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  1. 1. 5 THI|'|GS TO l(l,{OW FIVE SINGAPORE I(ONS ond whol they reveol obout our cuhure Over 43 years, we have accumulated a few outstanding local icons. FIom the Merlion, the Singaporc Girl and I€e Kuan Yew (the kgend): find out what each icon reveals about th€ way Singapore think. "L,<t iEt € FEATURE ARTICLE CRAZYSEXYCOOL Countries are finally paying attention to branding themselues just as much os corporations are. Has the Singapore brand euolued to meet the competition? Are ue still desirable? .-a ON 2ND ]HOUGHT RITHINK SINGAPORI ARTS lt Be it the Grcat Singapore Novel or Film, we look at whether we have come close to oeating unique cultural goods of our oran. 30 (UtTURtWA](H AQ MAIGOVER GTTTING OUI PRIMP MY PRIDI IHI Hairstvlists. lr OF AQ MAZI fashioi pbotograDhers. mal€-up_attists. It's about time to shed light on that dreaded puzzle known as the application question. Saphrc desrgners llrrd fashion desicners - local creatives irc turningprimping into a A MAIIIR OI ()PINION sorrr.P.f nrtion.l nride p THE Ptl-DU MAMA vs. iI IHI DUI(H URBANIST Our writers squarc offon whether Singapore is a place we can call Horn€, Lo(At vs. Gt0BAt. PRIDI & PREJUDIG ffi $'Wr An anabsis ofwhy local creatives stmgqle to find acneptance and success in Singapore and vennrre overseas instead
  2. 2. SiNCAPORf S BRIII MOMINTS N POPUtiR TUIIURI#i 1 2 TIIEMERLION PIIU CHU I(ANG t0|]tststM0t{s0N5 8tRD5 0F PR[Y *83 {2005) touise SimomM! popu m rrn on $c 8'rds orPrel tom( book sov o l!'l r(jrvord hc exork vhen +e rhose 1o moks Sinsopore rhe spoi ighr lorlhree iiaes ol supl]rhero hi- rnkJ wilh rhe heip ofo Slnsoporcon fon, 5imonron nronoqo{l b indude quile ! fevr slrpris ng y CULTUR,A.L ARTIFICIAI-ITY'I'HROUGII HLqRTLqNDER HERI'I'ACI]. GLOBAIISED ECONOMIC PRAGMA I ISM/ Unaslianiedly ASPIR-ATIOS. One ol lhF nil.o , s mu pu.arisiig ilmnqlAirpo lookso ill e invented in 196.+ by lhe Singapore Touism Board, dre(lpskor". oid troishr our slnrbols, Phna Chu Kang (PCKJ rvas a stereotl"ical of q developing nolior. the Merlion oives its "iion" head to the lescnd of how uncou th Chinese coDtractor charactcr played by actor lndonesian prince SangNilaUtarna spotted a singo Crrrmircirbh. Di.rpsardri8 ^4J lorls i nd .ppald nS (lion) on routeto Malacca.Its fish body and tail are sinslish slaDs unapologetically, PCK was aD a gesture io th€ island's close ties to d1e sea. It has affectionate bui sonenhal bacldanded ode to the since ihe. been nass produced as STB-approved blue collared heartlanders ofSingapore. His macho keychahs, chocolate!, stutred toys ed paper-weighls, cNdeness, thejarring aesthetics of lijs wife's drcss becoming the island's nost politically ncutmi a.d sense and the btrniblins ineptitrde ofhis Dnderlinss ihiliftlb souvenir-jiiendl)' niascot. Becausc of its unabashed' were often contrasted Nith his more refined but eflete artifical birth, the }le ion is and will aiways be the architect brother and pretentious sister in larv for SINGAPORIS BRIII MOMIIITS nost convenient symbol of Singapore s percejved conic effect- PCK embodies Singapore society's /N P{]PULAR OLII]Ri#? cr tuml inadequacies: her lack of historical romance, struggle beFleen ils native, earthier lieitage aDd its he-. oi plFr"h pnSmdl; apprc!. n lu I rp|g enn ,g more Westernised aspirations- He is a caricaturc of of her identity and the often amusiDg rcsults of ihe best and worst elenients ofthe headlandcr identitr sLtch twinned efforts. Multiethnic drcss anyone? seen throug! the eyes ofcosmopolitan Snrgaporeans Mfliolosised