Tuesday, November 10, 2015

THE STAR :1,000 students drop out due to poor command of the language

MALACCA: Poor command of English has put paid to the ambition for some 1,000 medical graduates to become doctors despite having completed a two-year housemanship in public hospitals.
Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) Malacca chapter president Prof Dr M. Nachiappan said these trainee doctors could not cope with the pressure of continuing to be a full-fledged doctor.
“Despite having completed their housemanship last year, they are no longer keen to be doctors.
“The main reason was poor grasp of English. This is not good for the medical fraternity and does not augur well for the nation if stakeholders do not execute some plans to improve the standard of English,” he said.
Dr Nachiappan said other contributing factors were lack of interest in basic medical training, poor relationship skills with patients and frustration due to working condition. He said without proficiency in English, medical students would find it difficult to keep pace with their peers from other nations.
“There must be an urgency to improve the grasp of the language at the primary level. Otherwise, the quality of doctors will go downhill,” he said.
Dr Nachiappan, who is also the deputy dean of Melaka Manipal Medical College, said medical schools were also facing difficulties in churning quality medical graduates due to lack of exposure in English.
He said this was evident with the poor results obtained by medical students when pursuing their stu­dies in universities and medical colleges.
“The quality of our students are compromised due to their inabilities to communicate in English,” he said, adding that most reference books on medicine and lectures were delivered in English.
Earlier, he met a group of 11 Parents-Teachers Association chairmen who were unhappy that the Education Ministry had omitted their schools from the privilege of implementing the dual language programme (DLP).
They have been lobbying for teaching and learning of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) policy since 2009.
The group’s spokesman Mak Chee Kin said they had been fighting hard to be part of the DLP for six years.
“It is unfair to us as some secondary schools which have objected to PPSMI are included.
“We hope our plight will be considered by the ministry. As parents, we felt English is crucial for the future of our children,” he said, adding that all three criteria – adequate English teachers, sufficient resources and consent from parents – were met.
The schools were SM St Francis, SM St David, SM Catholic, SM Notterdam, SM Yok Bin, SM Gajah Berang, Chinese High School, SM Pulau Sebang, SM Infant Jesus Convent, SM Canossa Convent and Methodist Girl School.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Sample Answers : The Curse SPM 2015

The Curse: Theme of Family Love

“Family love is important.”


Using details from the novel you have studied, state whether you agree with the statement above,  give reasons for you answers. Use evidence from the novel to support your answer.

            In the novel “The Curse” by Lee Su Ann, we can see how important family love is. There is love between parents and children as well as husband and wife. Family love is important because when it exists, there is happiness but when it does not, there will be conflict.

                First, the book explores several facets of the love between a husband and a wife. Saleh Abdullah, Azreen’s father takes good care of his wife until she dies although she is paralysed and has Alzhemier.

Haji Ghani, the village headman loves his second wife, Madhuri a lot. He adores her, showers her with expensive gifts and takes her on vacations. He is heart-broken when she dies and really misses her. However, he is quite cold towards his first wife, Fatihah who loves her husband and tries everything to win back her husband’s affections. This brings about conflict in the household. She becomes jealous of Madhuri and she must have been relieved when Madhuri dies.

 However, the relationship between the Old Lady and her late husband is a destructive one because her husband turns abusive and she kills him in self-defence. It must have started with love but it is a love that has turned sour. Without love, the relationship between a husband and wife turns chaotic and there is no peace at home. That is why family love is important.

Then, there is love between parents and children. Although Madhuri is an adoptive child, Saleh Abdullah and his wife love her a lot and treat her like their own. She is a good child and does not give her adopted parents problems. Azreen, on the other hand, is headstrong and rebellious, and as a result, often gets punishment. However, Saleh Abdullah shows his love for Azreen in a silent way. He comes just in time to save Azreen from the viciousness of the unruly crowd of villagers gathered in front of Mohd Asraf’s house to demand that the Old Lady to leave the village. Again, Saleh shows his love for Azreen when he rushes into the Old Lady’s burning house to save her. This is what love for family means.

Therefore, family love is important because it can be a unifying factor. When there is love in the family, there is peace and happiness. Without family love, things fall apart.

The Curse: Moral Value of Courage

 Based on the novel you have read, write about one moral value that is portrayed in this novel. Support your answer with close reference to the text.

            One moral value that is depicted in the novel “The Curse” by Lee Su Ann is being brave. Azreen, who is the protagonist in this story, displays this moral value.

 Even as a young girl, she takes the challenge and tries to prove to her friends that the Old Lady is not an evil witch. When she is yelled at for entering the Old Lady’s house and destroying her garden, Azreen bravely stands her ground. In fact, the next day she returns and repairs the trampled garden. This act of hers finally wins the Old Lady’s heart. Soon, a close relationship is forged between them.

 In another incident, Azreen demonstrates courage when she bravely takes the blame for Mohd Asraf in the bull incident. The same bull later injures her mother’s leg, causing her to lose the use of the leg. Despite being blamed and scolded by her father and scorned upon by the villagers for being irresponsible, she bravely endures it all by keeping the secret and never tells anyone what really happened.

 Azreen’s bravery is again evident when she bravely tries to rescue the Old Lady but she in turn has to be rescued by her father. When the innocent Old Lady dies in the tragic accident she bravely confronts Mohd Asraf ‘like a wildcat’. Finally, towards the end of the story, she confronts her father about Madhuri’s murder until he is forced to divulge the truth that he has killed Madhuri in a fit of anger.

