June Crash Course

June Crash Course

Chemistry, JC Chemistry, JC Mathematics, Mathematics

The team at The Culture SG has been really busy and we have a lot of things prepared to help you guys work for that A. First up! Crash course for June…

And we know it is a bit late to be announcing this on the site now, but we have really been caught up with preparing our students lately that we don’t have the time to properly update here. So here are the details for the Math Crash Course and the Chemistry Crash Course.

P.S. For SCIENCE students who wish to chiong in October, please take note that the H2 Chem/ Phy/ Bio Paper 4 (practical) is in October. So better start soon! Here are the details!

Click to view

For 3 hr lessons, they are priced at $105.

For 2 hr lessons, they are priced at $70.

Lessons will be held at:
Newton Apple Learning Hub
Blk 131, Jurong Gateway Road #03-263/265/267 Singapore 600131
Tel: +65 6567 3606

For math enquiries, you may contact Mr. Teng at +65 9815 6827.

For chem enquiries, you may contact Ms. Chan at +65 93494384.

For GP enquiries, you may contact Ms. Chen at +65 91899133.

Population problems eventually solve themselves-government meddling only makes things worse. Discuss

Population problems eventually solve themselves-government meddling only makes things worse. Discuss

JC General Paper

Government intervention solves population problems such as population decline, which will be left unresolved if left to the masses. With a preference for smaller families and a general unwillingness to start a family in today’s modern society, negative or zero population growth often ensues. These have detrimental impact on affected countries, such as a fall in tax revenues, a smaller workforce and a high dependence of an ageing population on the working population. As these socioeconomic perspectives are entrenched in the minds of young urban professionals, these population problems are incapable of eventually solving themselves. In this case, government intervention is beneficial. In developed countries like Italy and Spain, where fertility rates stand at a meagre 1.25, new generations are unable to replace past generations thus leading to population decline. The implementation of pro-natal policies could possibly help to increase the incentive for couples to procreate and boost total population numbers. Implemented measures include longer maternity and paternity leave in Switzerland, as well as cash incentives in Singapore. Another method of boosting population growth is through the relaxation of immigration policies, which allows for an influx of permanent residents.

Population problems such as the rampant spread of diseases are also combated more efficiently and effectively through government intervention. If left to solve by itself, this results in a higher death toll and increased spread of illnesses. The successful results of government intervention is exemplified through the World Health Organization and governments’ collaboration to wipe out smallpox, which was deadly enough to kill one in every four infected persons. With public health measures to increase hygiene standards and mandatory vaccinations, smallpox was eradicated worldwide in the 1800s.

Despite the effectiveness of government intervention in solving population problems, some policies and measures undoubtedly create new problems for countries. Firstly, policies to reduce overpopulation are often successful to the extent that they eventually lead to population decline. This is evident in Singapore, which, due to the overwhelming success of the “stop at two” policy, currently faces a replacement rate of 1.25. This has led to national concerns of unsustainable population growth and the possibility of a population decline in the near future. Furthermore,  the policy of migration to solve population problems has led to social segregation in some countries.

Should increased automation be embraced by our society?

Should increased automation be embraced by our society?

JC General Paper

In this latest May day’s speech by PM Lee, a lot of focus has been given to the future of jobs and the changing economy of Singapore. For a summary of the speech, you could refer to this link <a href=”http://www.straitstimes.com/politics/jobs-jobs-jobs-8-highlights-from-pm-lee-hsien-loongs-may-day-rally”>http://www.straitstimes.com/politics/jobs-jobs-jobs-8-highlights-from-pm-lee-hsien-loongs-may-day-rally</a>

This has got me thinking about the current trajectory of the economy and what the future could possibly bring. The future holds a promising outlook, yet very uncertain and challenging at the same time. Why has it been so? This could be due to increasing automation that we see in our society! According to World Economic Forum, the rise of technology will lead to more than 5 million jobs being eliminated. Redundancies would be widespread and companies would have to restructure in order to meet with this new challenge. We are already starting to see the rise of disruptive technologies, and a move towards the sharing economy through businesses like Uber, Grab, Airbnb, Deliveroo etc. In the process, many middleman are cut out and many taxi drivers worldwide have protested against their dwindling earnings. Retail industry growth has been sluggish, and many retail giants are struggling to keep afloat in an environment where consumers are increasingly looking at online spaces for shopping. Automation, disruptive technologies, and artificial intelligence are bound to eliminate even more jobs and spread to other industries such as healthcare, education etc.

