Tuesday, March 18, 2014


How can we lead a healthy lifestyle ?

A healthy lifestyle means maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet as well as engaging in sports or other fitness related activities. A healthy diet alone however is inadequate to ensure a healthy body as physical activity helps to keep one in shape and free of sickness and disease.
According to the World Health Organization, only one in ten people exercise regularly and a majority do not follow a healthy diet. The main culprit is our penchant for junk food as can be seen from the popularity of fast food chains and other western eateries. even local foods such as fried noodles, friend rice and snacks and savouries are laden with fat and calories. Thus, consuming this type of food on a daily basis can contribute to weight gain. Overweight and obese people suffer from many health complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even cancer.
Hence, the emphasis on healthy lifestyle should start at a young age. Parents must urge their children to eat more vegetables, fruits, juices, wholemeal and wholegrain foods. Many parents, due to time constraint, usually find the easy way out by cooking two-minute noodles or heading towards the nearest fast food joint for  quick meal. They do not realize however that sets the stage for an unhealthy lfestyle for their children who quickly become addicted to such foods. Thus, parents can counter this problem by cooking or preparing meals that do not take up time such as cheese sandwiches, soup, stir friend vegetables or buy pre-packed meals from supermarkets which can be warmed up in the microwave oven.
Dining out usually involves eating heavily and unhealthily. Most of us are prone to ordering deep fried food and oily dishes as opposed to steamed or baked food. Thus, though eating out is unavoidable, parents of children and adults as a hole should order fresh food and foods that are nutritious and not laden with oil, fat or sugar. Once a pattern of healthy eating is established, it would be easier to carry through such a lifestyle and for the children to follow suit.
School canteens must be urged to sell only highly nutritious food and drinks. Vending machines that sell soft drinks and drinks that are spiked with sugar should be banned. Hence, school going children would be exposed to healthy eating form young.
Daily exercise is vital. In fact, schools should implement Physical education on a daily basis rather than twice weekly. Only the minority are actively involved in sports. Most students are sedentary and prefer to concentrate on their studies as they consider indulging in physical activities a waste of time. By enforcing regular exercise daily, these students would be exposed to the importance and benefits of exercise.
Many parents and adults do not allocate time for physical activity. A large number of them work long hours and return home late thereby depriving themselves of the benefits of exercise. Parents must lead an exemplary life which can benefit their children by increasing awareness on the health benefits of exercising regularly. Bringing their children for walks in the morning or evening is a good start to achieve this goal. They should become members of clubs which have swimming pools and gym facilities. During the weekend, the family can strengthen their bond by adjourning to clubs for exercise and a healthy meal after that.
In short, leading a healthy lifestyle is a conscious decision. One can ignore that and lead a life that exposes one to many healthy hazards. it is important to recognize that a healthy living ensures a longer life span as well as a life free of disease and complications.

How can schools play a role in producing well-rounded individuals ?

Schools play an important role in imparting knowledge and producing individuals with high moral and ethical values who contribute to our country's development.
However, there have been accusations that Asian schools are not churning out well-rounded individuals. The main culprit they say is the education system which is heavily exam oriented and although students excel academically, they are not good in sports or extra curricular activities. even straight As students are considered only paper smart lacking common knowledge or even skills-based knowledge. Thus, schools play a vital role in ensuring its products are not only academically well qualified but also confident, intelligent and have multiple skills.
The most important step schools should take with the cooperation of the Education Ministry is to place less emphasis on scholarly achievements and examination grads. Currently, due to heavy stress on examination results, many, if not all, student study to excel academically rather than have a balanced approach to studies. they study had and attend tuition classes so that they are able to get straight As in all the subjects. This leaves them little time to indulge in extra-curricular activities or sports. Thus, a markedly different way of grading and assessing students should be adopted like in the West. In order to produce well rounded individuals, grades should be given for assignments, extra curricular activities as well as involvement in sports. Ideally, only 50% of marks should be allocated for examination and the rest for participation in non-academic activities. This would produce students with a innovative, intelligent and creative personality as progression in school would not be based solely on examinations.
In addition, a system should be introduced to make it compulsory for students to volunteer with community-based organizations such as orphanages, centers for the disabled and other social non-governmental organizations. Assignments related to involvement in these organizations can form part of the examination system. Thus, students will be compelled to participate in various kinds of extra curricular and sports activities, under the guidance of their teachers of course. That would ultimately enable them to acquire people's skills such as communication and writing skills through the ability to interact with others and engage in stimulating discussions.
Study environment can be made less mundane and monotonous by introducing outdoor learning experience. More emphasis on outdoor learning activities rather than those confined to classroom activities should be made part of the regular teaching method. Students thus, will acquire interest in their studies and would be able to expand their general knowledge Schools would stop churning out "book worms" and diffident students. Rather, this novel approach would produce students who are smart, intelligent, bold and inquisitive.
In all, the task of producing well rounded students and hence, individuals lay heavily on the shoulders of the education ministry and teachers. It is the step in the right direction towards creating a generation that is inquisitive and smart. these individuals can then contribute tremendously to our nation's development and standing in the world.

If you are the school discipline teacher, how would you tackle the problem of gangsterism among students ?

Indiscipline among students is one of the major problems faced by schools today. Gangsterism in particular has become a menace due to its violent nature. Gangsterism involves bullying, extortion and even physical assault. The victims are mainly fellow students and there have been a few cases in the Philippines where the act of bullying and assault had been fatal.
If I am the discipline teacher, I would first undertake to study the extent of the problem in my school as well as the reasons why students would get involved in gangsterism. I would then haul the bullies and suspected gangsters in the school to determine further the reasons behind their individual behavior.
Statistics and studies on gangsterism indicate most student gangsters hail from poor backgrounds or broken families whereby they lack attention and love from the family members propelling them to behave in such a manner. Poor students become gangsters as a means to gain extra cash by extorting money from other students. Those who are a product of broken families normally indulge in these kind activities to seek attention and as a outlet for their frustration and unhappiness.
Thus, by engaging in a discussion with these gangster students from my school, I would be able to find out which category they belong to. I would then proceed to advise them on the dangers of their behavior which could land them in jail or in correctional institute for juvenile delinquents. If this method does not work, I would then engage the assistance of inspectors from the local police station to give regular talks at our school on why gangsterism is a crime and the penalties faced by the perpetrators.
A school-wide campaign would follow suit on how students and teachers can tackle the problems of gangsterism. the campaign would involve talks by former gangsters and reformed criminals who resorted to bullying and violence to achieve their goals and how that in turn has affected their lives and their families. Students would then be required to take a pledge not to resort to such behavior even if they face severe pressures from other students or as an easy way to make money from others.
Instead of caning or punishing gangsters, I would counsel them and use the soft-handed approach. These facing financial troubles who resort to extortion as a solution would be given assistance pending their promise not to repeat such behavior. These who engage in gangsterism to seek attention would be sent for professional counseling. Students facing constant pressure to become part of gangs, would be exposed tot he dangers of such behavior and encouraged to report, without fearing for their lives, to the school authorities. I would collaborate with the other teachers to expose students to fun-filled activities and outdoor learning experience to make school a more exciting place. This would prevent bored students from contemplating joining a gangster group to seek excitement and acceptance.
Thus, I hope with all these measures in place, the problem of gangsterism would be dealt with effectively and efficiently.

What are the benefits of volunteering ?

volunteering means to carry out a duty or a job without expecting repayment or remuneration. The concept is very popular in the advanced or rich countries such as United States, Australia, United Kingdom and other western nation. In Laos, the concept is rather alien as may look at volunteering as rendering help without expecting payment in return as a waste of time and effort. However, there are many benefits one can gain through volunteering.
When one volunteers to help out someone such as a friend, teacher or parent, one is immediately seen as selfless and helpful. When you help a teacher to clean he classroom or get involved in cleanliness campaign at the school level or other community projects, your standing would be elevated. Teachers and adults would look at a young person who volunteers his or her time for a certain activity as mature, responsible and deserving of respect.
In addition, volunteering with an organization such as orphanages, community centers and other non-profit organizations such as the Society for Prevention of Cruelty towards Animal and other welfare organizations allows you to interact with society at large. In addition to helping these organizations carry out their duties, you not only gain experience but can learn a variety of skills. This is especially beneficial for students. Even though one is not being paid, through volunteering time, effort and skills one would learn more than what money can buy. You can learn to be bold, assertive, independent as well express your opinions and gain communication and interpersonal skills. In Laos, this is lacking. Thus, the responsibility falls on the teachers to encourage students to volunteer their times not only for school activities but to spend their leisure in helping out community-based organizations.
Volunteering also allows one to become more mature at a relatively younger age. When you are exposed to volunteering at a young age be it at the home front, school or their organizations, you would learn the importance of responsibility in carrying out your duties to the best of your ability. Embarking on volunteer activities would enable one to learn survival skills such as responsibility, ability to express ideas as well as the importance of hard work and diligence.
Volunteering also exposes one to many interesting ideas and issues. For example, if you volunteer your time regularly at a charity organization, you would learn how the organization works and the importance of team work, and other essential ideas related to the day-to-day operations. of the organizations. You will not only enhance your general knowledge, but also learn how to deal with problems, challenges as well dealing with different types of personalities.
Thus, there are many benefits to be gained by volunteering. Students in particular should be allowed to participate in volunteer activities to enhance their knowledge as well learn useful interpersonal and organizational skills.

