Saturday, February 28, 2009

More Price Rises: Commodities

In the last few installments, you saw how globalisation led to urbanisation that led to pressures on limited supply of resources that led to price increases of essentials like food and oil. When more people became aware that globalisation is happening faster than the world can manage, and that perhaps development was not that sustainable, items which have been neglected in this rush for urbanisation (namely agriculture products) suddenly became valuable. Investors, speculators and the monied class began piling their "investments" into commodities resulting in commodities prices going "through the roof". The prices of commodities have come off lower since the onset of the recession. But don't be mistaken, lower is not low.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rising Prices of Foodstuffs

One good effect of globalisation is improvement in the standard of living. It means that people now have more disposable income to spend on goods and services to materially "enrich" their lives. It doesn't mean that people are happier. It just means that they have more possessions and more money to buy even more possessions. If everyone has the same wants, then inevitable the prices of goods and services will rise over time, leading of course, to inflation.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


You've watched the film. You can visit the site too to find out more about the incident. It's hard to say who's right or wrong. Or if the British Government should have helped. Or even whether anyone should donate to help pay the outstanding debts since the money is owed to the human traffickers. Did globalisation bring alot of good and some bad? Or did it bring alot of bad with with some good? You decide.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

SS4.1.8 Rice Price Rises

With globalisation comes more urban development and less resources (such as land and manpower) for agriculture. Yet man continue to need staple food such as rice. Distribution of food is also dependent on other variables such as transport, distribution, machinery, and storage. No wonder the price of rice has been rising.

So finish your rice!

How much do disposable forks and spoons cost?

How many disposable fork and spoons are thrown away everyday?

The numbers
Assuming there are 1600 students in the school, and 80% takes recess, 1280 pairs are thrown away at recess. Assuming 80% of 1280 takes lunch before remedials and CCAs, that will mean another 1024 pairs. In total 2304 pairs of plastic forks and spoons are thrown away after only 15 minutes of use EVERYDAY. That is
  • 11,520 pairs per week
  • 46,080 pairs per month
Ok, the numbers mean nothing to you.

The cost
From survey, each food stall needs to supply 3 packs per day. That is 15 packs per week. 45 packs per month. 90 packs for forks and spoons/knives.

1 pack of disposable utensil cost $1. They have to "fork" out $90 per month just for you to throw away after 15 mins.

How long does it take for them to make $90? Assuming a meal cost $2. She will have to sell extra 45 meals just to recoup the expenditure on the utensils.

What can you do with $90? Why don't you tell me under COMMENTS.

And why don't you be a kind soul and do something nice everyday for our dear vendors who are working hard to earn a little living save that $90? BRING YOUR OWN UTENSILS!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

SS4.1.8 Periodic Table of the Internet

Wave1 of Globalisation was Exploration and colonialism by Nations. Wave2 was Exchange of goods and services by Transnational Corporations. Wave3 was the Enlargement of communication space by Information Technology. Here's your Periodic Table of the Internet. Check out the interactive version above!

SS4.1.8 Hunger Pangs

Inflation can be good in that it motivates more economic activity as manufacturers produce more to take advantage of higher prices (and more profits). However inflation can leave people worsed off when increases in food prices are beyond the ability of the poor to afford.

Monday, February 23, 2009

SS4.1.8 Consumer Price Index (1998-2008)

One of the positive outcomes of globalisation is improvement in the standard of living for many people. However with increase standards of living comes demand for more goods and services. With limited resources, these new demand can lead to rapid price increases.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sec 4 CA1 Revision

Here are some comments about the SEQs on Transnational Terrorism since we will have no opportunity to meet before CA1 on Tue. Pls read through my feedback carefully. Ask questions in discussion thread.

