors we made and whatever neglects we showed will eventually come back and haunt us. If we only think about what we can gain from nature, and not about what we can do to preserve it, then we would destroy Nature, and destroy ourselves.

Conclusion Mans relationship with nature is like a farmers relationship with his hen that could lay golden eggs. If the farmer takes good care of the hen, then he will be able to get his daily golden egg for the rest of his life. But he mistreats the hen, or impatiently kills the hen in order to get all the eggs at once, his golden-egg days will soon be over. Likewise, Man has been bestowed the unique ability of harnessing the resources of Nature. However, if he neglects his efforts to preserve Nature, or relentlessly strips all of Natures resources clean, then he would eventually lose everything. Mans relationship with Nature, if abused, will turn the boon into a bane.

Instead of the pursuit of the truth, science has become the pursuit of profit. Comment.
Science is the disciplined study of the natural world, the gaining of truths to improve the physical wellbeing of humankind. By definition, it is inherently the pursuit of truth. In fact, science is very much about the pursuit of facts in different fields of research and hence science and truth can hardly be divorced. Unfortunately in our modern age, there are times when science is so heavily skewed towards the pursuit of profit that the pursuit of truth is forfeited. Thus, science encompasses both the pursuit of profit and truth, but more of the first than the other. Science often starts with the pursuit of truth first, and the profit-making motive enters the picture later. In many cases, it is only after the truth is found that there is a search for profit. For instance, drug companies would hire more scientists to produce a certain medicine after it is discovered, to earn

money. Another example is plastic surgery. It used to be the search for knowledge with regard to skin tissues to repair birth defects and facial wounds caused by war. However, over time, this valuable service, which was once offered to those who needed facial or bodily reconstruction, has been increasingly promoted as a way for people to change features they simply dont like. As our society is obsessed with beauty and perfection, the demand for cosmetic surgery is high and the amount of revenue earned from it is hence, copious. Since the knowledge of cosmetic reconstruction is profitable, it can be said that the pursuit of truth and the pursuit of profit can co-exist. Thus, science could initially start as the pursuit of truth and the discoveries be made to make profit in future. However, while it is true that science can be both the pursuit of truth and profits, it appears that science today is more a pursuit of profit than of truth. When starting off on their research, many scientists today have the notion of achieving success not just for the truth, but for fame and fortune too. They are driven not only by their passion, but hopes of getting recognition for what they can discover. This is especially so in todays world, as compared to the past. In its earliest days, scientists conducted their research with little or no promise of monetary reward. Take for example a well-known scientist of today, who was born in 1564 - Galileo Galileis theory of the solar system was rejected by the public when he was alive, and even long after his death. The similar also happened to German scientist Alfred Wegener of 1880s, even in spite of his ability to back up his findings up with information from research. However, the harsh setbacks never knocked them down and they never stopped believing in, and propagating their theories. These are scientists who were truly seeking the knowledge and finding answers. However, as time progressed, science became more valued and accepted. Scientists now are compensated for their time and recognized for their discoveries made, by organizations and government. More scientists are now also driven by the possibility of their own profit in their research. Many of them today first start out on their paths in research, with the goal of winning the Nobel Prize in mind. They desire more than just the satisfaction of helping mankind, but crave the recognition and prize money of succeeding in doing something so big. Therefore, it can be seen that the pursuit of self-profits are present as well. Furthermore, for the frontiers of science continue to forge ahead, profits to fund capital intensive research is necessary, making the pursuit of profits to be important for truths to come to light. Without profits, sophisticated technology that will ensure accuracy of experimental results cannot be obtained and access to all sorts of required resources is denied too. Research and development, a capital intensive avenue, requires sufficient funding for discoveries to be made. This funding is usually largely borne by the profits earnt from previous scientific breakthroughs. It is almost impossible for science not to be profit driven, given that the lack of profits made would result in the discontinuation of the research entirely. Hence, for science and research to flourish, the pursuit of profits is of paramount importance. Thus, it is trivial to deliberate between whether science is the pursuit of truth or the pursuit of profit. Rather, the issue here is more pertinently about whether they undermine each other. In other words, it would be a cause for concern if the pursuit of profits in scientific endeavors compromises the pursuit of truth the essence of science. I subscribe to their view that the pursuit of truth, in itself, is not

undesirable as companies are business entities after all and are accountable to their shareholders at the end of the day. However, science is sometimes so profit-driven that the truth is undermined. Often, individual scientists or companies falsify research results to suit investor needs. The answers to whether caffeine is good for ones health or whether butter is better than margarine alternates between yes and no regularly as the published results (fabricated or not) is dependent on who sponsors the research. If a chocolate company is the one sponsoring the research about caffeine, the results for whether caffeine is good would almost certainly be a yes so that its chocolate sales may be boosted by when more people are swayed to believe that caffeine is good. When profit-motives come into play, it becomes difficult to ascertain the truth. The pursuit of profit, although not undesirable in itself, should be controlled such that it does not come at the expense of the truth and harm to society. In conclusion, science is both the pursuit of truth as well as the pursuit of profits and they may even complement each other. However, in cases where the pursuit of profits goes overboard, the truth is unfortunately forfeited.

HOW FAR IS TECHNOLOGY THE SOLUTION TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS?

Key qualifier: how far is Refers to the extent on how much of a solution technology is 2nd qualifiers 1. Solution Long term vs short term Low tech vs high tech 2. Environmental problems Energy issues Environmental degradation Resource depletion 3. Technology Not only restricted to green technology Thesis : Technology is the solution to environmental problems. 1. Technology can enhance existing solutions that are not effective enough. By researching and improving/modifying existing technology, current solutions can be more effective in dealing with environmental issues. The improved technology will better target the problems that the previous form could not and deal with the issue more thoroughly.

E.g. Solar power in the past, solar panels used were too hot, very costly and too spatially inefficient. Now, a common 150-watt solar panel is 1m2 in size, producing 1kWh a day (enough to power a TV for 8 hours).

2. Technology can bring about groundbreaking methods to solve current environmental problems. With better technology, scientists now can research new areas to unlock innovations that never existed before. E.g. Hydrogen fuel cell can produce energy indefinitely when oxygen & hydrogen is supplied while producing clean output. This is now being incorporated into cars, buses and other vehicles to drastically cut down carbon emissions from exhaust fumes. E.g. To ease the strain on depleting current energy sources, tidal turbines introduced to harness energy from underwater currents. It could provide up to 130,000 gWh per yearabout half the yearly production of dams in the US.

3. Technology can indirectly solve the problem by facilitating a wider audience reach to raise awareness in people. Technology (communication) actually helps to not solve the problem directly but rather to create awareness and facilitate the sharing of ideas, solving the problem indirectly Use of various media platforms and public figureheads (celebrities, musicians, politicians etc.) used to promote environmental friendliness. E.g. Earth Hour 2011s promotional video on Youtube garnered more than a million views and had an estimated reach of 1.8 billion people In 135 countries; with technology, these initiatives have a wider global reach.

Anti-thesis : Technology is not the perfect solution to environmental problems. 1. Technology sometimes creates more problems in the process of trying to solve the current one. As technology is being utilized to alleviate the problems it is meant to, deviations and anomalies are to be expected, no matter how negligible they are. In some cases, the hiccups are severe to the extent that it is worse than the problem it was supposed to solve. As seen from the cases of Chernobyl and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdowns, even while nuclear energy plants were supposed to solve the problem of energy shortage and pollution, they can in fact cause greater problems and trouble when failures occur. Furthermore, technology is usually the cause of the environmental problem. E.g. Oilrig malfunction led to the massive oil spill in the Mexican Gulf. In an attempt to solve the issue of shortage of energy (by obtaining more oil), more problems are created, such as destruction of aquatic creatures natural habitat.

E.g. Technological advancement led to the obsolescence of older technological devices such as older computer and electronics, leading to e-waste problems. In less developed countries like Ghana, ewaste is not dealt with proper care and safety procedures, toxic materials from components are released, leading to lead and mercury poisoning, one of the main cause of death amongst the citizens.

2. Solutions proposed by technology tend to effect change only in the long run, when immediate solutions are needed more due to the pressing nature of environmental problems. Environmental problems are mostly large scale, time will be required in most solutions but current solutions often takes a lot of time before a decent change can be observed. However, most environmental problems are pressing and needs a quick, short term solution to alleviate them. E.g. Hybrid vehicles emissions - can reduce air emissions of smog-forming pollutants by up to 90% and cut carbon dioxide emissions in half. However, this measure does not bring about any effective immediate change.

Evaluation 1. Technology alone cannot solve environmental problems, as such problems tend to have multiple causes. Most environmental issues cannot be traced back to a single source and is often rooted in mindsets that are hard to eradicate. E.g. USAs unwillingness to sign the Kyoto Protocol due to the negative effects on its economic growth. USAs economy is hugely dependent on its manufacturing industry to meet its domestic demands, releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gases as a result. Their priorities are entrenched in achieving their economic aims, are thus unwilling to effect positive environmental change by signing the Kyoto Protocol.

2. Moreover, these technological solutions to environmental problems could be an economical burden and be unfeasible, especially for poorer countries. The additional costs of implementation and maintenance could corrode revenue for governments and businesses, making them hesitant to employ such solutions. E.g. In 2008, estimated 6 billion total cost in recycling in UK (inclusive of financial costs as well as time wasted) E.g. For developing countries with environmental issues like Ghana and their e-waste problem as mentioned earlier, funding is often the primary hindrance. E-waste management requires training of workers, education of the public to hinder looting of these discarded e-waste, proper landfills that are away from residential areas; basically requires extensive infrastructure and funding, which they do not have the luxury of having.

3. Some environmental problems can even be solved without the need for technology. Unbeknownst to many, green technology is not needed to solve all environmental problems; sometimes, simple low-tech solutions will suffice. E.g. resource depletion -> 3Rs are used as a reminder to us to reduce our consumption, reuse materials and products that still are of use and to recycle products that are made up of material that are being depleted at a exponential rate.

Conclusion Though technology can bring some viable solutions to environmental problems, there could be possible side effects as well as problems created in other aspects. Low-cost production methods and efficiency are aspects considered when developing green technology. As much as possible, though environmental impacts take top priority, other factors are also considered.

Mass Media
'The tabloids merely succeed in making their readers even more misinformed, ill-advised and prejudiced than they were in the first place.' What are your views?
Dissection Misinformed given false or inaccurate information Ill-advised the characteristic of acting without due consideration and deliberation Prejudiced the characteristic of judging prematurely and irrationally Tabloid (Official definition) - a type of popular newspaper with small pages which has many pictures and short simple reports ( Associated with): newspapers that tend to focus on more trivial news relating to crime stories, gossip, personal lives of celebrities /sports stars / politicians, scandals etc. More sensationalized

Introduction Tabloids are newspapers that are famous for feeding on the schadenfreude and insatiable appetite for gossip that humans love. Commonly associated with trivial news such as crime stories, gossip and

personal lives of public figures, there is often a negative connotation associated tabloids. These smaller, yet powerful newspapers, often have high sales volumes and are known for their ability to sway readers with their sensational writing. *THESIS STATEMENT: While it is true to some extent that tabloids make readers more misinformed, illadvised and prejudiced than they already were, this is not always true. If placed in the hands of responsible journalists and discerning readers, the opposite effect can be achieved. How and why the tabloids are making their readers even more misinformed, ill-advised and prejudiced than they already were. 1. Several reports lack evidence to back up their claims hence the information presented is likely to be false and misleading. Most tabloids are rarely regulated or checked for validity. Governments usually have little control over the numerous tabloid companies and would rather focus their attention on larger, more serious newspaper companies. Most tabloid companies are privately owned rather than state owned. An undiscerning reader who does not have access to reputable news sources is unaware of reality and is likely to be convinced by what is presented. Eg. Some tabloids reported that Steve Jobs was getting treatment in California for cancer and that he had only 6 weeks to live. Such misleading information is negative because it can cause unnecessary worry amongst the public, weaken their faith in Apple products and may even affect the share price of Apple in the market.

2. The pursuit of profit motive causes tabloid companies to be indiscriminate and sensational in their reporting, which can evoke negative responses and prejudices. Tabloids do not have the social responsibility of allaying the fears / societal concerns of the public or being the mouthpiece of the government. They are instead driven by the attractive and profitable gains they can receive from their widespread circulation. In fact, the sales volume of tabloids like The Sun and The Daily Mail exceed reputable newspapers like The Guardian. This highlights how much tabloid companies can earn. To boost sales and earn higher profits, tabloids have to appeal to the insatiable appetites for gossip. Such irresponsible reporting when carried too far can cause prejudices in readers and can stir up negative sentiments or stereotypes. In many cases, they deliberately stir up negative sentiments for the sake of sales. Eg. Muslims Tell British: Go to Hell! (The Express) Can stir up negative sentiments towards the muslims, causing religious disharmony and instability. Eg. Tabloids trumpeted disturbing photographs of Winehouse stumbling barefoot through the London streets, bloodied and disoriented, dressed in tatters. Columnists

wrung their hands in false concern at the plight of poor Amy, even as their editors turned the stars descent into a gruesome public spectacle Such negative images of public figures can create negative / harmful impressions of readers on them. Prejudices are harmful because they cause one to form judgements prematurely, which can harm the targets self-esteem and rise to stardom, in Amy Winehouses case. It is difficult for her to be tear herself away from the harmful public image created by ruthless tabloid reporting.

How and why the tabloids are NOT making their readers even more misinformed, ill-advised and prejudiced than they already were. 1. Freedom of the reporting in tabloids may make readers better informed and can be in a better position to make decisions concerning their lives. Due to the lack of regulation of tabloids, this can cause more light to be shed on issues which would have been given less limelight by the regulated, state-owned press. This freedom of press allows tabloids to be more daring in giving alternative, honest opinions which may otherwise have been censored in state-owned press. However, such perspectives are equally important in helping readers know what is out there, and they can take these views into considerations when making decisions. Tabloids can also thus dispel myths and prejudices when they are closer to reporting the truth. Politicians caught in scandalsthese are usually reported by tabloids. La Republicca reported Berlusconis sex scandal (Italy: where most of the media is controlled by the Berlusconi family)

2. The pursuit of profit motive can actually drive journalists to find out more and can sometimes make readers less prejudiced. Unconstrained by state censorship and driven by the profit motive, journalists of tabloids may also be more resourceful at getting information they need for their articles. This can give readers more truth on information they could not have found via more reputable news sources which gain information through legitimate, and often censored means like interviews, where questions are prepared beforehand and sensitive questions are usually deleted out. By going beneath the surface, tabloids may reveal private details about an incident, which can help readers understand more about the plights of affected individuals, evoke sympathy and reduce prejudice which could have been generated by stereotypes portrayed by the regular press.

Examples: the recent expose of political scandals in Chinawhere the state media imposed a blackout but independent papers reported the truthe.g., about how parts of the Forbidden City was privately opened as a luxurious playground for the wealthy.

3. Discerning readers are able to understand the nature of tabloids and generally will not be entirely misguided by the inaccurate or sensationalized reporting in tabloids. Readers understand that tabloid companies are profit-driven and would resort to reporting inaccurate / sensationalized news to boost their sales. They would also understand that the objective of a tabloid is not to report factual news. Some also read tabloids for entertainment or relaxation purposes. There is greater media literacy. Readers are not tabula rasa. They do not absorb information at face value, but rather some form of information-processing and opinionforming goes on as they read. Furthermore, not all readers rely on only tabloids as their source of information, particularly since there is now greater access to information via different media forms. In some countries, people will buy two sets of papersthat most read tabloids for leisure, and mainstream papers for news. Hence, these readers are likely to have other sources of information to refer to, which they can use for cross-referencing and validation purposes.

Conclusion Tabloids, which are usually associated with baseless gossip and trivial news, are often seen to be cause readers to be more misinformed, prejudiced and ill-advised. Such an accusation exists because of the little regulation of tabloids and pursuit of profit motive. However, this accusation is largely false. Sometimes, it is precisely this lack of regulation that allows a free expression of views and truths, and the pursuit of profits can actually motivate journalists to dig beneath the superficial and dispel prejudices. Furthermore, in an age where information is readily available and media literacy rates are higher, discerning readers are unlikely to be that easily misguided by tabloids.

The New media has encouraged individualism.' To what extent do you agree with this statement?
INTRODUCTION New media: Interactive forms of communication that uses the internet.

Individualism: The social outlook that stresses the pursuit of individuals independent interests rather than the collective interests of the society. It also refers to the unique expression of oneself, allowing one to create a unique self-identity and increase ones self worth. Thesis statement: While aspects of new media largely encourage individualism, it is greatly undermined by the imposition of censorship. POINT 1 P New media allows anonymity and causes people to be bolder in their pursuit of self-interest and selfexpression, which might have been oppressed due to fear of scrutiny from others or prosecution by law. E There are some behaviours/opinions that are prohibited in the society. However, anonymity in social media has helped some people to secretly express their true feelings, allowing them to display their selfidentity, thereby encouraging individualism. E Many new media users also use anonymity to their advantage and voice out their true opinions online, for example, the recent Arab Spring revolutions that has triggered off the many uprising in various African countries, one of which is going on right now in Libya is sparked off by furious comments against the governments in forums. New media has provided a venue that allows the voicing of dissent of the people in these countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, allowing them to reveal their true feelings and therefore leading to individualism. L New media therefore encourages people to voice with their opinions, which may differ from the mainstream, online, encouraging individuality.

