Fun Facts #3 Women

JC General Paper

For this series of fun facts for women, you can take a look at these examples and use them in a sports essay, gender and even prejudice and discrimination essays.

#1: Women were first allowed to participate in the Olympics Games in 1900.

#2: Iran recently held its first marathon, but women were excluded from it. 2 women were so upset that they ran away from it.

#3: In the middle east, women were not allowed to even drive, for fear that this increases their social mobility and chances of having an affair/meeting guys.

#4: Women were not allowed to run a marathon until the late 1960s for fear that long distance running is harmful to a woman’s womb, affecting her childbearing abilities.

#5: Heart disease is the number 1 killer for women.

List of Great and Helpful GP Articles

List of Great and Helpful GP Articles

JC General Paper, Studying Tips

Here is a compilation of great GP articles

  1. Interpreting GP essay Questions
  2. How to write a good essay Introduction?
  3. How to craft a good essay body paragraph?
  4. How to write a good essay conclusion?
  5. How to write an essay that will get you an A?
  6. How to tackle GP Summary (1)
  7. How to tackle GP Summary (2)
  8. Top 10 Pitfalls for Essay Writing
  9. Type of Science and Technology Questions
  10. Analytical Question on Philosophy
  11. Problem of over-generalisation in General Paper
  12. Fun Facts about Women
  13. Science vs. Arts – Which is better?
  14. Value of Arts

2015 A Level H2 Chemistry (9647) Paper 3 Suggested Solutions

JC Chemistry

All solutions here are SUGGESTED. Mr. Lee will hold no liability for any errors. Comments are entirely personal opinions.

[Please do not ask me how many marks for A. The bell curve is something that is out of your control so there is no point in estimating your grade based on the number of marks you have lost. No one can tell you any accurate information on this. I hope you can learn from your mistakes here and do not make the same mistakes in Paper 1.]


Question 1

1          (a)       (i)        Amount of menthol = 1.32 x 10-2 x 2 = 0.0264 mol

Mass of menthol = 0.0264 mol x (10 x 12 + 20 + 16)

=          4.1184 g

Percentage mass       =          4.1184 / 10.0   x 100%

=          41.2% (3 sf)


(ii)       3 chiral centres, 23 = 8 optical isomers


(b)          (i)


           Energy Diagram 


(iii)    The catalyst is in a solid state and it functions as a heterogeneous catalyst as it is in a different phase than menthone (liquid state) and hydrogen (gaseous state). Menthone and hydrogen will undergo adsorption at the active sites of the surface of the catalyst, forming weak bonds between the reactant molecules and the catalyst and this causes the bonds in menthone and hydrogen to be weakened. This provides an alternative pathway which has a lower activation energy. The reactant molecules are now in closer proximity with one another and hence, the frequency of effective collisions between menthone and hydrogen gas increases and this increases the speed of reaction.


(iv)    Iron might be suitable as a catalyst. Iron is a transition metal with incompletely filled 3d orbitals.


(c)     All three isomers undergo electrophilic addition with bromine water. Hence, they contain carbon-carbon double bond.

All three isomers contain carbonyl group as they undergo condensation reaction with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine.

All three isomers do not contain aliphatic aldehyde group.

All three isomers undergo reduction with hydrogen gas to form menthol with molecular formula C10H20O. Hence, all three isomers contain two functional groups that can be reduced by hydrogen gas as 4 hydrogen atoms are added.

Menthol contains a secondary alcohol, hence, the 3 isomers contain a ketone group. The other functional group that is reduced must be carbon-carbon double bond.

When reacted with hot concentrated KMnO4, strong oxidation or oxidative cleavage occurs.

A gives D, which is a ketone, and E which contains two ketone groups (one ketone group is originally present in A).

B gives F, which contains two ketone groups (one ketone group is originally present in B). B contains a terminal carbon-carbon double bond.

C contains a carbon-carbon double bond in a ring. G contains a carboxylic acid group and two ketone groups (one ketone group is originally present in C).

D, F and G contains CH3C=O group as they undergo positive iodoform test (oxidation), forming yellow precipitate of CHI3.



Question 2

(a)     The volatilities of the halogens decrease from chlorine to iodine (i.e. melting and boiling point increase from chlorine to iodine).