in Edwnr Thurnboo's r979 poen - afterall. he namcd his children Romeo Ferrari and t{ysses by fhe M€rlion, this m}thic creatu.e h:l! siDce Crystal Jade. Urhen PCKwas l€atured as a clue-giver been deconshucted and criticised by tlie local literati ' I r, sirgdpo-FlFSol U.s. r-JiD Jruh 77r ,,rnl,rt in va ous poenrs, artworks and plays. It has evcn l?dce, some Singaporeans ftrmed about thc R0A0 T0 5ll,t6AP0R[ (r940) r dCF rli qd) :nlo lo' d p. r.ir. p: ll, rlnr cd inapprop.iateness of luliDs snch a buffoon be the Pmbobyrhemortlriqhprofth euphemism for "I vomited". $hilc thc Merlion will ambassador of SnigaporcaD idcntity on iniernational se o{Sinqopore! nome in i never possess the same culiural and historical television. Elrntuaily rith pressure 1i om state censo.s nNielitu, iroIi$lyneirher :genuine, national resonance thai symbols lil(e the a in the iisht oftheSleok Coodl)iglrsA canpaisn, ol the chorocters ployed by Birq (rosby snd 8l)b 11ope Siatue of Liberty have, by virtue ofits ubiquitous l,,hohddroLonFdoqn:" br ursi ,sl:.h.lns r'8 od!o ly hoke ir lo 5rigopore presence and aftible counten.tnce, the Merlion has rnuc| of ils originality and wit that nade PCK such if rhefilm d'emrinooiho a developed an odd charn of its ver-'orm. It a hit.It imosinory i! ord ol (oisoon 03 ER0ADIR P[RSP[fllVtS t/pstrodpo'! rssue
  3. 3. SlllCAP0Rf S ERltf lil0llltl,fi S II{ POPUI,{R CULTURI #3 3 4 SINGAPORE GIRL LEE KUAN rr'EW debur: 1968 debut: 1965* sA[{r ia(K (E/9) bced on o l9/3 noveloi borddo. Singoporo vilhoul lhe EASTERN PROMISES TO A WESTERN THE MYTII OF AUTHORJ'IARIANISM/ Our WORLD/ Perhaps global air h avel s best loved aDd first and most reno'ured Pnme x{inister of Singapore beins pruduted most suc@sstu] icon, the sinsaporc Girl has been the is also the mosi titanic in terms o{ m)thology. To niost promincnt element in Singaporc Aidines'years past genemtions grown into present critics. LKY is Thoush 5olirlodi5theon y ofadvertising- She has achieved so nuch cultuml at once Sinsapore's most favoured Founding Father promineDce and cult folloeing thai awd figure of as well as ber most feared Bogeymani her most Singopo.e, ir vo5 her was created and shown at the faned Madane revercd reason for success and yet her most favourite Tussad's wd Museum in London in 1994 Created whippjns boy for any ne$'srouse under the sun. This by faned English adaefising creative Ian Batey, she may all change bythe next geDe.ation ihorgh. The presents an alluring image ofAsiaD femininii"v, all irnpressions of local youths of LKY are mostly fotmed gentle hospitality ard trnquestioning subservience by a loose coilection of nemory fragments: neit Unsurprisingly, herbissest critics have been local hisro, i. dl a.-ount, i! rocidl srud'ps ,en oool.s. icon . womeD $'ho feel ihis icotl is se st and panders to a video clips like the one of l,ee learins up at the advent Sirsopore lr 2006 o5 on of sepaEtion fiom Malaysia, ard most of a]l cor tless colonial stermbpe about Asian subsen'iency to $'hite Ml8 filnr. Toddy, il is n1en. Unlike the business likc suits wom by male SLA. throwaway lines said by adults in jest about hidden cabin crew, SIA steeardesses wear a sensual and camems ihai at onc€ rnlthologise and denigr ate I€e's mther unforsivins sarcns kebaya paired with sandals ability to hcar all and see aI in our little island state. and adhe.e to ahishly regiment€d bea ty standard: sone believe LKY is a complex man to be respected siigopors llke lhe old and dghtfully feared, ciring Sinsapore's sbilit)' to dark black hair without hishlights, SIA apprcved blue