POINT 2 P New media encourages individualism by providing a platform for one to create new material and have the freedom of self-expression, enhancing ones self-identity. E New media makes it possible for anyone to create, modify content and share them with others using simple tools that are free or inexpensive. The content that is created by users is not only limited to entertainment alone, but can also include political commentary or other views on global issues, displaying an individuals characteristics more holistically as a person, thereby enhancing ones selfidentity.

E Many web users have Facebook or other social networking accounts and spend a considerable amount of time and effort to upload relevant materials that display their unique tastes and characteristics,

promoting individuality. More and more celebrities also rose to fame with the use of new media. Via the materials they uploaded online, in the form of music, political commentary, views on global issues, they managed to build distinct and unique personalities and also collect a solid fan base, crediting to the interactive feature of new media. Justin Bieber rose to fame when his mother uploaded some of the songs he sang on Youtube, which gathered a fanbase and attracted the attention of a manager of a recording firm. L New media encourages individualism by allowing one to build up a distinct personality online. POINT 3 P However, the capacity of new media in allowing ones freedom of self-expression and pursuit of selfinterest is undermined when there is state censorship in the country, which prevents one from freely expressing ones true opinions. E The fundamental aspect of the new media that allows the display of individualism lies in the freedom of expression of the users. However, this is annihilated when government removes this feature of the new media by imposing strict controls on the content that users can create and put up online, preventing their voices from being heard and the freedom of their expression. Users sense of identity would not be heightened, but undermined in this context.

E The infamous Great Firewall of China, imposed by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, prevents prodemocracy citizens from creating or sharing any material that would spread these ideals. With cyber watchdogs hired to crack down on any comments that falls short in praise of the communist party or may spread pro-democracy ideals, the people in China are hardly able to express their true feelings or words of dissent. In 2001, Wang Xiaoning and other Chinese activists were arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for using a Yahoo email account to post anonymous writing to an Internet mailing list. On 23 July 2008, the family of Liu Shaokun was sentenced to one year re-education through labor for inciting a disturbance after he took photographs of collapsed schools and posted them online. In the recent basketball brawl between a Chinese professional side and a U.S amateur team, which took place when US Vice President Joe Biden was visiting China, censors were quick to delete any reference to the brawl in online media for fear of jeopardizing US-China ties. If the expression of internet users is altered to fit what the government wants them to say, there is hardly any freedom of expression and their words would not truly reflect their self-identity. L

In countries with state censorship, new media does not encourage individualism but undermines it. Point: New media may discourage individuality as trends become more pervasive due to unending media bombardment, and there is hence pressure on people to conform to certain ideals held by society, discouraging individuality. Elaboration/evaluation Where formerly it was possible for a person to have privacy and to shut out the outside world simply by not going out, it is less possible now, when people are wired 24/7 and are bombarded endlessly with a stream of information, not just from global and national events, but also from the new medias frequent updates by friends and people close by. What this means is that societal trends become magnifiedthe notion that everyone is doing itwhich in turn creates undue pressure on people to follow trends or be left out, hence destroying individuality. E.g. In the constant bombardment by the media now, there is an emphasis on thinness, and when everywhere in the media thinness is portrayed as glamorous and desirable, when even ones friends are always tweeting/facebook-ing about losing weight, it definitely creates undue pressure on people that they have to be thin. Rising rates of anorexia and bulimia amongst teenage girls and young women, the sameness of fashion everywhere, particularly in the developed world where most are tech-savvy and connected 24/7, attest to this loss of individuality. Original synthesis Individualism is a fundamental part of human nature. New media merely provides a platform that gives one greater convenience in self-expression, but does not necessarily cause it to be more prominent as it is an underlying aspect of human nature all along. Rather than it being a cause and effect relationship, new media merely facilitates ones self expression and make underlying individualistic behavior of people appear more prominent. Whether greater individuality is a boon or a bane also depends on what type of individuality is encouragedresponsible individuality or irresponsible behavior. When irresponsible behaviour resulting from excessive displays of individualism, leading to revolts that threaten to destroy the social fabric, it should not be encouraged. However, harmless acts that grants one more freedom, independence and confidence, allowing them to stand out from the crowd in positive ways should be encouraged.

The media has been unfairly blamed for todays problems. Do you agree?
Key qualifier: unfairly Define unfairly: when all blame is pushed to the media without consideration of other factors. 2nd qualifier -todays problems

Social problems, political and economical problems.(larger scale) On the individual level or narrow scale, e.g some people experience media fatigue, some people become over-reliant on social networking sites, and some others neglect their families as they focus more on the visual world. Characters of media:

Pervasiveness Profits-orientated Biasness Stand: the media has been unfairly blamed for todays problems but it is not entirely free from blame Points: how and why the media is unfairly blamed for todays problems

1. The media has been unfairly blamed for today's problems as it is not the root cause for many of the problems today. I.e. Debt crisis in Greece, imprudent management by the Greek government. attacks of civilians and dissents in Syria ,the king's mismanagement and inability to satisfy ppl. Statics show that boys who witness their fathers violence are 10 times more likely to engage in spouse abuse in their later life than boys from non-violent homes.(family home intervention for the justice system 1993) evaluation: many problems today are complicated and rooted deeply in the society, they can have many causes. However, most of the time the media 's role in them is merely made they more wellknown instead of causing them. Hence, the media is not solely responsible for today's problems. Thus, it will be unfair to blame the media for causing most of today's problems

The media has been unfairly blamed for today's problems as the general public have their own judgment over what they see or listen from the media. e.g: there are thousands of players of games (doom, dota, world of warcraft and so on) that involve violence, but not all of them turn into killers like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who committed mass killing in Columbine High. Most of the time, it still depends on how the users of the media to act after receiving information or influence from the media. e.g.: for increased violence in the world in recent years , the media cannot be put to blame simply because individuals can choose to turn off or abstain from watching violent shows or movies. The fact is that even if increased exposure to violence may desensitize people, it does not definitely cause them to become criminals, as individuals can choose to reduce their exposure and how to act after the exposure.

Most of the people will not be easily swayed by the media to create problems. Most of the time, the media transfers information to people, and people analyse and process those information, then they decide what to do.

2. The media has been unfairly blamed as it sometimes helps to solve today's problems. e.g. The media reports ethnical clearance along the borders of southern and northern Sudan. This piece of news grabs international attention and helps to bring international mediators to solve the problem. The media helps to make news and current affairs become more widely known, hence helps to hasten the formation of solutions. Thus, the media has been unfairly blamed as its potential of solving problems is considered.

Counter point: How and why the media has been fairly blamed for today's problems. 1. The media has been fairly blamed for today's problems as it provides biased information and is very pervasive in todays world. e.g The media is a form of business; it is profit-driven and is controlled by its shareholders and managers. The editors sometimes weave their self- interests and beliefs into what they have written or posted. Hence, most of the time what is reported in the media is never 100% objective. e.g There is biasness ->Media company Fox's owner, Rupert Murdoch, is a supporter of the Republicans . How can one expect the channel owned by him to not put the Democrats into disadvantage? This biasness may stir up conflicts and stop the public from knowing the truth. Also., the media changes many peoples living style today. social networking: new modern media like the smart phones,blogs and social networking sites. They may help one to link with thousands of "friends" but may cause one to neglect those people near him. 2. The media has been fairly blamed as it has hastens and worsens the progression of today's problems. Even if it is not the primary cause of problems, the media has a propensity to exacerbate conflicts. Free and abundant information is available for access -> spread out the problems in one are to other-> widen the scope and level of conflicts-> e.g: the recent London Riotswhere the chaos spread within one weekend from one isolated area to many townships and cities, with usage of the new media in particular helping the rioters in their planning, as well as sympathetic coverage by some traditional media outlets. Evaluation: The media is just a catalyst that causes problems to be aggravated.

synthesis: The media has been unfairly blamed for causing most of today's problems as today's problems are more international and more multifaceted. The media is not powerful enough to be solely responsible for causing them. However, it can cause some problems on the individual basis. Like addiction and lack of inter person interaction. The media merely informs more ppl abt the current problems and hasten the progression of those problems. However, being known by more ppl may help to solve the problems. hence, the media has been unfairly blamed for causing wide-scale problems, but it is sometimes responsible for galvanizing it.

Globalisation

Rather than drawing the world closer, globalization is causing more division in the world.To what extent do you agree?
Key Qualifiers 1st Key Qualifier : Division

the splitting of an entity due to differences arising from opinions, cultures and aims 2nd Key Qualifier : Drawing the world closer

- An unison of opinions, decisions, aims, cultures 3rd Key Qualifier : Globalization

- Econs notes: closer integration of countries and people of the world brought about by reduction in transportation costs, and advances in communication- that have led to flows of goods, services, capital and knowledge cross border. Assumptions Use of the phrase RATHER THAN 1. Negative connotation placed upon division Is division always bad? Can division in some cases bring about positive benefits?

2. Positive connotation placed upon unification - Does unison necessarily equate to a better outcome? - Consider how unison under coercion has led to conflict and strife? TS: Globalisation has resulted in division between domestic and migrant population due to problems arising from migration. What Globalization has catalyzed - People migrate in search of essentially a better standard of living -> diaspora Proliferation of cheaper and more efficient modes of transportation -> ensures easier movement of people

What it has really caused Migrants could be ostracized Racism can be used to exploit feelings or as an excuse for current woes of local population

Perception that immigrants and refugees appear to get more benefits than local poor people-> tensions and hostilities Examples Muslims from India migrate to Pakistan for better standard of living = sense of belonging due to similar culture, beliefs. Ostracized in Pakistan; branded as Mujhadeens

Treated as outsiders, undergo physical torture and biased judgments' Division ensues has negative repercussions on the nations safety, security and stability TS: Globalisation has led to economic division between the rich and poor, as it exacerbates income inequality. What Globalization has catalyzed Developed nations have outsourced manufacturing jobs to developing nations like China where the cost of manufacturing goods and wages are lower. Exacerbates domestic unemployment of lower-skilled workers Skills, knowledge and expertise command a premium

-> higher income What it has really caused growing gap between the incomes of the rich and poor Division between rich and poor

Example Singapore was forced to restructure economy due to emergence of low-cost manufacturers like China/India/Brazil Shift of economic focus from low-end, electronics sector into specialized, capital- intensive and technologically-dependent niche areas in late 1990s. Eg. Pharmchem, precision engineering, nanotechnology etc Structural unemployment as these low-skilled workers were left without a job Income inequality -> between lower-skilled workers and highly educated workers, whose skills remained relevant amidst times of economic change.

TS: Globalisation has brought the world closer by serving as a platform for political cooperation between nations of the world. Formation of strong allies Effective communication and discussion regarding mutual interests in the region Setting up of charters Acceleration of economic growth, social and cultural progress Unification of aims, interests and opinions of Governments -> stability, peace and progress in the region

Example ASEAN ASEAN stands for the Association of 10 Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN was set up to advance mutual interests in the region Makes the region a competitive force on the global stage -> ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).

Proliferation of trade without protectionist barriers has led to unification of the member economies Interdependence of these economies has perpetuated continued economic growth and stability

TS: Globalization has created a platform for cross-border exchange of cultures, religions etc and led to unification of global citizens based on common beliefs, practices whilst embracing other viewpoints/perspectives. Helps integrate a society to a larger world economy Heightened awareness of other cultures Exchange of cultural practices, traditions ->

Essential for mutual tolerance and understanding Unity of world cultures

Example Transcends borders easily and even reaches rich and poor countries, young and old, east or west, north or south and makes no distinction at all on its way. Wearing Levis jeans, using cellular phone, using the English language are becoming more and more popular in developed or newly developed world, as well as in the third world countries Fast food chains or the McWorld are common features even in traditional societies like India Embracing a global culture

TS: Globalisation has brought the world closer by bringing countries in unison to fight a common cause or to aid each other in times of need. In times of crisis : natural disasters, terrorist attacks, etc. Countries come together to offer Aid to affected countries Made possible through globalization Able to better identify needs, possible restructuring tools, etc.

Unites the world during times of need Example Japan s recent earthquake which measured 7.9 on Richter Scale

Some 68 search and rescue teams from 45 countries were on standby to offer help immediately and were waiting to deploy resources. Singapore = civil defence forces on standby. Poland offered fire-fighters. Switzerland offered rescue teams South Korea = 40 emergency rescue officials who are on standby to fly in by government plane when they get clearance, its foreign ministry said. Uvaaz.org -> the barbaric crackdown on the Uighur rebels in Xinjiang were exposed to the global community via this website, which UNIFIED many developed nations like US, UK and other European nations in campaigning for the rights and negotiating with the Chinese authorities.

Synthesis TS: It has to be recognized that globalisation, being a complex, multi-faceted entity, has the power of both drawing the world closer and dividing them. Simply put, these two effects of globalisation should not be set up as mutually exclusive.

( comment: The question sets up a juxtaposition and a direct contrast between the effects of globalisation as drawing the world closer and causing more division. It also places a negative connotation on the divisive powers of globalisation. ) TS: where unity is forced upon disparate groups of people without resolution of underlying issues, it may be a negative thing as simmering tensions could result. E.g., Xinjiang riotsdue to suppression of the minority tribes in the Xinjiang region in China in an effort for national unityinstead of respect for different cultures and/or resolution of problems which they had, what occurred instead was a forced loss of the tribal minorities way of life, culture etc, which created deep resentment amongst them, eventually leading to riots.

that unity should not be imposed but be a natural occurrence from the desires of the people themselves Conclusion Globalisation has been a powerful force to be reckoned with in the current age, where information flow is unrestricted. Understandably, whilst globalisation may have disrupted the cultural and social homogeneity( and perhaps stability) in some nations, it has also helped to unify and bring together other nations in arenas like economic growth, science and technological research- henceforth benefiting the global community at large. Its multi-faceted, complex nature has an expanse of wide-reaching

effects on the global community, and to merely classify the impact as positive unification or negative division is undermining its influence and pervasiveness in current society.

Foreign talent is essential to ensure Singapore's survival. Do you agree?


Definition Foreign talent: Foreigners holding an employment pass, who possess certain skill sets. (NB: NOT temporary workers/maids!) Thesis Sentence Foreign talent is necessary to Singapores survival in a competitive global stage and the benefits they bring outweigh the problems. Body 1) Topic sentence: Skilled immigrants are beneficial as they can stimulate the growth of firms and industries and bring about greater economic growth. Elaboration: Skilled immigrants bring with them unique skill sets which will then be introduced to the domestic workers. This is particularly true for new industries in which locals have little or no experience ine.g., the biotechnology and casino industries. With transference of skills over time, this will allow Singapores workforce to continually improve and upgrade ourselves. Besides that, skilled immigrants will increase the credibility of our workforce and more firms will be willing to invest in Singapore. Examples Renowned scientist Dr Alan Colmans (Dolly the Sheep scientist) presence in Singapores Biopolis has added more credibility to biomedical research here by establishing a reputation internationally. Created the worlds first clinical stem cells. Dr Yoshiaki Ito (cancer specialist), contributed much to the research of cancer treatment

Evaluation: Therefore, skilled immigrants are essential to ensure Singapores growth to enable it to survive in the increasingly competitive world. 2) Topic sentence: Foreign talents add more diversity to our culture and values. Elaboration: This will aid Singapore in its development to become a truly world-class, cosmopolitan city with an X-factor and bring our nation a step closer to being on par with international cities such as London, Boston, New York. Minister Mention Lee mentioned that, Singapore has to be as cosmopolitan as other world class cities like New York and London, for its own survival and success.

Evaluation: Foreigners bring a lot of diversity and vibrancy, as they have different viewpoints, ideas and such. With such differences, creativity is enhancede.g., creation of new fusion cuisines, artistic collaborations between locals and foreigners. All of this adds up to an increased vibrancy that can then be truly called cosmopolitan. Example: Western culture places greater importance on the rights of the individual rather than the rights of society at large, while Eastern cultures places greater emphasis on the good of all rather than the sole benefit of the individual. Therefore, each individual has duties and responsibilities towards the society rather than on self. Singaporeans have managed combine the best parts of Asian philosophy with the best parts of Western philosophy, where 'respect for the individual' (Western view) is secured and protected within the 'support of the system of the group' (Asian view). Thus, most modern Singaporeans are adopting and adapting many Western ways to suit their traditional Asian values. Being exposed to Western culture, in particular American culture has caused younger Singaporeans, to be more open-minded and liberal in their thinking. Pop culture, such as fashion and music from Western culture, has been quickly adopted by many young Singaporeans, resulting in an influx of westernized-behaving Singaporeans. Western culture has also helped encourage most Singaporeans to try out new ways of doing and seeing things, as well as become more creative.

3) Topic sentence: It is important to encourage the influx of foreigners to fill up the shortage in Singapores labour force. Elaboration: This is due to the emergence of an aging population, which is putting stress on our diminishing labour force. This also results in a smaller talent pool in Singapore hence there is a need for us to attract foreign talent to have a wider range of talents to choose from. Evaluation: That the reality is that for a small country like ours, people are our only resource. And in order to stay competitive globally, we need to continually have and attract the best talents to our country, particularly as we have labour shortages in certain industries such a nursing and the service sector. In the hospitality industry, most of the frontline crew hired are from the Philippines. In Shangri Hotel for example, a vast majority of service staff are foreigners.

Counter Argument 4) Topic Sentence: However, it is precisely this influx of foreign talent that is causing unemployment in Singapore.