Do you agree the widespread influence of western culture among students corrupt them morally ?

It is very hard for Easterners to resist Westernization. The influence of western ideas and culture is widespread namely in dressing, mannerisms, food, books, entertainment and even education. However, western culture can also corrupt a person morally especially young people.
There are many aspects of the western culture that are deemed not suitable for Asians namely its sense of fashion, moral values regarding pre-marital sex, pornography and wild entertainment. The young mind is easily influenced and corrupted. When one enters shopping complexes, restaurants and other public places, the first thing that catches one's attention is the way the young dress. Many follow the fashion nuances of the west with little regard to Asian values and perspectives related to modesty. Many young teenagers can be seen clad in low cut tops, low waist jeans and in short very revealing outfits. They mimic western style of clothing as well free intermingling of sexes.
This situation has led to many undesirable consequences. Chief among them is the practice of free sex among students. The Asian values of saving oneself for marriage or until the right person comes along is discarded and considered archaic. Since many teenagers lack awareness on safe sex, they expose themselves to unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, gonorrhoea, syphilis and other life-threatening disease. WE read newspaper reports almost on a daily basis on how unborn babies are being dumped in toilets, houses of worship, hospitals and other public places. There are yet many students who upon finding themselves pregnant resort to abortion. The later can be fatal if not done by professional gynaecologists. Many charity organizations report of teenagers coming for advice when they find themselves jilted by their boyfriends. There are also many reports on teenagers contracting STDs and other dangerous diseases.
Another strong influence of westernization is in the arena of entertainment. Teenagers find it exciting and fulfilling when they visit video arcades, discotheques, nightclubs and other places of entertainment. Thus, they expose themselves tot he morally deficient elements at this kind of places. Apart from picking up bad habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol and other behaviors unsuitable for people of such a young age, these teens also expose themselves to abuse and exploitation. Many young people have admitted to being sexually abused this way by friends or strangers who spike their drinks with drugs only to awake next morning in the bed of strangers.
Thus, though not all elements of westernization corrupt young people morally, the latter seem more susceptible and even naive with regards to western influence in the arena of entertainment, fashion and behavior. Many teenagers demand unfettered freedom without realizing the consequences o their behavior which brings harm to them. In their desire to be westernized, they accept those elements which provides pleasure but places them at great risks.

"Money is the key to happiness". Do you agree ? Why ?

Money is of course very important for human beings to lead a decent and satisfying life. unlike animals and plants, money defines the existence of human society as we cannot live without it. Money is an important exchange for food, shelter and clothing.
Many people believe that money si the root of all evil. But contrary to that, I believe and agree that money is the key to human happiness. it has become indispensable in our lives when humans began using money for exchange of goods and services instead of he barter trade which was popular hundreds of years ago. Humans work to earn an income that would enable them to bring food to the table, clothe themselves as well as indulge in pleasures that can be obtained only through money.
When we are able to afford goods and services, it inevitably grants us a lot of happiness, satisfaction and stability in our lives. In many poor countries such as Africa, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and others, millions live in misery due to extreme poverty. They are deprived of happiness, dignity and a sense of direction n their lives as they live from hand to mouth and their future is at best uncertain. Thus, it would be foolish to think that money causes distress, and is the root cause of immorality and evil behavior. On the contrary, most of us earn an income through legal means which allows us to maintain a good standard of living. it enable us to travel for holidays and have access to good food, medical facilities, and a lifestyle that grants us much happiness and satiety. Many parents admit that they slog at work so that thy could provided comfort and stability to their offspring. Money especially comes in handy when a family member is stricken with a disease and cash is needed for treatment.
Unhappiness results when we are denied the above. Many families struggle to make ends meet and the lack of money almost inevitably sows seeds of unhappiness. They are exposed to continuous bickering, quarrels and ultimately, misery.
There are of course those, due to greed for more material wealth, resort to illegal means to become rich quickly. They commit robberies, murders and cheat to get ahead in lives. However, this does not grant them the happiness or the peace of mind. In the case of robbers and murders, the constant threat by the law enforcement authorities closing in on them, creates jitters and a life full of uncertainties and fear.
Hence, money would always be looked at as the most or at least one of the most important keys to happiness. it has become a part of what defines us as human beings as it allows us to live a life of dignity, happiness and contentment.

"Health is wealth". To what extent would you agree ?

The saying "health is wealth" is very apt as good health comes from a good physique that enables one to enjoy the pleasures and manage challenges of life. health here comprises the mental and the physical.
Thus I agree that good health is actually wealth as it allows one lead an existence without being hampered by disabling circumstances such as disability (both mental and physical), medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. A disabled person faces a lot of challenges n life including having to depend on another for basic needs and perform simple tasks. The situation is even more daunting if you are paralyzed and mentally unfit to lead a normal existence. One would not be able to earn an income becoming a burden to family and friends (though the latter are usually encouraging and supportive).
Many cancer patients and others who suffer from debilitating sickness spend huge amounts of money for treatment. In addition to that, they have to undergo very painful medical procedures. A cancer patient for example typically has to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy which have undesirable side effects such as vomiting, hair loss, weaknesses and other unpleasant symptoms. Despite all that, there is no guarantee that one would survive such sickness.
Thus, our good physical and mental well being provides us the opportunity to enjoy life without any hindrances. The "wealth" one derives from good health is actually a life free from circumstances that afflicts us in some way and hence, affects our happiness and comfort.
There are many people in this world who are extremely wealthy but due to poor health, they are unable to enjoy their material coins. Their daily performance is hampered by physical and mental incapacitation and hence, they can be actually considered "poor". A materially poor man or woman but rich in terms of health actually can be termed as "wealthy' as he or she is not hampered by sickness. the later does not have to fork out money for treatment and can enjoy a peaceful and blissful life.
In short, good health si wealth as no amount of money can cure one of terrible sickness. Good health ensures a fulfilling and enriching life.


Friends are very important in our lives. Friendships are easily formed when we are young and do not demand too much out of it. According to studies and research, humans tend to form highest number of friendships at kindergarten and primary level. However, one tends to have less friends as one grows older and wiser. This is because we realize there are good friends and bad ones.
The saying that a friend in need is a friend indeed is very apt in this scenario because good friends are those who are reliable and trustworthy. at a younger age, our demands are not too high regarding friendships as we rely mostly on our parents, siblings and relatives for important things. The friends we formed at this age are merely considered playmates rather than companions and confidants. Thus, our expectations of them are not high.
More serious friendships are formed when one enters puberty and achieves certain level of maturity. the latter allows one to forge fellowship with those who share the same interests, passion as well as similar moral and religious values. Thus, it is not surprising to observe that in some Asian country, mature students at the upper secondary level have friends of the same ethnic and religious backgrounds. At the university level, it is even more apparent. Even the Ministry of education has voiced concern over this phenomenon where polarization is prominent. The Indians, Chinese and Malays hardly mix with each other and are seen usually in the company of their own kind.
One of the main reasons for polarization among university students is that as they reach a certain level of maturity, common binding factors such as religion, customs and traditions play important role in selection of friends or mates. In addition, since majority of these students come from rural backgrounds where there is not much cultural interchange, they feel rather awkward to forge friendships with students of other races. However, this does not mean the students are racist or suffer from superiority complex. Thus, the university should introduce more programs that allow cultural and religious mixing and understanding of the other.
Nevertheless, in the working world, a different scenario prevails. One finds Indians, Chinese and other races forging stable and long lasting friendships. This is most probably due o the fact that to be productive in one's work, one has to believe in team work. The latter actually enhances the bond between the workers and eventually long lasting friendships are formed. In fact, this situation has even led to many inter racial marriages between the three major races. the products of the intermarriages are very unique as they have friends and relatives from both ethnic backgrounds.

Examinations — good or bad ?

"Examinations" - This is a word that causes sleepless nights, a word can change a cheerful person into a nervous wreck. So, what are examinations, and how can they be any good?
An examination can be defined as a detailed inspection or analysis of an object or person. For example, an engineer will examine a structure, like a bridge, to see if it is safe. A doctor may conduct a medical examination to gauge whether a patient is healthy. In the school context, it is the students who take the examinations. These are usually a series of comprehensive tests held at the end of each term, year or, in the case of public examinations, after a few years.
One of the main purposes of school examinations is to improve the quality of education. From the results of the examinations, the teachers and planners of the curriculum will be able to gauge the extent to which the students have acquired the knowledge and skills of the course material. This would, first of all, provide an evaluation of their teaching methods, so they can improve them, if necessary.
Examinations are also used as a yardstick for measuring the capability of the candidate, for further education or employment. For example, examination results are the main criteria when selecting students for entrance into universities. It is assumed that the examination results would indicate whether or not the student will be able to handle the course. In the case of employment, it is felt that the examination results will indicate whether or not the job seeker has the skills or intelligence to handle the job.
However, does the school examination system provide an accurate yardstick of the candidate's ability? Albert Einstein, at the age of 16, took the entrance exam to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, but failed and so was rejected by this elite school. Yet, Einstein went on to develop the theory of relativity and quantum theory, winning the Nobel Prize in Physics at the age of 42. Other examples of famous achievers who failed in school examinations would include Winston Churchill, Thomas Edison and Bill Gates.
One may also question whether the present examination system results in better teaching in schools. In fact, some teachers are so pressured to produce good examination results that they are forced to practise poor teaching methods. They may race through the syllabus, ignoring the fact that the weaker students have not grasped some of the concepts. Some other teachers may concentrate on popular examination topics, ignoring the topics which are rarely tested in the examinations.
Pressure to succeed in examinations may also be detrimental to the students. They may be so filled with anxiety and stress that they do not enjoy their school years. They may be studying only to get good examination results, rather than a rounded education. Some of the weaker students, who cannot seem to achieve good examination results, may lose interest in their studies. In extreme cases, students may be so frustrated or disappointed in their results that they may consider ending their lives.
In conclusion, I realise that examinations are necessary and useful in many areas of our lives. However, within the school system, they should be given less emphasis or conducted in a different way. Furthermore, educationists, employers and students themselves should be reminded that examination results may not provide the best assessment of an individual's talents and capabilities.

