‘Human need, rather than profit, should always be the main concern of scientific research.’ Discuss

‘Human need, rather than profit, should always be the main concern of scientific research.’ Discuss

JC General Paper
  • Human need, rather than profit should always be the main concern of scientific research. Discuss.

Define scientific research and its purpose.

Scientific research is the systematic investigation of scientific theories and hypotheses. This leads to a deeper understanding and knowledge of the mechanics behind physical world around us, which in turn empowers mankind to come up with more sophisticated and useful technological and scientific solutions.

Thesis statement

Some may argue that profit should be of paramount importance in scientific research as the most meaningful projects tend to require large amounts of funding for their execution which can only be attained if the outcomes are profitable. In addition, it can also be said that higher profits enable researchers to go more in-depth in their projects, making breakthroughs of a larger scale. However, my stand is that human need, rather than profit, should always be the main concern of scientific research. Firstly, as consumer behavior is predicated upon human need, it is logical to focus primarily on meeting human needs as profits would naturally follow after. Secondly, by prioritizing human need over the profitability of the endeavor, it would drive scientific research to solve the world’s most dire and relevant needs, accelerating mankind’s process in alleviating the world’s greatest problems. As such, while profitability is an important factor to consider for scientific research to be effective, meeting human needs should still be the priority.

(Counter) Argument 1:
The most meaningful projects tend to require large amounts of private funding for their execution which they can only get if they are profitable

Elaboration: Scientific research with the most potential for huge impact require large amounts of funding to enable its complex and sophisticated research methods. As a lot of these funds tend to come from the private sector, the profitability of the eventual fruits of such research has to be high enough to justify the large amounts of dollars put in by these investors.

Example: Billions of dollars are poured into NASA’s quest to create the world’s first quantum computer, with its processor running at least 3600 times faster than today’s computers. Quantum computing will be most beneficial initially in the fields of drug discovery, cybersecurity, business, finance, investment, health care, logistics, and planning. Once it’s done, the estimated cost for the first quantum computers is $15 million. For such an expensive endeavor, the future financial profitability of quantum computers has to be substantial enough to justify the amount of money investors have put in to enable the relevant scientific research.

Link:  Profitability is an important factor to consider for scientific research to be effective.

(Counter) Argument 2:
Earning high profits would enable more in-depth research, resulting in scientific breakthroughs of a larger scale.

Elaboration: When scientific research revolves around a profitable business model, more and more funds can be channeled into more in-depth research over extended periods of time, leading to more and more scientific advancements as time progress.

Example: SolarCity, a company that designs, finances and installs solar power systems, has a profitable business model. This allows it to channel more and more funds into its scientific research, creating more effective and efficient solar-energy solutions again and again as its business progresses.

Link: High profits should be heavily considered as it enables in-depth and long-term research.

Argument 3:
Consumer behavior is predicated upon human need, hence it is logical to focus primarily on meeting these needs as profits would naturally follow after.

Elaboration: Business involves the transaction of value between the consumer and the provider of the good or service. While consumers provide the dollars, the provider provides value which resonates with the consumers’ needs. Hence, as long as human needs are met, profits would naturally follow after. Hence, meeting these needs should be the primary focus.

Example: Effexor, an antidepressant, had $3.8 billion in sales in 2005 and an annual growth rate of 1.2 percent. In a world where depression is highly prevalent, scientific research done to meet this dire societal need to curb symptoms of depression is naturally rewarded with high profits.

Link: It is logical to place paramount importance on meeting human need as profits would naturally follow after needs are effectively meet.

Argument 4:
Prioritizing human need over the profitability of the endeavor would compel scientific research to solve the world’s most dire and relevant needs and alleviate the world’s greatest problems.

Elaboration: A human need that is direr than another is not necessarily more profitable. If scientific research is driven primarily by profit, it could lead to the negligence of severe problems due to a perceived lack of profitability.

Example: Cancer research and the quest to develop a drug which can effectively and completely cure it is less profitable than existing, more profitable methods of chemotherapy in the long run. This raises serious ethical questions if profitability is the sole driving factor of scientific research.

Link: It is important to have meeting human need take precedence over profit if the goal is to solve the world’s most dire problems.

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

Considering the money involved, should developing countries be allowed to host major sporting events?

