Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sec 3 Recess Assignments

  • Sec 3B, 3D and 3F
    • Social Studies & Modern World History
      • attempt the 1 SEQ you did not do during SA1
      • re-vise the 1 SEQ you attempted during SA1 if you had L4/9 or lower
        • ie. if you have L4/10 or higher, you are exempted
        • re-vise = "correction"
          • means examine what is missing. Is it...
            • Evidence: facts, place, names, dates, terms?
            • Explanation of evidence: what does this evidence show/mean/suggest about the point you are making?
            • Link: how is your explanation answering the key process in the question?
          • insert/append the missing item in a different coloured ink
      • total SEQs: 4
      • to be completed for checks on term 3 week 1
    • exam scripts and suggested answers will only be returned on completion of assignments.

Sec 4 Recess Assignments & Classes

  • Sec 4H
    • Social Studies & Modern World History
      • attempt the 2 SEQs a. & b. you did not do during SA1
      • re-edit the 1 SEQ a. & b. you attempted during SA1 if you had L4/10 or lower
      • total SEQs: 4
      • to be completed for checks on 16 Jun 08
    • Classes
      • Social Studies "Challenge & Change: Venice" on 28 May 08 (1045am) & 30 May 08 (0830am) at Auditorium
      • Mid-year scripts review on 16 Jun 08 (1045am) at 4H classroom
  • Sec 4G
    • Modern World History & Southeast Asian History
      • attempt the 2 SEQs a. & b. you did not do during SA1
      • re-edit the 1 SEQ a. & b. you attempted during SA1 if you had L4/10 or lower
      • total SEQs: 4
    • Class
      • Mid-year scripts review on 19 Jun 08 (0830am) at the usual place

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sec 4 SEA SA1 Suggested Answers

Dear Lucky 9 History students of 4G,

You can download the suggested answers for the Southeast Asia History Mid-year paper here. Some statistics about the paper for your information:

Believe it or not!
That's 785 words,
4172.66666 characters,
28.8888 paragraphs,
95 lines
for EACH student.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sec 4 MWH SA1 SBQ Suggested Answers

Dear 4H,

Pls find suggested answers to SBQ on Korean War uploaded here for your reference.

Enjoy the break.

Comments on SBQ:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sec 4 HSS SA1 SBQ Suggested Answers

Dear 4H

The suggested answer for the SBQ is uploaded here for your reference.

Press on. Endure.

Comments about SBQ:
1. The point that is being checked is unclear or "unquoted". Most paraphrased entire source (some with quotes) then proceed to c-ref by saying "this can be proven/supported"... Yet what "this" referent is not clear.
2. There can be better matching of c-ref evidence.

Myanmar faces health disaster

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day creator hated commericalisation of the occasion

GRAFTON (West Virginia) - ON this 100th anniversary of Mother's Day, the woman credited with creating one of the world's most celebrated holidays probably would not be pleased with all the flowers, candy or gifts.

Ms Anna Jarvis would want us to give mothers a white carnation - she felt it signified the purity of a mother's love.

Ms Jarvis, who never married and never had children, got the Mother's Day idea after her mother said it would be nice if someone created a memorial to mothers.

Three years after her mother died in 1905, she organised the first official mother's day service at a church where her mother had spent more than 20 years teaching Sunday school.

Today, the former Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church is the official shrine to mothers around the world. On Sunday, the shrine will celebrate the 100th anniversary, giving each mother attending a special service a white carnation.

The shrine also serves as a 'reminder to the accomplishments of these women and to the issues mothers still deal with today, trying to do the balancing act of being everything to everyone', said Ms Cindi Mason, the shrine's director.

According to the United States Census Bureau, there are 83 million mothers in the United States. More mothers now work out of the home and the number of single-mother households has tripled to more than 10 million since 1970.

What has allowed Mother's Day to become celebrated on the second Sunday in May in more than 50 countries worldwide is 'everyone has a mother', said Ms Sally Thayer, a trustee of the International Mother's Day Shrine in Grafton. 'It's a wonderful thing to celebrate.'