Evaluation: Singaporeans demand a higher pay and therefore, firms would choose to employ immigrants who are here to seek jobs and demand lower pay in order to lower costs. Therefore, Singaporeans who are willing to take up jobs in these fields will be less likely to find one. This causes unemployment of locals, which will threaten the growth of Singapore. Besides, fresh graduates from universities are finding it increasingly difficult to secure jobs as they are competing with these foreign talents. Example: Singaporeans generally cost more than foreigners to hire due to the CPF scheme above the stated salary to the employee, it is mandatory for employers to contribute 15% more to the CPF as part of the employers contribution ratehowever, it is not necessary to do for foreigners. Hence, especially for SMEs, it becomes more costeffective to hire foreigners, which puts locals out of jobs. Link: Therefore, instead of ensuring the survival of Singapore, foreign immigrants are the one causing Singapores downfall.

5. Topic sentence: In addition, some may argue that the influx of foreigners may cause unrest and dissatisfaction among locals as well as disrupt the social fabric of our society. Elaboration: With a large influx of foreigners, there has been growing resentment by locals, and an us vs them mentality being createdcultural clashes occurring. E.g., recently reported in the news how a local Indian family had to cook less curry so as not to offend their new neighbours from China, who could not stand the smell. However, such issues can be controlled by educating the public as well as slowly increasing the number of foreign talents here and not allowing a sudden influx. Evaluation: Although there may be disadvantages brought about by foreign talent which may threaten Singapores survival, these problems can be resolved with careful handling of policies by the government and ultimately, the benefits of foreign talent outweigh the disadvantages.

Conclusion Foreign talent is important in ensuring the survival of Singapore although they might be the cause of Singapores downfall as well. Government intervention and the implementation of sound policies are essential in ensuring that foreign talents benefit Singapore more than the costs they bring with them. It is important to find the right balance and mix in the highly skilled foreigners working here such that Singaporeans can still be employed and yet benefit from the knowledge the foreigners bring to the country, Mr Tharman mentioned.

'Globalisation is causing the tragic loss of both our individual and national identities.' Discuss.
Introduction Key qualifier: is causing Second qualifier: tragic loss, identities (individual, national), globalisation Globalisation is the increasing inter-connectedness and inter-dependency of peoples, cultures, economics and politics at all spatial scales. It includes the cross-border flow of capital and goods, movement of people via migration and tourism and diffusion of information and culture. Individuals continuously try to make meaning of themselves in relation to their external world. Their beliefs and sense of rootedness to a particular society forms the core of their identities. Individual identities tend to be shaped by the language, common values, practices and historical memories of the social group that the individual belongs to. Traditionally, individuals shape their identities along racial, religious and national lines. However, the rapid development of the internet, free trade and air travel as augmented by globalisation opens up an array of opinions, values and consumer products for individuals to choose from, diminishing the attachment people have to their local products, practices and mind sets. Whether the consequences of such phenomenon are tragic ultimately depends on the responses and adaptability of nations and individuals.

How and why globalisation is a loss to our identities. Advancements communication technologies have diminished the extent of influence a society has over these individuals as it brings a wider range of opinions, beliefs and consumer products to individuals. This may lead to a loss in individual identity as individuals perception and value system is increasingly shaped by foreign forces. America is often accused of soft imperialism, as seen by the rapid dissemination of once considered Western human rights and democracy ideals to being universal standards that everyone is obliged to adhere to. Air travel, a consequence of globalisation, has also brought about the migration of people. Greater intermingling of people from different cultures may bring about the dilution of national identities. For example, the trend of English gaining traction as the preferred global lingua franca leads to a loss of local languages. Language profoundly influences the culture of a society as it holds memories of the history of the people. A loss of local languages will signify a loss in national identity.

Globalisation may bring about commercialisation of local cultures for tourism, leading to a loss in authenticity of the culture. For example, the Kecak dance in Bali, originally a religious dance, was reduced from one hour to 10 minutes and simplified to sustain the interest of tourists. Culture becomes a contrived act for the sake of profits rather than a true reflection of peoples way of life. Hence cultural identity, which is an integral part of national identity, is lost.

How and why these losses are tragic. Losses in individual and national identities have tragic consequences on diversity as there is an increasing homogeneity in acceptable practices and values. People tend to adopt the practices and consumer goods of popular cultures over their local culture, which may be deemed archaic in comparison. For example, the concept of beauty is now universally taken to be Hollywoods ideal of thinness. Cultures like the Karen tribe, which take the length of a womans neck to be the ultimate measure of beauty are fast dying because of the adoption of common popular ideals. Even the perception of an average body, or fatness as beauty (as in the South Pacific islands cultures) has been eroded. This has compounded teenage eating problems like anorexia and bulimia in many nations. By striving for the ideal body image their idols have, these young females have lost their uniqueness. Widespread ubiquity and growth of fast-food chains worldwide testify to the extent of global demand for Western products over local products. For nations, the loss of a national identity represents a tragic impediment to the progress of the nation, as the concept of loyalty to the nation weakens. In particular, the erosion of national identity is a key cause of concern for nations which rely heavily on human capital for progress. For example, Singapores politicians have, in recent years, looked into ways to root talented Singaporeans to the country so as to minimise the impact of brain drain on the country.

How and why globalisation is not a tragic loss to our individual identities. Globalisation can be seen as a liberating force that allows people to shape their identities beyond the confinements of their societal culture. Thus the loss of identities that is traditionally shaped along national lines is not tragic to the individual as he has been given more avenues to explore and express his identity. Feminist ideals propagated by the new media free women from their traditional roles as homemakers. In particular, micro financing schemes designed by developed nations usually target women in developing nations and encourage these women to set up their own businesses. Thus women are now able to redefine their identities beyond what is narrowly prescribed by their culture.

How and why globalisation is not a tragic loss to our national identities. However, people may foster a stronger sense of belonging to their nation when they perceive their identity to come under the siege of globalisation. Globalisation has propelled the rise of strong ethnic and nationalist movements in recent years, seen from the steadily gain in traction of the Bangladesh nationalist Awami League. Awami League aims to treat all traditional ethinc groups of Bangladesh equally, and won the support of the Bangladeshi people in the 2008 Parliamentary elections. Nationalistic feelings in South Africa led to the rise of the African National Congress to fight against apartheid. The ANC also helped in conflict resolution and peace-building within South Africa after the colonisers were driven out. They played a major role in rebuilding South Africa to its present state today. The spread of Western political ideals and power into the Arab world led to Arab nations adopting Pan-Arabism, where they form alliances for economic benefits as well as to counter external forces. Thus globalisation may not bring about a loss of identity as it may cause people to cling on more tightly to their familiar way of life amidst the sea of changes it brings.

Conclusion Globalisation brings about an asymmetrical impact on national and individual identities, depending on their response. However, it can be certain that the process of changes that globalisation brings is unstoppable. Instead of shutting out the rapid and intense changes that globalisation brings, individuals and nations should learn to adapt and shape their identities in accordance to the changes in their environment. Identity can be in constant flux, and is not a static object that will be lost. Londoners and New Yorkers have shown that it is possible for cities to define identities as an inclusive and diverse melting pot identity so as to cope with the waves of immigrants globalisation has washed upon the shores of those countries. While globalisation helps to tear down geographical boundaries, leading to a reduction in national identities, it radically changes our individual identities. Today, we no longer belong to a single area or community, we live in a global culture and society.

Politics, War, Goverment


DO YOU AGREE THAT GREAT LEADERS ONLY EMERGE IN TIMES OF CRISES?

Interpretations of second qualifiers: Great Leaders: People who have certain character traits that allow them lead a group of people towards a certain goal. Such traits typically include, but are not limited to, the ability to motivate and inspire. Furthermore, these goals may not be ultimately beneficial and desirable. Crisis: A situation where a certain group of people is threatened by external forces or internal troubles. Stand: Great leaders possess the ability to effectively guide the masses and this ability is necessary in times of crisis. Hence, great leaders do appear more frequently in times of crisis because they are able to make a difference in such times and the greatness of a leader is very much defined by what he or she manages to do. Their greatness hence shows. However, they do not only emerge in times of crisis because the ability to effectively guide the masses is not only necessary during times of crisis but also during times of progress. Ineffective leadership can stifle progress and lead to disasters. Moreover, great leaders can use their ability to influence the masses to manipulate the masses and in the process cause great harm.

Carrolli Barnett (British Military Historian): Greatness has nothing to do with morality. Alexander Heard: No concept of leadership is complete without the element of zeal and fervour.

Arguments for the statement: Topic Sentence Great leaderships have the characteristics and abilities necessary for averting crises and resolving conflicts. Extraordinary times call for extraordinary leaders and measures. Great leaders are able to mobilize the masses in working towards a common goal. This is needed in times of crises when the collective effort of a large group of people is necessary to achieve a certain goal/resolve a certain problem. Great leaders with these abilities hence shine when faced with such challenges. Their greatness is affirmed because of their ability to make a difference for the better in these situations. The ability to inspire has always been one of the most important traits of great leaders. From John. F. Kennedys May 25, 1961 Urgent National Needs speech to the US congress on sending an American safely to the moon and back by the end of the decade, to Martin Luther Kings I have a dreams speech, the difference inspirational speeches can make in times of trouble is evident. Julius Caesar was feared for his military invincibility. However, a lesser known trait of his

Elaboration and Evaluation

Examples

is the ability to motivate his soldiers through carefully crafted speeches. Even some of the worst great leaders such as Adolf Hitler could hardly have caused as much destruction and misery if not for their oratorical skills and charisma.

Argument against the statement: Topic Sentence Elaboration and Evaluation Good leadership is necessary not only in times of crisis but also in times of peace and progress. The ability to sustain progress and bring an organisation towards greater heights is also an attribute that great leaders possess. Without sound policies and effective governance, a leader can do the people he or she is leading more harm than good. Moreover, different character traits may be more suited to solving problems in different situations. In times of war, the ability to inspire millions to work towards one goal may be necessary. However, in times of peace, the ability to lead a small group of ministers in creating economic progress and socio-political stability may turn out to be more useful. The third emperor of the Qing dynasty, Kang Xi, led China to great economic progress and political stability. The two emperors after him, Yong Zhen and Qian Long also ruled effectively, culminating in one of the most prosperous periods of Chinese history. There were no obvious disasters after Kang Xi. Yet, Yong Zhen and Qian Long can be considered great leaders because of the positive impact they brought to the people they were leading. Hence, great leaders need not always be revolutionary. Winston Churchill suffered a landslide defeat immediately after WW2 largely because he was deemed unsuitable to lead Britain in peacetime. Chinese Emperor Han Gao Zu (founder of the Han dynasty in the 2nd century B.C.) and Roman Emperor Augustus each gave to millions unity and peace that lasted because their policies were based on moderation which won consent. Thus they repaired the breakdown of the unity briefly imposed by their unsuccessful predecessors, Qing Shi Huang and Julius Caesar.

Examples

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Human nature: Most of the time, it only appears as though great leaders emerge during times of crisis, because it is precisely in turbulent and chaotic times that people focus on the leadersas such situations bear greater human interest stories thenwhile

Further evaluation: Examples

overlooking leaders in times of stable, peaceful progress. (Parallel analogy being how the media focuses on reporting war/troubles, rather than peace and happinessthe notion of human interest stories and what people pay attention to) The most famous (greatest) American presidents are those leading America when it was the most unstable. Examples include founding fathers like Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, Civil War President Abraham Lincoln, World War 1 President Woodrow Wilson and World War 2 President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Topic Sentence (Original synthesis) Elaboration and evaluation

Examples

Great leaders may lead an organisation into chaos and catastrophe. Great leaders are masterful in motivating the public. It is hence possible for them to manipulate the people they are leading, whether intentionally or unintentionally, towards a certain goal that may turn out to be a disaster. Napoleon is certainly one of the greatest military commanders in the history of mankind. However, he led the French to catastrophe, although they followed him almost to the end. The Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap Forward spelt doom for hundreds and thousands of Chinese. Yet, Mao is still revered by many till this day because of his ability to motivate, inspire and influence. Adolf Hitler, one of the worst great leaders of all time, wrecked havoc through his influence.

Conclusion: Great leaders are more often than not remembered for their ability to influence the masses than for their morality and any good that they have done. In that sense, great leaders need not only emerge in times of crises. Leaders can be great by simply maintaining or improving on the level of peace and progress achieved by their predecessors because to achieve this common goal on a national level, leaders need to have certain extraordinary traits, and these traits make them great. Furthermore, great leaders need not always resolve crises, as implied by the question. Quite on the contrary, many are in fact the causes of crises.

Insufficient attention is paid to the health of the poor How far is this true in todays world?
Key Qualifier: Insufficient 2nd Qualifiers: Attention, Health

Introduction Define: Health of the poor Physical Health: Diverting sufficient resources to provide adequate healthcare and medical services to cure, diagnose and treat illnesses, injuries and diseases Emotional Health: Personal well-being Stand: Although much attention has been given to the health of the poor from global bodies in recent years, it is still largely inadequate in addressing their long-term healthcare needs. Body Anti-thesis: Sufficient attention is paid to the health of the poor 1. Governments in less developed countries are doing their best to cope with the demands of providing healthcare to the poor in their country Difficult to implement proper healthcare systems due to financial constraints Scale of issue is often too large to resolve and manage in the short run Such systems are also primarily funded by government tax revenue, but such funds are difficult to procure in developing countries due to lower percentage of tax payers E.g In 2000, Ethopia's physician to population ratio was 1:48000 and average life expectancy was merely 45 years. Since then, Ethopia has become one of the fastest-growing East African economies but with a tax revenue of merely 11.6% of its US$29.7 billion GDP to fund a healthcare system covering 80 million Ethopians, it is little wonder that the government has difficulty allocating sufficient resources to alleviate all the problems plaguing Ethopia. However the government has put in steady efforts in alleviating poverty through the Health Sector Development Plan, distributing vaccines and anti-retroviral drugs. Hence, given the constraints faced by governments in developing countries, the amount of attention paid is sufficient and it would be unfair to dismiss their efforts on the basis of lackluster results

2. More developed countries are recognizing the need to establish healthcare systems to ensure that the poor in their country are not left out - With increased economic development, wealthier nations find that they are now better able to extend healthcare subsidies to the poor in their country - Improve on existing subsidies to widen their coverage as well as increase subsidies to make healthcare more affordable - E.g USA Health Reform (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) - In this sense, the less affluent fraction of society will have increasing access to better quality healthcare

Thesis: Insufficient attention is paid to the health of the poor 1. Inability aside, in todays society, many countries place the pursuit of other goals of greater

priority than the health of the poor -

The governments in less developed countries facing a large proportion of poor citizens tend to not make health a priority Issue at hand is not whether healthcare is affordable but whether it is of a sufficient priority In reality other goals are being prioritized over the health of the poor, e.g economic growth and resolving political issues Corruption likely to be rampant in developing countries, hence foreign aid may have been abused or channeled elsewhere for private gains instead of going to funding for their healthcare system E.g Ethopia spends a mere 4.3% of its GDP on healthcare while Japan spends 8.2%. This is excluding the difference in GDP and the fact that Japan's population is only 1.5 times that of Ethopia's Additionally, promises to improve the health standards of the poor tend to be empty election promises. Yet such promises are still made in order to secure votes for elections because it tugs at the heartstrings of the poor. Even in the wealthy nations, the health of the poor tends to be neglected as they are not powerful enough to lobby politicians for change Therefore it seems that there is a grim and obvious lack of adequate prioritization of healthcare, and the attention itself that is being paid is often used as a facade for other selfish motives

2. In addition, the health of poor workers are often neglected in the pursuit of economic gains - The situation is worse in countries with healthcare systems that provide inadequate coverage - Health insurance is often not compulsory for semi-skilled workers, especially if their work requires exposure to unsafe or hazardous conditions - Moreover, for workers who face such risky job conditions, insurance premiums tend to be very expensive and thus unaffordable to many - E.g Dynamic factory scandal in Bangkok where factory workers developed respiratory problems from dust particles, a by-product of manufacturing Barbie and Disney products. None of the low-wage workers were properly insured, nor were they adequately compensated - Firms are usually more concerned about profitability rather than welfare of the workers, and this situation is made worse when the firm is powerful enough to be able to cover up their blatant exploitation of workers - Moreover, the emotional health of workers working long hours a day and the living conditions under which they work tend to be neglected - More could have been done to ensure that firms take the health of their workers seriously

3. Moreover, international bodies provide insufficient funding for research on diseases that plague mainly the poor. ( what is referred to as the 90/10 rule in science researchthat 90% of funding goes towards what affects 10% of peoplei.e., rich mens diseases.) - Illnesses such as cancer and cardiac diseases are more common in developed countries

while diseases like malaria, tuberculosis and cholera are far more widespread in less developed countries Hence research on such rich man's diseases are likely to be far more profitable and are a more attractive option for researchers as well as investors providing funds for the research This results in a much more heavy focus on these rich man's diseases Scientists are also not always able to choose their area of research, because it largely depends on the availability of funding E.g The average research funds provided by the National Institute of Health on Malaria is US$134 million, but the average expenditure on cancer research amounts to a staggering US$5.8 billion Medical advancements in illnesses that plague the poor are likely to be stunted, or even stagnant as a result of insufficient emphasis being placed on these fatal diseases

4. The media also tends to give excessive coverage of events aimed at raising funds to improve the healthcare standards provided to the needy but little is known about the follow up actions from the event or tangible assistance given to the poor - Inclination towards what can be sensationalized results in very brief attention being paid to the health of the poor, and this is often insufficient - E.g Charity events held by National Kidney Foundation seemed to be for a noble cause: raise funds to help poor families with members stricken with kidney illnesses. However, it was not until the scandal in 2005 that it was discovered that in 2003, only ten cents out of every dollar raised were used for dialysis costs. Additionally, the 2004 annual report claimed that 52 cents out of every dollar went to its beneficiaries. - Short-lived nature of media coverage provides a skewed and insufficient focus on what is more important, and may even distract the public from more pertinent issues

Evaluative Point Too much attention is paid to the health of the poor Creation of emotional dependence and breeds over-reliance on external aid (concept in psychology: Crutch mentality/learned helplessness) Many organizations, e.g WHO, Stand Up for Poverty, that constantly bring in foreign aid to alleviate poverty and allow greater access to healthcare Constant attention may end up counterproductive by making the poor view such aid as their entitlement The emotional well-being of the poor may have been neglected or even exploited to provide a justifiable cause for their actions Fail to recognize that what the poor need is to be equipped with the right skills, abilities and education to be independent and discerning rather than such continual aid that will eventually be unsustainable in the long run

The workers themselves may also not pay sufficient attention to their own health Given the minimum working hours that they have to work a day for the meager pay that

they receive, the workers have no choice but to push themselves harder in order to earn slightly more to provide for their families Thus they may place their own health as a lower priority compared to the need to earn more to support their families

Conclusion In general, insufficient attention is given to the health of the poor. In certain cases, while much attention has been given to the health of the poor, it is largely intangible in nature and lacking in sustainability. Yet, attention given to the health of the poor must be carefully managed so as to avoid reliance on such aid rather than independence amongst the poor.