My perfect future husband or wife

A popular saying goes, "Marriage involves three rings: the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering."
If it is commonly felt that marriage is so difficult, why do most people wish to get married? Probably, the instinct to find a mate is inherent in human beings; and I am no exception. Somehow, I believe that there is someone out there who was made specially for me, and, once I find him, we will fall in love, and get married; and only then will I feel complete. So, how will I recognise my Mr Right? What qualities should I be looking for?
First of all, I am not looking for "Mr Tall, Dark and Handsome". Character is more important than looks. I cannot deny that I am attracted to good-looking boys, but marrying solely for physical attraction will probably lead to short term pleasure but life-long regret. I have also noticed that handsome boys are often vain and arrogant, which I find most unattractive. One of the main things that I admire in a man is humility. Such a man will not boast about his wealth, intelligence or achievements, but, instead appreciate other people's abilities and achievements. He will also readily admit when he has made a mistake. Such a man would be a joy to live with.
Good communication is the key to any solid relationship, most of all, marriage. I would want my future husband to share his thoughts with me. I want to hear his dreams and to share in his struggles. On the other hand, I will also need someone who will be ready to listen to me, and interested to know what is happening in my life. There should be no secrets between us.
Life is full of challenges. We can expect to face failure as well as success; heartache as well as joy; boredom as well as excitement. So, the perfect husband should have a positive attitude and a good sense of humour. He should be witty and say things which make me laugh. The perfect husband would also be one who can see the silver lining behind every cloud, rather than focus on the flaws in every situation. With such a man, I will be encouraged to look at life in a happier and more positive way.
Above all other qualities, the perfect husband will be faithful. He must be someone who really believes in that marriage is made to last "till death do us part". He will be totally committed to our relationship, and willing to stay for the long haul, "in sickness and in health, for better or for worse"; as couples promise in the wedding vows. The perfect husband would not be distracted by other women; not even when I have lost my looks. He would be a "one woman man". In return, I will also promise my total loyalty and faithfulness to my future husband.
Actually, there are many other qualities that make a man perfect husband material. For example, one obvious quality would be the ability to provide; and, though it is not the most important quality, physical attraction must be a part of the equation for a marriage to work well. However, while it is easy to make lists, finding a man to live up to them will be very difficult. Furthermore, instead of focusing on my requirements for the perfect husband, I think I should recognise my own imperfections, and set about correcting them. As Barnett Brickner said, "Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate."

Why I would like to be rich

Everybody wants to be rich and no one wants to be poor by their own choice. This is a fact. Event he rich wants to be richer and the very rich wants to be super rich. In a materialistic world, money is an indispensable commodity which everyone, young or old, man or woman, seeks.
Everyone has their own reasons for seeking wealth. I have mine as well, and these are my reasons.
First, I would build my dream house. It would be in a quite and secluded area, away from the busy city. It would be built on a large tract of land which would also include facilities such as a swimming pool, a tennis court, a badminton court and a jogging track that would run around the perimeter of the estate. It would also have a beautiful garden and a barbecue area for garden parties.
Then, I would also like to own a large yacht in which I could sail out to the sea. The yacht would have a well-stocked larder with the best foods an drinks available so that my guests and I could stay at sea for several days or weeks at a stretch.
I would have my own jet plane in which I could fly to anywhere in the world at a moment's notice. I could be in New York one day and in Paris the next and then in Shanghai the following day.
Then, I would also like to help people. I would start a charity foundation to help the needy. I would award scholarships to exceptionally talented youths so that they would be able to further their education without thought of financial worries. I would also set up homes for the aged and the handicapped.
Finally, I would donate a princely sum to medical research. Scientists have not found a cure to diseases such as cancer and Aids. It would be good to render y help to such worthy causes.
These are my reasons for wanting to be rich.


The word `tuition' refers to remedial teaching in small groups. In the past, students who are weak in their studies engage the services of a tutor, one who was an expert in his field of study. Today, it is a different scenario altogether. Tuition has become a major money spinner for many teachers. Almost every student who can afford it go for tuition and parents are willing to fork out huge sums of money just to ensure that their children are not left behind in the rat race or paper chase.
The rationale for sending students for tuition is to provide opportunities for students who are weak in certain subjects to catch up. In schools, teachers have limited time to teach students. For example, there are only five lessons per week for subjects like Mathematics and English. The time allotted is certainly insufficient for weak students to understand a particular subject. Moreover, with increasing paper work and a load of other duties, teaching time may actually be further reduced. Teachers may rush through the syllabus leaving weaker students in the lurch. These students who have difficulty assimilating what is taught may then resort to tuition.
Nowadays, due to work commitments, parents stay away from home for the greater part of the day. Parents would then prefer to send their children to tuition classes just to keep them from getting involved in undesirable activities or just to prevent them from idling their time away. Some educated parents may be too busy to help their children with their studies. On the other hand, there are parents who are unable to help their children because they do not have a sufficient level of education. For these groups of parents, tuition is helpful.
Tuition classes, nowadays are no longer confined to small groups of students. Many tuition centers have a large enrolment. It is not uncommon to find tuition classes which have bigger enrolments than classes in schools. In such instances, students cannot get personalized attention from tutors and this defeats the whole purpose of tuition.
The authorities should come down hard on such tuition centers which are out to fleece students. Otherwise, such centers will be churning out teachers who give their wholehearted attention and devotion to tuition and slacken in school.

Children's Safety

News headlines about heinous criminal acts against children such as kidnapping, abuse, assault, murder and rape are more than just disturbing. They are shocking. It is right that we condemn these despicable acts. While our hearts go out to theaggrieved parents who may never see their children again, we must realize that we live in a time and age where it is no longer safe for children to roam about freely. Protecting children from harm and violence is not just the duty of parents and the authorities concerned. Society has to play its part as well.
For starters, action needs to begin with parents and the family. Parents must be vigilant and know the whereabouts of their children all the time. They nee to watch out for their children especially when they are outside, be it in the playground or while shopping. Moreover, they need to chaperone their children constantly, even if the distance traveled is short. Leaving a child unsupervised and assuming that a child will ultimately return home safely is unwise. Parents should set boundaries about places that children may go, people they may see and things they may do. Children should also be taught to say 'no' to strangers offering lifts and gifts.
The authorities, including the police, can ensure better protection for children by implementing several measures, for example increasing patrols in high-risk areas such as shopping malls and playgrounds. They can also carryout awareness campaigns on child safety. Installing CCTVs in areas frequented by children ill also go a long way towards ensuring child safety.
Schools should place special emphasis on child safety education. As young children are the most vulnerable, child safety education should start in primary schools so that children can learn how to be safe from strangers. Children should also be taught to trust their instincts and seek help whenever they feel threatened.
It is a harsh but true fact that the world is no longer a safe place for innocent children as sexual predators lurk in every nook and cranny. A safe environment for children to live and grow can only be realized when all parties, including parents, schools, communities and the authorities work together.


feeling sad



nook and cranny


The benefits of exercise

As students, most of us lead sedentary lifestyles. We spend most of our time in claustrophobic classrooms and homes. With loads of homework, assignments and exams, exercise seems to be a monotonous chore. The increasing demands made upon us by our studies, exams and the high expectations of our parents and teachers leave us with little time for pleasure and leisure. The need to exercise becomes a bitter pill to swallow. Nonetheless, health experts prescribe exercise as a prerequisite for  along, healthy life -- a life free from diseases and ailments.
Physical exercise not only stimulates and develops muscles, it has a host of other benefits. Regular exercise can prevent obesity. When we exercise, our bodies burn up all the extra calories which would otherwise be converted into fat and lead to unwanted bulges. Being overweight also carries with it a number of other health problems, so, exercising not only keeps us trim, it also keeps away weight-related problems.
Exercise improves blood circulation which, in turn, provides constant nourishment to the millions of cells in our body. When physical exertion takes place, the rate of breathing increases. Thus, the capacity of blood to carry oxygen is increased. At the same time, it helps the body to get rid of harmful carbon dioxide.
Vigorous exercise also eliminates modern-day stress. The number of people suffering from insomnia is on the rise. The increasing pressure and nagging worries of work and study often keep us awake at night. For many of us, the dawn of a new day brings no cheer. Exercise can be instrumental in helping a person obtain a more relaxed sleep. A tired person will be refreshed and high-spirited after a good night's sleep. A few hours of exercise will help in getting sound sleep and is the perfect, soothing balm for a tired body and a restless mind.
Increasing affluence has caused changes in our eating habits. we indulge in rich food, high in calories and cholesterol. Medical evidence substantiates the fact that exercise can significantly lower the levels of sugar and cholesterol in our bodies. In other words, consistent physical activity can actually provide relief from ailments such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
There are many benefits to be gained from exercise. A person who exercises regularly has good health and more vitality compared to someone who does not exercise.


