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There is a biblical proverb that goes: “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”. The responsibility of grooming a child’s character and instilling obedience in him or her no doubt lies in the hands of the parents who brought the child into the world. Parents may argue that parental negligence is not the most significant factor, and may instead attribute it to other reasons such as peer pressure, stress and rebelliousness. This is because they feel that they have done all that they can for their children. Sadly, this ideal is not always reflected in reality. Parents today increasingly fail to inculcate morals and values in their children due to the changing priorities of both parties. Packed work schedules, the ability to work outside the office and even busier school days mean parents and children have little time for each other in today’s world. That being said, while parental negligence is not the only factor for juvenile delinquency, it certainly is the most significant factor.

Read all about it in the link below.

In Roman mythology, Veritas, the goddess of truth, hid at the bottom of a sacred well, elusive to all except those who were most determined to find her. Throughout history, many people have joined the ranks of adventurers on that quest – philosophers who ponder the nature of truth, scientists who want to discover the truth and mathematicians who want to describe the truth, among many others. Today, the search, although long and arduous, continues. As we moved through the 17th and 18th centuries, developments in the way scientists worked transformed the way we understood our world. ‘Veritas’, the Latin word for truth, is emblazoned proudly across the mottos of many institutions of research and learning which concern themselves with research and intellectual pursuits. It seemed that we had discovered the means to find the truth.
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“We have nothing to fear but fear itself”. These words spoken by US President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s seem far removed from the modern society we live in. From transgenic food to industrial chemicals, from nuclear radiation to economic recessions, we appear to be living in a cloud of fear and insecurity. While it is undeniable that some of our contemporary fears are well-founded, it would be too absolute to assert that modern life is afflicted by apprehension and anxiety to the point where we cannot function normally as a people. Notwithstanding the constant barrage of new threats appearing on our airwaves, there are other aspects of modern society that provide us with assurance and stability, and hence while I agree that modern life is fraught with fear and insecurity, it is not necessarily plagued by them.

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We are surrounded by gender lore from the time we were very young. It is ever-present in conversation, humour, and conflict, and it is used to explain everything from driving styles to food preferences. Gender is embedded so extensively in our institutions, our actions, our beliefs, and our desires, that it appears to us to be completely natural. The world swarms with ideas about gender; these ideas are so commonplace that we take it for granted that they are true, accepting common adage as scientific fact. Rarely do we — but we should — look beyond what appears to be common sense to find not simply what truth might be behind it, but how it came to be common sense.

To read the rest of the Comprehension Passage & practise answering P2 Questions, do click on the link below.
S. Lewis once said, “Knowledge without values seems rather to make a man a more clever devil.” While the primary goal of educational institutes is to ensure that all students are equipped with the knowledge required by the workforce or to move on to higher education, I believe that schools must also teach values. This complements their learning of contextual knowledge and gives students a more holistic education that covers emotional development as well.

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Virginia Woolf once said: “Fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners.” People often look down on fictional stories because they are not anchored in reality and therefore argue that they are of no value in the “real world”. Although novels may be anchored in alternate realities, at their core, they have many valuable lessons to be learnt. These values apply to our character, how we interact and the way we work. Hence, as an avid book-lover myself, I personally strongly disagree that reading novels is a waste of time.

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Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles; Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances.” Courage is innate, and can be found in all of us, whether or not we choose to display it. It can even be said to occasionally be an instinctive effort – a response in the face of danger. However, from the deduction that courage is a natural human trait, courage can be mad too, as it is exacted by those who engage in moments of folly or suppressed lunacy. Cynics assert that when courage is exacted by a self-centred person or a madman, the effects of these courageous acts may vary greatly, with a tendency to be negative. How then can courage be completely viewed as a virtue? Virtues by definition are amorphous good things, blessings unto society and humanity as a whole.