The last thing poor countries need is democracy. Do you agree?


Democracy, the form of government in which power is vested in fellow citizens and exercised by them under a free electoral system, seems to be popular choice of state today. Economic giants Britain and United States of America have long been traditional bastions of people power, and the recent uprising of the Arab Spring in the face of growing inequity and flagrant corruption in several Arab states demonstrates yet the countrymens fervent fight for their opinions to be heard. In particular, the latter situation reflects the importance of effecting democracy in poor countries. Indeed, much of the poverty plight and its related issues seem to rest on the blatant ignorance of the peoples welfare by their governments, a consequence of having men in power who do not act in the interests of the population. However, some dismiss this view as an oversimplification of a much more dire reality, claiming that the swathe of other problems facing such poor nations poor healthcare and education, dilapidated infrastructure, and underdeveloped economies are more pertinent and demand greater priority, thus leaving democracy as a last pursuit. While poor countries may have many non-political problems demanding immediate solutions, having a democracy could potentially enhance the effectiveness in which these nations tackle their internal issues. Therefore, the pursuit of democracy is equally important and definitely not the last thing poor countries need. Why democracy should be a last need 1. There are other issues which are arguably more pertinent in poor countries. T: Poor countries suffer from many fundamental economic and social problems. E: These problems range from shockingly low income levels to underdeveloped healthcare and education systems. According to World Bank statistics, the average African living in the poorer regions of Africa, e.g., Sudan and Somalia, struggles to survive under $1 every day. Education levels in many poor nations, such as the more authoritarian Middle Eastern countries and African populations in general, are so low in comparison to those of their developed world counterparts that at least 50% of each of these populations is illiterate. Healthcare systems in poverty-stricken nations do no better, with shortage of basic healthcare services and professionals, even in some of the cities

of these countries. E: These problems pose a direct threat to the wellbeing of the people by exposing them to greater risks of death and disease, and depriving them of sufficient material living standards as they lack both the purchasing power to buy goods and the availability of basic consumption goods. Just last year, a new report released by the UN revealed that mortality rates in 3rd world countries are fourfold those in 1st world countries. L: Therefore, in comparison to such painful and lethal problems that the poor in these countries face daily, the lack of democracy seems to diminish in importance. This suggests that the pursuit of democracy is but a peripheral goal of these countries. This justifies the view that democracy should be a last need for poor countries. 2. Poor countries lack the political structures and mindsets indispensable to a functioning and effective democracy. T: Academics raise the issue as to whether poor countries are capable of having workable democracies. E: The common consensus among political scientists is that a sophisticated population, i.e., one in which the members are aware of their responsibilities and are sufficiently wise to make good decisions; a properly functioning government, and a society whose stability solely depends on the collective opinion of the people, are indispensable to an ideal democracy. However, such a situation almost never exists in reality. E: Particularly for poor nations which are largely comprised of malnourished humans struggling to get by, it is highly unlikely for the population to have the level of sophistication and discretion to make wise decisions, as they are probably resigned to fate and will blindly vote for whoever they feel promises a brighter future. Moreover, there has to be sufficient leaders who have the right mindsetof sharing power, of listening to the peopleand a properly functioning political Cabinet in place. This is not the case for Afghanistan, whose alarming levels of corruption amongst the elected officials have earned itself the notorious title of the worlds worst democracy in Time. Also, collective opinions almost never guarantee peace in the real world, simply because minority groups want their views to be represented as well. In the extreme cases of Ethiopia and her many poor African counterparts, where hundreds of tribes still exist in society, there would be difficulties in assimilating these tribes motley views into a unified goal for the country. The extent to which peace can occur depends on how gentle these underrepresented groups are towards democratic decisions that do not favor them. However, for poor countries whose people lack the most basic education levels to practice civility, it is very probable that any degree of underrepresentation of views could lead to chaos and internal unrest, especially when the leaders are likely to have vested interests and blood ties to certain tribes, which matter more to them than shared ideals. The most pertinent examples are countries such as Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo, where death rates resulting from civil war and minority group protests are sky high. Clearly, such violence would only do more harm than good to the already dire situation. L: Indeed, in poor countries that lack the qualities necessary for an effective democracy, it seems unnecessary, undesirable, and unwise for their people to pursue a democratic system since they do not benefit from it.

Why democracy should not be a last pursuit, i.e., why it is of relatively high importance

3. Effective democracy addresses the needs of the majority. Poor countries stand to benefit from such a system as opposed to systems which quash the voices of the poor. T: Perhaps humanitys generally nave but widely accepted view that democracy is the best political system and should be adopted everywhere stems from one of democracys fundamental characteristics: in that it empowers people with political and civil rights. E: Both scholars and politicians have argued that these are the key ingredients toward ensuring active citizenry and consequently economic participation. According to Nobel peace laureate Amartya Sen, a well-respected international figure who proposed theories of economic welfare and social choice, one of the crucial factors differentiating poor nations from the developed is that the latter encourages active participation in its citizens in all spheres of society, from cultural values to political issues. This allows their people to voice their personal and communal concerns, many of which pertain to bread and butter issues such as social inequality, poverty and cost of living. E: Certainly, people living in poor countries need such an avenue to raise their concerns together and garner collective strength to fight for a common cause. Yet, much to our chagrin, povertystricken countries today lack the most basic liberties of expression and speech that allow precisely the plights of the people to be raised, arguably due to the peoples fear of being further oppressed by their authoritarian dictators. L: Indeed, the very idea that democracy allows people to voice their issues, coupled with the existence of governments that exert fear and authority on their citizens in many underdeveloped and poor countries, necessitates the adoption of a democratic system in order to generate the necessary political participation and civic-mindedness among the poor to bring about improvements to their living standards. Henceforth, democracy is definitely not a last need for poor countries. 4. Democracy provides checks and balances against authority. T: Democracy, by placing checks and balances against authorities, helps to reduce government corruption which is usually the main cause of poor countries remaining poor for decades even though they are endowed with rich resources. E: A consensus seems to have emerged that corruption and other aspects of poor governance and weak institutions have substantial, adverse effects on economic growth. The idea that no one is above the rule of law, ensures that not only private sector, but governmental organizations must be accountable and transparent to the public. As incumbent leaders can be easily voted out of power by people, democracy forces the incumbent leaders to effectively channel financial resources to improve welfare of people and build infrastructures for development instead of appropriating the resources as their own. E: To grow into rich nations, poor countries need to effectively invest money in physical resources and improve human and technological resources with education and technology transfer programs. Hence it is essential for poor countries to have governments that are free of corruption and are able to channel resources to good use. Apparently, only democracy is able to build such governments in poor countries. L: Hence, democracy is of paramount importance to poor countries as it fosters good governance that is able to effectively reduce poverty in the countries.

Evaluation

Detractors of the democratic ideal may assert that the existence of democracy is largely independent of good governance. However, it is very likely that governments which are not elected by their people act mostly according to their own personal interests, as evident from authoritarian regimes such as Egypt and Libya, to dictatorships such as North Korea. Having a democracy at the very least ensures that the elected act according to the electorates wishes. Thus, as much as democracy may seem unimportant in the face of many other problems which require perhaps good governance and sound policies, it nonetheless still plays an instrumental and relevant role in providing a strong backbone for whatever effective policies and great governance that follow. For ultimately, the only way a social contract can be maintained between a government and its people, is if the government first listens to its people. And of all forms of government, it is only democracy which has this tenet of inclusiveness of the people in its ideology. Conclusion Indeed, today poor nations face plentiful problems from inadequate healthcare and infrastructural systems to high death rates, and the very fact that this goes against humanitys vision of equality and peace galvanizes many to fight for fast and effective solutions, leaving the pursuit of democracy seemingly less relevant and unimportant. Moreover, the democratic ideals are difficult to realize in many of these countries, suggesting the futility of having democracy in the first place. Yet, it is clear that a democratic system brings about vast benefits to poverty-stricken nations, from providing them leaders who seek to improve the living standards of the poor to catalyzing and encouraging the implementation of policies that target poverty alleviation. Therefore, it is important and imperative for poor countries to ultimately pursue democracy, in order for the betterment of their childrens lives to be realized. In the words of American social activist Alan Briskin, Democracy is a promise that the excluded voices are needed to form a greater whole.

Arts/culture
Question: Comics are only for children. Do you agree?
Type of question: Absolute question Assumption in question: Comics have no real use/value; they are meant for frivolous entertainment; reading comics is a childish activity that is unsuitable for adults. Definition of comics: Derived from the Greek word kmikos which means of or pertaining to comedy. Comics denote a hybrid medium combining words with images to construct a narrative.

It refers to juxtaposed pictorial and other images in deliberate sequence, intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer. Today, comics are commonly found in newspapers, magazines, comic books, graphic novels and on the web. Stand: Disagree with the statement. Thesis statement: Although comics were originally meant for children, they have evolved over time to cater to everyone, regardless of their age. Paragraph 1: Topic Sentence: Comics were traditionally designed for children, and have been largely published with children as the target audience. Elaboration: With colourful, idealistic superheroes, simple storylines and bright illustrations, comics appealed to children, and some of the most established comic series are of such a nature. Example: There was a massive number of comics published in the 1930s and 40s when the American comic book was first born. These were mainly aimed at the young market, some of the more well known ones include Superman and Popeye. Evaluation & Linker: Since the common content of comic books is aimed at the younger market, comics are only for children. Paragraph 2: Topic Sentence: However, since the 1950s, the emphasis has shifted towards adults. Elaboration: The post-war American comic market saw superheroes falling out of fashion. At the same time, the comics industry has realised that there is a larger market for adults. Not only are they able to afford more expensive comics, there is a wide range of genres which appeal to them. Comics transitioned from being a childrens form of entertainment to become a medium that combines the written word with graphical representations. Example: Major publishers such as Marvel and DC have become so oriented toward teen and adult readers that material construed as acceptable for 8 to 12-year-olds is set in an outside universe, usually labeled as 'Adventures'. Currently, only 'Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man' and 'Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes' are still being published, compared to a massive number of other publications for more mature audiences. Such comics now feature more complex storylines, ambivalent heroes, real-world issues and even portray violence, hence they are certainly not meant only for children. Evaluation & Linker: As adults have been the target audience for some more recent comics, comics are not just for children.

Paragraph 3: Topic sentence: Comics are applicable to people of all ages as everyone is able to relate to the element of humour present in them. Elaboration: The element of humour present in comics provides comic relief to readers regardless of their age. Children may read comics for entertainment and leisure while young adults and adults may turn to comics as a form of escape from their stressful and hectic school and work lives respectively.

Example: Comic strips and caricatures such as 'Chew on It', published in newspapers are well-received by both children and adults as they can relate well to the humour present in these comics. Evaluation & Linker: Since comics function as a form of entertainment and as an avenue for stress relief for all, comics are not only for children but for teenagers and adults as well.

Paragraph 4: Topic sentence: There are different categories of comics with content suited for the different age groups. Comics from the various categories contain subject matter appropriate for the specific age group they are catering to. Elaboration: The subject matter of a comic is usually only applicable to and suitable for readers within a specific age group. For example, socio-political comics relevant to adults may be too complex for young children to comprehend and are therefore unsuitable for them to read (E.g., Dilbert). Also certain graphic novels/comics with excessive violence and sexual references would be considered as inappropriate content that is unsuitable for children. Comics have ratings (similar to movie ratings) to specify the age group that the content is suitable forchildren, young adults and adults. Example: In Japan, a country with a long tradition for illustration and whose writing system evolved from pictures, comics are hugely popular amongst all, regardless of age. Referred to as Manga, the Japanese comic form was established after World War II by Osamu Tezuka. The Japanese market expanded its range to cover works in many genres, from juvenile fantasy for young children to romance for teenagers/young adults and adult fantasies for adults. Evaluation & Linker: Since the content of comics has been crafted to suit the various age groups accordingly, there are comics with content pertinent and apt for teenagers and adults as well. Hence, comics are definitely not only for children.

Paragraph 5: Topic sentence: Comics have an educative function, which is relevant to people of all ages. Elaboration: Most comics have plots which touch on certain moral values and hidden meanings which can be imparted through the telling of a story. These values tend to be universal and relevant to all ages, the only difference being the level of complexity in portraying the characters, even as the values remain the same. Example: In almost all comics, be they for children (e.g., Popeye) or adults (E.g., Batman) , there is a common theme of good triumphing over evil, and of the courage that people must find within themselves to overcome obstacles.

Evaluation & Linker: Since the values which comics portray are universal and ageless, they are not just limited to children alone, but serve as a reminder to both adults and children of qualities that are essential in life. Original Synthesis & Conclusion: Comics are becoming a more popular choice of literature in our fast-paced modern society as comics are more economical in the sense that they take a much shorter duration to complete reading as compared to other forms of literature such as novels. Besides being a quick read, comics are also able to convey messages more efficiently as the simple format consisting of illustrations with speech bubbles is more appealing than the daunting format of novels which consists of many pages full of words. Although, it may seem that comics are childish and only meant for childrens pleasure, comics are actually suitable for all to enjoy, regardless of age. The profound insights and reflections that can be gained from reading comics are applicable to everyone and so the benefits of comics can be well reaped by both adults and children. Thus, comics are indeed not only for children, but for adults as well.

Account for the decreasing popularity of the performing arts (live theatre, music and dance) in modern society. Should their decline be a cause for concern?
Introduction While the world is indulged in the physical world enhanced by modern technology, it seems that the arts, especially performing arts, which signifies the spiritual life to a certain extent, is losing its popularity. The young nowadays prefer to spend hours on video games and the internet rather than buy tickets to theatre for a drama show. In my opinion, the reasons are multi-faceted ranging from the shifting of art forms to lack of government support. Also, I believe that the declining role of the performing arts in modern society should be a cause for concern as it represents our cultural heritage and is an indispensable part of our lives. We define performing arts as art forms of creative activity that are performed in front of audiences, such as drama, music, and dance

Reasons for decreasing popularity Rise of the new media and electronic forms of art Nowadays, with the rise ofthe new media and electronic art, which are easily accessible and relatively cheaper, , the performing arts seems to lose the race to other art forms in which people find more inspiration and pleasure. e.g. Computer Art Magazine in England has seen its number of readers increase by 25.4% in the past decade. Rise of the use of smartphones and a generation which prefers virtual reality to experiential life.

Declining government expenditure on the arts In many countries, production of the performing arts is not the priority of the government. Government focuses on other areas such as economic development and social reform. This might lead to insufficient funding to the performing arts, and their ensuing decline e.g. The Egyptian Theatre in Coos Bay City, Oregon was closed due to lack of support and funding from the city government as it tried to cut down spending to counter economic deficit. Should the decline be a cause for concern No From the Renaissance, art revolutions have frequently occurred in human history. Thus, it should not be a cause for concern if the performing arts is being replaced by other new art forms since this merely represents a natural evolution process of the arts. e.g. Novels, as a new art form in the Medieval Age in Europe, was initially derided by the ruling class as degrading, inappropriate and trivial. Yet overtime, novels have been proved to be a form of art that people nowadays respect and value.

Yes Loss of performing arts denotes an important loss of cultural heritage The performing arts, like many other art forms, act as one of the ways to commemorate and signify our cultural heritage. Hence, it should be a cause of concern because its demise symbolizes the loss of our culture. e.g. the Atayal Tribe (0.3% of the population) in Taiwan has seen its traditional heritage such as tribe music and dance being eroded, as more and more natives leave the tribe to find a better life in cities.

Loss of employment opportunities Together with the benefit of cultural recognition, the performing arts is also a major platform to generate profits and create employment opportunities. If the popularity of performing arts decreases, it will have undesirable consequences. e.g. Theatre Arts have been a vibrant industry, e.g. Broadway, Disney. Disney employs about 149000 full or part-time workers, and makes a profit of 1.3 billion in the first quarter of 2011.

