Sunday, September 9, 2007

National Day Rally

One of the plans is to encourage more students to take up Malay, Chinese as third language instead of the common choices- Japanese, French, German. Incentives will be introduce to encourage the taking up of these languages. Besides that, there will be Regional Studies Programme introduced in a few secondary schools to learn more about our neighbouring countries. It is certain that these plans will benefit Singaporeans greatly as knowing the language of our neighbours will build better rapport between us. Immersion trips to the various countries while taking up the courses will also broaden the views of young Singaporeans. Business opportunities between Singapore and various countries will also grow as the communication barrier is brought down. However, I do not believe that the plan will carry out as smoothly as it is thought to be. Though there are attractive incentives that encourages students to take up the languages and courses, yet it is an unknown figure to how many of such students will be determined enough to finish the course and apprehend the language learnt. It will defeat the purpose of this plan if young Singaporeans pursue the learning of third language for the two bonus points for JC admission. Thus there are still may amendments need to be made so as to make this plan a success.

Not only that, the Prime Minister mentioned the building of Singapore’s fourth university. The idea was proposed due to the growing demand for university places in Singapore. The rate of each school cohort eligible for university is now 23.5% (What 4th university could be The Straits Times 21/8/07). Furthermore, there are many that comment about the lack of places in universities this year as the A-levels and poly students applied for places in universities. Thus, it is necessary to have a fourth university to cater to the growing numbers of students. The new university can also offer courses that are not made available in the present 3 universities, offering more opportunities for students. The opening of a fourth university greatly benefit Singapore with the many advantages it brought. Firstly, it ensures that more are not deprived of the chance to enjoy tertiary education and ensure that many have the skills needed to survive. Secondly, the offering of a different variety of courses from the other 3 universities helps to produce talents from various areas for Singapore. The large pool of talents will help to drive Singapore economy in the game of globalisation.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Aw Mun Khay (32/07)

Are career demands killing marriages in Singapore? 4.8.07

It is undeniable that the high career demand does affect the amount of time one spends with his family. High career demand could be one of the factors that result in the high divorce rates in Singapore, thus bring along dire consequences. Hence, various measures should be taken to solve such a problem.

It was mentioned that government should ban employees from making their employees to work unreasonably long hours. However, I do not believe that such a law is possible to implement as different jobs have different demands. For example, a doctor cannot refuse to offer their professional help in a case of emergency even if they had worked for long hours. In such a case, it is difficult to determine the amount of working hours seen as unreasonably. Instead, having a more flexible working schedule can allow the employees to have a better allocation of their time between work and family. If such a freedom is allowed, employees can attend family gathering before returning to work. For example, parents are able to support their children participating in any major competition, and then returning to finish off matters at work after the competition. In this way, both the family and work are not neglected.
Besides the government and companies coming up with measure like family day to allow the employees to form stronger family bonds, individuals should also play a part in ensuring sufficient time is allocated to their family. It is often a practice to bring unfinished work home. Although this is unavoidable, one should not be concern only on finishing their work and sacrifice the time to catch up with their family members. Hence, individuals should also learn to allocate their time between work and family so as to strike a balance between the two. One can have a light chat with his family members before heading off to finish his work or while taking a break in between. These time spent may seem insignificant but it ensures that individuals always put in their effort to show their care to their family members, thus building strong family ties at the same time.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

can poverty ever be eradicated?

Poverty is a common problem faced by many countries and there are various attempts to solve or even eradicate this problem. The richer nations lend a helping hand to the poorer ones through aids like financial aids. Although situations do improve, it is certain that poverty cannot be eradicated without solving these problems.

The people of the countries are the determine factor when it comes to improving the situation of poverty. Although there could be foreign investments that provide new jobs opportunities, it does not mean that everyone from the lower status of the society can get the chance to improve their lives. Skills are required for the various jobs created, thus the lowly skilled are at the lose end. As mentioned by Sarup, with the new technologies brought in by the foreign companies, there exist the demand for technicians who are able to operate simple machineries. (Can a poor country become rich? Worldpress) Hence, the lowly skilled may not get a job unless they are trained and educated for the job. Therefore, poverty cannot be eradicated, as there is a group of lowly skilled citizens who are unable to improve their standard of living as they are deprived of the chance to do so.
Besides that, there exist the problem of countries not taking part in the fight against poverty actively. As mentioned by Jeffery Sachs, in 1970s, the world’s leading countries pledged 0.7% of their national income to help the world’s poor. Only 5 nations honoured this pledge, which was renewed in 2002. (Poster boy for the poor, The Straits Time Interactive) Many of the poor today live in countries that have limited financial resources that can rescue them from the poverty cycle. Thus the help from richer nations is greatly appreciated. However, the richer nations are not their part in offering their help to the poor, leaving them to fend for themselves. Thus, poverty cannot be eradicated, as the poorer nations can find no extra revenue that can be pumped into improving the living standards of the poor.

Monday, August 13, 2007

death penalty- for or against?

Death penalty is one punishment that is commonly used in many countries on murderers. It had always being an issue to whether it is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to death penalty. Personally, I would say yes to it due to a few reasons.