seated most of the time



monotonous chore

repetitive and boring task

Obesity - a growing problem

The accelerating rate of obesity among Asians, especially children, is indeed alarming. If left unchecked, it will soon become the major cause of preventable death. Once obesity develops in childhood or adolescence, there is an increased chance that it will persist into adult life, and that is why it is important for overweight people to lose weight.
The phenomenal increase in the levels of obesity among children can be attributed to unhealthy eating habits. The food we eat is extremely high in calories and fat, and more often than not, children tend to prefer processed foods over fresh foods. Moreover, more and more people tend to eat out at restaurants and fast food outlets nowadays. Fast food contains more calories and a single meal at a fast food outlet provides a person with the total number of calories he needs of an entire day. There are numerous vending machines in many schools selling carbonated drinks, while school canteens offer students unhealthy food choices.
Today, as a result of technological advancements and conveniences, we tend to be inactive and lead sedentary lifestyles. Children spend hours in front of televisions and play computer games. Many children are not active enough to use up the energy provided by the food they consume. The many conveniences which are available such as elevators, cars and the Internet reduce the level of physical activity. The lack of physical activity means fewer calories are being burned, leading to weight gain and obesity. The lack of physical education classes in schools for children furthercompounds the problem.
Obesity has many attendant risks and effects. If you think that the bulging mass of fat under your arms or in your belly, thighs and other parts of your anatomy is the only effect of obesity, then you are sadly mistaken. Obesity is not merely a cosmetic problem that denies you the pleasure of looking smart and fit. It is a health hazard that puts you at risk of developing various life-threatening diseases. Many serious medical condition have been linked with obesity, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and stroke. Obese people are also likely to feel depressed as they often become objects of ridicule.
The best way to avoid obesity and its effects is to maintain a healthy weight through healthy eating habits and regular exercise. Children should avoid eating fast food and junk food. They should also exercise regularly and be active throughout the day. At the same time, they should avoid watching too much television or using the computer for hours at a stretch.
Children must realize that if they take in more calories than they burn, they will gain weight. On the other hand, if they burn more calories than they ingest, they will lose weight.


exceedingly great




eat or consume

Preventing truancy

Truancy tops the list of misdemeanors by our students. Almost every day, students are caught playing truant. Although it is not a serious problem, it must be nipped in the bud.
Truancy means being absent from school without a valid reason. Students play truant for  number of reasons. Most of them play truant because of negative peer influence. they follow their friends who skip school. Financial problems can also cause a student  to stay away from school. This explains why students who play truant are mainly from the lower income groups. Learning problems is another cause of truancy. Students who find academic subjects difficult or boring would prefer to play truant. Some students who are addicted to drugs or alcohol will frequently be absent. The fear of bullying or harassment may also cause timid students to play truant.
If left unchecked, truancy can lead to juvenile delinquency and numerous other negative outcomes. Youths who play truant have an increased risk of dropping out of school. School dropouts are more likely to be unemployed as prospective employers are concerned about attendance of their potential employees. Regular school attendance is also important for academic success. If a student often plays truant, he may fail in his examinations. Students who play truant also have low self-esteem and become social misfits.
To curb truancy, initiatives must be taken. Prevention is the key. Early intervention can tackle the problem. Students who often skip classes should be given counseling. Parents should check with teachers and school authorities periodically to monitor students' attendance. Police patrols will also deter repeat offenders.


bad conduct

nipped in the bud

put an end to something while it is just starting

juvenile delinquency

young people who are guilty of committing a crime


The mass media is flooded with advertisements of every kind. One only has to flip through the pages of magazines or newspapers or sit through a television program to see the wide coverage that advertisements receive in terms of space and time. Companies fork out large amounts of money just to advertise their products or services.
What, the, are the benefits of advertisements ? Advertisements offer a wide variety of options to both potential buyers and sellers. Through advertisements, employers can recruit workers. People who wish to put up their properties for sale can find buyers or vice versa.
Although there are grouses about advertisements, the numerous benefits of advertisements remain undisputed. Advertisements are the lifeblood of many television and radio stations. Many companies build a reputation for their products through advertisements. Sometimes companies sponsor major sporting events and help in the development of sports in the country.
Advertisements inform the public about the wide array of products that are available in the market an dhow much they cost. Customers can compare the prices and merits of the different products and then decide which product to buy. Advertisements help increase the sales volume of products. In this way, companies expand their business and enjoy economies of scale.
As with most things in life, advertisements can be both a bane or a boon. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the advantages of advertisements far outweigh the disadvantages and it is up to the discerning public to discard the advertisements which do not profess the truth.

fork out




economies of scale

the financial advantages of producing something in large quantities

Keeping fit

A recent health survey indicates that lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and certain types of cancers are on the rise. Bulging waistlines, obesity and clogged arteries are becoming more common as the Chinese continue with their unhealthy lifestyles. Our preoccupation with tasty but unhealthy meals as well as our increasingly inactive or sedentary lifestyles have taken a toll on our health. The government's call for the Chinese to live healthy lifestyles have fallen on deaf ears. As a result, we have a growing generation of couch potatoes.
The Chinese have to give top priority to ways of keeping fit if they wish to live a disease-free life. Keeping fit requires sacrifice, determination and discipline.
Our exotic cuisines are enough to whet anyone's appetite. Our choice of food almost always includes food that appeal to the taste buds regardless of whether they have nutritional value or otherwise. As a result, we gorge ourselves on food that has a high oil content such as fried chicken and french fries. To make matters worse, many of us have a sweet tooth. When calorie intake exceeds output, the inevitable is bound to occur -- obesity and an inactive lifestyle.
What we need to do is shed all the extra weight by reducing our calorie intake and by exercising. Choosing nutritious food that is relatively low in calories is a move in the right direction. If we need to go on a diet o weight reduction program, then it is best we consult a qualified nutritionist or dietician.
When buying food, choose products with healthier ingredients. When you eat out, choose dishes that have less fat or oil content.
Exercise is an integral part of keeping fit. Regular exercise not only helps to manage weight, but also increases fitness levels. A person need not have vigorous workouts in the gym to keep himself fit. Brisk walking or even walking up the stairs instead of using the life are good forms of exercise. Health experts recommend that an individual exercise at least three times a week with each session lasting for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Keeping fit also requires changes in other aspects of our lifestyles. Smoking and drinking alcohol can wreak havoc on our health. Smoking increases the risks of developing certain types of cancers while heavy drinking can lead to liver damage. A chain-smoker and a heavy drinker cannot hope to live a long, disease-free life. Habitual smokers and drinkers not only have to fork out large amounts of money for cigarettes and alcohol, but also for higher medical bills.
Life is a precious gift from God. It is the duty of every individual to value this gift. Keeping fit is therefore our responsibility. Shirking from our responsibility indicates either ignorance of indifference. We have to get our priorities right before we become victims of our own careless habits.



wreak havoc

to cause damage


avoiding oneself from doing something

As the Head Prefect of your school, you are asked to write an article on bullying.
Statistics provided by the school's Disciplinary Board show that cases of bullying are on the rise. There were only 12 cases of bullying in 2010. The number increased to 18 cases in 2009, 20 cases in 2011 and 25 cases this year. This is an unhealthy trend and if left unchecked, it can become a problem.
Verbal bullying, which includes name-calling and insulting remarks, accounted for 45 per cent of bullying cases. This was followed by indirect bullying, which includes spreading nasty and malicious stories. It accounted for 35 per cent of all bullying cases. Physical bullying accounted for one-fifth of the cases.
Bullying occurs for a number of reasons. Often, bullying behavior develops in response to the environment, whether it is at home, school or within a peer group. Bullies usually come from homes where physical punishment i used. In such a scenario, physical punishment is seen as a way to handle problems. The child then resorts to aggressive behavior. Negative peer influence can further aggravate the problem. With the absence of a proper role model both at home and in school, children have no opportunity to learn behavior skills. As a result, bullies tend to derive satisfaction from inflicting injury or suffering to others without feeling empathy for their victims.
Close monitoring by parents and school authorities can curb bullying. Parents must monitor their children's activities. Those who are at the receiving end and bystanders must report all incidents of bullying. The school must enlist the help of parents when dealing with such cases. Schools must have clear rules against bullying. Repeat offenders must face the music. If the offender does not turn over a new leaf, he should be suspended or expelled from school. The use of deterrents sends a clear and strong message to perpetrators that bullying is unacceptable.