Ms Jarvis' devotion to and her fierce defence of Mother's Day could be tied to the feeling that 'a certain era was passing and mothers like her mother were becoming fewer', said associate professor of history and women's studies Laura Prieto of Simmons College in Boston.

By all accounts, Ms Jarvis' mother Ann was a community activist who worked to heal the divisions in north-central West Virginia following the American Civil War (1861-65), and to promote improved sanitation by creating Mothers Friendship Clubs.

'I would love to be like Mrs Jarvis,' said Ms Olive Dadisman, who operates the Anna Jarvis Birthplace Museum in nearby Webster. 'She was a soft-spoken, gentle woman, but she could convince the devil to give up his pitch fork.'

West Virginia became the first state to recognise Mother's Day in 1910. President Woodrow Wilson approved a resolution in 1914 marking the second Sunday in May a nationwide observance.

'Mother's Day was meant to be - and still is - a celebration of a nineteenth-century ideal of motherhood, when mothers were supposed to dedicate themselves completely to nurturing their children and making a cosy, safe home,' Associate Prof Prieto said.

Yet, Ms Jarvis became increasingly disturbed as the celebration turned into an excuse to sell greeting cards, candy, flowers and other items.

She became known for scathing letters in which she would berate people who purchased greeting cards, saying they were too lazy to write personal letters 'to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world'. Before she died in 1948, she protested at a Mother's Day celebration in New York, and was arrested for disturbing the peace.

The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend US$15 billion (S$20 billion) this year honouring their mothers.

Dining out is expected to be the No. 1 expense.

In the end, Ms Mason said Ms Jarvis was bitter about what the observance had become and 'wished she would have never started the day because it became so out of control ...'

'But when you look at Mother's Day as being her baby of sorts, you can understand her protectiveness of it.' -- AP

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Festa della mamma

Market value of stay-at-home mum is $160,114: study

BOSTON - IF a stay-at-home mum could be compensated in cash rather than personal satisfaction and unconditional love, she'd earn S$160,114 a year.

That's according to a study released on Thursday by, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based firm that studies workplace compensation.

The eighth annual survey calculated a mum's market value by studying pay levels for 10 job titles with duties that a typical mum performs, ranging from housekeeper and day care center teacher to van driver, psychologist and chief executive officer.

This year, the annual salary for a stay-at-home mum would be S$160,114, while a working mum who also juggles an outside job would get S$93,700 for her motherly duties.

One stay-at-home mum said the six-figure salary sounds a little low.

'I think a lot of people think we sit ... home and have a lot of fun and don't do a lot of work,' said Samantha Russell, who left her job as pastry chef to raise two boys, ages 2 and 4. 'But they should try cleaning their house with little kids running around and messing it up right after them.' The biggest driver of a mum's theoretical salary is the amount of overtime pay she'd receive for working more than 40 hours a week.

The 18,000 mums surveyed about their typical week reported working 94.4 hours - meaning they'd be spending more than half their working hours on overtime.

Working mums reported an average 54.6 hour 'mum work week' besides the hours they spent at paying jobs.

Mrs Russell agreed her job as a stay-at-home mum is more than full-time. But she said her 'job' brings intangible benefits she wouldn't enjoy in the workplace.

'The rewards aren't monetary, but it's a reward knowing that they're safe and happy,' Mrs Russell said of her sons. 'It's worth it all.' -- AP

Thursday, May 08, 2008

MWH3.2.8 MYE Q&A

Modern World History
12 May 08
Units 2.1 & 2.2
1 SBQ a. b. c. (compulsory)
2 SEQs a. (choose 1)

SBQ reminders: see AFIs below.