 Therefore, through Azreen’s character, we are shown that being brave is an important value in building relationship, keeping secret and finding the truth.

The Curse: An Important Event

 Based on the novel you have read, choose an event that you think is important. Give reasons for your choice with close reference to the text.

            In the novel “The Curse” by Lee Su Ann, there are a number of important events. In my opinion one of the important events is the climax of the novel which is the attack on the Old Lady by an angry mob.

            The Old Lady tries to cure Mohd Asraf’s grandmother with her medicine but she dies suddenly. Mohd Asraf is convinced by Puan Normala that his grandmother, Nek, is poisoned by the Old Lady. Angry at his loss, Mohd Asraf leads an angry mob which results in a tragic accident and the demise of the Old Lady. This event is significant because after this incident all the questions that are in the minds of the villagers are answered.

            For Azreen, the death of the Old Lady signifies the loss of a true friend, confidante and counselor. Consequently, she confronts Asraf ‘like a wildcat’. He breaks down and tells her the truth that he and Madhuri are lovers and they have planned to elope to Kuala Lumpur. The next morning, Awang the ‘bomoh’ reveals more secrets. Azreen learns that Madhuri is not her real sister and that Madhuri’s mother is still alive. She is the vampire-like figure of a woman lurking around the village, out to avenge the death of her daughter.

Azreen finally confronts her father, Saleh Abdullah, who admits that he kills Madhuri in a fit of anger when he discovers that she is having an affair with a man in the rubber plantation. The ‘white blood’ that comes out from Madhuri’s body turns out to be the latex from the rubber tree. Later, when he comes face-to-face with the woman with the long black hair and blazing eyes (Madhuri’s real mother), he is terrified. Fear coupled with guilt results in him suffering a heart attack and he dies.

The important event in this novel when the Old Lady is attacked by the angry mob has shown that the truth will always prevail at the end.

The Curse A Decision Made By a Character: was it right or wrong?

The novel that I have read is The Curse by Lee Su Ann.  In this novel I find that Azreen has made a few difficult decisions.    One of the decisions is when she took the blame for leaving Mr. Mohan’s farm gate open which caused the bull to escape.

 During the school days, Azreen was a good friend of Asraf and she also had a crush on him.  Asraf worked part time on Mr. Mohan’s farm.  One evening, when Azreen went to visit Asraf on the farm, there was a commotion.  As Azreen approached the group, she was shocked to hear Mr. Mohan and his sons, threatening Asraf.  Asraf was being blamed for leaving the farm gate open and letting the bull from the farm.  At that very moment, Azreen’s instinct told her to protect the person she loves.  She made a difficult decision by taking up the blame for leaving the gate open.  She boldly told off Mr. Mohan and his sons that they should not make accusations without looking into the matter first.  In general, it is not easy to take a blame for something that one has not done.  It takes a lot of guts and I find that Azreen has that quality.

However, was her decision right?  I feel that the decision to take up the blame was wrong.  A friend in need is a friend indeed but not in this situation.  Helping a friend does not mean that one should take up the blame for someone else’s wrong doings just to protect the friend from being punish.  In this case, I feel Azreen took the blame just to prove to Asraf her feelings for him.  But was that appropriate?  If Asraf was innocent, then he should have voiced out and stopped Azreen from taking the blame.  Furthermore, Azreen should have requested Mr. Mohan to investigate the situation first and that would have been a better decision.

Moverover, it was the wrong decision because the escaped bull also cost her mother to lose the ability to walk.  Since Azreen took the blame for the bull’s escape, she was indirectly responsible for the accident.  The bull had crashed into her father’s motorcycle causing her mother to lose the use of her leg.  From that day onwards her father was cold and distant with her as he was furious that it was really her fault that the bull escaped.  I find that the decision that she made was her biggest mistake as she did not win Asraf’s heart after all but her relationship with her father went from bad to worse.  They became estranged until the end.

            Based on the above reasoning, I find that making a decision to help someone in need is a right move but saving someone who may be in wrong or guilty is not a good decision.  In this situation, I feel that the decision Azreen made was definitely wrong as it cost her to lose her parents’ trust and love.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015


CREDITS TO : http://www.ieltsbuddy.com/ielts-essay.html

Malaysian women’s groups have fought hard over the years and won some battles. But does this mean women are now truly equal to men in the country?