This begs the question of whether society should embrace automation? We are going to see increasingly number of Singaporeans unemployed, unable to adapt and change according to the world economy and increased strain on government budget to sustain these people. The ones that are going to benefit from the future economy would be businesses that took advantage of these changes, and individuals who have the specialized skills and knowledge to adapt. What then is going to happen to the rest of the society? How then should we mitigate against such changes? Here’s something for you to consider about robot tax that is proposed by Bill Gates to mitigate against robots taking away human jobs:<a href=”http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gates-robot-tax-brighter-future-2017-3?IR=T&amp;r=US&amp;IR=T”> http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gates-robot-tax-brighter-future-2017-3?IR=T&amp;r=US&amp;IR=T</a>

A more comprehensive discussion would be done during class this week for my students 😛 See ya!

Junior College education: A path increasingly less traveled?

Junior College education: A path increasingly less traveled?

JC General Paper

Following up from the previous blog post about JC merger, it seems that there are more interesting and candid responses from the public. Here is one example that could interest you: <a href=”http://mothership.sg/2017/04/ex-nmp-calvin-cheng-makes-the-point-about-the-jc-mergers-that-no-one-wants-to-talk-about/”>http://mothership.sg/2017/04/ex-nmp-calvin-cheng-makes-the-point-about-the-jc-mergers-that-no-one-wants-to-talk-about/</a>

This begs the question whether the merger is an attempt to make JC education more exclusive/competitive, considering that 7 out of the 8 JCs involved in the merger “happened” to have the worst cut off points. Also, this attempt is seen as an elitist move to improve the quality of education for this system.

Considering this trend, poly education would be where the majority is heading towards… what then would be the purpose of JC education? We all know that for the more popular courses in poly such as accountancy, business admin and even engineering, some of the best students from the O levels are vying hard to get in. It is not uncommon to hear of 6 pointers who want to go to poly since they find the education there to be more broad-based,  Is it to train the academically inclined ppl to pursue academia in universities? would this system be slowly phased out in the years to come? (Many have criticized the JC education to be too theory-based; does not teach real life skills and applications. With all the technology-disruptions today and the move towards a sharing economy, where does the JC education fit?)

Post-Results 2016

Post-Results 2016

Chemistry, JC Chemistry, JC General Paper, JC Mathematics, JC Physics, Mathematics, Studying Tips, University Mathematics

Let’s face it. Some of us will not get the dream results we want. Don’t give up and let fear conquer you.

For students unsure of the available courses, they can check out the following post. It contains the grade profile for local universities.

Our Team will be here if you need help/ advice. Feel free to text us.

P.S. Today, I saw an image shared by Mr Wee, which said that “You’re the architect of your own life”. So let’s not let the grades define us.

In times of economic hardship, should a country still be expected to provide financial or material aid to others?

In times of economic hardship, should a country still be expected to provide financial or material aid to others?

JC General Paper

Students are expected to address the criteria of this question throughout the essay; it being in times of economic hardship. For a quality essay, the terms “should” and “expected” should be addressed as well. For instance, a country should still give aid, but perhaps not be expected at a time when its survival is in question, and it does not have a healthy budget balance.

Financial aid- capital/loans/money

Material aid- manpower/distribution of basic goods and necessities

  • Provision of aid during economic hard times could be a political statement and commitment to the recipient country, helping to foster greater political relations in the long term. Giving of aid should be expected especially if the recipient country needs it more than the donor country. Such circumstances could be when the recipient country is facing civil war and there is urgent need of aid to cease the fighting etc. Another possible instance could be during times of natural disasters/emergencies. Also, for most of the donor country, aid takes up a small portion of their budget, hence it should not affect the current economy severely even if the country continues to give out aid during hard times. Aid accounts for 0.5% of the US budget yearly.
  • Governments should be responsible and accountable to their citizens first especially during hard times, hence aid should be allocated domestically rather than elsewhere. The dollar votes of the citizens and their voices are important, and it is only right that countries should be concerned with their own self-preservation before others. After all, an economically prosperous country will then be able to contribute more to the international community, rather than a slow and stagnate economy that is facing difficult times.
  • Perhaps a country should look at other means of support, rather than the provision of aid during bad times. It is presumptuous to assume that aid helps to alleviate the problems faced by the recipient countries. Often, aid may actually harm local industries and foster this sense of self-entitlement and dependency on the donor nations.
  • Legal obligations under international law could possibly bind countries to continue giving aid to another country. A short term economic difficulty does not suffice to repudiate this commitment, especially when contracts have been signed beforehand, and the donor country may risk ruining their legitimacy and international standing.