Frehrdnh,brighl lFd rrtsli.k rdnd'ls.To.riri.s. evolve from dirw shat1tl-towns to fabulous eealth oidod Sugis Slreet durlrg the SinsaDore Girl is just a ivell-disguised Sarong and suNile nthiess resional politickins at the same Party Cirl (a ]oung SingaporeaD $'oman who dates rime. Bu' lo CFr Y, the I'al ir loo di'tanr Fnm t}c r only whire men, believing tbey are more appealins present rcality for LKY (and by association, the and successtul). wlile it is true thai she is very much Governnent ard PA") to be a figure that iNokes aDy an aftificial and evcn archaic creaiion to satis& rFd lFir or reJ .T' '1ion. LKY . ,he,r inrimidarrrs skewed male Westem appetites, practically, the srandfather writ large, an irnmuiabie and Singaporc Girl works too $'e11 to ever be sotten unquesiioned authoritJ fi8ure, yet a $eature ftom a nd ot It past they feet little connection to and thus, have little baggage to coDtend with. It 04 SR0ADIR PRSPtfiIVtS tiesinqdpoi? issue
  4. 4. LlllClillN i.t[( 6] olr The Mestern Press Hates IIs! The srd cnticisms remain provorativer the restrictions linited politic,l we place on civil societ"v or sanisations, e:prcssion and the notorious legal battles bebreen PAI politicians and opposition pa.ty menbers. Fal Eastem Rerieu (I,EER) , Woll Sneet,Iournal Asio, the Internanonil llerald n i6une aDd the Findncial ?irres were rI seneEly citical about how Singapore's POLIIIC11.1,'Nlilltl.{1i,. l ) li [.i i'] { } L_5 n-1 govemmert rcvoked FEllRs perrnit to be sold and IIL'LUt 1.,I FINI{ .1t) ,!.!'.!n}MtLIi/ 1'lrr circuiated here after it retused to adhereto Section 24 r.L)ld Ch t 1,,.,r lti.. lF ,)lfrl r ru in. r, rr .nl r of thc Ne$'spaper and Printing Presses Act. si.!,r1,,),f l!,)!iitr ru!licr di'h (l.t)it. r,,,1lj Unsurprisingly, l'r'i? takes an unslarpathetic view of , i),rt,e jtors llli. Cbilli O.rb or l.rlr: lLr.lrrLrL,L)1. Sinsapore s policies, challensins the validiiy of I merjtoc.acy ( "'flie chrmde of Medtocrad'), th€ tig! tly nlrnr r1..1( .1s 1)l s rrtrLl)1rr. rir.sL lLiricsnul conboll€d local press ( SiDgaporc's fbunding m),ths vs nrn.rNl triil i. rL rl r L rLlLlrrNg| :L o|c ils rt |ts freedorn") and even her econornic fut re ("Financial 1r Chi.iL s lliLl,r, i lrL r(1. sin!r1, )r.rn s11. centre pipedrcams"). i (L,t,1elll. {iil irtrljjrn.n. South(,,l ii n L, i1{ r {ith regard ro lhe le€l of public sector er?eftise, rnost L.rlilnrrnrur frtulrrtlishs.f r rl,.i Lti,..i rlLrlles internationd nedia rcgdd Singapore in a more positive nNltil,L dniths ol fl,i:. s r:L s. ,1.f. brrlc ird light. duf"i,res carried aD intewiew lrith then SM tligr... ll is lLir ,).t ,Ll,, fl(.! tlirh lhrt iin b. If,e abour hor Singapore wanied to share its expertise nnrn(lid.'., iiLrl,. I r rli r. lo,!l co!a lnLl hot.l in architecture. landscaping, iffigation, waste treat ent Nn.l!r fr i.i L L{qrLlrhrihcrlrnrrtr,ibhLi and human resoxrces rnanagement with the worid. 11)L f,r,l s,,rc rl,!fcldiitr, Jr{nl,lt,,1 Ur, I4'RED magazine expounded on how sinsapore was r)ltlrl) rtrilc ()lhrr.Lr..nnrrhl)ri i r1,, r,il at the cuttinja edge of biomedicine because of her liberal l, 3 ir itinChrtt. n) r)rn1li,l A LLrfLslLrr,.,riril approach to controveNial secto$ ofres€arch. l)hnd. rith !lllb( rL!nr ,,, i(li ir.,tr !l)|lird. rou .rnnrrlil!rlliliL ll .,,!, 1,,, iDaltltr Dishr( o , I i".Dl.. Sirsdpre hds bFFn CerrinC rr e FfiFh.. thit hr,.(1,,,i1s rlrfr,! Lri lstiri iI th.rNh.s {1. rIL Acid-tonsued chef Anlhony Bourdaii declared in t]le 1..(l Ll!r,rs,l$ lo,) r,,ll iD thrr r!,.