Original Synthesis The question implies that the role of the performing arts is losing its dominance in modern society. However, this is actually not the case as can be proved by the rising or ever-popular arts in many parts of the world. For example, Cats, the longest running musical in the history of the British theatre, has not lost its connect with audiences in the modern world. This can be shown from its worldwide box office, which totals more than 1.4 billion. Its recent performance in Singapore in 2009 included magnificent music composed by the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber, inspiring choreography and stunning costumes which greatly engaged the audiences. As one of the worlds best known and best loved musicals and performing arts, Cats still enjoys great popularity all over the world. Classical symphonic orchestras, such as Berlin Philharmonic and even the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, still regularly draw large crowds. Thus, it can be seen that one segment of the performing artsthe mainstream and/or easily appreciated forms, are still popular, and are increasing in popularity. The performance arts which are declining in popularity are the traditional art forms which are difficult for a modern audience to understand, particularly those of indigenous cultures swept aside by the wave of homogenization in an age which is Hollywood-obsessed. Perhaps one solution would be to make such arts relevant to the modern times, since artbe it performance or otherwiseis not a static object, but is everchanging. And how performance arts can change to keep their relevance to the modern audience, will ultimately determine if their popularity will decline or not.

Social Issues
Religion has lost its authority. Discuss.
- religion: worship of God or gods, centred around the commitment to a set of beliefs and principles eg. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism - authority: having the power to influence the mindsets or actions of people Yes: Religion has lost its authority as the de facto reference for explaining unknown phenomena. - there are now better ways to understand our world, via more objective approaches - via its unified body of knowledge and technological advancements, science is now more able to provide better explanations regarding the workings of our world - eg. in olden times, natural disasters like earthquakes were explained to be acts of fury from celestial gods and Mankind then, had no choice but to endure such disasters like sitting ducks

- with the latest advancements in seismic technology, earthquakes can be predicted ahead of time to save numerous human lives. For example, a warning sent out before the impending 2011 Tohoku earthquake in Japan hit the countrys shores managed to save thousands of lives - science is now better able to explain natural phenomena than religion and it has also equipped us with valuable information about the world, allowing the betterment of human lives - thus religion has lost its authority as a reliable source of information regarding the world around us

Yes: Religion has lost its moral authority due to the lack of decorum in its practitioners - modernisation has loosened the collars of many once-strict religions, as religious institutions are now keen to project a more liberal image of themselves so as to win the favour of adolescents - however, lax rules and regulations have resulted in misconduct and misendeavours within religious institutions - eg. recent church scandals of child abuse, misuse of funds, all of which may have been products of the institutions loosened rules - all of these lead to the masses loss of faith in religious authorities, as religious institutes and leaders were once looked upon as paragons of virtue - resulting in people now questioning the integrity and authority of religious institutions - thus, religion has lost the confidence of the people and has lost the power it once had as a moral authority

Yes: Modernisation has resulted in the changing priorities of Mankind, with new priorities taking precedence over spiritual fulfillment. In the modern day and age, materialistic pursuits are being regarded as more important than spiritual pursuits - influenced by the modern, materialistic inclinations of society, people are now busy pursuing other goals besides that of spiritual fulfillment (for example, achieving financial success or academic excellence) - religion has thus been relegated to the backseat and its authority in our lives has been diminished

No: Religion is still regarded as a crucial moral compass that is called upon to bear judgment on the actions of humans. Ethics governs a lot of the fields and industries we do and religion helps to set these moral standards.

- as religions advocate the idea of kindness, compassion and selflessness - the man-made laws of our society impose restrictions on human behaviour but fail to make us understand the difference between right and wrong - this is evident in the field of science, where the line separating right from wrong is especially ambiguous - to the amoral nature of science, scientific advancement unchecked by moral standards has the immense propensity to create serious ethical dilemmas. Religion gives science an overarching moral direction for scientific experiments like cloning, embryonic stem cell research etc that may compromise the sanctity of human life

No: Religion has not lost its authority in fulfilling the spiritual, emotional and psychological needs of humans. - we need religion to cater to the intangible aspects of our lives that science or any other entity cannot look after - While science is often used to debunk or prove theories about the way things work, religion deals more with the significance and meaning of life. - humans have an inherent need to believe in the supernatural or in the idea that we do not have to struggle and toil through the tribulations of life alone - thus, humans need religion as a form of emotional support, as a safe haven to run to with their fears, ignorance and their problems - this is evident through the many people who seek solace or advice through prayers

No: Religion can still act as a unifying force in society that is capable of establishing order and peace. This is evident in the form of heads of religions having the power to call for peace and order within a society. - common religions can instill a sense of belonging and unity amongst like-minded people. - as such, religion still has the power to rally the masses, influence communities and impose order within societies - eg. Vatican City with the Pope as head of state NB: the Pope has been referred to as the greatest king without a country.

Conclusion: Religion may have lost its authority in certain arenas (such as in the area of providing the masses with accurate information about the mechanics of our world), but it still holds significant power and influence in our lives as a means to set moral standards and unite diverse groups of people under common ideals and beliefs. Religion may not have absolute authority over societies, but it still has subtle influences in our daily lives and subconscious minds as religion remains the only way through which one can seek spiritual fulfillment.

Schools can never prepare us for life. Comment.


KQ: can never Schools can prepare us for life. Schools can never prepare us for life. 2Qs: schools, prepare, life Levels of education Prepare how? Which aspects of life? Introduction Educational institute Different levels of education, different main objectives Provision of knowledge/skills Important in the preparation of individuals for life However, may be insufficient Anti-thesis 1 Teaching of social skills communication, teamwork, relationship building Exposure to a large range of people; programmes to facilitate peer-peer; teacher-student interactions

Preschool, buddy system, PW Anti-thesis 2 Teaching of essential skills literacy, arithmetic; skills for disabled Braille, lip-reading Foundational and critical skills; built upon in higher education; overcoming of integral difficulties in life as a result of disabilities 1 Mathematics (count money) and English (reading); 2 Humanities (essay writing, creative thinking) and Sciences (critical thinking); Special schools for the disabled Key survival skill Anti-thesis 3 Teaching job skills and knowledge Building upon foundation to prepare individuals for joining the workforce 3 education Law, Medicine, Engineering, etc Financial independence; improve quality of countrys labour force Anti-thesis 4 Teaching core values behavioural, moral Environment to inculcate important societal values Japan; USA Honour, respect; patriotism Social cohesion and integration Thesis 1 Largely rigid + structured Inability to replicate complex situations Timetables; rules; instructions Real world is complicated and flexible, multi-faceted problems; difficult to experience in a controlled school environment Thesis 2

Possibly poor social interaction/exposure Small, enclosed environment; ultimately limited exposure does not offer many forms of interactions Sorting of students with similar intelligence, characteristics, personalities and psyches together in the same class; poor scope of interactions Unable to provide adequate social interaction; importance of communication Conclusion Preparation for tangible aspect of life Schools seek to groom and train well-rounded students Primary emphasis placed on academic studies School is not a tool that seeks to prepare us in all aspects of life Prepares students for life in some aspects However, key to survival in the real world hinges on experience + influences Education prepares us so that we can lead a successful life, but does not provide us with all the means to do it School cannot fully prepare us for all aspects of life

To what extent does the Singapore education system meet the needs of the modern world?
Introduction: Needs of the modern world: Individuals who possess certain set of skills, enabling them to contribute to the job sector Individuals who are efficient and can get maximize resources provided Individuals who are creative and possess innovative ideas Individuals who possess good values and character

Singapore education system: Aims to develop the mind, character and abilities of individuals, equipping them with the skills to contribute to the economy and society Stand: While the Singapore education system does meet certain aspects of the needs of the modern world, it fails to fulfill the other needs.

Paragraph 1: Topic Sentence: The Singapore education system provides choice, which develops individuals in different sets of skills that enable them to apply in the various job fields available. This is essential as the modern world does not only require narrow specialization in a few fields, but also requires a wide variety of skills. Elaboration: The Singapore education system ensures that the basic literacy skills are acquired, upon which, students are allowed to specialize at the secondary and tertiary levels, enabling to choose their preferred course of study. This encourages students to develop their abilities and maximize their potential to excel in the course of study, developing individuals who possess skills that can aid in finding employment in a wide variety of occupations. Example: In Singapore, students are allowed to choose which route of education they would like to pursue after their secondary education. Students can choose to enroll in polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) to acquire specific set of skills in their preferred course, contributing to the secondary and tertiary industry, or pursue an academic route, by entering junior colleges, where knowledge is acquired instead of skills, contributing to the tertiary and quaternary industry. Evaluation: This specialization of skills and capabilities ensures that individuals can contribute in an positive aspect to the modern world which values versatility and diversity in skills. Conclusion: Thus, the Singapore education system does ensure that students are able to pursue specific courses, based on their interest, ensuring that the variety of jobs in the various fields, do get skilled professional to carry out their jobs.

Paragraph 2: Topic Sentence: The Singapore education system does not only enable students to pursue specialized course of study that enables them to attain mastery of the skills, but also emphasizes on the importance of efficiency, when completing tasks. Elaboration: It is important to note that it is not enough to just possess the necessary set of skills, but instead, it is important to complete given tasks in an efficient manner, ensuring that resources are maximized in the limited amount of time. This is due to the fastpaced nature of the modern world, where time translates into money in these days Thus; efficiency is seen as one contributing factor to success. The importance of efficiency is clearly emphasized in the Singapore education system, where students are thrust with many responsibilities such as co-curricular activities and enrichment programmes, in addition to academics. Example: In a bid to encourage a more holistic form of education, students in Singapore are expected to participate in co-curricular activities and are encouraged to involve in enrichment programmes which are of their interest. Thus, students are then required to learn to manage their various responsibilities with good time management and efficiency in completing given tasks.

Evaluation: This experience of having to learn to figure the best way to complete work aids in the molding of an individual, as he learns the importance of efficiency, which is a crucial need in todays competitive and highly advanced modern world as efficiency ensures people are not replaced by machines and technology, or other people, to complete the work. Conclusion: Thus, the Singapore education system does prepare students to understand the importance of efficiency in the modern world, by enabling them to experience it in the schooling life as well. Paragraph 3: Topic Sentence: However, Singapore's education system is lacking in terms of developing the student's creativity which is essential for innovation due to its rigid academic structure. Elaboration: While the government is trying to shift from the rigid academic system of the past, it has yet to alter the mindsets of the people. Thus, there is a greater emphasis on the utmost importance of academic studies among students, inculcating into children that academic education is given the utmost priority. Example: PW, SPA: meant to develop problem-solving skills, creativity, etc. but students end up using formatted answers Evaluation: Due to the rigid nature of the education system, the Singapore education system has yet to emphasise the importance of developing the creative potential in a person, which is essential for progress in the modern world as traditional approaches to solving the worlds increasingly complex issues become obsolete. Paragraph 4: Topic Sentence: Singapore's education system does not place a strong emphasis on the student's values and development of the student's humanity as content-based subjects and other examinable subjects take precedence over character education While the education system aspires to mould an all-rounded individual, the competitive nature of its academic aspect, especially in the early years, overshadows the need for character development, making character development the less emphasized aspect of a students education. Elaboration: Due to the focus on academic studies, there has not been much emphasis on the development of a students character and the values he embodies. Example: OBS, ISLE, etc. Usually short-term/one-off activities, impact on shaping student's character is limited. Mostly not compulsory, and while students are encouraged to participate, not all students may want or get the chance to be involved as they may prefer to focus on academics or due to the lack of funding. Conclusion: Thus, individuals may lose that common touch with the society and community that they are going to be involved in the modern world. In the fast-paced and cut-throat modern world, the lack of

humanity is likely to result in an uncaring society where individuals are concerned merely about their own gains and the less privileged members of society are left behind in the rat race. That due to the focus on tangible gains and paper achievements, our education system may end up breeding selfcentred individuals who view themselves as most important and what they can gain out of others as the primary goal. Separate paragraph for development Note: However, shaping of the character should not be solely dependent on the education system as society and the family both play an important role in the student's formative years in developing his or her values and personality. Overall conclusion: While Singapore does ensure that its students are capable individuals who are a valuable asset to future employers, it has yet to address certain ever-evolving needs of the modern world, which is the ability to be innovative and using their skills to complete tasks in a creative and different approach. It has also failed to emphasise the importance of developing a good character and personality as well. However, the character of a person is not something solely shaped in school but is also influenced by the society as well. Nevertheless, schools could place greater emphasis on the importance of possessing good values. In all, the Singapore education system meets certain needs, while failing to fulfill other needs of the modern world.

Young people today enjoy freedom but are unwilling to shoulder responsibilities. Discuss.
Intro: Key terms: Young people people in their late teens/early adulthood Freedom Political freedom (e.g. freedom of speech), economic freedom, individualism Shoulder responsibilities To be ready to account for consequences, taking ownership of something (e.g. family issues, debt, social issues)

Approach: 1. 2. 3. 4. Body: Young people today enjoy freedom in some ways Young people today do not enjoy freedom in some ways. Young people today are willing to shoulder responsibilities in some areas. Young people today are unwilling to shoulder responsibilities in some areas.

1) Young people today enjoy unprecedented political and economic freedom due to increasing liberalization and Westernization as well as global economic progress and prosperity respectively. a) E.g. The Civil Rights movement, the Womens Rights movement, young African-Americans and young women today have greater opportunities and are more protected by the law b) E.g. The rise of the middle class in developing countries like China and India, families with less children (one-child policy), parents can afford to spend more on each child c) They enjoy more political rights and liberties, as well as greater material wealth and economic opportunity. d) They are free from the fear of oppression, starvation and poverty, while at the same time having greater political say and the freedom to buy what they want 2) Despite gaining economic freedom, young people today do not enjoy genuine freedom as they are still tied down by social expectations and pressures, which have in fact increased in certain aspects. a) E.g. The Tiger Mom, children are enrolled in elite nurseries from a young age, kiasu parents force their children to take up many things as once b) They do not have any choice or freedom to choose what they actually want to do and their own interests are not taken into account, especially so in Asian countries and cultures where parents tend to be more strict and overbearing. c) E.g. Fashion magazines, young people keep up with what is hip and what is not, media saturation, peer pressure to conform and buy/consumegreater pressure now more than ever due to the ever present media onslaught. d) Faade of choice: How much of youth culture is truly created by youths, or simply fabricated by commercial companies for the purpose of profit? e) They are forced to follow the bandwagon or risk being socially alienated, losing a sense of selfidentity or uniqueness. f) In terms of peer pressure and competition, young people today are just as troubled as previous generations, perhaps even more so. They are not freer in this regard. 3) Young people today are willing to shoulder responsibility as they have increased social and political awareness of global causes and initiatives due to new media. a) E.g. Websites hosting charity organizations, online recruitment drives, Facebook groups, youth service groups b) They are willing to tackle social issues and put effort into making a positive change for society, fulfilling responsibility as good citizens. 4) Young people today are willing to shoulder responsibility as they are willing to challenge social conventions and push social boundaries. a) E.g. The recent uprising in the Middle East mainly comprises of youth who despise the old regime and wish for a better future b) They are willing to go against authority and stand up to injustices; they have the courage to make positive change.

5) That freedom has in some cases, generated self-centredness instead of responsibility. Young people today are unwilling to shoulder responsibility as they blindly pursue and fulfill their desires without thinking of the possible consequences a) E.g. The teen pregnancy rate, increasing credit card debt amongst youth, rising delinquency and gang violence in the US b) They only think of their short-term wants and are unprepared to face the long-term costs; inability to be responsible for their actions. c) E.g. Young adults refusing to take care of their elderly parents, generation of spoiled young emperors in China d) They can only think of themselves and are incapable of being responsible for others. e) In terms of either getting their own lives in order or taking care of other people, young people are failing in both ways to take responsibility as reliable adults.

Evaluation: The question seems to imply that young people are spoiled and unwilling to shoulder any strenuous burden. Is it the young peoples own fault that they do not shoulder their responsibilities? Perhaps other factors are at work that prevents them from doing so. Parents today tend to spoil their children. Many families have both parents working, leaving the child with no proper form of guidance. Many parents also set a poor example for their children (e.g. rising rate of infidelity, divorce, family breakdown) Are young people to be blamed for being unable to shoulder responsibility, if they were never taught to do so during their upbringings in the first place? (Failure of government, education systems e.g. Japan, Germany, Liberia) Even if young people did have the original intention of shouldering responsibility for their actions, they may have backed down or failed due to the challenges they face. (i.e. they are willing but not able) Society may not have equipped and educated them well enough for them to know what to do in those circumstances. It is unrealistic to expect them to be able to take up responsibility for things they cannot handle. They must be groomed and prepared first. Conclusion: Both the behavior as well as the environment young people live in are results of the actions of previous generations. Civil and political movements have created freedom in some areas while commercialization and globalization have reduced freedom in others. Even though they do show responsibility in some areas, it is clear that young people are not able to shoulder responsibility for everything they do.

However, not all the fault lies with them as their parents and the older generation have a large role to play as well. It is everyones responsibility, not just the young people themselves, to ensure that future generations are capable of shouldering the burdens of serving their countries and building a better future.

Growing individualism has affected the family. Consider the implications of this on your society.
INTRODUCTION Individualism is defined as a social theory favouring the freedom of action for individuals over collective or state control. (Source: Oxford Dictionary) Individualism can be of different types Ethical, Social and Economic.