From chlorine to iodine, the number of electrons increases. Hence the size of the electron cloud increases which increases the strength of van der Waals’ forces of attraction between the halogen molecules. Hence, the volatilities decrease from chlorine to iodine.


(b)    3Cl2(g) + 6OH(aq) → 5Cl(aq) + ClO3(aq) + 3H2O(l)

The oxidation number of chlorine increases from 0 in Cl2 to +5 in ClO3

The oxidation number of chlorine decreases from 0 in Cl2 to -1 in Cl


(c)     (i)     The bond energy for H–F is 562 kJ mol-1 while the bond energy for H–Cl to H–I decreases from 431 to 366 to 299 kJ mol-1. H–F bond has the highest bond energy so the bond strength is the strongest which require the most energy to break. Hence, HF does not dissociate completely in water to produce hydrogen ions.

(ii)          pH of HCl = – lg (0.50) = 0.301

Ka = [H+]2 / [HF]

[H+]2 = 5.6 x 10-4 x 0.50 = 2.8 x 10-4

pH = – lg [(2.8 x 10-4)1/2] = 1.78


(d)    When aqueous silver nitrate is added to chloride ions, a white precipitate of silver chloride (AgCl) is formed.

Ag+(aq) + Cl(aq) → AgCl(s)

When aqueous ammonia is added to silver chloride, the white precipitate dissolves to form a colourless solution of [Ag(NH3)2]+

AgCl(s) ⇌ Ag+(aq) + Cl(aq)

Ag+(aq) + 2NH3(aq) → [Ag(NH3)2]+

When aqueous silver nitrate is added to iodide ions, a yellow precipitate of silver iodide (AgI) is formed.

Ag+(aq) + l(aq) → Agl(s)

When aqueous ammonia is added to silver iodide, the yellow precipitate is insoluble in aqueous ammonia.


(e)       (i)        The value of pV remains constant.

(ii)       pV = nRT

12.0 x 105 x V = 0.40 x 8.31 x 300

V = 8.31 x 10-4 m3


(iii)     9.26 x 105

8.88 x 105

pV = 9.11 x 105 Pa dm3

V = 0.759 dm3


(iv)    There is presence of permanent dipole-permanent dipole interactions between hydrogen chloride molecules due to the net dipole moment present as the chlorine atom is electronegative. These intermolecular forces of attraction are significant and will deviate from the ideal gas properties. Hence, the molecules are closer together and occupy a smaller volume as compared to an ideal gas.


(f)        (i)        ΔG = ΔH – TΔS

0 = +16.8 – 188ΔS

ΔS = +0.089362 kJ K-1 mol-1 ≈ +0.0894 kJ K-1 mol-1 (3 sf)

The entropy change is positive because there is an increase in disorderness when the liquid state of hydrogen chloride is changed to the gaseous state as the molecules have an increased number of ways of arranging themselves in the gaseous state.


(ii)       ΔG = +16.8 – (298)(0.089362) = –9.83 kJ mol-1 (3 sf)

A negative sign for ΔG means that the reaction is feasible and can take place spontaneously.


Question 3


(a)     (i)      Magnesium burns with a brilliant white flame when it reacts with oxygen to form magnesium oxide.

2Mg(s) + O2(g) → 2MgO(s)

Calcium burns with a brick-red flame when it reacts with oxygen to form calcium oxide.

2Ca(s) + O2(g) → 2CaO(s)

(ii)     Magnesium oxide is sparingly soluble in water, forming magnesium hydroxide while calcium oxide is partially soluble in water, forming aqueous calcium hydroxide which is alkaline in water.

MgO(s) + H2O(l) → Mg(OH)2(aq)

CaO(s) + H2O(l) → Ca(OH)2(aq)

(b)       (i)        2.0 x 10-1 mol dm-3

(ii)       Ca(OH)2 ⇌ Ca2+(aq) + 2OH(aq)

Concentration of OH = 2.5 x 10-2 x 2 = 5.0 x 10-2 mol dm-3

pOH = – lg (5.0 x 10-2) = 1.30

pH = 14 – 1.30 = 12.7

(iii)      Ksp = [Mg2+][OH]2

Ksp = (s) (2s)2 = (1.6 x 10-4)(3.2 x 10-4)2 = 1.64 x 10-11 mol3 dm-9

(iv)    White precipitate of magnesium hydroxide would be observed. Barium hydroxide is more soluble in water than magnesium hydroxide. Hence, the concentration of hydroxide ions increases. Common ion effect occurs and hence, the solubility of magnesium hydroxide decreases so less magnesium hydroxide is able to dissolve in water.