Firstly, death penalty will restrain people from killing. As mentioned by Gary B Becker, mast people are afraid of death and murderers will also try to escape from death penalty. Hence, it is evident that by imposing death penalty, it helps to deter potentials that thought of murder. One, seeing that there is a severe consequence for committing murder, chooses alternatives to solve their problems instead of taking impulsive actions like murder. Thus, death penalty should not be abolished.
Secondly, death penalty acts as a way to mend for the psychological loss of the victim’s close ones. To an outsider, it seems absurd to execute the murderer for what he had committed as it does not help to bring back the dead. However, to the victim’s close ones, there is no other punishment that could bring the same sense of justice that is brought by death penalty. Many still feel that an eye should pay for an eye, thus the execution of the murderer is justifiable. There may be an emotional unbalance in the victim’s close ones if the murderer were given life imprisonment instead as they feel that the punishment the murderer deserve s more than being locked up in the prison for the rest of their life. Hence, death penalty should not be abolished, as it is accountable for the justice for the victim’s close ones.

Monday, August 6, 2007

New gaming centres in school

Article: Game time at schools by Lim Yee Hung & Melissa Tan The Straits Times 24/6/07

In view of the many advantage of opening a game center, Local Area Networking (LAN) e-gaming centres were set up in schools so as to keep their students away from LAN gaming outlets.
There are obvious advantages to such decision so that there are a number of local schools already have their LAN gaming centres located in their schools. Some of such schools are Montfort Secondary, Wellington Primary and Anglo-Chinese School (Independent). There are a number of reasons as to why the schools support this move.

Firstly, at commercial gaming outlets, students are exposed to bad influences such as smoking or swearing. As cited from the article, 58% of youth between 10 and 15 played or download computer or video games online. Thus, there is a need to guide these young users so that they will not pick up bad practices like smoking. In schools, the students’ gameplay will be monitored so as to ensure the students from not picking up the bad influences. For example, there is a teacher stationed in the gaming center at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) so as to ensure discipline. Thus, parents need not to worry their child picking up the wrong things from wrong people as they enjoy their game online.

Secondly, students’ health is also taken care for in the game centres in schools. For example, at Wellington Primary School, students are to take a 15-minute break after an hour. They are to go to a reading corner so as to give their eyes a break. An OSIM eye massager is available in the centre. As myopia is one of the health problems associated to long hours of gameplay, thus under the monitor of the school, students are able to have fun in the center while paying attention to take good care of their health. Thus, the idea of having LAN centre is greatly supported in the schools.

On the other hand, the opening of LAN centres worries the shop owners of the commercial LAN centres as their business may be affected. There will definitely have a decrease in the number of younger customers patronising their shops. However, it is certain that the decision of opening a LAN centre in schools brings no harm to the students as they receive guidance as they play their game. It is also a more protected environment as compared to the commercial LAN shop where they are exposed to people from all walks of life – whether they are good or bad.

Article: Embracing Otherhood, The Straits Times 17/12/05

As Singapore play host to more people from different backgrounds and culture, challenges arise, as there exists the question of how accepting the locals are and the possible unfair treatments to the foreigners.

The influx of new immigrants brings out the problem of how accepting the locals are to the foreigners. Many locals view foreigners as burdens or people that snatch their jobs or opportunities away from them. From the article of “Red stars, scholars and stayers” (The Straits Times), one of the parents interviewed, Madame Irene Tan said that China students that had done excelling well in schools may go on to compete in the same job market as our local students in future. Besides that, the difference in appearance is believed to be one of the causes for locals finding hard to see the foreigners as one of us. As cited from the article, there are still whispers about Caucasians living HDB estates. This does not help Singapore in playing the role of a hospitable host as she invite more foreigners that may contribute positively to her economy. The foreigners may feel rejected by the treatment from the locals and chose not to come to Singapore to work or stay.

In addition, the foreigners may receive unfair treatment from the locals. Foreigners with lower social status may have their welfare neglected. For example, the recent case of the death of the illegal worker Maung Soe Thein from Myanmar who fell to death while working on a block of flats as stated in the article. His employer, Chua Beng Lye, buried is body instead of reporting his death to the authorities. As the case was revealed, there was not much of a strong response from the locals, which simply show the apathy of the locals to these foreign workers of lower social status. The prejudice suffered by the foreign workers causes unfair treatments from work and the public as we can see from the death of Muang.
In conclusion, the challenges faced by Singapore as she play host to more people from different backgrounds and culture are interlinked. The unaccepted foreigners receive prejudice and unfair treatments from the locals in various places like workplace. Hence, steps should be taken to solve these problems so that the locals and foreigners could work and live harmoniously, contributing positively to Singapore.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

world in balance

Regardless of the rise or fall in human population, the society and economics of
a country will definitely feel the impact of such changes.

With the rise in human population, there will be more demands like more jobs
will need to be generated for the young workforce. However, economic problems
arise when the country is unable to meet the demand. For example India is unable
to keep pace with its growing population in creating six million new jobs a year.
The situation of unemployment in India is thus made worsen with youths joining the workforce jobless.

Eventually, this leads to social problems like poverty and increasing crime rates.The poor are forced to steal or rob so as to survive in today’s world. They are trapped in a poverty cycle as their children are unable to receive sufficient education thus having little or no skills for jobs with higher pay. Hence, socio-economic problems occurred due to the increase of human population.

The fall in human population results in the lack of young workers in the workforce. As the population of the old increase in the country, there will be a strain on the economy as there are insufficient young workers to generate enough revenue for the welfare of the elderly. Hence, the country may lack the resources and money to build necessary infrastructure like old folks’ home for the old. The social impact, in this case, is that the elderly in the country may not be well taken care of.

Besides that, it is also to note that the country suffering from a fall in human population may not be generating as much revenue as they could if there is a younger workforce. There are also fewer consumers with a drop in human population. This means that there is less business targeted for the younger age groups. Eventually, this affects the welfare of the elderly as less revenue means that there is less measures to take care of them since the country is unable to afford it.