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BP 2012 Issue 2/3

The 9/11 Decade Issue

Comprehension Answers

How does the author illustrate the emergence of 'a generation with a
fundamental commonality' (line 3)?

Suggested Response:

transcending borders () with

He describes how the youth rise

above physical boundaries and
limitations ()


their unequivocal expression () of a to state in unison () their

desire for connection.
yearning/want for connectedness.

What is the author showing by using the phrase 'apparently intrinsic' to describe
the importance of technology to this generation's youths (lines 11-12)?


Suggested Response:

shows how apparently () intrinsic He is implying that the youths consider

() it has become to the youth
technology to be clearly/obviously
() and inextricably linked to / part
of () their lives.

When the author writes that youths use technology in an 'utterly malleable and
instinctive way', (line 16), what is he implying about the perception of older
generations towards the use of technology? Use your own words as far as

Suggested Response:

Indeed, the youth today see technology

as Play-Doh: something they use in an
utterly () malleable () and
instinctive (1) way.

By stating that youths today see

technology as something which they
can utilise in a completely/totally/
absolutely () adaptable/tractable
() and natural/spontaneous (1)


Older generations start with 'what will He is implying that the older
this box allow me to do?'
generation perceives the use of
(1m for inference)
technology as awkward/unnatural/
artificial/contrived (1).

Explain how the author justifies his use of the word 'tight-knit' to describe the
friendships of the previous generation (line 48). Use your own words as far as


Suggested Response:

Once upon a time, teenagers had a The author justifies his use of the

BP 2012 Issue 2/3

The 9/11 Decade Issue
Comprehension Answers
small group of () friends, and within phrase by describing the social lives of
this group, young people could express teenagers past as comprising of a few
their individuality (),
() friends with whom individuals
could be themselves/show how they
were different/exhibit their unique
characteristics ().
but it was vital () that they belonged But it was of utmost importance/
to the group ().
crucial () that they were part of the
collective/had an affirmative group
identity ().

What does the phrase 'out of circulation' (lines 68-69) highlight about the
perception youths have of being absent even temporarily?

Suggested Response:

'out of (1/2) circulation(1/2)'

The phrase suggests that youths

perceive being even temporarily
absent from their social networks as
being removed from/taken away
from () the popular cliques (),


Youth fear ... because they worry and this causes them considerable
that... (1m for inference)
anxiety (1m for inference).

How does the illustration of the 'best possible result in social media for young
people' (lines 74-75) highlight the means by which social media has impacted
the social status of youths? Use your own words as far as possible.

Suggested Response:

The need for approval () is almost

tangible, () and it keeps young
people sitting in front of the laptop
continuously hitting refresh, waiting for
someone to hit like on their updates.

It highlights how social media has

made the need for external validation
() a real/actual/substantial part ()
of the lives of youth,

Indeed, in the Social Economy it is not

good enough to simply do something.
You have to tell people about it ()
and have their acknowledgement ()
before it becomes real.

that all their activities need to be

validated/affirmed/approved () by

Thus, it is no wonder that the best

possible result in social media for young
people is when someone else uploads
a photograph of you looking cool and



to have someone else present

in a favourable light enables
to get validation/affirmation of
status/gain merit () while

BP 2012 Issue 2/3

The 9/11 Decade Issue
Comprehension Answers
then tags you. In this scenario, you get maintaining the appearance
all the credit () without looking modesty/humility ().
overly vain or full of yourself ().

Suggest one reason for the author ending the passage with the comparison of
the youth to Narcissus (lines 85-86).

Suggested Response:

As the Social Economy increases its

reach, could we find an entire
generation irreparably impacted by
social status anxiety so much so that,
like Narcissus (1), they lose
themselves in seeking to see
themselves reflected () in the
approval of the masses ()?

He is suggesting that the social

economy makes the youth vulnerable
to over-indulgence () in their selfabsorption/search
validation (), just as Narcissus who
persistently dwelled upon his own
image (), and that this will
ultimately prove to be selfdestructive ().
(Inference from reference to Narcissus
must be drawn out.)

Give the meaning of the following words as they are used in the passage. You
may write your answers in one word or a short phrase.

[a] emergence (line 2)

evolution / development

[b] mould (line 30)

form / design / pattern

[c] benign (line 42)

gentle / kind

[d] vanguard (line 47)

forefront / spearhead

[e] flip-side (line 81)

opposite / reverse / in contrast


Using material from paragraphs 2-5, summarise what the author has to say
about how technology enables and has come to shape the way young people
sense and make sense of the world and others around them.




Write your summary in no more than 120 words, not counting the opening
words which are printed below. Use your own words as far as possible.
Technology has become intrinsic to the life of youths today because...