SEQ reminders:
Point: State your answer (this is ok)
Evidence: Give facts! (3 or more if you can afford it; otherwise 2 is enough!)
EXPLAIN: link your factors to the issue in the question! (answers cannot go beyond L2/4 if there is no explanation-link!)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

MWH4.2.8 MYE Q&A

Modern World History
9 May 08
All except Unit 4.2
1 SBQ a. b. c. d. (compulsory)
3 SEQs a. b. (choose 1)
1hr 30mins

Southeast Asian History
12 May 08
All units
1 SBQ a. b. c. d. (compulsory)
3 SEQs a. b. (choose 1)
1hr 30mins

SEQ Reminder:
  • How to do "Use all sources. How far does Sources A-E..." (Testing Assertion) type questions? Find out here.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

HSS3 SA1 SBQ Suggested Answers

Dear Sec3s,

The suggested answers for Social Studies SA1 is uploaded for your reference.

Feedback welcomed under comments.

All the best.

Areas for improvment:
  • 1a. Inference
    • do read sources critically ie. avoid inferences that are too literal; at face-value
    • do read sources beyond the information/message ie. to show, to tell
  • 1b. Inference
    • do show awareness of different audience
    • do show awareness of speech acts ie. he said this to DO something...
  • 1c. Comparison
    • do establish point/item of comparison
    • do matching (of) evidence
    • do S&D at content level
    • do not claimed tone/purpose but use content evidence

The grey world of atomic secrets

PITY the United States' intelligence community. It was once 'certain' that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction; none was subsequently found.

It then claimed to have 'precise knowledge' about Iran's nuclear intentions, only to reverse its position earlier this year.

But now, there is an even better story: This week, in hearings before Congress, Washington's spooks claimed that Syria may have been close to becoming a nuclear power. However, nobody needs to worry, because Israel supposedly destroyed Syria's nuclear capability in a single air raid last September.

Despite the spectacular nature of the revelations, the story is actually fairly old.

Security specialists have long known about the Israeli raid and that this may have been against a 'nuclear' installation. But why should the US choose to reveal this now? And why is Israel still keeping quiet?

The US alleges that the Syrians got their nuclear technology from North Korea. Since Washington was engaged in delicate nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang at the time the Israelis struck against Syria, it is possible that the US did not want to reveal too much then.

But the deal with Pyongyang is still precarious; spoiling the diplomatic mood now does not make sense.

Another explanation is that the US decided to reveal the affair to show its displeasure at the secret negotiations between Syria and Israel.

Over the last few weeks, Jerusalem and Damascus have exchanged emissaries with a view to a possible peace deal.

But because Israel is apparently touting the possibility of accepting Syria's control over Lebanon as part of the agreement, an option which the US rejects out of hand, Washington has now spilled the beans on Syria.

That would explain Israel's stunned silence.

But all these explanations may be too clever by half. For the real answer to the mystery is quite simple: The tussle is not about Syria, but about Iran.

As Central Intelligence Agency director Michael Hayden admitted to Congress, his spies never knew about the alleged Syrian nuclear facility despite the fact that it was near the Iraq border, an area constantly patrolled by US surveillance satellites.

In effect, the US intelligence community was forced to admit that it was inefficient in performing one of its chief tasks: preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Could it be that it is also wrong in its current assessment that Iran had stopped its nuclear quest? This is what the Israelis would like to suggest, but they have to remain quiet since the issue is far too sensitive in US domestic policy terms.

The game is risky. The US Congress is already furious that it was not kept in the picture. So is the International Atomic Energy Agency, which was entitled to receive such data.

However, all this pales into insignificance in comparison with what the White House and the Israelis seek to achieve: a new consensus that Iran remains a big nuclear threat.

The world of espionage remains, as always, full of smoke and mirrors.

- Straits Times 3 May 2008

Friday, May 02, 2008

New child labour scandal rocks China

BEIJING - A CITY in southern China renowned as a major export hub is at the centre of a child labour scandal after more than 1,000 children were found toiling in its factories, state media reported.

The children, aged between nine and 16, had been sold to the factories in Dongguan city and forced to work long hours for about 4 yuan (80 Singapore cents) an hour, the China Daily said.