Considering the money involved, should developing countries be allowed to host major sporting events?

JC General Paper

Considering the money involved, should developing countries be allowed to host major sporting events?

Question Analysis: Definition of Key terms

Developing countries: Nations that have not reached first world status yet, low Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. Basic infrastructure could be missing from the nation, and the nation is riddled with poverty.

Host major sporting events: Olympics, World Cup, Youth Olympics, Paralympics

Should: need to discuss from an ethical and moral perspective for this question, whether it is right or not for nation to host the events.

Assumption: Developing nations should focus on their own economic development and allocate their money effectively to alleviate the citizens’ welfare rather than spending money on the unnecessary.

To do well for this question, students should consider whether developing nations have anything to benefit from hosting major sports events given the huge sum of money involved. Do note that students have to address the monetary sum in every paragraph, since this is a criteria/condition that is given in the essay. Students would also need to compare the benefits and the drawbacks of hosting these major events in a time period, to assess whether it is worthwhile to host these events. This question should not be a listing of the benefits and demerits of hosting a sports event.

No they should not host major events:

  • Hosting these major events takes up a large portion of the country’s budget and it would be more prudent for the nation to allocate these money more effectively in resolving more pressing domestic issues such as poverty and infrastructure. Spending money on these areas would have a more direct impact on the citizen’s lives than hosting a major sports event. Also, the main aim of the government is to take care of their citizens’ welfare first. In fact, spending on these sports event would increase the income inequality of the nation even further in countries such as India and China, where the government already has limited funding to begin with.
  • The gains of hosting these major sports events could be too short term, especially in terms of tourism, especially if the tourist sector is small to begin with. It is highly likely that most of the developing nations are not very open to trade and that their tourist sector is highly undeveloped. Given the economic costs and the uncertainties, it would be more prudent for the nation to not even host these events.

Yes they should host major events:

  • Despite the high costs involved, developing nations should still go ahead to host the event as it would force the nation to develop important infrastructure that could aid the nation in growth later. Governments would have to invest heavily in transport and communication, hotels and sporting arenas in order to ensure a smooth hosting. An example would be India and China which invested heavily in infrastructure for the Commonwealth Games and the Beijing Olympics.
  • Developing nations should host these events in order to gain international standing in the world. The money that they have to spend on these sporting events would be a small price to pay assuming that the nation is able to present themselves well on a world stage, and hence gain the attention and attraction of the other nations and help to boost tourism in the long run. It makes perfect sense for China to bid and host the Beijing Olympics to showcase to the world that they have progressed and ready to take on international events.
  • Despite the huge sum of money involved, it makes sense of the developing nation to host these sporting events, assuming that the nation would like to develop their sports sector. The standard of sports will improve in the country given the vast spending on sporting infrastructure. It could have the effect of stimulating interest in sports and producing potential sportsman.

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

‘Longer life expectancy creates more problems than benefits.’ Discuss

‘Longer life expectancy creates more problems than benefits.’ Discuss

JC General Paper
  1. Longer life expectancy creates more problems than benefits. Discuss.

Stand: Longer life expectancy creates more problems than benefits, unless we find a way to effectively redistribute our resources and find alternative sustainable energy resources.

Argument 1:
More people living in retirement can potentially be taxing on the economy

Elaboration: Economic output will only be increased if people spend the extended years of their lives mostly working. If a growing fraction of the workforce lives longer and longer in retirement, the economy will suffer instead.

Example: Japan, a country where a significant portion of its ageing population is in retirement, would have its economy further threatened if life expectancy increases and the fraction of its retired workforce continues to grow.

Argument 2:
Aggravating already unsustainable consumption of natural resources

Elaboration: In a world where we are already finding it hard to consume Earth’s resources in a sustainable way, a longer life expectancy would place greater stress on the Earth’s natural resources given an inevitable rise in global population. This problem will be exacerbated by the widening income gap, where wealthier families will further deprive the poor from resources such as food and shelter.

Example: Supplying the world with energy is already a challenge that has led to unsustainable usage of natural gases, oil and coal. An increase in the global population would accelerate the depletion of our limited natural energy resources.

(Counter) Argument 3:
More value for society created per individual via their work

Elaboration: With a longer lifespan, a single individual can accumulate greater knowledge throughout his life, develop greater expertise, and hence be able to create greater value for society.