Suggested Response:

technology represents: all the friends It helps them 1. fulfil a variety of

you could ever want, all the needs and pursuits
knowledge you will ever need, and

BP 2012 Issue 2/3

The 9/11 Decade Issue
Comprehension Answers
all the entertainment you could
For young people, technology is and is 2. relied upon for 3. perceiving
more than a useful tool or an and 4. understanding the world around
enabler; it truly is their sixth sense. them.
Technology enables young people to
sense the world and make sense of
the world.
Indeed, the youth today see They use it 5. flexibly and 6. naturally,
technology as Play-Doh: something
they use in an utterly malleable and
instinctive way.
this generation starts with 'what do I to 7. bring their desires and ideas to
want to do? Where can my reality.
imagination take me?'
It is this deep relationship with Their 8. dispositions towards society
technology that is shaping their and fact are influenced, as are their 9.
attitudes towards community and ideals of fairness.
truth, and allowing them to reimagine justice for a new era.
If we truly want to grasp the power of They want their 10. legacy to be 11.
connection for this generation, we can excellence in bonding and caring for
look at how they want to be others.
remembered: not for their beauty,
their power or their influence, but
simply for the quality of their
human relationships and their
ability to look after those around
young people seek to define 12. Identity is mainly about
themselves not only by what they interaction
own or what they do but primarily by
their ability to connect, to share
and to broadcast.
Any young person with access to in a 13. perpetual social network.
social media will tell you that their
friends are increasingly 'everpresent'.
in China and India, two-thirds of 14. Peers supersede family in
young people admit that their friends affecting decision-making


BP 2012 Issue 2/3

The 9/11 Decade Issue
Comprehension Answers
have more influence over their
decisions than their family does.
things nowadays are more complex. and friendship networks are 15. more
Using social media, a typical teenager intricate and inter-related.
is likely to manage and maintain
multiple, intersecting groups of
In this sense, 'connecting' to a Having a 16.large network of friends
broader network of friends has invariably boosts one's standing in
replaced the singular need to society
'belong' to a tight-knit group of
friends. /
In this new world of infinite
connections, the quantity rather than
quality of one's friends becomes an
important indicator of one's social
status and value.
The downside to amassing so many But when 17. superficial / insincere
'friends' is that you're bound to pick friendships / connections 18. abound
up a rack of fakes along the way. worldwide,
This is truly a global phenomenon,
known as 'stranger friends' in India,
'obligation friends' in Australia, and
'recyclable friends' in Chile
Of course, an additional downside the young find it 19. difficult to tell
to maintaining such a large network /discern 20. who their genuine friends
of so-called friends is that are.
sometimes it becomes harder to
figure out who your real friends are.
(117 Words)
20 points; full marks for any 16.
10 In this article, Brendan Thomas makes a number of observations about how the
social expectations and experiences of youths have changed, given the
technology that they are growing up with. How applicable do you find his
observations to yourself and your own society?


Brendan Thomas observes that youths and their use of technology has caused
their understanding and experience of relationships to shift because identity and
notions of social status have simultaneously shifted. He highlights the
differences between the generations, as well as noting some of the challenges
of maintaining such broad but superficial social networks.
How are youths experiencing and using technology in Singapore? How does the
context of Singapore contribute to the amount of access they have to

BP 2012 Issue 2/3

The 9/11 Decade Issue
Comprehension Answers
technology and what is their relationship with it? How are the perceptions and
attitudes of the young in Singapore affected by their use of technology, and how
does this affect the outlook for our ability to manage challenges which are
emerging for our society (i.e. ageing population, need to sustain our economy,
In what way have some of the social shifts mentioned by Thomas manifested in
Singapore and what are the ramifications of those shifts for Singapore in the
long run? Are the observations of changes in relationship dynamics and social
status requirements valid, or do we have certain values/beliefs that safeguard
us from losing intimacy for apparent popularity? How are we seeing these
changes in our daily lives and what are the short and long term benefits or costs
for our society?
When Thomas mentions the social economy and how it gives insight to hard
economic value, how do we see this in action in Singapore? In what ways are
the concerns for public image and the need for external validation emerging in
our economy, and how conscious are our youth of such phenomenon and why?
How do we expect this to affect the future economic development of Singapore?
Are there particular aspects / components of technology that have greater
influence over our youth than others? What platforms are our youth most
exposed to and what sort of impact has that had on the development of their
perceptions and beliefs about the world around them and about themselves? Is
the suggested vulnerability of the youth of the present technological age a valid
concern where Singaporean youths are concerned? Why or why not, and what
are the possible ramifications of this?