(c)       (i)        Aspartate and glutamate

Ionic bonding

            (ii)     The alpha helix is held in place due to hydrogen bonding  formed between the N–H group of each amino acid and the fourth C=O group following it along the chain.

(iii)      H2SO4(aq), heat under reflux / NaOH(aq), heat under reflux

(iv)      gly-asp-gly-tyr-ile-ser

(d)       (i)

Structure 2

(ii)       Step 4: Reagent: excess concentrated ethanolic NH3

Condition: heat in sealed tube

Step 5: Reagent: H2SO4(aq)

Condition: heat under reflux


Question 4


(a)       Step 1: hydrolysis

Step 2: dehydration

Step 3: reduction


(b)       C6H8O(l) + 15/2 O2(g) → 6CO2(g) + 4H2O(l)


Energy taken in for bond breaking

= 8 (C – H) + 3 (C – C) + 2 (C = C) + 2 (C – O) + 15/2 (O = O)

= 8(410) + 3(350) + 2(610) + 2(360) + 15/2 (496)

= 9990 kJ mol-1


Energy released for bond formation

= 12 (C = O) + 8 (O – H)

= 12(805) + 8(460)

= 13340 kJ mol-1


Enthalpy change of combustion = 9990 – 13340 =  –3350 kJ mol-1


(c)       Q = mcΔT = (200)(4.18)(32) = 26752 J

100% heat = 26752 / 80  x 100 = 33440 J

Amount of DMF = 1.00 / 96 = 0.01042 mol

Experimental enthalpy change of combustion

= 33.440 / 0.01042 = –3209 kJ mol-13210 kJ mol-1


The enthalpy change of combustion obtained in (b) uses bond energies from the data booklet which are average values of bond energies obtained from a range of molecules containing that bond. In addition, some of the heat energy released from the burning of DMF is lost through the heating of the container itself or through the surroundings. Hence, the experimental value is less exothermic. Hence, there is a slight difference in both values.


(d)       (i)        R–CH2OH + H+ → R–CH2OH2+          (fast)


R–CH2OH2+ → R–CH2+ + H2O           (slow)


R–CH2+ + Cl → R–CH2Cl                  (fast)


The second step (R–CH2OH2+ → R–CH2+ + H2O) is the rate determining step.


(ii)       Reagents: K2Cr2O7(aq), H2SO4(aq)

Condition: heat under reflux


[KMnO4(aq), H2SO4(aq) is not accepted due to oxidative cleavage]


(e)       (i)        Ester


(ii)       HO–CH2–CH2–OH


(iii)      Reagents: concentrated sulfuric acid

Condition: heat under reflux


(f)        Name of mechanism: Free radical substitution


Cl–Cl → 2 Cl·


Cl· + R–CH3 → R–CH2· + HCl

R–CH2· + Cl2 → R–CH2Cl + Cl·


Cl· + Cl· → Cl2

R–CH2· + R–CH2· → R–CH2CH2–R

R–CH2· + Cl· → R–CH2Cl


Question 5


(a)       (i)        Proton number is the number of protons in the nucleus of the atom.

Nucleon number is the number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of the atom.


(ii)       Let the relative abundance of 7Li be k

Relative abundance of 6Li = 1 – k

k x 7.016  +  (1 – k)(6.015) = 6.942

7.016k + 6.015 – 6.015k = 6.942

1.001k + 6.015 = 6.942

1.001k = 0.927

k = 0.9261

Therefore, relative percentage abundance of 7Li = 92.61%

Relative percentage abundance of 6Li = 7.39%


(iii)      X = 3He           Y = 7Li


(b)       (i)        Ionic bonding. The lithium atom is able to transfer its valence electron to the carbon atom in graphite which has one unpaired electron, forming positive Li+ cation and anionic graphite. The bonding between the positive Li+ cation and anionic graphite is ionic.

(ii)       Before discharge: +4

After the cell is totally discharged: +3

(iii)    The shape is tetrahedral with respect to boron. There are 4 bond pairs of electrons and 0 lone pair of electrons for boron. Hence, the shape is tetrahedral.