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GP ESSAY #54: DO AWARDS AND PRIZES SERVE ANY USEFUL PURPOSE?“Keep your eyes on the prize.” A common saying we grow up with which guides us through the achievement-seeking process up to the point we are rewarded for our efforts. From winning the Nobel Prize to getting first in a subject in school; be it an international or in a small local competition, prizes and awards are a common tool used for rewarding and according to a certain level of achievement to someone today. Read all about it in the link below.
We think we know who the enemies are: banks, big business, lobbyists, the politicians who exist to appease them. But somehow the advertising industry which stitches this system of hyper-capitalism together gets overlooked. That seems strange when you consider how pervasive advertising is. In fact you can probably see it right now. It is everywhere, yet we see without seeing, without understanding the role that it plays in our lives.
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GP ESSAY #55: IS THIS PACE OF LIFE IN YOUR SOCIETY TOO FAST FOR ITS OWN GOOD? Given the rapid advancement of technological progress across the globe in this day and age, it is unsurprising that modern Singapore constantly vies to be at the head of the world’s technological frontier. The importance of staying up-to-date and relevant in this interconnected world cannot be emphasised further against the backdrop of economic development. Read more about it in the link below.
Language is the primary means through which we communicate and express ourselves. Given that Man is a social creature and his growth and progress is dependent on his interactions with others, language does play a vital role in helping to shape his thoughts and ideas. Some may argue that with a common language, humans would be united in the ability to relate and communicate more effectively, ultimately eliminating communication barriers. Read more about it in the link below.
Convenience is the most underestimated and least understood force in the world today.
As a driver of human decisions, it may not offer the illicit thrill of Freud’s unconscious sexual desires or the mathematical elegance of the economist’s incentives. Convenience is boring. But boring is not the same thing as trivial. In the developed nations of the 21st century, convenience – that is, more efficient and easier ways of doing personal tasks has emerged as perhaps the most powerful force shaping our individual lives and our economies.

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Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “As my sufferings mounted, I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” Easier said than done, the path to seek a transformation of suffering is a laborious one, which sometimes necessitates sacrifices. That being said, it seems like there are people who are willing to make sacrifices for their causes. Cynics may argue that some people are willing to make sacrifices to gain fame and fortune, and not for the selfless pursuit of promoting their causes. To read more about it, click on the link below.
One of the more memorable statements of Barack Obama’s presidency thus far has been his claim, in a high-profile December 2013 speech, that the great and growing economic inequality is “the defining challenge of our time.” In making his case Obama appealed to the authority of a seemingly unlikely ally: Adam Smith, the purported founding father of laissez- faire capitalism, who is widely thought to have advocated unbridled greed and selfishness in the name of allowing the invisible hand of the market to work its magic.

To read the rest of the Comprehension Passage & practise answering P2 Questions, do click on the link below.
We have the Arts in order not to die of the truth”. This quote by Nietzsche highlights not just the importance of the Arts in providing us with a room of escape but also being a source of catharsis, and treasured for the moral and educational value it brings along with it as well as an exercise of our freedom of expression in this increasingly pluralistic world.

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Cities are experiencing an accelerating pace of urbanisation and growing in complexity. The UN estimates that 55% of the global population lives in urban areas – a figure that is projected to rise to 68% by 2050. With a few exceptions, cities are expected to become bigger and more numerous. What does the future hold for them — and all of us — in this scenario? Many are competing to be the most liveable for their people, and to do so in a sustainable manner. All face 5 major challenges, including competing uses for land space and rising pollution. Successful ones are finding the value of close interaction and effective collaboration among the public, private and people sectors. All over, urban planners, governments and developers are increasingly interested in making cities “liveable”.

To read the rest of the Comprehension Passage & practise answering P2 Questions, do click on the link below.
‘’If you want to be happy, be.” This statement provides us with an attractive notion which many wish to have in our daily lives. Yet, this statement portrays happiness as being easily attainable and asserts that we can be happy, as long as we have the desire to do so. However, is true happiness really that attainable in today’s world? If it really is, then the world would be a brighter and more pleasant place, since happiness is something that most strive to attain. In today’s world, however, in the hustle and bustle of work, with overwhelming pressure on every individual to perform, and the various problems in the financial, political and social sectors, happiness appears to elude us more than ever. Read more about it in the link below.
For most people across the world, life is getting better but diets are getting worse. This is the bittersweet dilemma of eating in our times. Our free and comfortable lifestyles are undermined by the fact that our food is killing us, not through lack of it but through its abundance – a hollow kind of abundance.

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“Can a click make a difference in the world? By itself, probably not, but when combined with tens and even hundreds of thousands of other clicks, it may just have an impact,” says writer Jeffrey Strain, citing the power of social media. Indeed, with the power of social media to convey a single piece of information to a multitude of people, it is increasingly being utilised for activism, serving as a catalyst for actions contributing to social change. Read more about it in the link below.
There is no direct evidence to suggest when exactly our early human – ‘hominin’ – ancestors stopped wandering around naked and started draping their bodies with animal furs and skins. Clothes do not fossilise, so anthropologists studied the evolution of lice, revealing that we started wearing clothes about 170,000 years ago. Our direct ancestors did not have much body hair, so to shield themselves from the scorching summers and the freezing winters, they donned 5 rudimentary clothing. Thus began history’s endless ‘catwalk’.

To read the rest of the Comprehension Passage & practise answering P2 Questions, do click on the link below.