Good government is a dangerous government, because it deprives people of the need to look after themselves.” Do you agree?
Key words:
In Gandhi’s quotation, “good government” paradoxically “deprives people of the need to look after themselves”: This suggests a level of government involvement in the lives of citizens such that it approximates a welfare state (where the state assumes primary responsibility for the welfare of its citizens) or a nanny state (government intervention in social issues).

“Deprives” suggests that people are denied or robbed of the right to take care of their own affairs.
Possible stands:
Yes, good government is dangerous government
No, good government is not dangerous government
STAND:Yes, good government is dangerous

Argument: Good government may lead the people to become over reliant on the state

Reason: Personal responsibility is a virtue, and a state that provides too much diminishes the capacity of individuals to develop this virtue.

Explanation: If welfare is too generous and easy to obtain, a welfare mentality or dependency culture would be fostered. There would be no incentive to work as irresponsible individuals would rather go on the dole.

Evaluation: In the UK the welfare state has produced a generation of dependents who, instead of working, rely solely upon the state for income and support; even though assistance is only legally available to those unable to work. The welfare state in the UK was created to provide certain people with a basic level of benefits in order to alleviate poverty, but that as a matter of opinion has been expanded to provide a larger number of people with more money than the country can ideally afford.
Other possible arguments

“Good government” operates on the assumption that the state has a duty to protect the citizenry from their own harmful behaviour, and that it knows best what constitutes harmful behaviour, leading to policies such as bans on smoking in public places, media censorship, anti-pornography laws, etc. However, this practice of supporting people also infringes on their individual freedom and controls them, and thus isn’t really an act of altruism.

The nanny state may be less safe because the government is more often wrong than right.

Government resources are expended on issues, which citizens are more than competent to handle and decide for themselves.


No, “good government” need not be dangerous if the level of assistance is appropriate

The government has a responsibility to help minimise social disparities through assistance programmes and level the playing field as much as possible e.g. by providing health subsidies, education bursaries, housing, outright grants, etc. If the poor are not sufficiently helped to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty, it may create more problems such as societal divisions, persistent high rate of crime, etc.

No, “good government” need not be dangerous There are some services that should be provided for by the government

There are areas in which it isn’t reasonable to expect the people to take care of on their own. Certain services are more efficiently provided by the government for the public e.g. infrastructure and transport system, water distribution, healthcare, and national defence.

“The Singapore dream is based on success and money.” Do you agree?

Key words

Singapore dream:
Collective goal or ambitions of the people (could be people led or government initiated)
Is based on money and success:
Indicating that $ and success are the FOUNDATION and basis for most ambitions of our nation. Success and $ can also be seen as the ULTIMATE GOAL.

Possible stands:
Yes, but (safest and most logical)
Prove that the Singapore dream has largely been founded on these two principles and that the ultimate GOAL is still to achieve success and money (even if there are intermediate goals)

Argument:The Singapore dream is based on the notion that equality and meritocracy will help us to carve out success for everyone. Yet, success in our society is measured mainly in material terms.

Reasoning + Evaluation: The dream of the average Singaporean is achieving the 5 Cs – career, car, credit cards, condominium and a country club membership. Education in Singapore is less about the process of learning and more about getting into a reputable school and attaining the necessary qualifications to get a job with a good pay. The ends are always economic in nature. Every year parents scramble to get their children into good schools. Schools and students cram knowledge to pass national examinations to arm themselves with the paper qualifications to get a job in a big corporation. The dream of having material possessions, a sign that one has ‘arrived’ in society translates into a life spent working to pay off more loans .

Conclusion: With the focus placed primarily on tangible, measurable achievements further reinforced by the government’s drive to push Singapore onto the global stage, there is no doubt that the Singaporean dream is based on success and money.
Other possible arguments (dream is based on $ success)

The statement is true to a large extent as Singapore was an immigrant society. Our ancestors came to seek a better life. They were here to look for better opportunities and basically to seek greater wealth. This background of our forefathers has made Singaporeans very pragmatic, goal-oriented people. To many of us, happiness is to succeed in our career or business which ultimately gives us the means to live the life we desire.

can be seen by the little importance that our society places on ventures with little economic returns

Overwhelming focus on achieving accolades and titles (most ‘competitive’ economy, most globalised, aviation. Bio-medical hub, renaissance city – much of it tied to being seen as a significant member on the global stage.)

Balance (BUT)

Show that these ‘dreams’ (often government nurtured) are not necessarily tied to monetary terms.
The Singapore dream is also about building a harmonious, peaceful society for our children to grow up in as more feel they have a stake in the country’s future.

Sg dream is also about a better QUALITY of LIFE – not merely standard of living. The Singapore dream is constantly evolving, and as the nation matures and people enjoy a high standard of living, they seek the non-material aspects of life.