     DO we women not matter at all? Are we only valuable around election time? Is the fact that we can vote the only indicator of our equality? Women’s groups were in shock last week when – at a National Women’s Day celebration – the Women, Family and Community Development Minister stated that Malaysia had no need for a women’s rights movement because we were given equality from the start. I understand that the remarks were off-the-cuff but it begs the question of how unimportant are Malaysian women viewed that they didn’t merit a carefully-prepared speech.
     To say that we are better off than developed countries because we got the vote from the beginning is to skim the surface of history. Yes, developed countries did not give the vote to women “from the beginning”. But they are also older countries, established during eras when archaic attitudes about women prevailed. When we gained independence, of course we had to give women the vote because by then attitudes towards women had changed.But what is more important is what has happened since then. Switzerland did not give women the vote until the 1970s. But today they have had not only a woman president but half of their Cabinet members are women.
      We, on the other hand, did not even appoint our first woman minister until a full 12 years after independence, despite the efforts that women put in during the independence struggle.
What’s more, we only amended our Federal Constitution to prohibit gender-based discrimination as late as 2001 – an act that even now is not fully implemented because a judge ruled that it does not apply to the private sector. Gender-based violence is also a discrimination issue because it is women who tend to suffer more.If we had all our rights in 1957, why then did we need to fight for a Domestic Violence Act, a law that took six years to be passed by Parliament and a further two years before it could be gazetted?
Why did we need a Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce Act) in 1976 if women did not think their situation was unfair?
      Why did we need the Guardianship of Infants (Amendment) Act in 1999 so that, finally, women could be recognised as guardians to their own children? None of these changes that benefited women happened on their own. A recent study by two American academics showed that, far more than women politicians, women’s groups are crucial in pushing for laws that benefit women. Similarly, Malaysian women’s groups fought hard to gain these rights. They wrote memoranda, attended meetings, marched and protested. In the end they won some of the battles they fought. Does this mean that we are now completely equal substantively to male citizens of this country? Of course not!We are expected to work outside the home, and indeed often have no other choice, but we are still expected to cook, clean and care. This double burden can be deeply stressful especially if we have no support.
       The Government has called for crèches at workplaces, but they seem to have no will to enforce that in the private sector.But we are proud that companies are now being compelled to include women on their boards.All well and good but the numbers being trained to do so are nowhere near the 30% government-mandated requirement. So, are we just meant to be tokens? What is not mentioned is that when we signed up to the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, we said we would allocate 30% of the positions in all decision-making positions to women. This means more than being on the board; this includes political positions.So if we comply, we need to have nine women in the current Cabinet instead of the two we used to have. What’s more, 30% of all candidates in the coming elections should be women.
              To say that we already have equality is to deny the very many reports on the status of women in this country that clearly states that we do not.


It is important for us to embrace the ideal that all sectors of society must be helped if they need help.
IT has been said many times in this column that as a nation we need to move away from race-based politics and policy-making.Whenever the issue is raised, however, there will normally follow responses that refer to the inequitable distribution of wealth in the country. The usual argument is that Malays still make up the largest number of poor and thus require affirmative action.

I agree that the largest number of poor households is still largely Malay. This being the case, if we discard ethnic-based policy-making and focus purely on poverty alleviation, the largest group that would be receiving help will still be Malays.

The difference with a colour-blind policy, however, will be two-fold.

Firstly, as a nation that purports to hold civilised values, it is of vital importance for us to embrace the ideal that all sectors of society, regardless of their skin colour, must be helped if they need help.

Secondly, it is unsustainable for us to continue to be governed based on race for there is no way we can grow successfully as a nation if there is a deep and abiding sense of division among us.
As the saying goes, talk is cheap. If one were to take this route, how does one go about it?
Surely the priority should be towards the building of a more equitable society, in terms of income, education, opportunities for development and institutional fairness.

Fortunately, two NGOs have decided to take the bull by the horns and have come up with an interesting suggestion.
Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) and the National Human Rights Society (Hakam) have drafted a proposed law called the Social Inclusion Act (SIA).The SIA does not actually provide immediate answers or quick fixes.
Instead, it proposes a method through which we can develop policies that will be beneficial to Malaysians who are disadvantaged and marginalised.What it suggests is the creation of a Social Inclusion Commission. This commission will consist of seven people who are knowledgeable and experienced in the issues at hand, i.e. poverty and social marginalisation.

The shortlist is to be drawn up by a bipartisan parliamentary committee. The committee then passes the shortlist to the Prime Minister who then advises the Yang DiPertuan Agong who finally makes the appointments.
In other words, the commissioners will not be appointed on the say-so of one person.
There is also a strict requirement of disclosure in the SIA where commissioners are bound to disclose any interest they, their family members or associates might have with any matter which is related to their work.
This commission is to be responsible to Parliament to whom they will have to report regularly. These reports are also to be made available to the public.

The commission, once established, has the responsibility to address issues of poverty reduction, income inequality, institutional discrimination, capacity building for marginalised and vulnerable communities, and the provision of social safety nets.They are to then draft policies to deal with these issues and governmental plans of action are to be made in line with these policies.

There is a close link between the commission and Parliament, with the commission having the responsibility not only to report to the House but to also take all necessary steps to involve MPs in the development and implementation of their plans.

To me, this proposed law is attractive for many reasons.
Firstly and most crucially, it is concerned with the most vulnerable and needful sectors of the Malaysian community.
Secondly, it provides for a transparent modus operandi.
Thirdly, its work is closely intertwined with Parliament, thus respecting the democratic system.
And finally, it functions on the premise that concerted research has to be done in formulating policies.

Naturally, there is much work to be done to refine the SIA.
However, it is a bold first step forward for the country and it ought to be taken seriously by anyone who is serious about creating a nation which is more just, inclusive and caring.

3 Some people say that the education system is the only critical factor for the development of a country. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Everything has two sides and education system is not an exception. In the past it seemed like the most natural way of developing country but nowadays people criticize it.

On the one hand, education system is one best way of teaching students about the factor to develop country. It helps students to know more about the country's poor sides and teaches them how to solve or promote drawbacks of the country. For example, nowadays in all developed country's universities include lessons which contain the country's development plans or ways.

On the other hand, many people believe that developed economy contributes the promotion of the country. It is proven that in some country’s education system is not increased but the countries’ development rate is so high, such as India. What we drive from these facts is that if country establishes proper economy system, it means this country begins to develop. If country’s economic rate is not chosen properly that it is impossible to increase any field of the country, because economic increase will face the country with the world.