Ethical individualism being the departure of the individual from familial norms with regards to ethics/religion/morals/politics e.g. a decision to become vegetarian when the family usually eats meat, to convert to another religion, or to pursue a different way of life. Social individualism being the growing tendency of the individual to associate with friends rather than family Economic individualism being the increasing independence of an individual in financial terms being financially self-sufficient

Impact of individualism can be both good and bad Premise here is that the family is the established institution facing a challenge from individualism. Therefore basic, nuclear family shall be the predominant consideration, instead of other structures like extended family or unconventional family.

BODY Essentially how the various individualist tendencies have affected the family. Topic Sentence 1: Ethical individualism has resulted in differences in values between generation gaps, where the children forsake their parents value set in favour of another. Example/Elaboration: For example, in Singapore, where there has been rapid economic progress in a single generation alone, Westernisationbrought about by technology and the economic opening of Singapore to foreignersmany young people have different values from those of the older generation. This is particularly evident in the case of religionwith many young Chinese people converting to Christianity while their parents keep the old religions of Buddhism/Taoism, there has been at times,

conflicts and tension within families, particularly in the instances of traditional practices and rites. Evaluation: Implications on the family Ethical individualism results in differing moral viewpoints on issues, leading to potential for internal conflict on mundane everyday life. Specifically, issues with religious contexts like burials etc, as well as the possibility of internal evangelism leading to familial strife. Implications on society There is the assumption that familial unit is homogenous and the basic building block of society is challenged paradigm shift of mindset to an emphasis on the individual instead of the family. In the long run this difference in values may lead to a more diffuse family unit without a common set of morals/values to bind them together.

Topic Sentence 2: Individualism brought about by greater earning power has resulted in family members being more independent of each other. Where previously the sole breadwinner used to be the husband, the father, however now mothers are now increasingly entering the workforce, which grants them financial freedom where once they depended upon their husbands. Evaluation: Implications on family This may lead to growing independence of each member from the family, particularly so when cases of infidelity and marital conflicts occurincreasing rates of divorces here are in part due to the growing economic independence of womenwhere once they had to put up with infidelity as they had no alternative, many women are now able to seek for divorces as they earn their own keep. However in families where monetary concerns are an issue, growing economic individualism may serve to ease such burdens, as multiple income streams actually help the family to cope with its finances. Increasing economic individualism can be good as a fail-safe/buffer during times of economic hardship, as more than one family member can support the entire family in the event that any of the working family members are laid off. This eases the burden on ex-sole breadwinners.

Implications on society

Economic individualism is productively good for society as the proportion of citizens in workforce increases. It is also good as a fail-safe/buffer during times of economic hardship, as more than one family member can support the entire family in the event that any of the working family members are laid off. This eases the burden on ex-sole breadwinners. However, it does increase the rate of divorces in society, as women, when given options and financial independence which they did not possess before, will be less willing to stay in broken marriages as proven by trend data.

Topic Sentence 3: The family used to be the main unit moving in society i.e. social interactions for the entire family were limited to the same social spheres. Through social individualism, each member of the family now has his own social circle, which may or may not be the same as another family members. Example/Elaboration: With the advent of the new media, many teenagers now lead separate lives from their parents and have social circles which are completely different from each other. This has gotten to the point that many parents now do not even know who their childrens friends are, and youngsters have cited in polls that the first people they will turn to when they are in trouble is their friends. Evaluation: Implications on family Again where the individual gains the family will suffer, as members may opt to integrate more closely with his social circle than with the family. It raises the interesting prospect of a rather different kind of family where members are not bound by blood but by friendship, however the foundations of such a family are questionable as they depend on the type of friendship that forms the base. Implications on society A very different family may emerge if nuclear families diffuse and coalesce into social families, where the needs and priorities differ. While not yet a prominent social phenomenon, if allowed to develop a monumental shift would have taken place in society where nuclear families are families in name only. However if nuclear families can remain strong and bonded despite the formation of social families then each individual has more ties linking him to society, making for a more bonded society overall. ORIGINAL SYNTHESIS Individualism does not necessarily equate to independence - growing individualism could have affected the family in positive ways while independence almost always equates separation from the family and subsequent isolation. The final implications on society depend very much on what type on individualism is prevailing. By and large economic individualism seems to be leading as more and more women join the workforce, though the actual effects on society will not be seen for another generation at least.

General/philo/others
The price of progress has been too high. To what extent does this assessment apply to you country?
Intro -Progress -> Betterment of society. Can be measured in various means, eg. increase in standard of living, maturity of society, level of civil society -Price -> refers to the costs of attaining progress of whatever form -Too high -> when the costs of achieving abovementioned forms of progress outweigh the benefits to be gained by them - Stand -> Singapore places much emphasis on economic progress and as a result has at times welfare has been sacrificed to a certain extent in other aspects of the society. Yet, it is not entirely true that the costs of pursuing progress is too high, as Singapore constantly processes the feedback made by citizens, ensuring that other parts of society are adequately taken care of. Categories: -how and why the price of progress in Singapore has been too high -how and why the price of progress in Singapore has not been too high / or has been acceptable (-) Topic Sentence: The attainment of economic progress has not been too high as Singapore has taken pro-active measures to control possible problems. One would expect that, with the construction of two integrated resorts, the level of gambling and related vices would increase. However, the government has implemented ample measures to ensure that the negative social impacts the casinos could bring about are minimised. Such measures include the restriction (both voluntary and involuntary) of admission to the casinos as well as a crackdown on local illegal money-lending services. The trends released by the Ministry of Home Affairs have shown that crime has not increased significantly since the opening of the two casinos in 2010; in fact, the number of related cases has actually fallen by 9% compared to last year's statistics. On the other hand, the creation of this new industry has helped to create jobs and increase the popularity of Singapore as a tourism destination. As such, due to the ability of Singapore to take pro-active measures to contain potential problems, economic progress not resulted in problems to society as expected, which supports the view that the costs of progress has not been too high at all.

Topic Sentence: In the pursuit of economic betterment of society via the development of Singapore's infrastructure, we have not laden ourselves with the costs of forsaking our heritage. With the rapid development and industrialization of Singapore since the 1960s, entire areas in Singapore have been redeveloped into centres which are in a better position to contribute to Singapore's economy. The benefits of a more effective infrastructure lie in economic growth and a general increase in the material standard of living in Singapore. Yet, the implementation of the Preservation of Monuments Act has ensured that Singapore's culturally and historically important sites, such as the Lim Bo Seng Memorial, remain a part of the Singapore landscape for years to come. The protection of such national landmarks can help to forge a national identity in Singaporeans via the sharing of a common history. By preserving such buildings, Singapore has capitalised on a chance to improve social cohesion within the community. This is evident in the Singapore Tourism Board's attempt at encouraging a national identity in their recent campaign. Your Singapore. Singapore's various culturally important locations are highlighted both to tourists and Singapore's own citizens to build a sense of pride and belonging to one's country. In this sense, Singapore has not lost out in terms of its heritage despite its fast industrialization since its independence. Therefore it can be said that the cultural costs of economic progress has not been too high.

(+) Topic Sentence: Economic progress in Singapore has come at the expense of political activity. One of the factors that have contributed to the relative speed and pace of economic growth is arguably successful government policy, and Singapore's successful government policy is in part due to the domination of the People's Action Party in the parliament during Singapore's developmental years. This has led to an efficient decision-making process with a relatively low level of bureaucracy involved. As such, Singapore was in a good position to respond to important events such as the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 swiftly and decisively. However, the domination of a single party in parliament over the years, coupled with a generally weak opposition in the democracy has resulted in a lack of check and balance in Singapore's government. As Lord Acton once said, Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The lack of a check on the ruling party could, in the long run, lead to corruption as in India, or ineffective policy-making, both of which could affect Singapore's future growth: already, there is a perception on the ground that the ruling party does not listen sufficiently to the people and is elitist, as evident in the voter backlash against the PAP in the recent General Elections. In this case, arguably the costs of economic progress outweigh the benefits because of the potential long run harmful effects the lack of checks and balances have on the society.

Topic Sentence: The progression of society via the evolution of the role of the female has had negative consequences in terms of falling birthrates. The evolution of the female role in society has resulted in better-educated and highly-qualified women, who are no longer bound by traditional stereotypes and joining the workforce as equals

with men. As a result, these women are placing their careers above other priorities, namely starting a family, and having more children, which will undoubtedly have negative effects on the society. In 2010, more than 60% of babies born in Singapore were born to mothers aged 30 older, a stark increase compared to the same figure ten years ago. To take this reality into account, Singapore had to revise the calculation of the total fertility rate to include mothers above the age of 45. Another problem that arises from this phenomenon is an aging population with insufficient young workers to support it (the inverse demographic pyramid); 20% of the Singapore population will be above the age of 65 in 2030, a trend that will cause tremendous strain on the working population in the future. The benefits of a change in paradigm that emphasises career more so than family in terms of economic productivity is likely to have a negative impact on Singapore's standard of living.

Topic Sentence: The emphasis that Singapore places on scientific excellence has led to a loss of intellectual diversity in the population. Singapore has placed much focus on the development of minds in areas related to science as part of the plan to attract foreign investments in niche markets such as the pharmaceutical and biomedical industries. Organisations such as the Defense Science Organisation and Defence Science and Technology Agency regularly offer scholarships and research grants to students at the junior college and even secondary levels. Students may be inclined to feel that specialization in related industries is more lucrative and desirable than other job areas. On a large scale, the emphasis on science and related fields may discourage people from choosing careers in other fields due to the disproportion of opportunities available. In the long run, this will lead to an increase in the concentration of experts in the field of science but a shortage in other specialisations, a loss of intellectual diversity. This is harmful to the society because a diverse range of people with different fields of expertise is needed for a society to function effectively and efficiently. Even though Singapore has already benefited in a tremendous way in terms of foreign investment and attraction of scientific talent to work in Singapore's world-class science facilities, the long term costs to Singapore's society is likely to be greater than the increased benefits in investment and talent that Singapore has been enjoying and will continue to enjoy.

Evaluative point: Ultimately, the definition of too high may be subjective and can only be usefully determined by the societies wishing to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of their own progresses. However, a possible standard that could hold in general could be the analysis of benefits and costs in the short run versus the long run. Alternatively, one could consider if the costs incurred by the advancement of a society in any way could be mitigated by implementing relevant policies. Conclusion: Singapore focuses mainly on economic progress as it is necessary to our survival that we constantly remain relevant in the modern world. Therefore, policies have been adopted to ensure that Singapore is efficient and has sustained economic growth. However, some of these policies implemented have had negative effects on the social and political aspects of Singapore which result in long term issues that have yet to be solved. Hence, there certainly has been a price that we have paid for progress, however,

whether the price has been too high, depends on the measures we take now to counteract it, and is perhaps an open-ended question that can only be answered in the next generation.

How far do you agree that loneliness is a major problem in city life ?
Definition: Loneliness - A sense of solitude, either in the physical or emotional sense City Life - Life in a large and populous town that is urbanized with a thriving economic and social scene. Thesis: While loneliness tends to be more prevalent in cities, it is a problem that can be overcome with individual effort as well as with the help of communication technologies. Paragraph 1 Topic Sentence : Firstly, the dense population of a city would definitely not bring about a sense of physical loneliness. Elaboration: A city is often characterised by skyscrapers with a large number of inhabitants. With such a large population, it is highly possible that a city dweller would be living in close proximity with many other people. The density of cities will be most obvious especially while commuting and at recreational features where there will definitely be numerous other civilians. Example: For example, Manila has a population density of about hundred and eleven thousand (1110000) per square km. This illustrates just how densely a city can be populated and why one would definitely fell surrounded by people in every direction, Evaluation : One of the basic reasons causing loneliness is naturally being physically isolated from other humans. This seldom happens in the cities due to the high frequency at which he sees and sometimes even interacts with people on a day to day basis. Paragraph 2: Topic Sentence : More than ever before, City life provides various platforms for people to get to know more people, as well as to strengthen relationships. Elaboration: In the professional sphere, companies often require their employees to interact with the employees of other companies in order to form partnerships or for collaborations. This is especially true in this day and age where teamwork and collaborations across various boundaries are prized in economic development. These collaboration, in turn, allow people form a wide network of social acquaintances.

The city also has a variety of public platforms for strangers to meet and for gatherings among friends. As compared to rural areas, city dwellers interact with new people everyday and these coincidental meetings may potentially develop into close relationships. Moreover, these recreational centres also provide a platform for existing relationships to continue and grow. Example : A typical city in the US has approximately 500 pubs and 120 shopping centres, and often these places are packed on weekends and week nights. This indicates that people do indeed patronize such areas where there is a very high tendency to mix and mingle or to spend some quality time with loved ones. Evaluation : The platforms that city life provides for social interactions and recreation might facilitate and sustain relationships, which prevent one from feeling lonely as relationships form the basis of any kind of emotional sharing. Paragraph 3 Topic Sentence : However, these new found relationships in Cities can often be meaningless resulting in one feeling emotionally lonely. This is especially true in the case of those who have traveled to the city for jobs and are staying away from their family and friends. Elaboration : City dwellers often tend to be caught up with their hectic lifestyle that there is not much room for people to have steady and intimate relationships. It is pertinent to note that although city dwellers may have numerous acquaintances, this does not necessarily translate into a wide number of meaningful relationships. Moreover, the goal-oriented nature of many city-dwellers also leads to a lack of effort and sincerity towards building relationships as many do not, or are unable to put in the time. The fleeting nature of city life does not allow the development of relationships either where one night stands do not extend to become long-term relationships, rendering them valueless. Example : In China, a nation where 130million people are intra-national migrants living away from their families, a survey conducted by Fashion Health magazine which polled 69000 people nationwide, of whom 90 percent said they felt lonely living in big cities. Evaluation : Relationships that can fulfill one emotionally do not build overnight and often develop in a long term process. A city might not be always conducive for such continued efforts, thus leaving one emotionally isolated. Paragraph 4 Topic Sentence : Perhaps the most important relationships in life which keep away loneliness is that of family. This can be attributed to the fact that relationships within family cannot in any way be replaced by other relationships such as friendships, as family members provide an incomparable level of comfort and trust. Unfortunately, the fast-paced nature of city-life gives little opportunity for the development of strong bonds within the family.

Elaboration : Even while living under the same roof, each family member is in pursuit of their own program and schedules, especially in families where both parents are working. This may result in a lack of any quality time spent among the members as each is too busy with their work and school. In addition, young adults usually live alone away from family making it even harder for them to connect with their families. Example : For example, currently in Manhattan, one out of two apartments is occupied by one occupant only. At the beginning of the 20th century, families were typically larger and more stable, divorce was rarer and relatively few people lived alone. In 1990 in the United Sates only 5 percent of households were single-person households. However, by 1995, 24 million Americans lived alone away from their families and by 2010, it was estimated that that number would have increased to 31 million. Evaluation : Family members play a very different role in ones life as opposed to friend s or acquaintences and not sharing a close relationship with family will definitely cause a void in satisfying ones emotional needs. As such, city life does seem to be creating major obstacles in forging strong familial bonds. Original synthesis TS: One characteristic of city life is the closeness to technology and the media. The latter glorifies a superficial, materialistic lifestyle which emphasise individual gratification above all elsee.g., programmes such as the popular Jersey Shore, Sex and the City, Mad Mensuch media bombardment while appearing on the surface to help assuage loneliness (due to time whiled away watching them), if absorbed by people without discernment actually increases emotional loneliness due to their desensitization effects. That in a modern metropolis, people are apt to adopt the same views: of material pursuit being the most important, of viewing others as objects and start pursuing self-interest above all else, being desensitized to qualities like compassion, care for others, respect for love and the other. This results in an even greater loneliness, as the individual is unable to relate to people, or does or will he want to. Ultimately, it leads to a disconnect in society, where everyone is merely out for himself, which is perhaps the greatest problem. Original Synthesis While loneliness can be a major problem in cities, it is definitely not an inevitable one. Communications technology for one, is making long distance communication possible and feasible. This is applicable to those living without their families who are now able to communicate with their loved ones freely and share with them, thus leaving them less alone and empty. As for those living with their families, the current age of communication and social networking technology has made it such that spending quality time may not necessarily even have to be face to face, thus in a way making it easier and less time consuming. Secondly, things like making time for family are fundamentally choices which one can make, regardless of how the professional life might be. In conclusion, while city dwellers may relatively be

more prone to loneliness given the characteristics of a city-life, individual effort and right use of communication technology definitely give one the potential to overcome it.

Is it always possible to achieve equality?


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, American Declaration of Independence

Key Qualifiers: Is it always possible? Second Qualifiers: Equality. What is equality (Equality means equal rights for people regardless of what factors they might have that are different.), and between what or whom? (The divide is between rich and poor, gender, age etc.) Inherent Assumptions: That equality is good and is necessary or at least something that we should achieve. Other key considerations : Equality vs. Fairness, and the fact that they are not one and the same. An equal treatment does not necessarily mean a fair treatment and in some cases an equal treatment of different people may be undesirable.

Introduction Define equality. Equality is the state or quality of being equal, having a uniform character and being in each and every aspect, the same. Equality is a something that has been hotly debated over the ages, and usually equality of treatment is lobbied for strongly, for various demographic groups such as gender, race, and citizens of a country. Stand: It can be possible to achieve equality in some situations but it is difficult to or even impossible in others. Also, the question carries the assumption that equality is a good thing and that it should be achieved however we will see that to force equality is sometimes worse than to allow things to remain as they naturally are.