Here are the 4Types of SEQs.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

SS4.1.8 Globalisation

Topic: Another Challenge - Globalisation
Enquiry Question: How does globalisation bring about challenges & opportunities

Review: How successfully can Singapore manage the threat of terrorism?
Understanding goal: How successfully can Singapore manage the challenge of globalisation?
What is globalisation?
  • interdependence of trade (goods and services)
  • movement of people (migration)
  • flows of capital (investment)
  • transfers of technology (knowledge and products)
2. Why is it inevitable
  • 1st wave: 1800-1914 - Exploration-Colonialism by countries
  • 2nd wave: after 1991 - Expansion of transnational corporations
  • 3rd wave: after 2000 - Enhancement of personal communications-movement
3. Is globalisation desirable?
  • Economic impact
    • improved standard of living
    • increased competition for investment & talent
    • increased income gap
    • increased rural-urban migration
  • Social impact
    • improved awareness of foreign cultures
    • accelerated loss of local culture
  • Political impact
    • increased influence of trans-national organisations
  • Environmental impact
    • accelerated environmental degradation
    • accelerated climate change
    • improved environmental management
    • inspired search for alternative energies
Performance: What are the items you have on you? Where do they come from?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Did you know? (in 2008)

What will happen in 2009?

Did you know? (in 2007)

WH3.1.8 The Rise of Hitler

Topic: Rise of Authoritarian Regimes - Nazi Germany
Enquiry-question: Was the rise of Nazi dictatorship in Germany inevitable

You can download useful material relating to the Chapter on Establishing Peace here.

Review: What was Europe like after WWI?
  • Treaty of Versailles: instability in Germany from 1920-1922
  • League of Nations: attempted to build a better world 1923-1929
  • USA: sponsor of disarmament and economic recovery 1924-1929
Understanding goals: Was the rise of an authoritarian regime in Germany inevitable by 1932?
  • Cumulative: Effects of Treaty of Versailles
  • Contributory 1: Effects of Great Depression
  • Contributory 2: Attractiveness of the Nazi Party
  • Contributory 3: Threats from the Communists
  • Critical 1: Role of Weimar politicians
  • Critical 2: Death of President Hindenburg
  • Why did the Great Depression have such great impact?
  • Watch Hitler in Colour. Who would you vote in 1932?
  • Complete Source B and C on Stalin for review.
  • SBQ Comparison on Nazi Germany.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

For the ones who stand for something

If each grain of sand were to say:
one grain does not make a mountain, there would be no land.

If each drop of water were to say:
one drop does not make an ocean, there would be no sea.

If each note of music were to say:
each note does not make a symphony, there would be no melody.

If each word were to say:
one word does not make a library, there would be no books.

If each brick were to say:
one brick does not make a wall, there would be no houses.

If each seed were to say:
one seed does not make a field, there would be no harvest.

If each of us were to say:
one person does not make the difference, there would many more plastic forks and spoons thrown away.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

'This is the day we have waited for for 30 years'

Survivors of Khmer Rouge atrocities witness the first formal trial of chief torturer

PHNOM PENH: - Survivors of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge atrocities reacted with pain, anger and relief as they watched Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's chief torturer in the dock, 30 years after the fall of a regime blamed for 1.7 million deaths.

Nearly 800 people, including saffron-robed Buddhist monks who were persecuted during the 1975 to 1979 Khmer Rouge era, flocked to see the first formal trial of a senior Pol Pot cadre by a United Nations-backed tribunal.

Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch and the ex-commandant of the notorious S-21 prison, sat impassively as a judge read the opening statements in court yesterday.

The proceedings are mostly procedural, with the main trial starting only next month and a verdict due by September.

The French-speaking teacher- turned-torturer occasionally donned reading glasses, an ironic twist since the Khmer Rouge targeted those who wore spectacles, seeing it as a mark of the intelligentsia and enemies of the revolution.

Artist Vann Nath managed to get a seat near Duch. He is one of only a handful who survived S-21, saved because he was chosen to paint portraits of Pol Pot.

'This is the day we have waited for for 30 years. But I don't know if it will end my suffering,' he told reporters.

'It is a very important day for me,' said Mr Chum Mey, another survivor of the notorious Tuol Sleng detention centre. 'I will be a witness and I want to see Duch and ask why he imprisoned me.'