to make a bad situation worse:


the ability to share someone else's feelings or experiences by imagining what it would be like to be in their situation

face the music

to accept criticism or punishment for something you have done

Tuition centers have become a booming industry, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars. On the average, parents fork out about $100 to $200 for each child per month. Today, more and more teachers are giving tuition as it has become a major money-spinner for them. What has triggered this phenomenon ? Are schoolteachers shirking their duties or are parents just afraid that their children will be left behind in the paper chase ?
The rationale in sending students for tuition is to help them better understand what has been taught in school. Students who are slow in grasping what is taught in schools can attend tuition classes to catch up and improve their performance.
Moreover, in schools, teachers have a limited time to teach students. There are only about five to six lessons a week for most subjects, including English, Mathematics and science. The time allotted is clearly insufficient for weak students to understand a particular subject. A the same time, teachers have less teaching time due to increasing paperwork and other duties. Teachers are forced to rush through the syllabus because of time constraints, thus leaving students in the lurch.
Classes in school are too big and teachers do not have enough time to give personal attention to teach and every student. On the other hand, tuition classes have a smaller number of students, making personal attention possible. Thriving on the education system's weaknesses, tuition centers have gained popularity among both students and parents.
Parents, too, prefer to send their children for tuition. Parents who want their children to excel in their studies are willing to spend large amounts of money on tuition fees. Nowadays, due to work commitments, parents are away from home for the greater part of the day. Parents would prefer to send their children for tuition just to keep their offspring from getting involved in undesirable activities or from idling their time away. At the same time, parents who are not highly educated prefer to send their children for tuition.
For students who are unable to get personal attention in school and for those who have difficulty assimilating what is taught in schools, tuition is definitely a must, as the gain is more than the cost. Teachers should be allowed to give tuition to improve students' performances.



leaving students in the lurch

to fail to help when they are relying on you to do so


fully understanding

Is it better for mothers to stay at home ?
Why is it better for mothers to stay at home and not work ?
Governments all over the world are encouraging education and are trying to remove barriers to education. As more and more women are also getting an education there are greater employment opportunities for them.
In spite of this, there is a greater need for women to stay home and be homemakers. Young children and growing families require the attention of mothers. If women are to spend eight hours each day at work, then the children, especially the very young ones, would have to be left at day care centers, nurseries, with maids, grandparents or relatives.
It cannot be denied that mothers are the pillars of strength in any family. If they give up their role as homemakers and thrust it onto others, such as maids, then there may be some unpleasant consequences. In some cases, children have been abused and in other cases, they have been greatly influenced by the maids, who are usually foreigners. The children would not only have to learn the language of the maids, but would also be susceptible to the mannerisms, customs and practices that do not belong to their own cultural background.
As it is expensive to hire maids, in some cases children are left in the care of others who may exert a negative influence on the children's upbringing. It is therefore imperative that mothers should stay at home to care for their children, especially during the crucial period of their growth. Furthermore, mothers would be able to guide and supervise their children in their daily routines and therefore act as role models for their children. When mothers stay at home, they will be able to mould their children better.
It is said that the generation of tomorrow depends on the mothers of today. Social ills and other socio-cultural problems, faced by both young children and teenagers, could be eradicated if mothers stay at home and not go to work. They will be able to devote more time to caring for their families.


push it to

susceptible to

open to



Fighting crime
Everyone should be involved in the fight against crime.' Do you agree ?

The rise in criminal activities has always been a matter of grave concern among Asians. Gone are the good old days when we could roam the streets freely and safely without fear of being robbed, assaulted, kidnapped, raped or even murdered. There have been comments that the authorities have not done enough to fight crime. What people fail to realize is that crime prevention is a shared responsibility. Crime prevention should include the authorities, such as the relevant ministries and government departments, the police, as well as the various NGOs and the public.
For their part, the authorities have beefed up the police force and put more police officers on the streets. Non-uniformed personnel have been assigned crime-prevention duties. Moreover, Mobile Police stations and Mobile Police Vehicles have been placed in crime-prone areas. Law enforcement alone is not enough. Law enforcers can only patrol areas periodically. They cannot possibly be everywhere all the time. It is the members of the public who can provide the police with relevant information, report the dangers that lurk in their neighborhoods or report suspicious characters. We have to be the eyes and ears of the police if we wish to eradicate crime.
We can also play our part in fighting crime by organizing neighborhood patrols. Residents can form their own residents' associations and link up with police stations nearby. It is only when the public become more vigilant and work hand-in-hand with the police that we see a significant reduction in crime.
More crime prevention campaigns should be organized to reinforce public awareness on the need to act together to combat crime. The media should not only report sensational news, such as brutal killings and grisly murders. It should educate the public on crime prevention. With responsible reporting, the media can help to create awareness and make the public more safety conscious.
Crime prevention is a collective responsibility. Although police presence has a strong impact on fighting crime, the public too can play its role by improving security on the streets and our neighborhoods. Only then can we help to mitigate crime. We must come together in a true spirit and be resolved to fight crime.

beefed up





make less severe


Many people today are not as happy as they wish to be. Technological advancements have made our lives easier and more comfortable. We enjoy higher incomes and better standards of living as a result of progress and development, but happiness has remained a rather elusive goal for many of us. Our pursuit of material wealth and worldly possessions has robbed us of the contentment that we long for.
What is happiness and how can we obtain it ? Happiness can be defined as a state of mind characterized by feelings of contentment, satisfaction and pleasure. People always think that their achievements, education, career, family and financial security can make them happy but later find that happiness is not always the end result. We can own and live in a beautiful home, afford a lavish lifestyle, wear designer clothes or drive expensive cars and yet we may be unhappy. It is a misconception to think that having lots of money can make a person happy. What then can provide lasting happiness ?
Abraham Lincoln once said, 'You are as happy as you make up your mind to be.' Happiness is a matter of choice. We can make a choice to be either happy or sad. Being satisfied with who we are and what we have can make us happy. Unfortunately, there is no short cut to happiness. we should first set our goals and determine the areas in our lives that are important to us. Then we should strive to attain these goals. we should make a conscious attempt to change what we can and accept what we cannot.
Being optimistic can aid in creasing our happiness. Always think that life is going to get better. It helps to have a positive outlook. Dwelling in the past and ruminating about something that went wrong can lead to depression. At the same time, we should never try to compare ourselves with others. It will only lead to unhappiness. Instead, we should count our blessings and be thankful for all the good things we have -- good health, family, friends and education. Happiness starts at home. Therefore, we should all try to improve our relationship with our parents and siblings.
Research ha shown that happy people live longer, are healthier and are more successful. they also enjoy more fulfilling relationships and are respected by others. Therefore, instead of brooding over our pains and sorrows, we should always keep ourselves busy and find pleasure in small things.


difficult to obtain


thinking deeply


thinking seriously

Preventing snatch thefts
Write an article for your school magazine and give your suggestions.

The local media, especially the local dailies, have been replete with reports of snatch thefts. The barrage of media reports has caused more than a sense of anxiety, it has caused fear and panic among residents. Recently, there has been a spate of snatch thefts in our area. Snatch thefts tend to escalate during festive seasons and holidays. Hotspots of snatch thefts are quiet and deserted areas such as residential areas, by the roadside, in lifts and around the bank.
Snatch thieves choose their targets carefully. They often strike when people are off guard. They home in on people who are alone and those who are distracted. Women and senior citizens are especially susceptible as they may be unable to defend themselves. Often the victims are seriously injured or even killed. To avoid becoming potential victims, we should take simple crime prevention measures.
Do not walk alone especially in dark and deserted areas. Take your handbag only if necessary. It is better to carry your purse. Always hold handbags and personal belongings close to the body. If a snatch thief tugs at your handbag, do not hold on to it. Just let it go. Although you may never be able to retrieve your belongings, it is better than to hang on to it and suffer injuries inflicted by the perpetrators. Keep important or valuable items out of sight and be careful of suspicious-looking motorists or persons. Always be alert and attentive to your surroundings. If you suspect that you are being targeted, walk to a crowded area. Walk against the flow of traffic and hold on to your handbag on the side away from passing motorists.
Be careful of suspicious-looking motorists or persons. Snatch thieves often approach potential victims on the pretext of striking up a conversation or asking for directions. If someone approaches you, always keep a safe but polite distance. avoid wearing excessive jewellery or carrying large amounts of cash. Do not flaunt cash and valuables in public. Instead, you should always be observant of your surroundings.
Snatch thefts are crimes of opportunity. they occur because people do not take the preventive measures mentioned. Snatch thefts can be prevented if people are vigilant at all times.



home in



show off

Absenteeism in school
Write a report to your Principal about why students are absent and provide suggestions on how to overcome the problem.