In dire situations, countries should still continue to give aid to one another. However, expectations to scale down in terms of aid is definitely reasonable and justifiable.

“In your society, do the arts merit the vast sums of money spent on it?”

“In your society, do the arts merit the vast sums of money spent on it?”

JC General Paper

Between the 1960s and 1990s, there has been a strong perception that the arts were an abstract waste of time. More focus was invested on STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – to boost the value of each worker and compensate for our geographical disadvantage. Recently, the Singapore government revealed that $210 million fund will be allocated to the arts under its Community Engagement Masterplan. With the arts, people will be able to connect with one another on a deeper level, promoting understanding. There will be preservation of culture and heritage that fosters a sense of identity. The arts are able to reap various tangible and intangible benefits proving that is does merit the vast sums of money spent on it.

Being a country, lacking natural resources, people may argue that Singapore should pay more attention and energy to pragmatic aspects such as education, trade and science. These fields are guaranteed to yield tangible economic benefits. The Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Economic Survey of Singapore has shown that the main indicators of the Singapore economy include finance and insurance, manufacturing, construction, and information and communications. The arts are regarded as mere entertainment and not worth the money spent on it.

However, according to statistics from the National Arts Council, the arts in Singapore have developed tremendously over the last 10 years. Artistic creativity is closely tied to business entrepreneurship and technological innovation. The trail-blazers in this new economy are expected to be creative and imaginative. The creative sector is increasingly embraced in Singapore. In order for a business to be successful, entrepreneurs have to come up with differentiated ideas to ensure that their products will be unique in the competitive market. This debunks the argument that the arts will not reap economic benefits. Through innovation, companies can earn a higher revenue, with their larger and widespread clientele. The Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts released statistics that the total nominal-value added of the arts and cultural sector has increased steadily from $822 million in 2003 to $1.28 billion in 2010. The arts have been playing a larger role in the building the Singapore economy, justifying the money spent to promote the arts among the younger generation.

The arts play a vital role in encouraging Singaporeans to have a sense of belonging and pride towards their homeland. Sir Julian Huxley once said that art is “the effective organization of experience into integrated forms which are emotionally significant and aesthetically satisfying”. Art can be used to document human progress. The number of museums in Singapore has increased from 28 in 2004 to 58 in 2015, including the newly inaugurated National Art Gallery. The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) stated that more Singaporeans are embracing the arts as visitor ship to national museums and heritage institutions reached 3.2 million in 2013. Museum and heritage centers hold great value in our society. They are visual evidence of the developments Singapore has undergone through the years. The fact that more people are willing to visit these heritage centers correlates to the improvement of national identity. People will be better equipped with knowledge about the hardships their pioneers had to go through. They will be given the opportunity to learn from the past mistakes and experiences. The amount of money spent to preserve the history of Singapore is justifiable, as the future generations will be allowed to learn about their homeland’s humble beginnings.

Using the arts, Singapore is able to build and maintain its reputation in the world affairs. The diversity and scale of arts-related events and exhibitions in Singapore demonstrate the vibrancy of the arts scene and, in particular, how Singapore is a place for cultural exchange and collaboration for the global arts community. The National Arts Council initiated Art Week in 2013, to ride on the momentum of the growing visual arts scene. They include the growth of Art Stage and the launch of the art gallery cluster and NTU Centre for Contemporary Art. Singapore is drawing attention from all around the world, and many are willing to take part in this international fair. Countries will be able to gather in Singapore and establish long-term relationships between their art sectors and communities, on a larger scale. Singapore presents itself as an arts hub platform. Other countries will begin to notice the potential of the tiny red dot, known as Singapore. They will be willing to be our allies and possibly, involve in our trade and economy. Being as arts hub introduces many opportunities for Singapore to improve regional and international ties, as well as, boost its economy. This benefit proves that the arts warrant the large amount of money spent to support international fairs.