(iv)    Cold, alkaline KMnO4(aq)

(v)     Condensation


(c)       (i)        2Li2O2 + 2CO2 → 2Li2CO3 + O2

(ii)     Lithium has similar chemical properties as magnesium because the atomic radius and electronegativity are similar. Lithium is smallest in size for Group I metal and hence, lithium ion has the largest charge density for Group I metal ions. Therefore, it is able to polarise and distort the electron cloud of the carbonate anion to a larger extent and the distorted electron cloud of the carbonate anion is more readily decomposed by heat energy. Hence, the thermal stability of lithium carbonate is low and can be easily decomposed.

(d)       (i)        CH3CH2CH2CHO        + CH3CH2Br




(ii)       (CH3CH2)2CO + CH3Br




(e)     Only P and Q will turn orange acidified potassium dichromate(VI) to green. R, being a tertiary alcohol will not be oxidised and will not turn orange K2Cr2O7 to green.

After oxidation, 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine can be added. For Q, after oxidation, the product is a ketone and will form an orange precipitate with 2,4-dinitrophenylhydrazine. For P, after oxidation, the product is a carboxylic acid and will not form an orange precipitate.



Please do let me know of any mistakes or typing errors that I made while rushing this. Much appreciated and thanks!

“Human actions should be based on scientific fact, not religious faith.” How far do you agree with this statement?

JC General Paper

“Human actions should be based on scientific fact, not religious faith.” How far do you agree with this statement?


Scientific fact- based on logic, rational, proven

Religious faith- spiritual belief, morality guides actions

Human actions- developments in science and technology, business decisions, personal decisions in our lives

This question requires students to discuss if our actions should be based on rational thought or based on the irrational and faith in our lives. Of course, we should not just make decisions based on practicality reasons or even just based on spiritual beliefs. Human actions should always be guided based on a fine balance of both practical and moral beliefs.

Possible arguments

  1. Basing decisions on religious faith will render mankind to be unable to breakthrough lots of developments, especially on the scientific field.
  2. Scientific fact ensures that the decisions we make are rational and always to our best interests after taking into account the cost and benefits of the decisions we are making.
  3. Decisions guided on religious faith should ensure that underhand methods or even immoral methods are not being resorted to during business transactions.

When a government’s finances for social welfare are limited, should they be directed towards the young or the old?

JC General Paper

When a government’s finances for social welfare are limited, should they be directed towards the young or the old?

This question requires students to understand that all governments have limited funds for social spending and there is a need for governments to decide if more funds should be directed towards the young or the old. This question assumes that governments are not saddling themselves with extra burden to borrow money to fund both segments of the society. A stand has to be made whether this money is directed towards the young or the old. This of course will depend on the context of the society- is the society facing a rapidly aging society or a society that is rapidly replacing itself? Is the society a mature one or an emerging economy? Also, the question requires students to assess the costs and benefits of just directing funds towards one segment of the society-either the young or the old and why.

Government should spend on the young

1.The young holds the key to economic development for any society, and it makes pragmatic sense for the government to invest in them, as they are the next building blocks of society. The young are likely to be more innovative, energetic and ambitious compared to the older workers, and it is a more efficient allocation of the government’s capital.

E.g. Europe is currently facing very high youth unemployment, and with such high levels of unemployment, it spells disaster for the economy and leads to social unrest.

  1. The young are the ones that are going to change the social culture of the nation and set the direction for the nation. It only makes sense for the government to spend on them. It may sound very callous but the time has come to pass for the older workers, and soon it is no longer their society.

Government should spend on the old

1.In rapidly aging society, the government should spend on the old so as to reduce the tax burden that the young will face. If the tax burden is too high on the youths, it may lead to a brain drain in the society, which will impact economic growth in the long run.

E.g. Japan and Germany are facing aging population- where governments are looking for an effective means to deal with their healthcare needs and retirement issues.

  1. The aged who have contributed to the development of the economy should be rewarded accordingly during their golden age. They have ample experience and when valued, they are likely to contribute even more back to society in the long run. It is a common misbelief to think that the aged is a social burden. In fact, in many developed nations, government starts to think that they are an important economic resource to tap on as they have the financial resources to spend after many decades of work. They are known as the “silver economy”.