Just last year, China was rocked by the exposure of a massive slavery and child labour scandal in which hundreds of farmers, teenagers and children were forced to work in scorching brick kilns, enduring beatings and prison-like confinement.

Similarly, the child labour scandal in Dongguan has triggered outrage across the country and highlighted endemic abuse behind the country's economic boom.

Police have so far rescued 167 children from houses and factories in Dongguan, an industrial city in southern Guangdong province.

Many Hong Kong and Taiwan businesses invest in Dongguan, but in recent years, it has been losing investors to inland provinces, where labour and overhead costs are lower.

The town of Shipai in Dongguan has been identified as a major centre for cheap labour.

From Dongguan, these workers will be sent to factories across the Pearl River Delta region.

The authorities in the city have set up a task force to rescue the children and prosecute those behind the illegal labour ring.

'Our labour enforcement and trade unions will investigate all companies in the town, the labour market and agencies,' Mr Wang Yongquan, a spokesman for Shipai town in Dongguan, was quoted as saying.

Mr He Zhujian, chief of the labour enforcement team in Dongguan, said: 'Most of the employers are medium to small companies. Most small firms are not registered with the labour department and try to cut operational costs.'

The China Daily said several people had been arrested, but did not give details.

The children, all from the ethnic Yi minority, were from poor families in the Liangshan region of the south- western province of Sichuan more than 1,000km away.

An underground organisation had lured the children from Liangshan, where most of the families in the area had more than a child each.

China's minority groups are exempted from the official one-child policy.

The middlemen in the child labour ring were reportedly paid 200 to 300 yuan for each child they supplied to the factories.

The ringleaders, according to the China Daily, could earn about 100,000 yuan each within three months.

According to the Southern Metropolis Daily, the underage workers were housed in rented rooms or motels.

A girl whose age was unknown told the Chinese-language newspaper that she had been raped twice.

The China Daily quoted an academic as saying that poverty in Sichuan had forced farmers to send their children off to work.

'In Liangshan, where farming alone cannot support a family...many parents are happy their children are earning several hundred yuan a month,' Professor Hou Yuanguo of the Central University of Nationalities was quoted as saying.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Golf courses, developers nibble at Asia's rice paddies

TANAH LOT (Indonesia) - THE tourists who tee off at this golf course on Bali's west coast are probably unaware that the ground beneath their feet is connected to a global panic over rice supplies.

Once this golf course was a patchwork of rice fields. Now just a few remain, and villagers work as caddies or waiters at Le Meridien Nirwana resort and its Greg Norman-designed greens.

From Bali to Vietnam, rice paddies are being replaced by golf courses, hotels, villas and industrial parks as Asian economies surge ahead, the standard of living rises and locals opt for higher-paying, less labour-intensive work away from farming.

This shift has cut into rice production, a staple food throughout much of the region.

A recent surge in rice prices to historic highs has sparked fears of political unrest in some parts of Asia and highlighted the dilemma faced by Asian governments about how to balance economic growth with food security in the future.

'The call from Malaysia to Indonesia to China is 'return to the land and be a farmer again',' said Mr Song Seng Wun, regional economist at CIMB-GK Research in Singapore.

'The lesson is, food security is important, but people have forgotten that in their rush to industrialise. Longer term, they have to focus on the fact that all these people have to be fed.'

In Bali, hotels and other property projects are nibbling away at the picture-postcard rice paddy terraces. Total harvested area for rice, which peaked at nearly 182,000 hectares in 1980, has fallen to 145,000 hectares, the agriculture ministry says.

'I don't want any more villas here because if all the land is used for villas, there won't be enough for rice,' said Mr I Ketut Cuet, who farms rice on the outskirts of Ubud, in Bali.

Youth see no future in farming
Stunning rice paddy views are a part of Bali's appeal as a tourist destination.

Last year, foreign tourists contributed about $5.3 billion (S$7.2 billion) to Indonesia's economy, with Bali attracting the lion's share, or about 40 per cent, of all visitors to the country.