Sen You Sos, who lost 18 relatives during the regime, said: 'The Khmer Rouge were so brutal. They killed their own people.' Mr Them Khean, 65, who lost 10 relatives to starvation and torture, added: 'I want to see what Duch has to say about his past crimes.'

Mr Va Boeurn, 66, said he wanted to see Duch's face to try to understand how a human being could commit such heinous acts.

Now a born-again Christian, Duch has confessed to his crimes but said he was just following orders and expressed remorse on the eve of his trial.

Taken to the scene of his alleged crimes last year, he wept and told some of his former victims: 'I ask for your forgiveness. I know that you cannot forgive me, but I ask you to leave me the hope that you might.'

The trial marks a turning point for the strife-torn country where nearly every family lost someone under the Khmer Rouge. It ends a decade of delays at the Cambodian-UN tribunal due to wrangling over jurisdiction and cash.

A bid to go after other suspects was brushed aside last month by the tribunal's Cambodian co-prosecutor, who said it would not help national reconciliation.

But questions have already been raised about the reluctance to recommend further indictments.

Foreign and Cambodian analysts say the government, fearing that a widening circle of defendants could reach into its own ranks, wishes to limit the number of defendants, thereby harming the tribunal's credibility.

The greying 66-year-old Duch is one of five ageing senior cadres charged for their roles in their leader Pol Pot's 'Year Zero' revolution. It was to achieve an agrarian utopia where society would be 'purified' of all foreign influences, in favour of an extreme form of communism.

Duch is expected to be a key witness in the trials of 'Brother Number Two' Nuon Chea, the regime's ex-president Khieu Samphan, and Ieng Sary, its foreign minister, and his wife.

The four have denied knowledge of any atrocities by the Khmer Rouge during its rule, which began by driving everyone out of the cities with whatever they could carry.

If convicted, the five could face life in prison.

Most of Duch's victims were tortured and forced to confess to a variety of crimes - mainly being CIA spies - before being bludgeoned to death in a field on the outskirts of the city.

Women and children were also killed. Only a few survived.

'Duch's hands are full of blood. It's time for Duch to pay for his actions,' said child survivor Norng Chan Phal, 39, whose mother was killed at S-21 months before Vietnamese soldiers toppled Pol Pot's regime in 1979.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

SS4.1.7 Transnational Terrorism

Aside: Some of you were wondering after watching Fahrenheit 9/11 how Bush won a second term. The answers are complex and they are the stuffs of another Michael Moore movie. Meanwhile, hope this helps:

Topic: Managing International Relations
Essential Question: How can Singapore guard against transnational terrorism?

Understanding goals: How can terrorism be managed?
  • International cooperation: role of UN CTC
  • Regional efforts: efforts of ASEAN
  • Local bonding: building the Singapore identity
Construct SEQ questions from this chapter according to the 4-SEQ types.

Assessment: SEQ Class test on Transnational Terrorism

WH3.1.7 Stalin's USSR

Topic: Rise of Authoritarian Regimes - Stalin's USSR
Enquiry-question: Did Stalin bring more harm than good?

Review: Why did Stalin want to change Russia?
  • Experiences from the Russian Civil War
  • Actions of the LON
  • Socialism in one country
2. How did Stalin change Russia?
  • Industrialisation
  • Collectivisation
  • Purges & Propaganda
Performances: Complete Worksheet on Stalin, Inference on Source B and Source C.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SS4.1.6 Transnational Terrorism

Topic: Managing International Relations
Essential Question: How can Singapore guard against transnational terrorism?

Review: What were the intended and unintended consequences of the Gulf War?
  • deterring conventional aggressor states?
  • inciting the rise of transnational terrorism?
Understanding goals:
1. How has terrorism impacted us?
  • Political impact
  • Economic impact
2. How can terrorism be managed?
  • International cooperation: role of UN CTC
  • Regional efforts: efforts of ASEAN
  • Local bonding: building the Singapore identity
Construct SEQ questions from this chapter according to the 4-SEQ types.