Eg. Singapore has been considering building retirement style homes for the aged. These homes cater to the higher socio-economic classes, and the facilities include golf courses, medical clinics, and other recreational activities.

How effectively is public health promoted and managed in your society?

JC General Paper


How effectively is public health promoted and managed in your society?


Effectively- What is effective? To decide if something is effective, one has to measure the results against the intended objective. In this case, what is the state’s objective with regards to public health?

Promoted- to raise awareness about public health

Managed- suggests a deliberate control by the government to shape Singaporeans’ health and lifestyle into their state’s vision

This question requires students to assess whether how successful the state has been in meeting her objective to ensure that Singaporeans age gracefully, keep active and are healthy so that they will not be a burden to the state. Students are required to take a look at the strategies adopted by the government and assess them accordingly. Students need to also define what is “public health”. Does it just mean the general health of all Singaporeans? Or does it mean the public spaces of health in Singapore?

Yes it is effectively managed and promoted

1.Public spaces of health have been well managed and promoted, so much so that Singapore has been making waves as a prominent medical hub for tourists to come and seek treatments.

E.g. Raffles Hospitals cater to the rich Indonesians for medical treatment mostly, new hospitals have been built to cater to rising demand such as Ng Teng Fong Hospital. Singapore has a medical research institute- Duke NUS to respond to new medical advances and at the same time, Singapore has various specialist and general practitioners clinics to deal with medical issues.

2.The government has been active in raising awareness and influencing the lifestyles and mindsets of Singaporeans with regard to health.

E.g. Healthy lifestyle campaigns; recent rise of marathons to encourage running, free screening tests for the elderly at the community centre, advertisements to encourage individuals to go for regular screenings.

  1. The government ensures that every Singaporean takes responsibility towards his or her health by ensuring that the state co-pays instead of adopting a total welfare perspective.

E.g. Medisave, Medishield work on a co-payment system. Even government officials on pension schemes have to co-pay 30% for their medical bills to prevent abuse.

No it is not effectively managed and promoted

1.Lower socio-economic Singaporeans find it hard to keep pace with the high costs of healthcare here, and current schemes we have are unable to ensure adequacy.

E.g. Increasing number of Singaporeans crossing over the causeway to buy over-the-counter medicine in order to save costs. Some have even gone to seek medical treatment there or even operations. Medisave is inadequate for many Singaporeans especially if they have been down with a critical illness.

“No cause is ever worth dying for.” Discuss

JC General Paper

“No cause is ever worth dying for.” Discuss


Cause- fighting for freedom, ideologies, rights, status, wealth, power etc

Dying- Can interpret in both the literal and metaphorical manner. What exactly can constitute dying in the metaphorical manner? Dying in the sense of not living the life that an individual desires and wants?

This question is pretty simple, as it just requires students to assess whether if there are any worthy causes for an individual to sacrifice his or her life for. These causes can span many different areas such as the fight for freedom, the fight for religion and even personal causes like the rights to express oneself and sexual identity. Students should focus on different causes in order to have a better scope of the question. Students should also expand up the definition of “dying” in the paper. It should not just be viewed as death literally. Sometimes, “dying” can refer to the slow and gradual death of an individual, best manifested by the loss of passion in what one does, so much so that one is not living a life worth living. Also, it can refer to great personal sacrifices such as being jailed by political opponents. It may not be death in the literal sense, but still the sentence is slow death that leads to the dying of their beliefs. The term “ever” suggests that across time, it does not make sense to die for any cause as it is too idealistic, and what is important today, may not be important at all in the future.

Yes, causes are worth dying for

1.Extremist militant groups feel that dying for their cause display the highest form of commitment that one can display. In such a situation, death is seen as a badge of honour and it represents an individual’s chivalry to the end. This is also applicable in times of war where certain individuals are willing to die rather than betray themselves, their comrades, and their nation to the enemy state. Betrayal would be viewed as worst and more humiliating than death itself.

An instance would be the ISIS fighters who are willing to sacrifice their lives and even suicide bombers just to proceed with their cause and to attain their goals. Also, the Japanese has this culture of “Harakiri” (Ritual suicide) if they lost in battle and it is too shameful for them to bear. Also, during the Second World War, Japan had Kamikaze pilots who are willing to sacrifice for their nation and to advance their cause.