SG dream is also about creating a gracious/civic minded society (government initiated)

SG dream is also about nation building in terms of having loyal citizens with a sense of belonging who take an active role in society.

“Globalisation privileges the rich more than the poor.” How far is this true?

Key terms
Candidates would need to show an understanding of the characteristics of this phenomenon, in particular, how they affect the rich and poor.
To grant an advantage or a special right.
Rich and Poor
These terms refer to the disparity in income.
More than
Although these words are often indicated that an essay requires some form of comparison, the following ‘extent’ phrase negates this.
“How far is this true?”
Candidates need to assess the extent to which the rich are placed at an advantaged as a result of globalisation. The assumption is that the rich are indeed privileged more.


Possible stands:
This statement is true to a large extent.
This is obviously the easier stand to take as candidates merely need to show the fullness of how globalisation benefits the rich more than the poor.
This statement is true to a small extent.
This stand can be tricky to prove if candidates are unable to clear express that despite the rich benefitting more than the poor, the advantage that they gain is marginal.


TEACHER’S Expectations:
Candidates should be able to clearly define the nature of the advantage enjoyed by the rich as a result of globalisation.
Apart from showing how the rich gain more advantages than the poor, candidates also need to evaluate the extent of its validity.
Candidates should not limit their discussion of the rich and poor in terms of the developed and developing world but also consider the rich and poor within a country.

Possible arguments:
With globalisation, the existing income disparity between the rich and poor nations is further widened due to the exploitation by the rich nations.
The spread of technology empowers the rich throughout the world who have access to it but further disadvantages the poor who lack the money and skill to utilise it fully.
Through globalisation, the rich gain access to more resources without facing resource depletion.
Sample Paragraph

Through globalisation, the rich gain access to more resources without facing resource depletion. The creation of free trade allows the sale of natural resources from the poor nations to the rich nations, thus further providing the rich with more resources while creating problems of resource depletion for the poor. Since the poor countries require funds for economic growth and raw materials are the only valuable resource they have, they often sell them to richer countries at low prices. Though the poor countries gain revenue from the trade, they lose vital resources, such as Madagascar that suffers from rampant deforestation. Despite attempts made by the UNCED (United Nations Conference on Environment and Development) to reduce the extent of such exploitation, it’s subsequent ineffectiveness clearly reinforces the large extent to which the rich benefit more than the poor as a result of globalisation.

Candidates should acknowledge that the poor do gain advantages as a result of globalisation.
Candidates could also mention the increasing awareness of the widening disparity that globalisation creates, which in turn leads to the creation of greater checks and balances that might reduce the extent of how much more the rich gain advantage over the poor.
Fair trade, International Labour Organisation, World Bank, UNCED etc.

Do you agree that with the emergence of new media, there will be a greater need for censorship?

Key words

New Media:
the digital, computerized, or networked information and communication technologies
characteristics of being compressible, linked to a network and can be manipulated

Indicates likelihood
Greater need:
Indicates increase

Possible stands:

YES the emergence of New Media calls for a greater need for censorship

NO greater censorship will destroy the effectiveness of New Media

YES BUT need does not translate to effectiveness

Prove using current trends that New Media introduces new characteristics which are potentially harmful to the individual, organisations and nations and hence require additional monitoring


Argument: New Media allows for the easy access of information by anyone who has the necessary technology.
Reason: This eliminates the screening process that is usually put in place to protect minors from accessing socially undesirable information.
Explanation: Pornography is easily accessible by minors as such websites do not require proof of age, merely a credit card number. Some pornographic websites even allow ‘sneak previews’ of what they have to offer.
Evaluation: Exposure to such material at a young age can result in sexual illnesses, unplanned pregnancies and even rape. Without the proper guidance, children can develop a warped understanding of intimacy which can prove to be detrimental to them in later years.
Conclusion: Therefore, in order to prevent such free flow of socially undesirable information, there is a greater need for censorship.

Other possible arguments (YES)

User to user interactivity = anyone can use it for any purpose terrorist networks/cults using internet for propaganda and recruitment purposes need to protect public or keep them informed
insensitive remarks need to maintain harmony in society
Intricate network connections = hacking need to protect people’s privacy
Digitalization of media = piracy need to protect profits & intellectual property rights

Balance (BUT)

It may not be effective to censor New Media as it is hard to police the cyberspace or control how information is disseminated through New Media
Governments need to constantly come up with more effective and innovative ways to censor it.

Possible arguments (NO)

New Media is a tool for social change as it allows people to share ideas and express themselves freely.
Allows for self-censorship
Cyberspace as a platform for democracy
Real time compressible information
Marginal harm done

Sports Content Notes

Posted: January 3, 2010 in Sports Content Notes


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