Yes, it is possible to achieve equality. 1. Equality can be achieved through the implementation of policies and regulations (e.g. it is compulsory to go through primary education in Singapore for all children. This provides all of them with an equal opportunity to achieve a basic form of education. And also, HBD subsidies for the lower income families which make it easier for them to buy a flat; everyone has an equal chance for a

roof over their heads.) These policies attempt to reduce inequality in society be it income or education level by making it more equitable. 2. Equality can also be achieved through certain kinds of government with their basic roots in equality (Communism) a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state. (In opposition to democracy) a state of society characterized by the formal equality of rights and privileges; government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system. The first political system slants towards the achievement of equality in physical terms while the second aims to achieve equality in terms of political and human rights Under such systems all men are equal. A basis for equality to be established amongst its citizens is set. 3. Changing social dynamics in the modern world due to new ideals brought about by increasing awareness coupled with education have brought the state of some things in society towards equality This trend is brought about most prevalently in Asian countries, due to the Westernisatioon of previously Eastern ideals The breakdown of previous social conventions and the education of women has developed into a new style of society where the dynamics of the household are shifting. Women are coming out to work (In Singapore, roughly a 20 percent increase since the mid-90s) in similar positions as men and it is equally conceivable that males become house-husbands and take care of household matters. Gender equality is slowly developing at the workplace and at home where it previously did not feature.

No, it is not always possible to achieve equality. (especially under the definition identical, and especially considered in realistic circumstances rather than theoretical) The points below state why equality cannot be achieved all the time in reality and considers the differences between equality and fairness and which is actually more desirable. 1. In some cases equality is not justifiable because of inherent differences in peoples psyche. For example, not all individuals can be treated equally under the law. (link to crime and punishment) For instance in many/all countries the punishment for juvenile crimes is much lighter than that for a fullfledged adult although it may be, technically, of the same degree, as it is an accepted truth that they are less mature and may not understand the graveness of their actions. (Mitigation because of diminished capacity) 2. Attempts to achieve equality can be largely futile because of the already present biasness in the playing field. E.g., Meritocracy, which is practiced in certain education systems, is supposed to be equal opportunities for all but the already present slant of the playing field makes it impossible to achieve equality. Meritocracy is a fair and equal policy but is unable to work in reality because present inequity (for example those who are born with a silver spoon have access to higher quality in education and

hence have a headstart in life over those who are less fortunate leading to a larger stratification in society. Inequity is becoming more prevalent for example the income gap is widening in Singapore over the past decade as these better educated can secure more well-paying jobs as compared to those who are less fortunate) 3. The varying goals and statuses of countries have exacerbated the inequality within and between countries. Different countries have different factor endowments and hence develop at different rates. Instead of progress towards a state of equality, because of different governance (poor governance in LDCs) this inequality has been exacerbated within the country in the form of income gaps and without the country especially when exploitation of the poor by the rich occurs (MNCs take advantage of poor regulation in poorer but resource-abundant countries and exploit them, eg. Shell and the pollution of the Niger delta, sweat-shops in Cambodia set up by companies such as Nike) 4. Society requires many different roles to be played for it to function normally and as these roles are different the treatment and position of different individuals in the eyes of others and society is never equal. For instance different individuals have different roles in society and hence cannot be completely equal. (for example one cannot expect a celebrity or a politician to be treated as equally as a normal person by the media and paparazzi because they have been cast under the limelight and serve, in a way, as societal role models responsibility of a celebrity) SYNTHESIS The worst form of inequality is to make unequal things equal Aristotle The most important thing to note about equality is though it can be achieved it cannot be forced. It is definitely impossible to achieve equality always, given the fact that we have inherent differences and are a diverse species. (Different individuals have different capabilities that may stem from natural differences. Males have a physically stronger body and are hence able to undertake a different job scope from females. (e.g. extremely manual labor dominated by men)) Thus we can never be identical, and not equal in all senses. Moreover, inequality creates diversity. The diversity created by inequality is in fact what allows our society to progress as it allows us to fulfill different roles which enrich not only ourselves but others as well. Just like how there are many different organs that encompass and play crucial roles in the full functioning of the body like how the brain guides the legs and hands to carry out their functions, the government guides the citizens of society to carry out different tasks. This is but one of the mechanisms ensuring the functionality of the society, and requires many different parts to play different roles to keep it functioning healthily.

Hence equality can and should be achieved in some areas where it champions fairness, and we must at the same time acknowledge that it cannot be and should not be in some areas, because of naturally endowed differences and also human nature that we strive towards individuality and self-expression.

Politics and Sport should not mix. Discuss.


Stand: Politics and Sport should mix with the intention of solving political disputes. Otherwise, Sport is better left alone. Introduction: Sport: An athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, where competitors pit themselves against each other to determine the champion In this case, sport refers to sporting events at an individual, national or international level

Purpose of politics: To bring people together and forge a united society, to make a difference in peoples lives through policy-making.

Thesis: Politics and Sports should not mix 1. Imposing politics on sports will taint the meritocratic nature of sport.

Regardless of cultural/ideological differences, everyone should be allowed to participate as sports promotes equality. An objective of sport is to celebrate the best team or participant in each sporting event, which can only take place if all worthy participants. Sport is meritocratic because it is regardless of ideological and cultural differences, only talent matters By taking into account political backgrounds and countries, the ideals of sport have been eroded. E.g. Olympics: Some Israeli athletes were disqualified because of their nationality and hence were deprived of an opportunity to compete on fair grounds. We can see that political backgrounds influence sports and this should not be the case in unbiased sporting competitions

2. Politicised sports can arouse rivalry between nations.

The actual competition no longer is the main focus of the sport, instead competitors are more concerned how other certain competitors fare, due to political reasons. E.g. During the Cold War Period, both US and Russia did not attend the Olympic Games held in the others country. Fierce Rivalry between Singapore and Malaysia in the recent World Cup Qualifiers. Politics takes over sport, corrupting it and switching its focus, from a test of competitors abilities to a competition between rivaling states.

3. Politics may conflict with the pursuit of sporting excellence Instead of participating in a competition to showcase their ability and push through personal boundaries, competitors now may use underhanded methods to warrant themselves the win. Their motivations may come from political factors- trying to bring glory to the country or being influenced by the team captain in international competitions. E.g. Chinese Badminton players admitted to having thrown matches for the good of the Chinese team as a whole, minimising the chances of injury during the match E.g. In pursuit of glory and recognition, China fielded an under-age gymnast team in the Olympics. Due to the influence of political factors, cheating and unfair results occur. This defies the purpose of sport- to determine the best player based on ability within the defined rules.

Anti-Thesis: Politics and Sports should mix 1. Mixing politics and sports may highlight pertinent issues to effect positive political changes By boycotting sporting events, countries are sending out a message to the rest of the world that they are dissatisfied with certain key issues related to the organiser. E.g. US and Russia were in disagreement over political ideologies during the Cold War Period. Thus, they boycotted the Olympic Games which the other country organised. Many athletes boycotted the Beijing Olympics, due to complaints over the air pollution, political repression and denial of other basic rights in China. By using sport as a means to voice their views and complaints, political and social change can be hastened, leading to a more positive outcome

2. Sport can be used as a platform for the interaction and cultural exchange between countries of different backgrounds. Promotes greater mutual understanding and friendships between players May improve ties between countries E.g. Singapore and Malaysia Annual Chess Challenge.

YOG interaction between competitors of other countries.

3. Gives competitors an additional boost and goal to work towards when competing. To fight for the glory of ones country. Many competitors are greater spurred on by this. E.g. Li Na created history by being the first Chinese woman to win a Grand Slam. Not only did she strive towards this goal for her own personal glory, it was also to bring honor and triumph to her country

4. Government have the ability to promote sports Politics to promote the welfare of sports and sports talents, thus politics and sports should be allowed to mix as it

Conclusion and Evaluation: The ideals of sport should not be eroded by political factors. Otherwise, sport just becomes a pawn in the political game. However, sports can provide platforms for cultural interaction, political advocacy and change. In some cases, politics can enhance the quality of sports. When sports and politics do mix, it should be to help unite the warring political differences as opposed to fuelling them. (In the case of South African Blacks and Whites playing Rugby together.) Although it is true that politics and sports are uncomfortable bedfellows, it seems that the two are in fact indivisible. Even the Olympics has its roots firmly planted in politics, as it was created with the sole aim to bring countries together. However difficult it is to do so, governments should make an effort not to mix politics and sports, especially at national and international levels, except for when they are trying to ignite a positive change.

QUESTION: Apart from making money, why work?


INTRO Definition of work: exertion of effort directed to produce/accomplish something Thesis: Money is not the only value in work; there are other intangible rewards that can be reaped as well.

PARAGRAPH 1 Topic Sentence: One main value of work lies in its monetary rewards. Elaboration: Work is the only means for an individual to earn money. Example: In an article Singaporeans spending more nowadays stated that Singaporeans spent more than 60% of their income on household expenditures such as food and transport. Evaluation: We need money because a) Money fulfills our basic needs such as food and shelter. b) Money helps us to achieve a higher quality of life such as being able to afford luxury items like travel. Therefore money is undeniably one main motivation for work. PARAGRAPH 2 Topic Sentence: There are other values of workone extremely important value is providing one with a sense of self-worth. Elaboration: Work provides a person with a sense of self worth. An individual derives a sense of accomplishment by contributing to the society through their own efforts. The process of work also enables one to gain greater self-confidence through overcoming the challenges that work presents. Example: According to Carl Rogers, a humanist psychologist, a person who has high self-worth has confidence and positive feelings about themselves, faces challenges in life, accepts failure and unhappiness at times, and is open with people. Evaluation: A sense of self worth is important because it allows a person to have self respect and be comfortable in their own skin. This builds a sense of identity for a unique individual in society. Other than making money, one intangible reward of work is in finding self worth. PARAGRAPH 3 Topic sentence: Work also rewards one by enabling personal growth. Elaboration/Evidence: Unlike school and home where the primary aim is the welfare of the individual, works primary aim is the welfare of the organization. Thus individuals first entering a working environment might find it difficult to adapt to the cold, uncaring environment of work. However precisely because of works relative hostile environment and its primary goal as the welfare of the organization, it results in a certain type of personal growth that school/home is unable to provide. As said by the African proverb, smooth seas do not make skilful sailors. Work challenges ones limits and forces one to step out of his comfort zone. Also, work forces one to be fully independent as there are no

longer pillars of support or sources of authority to depend on. As said by Ralph Waldo Emerson, We acquire the strength we have overcome. Evaluation: The obstacles that work poses and the exposure that work provides will result in the growth of intellect, character and emotions of one. This will eventually lead to the person emerging from work as a wise being with more insights on life. The value of the individuals life is then greatly enriched by his wisdom. PARAGRAPH 4 Topic Sentence: Work enables interpersonal relationships to be built. Elaboration: Work is a social setting and it requires one to interact with other people. Thus it can be said that work provides a platform for social interaction and facilitates the building of interpersonal relationships. By overcoming challenges together as colleagues/team members, strong bonds are formed and meaningful relationships can be built. Evaluation/Evidence: Biologically, humans are considered as social animals. Social animals are defined as animals that are highly interactive with other members of its species to the point of having a distinct society. Thus it is of human nature to want to interact with other human beings. Work provides this crucial platform for humans to fulfill their need of social interaction and company.

PARAGRAPH 5 (ORIGINAL SYNTHESIS) Topic Sentence: Work ensures that society progresses. Evaluation: Work is the only medium that rewards people for their hard work and contributions to society via tangible means. Thus work can be viewed as the only incentives for people to grow and contribute to society. Although one might argue that the thirst for knowledge and desire to improve cannot be measured simplistically by money, communism has shown us that such intrinsic motivations will not last. Evidence: Communisms Economic failure. Stalins and Maos failure in granting everyone equal land regardless of ability illustrates this clearly; people who were more capable lost any motivation to improve as they were rewarded equally as those who are less capable. Production dropped drastically after awhile as even those who are capable stopped putting in the effort. CONCLUSION: The rewards that work provides one with ultimately depend on the individuals attitude towards work. Although it is undeniable that money is a main reason behind work, the rewards are certainly not limited to money solely. By having an open mind and a positive attitude, one can discover self-worth, attain personal growth and build meaningful relationships through work. Furthermore, it is nave to

challenge the notion of work and attempt to abolish the idea of work because it appears to have no other value than monetary reward. This is simply because without the concept of work, society will not be able to function.

Are lessons learnt from the past relevant to todays world of unprecedented change?
Question Analysis KQ: 2Q: Relevant Todays world of Unprecedented change Lessons: Past: history/events from an earlier time Are or Are not

Our stand: Most of the lessons learnt from the past continue to be relevant today, except for some that are no longer needed or applicable in light of todays problems, hence are obsolete.

Relevant In what ways? To whom? Individual Nation Society/Community

Todays world of Unprecedented change Interconnected Rapid advancements in science and technology New problems environmental damage, overcrowding, depletion of natural resources

Lessons An experience, example, or observation that imparts beneficial new knowledge or wisdom

Anti-thesis 1 Some lessons from the past are no longer relevant as these skills and knowledge have lost their functionality and are thus obsolete today due to scientific and technological advancement. No longer applicable to life today as these skills/knowledge are no longer needed E.g. Navigating the seas by looking at the stars is no longer needed with todays advanced navigation technology

Anti-thesis 2 As peoples mindsets have evolved over time, past lessons, in terms of ways of thinking and beliefs, are no longer valued or accepted today, making them irrelevant. E.g. Past views of males as superior over females are no longer acceptable today. E.g. Inhumane torture methods that were widely used in the past are no longer accepted in most nations today. Hence, although these lessons may have been useful and significant to people in the past, they are no longer deemed acceptable today.

Anti-thesis 3 Todays world faces many unique problems that have not been seen before, thus past lessons cannot help. E.g. Global warming is a consequence of uncontrolled and irresponsible production and human activity, a new problem of recent years. E.g. Problem of overcrowding in cities unprecedented Eg, the current financial problems of the U.S and the Eurozone, which are unprecedented and which economic theories and solutions of the past are incapable of solving

Thesis 1 Lessons are relevant because we can learn from our past mistakes to prevent repetition E.g. Japanese nuclear meltdown has prompted countries all around the world to review the safety of their nuclear plants, accelerating the upgrading of nuclear facilities.

More importantly, past lessons not only point out what went wrong, they also shine light on what needs to be done to address these problems. Hence, acting as a guide for future policy making and plans to prevent similar problems from resurfacing. Prevention is better than cure!

Thesis 2 Lessons from the past provide us with valuable experience to handle any similar problems we may face today and in the future. E.g. Singapore drew on its past experience with the SARS outbreak when faced wtih the H1N1 epidemic. The Flu Pandemic Response Framework ensured that clinics were well prepared, vaccinations were offered and routine temperature taking exercises were implemented in schools. As todays world continues to evolve, problems people face become more complex and multifaceted, requiring experience across many fields to solve these problems. Hence, the many lessons learnt from the past are required to complete the puzzle and form a comprehensive pool of knowledge and wisdom that todays world so crucially depends on.

Thesis 3 The more things change, the more they remain the same. That lessons continue to serve as reminders, even guardians, of the fundamental values and unchangeable qualities that defines mankind, society and the human spirit; an inspiration. History lessons are often used as tools to teach us the importance of values such as courage, justice, equality, freedom, peace etc. E.g. Nelson Mendela fight for equality That even as events may change, problems may change, the human spirit which confronts such change is immutable: qualities which served people well once will continue to be relevant: qualities such as bravery, resilience, compassion.

Thesis 4 Lessons from the past serve as a foundation of knowledge for people today to build upon. E.g. Discovery of electricity has paved the way for the modern day lifestyle and invention of electronic devices, light etc. Innovation = creative modification of existing products/services to make it better Hence, the past is relevant because it serves as a stepping stone for future advancement.

Synthesis History is not, of course, a cookbook offering pretested recipes. It teaches by analogy, not by maxims. - Henry Kissinger (American political scientist, diplomat, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize) We need history, not to tell us what happened or to explain the past, but to make the past alive so that it can explain us and make a future possible . Alan Bloom In todays world defined by accelerated, constant, unprecedented change, the past may no longer be relevant in teaching knowledge and skills. Instead, it has increasingly served as an anchor and teacher of the important moral values and wisdom to face the multifaceted, unpredictable and formidable challenges that plague the world today and in the future. Furthermore, what becomes crucial then is the ability to discern and extract the most important lessons, and then adapt and apply them to solving todays problems.

Sport today is too closely tied to politics. Do you agree?


Introduction: KQ: too closely tied i.e., negative implication 2Q/Definitions: Sport: A sport is an organized, competitive, entertaining, and skillful activity requiring commitment, strategy, and fair play, in which a winner can be defined by objective means. Politics: It consists of "social relations involving authority or power" and refers to the regulation of public affairs within a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy. Politics and sports or sports diplomacy: When sport is used as a political tool to enhance (or sometime worsen) diplomatic relations between two entities. The intention is sometimes to bring about radical change. Dissector: Inter-national vs. intra-national Thesis: Sport today is undeniably tied to politics, and this in itself may not be a bad thing. However, it can be said to be too closely tied, when politics interfere with the ideals of sports (such as fair play and equal opportunity), or when sports is used as an instrument to further dubious political agenda.