Moreover, established suitable policy means developed country. Some countries, nowadays, is being run by true and successful policy, because opposide side may lead to the some kind of problems, such as citizen battles and country cannot afford to stabilise its education system, as without peace it is impossible to increase or choose complementary education. It is proven in many countries or from many years that if one country is run with unsuitable policy it brings to country’s disappearance or separation. For example, in the history it is visible that some countries were separated by their unnecessary policy, not their unproper education

In conclusion, education system, in my opinion, is part of development of the country, while, without economy and policy it is not possible to support promotion to the country

4. In the last 20 years there have been significant developments in the field of information technology (IT), for example the World Wide Web and communication by email. However, these developments in IT are likely to have more negative effects than positive in the future.
To what extent do you agree with this view?

The last two decades have seen enormous changes in the way people's lives are affected by IT, with many advances in this field. However, while these technological advances have brought many benefits to the world, it can be argued that these developments in IT will result in more negative impacts than positive.
To begin, email has made communication, especially abroad, much simpler and faster, resulting in numerous benefits for commerce and business. Furthermore, the World Wide Web means that information on every conceivable subject is now available to us. For example, people can access news, medical advice, online education courses and much more via the internet. It is evident that these improvements have made life far easier and more convenient for large numbers of people and will continue to do so for decades to come.
Nevertheless, the effects of this new technology have not all been beneficial. For example, many people feel that the widespread use of email is destroying traditional forms of communication such as letter writing, telephone and face-to-face conversation. This could result in a decline in people's basic ability to socialize and interact with each other on a day-to-day basis.
In addition, the large size of the Web has meant that it is nearly impossible to regulate and control. This has led to many concerns regarding children accessing unsuitable websites and viruses. Unfortunately, this kind of problem might even get worse in the future at least until more regulated systems are set up.
In conclusion, developments in IT have brought many benefits, yet I believe developments relating to new technology are likely to produce many negative effects in the future that must be addressed if we are to avoid damaging impacts to individuals and society.

5. Currently there is a trend towards the use of alternative forms of medicine. However, at best these methods are ineffective, and at worst they may be dangerous.To what extent do you agree with this statement?
Alternative medicine is not new. It is accepted that it pre-dates conventional medicine and it is still used by many people all over the world. I am unconvinced that it is dangerous, and feel that both alternative and conventional medicine can be useful.
There are several reasons why the conventional medical community is often dismissive of alternatives.  Firstly, there has been little scientific research into such medicine, so there is a scarcity of evidence to support the claims of their supporters. Furthermore, people often try such treatment because of recommendations from friends, and therefore come to the therapist with a very positive attitude, which may be part of the reason for the cure. Moreover, these therapies are usually only useful for long-term, chronic conditions. Acute medical problems, such as accidental injury, often require more conventional methods.
On the other hand, there remain strong arguments for the use of alternatives.  Despite the lack of scientific proof, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that these therapies work. In addition, far from being dangerous, they often have few or no side effects, so the worst outcome would be no change. One of the strongest arguments for the effectiveness of alternative therapies in the West is that, whilst conventional medicine is available without charge, many people are prepared to pay considerable sums for alternatives. If they were totally unhelpful, it would be surprising if this continued.
I strongly believe that conventional medicine and alternative therapies can and should coexist. They have different strengths, and can both be used effectively to target particular medical problems. The best situation would be for alternative therapies to be used to support and complement conventional medicine
6. Some people believe the aim of university education is to help graduates get better jobs. Others believe there are much wider benefits of university education for both individuals and society.
Discuss both views and give your opinion.

These days, more and more people are making the choice to go to university.  While some people are of the opinion that the only purpose of a university education is to improve job prospects, others think that society and the individual benefit in much broader ways.
It is certainly true that one of the main aims of university is to secure a better job.  The majority of people want to improve their future career prospects and attending university is one of the best ways to do this as it increases a persons marketable skills and attractiveness to potential employers.  In addition, further education is very expensive for many people, so most would not consider it if it would not provide them with a more secure future and a higher standard of living. Thus job prospects are very important.
However, there are other benefits for individuals and society.  Firstly, the independence of living away from home is a benefit because it helps the students develop better social skills and improve as a person.  A case in point is that many students will have to leave their families, live in halls of residence and meet new friends.  As a result, their maturity and confidence will grow enabling them to live more fulfilling lives.  Secondly, society will gain from the contribution that the graduates can make to the economy.  We are living in a very competitive world, so countries need educated people in order to compete and prosper.
Therefore, I believe that although a main aim of university education is to get the best job, there are clearly further benefits.  If we continue to promote and encourage university attendance, it will lead to a better future for individuals and society.
(279 words)
7. n order to solve traffic problems, governments should tax private car owners heavily and use the money to improve public transportation.What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a solution?

Traffic congestion in many cities around the world is severe. One possible solution to this problem is to impose heavy taxes on car drivers and use this money to make public transport better. This essay will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of such a measure.
One of the first benefits of such a measure is that the heavy taxes would discourage car owners from using their cars because it would become very expensive to drive. This would mean that they would begin to make use of public transport instead, thus reducing traffic problems and pollution as well. Another benefit would be that much more use would be made of public transport if it was improved. It is often the case that public transport in cities is very poor. For example, we often see old buses and trains that people would rather not use. High taxes would generate enough money to make the necessary changes.
Nevertheless, there are drawbacks to such a solution. First and foremost, this would be a heavy burden on the car drivers. At present, taxes are already high for a lot of people, and so further taxes would only mean less money at the end of the month for most people who may have no choice but to drive every day. In addition, this type of tax would likely be set at a fixed amount. This would mean that it would hit those with less money harder, whilst the rich could likely afford it. It is therefore not a fair tax.
To conclude, this solution is worth considering to improve the current situation, but there are advantages and disadvantages of introducing such a policy.
(277 words)
8. Many old buildings protected by law are part of a nation’s history. Some people think they should be knocked down and replaced by news ones.How important is it to maintain old buildings?Should history stand in the way of progress?