The arts are a form of universal language and expression. Singapore has a rapidly ageing population and is well known to be the home for multiple races and religions. The arts can be used to bring people of different backgrounds and walks of life together, and motivate them to share their experiences and cultures with each other. In July 2015, there was a special concert put together by creative director of New Creation Church KC Gan, titled “Harmony In Diversity”. This concert brings together Singapore’s 10 major religions and 4 main races. The medium of a concert, with colorful songs and dances, was used to promote racial harmony, as it is likely to be enjoyable and have a wider reach to the public. Moreover, since the arts do not require physical fitness, the elderly can also be involved to encourage inter generational bonding. Similar to the workshop “Sounds Like Fun!” organized by Year 2 students of the Arts Management Program in Laselle College of the Arts in 2013, there can be activities prepared to bond senior citizens and the younger generation. In order for the mentality of social cohesion to be ingrained in all Singaporeans, the arts can be used as a platform. Social cohesion is one of the main principles for Singapore to be a pleasant country to live in. Hence, it is justifiable to spend money on the arts to promote this social cohesion.

The arts are a core contributor to building Singapore’s national identity, boosting its reputation as an arts hub and fostering social cohesion between Singaporeans. Although some may argue that money should be invested in more pragmatic issues, the future of Singapore is more likely to be successful if they are creative and innovative, similar to other countries in the world. Hence, the vast amount of money spent on the arts is driving towards this end goal, and is justified.

P.S: This essay is taken from one of my current student who got 32/50 for a school exam. What do you think of this essay? Leave your comments below and we can take up a discussion from there.

How to maintain your self discipline to study?

How to maintain your self discipline to study?

JC General Paper, Studying Tips

Dear all, this is a general post on how to keep your study momentum up during this december holidays. As you already know, this december holidays is not only a time for you to rejuvenate yourself from the hectic JC life, it is also an important revision time for you! It is a time when you consolidate all that you have learnt in this year, so that you would have a good foundation to start JC2. (For those who didn’t do well in the promos, you should be doing catch up. For those who did well, you could possibly revise your learning and embark on a head-start program.)

So what are the 3 tips for you to have self-discipline?

One of the reason why students do not have self-discipline is because they do not believe in themselves and their abilities to attain academic success. They attach negative talk to themselves such as they are stupid, lazy and not cut out for straight As. Hence, their inner beliefs shape their actions and their revision process. One way to change it would be to change your identity. Start thinking to yourself that you deserve Straight As everyday and you will soon internalize it and manifest these behaviours. 

Secondly, you should attach pain to the notion of you not achieving your goals. Each time when you think about how you would not achieve your goals, it will automatically propel you to take action! It could possibly be a lack of self esteem, respect from your parents and society. Regret for not achieving your aims etc.

Finally, you could think about how to reward yourself whenever you achieve your goals and to get a trusted person to be accountable for you. One way to do this is to tell your friends or parents what you desire to achieve for the A levels, and to get them to monitor your revision schedule. I know this sounds unappealing to you, but this could perhaps be the best way to make sure you stay discipline to your goals!!

Have a good break everyone! Of course have a fruitful revision time too!

How far has modern technology made it unnecessary for individuals to possess mathematical skills?

How far has modern technology made it unnecessary for individuals to possess mathematical skills?

JC General Paper
  1. How far has modern technology made it unnecessary for individuals to possess mathematical skills?

Argument 1: Modern technology has provided us with tools that automate mathematical operations for us, making possessing mathematical skills redundant.

Elaboration: All we have to do are to insert the data we want to be processed into our modern technological tools, and their software automates the required operations and calculations for us, allowing us to attain the necessary processed data effortlessly.

Example: Calculators has made skills such as the ability simple mental calculations mostly redundant in everyday life. Online free tools such as desmos and Wolframalpha. Paid tools such as MatLab, Maple and R.

Link: Modern technology has provided us with tools that make certain mathematical skills such as doing simple mental calculations seemingly redundant.

(Counter) Argument 2: We still ultimately require mathematical knowledge and skills to utilize these technological tools

Elaboration: To say that possessing mathematical skills is unnecessary altogether would be too much of a far-fetched statement

Example: We still require intermediate knowledge on math to effectively operate a Graphic Calculator for more complex math problems. Basic knowledge for syntax used in programs in Graphic Calculator, or algorithm is needed.

Link: Mathematical skills are still required to allow modern technology to operate in our favor.

(Counter) Argument 3: Recognizing patterns, reasoning and logical thinking are important life skills which are largely mathematical.

Elaboration: These life skills are largely inculcated into our children via an education in mathematics.

Example: Number or shape pattern recognition is a skill inculcated into primary school children via math education. Over the years, this analytical skill is honed and eventually applied to solve industry-relevant problems such as market trends. Famous Hedge-fund owner James Simmons, only hires Mathematicians and Physicists, who do not need any business or banking background, to work as bankers in his company, Renaissance Technologies. The top Quantitative Analyst in the world has a doctorate in Physics and to quote him, in research he deals with 23 variables, but now in life and finance, he just has 3 to handle.