Assessment: Are you equipped to handle terrorist threats? Try the simulator above.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

WH3.1.6 Stalin's USSR

Topic: Rise of Authoritarian Regimes - Stalin's USSR
Enquiry-question: Did Stalin bring more harm than good?

Review: How did Stalin rise to power
  • Lenin's legacy
  • Trotsky's mistakes
  • Stalin's strategies
Which factor is cumulative, contributory and critical?

Understanding goals:
1. Why did Stalin want to change Russia?
  • Experiences from the Russian Civil War
  • Actions of the LON
  • Socialism in one country
2. How did Stalin change Russia?
  • Industrialisation
  • Collectivisation
  • Purges & Propaganda
Performances: Did Stalin bring more harm than good? Click on portrait above to visit the Stalin Project.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

SS4.1.6 Iraq-Kuwait Conflict

Topic: Managing International Relations
Essential Question: What can Singapore learn from the First Gulf War?

Review: Diplomacy and Deterrence
  • Diplomacy: fostering understanding & cooperation
  • Deterrence: preventing armed conflicts
Understanding Goals: Why did diplomacy and deterrence fail to prevent the Gulf crisis in 1991?
1. Causes of the Iraq-Kuwait Conflict:
  • Cumulative: Iran-Iraq War, economic problems
  • Contributory 1: Kuwait - fall in oil prices, theft of Rumaila oilfields
  • Contributory 2: Iraq - aggressive Saddam, longstanding territorial disputes
  • Critical: failure of Arab League, role of the US
2. Consequence of the Iraq-Kuwait Conflict
  • Political instability, social chaos & displacement
  • Economic fall-out
  • Environment catastrophe
  • Rise of transnational terrorism
1. What lessons can we draw from the First Gulf War?
2. Are causes of conflicts always so easily identifiable?
3. Does diplomacy always work?
4. Does deterrence always prevent conflicts?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

N. Korea set to fire long-range missile: Reports

SEOUL: - North Korea appears to be gearing up to test-fire a long-range missile, US and South Korean officials say. 'There are some signs that the North Koreans are preparing for a Taepodong-2 launch,' a US official said yesterday. The Taepodong-2 has a range of more than 6,700km, putting the western US within striking range, according to the South Korean government. A US counter-proliferation official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the North appears 'to be assembling the kinds of equipment you would expect to see in advance of such a launch'. He added: 'But whether it will carry out the launch or not is entirely unclear, as is the timing for a possible launch.' Yonhap news agency said South Korean and US intelligence agencies have spotted a train carrying a long, cylinder- shaped object - believed to be a long- range missile - heading towards the new missile launch site of Dongchang-ni, on North Korea's west coast and about 40km south of China. The intelligence indicates the missile is likely a remodelled version of the Taepodong-2, and the North could finish its preparations for a missile launch within one or two months, Yonhap said, citing unidentified officials. The Japanese newspaper Sankei also reported on preparations for a possible Taepodong-2 launch, citing several unnamed Japanese government officials. North Korea tested the engine of a long-range missile last year, according to US and South Korean officials. But experts believe Pyongyang does not have yet the technology to miniaturise an atomic weapon so it can be mounted on a missile as a warhead. In July 2006, Pyongyang launched a Taepodong-2 missile but US officials said it failed after about 40 seconds. Mr Baek Seung Joo of the Korea Institute for Defence Analyses believes the planned launch is more a political than military move aimed at getting the attention of the new US administration. 'North Koreans seek warmer ties with the Obama administration, not strained relations, at the beginning,' he said. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il wants to gain the upper hand in upcoming talks on its nuclear disarmament and economic aids with Washington, added Mr Baek.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Toughest battle ahead: Fighting Tigers in jungles

Troops inspecting an underwater craft, built by Tamil Tiger rebels, in the village of Udayarkattu. Also found were guns and thermobaric weapons, left behind as the Tigers retreated from the army's attacks.

SRI Lankan troops have stumbled on munitions left behind by the retreating Tamil Tigers that include thermobaric weapons which produce more explosive energy than other conventional explosives, as fighting centres on the impenetrable tropical forests in the north - known as the Wanni.