Most nations around the world have at least some, or possibly many, old buildings such as temples, churches and houses in their cities, villages and surrounding areas which have historical significance. In my opinion, it is very important to maintain these, but this does not mean progress should stop.
Preserving certain old buildings is important for several reasons. Firstly, these structures provide an insight into the history of our countries, showing us how people many centuries ago lived their lives. Without them, we could only learn by books, and it would undoubtedly be sad if this were the only way to see them. Many of these buildings are also very beautiful. Take for example the many religious buildings such as churches and temples that we see around the world. Not only this, but on a more practical level, many of these buildings provide important income to a country as many tourists visit them in great numbers.
However, this certainly does not mean that modernization should be discouraged. I believe that old buildings can be protected in tandem with progress. For example, in many circumstances we see old historic buildings being renovated whilst maintaining their original character, and being used for modern purposes. Also, in no way does history hinder progress, and in fact it is the opposite. By studying and learning about our history, we understand more about the world we live in, and this helps us to build a better future.
To conclude, I believe that it is very important to protect and preserve old buildings as we can learn about our history as can others from other countries. Such knowledge can also help us to understand how to modernize our countries in the best way.
Words 287
9. Do the dangers derived from the use of chemicals in food production and preservation outweigh the advantages?

Most foods that are purchased these days in small stores and supermarkets have chemicals in them as these are used to improve production and ensure the food lasts for longer. However, there are concerns that these have harmful effects.  In my opinion, the potential dangers from this are greater than the benefits we receive.
There are several reasons why chemicals are placed in food. Firstly, it is to improve the product to the eye, and this is achieved via the use of colourings which encourage people to purchase food that may otherwise not look tempting to eat. Another reason is to preserve the food. Much of the food we eat would not actually last that long if it were not for chemicals they contain, so again this is an advantage to the companies that sell food as their products have a longer shelf life.
From this evidence, it is clear to me that the main benefits are, therefore, to the companies and not to the customer. Although companies claim these food additives are safe and they have research to support this, the research is quite possibly biased as it comes from their own companies or people with connections to these companies. It is common to read reports these days in the press about possible links to various health issues such as cancer. Food additives have also been linked to problems such as hyperactivity in children.
To conclude, despite the fact that there are benefits to placing chemicals in food, I believe that these principally help the companies but could be a danger to the public. It is unlikely that this practice can be stopped, so food must be clearly labeled and it is my hope that organic products will become more readily available at reasonable prices to all.
(Words 298)
10. According to a recent study, the more time people use the Internet, the less time they spend with real human beings. Some people say that instead of seeing the Internet as a way of opening up new communication possibilities world- wide, we should be concerned about the effect this is having on social interaction.
How far do you agree with this opinion?

It is evident that, at present, people are spending a considerable amount of time on the Internet, and thus spending less time with real people. I strongly agree that although this use of the Internet has greatly increased the level of communication available, it has also had detrimental effects on the amount and type of social interaction that takes place.
The benefits of the Internet in terms of increased communication are clear, with people connected across the globe. In the past, communication was only possible by phone or mail, which entailed time and expense. It also usually meant just keeping in contact with those people already known to you. With the internet, this has changed dramatically. Email and social networking sites such as Facebook and MSN have created online communities that are global in scale, and they have fostered communication between people and countries that we would not have thought possible in the not too distant past.
That said, there is no doubt in my mind that this has had negative impacts on social interaction. People, especially the younger generation, spend hours of their time online, chatting and on forums. Although this can be beneficial, it is certainly not the same as real interaction with human beings and does not involve the same skills. It is important that children have and maintain real friendships in order to develop their own interpersonal skills. Not only this, it can also have negative effects on local communities if people are spending most of their time communicating online and not mixing in their neighbourhoods, and possibly lead to feelings of isolation for those individuals who do not have a ‘real’ person to turn to in times of need.
To conclude, I believe that the internet has undoubtedly been beneficial, but there are good reasons to be concerned about social interaction in our societies. It is therefore important that we maintain a balance between our online life and our contact with real human beings.
(328 Words)
11. University education should be free to everyone, regardless of income.To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Over recent years, more and more people have been attending university and arguments have persisted as to whether students should pay for this privilege not.  Although there are convincing arguments on both sides, I strongly believe that it should be free.
One argument put forward in favour of charging students is that education is becoming more expensive to fund as universities grow in size. Consequently, making students pay may maintain standards and ensure the quality of the teaching.  In addition, it is argued that most students benefit from university in terms of higher paid jobs, so it is fair that they pay for at least some of the cost, especially given that the majority of students attending university are from the middle classes.  Last but not least, in many countries, there is a shortage of people to do manual jobs such as plumbing and carpentry, so making university more expensive may encourage people to take up these jobs.
However, there are a number of arguments in favour of making university education free for all. Firstly, it will encourage more people to attend and this will benefit society. This is because it will lead to a more productive and educated workforce. Research has generally shown that those countries that have a better educated population via university have higher levels of innovation and productivity. In addition, there is the issue of equality of opportunity. If all students are required to pay, those on a low income may be dissuaded from attending, thus making it unfair. The reason for this is that they will likely not be able to secure financial support from their family so they will be concerned about the debts they will incur in the future.
In conclusion, I am of opinion that all education should remain equally available to all regardless of income. This is not only fair, but will also ensure that countries can prosper and develop into the future with a well-educated workforce.
326 Words