Absenteeism has long been a vexatious issue for school authorities. Students are absent from school every day without a bona fide excuse. The Counseling Club of our school carried out a survey to find out the reasons why the students are absent.
Most of the students who are absent say that they find the lessons boring. In the light of this revelation, teachers should try and explore creative technologies and teaching ideas to increase student attendance. Obtaining poor grades was another reason for frequent absenteeism. If the school becomes a place where students feel unsuccessful, then they want to avoid it. Therefore, special tutorial programs should be initiated to equip students with adequate academic skills.
Peer influence also has a significant bearing on student attendance. Students often miss class to be in the company of friends. Students who associate with delinquent peer groups are at risk. Student absenteeism may also be a red flag for a more serious problem such as anxiety, loneliness and stress. These students should be sent for counseling sessions. In addition, after school sports and other programs will enable students to make new friends and experience a positive environment. Results of the survey show that lack of parental supervision may also lead to absenteeism among students. As parental involvement relates closely to student attendance and academic progress, parents should be reminded of their responsibilities. School authorities should liaise with police and the local community to patrol neighborhoods where truant students are likely to spend school hours.
Occasional absenteeism among students can be excused. However, frequent absenteeism is a cause for concern as it has often been linked to serious problems such as violence, substance abuse, gang involvement and criminal activity such as burglary and vandalism. Left unaddressed, absenteeism can have significant negative effects on students, the school and on society. Therefore, it is critical to determine the reasons fro absenteeism and identify strategies to tackle the problem.


causing worry or frustration

bona fide




Do you think that there is any need for change in the education system in your country?

This essay examines the current situation in England and will, if at all, apply only in part to other countries. Educational tradition and emphasis vary widely, but the fact remains that whereas Eastern and some Western countries are producing young people well-trained for key employment and well-suited to modern life, England is, in 1990, signally failing to do either. How can this decline be reversed?
First, it should be understood that there is a dual system in England. The private, or fee-paying sector stands alongside the state, or free sector, but between the two there is a great gulf fixed. Standards in the private sector remain very high, and produce the best results both academically and behaviorally. A few independent grammar schools likewise succeed, and even fewer comprehensive schools. The state sector is an almost unqualified failure. Many pupils leave school illiterate and innumerate and are fitted only for the lowest-grade jobs. The situation is so bad that both the Labor and the Conservative parties have education at the top of their respective agendas.
The decline dates from the 1960s, the era of drugs, protest, pop music and the hippy outlook. All this was a reaction against wartime restraints and disciplines, but with the coming of the new freedoms the best of the old tradition was lost. Suddenly the 'teenager' was invented. Neither home nor school could any longer exert discipline. In any case the old sanctions, including corporal punishment, were made illegal. At the same time the economy was booming and there was plenty of work, and therefore money, for young people. So parents, even if they had ambitions for their children, were mostly powerless to instill incentive. At the same time the teaching profession lost heart in the face of classroom chaos and often personal intimidation. To complete the cause for decline, the educational theorists had been at work. Education became child-centered, which means that if little Willy doesn't want to do his match, let him do what he wants. Competitiveness, both in the classroom and on the games field, was frowned on, because to lose, they said, made children feel inferior.
The consequence of all this was that teaching no longer attracted the best brains, and the profession plummeted in reputation. Both political parties now vie with each other in bringing forward plans to remedy a situation which, if not universally bad, is appalling in the densely-populated city areas.
Ideally, education should offer the pupil three main objectives. These are: to fit well into society, to cope with modern types of employment, and to continue with self-education after school days. Commercially and industrially, England is becoming increasingly integrated into Europe. That, plus national pride and pride in oneself should provide incentive enough. The latent talent is there, but how can these incentives be imparted? And how can teacher quality and morale be improved? Not merely by throwing money at the problem.
There should be free and subsidized creche places, since most women have to work at least part-time. England has far too many single-parent families. Ideally there would be a return to the traditional family. Parents should help children at home and try to fire their enthusiasm for work. Parental partnership with teachers should be much closer.
State education should drop peripheral subjects and concentrate on the traditional teaching of reading, writing and arithmetic in the early years. Only when they are proficient in these should children branch out into other subjects. There should be state-run examinations at three-yearly intervals. These would not only check the child's progress but also the teacher's proficiency. A system of awards to both teachers and pupils could be introduced. All this implies a national curriculum geared to the objectives outlined above.
At about age thirteen it will become obvious whether a child is suited to a science or an arts course, or to neither. Separate provision should then be made for all three categories. Youth Training Schemes for the third category should be greatly extended and made compulsory. There should be more technical colleges. Craftsmen should be encouraged to take on apprentices and the income of both should be subsidized.
The A level and university entrance systems in England are good, and should be preserved, and steps are being taken to improve the O level examinations which are now being replaced by the GCSE.
The present Conservative government plans to implement many of these ideas. The real problem lies in the middle i.e. in primary and secondary education. Correct this, discard faddy theories, and the new ideas will rapidly bear fruit. Staff will improve, and will therefore be entitled to increased pay and better standing in the community.  

corporal punishment

the physical punishment of people, especially of children, by hitting them


a place where young children are cared for during the day while their parents do something else, especially work, study or shop


The current custom


Can money buy happiness?

The title of the old American movie 'Poor little rich girl' answers the question. It is true that at weddings we often hear the newly-weds toasted in the words Health, Wealth and Happiness, but the epithet itself distinguishes between the three objectives. The fact is that you can be both happy and healthy and poor, by normal standards, at the same time. Yet, if you are unhappy, money can only cure your misery in some circumstances. And if you have an incurable illness no amount of money can buy the treatment to reverse that condition.
Most people would accept that the human being is a composite of body, mind and spirit. Each of those parts has separate needs which must be fulfilled if happiness is to result. This fulfillment is most often, though not always, achieved through the love and companionship found in a good marriage. The newly-weds referred to above may start out together with few possessions and little money and still be blissfully happy. Body, mind and spirit are fulfilled. Yet, marital happiness is not a static thing. As the couple grow older they change, and happiness has to be constantly worked for if it is to mature into lifelong love and friendship. Sadly enough the divorce rate in the west shows that many couples lack that incentive, and are not prepared to show the unselfishness and willingness to put the needs of each other first, necessary if happiness is to last. Very often, this process of alienation goes on at the very time when the couple are getting past their money problems, when the pennies no longer have to be counted.
This situation is highlighted when money never has been a problem, as in the case of some of the British royal family. Differences in outlook, i.e. in mind and spirit, severrelationships most effectively. Whereas one royal, for instance, was interested only in farming and country pursuits, the wife, some years ago, decided to devote her life to 'Save the Children'. Money never entered the equation. They are permanently separated. Mind and spirit had grown apart.
If old money can be irrelevant, new money can be a positive menace. Every week in England somebody becomes a sterling millionaire having entered a winning football pool forecast. More often than not, the winner's cry is 'spend, spend, spend!' , and the money soon goes. In the process, homes shatter, bad relationships are formed, drugs and alcohol are abused, and often the winner ends up with nothing.
So at least this can be said. Money itself is neutral. The ideal is wise stewardship, i.e. its proper use, which generally means making one's existing lifestyle more comfortable, but using excess income for charitable purposes. Money should not be seen as the key to luxury and self-indulgence. Money is not the root of all evil, but the correct version is true enough; the love of money is the root of all evil . The love of money is a cold, alienating obsession. Was Howard Hughes a happy man?
What can also be said is that whereas money cannot buy happiness, the lack of it can bring misery. Few things are worse than debt, as the family of Charles Dickens' Mr Micawber knew full well. It is the duty of men, and in many cases today of women, to provide enough money for the family to live in reasonable comfort. It is not their duty to provide that comfort by going into debt. The modern way of doing so is through the credit card which, if abused, is the sure road to unhappiness. As Dickens said, annual income £1 annual expenditure 19s 6d, the result, happiness. Annual income £1 annual expenditure £1 6d, the result, misery.
There is, perhaps, one sense in which money can buy happiness, and that is among the poorest of the poor in the third world. Happiness for them would be a safe home, enough food, medical care, and a school for their children. One day, the conscience of the world will ensure that they are given these things.


an adjective added to a person's name or a phrase used instead of it, usually to criticize or praise them


to break or separate


Someone's stewardship of something is the way in which that person controls or organizes it


In an arranged marriage, the choice of a husband or wife is made by parents or elders. What do you think of this practise in today’s society? Discuss

Our society is seriously matters related to marriage. Marriage is a bond between two people, namely men and women. Marriage is like a voyage of a journey anchored by two of the men's and women's browser. In arranged marriage, the husband or wife will be chosen by the parents is considered an ancient practice, but there are a handful of our community who practice charity. In contrast, at present, choice is a priority of the present generation.

In my opinion, the practice of live chose pairs arranged by parents is the lack of practice accepted by the present generation. This is because the current generation prefers to install their own choosing. For example, the previous generation of conservative thinking and more interested in taboos of their ancestors. In the present context, our generation is more open thinking and the opportunity to put to determine who will be friends till the end of life alive. In addition, the current generation of competent and wise in choosing a pair of life because they are looking at the future and to assess the good or the bad behavior of each pair. Therefore, I suggest to add the current generation of knowledge about marriage in order to get a good match.

Hence, we are not aware that we are not a match is determined by the parents but also determined by the relatives and friends and the community. If we have a boyfriend or girlfriend is sure we will be introducing him to people we know. The closest model is that if we are introducing us to a pair of friends, surely they will give advice or criticism that is useful to us in selecting a suitable partner with our souls. This is because of acquaintances or close friends certainly understand and recognize the behavior or habits we are or not with our spouse is. Therefore, indirect friends also play a role in helping us select a mate.

Later, the practice of marriage is designed by the family must have received the blessing and said to live happily until the end of life. I also agree with the match arranged by the family. This is because the parents who raised us right from small to mature and to find the money themselves. In this case, the consent and parental consent is important in ensuring the happiness in the household. For example, ensuring parents want the best for their children. Therefore, they must be choosing the appropriate pairs, and a good relationship with the relatives. This is because they are concerned about the dignity of the family in society and certainly would not choose a spouse who does not fit with us.