Link: Mathematical skills are a prerequisite to develop higher level cognitive and analytical skills in order for us to excel in society.

(Counter) Argument 4: Being equipped with the most basic Mathematical skills provides us with much greater convenience as compared to having sole reliance on technological tools.

Elaboration: Simple day-to-day activities largely involve the use of mathematical skills and would ironically take a longer time and effort if we were to fully rely on technological tools. Moreover, it would be a hassle if we were to require such tools to physically be with us all the time as compared to solving problems on the spot with our mathematical knowledge.

Example: Mental calculations would greatly aid us in buying and selling as opposed to solely relying on a calculator even for simple operations. The absolute necessity of having a calculator around with you would often times become a hassle in that case. The basic skill of doing rough mental calculations and pattern recognition would enable us to have greater control over our finances in estimating and analyzing our spending habits and saving progress.

Back to the A’levels H1 General Paper 2016 Paper 1 Solutions

‘Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone’s opinion is of equal value.’ What is your view?

‘Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone’s opinion is of equal value.’ What is your view?

JC General Paper

‘Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone’s opinion is of equal value.’ What is your view?

Define opinion and its purpose.

An opinion is a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. Opinions are predicated on the individual’s current understanding and analysis of perceived phenomena, and its dynamic nature brings value and meaning to the uniqueness of individuality and colorful context to otherwise mundane events.
Thesis statement

While everyone has an opinion and every opinion should be given fair amount consideration in order for society to best function and cater to the interest of every individual as much as possible, the harsh truth remains that not everyone’s opinion is of equal value. Firstly, opinions predicated upon evidence are more reliable to derive inspiration from compared to one which manifests purely from emotions and personal bias. Secondly, psychological bias renders the notion that everyone’s opinion holds equal value and be given the same amount of consideration to be impractical. Hence, everyone has an opinion and is indeed entitled to have one, but not everyone’s opinion is of equal value for society.

(Counter) Argument 1:
Every opinion should be equally considered in order for society to best function and cater to the interest of every individual as much as possible

Elaboration: The conscious societal effort to hold everyone’s opinion with equal regard protects the interest of every individual, especially of those from minority groups. If we were to disregard opinions which do not interest the majority of us, it can lead to immoral and biased behavior, policies and consequences.

Example: Severe racism against blacks in the US in the past was due to the majority group’s absolute lack of consideration of opinion and interests of the perceived minority group.

Link: Every opinion should be carefully regarded in order for society to not neglect the interest of certain groups in the midst of societal progress.

(Counter) Argument 2:
Every individual is unique and as valuable, and hence every opinion carries a perspective that has their own distinct and equal value which should not be ignored.

Elaboration: Based on the premise that “all lives are equal”, all opinions should be equally considered as every opinion represents a distinct and unique individual who is as valuable as another.

Evidence: In a democratic government, every vote from every eligible individual is considered and carries the same weight, acknowledging the notion that every individual citizen is of equal value.

Point: Every opinion matters as every individual is unique.

Argument 3:
Informed opinions hold more meaningful value

Elaboration: “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” – Harlan Ellison

Opinions predicated upon evidence are more reliable to derive inspiration from compared to one which manifests purely from emotions and personal bias. Opinions direct societal progress, and hence informed opinions lead to more informed decisions which would allow society to function and develop in its best interest.

Example: In the political context, a deep understanding of politics and the local political scene would compel the informed citizen to support the most capable political party. This informed opinion leads to be more logical and rational political vote which brings great positive value to the country, as opposed to having disgruntled citizens angrily voting for political parties which capitalize on emotions without decent consideration for practicality.

Link: Informed opinions is of greater value than uninformed ones.

Argument 4:
Personal bias renders the notion of everyone’s opinion holding equal value impractical

Elaboration: Opinions generate the greatest amount of real tangible value when they resonate with the masses. And the extent of how well an opinion is received by the masses is influenced by psychological bias driven by factors such as age, the perceived credibility and prestige of the opinion-bearer and how well that opinion aligns with our own personal beliefs.

Example: In the campaign for gender equality, it is evident that Emma Watson’s efforts hold greater influence and are held in higher regard than most people who have been essentially advocating and saying the same thing. This is the reason why charities tend to tap onto the prestige of celebrities to amplify their impact.

Link: It is impossible for everyone’s opinion to be genuinely held with equal regard due to personal bias.

Back to the A’levels H1 General Paper 2016 Paper 1 Solutions