12. Smoking not only harms the smoker, but also those who are nearby. Therefore, smoking should be banned in public places.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Medical studies have shown that smoking not only leads to health problems for the smoker, but also for people close by. As a result of this, many believe that smoking should not be allowed in public places. Although there are arguments on both sides, I strongly agree that a ban is the most appropriate course of action.
Opponents of such a ban argue against it for several reasons. Firstly, they say that passive smokers make the choice to breathe in other people’s smoke by going to places where it is allowed. If they would prefer not to smoke passively, then they do not need to visit places where smoking is permitted. In addition, they believe a ban would possibly drive many bars and pubs out of business as smokers would not go there anymore. They also argue it is a matter of freedom of choice. Smoking is not against the law, so individuals should have the freedom to smoke where they wish.
However, there are more convincing arguments in favour of a ban. First and foremost, it has been proven that tobacco consists of carcinogenic compounds which cause serious harm to a person’s health, not only the smoker. Anyone around them can develop cancers of the lungs, mouth and throat, and other sites in the body. It is simply not fair to impose this upon another person. It is also the case that people’s health is more important than businesses. In any case, pubs and restaurants could adapt to a ban by, for example, allowing smoking areas .
In conclusion, it is clear that it should be made illegal to smoke in public places. This would improve the health of thousands of people, and that is most definitely a positive development.
(290 words)
13. As countries have developed there has been a trend towards smaller family sizes. Why does this happen? How does this affect society?
Many countries around the world are becoming richer as they develop and at the same time these countries are seeing a reduction in the size of the family unit. This essay will discuss the reasons for this phenomenon and examine some of the possible effects it will have on society.
One of the principal reasons for smaller family units is birth control. As a country develops and becomes richer, birth control becomes more readily available. This may be due to a rise in the number of medical clinics or the distribution of free contraception. The result of this is that people can choose family size. Another important factor is the rise in the levels of education that occur as a country develops, which means that women are more educated and more likely to be working. Consequently, many will want to delay having children and so will likely have fewer in the long-term.
This can impact on society in a number of ways. One positive effect is that the population will fall, which will likely result in less poverty as there will be less competition for scarce resources. The parents can also provide a better education to their children as it will cost less, which will benefit society as a whole. A possible negative impact is that there will be fewer younger people in the workforce in the future, thus making the sustainability of future economic growth less certain.
In conclusion, family size has fallen due to birth control and education, and this can impact on debt, access to resources, and economic growth. Regardless of any impacts, this trend is likely to continue as countries around the world develop and become wealthier.
(281 words)

14. t has been claimed that workers over 50 are not responsive to rapidly changing ideas in the modern workplace and that for this reason younger workers are to be preferred.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Some people believe that due to the rapid changes occurring in modern work places, it is better to employ younger than older people. I do not believe that this is the case.
One argument in support of younger employees is that older employees could be more set in their ways and potentially against any change. To an extent this may be true, but there are many flexible and intelligent workers over 50, while there are inflexible and narrow-minded younger ones. Attitude towards change is a result not of age but of personality type.
That said, physical changes occurring with age could mean certain jobs are more suited to a younger person. For instance, psychologists seem to be in agreement that memory declines with age for people not remaining mentally active. In high-tech industries such as computer programming, where it is so important to be able to work with so much information, numbers and calculations, being younger may be an advantage.
However, older workers have a wide range of other positive attributes that they can bring to their working environment. Generally, they have more work experience than those who are younger. In addition, as can be seen with the trend of many department stores in the UK to take on older people, they are seen to be more reliable and respectful. These are important in any kind of working environment.
In conclusion, therefore, there is not the evidence to support employing young people as opposed to those over 50. It would seem that a mix of the best qualities of old and young is preferential in order to ensure the most productive environment evolves.
(264 words)
15. Nowadays, families are not as close as in the past and a lot of people have become used to this.
Why is this happening?
Do the advantages of this trend outweigh the drawbacks?
There has been a trend over recent decades for families to become less close than they were in the past and this situation is largely accepted in society. This essay will discuss the reasons for this and examine the benefits and drawbacks of this development.
One of the first reasons for a decline in the closeness of families is connected to the busy lifestyles that we now lead. Most people are having to work longer hours and often both parents work, so they simply do not have as much time to spend with each other as they did in the past. Another factor is the materialistic and consumer driven culture we now live in, which has led to less value being placed on family relationships. Modern technology also means that people are more interested in their online life than interacting with their family in their free time.
It could be argued that this has benefits. If people are not so close with their family, they are free to pursue their own dreams and aspirations, and to focus on improving their own lifestyle. However, I believe that there are far more negative outcomes. The most important factors leading to a fulfilled and happy life are emotional security and comfort. Without these we are in danger of feeling lost. It is a difficult world we live in and we need the support of people close to us to cope with modern life. We are seeing a rise in mental health problems in many countries and this may well be a factor in this.
To conclude, busy modern lifestyles, changing cultural values and modern technology are causing families to become less close. We should try to halt this trend as it has more negative than positive outcomes.
(294 Words)