The well-prepared fortifications, underground settlements and booby-trapped approaches into the jungle may allow the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to hold off the troops for months, people with expert knowledge of the terrain say.

Over the weekend, troops found Tippmann A-5 guns capable of firing chemicals, 120mm cannon and thermobaric weapons that follow a two-stage explosion ending with a blast sucking all the air out of the area.

One of the vital discoveries was the presence of 'undersea craft' still under construction.

The largest underwater craft discovered by troops was about 10m in length and fitted with armour plates, while the other three appeared to have been in the process of being built.

The arms caches underscored the military muscle of the Tiger war machine, depleted though it has been in recent times. It was a warning to advancing troops as well, on what to expect as the LTTE rebels try to draw the troops into the jungles.

'The Tigers fought us in Jaffna as though they were a conventional army, repeating a mistake they made with the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in 1987 and 1988,' said a senior official in Colombo. 'They have realised their disadvantage in the towns and now want to bleed us in the jungles.'

Those jungles are almost impenetrable, except on foot. The foliage can be so dense that even sunlight cannot filter through the canopy of the trees. The army cannot roll its battle tanks into the area. Nor is artillery of much use. Air force jets looking to strafe or bomb the place have no visible targets.

Then again, a warren of tunnels dug by the Tigers criss-cross the Wanni. Some bunkers are located 20m to 25m below solid rock, out of harm's way even from sustained shelling. Tiger cadres themselves are trained to stay rock steady for hours during artillery or infantry assaults, a discipline known only to the most elite commando units.

'The process of jungle bashing involves longer time and more casualties because soldiers are exposed to direct fire. Secondly, the area tends to be booby-trapped,' retired lieutenant-general A.S. Kalkat, who served as overall commander of the IPKF, told The Straits Times.

'But you have to go through this phase. It has to be seen how sustained the effort can be and how many army casualties are politically acceptable for the Sri Lankan government,' he added.

Colombo has said that its troops now control 95 per cent of the areas where the writ of the Tigers ran not too long ago. Still, for all its remarkable battlefield successes, Sri Lanka's army has its work cut out in the Wanni.

It is also pursuing a quarry with a remarkable sense of self-preservation.

When Indian troops stumbled on a bunch of women guerillas in late 1988, they realised that significant Tiger facilities must be nearby. It took them 36 hours to discover the Tiger base. By then, the group's leader Velupillai Prabhakaran had melted away to a camp in Mullaitivu district.

The foliage there is said to be even thicker. Prabhakaran named his camp Base One Four and stayed out of reach of the Indians.

Base One Four's facilities include a firing range, living quarters for hundreds of people and even a field hospital. Yet, it cannot be spotted from the air.

'These are not just hideouts but also actual bases,' said Lt-Gen (Ret) Kalkat. 'They would have stored ammunition and rations for prolonged periods of sustenance. To say they (Sri Lankan troops) have control, they will have to destroy and overrun these bases. You could say you control the Tigers' areas only when you have overrun those bases.'

Sunday, February 01, 2009

SS4.1.5 Singapore's Deterrence

Topic: Managing Peace & Security- Deterrence & Diplomacy
Essential Question: Why is deterrence important to the national security of a country like Singapore?

Review: Why is diplomacy important for a country like Singapore? Which is most important for Singapore?
  • Bilateral: SCP, FTAs, cultural
  • Regional: ASEAN, ARF, APEC
  • International: UN, WTO
Understanding goals: Why is deterrence important for a country like Singapore? Is it necessary?
  • Citizen armed force: a capable fight force?
  • Total Defence: do you believe in it?
  • Defence industries: what are the benefits?
  • Defence cooperation: will any country come to your defence?
Performance: Look at the allocation of Singapore 2009 Budget. What are your views on the allocation?
Assessment: Open book class test (20 mins) : How far has international involvement in the UN Law of the Sea Conference enabled Singapore to optimise her limitations as a small country? Explain your answer. [12]