In conclusion, we have freedom in choosing a mate. This is because today's society no longer restrict our desire to marry as long as according to established regulations and does not conflict with the norms of life today. What can I deduce about my opinion is that our partner can be determined by the self, community, and family. So, think carefully in choosing our life partner.


The world today is turning more to electronic communications such as the e-mail, Facebook and Short Message System (SMS). What is your opinion of this growing trend? Discuss. You should write at least 350 words. [60 marks]

As time goes by, the world is changing rapidly; so are its people and the technology itself. Technology brings about a lot of amendments in people’s life. It is getting more advanced from day to day especially when it comes to Information Technology or in this case; electronic communications. Back then, mailing was seemingly to be one of the most vital ways of communication especially for the world communication. In contrast, nowadays people are more prone to communicate the easier ways; by staring on their electronic accounts on their computers or through their iPods and sending short messages from their iPhones or Blackberries. Why is it so?In my slight opinion, this growing trend gives a lot of dominances in today’s life, which are helping people to save their time and money, create borderless communication and make it easy for people to gain prominent information.
          First and foremost, the world today is turning more to electronic communications like e-mail, Facebook and Short Message System (SMS) and other electronic communications is because they will prevent people from wasting their time and money. How do these work? As we all know, sending a letter to someone will take a lot of processes and will eventually take a long time and waste a lot of money. On the contrary, electronic communications entail only the tip of our fingers so as an electronic device to work with. Then, what is left for us to do is just, typing! Has that not taken a much lesser time and money? For instance, an e-mail only requires us to turn on our laptops, open our accounts on the website and then, you can start write your letter and send them through e-mails. In short, with the very unstable economy nowadays, having these kinds of communications will ease everyone’s burden especially on their daily expenses and also their valuable time will not be wasted.
           Secondly, the growing trend of electronic communications is making it possible for a borderless communication which is vital these days. Why is it vital? A lot of things require borderless communication; in education field, businesses and even daily activities, especially when foreigners involved. For example, when trading with foreigners, in order to communicate with each other, they need Skype or Yahoo Messenger as mediums to interact and be able to do the trade at a faster rate as compared to by using ‘snail mails’ or regular letters. Skype is the perfect example of an electronic communication which will cut the boundary that has separated each country and make communication between two different countries from around the world possible. In conclusion, it is crucial to have these electronic communications in today’s age of globalization as they make it easier for people around the world to connect with each other.
Last but not least, the dominance of these electronic communications is people could gain prominent information more efficiently than before. As there are lesser borders between countries, the efficiency of getting much more relevant and prominent information is higher. People will have the ability to provide and gain information effectively through Facebook or Twitter accounts. For example, international artists who have planned to do a world concert can inform their fans about it through their Facebook account. Likewise, the fans also can ask just about anything to their favourite artists regarding the concert. Hence, this explains why people make these electronic communications as a huge trend these days and in order to keep the trend ongoing, each person has the responsibility to adapt with the technology itself.
       In a nutshell, the growing trend of using electronic communications is inevitably vital in people’s lives as it gives out a lot of benefits as stated in above paragraphs. So, to avoid ourselves from not getting the chance of keeping up with the changing trends, we have to try our best to adapt ourselves with the rapid changes. I believe that the electronic communication trend is a trend which is very important to be followed as the world is getting more advanced day to day.

People commit crime because of selfish reasons. Do you agree?
   How do people define crime? Some might define crime as an act of offence towards the morality of humans. Others might regard crime as an act that harms the universal human rights. In my perspectives, I think that crime is an offence made towards the law. Therefore, why do people still commit crimes? Some crimes were committed because of hatred, hardships and even because of the people they loved. All in all, I do agree that people commit crimes because of selfish reasons. I am saying so based on several reasons.
  My first reason to agree with the statement is that people commit crimes because of greed. Greed is one’s desire to have more than what one already has. We can look at greed using different perspectives. One of them is of a poverty-stricken person whose only desire is to fill up his hungry stomach. Since he was born in poverty, it would be nearly impossible for him to pay for his food. So, in order to fill up his stomach, he decided to steal, for instance, a piece of bread from a nearby bakery shop. This is a kind of greed that is used to fullfill one’s basic needs, like to kill the dying hunger.
  However, there is another perspective that can be used to view upon greed. It is the wanting to lead a luxurious life or even to own something that is beyond one’s financial budget. For example, a person of moderate income would like to own an expensive plasma television which the price is beyond his budget. However, his greed prompts him to own that item by either stealing money to purchase it or to steal the item itself. When the person get caught by any law enforcer, the person will be charged in court for committing a crime. To steal to fulfill one’s desire to own an item which one understands that it is beyond his financial budget is committing a crime by the cause of greed. This, in my view, shows that people commit crimes for selfish reason.
  Next, people commit crimes because of hatred. Why are there hatred within people? The root of hatred might be caused by peer influence or environmental sway or even being envious towards others’ wealth and prosperity. One of the crimes that was committed by the cause of hatred was the Nazi’s genocide. That was Adolf Hitler’s policy to literally eliminate the Jews throughout Europe. Many Jews had been sent to concentration camps in order to be sentenced to death, and many Jews died during that period of Nazi’s administration.
   The common question is, why did Adolf Hitler commit genocide on the Jews? It was said that Hitler’s hatred towards the Jews began when his letter of application had been rejected by the famous Art Academy in Venice, that was controlled by wealthy Jews. Hitler was probably rejected because Hitler himself was not a Jew. Probably having felt discriminated, when Adolf Hitler headed the Nazi’s party, this hatred led him to formulate a policy to eliminate the Jews throughout Europe, once and for all. In reference to Hitler’s case, I think that it can be justified that people commit crime because of  selfish reasons like one’s hatred towards another person or race.
  Third of all, people commit crimes because of ignorance. An ignorant person is said to be a person having blind and stubborn determination. For instance, they insisted on being correct at all times, without any knowledge that what they had actually done was wrong by the side of law. The most prominent example was the war waged by the government of the United States of America towards Afghanistan following the incident of 9/11, which was when ‘terrorists’  attacked the World Trade Centre in New York in two air crafts. As claimed by George Washington Bush, former president of the United States of America, after the 9/11 attack, “ the surest way to avoid attacks on our people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans. We are fighting … Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our streets, in our own cities.” Consequently, the government of the United States of America had declared war with the country that had been suspected to house the major terrorist who instigated the 9/11 incident, Osama Bin Laden. They then sent troops to savage Afghanistan, bombing the residences of Afghanistan, thus killing thousands and thousands of innocent lives there.
  From my point of view, the government of the United States of America was actually committing a crime as the mass killing of Iraqi citizens for something they are not responsible of is a crime. Furthermore, to champion on a revenge as what the Americans were trying to do for the killing in 9/11 is an ignorant act. The Americans might have been ignorant of the real truth and had been misguided by their anger into believing that Osama Bin Laden was the actual culprit for the 9/11 incident. In short, the government of the United States of America committed a crime because of ignorance. And by this, they are actually committing a crime out of a selfish reason.
  In conclusion, based on what have been discussed, it is true that people commit crimes for selfish reasons. I hope that people will realize that whatever crimes that they had committed, it is more for selfish reasons. In order to stop this cycle of violence from recurring, they should avoid committing themselves to crime activities, thus ensuring the world to be a safer place to live in for future generations.

Information and communications technology (ICT) is the cause of today's many social ills. What is your opinion? Support your answers with examples. You should write at least 350 words.

Innovation and development in our country have caused many changes especially in various technologies. We are now merging the era where (ICT) Information and communications technology has come crucial to our daily live, however this arrogation for (ICT) to be one major component in almost each and every single activity of our routines. Subsequently, when the goods of (ICT) outshine the cons we tend to be blinded by the replenishment it brings to our country. As for example, we can see how (ICT) improves our administration system, educational system and not forgetting our economy. Virtually the benefits outstandingly overshadowing the negative resolutions in which (ICT) possess, none has the integrity to acknowledge this due to the (ICT) contribution towards our world. According to Cambridge Dictionary (ICT) is where massive exchange of information or data occurs anywhere and anytime. Indeed, it does brings a lot of benefits to our daily life, notwithstanding what if the "information" or "data" we are referring to can be contagiously negative to the vulnerable stakeholders? Interrogating who could they be? Whether we realise it or not the most affected by the (ICT) which left venomous impact as it is poisoning their mind and slowly corrupting it. Perplexed, (ICT) has been causing many social ills in reality, despite its contributions to the country. (ICT) provide boundless network which promotes extreme socialisation among youths, inadequate law enforcement of the cyberspace activities , and global stigma.