2.Every individual should have a cause that he or she should be willing to die for, otherwise they have been living their life in vain. This cause does not necessary have to be anything significant to society, as long as it is important enough for an individual. This cause could be the driving force of how an individual leads his life.

For instance, Steve Jobs is one such case where he lives his life for his cause- to constantly innovate and improve on Apple. He is so passionate about his work that he is willing to go to work even at the last stages of pancreatic cancer. His zealous and zeal in life can be seen as an attempt to even die for his cause to create better products for his company. In fact, in his biography and speeches, Steve Jobs have always said that he is willing to die for what he believes in and is passionate about in life.

No, causes are not worth dying for

1.There is no need to resort to death in order to make a point to fight for political changes in a country or even to stand true to one’s political ideology. Death in itself is unable to solve problems; the way forward is to have courage to triumph forward and the stamina for the struggle before changes are even implemented. In fact, when a non-violent approach or struggle is adopted, it could mean greater empowerment, as there is greater strength in non-resistance than resistance in the long term to win the hearts and minds of the people.

For instance, Nelson Mandela and Ghandi are well known peace freedom fighters that get to change the history of South Africa and India respectively through the legacies they left behind. Apartheid was abolished in Africa and Ghandi managed to wrestle independence from the British for India. All these legacies were achieved through a peaceful struggle and these well-renowned leaders did not die for their cause or even their political ideologies.

2.No cause is ever worth dying for as self-preservation is key. There is no value in dying for a cause, and not see the fulfillment of the cause to the end. Also, what is important to many in today’s world may not necessary be important to others in generation to come. What an individual sets out to achieve and earmark in history may be tore down by others in the future. If that is the case, then the very act of sacrificing oneself may be viewed to be very foolish. Also, it is unlikely that society will progress forward or even adopt the cause if anyone dies for it. Death equalizes everything and things are likely to remain at status quo.

For instance, the military in Myanmar refuses to recognize the election results and to give power to Aung Sun Suu Kyi. The rights of democracy and human rights are not respected. In such an occasion, by choosing to “die” for democracy does not mean that Myanmar will suddenly become a democracy the next day. Such transition takes time and it is not easily solved through making a statement of sacrificing oneself. Ironically, it would mean the death of democracy. However, one should note that the hunger strike by Aung Sun Suu Kyi that nearly resulted in her death is effective in getting concessions from the military only because she is the daughter of the well-respected Aung Sun. The military does not want a backlash from its own people.

Should there be any controls over the production of energy when the need for it is so great?

Should there be any controls over the production of energy when the need for it is so great?

JC General Paper

Should there be any controls over the production of energy when the need for it is so great?


Production of energy: refers to the production of petroleum (crude oil), natural gas, coal and other alternatives such as electricity and even nuclear energy etc.

Controls- what kinds/methods of controls? Controls over the quantity of production? Controls over the kind of energy to have?

This question assumes that energy production should be produced as long as demand meets supply needs in the market. There should not be any controls by any nations to artificially restrict the supply in order to push up the price of this much-needed resource, as it could be seen as unethical.

Yes there should be controls

  1. Controls are essential to ensure that no rouge nations have access to production of these essential energy supplies, which they can use as a leverage against other nations. It is detrimental if production falls into the hands of an extremist state especially if the state decides to pursue nuclear production as a form of clean energy for their state. This phenomenon has the potential to disrupt world security and peace.
    For instance, countries that would like to pursue nuclear energy should be under the checks and supervision of the United Nations (UN) yearly in order to ensure that they are really using it for energy and not to build up a nuclear war zone to use against other nations. There has to be some checks and balances involved and accountability to the rest of the nations.
  2. Countries that are highly dependent on oil or any energy source for that matter as part of their country’s revenue should look into controlling production, as oil is their main source of income. Cheap oil and energy prices have widespread ramifications that go beyond their own countries. Demand will automatically adjust itself due to such expensive prices.
    For example, many Arab states have been hurt by the low oil prices recently as they are dependent on the revenue of oil for their social spending, otherwise it will result in a social turmoil in their states. Cheap oil does not necessary mean well as it will lead to a widespread unemployment in many industries, which may stall future economic growth. Also, countries that are dependent on oil may witness their currencies plummeting with cheap oil prices. Malaysia, Australia and even Indonesia have seen their currencies losing value in this last one year due to cheap oil and commodities prices. If such a situation continues, the world may be thrown into a currency crisis.
  3. Greater innovation and research into alternative energies are likely to follow when there is high-energy price following production restriction. This is to meet the high demand of these energy resources. This helps to develop the world in terms of green technology, and allow industries to pursue more efficient methods of production for sustainable development in the world.
    For instance, Japan and Germany have been looking at investing in wind, solar and even uranium to supply their energy needs. Developments have taken place to reduce the usage of oil through electric cars in the market. Telsa has been one such example of electric cars that is likely to replace fuel-emission cars today.