Example: In Africa, the high child mortality rate means that less children make it into adulthood, the optimum phase of an individual’s life to create the most economic output for society.

Link: Longer life expectancy creates more valuable work for society, which is a clear benefit.

(Counter) Argument 4:
More time to learn, understand, experience and appreciate the vast world – achieve greater satisfaction and meaning in life.

Elaboration: More time to spend with family and friends, opportunities to travel and see more of the world. Based on the premise that life derives its meaning from its diverse experiences and memories, life would become more meaningful for those who can live longer.

Example: A man passionate about travel would have more time to accumulate the wealth necessary for him to truly travel around the world and indulge in its experiences.

Link: A longer life expectancy can empower one to attain greater satisfaction and hence greater meaning in life.


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

Assess the view that tradition buildings have no future in your society.

Assess the view that tradition buildings have no future in your society.

JC General Paper

Assess the view that traditional buildings have no future in your society

Question Analysis- Definition of Key Terms

Traditional Buildings: Structures that have a historical significance to Singapore. These could be the old colonial buildings; buildings that reflect unique architecture that showcase a nation’s culture and identity or even a historical past.

No Future: Possible demolition of these traditional buildings; the original architecture may be refurbished to suit present time needs.

Assumption: Singapore is a highly pragmatic nation that is constrained by her geographical boundaries, if these traditional buildings do not serve any purpose for the nation, the state would choose to forgo and even demolish them to make way for more pressing economic and social needs.

To do well for this question, students need to take a look at the different types of traditional buildings in Singapore and examine the motivations of the state in keeping and gazetting these buildings. Do these buildings showcase a national history that would aid in the nation building process or would these buildings be preserved primarily for tourism? Also, students can consider why majority of these buildings are preserved at the central district of Singapore. Students would also need to measure against the needs of the state, especially that of economic development and how practicality usually affects the decision of the government whether to keep these buildings or not. Note that this question is not asking you about the benefits/values of these traditional buildings, rather the want or need of the state in keeping them.

Yes traditional buildings do not have a future here:

  • Limited land space here forces the state to prioritize economic and future development of the nation before fulfilling historical and cultural needs. There is a limit to the number of traditional buildings that the state can preserve. As such, given such a limitation, it is only wise to preserve buildings that can serve both a historical and economic purpose. It is no wonder that certain places like the Old National Library and Bukit Brown have been forgone by the state, despite these places holding strong and rich cultural memories and identity for the older generation of Singapore.
  • Singapore takes a very pragmatic view towards the preservation of these buildings, especially with the advancement of science and technology. Preservation of these buildings does not necessarily have to take on a physical angle. The memories of these places could be stored in digital form online and archived in the library or even the museums. It makes more sense to have the space make way for more pressing economic needs to grow the nation. As such, it seems like it fulfills the twin objective of preservation and growth especially with the use of technology.

No traditional buildings have a future here:

  • Traditional buildings serve a nation building purpose and they showcase a nation’s rich cultural heritage. Singapore has always been accused as a nation that does not have much culture and history, and is still in the midst of searching for her identity in her short national history. As such, the presence of these buildings is necessary to keep Singaporeans grounded in her own identity especially in this increasingly globalized and connected world. There needs to be some continuity and familiar places for Singaporeans to identity with and to call this place home. This is to counter the increasing displacement that the older generation feels given the quick progress of the nation where the familiar landscape is changing quickly. Examples of traditional buildings that would have a future increasingly would be Kuan Yin Temple, Fort Canning, the British Barracks etc.
  • Traditional buildings do serve an economic purpose, in line with the state’s pragmatic vision of harnessing growth and attracting tourists to this city state. A lot of our traditional buildings are found in China town, Clarke Quay, Little India and even Raffles Places. These are tourist places to showcase the multi-racial and multi- religious aspect of the nation. The shophouses at Chinatown have always been preserved and gazetted by the state as a site for preservation. The contrast of the new and old architecture buildings helps to beautify the landscape as well.

At the end of the day, it is not about traditional buildings having a future or not in Singapore. Of course, they will have a future. Perhaps the debate should be on which building is going to have a future and the motivations behind them.

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

Hit Hard by the Preliminaries?

Hit Hard by the Preliminaries?