Paragraph 1: Topic Sentence: Sports is too closely tied to politics as it invariably involves national pride, which sparks conflicts between people of different nations. Elaboration: Most sports are contested between national teams, which encourage the use of sporting events for nationalist purposes, whether intentionally or not. Several sporting events are a matter of national pride; hence it may create animosity between competing nations when the losing nation is unable to accept defeat. In addition, nearly all the sports practised nowadays are competitive. On the village green, where you pick up sides and no feeling of local patriotism is involved, it is possible to play simply for the fun and exercise; but as soon as the question of prestige arises, national pride comes into the picture. These trends are seen by many as contrary to the fundamental ethos of sports being carried on for its own sake and for the enjoyment of its participants. Examples: Germanys second-round victory over Sweden in 2006 World Cup sparked a fight between thousands of English and German soccer fans. The Football War, also known as the Soccer War or 100 hour War, was a four-day war fought by El Salvador and Honduras in 1969. It was caused by political conflicts between Hondurans and Salvadorans, namely issues concerning immigration from El Salvador to Honduras. These existing tensions between the two countries coincided with the inflamed rioting during the second North American qualifying round of the 1970 FIFA World Cup.

Paragraph 2: Topic Sentence: In addition, sports can be said to be too closely tied to politics when it is used as a mean to spread political ideology, tainting a fundamental ideal of sports: that it should be always about the game itself and nothing else. Elaboration: The parallels between diplomatic or governmental issues and what is happening in the world of sport are striking. Many a times, sport itself has been used as an object of politics as many politicians utilize the manipulative nature of sport to spread political ideologies and garner greater publicity and support. Examples: In the US, many politicians have entered sports by running football clubs and being bosses of sports associations among other channels. They apparently want publicity rather than financial gains as most of them are already rich enough or they can get more money from other sources. The Supreme Court, as political as the president and the Congress, ruled in 1922 that Major League Baseball was exempt from restrictions placed upon monopolies by the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. This freedom from antitrust laws has remained a part of MLB ever since. Yet no other professional sports leagues have been given exemption from antitrust laws. MLB has, at times,

profited from its political connections. The Olympic Games are the premier stage for nationalist competition, and its history reflects the history of political conflicts since its inception at the end of the 19th century. The 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin was an illustration, where an ideology was developing which used the event to strengthen its spread through propaganda. The boycott by the United States and politically aligned nations of the 1980 Summer Olympics and the Soviet Union and politically aligned nations of the 1984 Summer Olympics were part of the Cold War conflict. In December 1987, during the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, the South Korean government hoped the Olympics would symbolize a new legitimacy of Korea in world affairs. The Olympics gave a powerful impetus to the development of South Korea's relations with Eastern Europe, the USSR and with the People's Republic of China. As political demonstrations emerged in June 1987, the possibility of jeopardizing hosting the Olympic Games contributed to the June 29 declaration which issued President Chun out of power and led to direct elections in December 1987. The desire not to taint the Olympic Games with military dictatorship and riots served as an impetus for Koreas transition to democracy. Roh Tae-woo then served as the transitional president, directly elected by South Koreans.

Evaluation: The purpose of sports and these games is to allow individuals to compete fairly and to pit their skills against one another in order to determine the winner. However, it is often used as a medium to spread political ideology nowadays, in order to achieve political goals. Sports have since lost its innocence and credibility due to the negative implications of politics on the game.

Paragraph 3: Topic Sentence: Sport is also tied to politics when it is used as a tool to bring about positive impacts within a country by bringing its people together. In this situation, even while sports is tied to politics, it is not a negative situation, as the ideals of sports have been upheld and further promotes peace between or within nations. Elaboration: Sport is a universal language, which can bring people together, no matter what is their origin, background, religious beliefs or economic status. It gives people a shared identity as a supporter or as a fan of the sporting team, hence unifying the country as they come together to root for the home team. Examples: South Africas first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, used the 1995 Rugby World Cup to reconcile the blacks and whites and created the conditions for a lasting peace in a country.

Paragraph 4:

Topic Sentence: Sports is also employed as a diplomatic device to enhance ties or resolve conflicts between countries. Hence, even if sport is too closely tied to politics, it may not be a bad thing. Elaboration: A mix of sport and politics does not always result in negative consequences. During international competitions, the attention on the political affairs between the competing countries may be diverted to the game itself and thus any tension preceding the event may subside and conflicts can be resolved. As sport provides a platform for the participating countries to understand the different cultures and negotiate in a peaceful manner, a consensus regarding the political matters can be reached. Examples: Such was the case 40 years ago when sports led to improving Chinese-American relations. The United States table tennis team, which was in Tokyo for the world championships in May 1971, was invited to go to China for a friendly exhibition matches with Chinese players, who were rated as the worlds best. What became known as the act of ping pong diplomacy led to the meeting a year later in China between President Richard Nixon and Chairman Mao Zedong. Things are far from perfect in this association. But ever since that ping pong diplomacy, these two powers have been talking and negotiating. That is better than the chilly lack of rapport between China and the USA prior to 1971. "Never before in history has a sport been used so effectively as a tool of international diplomacy", the Chinese premier Zhou Enlai later remarked. A sporting competition bringing together the members of the British Empire was first proposed by the Reverend Astley Cooper in 1891 when he wrote an article in The Times suggesting a "PanBritannic-Pan-Anglican Contest and Festival every four years as a means of increasing the goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire". This idea evolves into the Commonwealth Games later.

Paragraph 5: Topic Sentence: However, with more and more commercialization of sports in recent times, sports deals are turning more lucrative as far as money is concerned, causing the politicization of sports to be less significant that in fact, the concern should now be that sports is too closely tied to business, rather than to politics. Elaboration: With the increasing commercialization of sports today, players are paid huge salaries and millions of pounds to transfer from one team to another. Inevitably, this has also led to rampant corruption and instances of bribery, match-fixing and fraud. As a result, some sports have less to do with nationalism now than it has to do with money, and players are willing to play for another team for the sake of a higher price. Examples:

In 1977, Kerry Packer, the Australian business tycoon, signed 35 of the best cricketers available, to play in the first ever One Day International (ODI). Many players, who joined were banned from playing for their countries.

Also, another controversy was the match fixing scandal of 2000 involving several top cricketers, such as South Africas captain Hansie Cronje. Players were accused of throwing matches and receiving money from bookmakers in exchange of information.

Conclusion: The phrase too closely tied seems to imply a negative connotation on sport getting interfered by politics. However, this is not always true as the aforementioned sports diplomacy can help improve ties between countries and bring the nation together during trying times. In the sporting world today, it is undeniable that sports and politics are closely tied, especially when the sport is competed on a world stage, such as the Olympics or the World Cup. When nationalistic fervor is linked to victories on the playing field, it is almost inevitable that politics would seep into the game. Therefore whether or not politics will devalue the face of sports is solely dependent on the government as well as the athletes involved, for professional sports cannot sustain without government support and countries will not be as closely united without a home team to root for.

'Mankind is totally powerless in the face of natural disasters.' Discuss.


All hell broke loose in Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius burst open choking out chunks and chunks of debris mixed with hot gases and blobs of lava. The sheer heat in the pyroclastic flow (heat flow) and the unbelievable speed at which the flow approached Pompeii and its neighbours caused people to be burnt alive in a moment. Such has been the power of natural disasters in 1st century AD, such that Man truly was helpless in the face of a natural disaster. But times have changed. In the next 20 centuries Man had devised ways to predict, mitigate and respond, albeit with minor missteps, to natural disasters of all sources - air, water and land. Thus I believe that although Man is still at the mercy of natural disasters with respect to the place and magnitude of the disaster, it is not accurate to claim that Man is totally powerless when faced with a natural disaster. (-) Point 1 : Even today, Man is powerless when it comes to the determination of the location and magnitude of a natural disaster. They are natural happenings that have very complicated origins. Earthquakes occur due to tectonic movements that humans are unable to completely understand the path of the plates. Such occurrences are beyond humans capability of close observation and scrutiny as it occurs deep underground and at a ever so slow pace ( a few cm per year)

Thus man is unable to determine the time or exact place of the occurrence of a natural disaster, rendering him powerless in the face of a natural disaster.

(-) Point 2: Often the sheer size of the natural disaster belittles any human device and hence during the disaster itself, no form of countering the natural forces is possible. The amount of water in a tropical cyclone, the amount of energy stored in an earthquake and the amount of water displaced in tsunamis are phenomenal and are much bigger in magnitude than any available machine at Mans disposal. Despite the knowledge of frequently occurring and highly costly tornadoes in the US, nothing could be done to stop them. The only step taken was to minimise damage by changing structural designs. That there is little that can or could have been done realistically, even if people were fully prepared for the disaster.

(-) Point 3 : In spite of the different ways in which man is prepared for a natural disaster, all these preparations are often not perfected and continue to result in undesired loss of lives and property. Due to a lack of sufficient evidence to make prediction methods impeccable, disasters have not been predicted accurately and this has resulted in cataclysmic consequences. Examples such as the failure of gas method to predict volcanic eruption at Mount Galeras serves to show that our methods may not be refined enough to be fool-proof.

(+) Point 1: However man has formulated methods of prediction and forecasting that allows him to know of imminent natural disasters and pinpoint the location at which they have a large probability of occurring. Using historical trends, periodic occurrence of a certain magnitude of earthquake/volcano/cyclone can be formulated and accurate predictions of natural disasters can be made. Use of tiltmeters, seismographs, satellites and specially designed planes, volcanologists, climatologists and seismologists are able to forecast potential danger in a certain place. For instance satellite images of cyclones are used to know its current position and possible future path. Such methods were used to successfully predict the occurrence of various cyclones in the US. Thus through technological innovations and apt theoretical methodologies Man has been considerably successful in predicting natural disasters and hence is empowered to act in advance in the event of a natural disaster.

(+) Point 2: The use of buildings that are resistant against earthquakes or floods, appropriate infrastructure in the city and use of land zoning reduces casualties and monetary losses during a natural disaster.

Use of stilted houses in areas prone to floods, such as the Ganges delta in Bangladesh, serve to
mitigate the effects of the floods.

Appropriate urban planning such as adequate flood drains, judicious use of slope land and use of floodplains for parks and open spaces are some ways of minimising the effects on urban areas. disasters and has proven successful in floodplains along Mississippi River.

Man has incorporated such practises in many urban areas to reduce damages from natural Thus Man is able to manipulate the extent and specifics of the impacts of natural disasters by
preparing for such disasters through appropriate measures. (+) Point 3: Adequate and quick response strategies serve to provide a quick recovery and reduce the length of the aftermath period.

After disasters, aid is swiftly provided and rescue operations promptly carried out to minimise
loss of lives. Rebuilding and reconstruction efforts are subsequently carried out and often supported by global relief aid/donation. Eg. Recent Japan earthquake, relief aid arrived within the first two days of the disaster, coordinated rescue operations within a week. Thus man is not completely devastated in an encounter with natures tremendous power as he is able to contain the damages and recover quickly during an unfortunate mishap.

Original Synthesis: The practice of such methods is mainly limited to the developed world and thus not the whole of mankind is equally empowered to face a natural calamity. Various examples of Less Developed countries experiencing greater loss of lives than Developed nations epitomise the claim that the developed world is a lot better prepared than the developing world. The earthquake in Haiti in 2010, 7.0 on the Richter scale, killed 220,000 while an earthquake with a larger magnitude, 7.2 on the Richter scale, hit California later that year and claimed only 3 lives. Lack of financial backing and political will has caused many LDCs to put such life-saving investments at the least of their priorities. Thus even though man has the information that can lend him ways to confront a natural disaster, not everyone is able to afford to adopt the advice.

Conclusion: Man has come a long way in terms of tackling the consequences of natural disasters, from leaving everything to superstitions and prayers to using high technology devices to predict, mitigate and respond adequately. However, such advancements have often been uneven on the earth in terms of both awareness and adherence. Specifically, the developed nations seem to be ahead of the rest and are much better prepared to face a natural disaster than any other country in the

world. The fortunate thing is that most of the countries in the world are making progress towards improving their preparedness when it comes to disaster management and the death toll has been falling since the turn of the 20th century. Thus, although man does not have any control over the occurrence of a natural disaster, he has made incredible progress in handling a disastrous situation.

That which cannot be proven, is of little value. To what extent do you agree? 1st qualifier:

Cannot Absolute definition, that it cannot be falsified 2nd qualifiers:

Proven Defined as when an assumption/theorys results is able to be replicated Little value unreliable, useless Basis of argument: 1. The understanding of proven is subjective. 2. The understanding of little value is subjective. 3. Ultimately, it is difficult to say that a definite truth exists. Assumptions: Proven : To be proven RIGHT Connotation in the phrase cannot be proven is definitive. Either absolutely true or not. Stand: I (We) disagree with the statement to a large extent.

Counterpoint Thesis: There is truth to the statement, should one consider cannot be proven to mean easily falsified. Elaboration: The implications are that a particular reasoning/theory is weak and filled with loopholes. There would be little value because since these reasoning are easily torn down. Thus by extension, judgments based on it would also be easily torn down. Hence it cannot be sustained, and is fallacious. Example : Cold fusion - a proposed nuclear fusion process offered to explain a group of disputed experimental results first reported by electrochemists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons.

Made claims of nuclear fusion at room temperature using only a tabletop setup, and its related experiments. The media reported that nuclear fusion was happening inside the electrolysis cells, and these reports raised hopes of a cheap and abundant source of energy. Hopes fell when replication failures were weighed in view of several reasons cold fusion is not likely to occur, the discovery of possible sources of experimental error, and finally the discovery that Fleischmann and Pons had not actually detected nuclear reaction byproducts. By late 1989, most scientists considered cold fusion claims dead, and cold fusion subsequently gained a reputation as pathological science.

Thesis: In addition, it is understandable to an extent that there might be little worth if theories and basis of arguments are unfounded, as everything would be stuck in the hypothetical and conclusions drawn could well be wrong or misleading. Elaboration: If there is no grounds to believe that an assumption can be held true or for results to be replicated, the uncertainty lends to the notion of being of little value as that which cannot be justified is possibly fallacious and is thus erroneous in reasoning that renders arguments logically unsound. Example: Hwang Woo-suk, a South Korean veterinarian and researcher, was a professor of theriogenology and biotechnology at Seoul National University (dismissed on March 20, 2006) who became infamous for fabricating a series of experiments, which appeared in high-profile journals, in the field of stem cell research. He is best known for two articles published in 2004 and 2005 where he reported to have succeeded in creating human embryonic stem cells by cloning. CNN reported that the scientist, later in 2006, admitted faking his findings, after questions of impropriety had emerged.

Point Thesis: However, simply because a theory is not strictly proven does not mean it is of little value. Views, for instance, are by no means proven to be definite, but they greatly impact the understanding of the world. Elaboration: There is little if nothing, that can really be said to be proven, wholly accepted and thereafter used as an assumption. Strictly speaking, much that has been assumed of sound reasoning are based only on generalisations. A process of thought that Philosophers dub inductive reasoning. Consider the theory of falsification where theories are thought to stand and are held true until proven otherwise (falsified).

Example: The Scientific Revolution Two opposing views: Geocentrism VS Galileos championing of Heliocentrism In 1543 Copernicus' work on the heliocentric model of the solar system was published, in which he tried to demonstrate that the sun was the center of the universe. It was to most of his contemporaries doubtful. It contradicted not only empirical observation, due to the absence of an observable stellar parallax, but also Aristotelian philosophy. Galileo's main contributions to the acceptance of the heliocentric system were his mechanics, the observations he made with his telescope, as well as his detailed presentation of the case for the system. Using an early theory of inertia, the heliocentric system gained support at the end of 17th century through their combined discoveries.

Thesis: Furthermore, the very concept of theories and hypothesis dispels the statement. These ideas are not concretely proven, but are of great importance for they posses the power to change mindsets, approaches and perceptions. Example: Economic theories, for one, are used as the foundation of analysis despite its transient and volatile nature. They are not considered absolute or proven, but they play a large role in economic analysis. Take for instance, Keynes and the Monetarists opposing view on the determinants of investment levels in relation to interest rates. Fundamentally, Keynes believed that it all came down to instincts rather than the Monetarists belief that more objective reasons were the factors involved in determining investment levels. Like interest rates. Elaboration: Although they are differing schools of thought, they allow conclusions to be drawn, and for creation of approaches to the problem. Hence it is not of little value just because it is not concretely proven.

Thesis: Lastly, what of the intangible aspects of life? To many, religion plays an important role in their lives, be it as a source from which they draw strength or conviction. Elaboration: While it is a rather controversial issue, there are many that believe that there is little concrete evidence of the existence of the different deities and gods of religion, or that events of the Bible, for instance, ever happened. However, followers continue to believe in it and are greatly influenced by their religion. Despite the omnipresent question of whether faith can actually be proven, it is without doubt that religion is of vast importance. Regardless of the inability to convince the entire world, believers and non-believers alike that a God truly does exist, religion still influences the way people think, behave, and live.

Ergo, this shows that even that which cannot be proven is not of little value.

Synthesis Thesis: Even if something is unproven, circumstances may still dictate belief or reliance in it- this is manifested in the idea of common sense. As mentioned before, consider the way in which something is proven. There is inductive and deductive reasoning. Example: Philosopher David Hume argued that inductive reasoning cannot be justified and hence neither can deductive reasoning, therefore technically nothing can be wholly justified. However he concluded that belief is necessary, instead of intense skepticism, and that one has to draw a line in between. Hence, the inevitability of inductive reasoning ought to be accepted (common sense).

Conclusion To believe in something, and to deem it proven simply because it was done in the past, and has yet to be falsified, does not make an absolute truth. And yet, the great many things that fall under such a classification is not of little value. In the end, perhaps it is the uncertainty in that which cannot be proven, that propels it to be of the most value.