But with tourism forming one of the main economic drivers on this Indonesian island, many Balinese are abandoning the back-breaking work for better-paid, easier jobs.

Some Balinese farmers now prefer to hire cheaper labour from the neighbouring island of Java to work in their rice fields.

The change is not surprising. Rice farmers spend long hours standing in muddy water, bent double as they plant, tend or harvest their crops.

'Farming is not a good life. You work hard and make a low profit compared with other jobs, for example in tourism,' said Mr Wayan Sugita, a farmer in Canggu, western Bali, who has worked in his family's rice fields all his life.

He fears that when he grows old, his own children won't want to take over the fields, which have been in his family for generations.

'Because of the low profit, the younger generation don't want to be farmers any more.'

Benchmark Thai rice prices have risen nearly threefold to above $1,000 per tonne this year. Yet it is mainly middlemen, such as traders and millers, who are best placed to profit from the increase: farmers rarely reap the benefits as fertiliser prices have gone through the roof cutting into their profits.

In Bali's Badung district, which includes the popular tourist areas of Kuta, Nusa Dua and Seminyak, the local government said it plans to preserve certain areas for rice production and restrict property development.

Rice isn't just food but an important element of Balinese culture: it is still grown using complex irrigation methods and a centuries-old co-operative system known as subak.

Balinese make rice offerings to the household gods each morning, and to the rice goddess Dewi Sri during the crop cycle.

Food security and golf
Nearby in the Philippines, the government, alarmed by its inability to feed a fast-growing population, has ordered a halt to the conversion of farmland to other uses.

The Philippines, the world's largest importer of rice, has been hit hard by the surge in rice prices.

It has set a goal to become self-sufficient by 2011 although some experts say the rising population, currently over 88 million and growing over 2 per cent a year, poor productivity and a lack of river deltas mean it is unlikely that the Philippines will be able to meet all its rice needs.

Near Bali's Tanah Lot, golfers are advised to aim clear of rice fields flanking fairways that overlook Pura Tanah Lot, a Hindu temple perched on a rocky outcrop that's cut off from land at high tide and guarded by poisonous sea snakes.

'A creek running in front guards the approach shot, rice paddies left and wetlands short. The well-contoured green must be accurately read to walk away with par,' explains the course instructions for the third hole.

Golf courses such as this one have torn up paddy fields from Indonesia, to Malaysia, Thailand and even China where Beijing added them to a list of 'banned land usages' in 2006.

Yet hotel resorts and golf courses are not the only threat to farmland and Asia's ability to feed itself in the future.

Vietnam's government wants to speed up economic development, using industrial parks to attract foreign investment.

Since 2000, Vietnam has built about 40 industrial parks using 10,500 hectares of the Mekong Delta rice basket and has earmarked a further 40,000 hectares of this area for industrial use over the next three years - still, just a small fraction of the 7.2 million hectares planted with rice in that area last year.

But with Vietnam's annual inflation hitting 21.4 per cent in April - the highest in the region, partly due to surging food prices - Hanoi needs to address land use and food security issues, economists warn. Other governments should follow suit, they say.

Part of the problem, says ING economist Tim Condon, is that the market for staples such as rice needs to be more open in order to curb big price swings.

'With rice, so little is traded internationally that a small increase in demand leads to the price going up sharply,' he said.

Further improvements could come from using better seed varieties and fertilisers, and by switching to more efficient farming methods, for instance by moving to large-scale farming as in the United States and Brazil, some economists said.

Asia's population is forecast to reach around 4.6 billion by 2020, from around 4 billion currently, according to United Nations figures, leading to higher rice consumption even as development and industrialisation whittle away the available farmland.

For this reason, some experts think the soaring rice price may be a blessing in disguise as this might force policy makers to make much-needed changes in the way rice is cultivated and distributed in the region.

'The whole world is interested in the agriculture sector now so maybe this will be a catalyst for more efficient farming,' said CIMB-GK's Song.

'Perhaps this will eventually open up new opportunities for farmers, a period of greater prosperity.' -- REUTERS