16. These days, many children have difficulty paying attention and concentrating in their classes at school.
What are the reasons for this?
How can it be dealt with?
Teachers are increasingly finding that their pupils do not pay full attention or concentrate properly during class time. This essay will examine the reasons for this and suggest some possible solutions.
One of the reasons for this is that teachers now lack the freedom to discipline children. In the past, teachers could use any methods they felt appropriate to control pupils in their class, even if this meant physical punishment. However, the balance has now changed, with children aware that there are limits to what a teacher can do and without this respect they do not concentrate if they do not want to. There have, for example, been cases were pupils have sued teachers for disciplining them too harshly. Children should of course not be abused, but teachers must be given more power to use the methods that they think appropriate to control the class without fear of recrimination.
Another factor may be the diet of children. Research has widely reported that the additives in a lot of the snacks and carbonated drinks that children drink regularly can cause behavioural changes such as hyperactivity. This may lead to a lack of ability to concentrate in class. To prevent this, schools must make sure that these snacks are not available at the school. Parents have a part to play as well, and they must ensure that their children are not given too much of these types of snacks at home.
To conclude, children may have difficulty paying attention in class because of a lack of discipline in schools and additives from snacks. However, the solutions are to give more power back to teachers and to limit the availability of certain foods.
(280 Words)
17. Some people believe that it is the responsibility of individuals to take care of their own health and diet. Others however believe that governments should make sure that their citizens have a healthy diet.
Discuss both views and give your opinion.

An increasing concern for many governments around the world is the declining health of their citizens due to a poor diet.  While some people believe governments should be responsible for improving the health of their nation, others believe it is up to the individual. This essay will examine both sides of the argument.
There is no doubt that individuals must take some responsibility for their diet and health. The argument to support this is the fact that adults have free will and make their own choices about what they eat and the exercise that they do. Children are also becoming less healthy. However, their parents are the ones who provide their evening meals so it is their responsibility to ensure these meals are nutritious and encourage them to avoid junk food and sugary snacks during the day.
Despite these arguments, there is also a case for advocating the intervention of the state. People these days often have little choice but to depend on fast food or ready meals that are high in sugar, salt and fat due to the pressures of work. Governments could regulate the ingredients of such food. Some governments also spend huge amounts of tax money on treating health problems of their citizens in hospitals. It would be logical to spend this on preventative measures such as campaigns to encourage exercise and a good diet.
Having considered both sides of the issue, I would argue that although individuals must take ultimate responsibility for what they eat, governments also have a role to play as only they can regulate the food supply, which openly encourages a poor diet.  It is only through this combination that we can improve people’s health.
(282 Words)

18. Stress is now a major problem in many countries around the world.
What are some of the factors in modern society that cause this stress, and how can we reduce it?
tress is a problem that can have detrimental effects on many people’s lives, and there are various factors in modern society responsible for this. However, there are ways to limit the potential impacts.
The modern world we live in today presents us with many issues that we did not have to cope with in the past. Firstly, there are issues of terrorism that we are constantly confronted with in the media. Whether these are real or not, we are led to believe our lives are in constant danger, be it flying on a plane or travelling on public transport. Climate change is another worry that everyone has to face. The results of a significant rise in temperatures could radically affect our ways of life, and our children’s too. There are also more health issues to be concerned about than in the past, with rises in alzheimer’s, diabetes, and stroke to name but a few. All of these concerns can result in stress.
Tackling such problems will not be easy, but there are measures that can be taken. Governments and the media could play their part by ensuring that instead of persistently bombarding us with such negative images and information about the world in which we live, we are given more positive stories too. However, given this is unlikely to happen, we need to develop our own strategies to distract us from these influences. Of course exercising regularly is one thing we should do as this has been shown to increase endorphin levels and lead to feelings of happiness. Sleeping enough helps us to recuperate and restore our body. Finally, eating properly can improve our health and result in less worry about potential diseases.
All in all, although there are many factors around us today which lead to stress, we can take steps to reduce it. Given that the strains we face in modern society will likely get worse, ignoring it is not an option for many people

19. Smoking not only harms the smoker, but also those who are nearby. Therefore, smoking should be banned in public places.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Medical studies have shown that smoking not only leads to health problems for the smoker, but also for people close by. As a result of this, many believe that smoking should not be allowed in public places. Although there are arguments on both sides, I strongly agree that a ban is the most appropriate course of action.
Opponents of such a ban argue against it for several reasons. Firstly, they say that passive smokers make the choice to breathe in other people’s smoke by going to places where it is allowed. If they would prefer not to smoke passively, then they do not need to visit places where smoking is permitted. In addition, they believe a ban would possibly drive many bars and pubs out of business as smokers would not go there anymore. They also argue it is a matter of freedom of choice. Smoking is not against the law, so individuals should have the freedom to smoke where they wish.
However, there are more convincing arguments in favour of a ban. First and foremost, it has been proven that tobacco consists of carcinogenic compounds which cause serious harm to a person’s health, not only the smoker. Anyone around them can develop cancers of the lungs, mouth and throat, and other sites in the body. It is simply not fair to impose this upon another person. It is also the case that people’s health is more important than businesses. In any case, pubs and restaurants could adapt to a ban by, for example, allowing smoking areas .
In conclusion, it is clear that it should be made illegal to smoke in public places. This would improve the health of thousands of people, and that is most definitely a positive development.
(290 words)