No, there should not be controls

  1. Countries should be free to pursue their own energy self-sufficiency so that no country can have a political leverage over them, especially when demand for energy is so high.
    Production should be left up to the supply and demand of the world economy considering how oil is seen as a precious natural resource that every nation needs in order to run their economies. Due to this importance of oil, the restriction of the supply and production of oil has the ability to create war and tensions among countries fighting for this natural resource, and any restriction or embargo could manifest itself in a full-scale war.
    An example would be Japan’s aggression in the Second World War due to an embargo. Also, the USA has been investing in their shale gas revolution so that they can be a net exporter of oil in order to have energy self-sufficiency. USA does not want to be dependent on the cartel in the Middle East (OPEC) to meet their demands of oil, as it would mean that OPEC has a strong political leverage over the USA.
  2. It is to most countries’ benefit in the long run if there is no restriction to the production of energy. When technology advances to the point that there is an oversupply of oil like currently, this will be met with a drop in price of energy. Oil has plummeted from US120 a barrel to as low as US42 a barrel, and this “cheap oil” has been welcomed by many industries that are highly dependent on oil for growth.
    For instance, airlines and transportation will have better profit margins due to cheaper oil and this has translated to cheaper air tickets allowing the mass-market to benefit from this. Also, in Singapore, our transportation fares have been adjusted downwards in 2015 due to cheaper oil that has resulted in a lower production cost for SMRT, and these extra cost savings can be passed on to consumers, helping to ease the burden of the lower socio-economic class. Finally, core inflation has dipped for many nations worldwide due to cheaper energy costs such as natural gas and oil, and this has helped to improve the standard of living of many individuals.


Students should note that by the nature of the subject, there is several other possible pointers too, so feel free to discuss freely below!

Back to: 2015 A’levels H1 General Paper (8807) suggested solutions

How far is it possible for one country to forgive another for its past actions?

JC General Paper

How far is it possible for one country to forgive another for its past actions?


Past actions: war time atrocities, political feuds, economic conflicts, social and ideological conflicts

Forgive: the ability to “forget” and to move on with past historical animosities and collaborate with one another on international matters or even domestic affairs.  What exactly entails forgive? This is open to debate. Does forgive mean that we totally forget the whole incident and never bring it up again? Can countries still commemorate these past actions in their national histories but still cooperate with the other nations? What exactly is the yardstick that you are going to set?

How possible is it really for a country to forgive one another really depends on the nature of the conflict, and how easy is it to resolve these conflicts. One has to also consider factors such as whether there is any third party mediation to resolve tensions between the countries and to reduce tensions between them.

Yes it is entirely possible to forgive

1.Due to pragmatic purposes, countries may have to put aside their past conflicts and cooperate with one another in order for their economies to progress. Economic reasons have always been the sole overriding factor for most of the conflicts that occur.

It is no secret that Singapore and Malaysia share a very difficult past due to their separation and that tensions exist between these two neighbours. However, both have put aside their past hostilities and differences and sought cooperation with each other on many levels. One such example is the recent talks cooperation for a high speed railway train.

No, it is not possible to forgive

1.Forgiving is especially difficult when the conflict is one that hinges on racial and religious sentiments, and that the actions of the nations have already been entrenched in their national histories and minds. Such conflicts will shape the relations of both countries for a long time, even after the conflict has passed.

Racial politics could very well undermine the stable sovereignty of another country, especially when the racial hostilities were extended to or created by communities of people instead of played out by the national elites themselves. Government policies which are deemed threatening to another country’s racial policies inevitably lead to tensions between the two countries, because the viability of states may decrease, leading to their loss of legitimacy.