               Theoretically, (ICT) was meant to ease interaction among humans and also to assist with daily tasks. Nevertheless, when this interaction is not being monitored or subjugated by laws it will cause a major problem especially when pertaining to the boundless network that (ICT) provides for its users. This boundless network promotes extreme socialisation among youths where there is no age restriction or a system obstructing any access from vulnerable users such as youths themselves. Nowadays we have heard of cases where female teens are being lured into trap using the online chat applications. These teens are so curious that they willingly, desperately expose themselves to the dangers of this cyber-stranger. Other examples of extreme socialisation in the (ICT) network is the spread of ideology and absurd cultures, this is proven from our own community where we find youth are painting graffiti on walls which is not originally our local culture, loitering, wearing dark shadowy makeups and ghastly attires, websites accumulating the free-thinkers and not excluding strange dances which they refer asbreak dance, shuffle and so forthThese cultures are spread from extreme socialisation in the (ICT) itself and still even though we seem to care less about this minor culture spread the fact which these small pies can promote another sequel of extreme cases such as cyber crime which is indeed horrifying. Ultimately, by hook or by crook the community must come to realise that (ICT) is one of the major factors of social ills today !

                On the other hand, jurisprudence or law is one vital element in preventing (ICT) from manipulating its users in an abominable way. We must not take this lightly as these loopholes in our current law that is associated with (ICT) can cause formidable consequences. Despite knowing what (ICT) provides to the global affairs as a country we can still construct our own outline of laws in order to prevent furthermore ills in the society especially the young generations. Malaysia nowadays are lacking of the types of law that can completely vanquished external influences toward our young generations. Moreover, our youngsters nowadays are so advanced with technologies, (ICT) especially, which made them too exposed to the outside forces. Base on a research conducted by Persatuan Sains Social Malaysia (PSSM) which is a government sociological institution, claims that the main reason why children are the second highest influenced by social ills due to what they have learned from the internet which rate 10% increment every single year, whereas youths set up a rate of 25% increment every year. However, these children do not manifest much of what they learn from the internet which can be even more dangerous because parents and teachers cannot predict what are becoming of them. The high curiousity level of children can be controlled if the government properly structures a law in the family institution to avoid children from accessing the internet as they please. The corroboration of parents and school is highly required to eventualise this sentiment. In consumption, the law subjugating our (ICT) must be restricted in order to avoid any outcomes in the future.

                   Last but not least, the reason why (ICT) is believed to be one of the cause of social ills in our community is due the global stigma which substantially influencing our youths to be simple minded and also radically opposing everything they seem to dislike. Global stigma here means whatever is happening out there regardless if it is confidential or not being spread through the (ICT) and causing the youths especially which are not mature enough to evaluate what they've seen or read. Example of global stigma is when a conflict in a country's government, or maybe the ideology of someone authorised pertaining a concept is being reinterpreted and spread throughout the internet, and to those immature viewers might take it the wrong side and manifest radical behaviour which also leads to social ills. As to portray the image, we can see nowadays gangsterism is spreading wide and they come forth in different views and principle. Ironically, these cultures are developed by youth who thinks they are relevant enough to establish a group which in reality doesn't bring any good to the community at all, what they contribute to the community is nothing but mess. Some of the cultures comprise of simple thinkers while the others are the groups of radical one where they are trying to inject their philosophies in the community. We can see a few names coming out on papers trying to interfere with the political administration where they use (ICT) as the media to spread deception and accusation, and once we have a youth doing a cover of his own "Negaraku" our national anthem. These cases bring nothing but shame to the country and our people, and hence we prove here that (ICT) is wrongly used as an equipment for casting conspiracies and introducing unhealthy cultures from unknown sources on the internet.Therefore, it is confirmed that internet cause social ills by stimulising global stigma from it sources.

                  Beyond recall, internet has been a contributing factor towards social ills, it is spreading worldwide information without the recognisation of any legal source or writer which mean anyone can inject anything through the internet, global stigma or mind virus shall we name it that potentially leads mind corruption hence triggering other social ills indirectly. Not only that, (ICT) also cause social ills due to the loopholes in the laws subjugating the system. Sooner or later, the government must take action in solving this problem by amending the laws or repeal any law that is irrelevant in our days now. Last to figure, the internet is providing perpetual boundless network which is not good for certain reasons as such the negative impacts it leave to our young generations who are immature and incapable of evaluating what they learn from a non-authorised souces. In spite of it as a global oriented technology it is not necessary to alienate the system or ban it completely, because we can still find the initiatives or structure our own system which is more suitable to our culture and community. The followings are the flaws of (ICT) in our country Malaysia, it is a potential trigger of social ills that are manifesting nowadays and significantly in the future. As a developing country social ills must not be allowed to spread uncontrolled because if we fail to overcome problem such as the social ills how are we going to alleviate the country when it becomes an advance country where greater challenges await. Therefore, the (ICT) needs to be properly used by everyone and developed with sense for brighter future.

People are becoming more materialistic. They are concerned with making more money and what money can buy. What is your opinion on being materialistic?

          "Life shouldn't be printed on dollar bills". This quote from Clifford Odets tells us that life does not necessarily revolve around money and material wealth. As time proceeds into a modern era, money and materialism have been one of the most influential forces in the world. Some may think that money and wealth is the way of life. They believe that everything luxurious in this world has a price and only by accumulating money and wealth can one enjoy them. In my opinion, I think that people really are becoming more materialistic. This essay will discuss how materialism has affected people, the modern society, and the country's economy.
          Materialism has geared individuals towards the path of making more money. This is so that they can afford life's indulgences like a spacious home and expensive delicacies. They are driven by the want to enjoy a carefree and luxurious lifestyle that seems so popular nowadays. In addition, people work hard to earn more income for the purpose of affording expensive and branded items such as Chanel handbags, IPhones, and tablet personal computers. As people become more focused on wealth and improving living standards, they tend to forget matters that are substantial in life, namely health, family, and friends.
         A materialistic mind-set can drive people to overspend or buy things that they cannot afford yet. This will give a domino effect on the country's economy. Of course, the spending power of the society can help to boost the economy, as they increase sales and business opportunities. However, when people overspend to extreme ends using plastics money or credit cards and take loans that they cannot afford to reimburse them, the country's debt margin will surely rise. For instance, in America, banks are giving loans to individuals who aspire to own big houses that they cannot pay for. Their inability to pay for it became one of the factors that caused the collapse of America's economy.
          Materialism has also affected people's spiritual and moral beliefs. Some people are fortunate enough to have a proper occupation that they can work hard for, but some people who are jobless or have low income can also develop avaricious characteristics. Since they cannot afford the treats in life yet desire it, they can turn to a life of crime for the resolution to satisfy their materialistic needs. This can be observed through the increasing crime rates for theft, break-ins, snatch thefts, frauds, blackmail, kidnapping for ransom, and bank account hacking. Those who commit these crimes are materialistic criminals that lost sight of moral and spiritual values as they are blinded by greed and wealth. Besides that, parents may neglect their children's emotional and spiritual needs because they are fully engrossed in money-making activities. Despite all the comforts and extravagance, the children can become lonely and crave for parental affection, and thus indulge in bad habits like smoking or vandalizing public property as an act to eradicate the loneliness or seek attention.
          In conclusion, materialism is becoming a common quality in the 21st century. People are compelled to work harder to afford indulgences beyond their reach. Even though materialism may spur individuals to strive in life to improve their way of living, the act of overspending can lead to the downfall of the one's well-being and the economy. For me, I believe that money is not everything in life. It is undeniable that without money, one cannot survive in this harsh world, but having money in abundance in meaningless when one is unhappy. As quoted from Virgil, "The greatest wealth is health." I think that there are more significant things in our lives that seem to be overshadowed by our busy daily lives and worldly delights, and they are family, friends, health, and true happiness.

(626 words.)

Suggest some measures that you think should be taken to prevent snatch thefts. Support your answer with examples. Give your views in not fewer than 350 words.

Recently, there have been a lot of reports in the newspapers on the rising cases of snatch theft. I fully agree with the writer’s opinions which were published in your editorial column. In order to curb this problem, the public and the police should work together.
            One of the ways to curb this problem is the public to be more aware of their surroundings. They should always be on the looked for suspicious-looking characters and make a report to the police, if necessary. Often, the police rely on public information to make a head start in solving cases. They must also learn to take better care of themselves. For example, they should make sure that they have a friend with them they have to walk in a deserted area. As far as possible, however, they should avoid dark and deserted areas.
            One mistake which people make is to wear a lot of jewellery or take along a lot of money when going out. Flashy jewellery will attract the attention of snatch thieves. In addition, they should take better care of their belongings. For example, girls or women with handbags need to ensure that they hold on their handbags properly so that they will not be easily snatched. They should always walk facing oncoming traffic so that they can see what or who is approaching them. Women are also advised not carry handbags with long straps as these are easy to snatch.
            The public should also cooperate and be more civic minded in helping others. They should try and help victims of snatch thefts and not just turn a blind eye. In many cases of snatch thefts, not many people came up to help the victims even though there were cries for help. The least they could have done was to try to take down the vehicle registration number of the motorcycle or to help give a description of the perpetrators to the police. If people look out for and each other, snatch thieves will not have such an easy time.
            Last but not least, the police should come up with preventive measures to curb this problem. They should patrol snatch-theft prone areas such as bus stations and LRT stations. They should also come up with posters to remind the public to be more careful about snatch thieves. Aside from this, they can conduct seminars to educate the public on how to avoid becoming victims of snatch thefts.
All in all, in order to curb this growing problem, it is necessary for the public and the police to cooperate with each other. By being more responsible for their own safety and working hand in hand with the police, the public can play a great part in helping to reduce the number of snatch thefts


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