20 Examine the arguments in favour of and against animal experiments, and come to a conclusion on this issue.
Issues related to animal experimentation are frequently discussed these days, particularly in the media. It is often said that animals should not be used in testing because it is cruel and unnecessary.  This essay will examine the arguments for and against animal testing.
On the one hand, the people who support these experiments say that we must do tests on animals.  For instance, many famous lifesaving drugs were invented in this way, and animal experiments may help us to find more cures in the future. Indeed, possibly even a cure for cancer and AIDS.  Furthermore, the animals which are used are not usually wild but are bred especially for experiments. Therefore, they believe it is not true that animal experiments are responsible for reducing the number of wild animals on the planet.
On the other hand, others feel that there are good arguments against this.  First and foremost, animal experiments are unkind and cause animals a lot of pain. In addition, they feel that many tests are not really important, and in fact animals are not only used to test new medicines but also new cosmetics, which could be tested on humans instead.  Another issue is that sometimes an experiment on animals gives us the wrong result because animals’ bodies are not exactly the same as our own. As a consequence, this testing may not be providing the safety that its proponents claim.
In conclusion, I am of the opinion, on balance, that the benefits do not outweigh the disadvantages, and testing on animals should not continue.  Although it may improve the lives of humans, it is not fair that animals should suffer in order to achieve this.
(Words 278)

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

MUET Statistical Writing Report Sample 1



Study the report writing structure and try the question. A sample answer is provided.

When writing a report, follow this simple structure. You’ll find producing a report between 150-200 words a breeze.

  1. Title
  2. Introduction sentence – what are the stimuli?
  3. Overview/trend – what is the most outstanding idea that links all stimuli?
  4. Key features – most outstanding features as opposed to listing down the obvious features
  5. Conclusion sentence – similar to overview, but just written from a different angle

Study the chart and table below. Using only the information provided, analyse the sales of three fast food outlets in the first quarter of 2012. In your answer, you are to link the information presented in both visuals. You should write a report within 150-200 words.

  1. Title
Sales of three fast food outlets in the first quarter of 2012

  1. Introduction
The stimuli present a line graph on the sales of three fast food outlets in the first quarter of 2012 and a table on their promotional activities.

  1. Overview/trend
In general, the sales of fast food outlets increases in direct relation with the amount of promotional activities.
In general, Ken Burger recorded the highest amount of sales especially when they carried out promotional activities.

  1. Key features
Analysis within each stimulus

Line graph:
  • According to the line graph, among the three fast food outlets, Ken Burger is the most popular choice followed by Mario Pizza and Ray’s Fish & Chips.
  • The highest recorded sales was by Ken Burger in April as it rose sharply from RM3,000 to more than RM4,000.
  • Sales for Ken Burger dipped between February and March to an all time low of below Rm1,900.
  • Mario Pizza achieved its highest sales of RM1,500 between February and March before dropping to less than RM500 at the end of April.
  • Ray’s Fish & Chips was the least popular among the three fast food outlets selling less than RM400 for all four months.

  • Ken Burger and Mario Pizza both carried out two promotional activities in the first quarter of 2012.
  • Ray’s Fish & Chips carried out the least number of promotional activities which was to give a free drink in March.

Synthesis (linking between stimuli)
  • Ken Burger’s sales increased when they carried out promotional activities in January (free drinks) and April (gift voucher) whereas sales dipped when no promotions were carried out.
  • Similarly, Maria Pizza’s sales also increased in February and March due to the two promotional activities they held during that period.
  • Ray’s Fish & Chips had poor sales throughout the first quarter as they rarely had promotional activities.
  • Furthermore, Ray’s Fish & Chips only offered a free drink in March and this resulted in only a slight increase in sales.

  1. Conclusion
In conclusion, attractive promotional activities organized by fast food outlets can positively affect their sales.
In conclusion, fast food outlets sales are boosted when they carry out promotional activities which are attractive to customers such as offering gift vouchers or discounts.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Forbes writer: Weak English, school system leaves Malaysian workforce vulnerable in region

 KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — Malaysians’ deteriorating command of English and education system leaves its workforce vulnerable to regional competitors that are both cheaper and improving, a Forbes magazine contributor wrote today.
An opinion piece published by the American business magazine noted that the use of English, “the language of the global economy that is transforming Southeast Asia”, has steadily declined here in the past four decades.
“National educational policy has made it hard to find qualified teachers of English, covered in Forbes Asia in 2012,” Donald Frazier, the writer in the opinion piece, noted.
He noted that this has forced many Malaysian to attempt to address the weakness themselves, most notably in the explosion of international schools here that use English as the medium of instruction.
Beyond English, Frazier said the problem was also in Malaysia’s education policies, noting that students here a were ranked 39 out of 44 countries in problem-solving, according to a recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
“Dysfunction runs deep in many of the public schools. In rural areas, according to international observers, the national policy of preference for ethnic Malays in government jobs has resulted in a number of classrooms where teachers are time-servers, disengaged with their students as long as they collect pay-checks.
The effects of both problems were already manifesting, Frazier added, highlighting a recent government study that showed only one in four Malaysian workers were skilled or less than half of what Singapore has to offer.
Local consultant, Kal Joffres of Tandemic told the magazine that Malaysians are willing and able to work and the country has “good connections” to the region and has “decent infrastructure”.
“They could make this place the back-office to the economy of the Internet. But they need more and better basic education for this to become a reality,” he said.
Though seemingly aware of both problems, Putrajaya has been at a loss on how to stem the decline.
Earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyididn Yassin said he was “shocked” that Malaysian students continue to lag behind global counterparts despite Malaysia spending as much on education as some developed nations such as the United States.
Last year, Muhyiddin, who is also education minister, expressed bafflement at local students’ inability to master English despite nearly two decades of education.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/forbes-writer-weak-english-school-system-leaves-malaysian-workforce-vulnera#sthash.kPaKtScO.dpuf