An example would be the case study of Malaysia and the Philippines. Their relations were affected by alleged Malaysian support for the Moro Muslim rebellions in Southern Philippines. Malaysia has been implicated in the Muslim conflicts in the Philippines from the beginning. Sabah’s ruler, Tun Mustapha, was suspected by the Philippines of tolerating, even assisting the provision of military supplies to the Muslim rebels and providing sanctuary for Moro fighters. As chief minister of Sabah, Tun Datu Mustapha allegedly allowed Sabah to be used, during 1972-1976, as a training camp, supply depot, communication center, and sanctuary. The Malaysian government has never publicly admitted its involvement in the Moro struggle. But Malaysian assistance gave the essential incentive to the Moro separatists. The support of Sabah and other Malaysian Muslim sectors enabled the Moros to elevate the level of conflict from a fight for equality and justice to a war of liberation, demanding self-determination. In 1970, Tunku Abdul Rahman promoted international support for the Moro cause. The unofficial Malaysian support for the Moros has been the main reason why the Philippines has not dropped its claim to Sabah, which can be used as a lever to put pressure on Malaysia to curb the activities of its Moro sympathizers.


  1. It is very hard for an aggrieved nation to move on with the past hurt committed by an aggressor nation, especially if the aggressor has chosen not to “remember the incident”.

China and Japan share a very tumultuous relationship due to the war crimes committed by Japan during the Second World War where massive number of people has been killed, tortured and even raped. Things are made worst when Japan has still not apologize for their actions formally to China, and insist on covering up their atrocities committed in their national history textbook. In fact, Japan PM even went so far to deny that the Rape of Nanking even occur though it has been recorded in many history textbooks. The PM repeated visit to the controversial Yasukuni war shrine has always sparked off tensions between these two neighbours.

  1. Differences in political ideologies have always been a sore point among nations, especially when these differences serve to threaten their existence and legitimacy in the eyes of the international arena. Such ideological differences have the effect of increasing mutual suspicion and tensions with one another, so much so that it is difficult to work and cooperate with one another.

A case in point is the cold war rivalry between USA and USSR. Even though the cold war has long ceased in 1991, tensions between these 2 superpowers are still evident on the international stage.  This is clearly evident today as Obama and Putin clash over Syria.


Students should note that by the nature of the subject, there is several other possible pointers too, so feel free to discuss freely below!

Back to: 2015 A’levels H1 General Paper (8807) suggested solutions

In your society, how well are the demands of the economy and the environment balanced?

JC General Paper

In your society, how well are the demands of the economy and the environment balanced?

Define: demands of the economy- increasing productivity for Singaporeans, increasing economic growth of the country, being highly competitive and to have a cutting edge in the global world.

This question requires students to consider if there is conflict between environment pursuit and that of economic growth in Singapore. Is there a need to forgo one just for the pursuit of the other? Also, the question requires students to illustrate how the government is able to balance both economy demands and the environment, so that sustainable development is possible moving forward.

Yes both have been well balanced

1.Economic growth has always been pursued together with environment concerns in order to ensure a level of sustainable living for future generations. Both are integral to the progress of the economy and have never been sacrificed for either goal. Singapore has always prided herself as a “green and clean city” and a “garden city”.

Singapore has always been clear on carbon emission standards that cars and vehicles should adhere to. Emission standards are strictly adhered to if not companies will face the consequence of a hefty fine.

The government has also appealed to the highly pragmatic Singaporeans to conserve the environment by paying them to go green. There are subsidies available to purchase an electric car and the National Park Boards have gone so far to even dish out 20% discount for wedding venues held at Hort Park, as long as couples have shown that they have taken at least eight environmentally-friendly measures for their wedding.

The largest and most ambitious garden project ever attempted in Singapore- one that stretches over 54 hectares, approximately the size of 72 soccer fields- Gardens by the Bay- is in itself a testament of how the government tries to balance tourism, growth and environment concurrently.

2.Investing in green technology has always been a priority of the government as they seek to keep up with the demands of the economy and to be the forefront of any environmental developments.

An instance would the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical school which is constructed using green design and environmentally conscious materials while still being architecturally beautiful. The use of sustainable design elements such as the eight-story glass atrium that provides vertical circulation to the whole building and ceramic tiles, which contain titanium dioxide, earned the building Green Mark certification.

Students should note that by the nature of the subject, there is several other possible pointers too, so feel free to discuss freely below!

Back to: 2015 A’levels H1 General Paper (8807) suggested solutions