Studying Tips

As some Preliminary exams have begun, I’ve heard from students that they are severely defeated after the papers. Several subjects were so difficult that they are having second thoughts about taking A’levels. To be frank, I know some schools intentionally set out of the world paper just to scare the students and make their students study even harder. Thus, it is extremely important for students to develop tenacity and the correct exam psychology.

Several ex-students will concur that A’levels truly builds tenacity in them. This is an important trait, not just for A’levels, but also in life. As cliché as this may sound, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Students need to realize they do not need to complete the entire paper to get an A. They need to attempt all questions and learn to let go. For example, questions that require them to show or proof, can be skipped if they really have no clue how to do it. Just do the next part! Come back later. It will be futile to realize that you could’ve done the last question, at the end of the paper. This may sound wrong, but instead of focusing on scoring 140/200 for an A, remember you can lose 60 marks.

Lastly, I mentioned this last year here and to all my students. Your percentile always tell you more than your letter grade. For instance, if I am a student in a College that produces 60% H2 Mathematics distinction in A’levels, then I should look to be 50th percentile for my prelims at the least. And if 50th percentile is a S, then so be it. You’re in a pretty comfortable spot so long as you maintain. Similarly, if you school doesn’t publish H2 Math Distinction rate at all, then you should look to be 90th percentile and you can’t just settle for an A.

Chin up, and continue fighting!

100 days more…

100 days more…

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

So the Midyear results are all out and Prelims are known to be in 4-5 weeks’ time. Many students are frantically searching for help and attempting to salvage their results. We are sorry to say that we aren’t able to take any more private students due to time constraints, and only the group classes are available. Our classes are all held in Newton Apple Jurong East.

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

Credits: www.lifehack.org
Credits: www.lifehack.org
  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

Welcome J1 to your new academic life :)

JC General Paper, JC Mathematics

We at The Culture have been receiving calls recently since the start of the J1 orientation program about our tuition program. This post is a shoutout to those students who are interested in the services that we provide. Currently, all tutors of The Culture are working only with Newton Apple Learning Hub @ Jurong East Gateway Road (right opp JE MRT), and we are pleased to announce some promotion of the centre for early sign ups!

Here are the details: Newton Apple is charging $280/subject, with a max class size of 8. Sign up early to avoid disappointment! Our classes are nearly 3/4 full!

Sign up by 28th Feb to enjoy 50% waiver of admin fee and material fee for sem 1 (worth up to $85)

Sign up by 31st March to enjoy 25% waiver of admin fee and material fee for sem 1 (worth up to $42.25)


10% off monthly with 2 subjects or more registered for.

About H2 Math classes

JC Mathematics

Some Singapore parents and students have called, telling me they want to know more about the class structures.

Most of my private classes range from one student to four students, preferably held at their residences. These classes can be ad-hoc, long term of short term.

For group classes in tuition centres, the class size is not more that 8.

My notes and worksheet are prepared by myself. I don’t like to be long-winded with notes so they are really concise. Questions mostly seek to teach and mentor students.

In general, I utilise the class timing to impart my knowledge and understanding to students. I don’t like to see my students do work in front of me unless necessary.

Most of the times, I can finish a topic in a 2H lesson. There was a student who was doing really badly, took tuition daily just two weeks prior to A-levels and I saw her to an A. So it is possible; but I do not generally like such methods of teaching as I wasn’t teaching but just telling her what to do in A-levels.

A sigh of relief

JC Mathematics

A J1 (Junior College Year 1) recently told me she was very impressed by what I did for her Mid years.

Lets rewind a bit. Many J1s actually was worried about Mid years and wanted to have extra lessons. But I was tight down with many J2s as many of them were doing last minute sprint in June. So I only manage to stick to the regular four lessons monthly. I assured them that following my method will work and the extra tuition lessons were not necessary.

So this J1 told me (just two days ago), “my classmate went for crash courses and 12 lessons in June with ___ then only get D, while I still get A with just 4 lesson.”

To be honest, I even canceled lessons during the Mid Year Exam week as I see no need (well, I was overseas too). So many students were quite thankful it worked out.

I feel that all these boils down to methodology and how the student gets ready for exam. The tutor’s job should be to get the student ready, by direct and simple means, not massive thick notes as this is no difference from the school.