(1 rr(l LL.i(l Lrl Ntlt! Totk Times Magazine that Ne were "Foodie rLil,,iL t ,r,Lirlrb. (hiflicD ri.. r! nrLLLr : ,,Lj,rlL Heaven . Respected food critic R.w' Apple Jr. rnotea Irl rt,lmlilg lo rnr l(lmltrr lt!).i !! r j rLti 11,, I Ne.J] yotk Tintes article eDtitled 'Singaporc: ,l A Reprcssed CitA-State? Nat in its firch€ns ' Even the rrlirbl.. t)rN.ti{l N.,l r(l,Lt,lrIli ()r!l.t ti)1!li th,. usually critical Sudncv Morn t19 Held/d admitted that the 2oo6 Singapore Biennale showed there was a .darker, to.th.! rliltirLilLr. Lrlrr)rltLln':uli..j 6l funnier side to this city of shopaholics."d t ll lllrriR t'l|f:l ll rr, .,',,,,,r,r'r..rI
  5. 5. FTATURT ARTIO-T CrazySexyCool: Will the real Singapore Brand please stand up? The Singapore brtmd is challengiDg to market - or so we tli*. By Shiao-Yin Kuik efore the r98os, corporations A' q c!!>] -'1 ilifferentiated ihemselves bY emphasising how they L__, produced whiter, brighter, fasler. stronger results lhan their € competitors. But today, with the onsoing slobilisation of labou and rnaNfacturing, lhe world's consumers are nole offercd a diversity of goods and seNices ofalnost e+r.l quality. Product ditrerentiation is no longer just about tansible differences Differ€ntiation is now achieved by emphasisins values and qualities thar invoke consumers' orm aspirations. This is a huth that advertising asencies, brand constrltants and corpomtions have knoM for the loDgest time about modem coDsuner behaviour. Billions of dollars have been poured nito nedia onslaughts to seduce hearts aDd rninds nrto choosing one brand over another' Nike isyour all Ancncm go getter: atlletic and constandy pushing physical lnlits. Its rival Adidrs is the urbane fu-n!pi1: morp edgl JnJ ) F cors.ou.ullradrl'on. Today, you don tjusi choose a shoe').ou choose a tribal id€ntitj and appropriate their proiecied heniage and aspilaiions as )'our om. TIIE COUNTRY lN OUR MINDS/ And now dhether a country countries are fast catching on. believes in braniling as a stratesy or not, it cannor escape the fact that it is already a brand - and this brand needs to be manased as conscienriously as McDonalds manages its A couDtry's brand is tlie sum total of beliefs we have aLoul | ,' Inj lhF ri dBe ul lhF.ounrrl ,hrl exFt'ir ou r jmasiDations. Somc countries are livins synbols to us ofvalues we admire or detest and thus, they n n.onsciouslv orient our life's clioices. 06 BR0ADIR Pt[SPttTlVtS i/re liroa,?ore 6sre
  6. 6. 4 0tstN6aP0Rfs re want to strd)'in thc UI( to bcr pin t ol Globalisarion has made our r{tional borders flxll Blitanllia s inLeli-.ctua] helitage; rvc 1illrl to !vor]( ancl pla1.in Aructica more permeable and individuals more decision-makers. Hence, capiral, ideas and :::--'.ig icN re!lne rhoi !ir!!pore j resources de more mobile than cvc!. Count es lowirem6nsetur,ode i bccausc it is thc Lancl of the Flee ancl Jr, l-'Jmb-i18 n h^. rrar .r r'io-al.orlordlion: rurey deiiqred tri bljr by l!rii llm!!i 05lM j thc Amelican Drearn; wr: r'earn tLr rnd I iB I qu.-iIi, d nsrar.Ifi.ornrr. l "s in o s ,q,tirnon lrdni, rhe relocate to Australin bccarise le beliere thc holy trnriF of Investments, l ourists and Talent, rermo osy 5 futry rqvdl ol rhe lomou5 hodo omFri i her firture in a competitive xorld is wel-secured. Bui c,'cr'l'dal Do'n I.Inclel is liiiclltacl<: lvcr kEi, mikm!lihevmd! n5r jr'l r.' ir'-i, ir >' r' .1''1' -.' ,rt., il ' wilh all competing suitors danslins thc samc delectable lldm (ly odwi(ei mn{@ bon oon ulp:'1,.1.qrclJ,o .it". rl'(al. "as'- so cicpcnclablc, cflicienL antl r:learr. rF':Ll-n.- p' flni Jnd gr'. I Jrds .o r a.our tri" have turDed to profcssional malketing stmtegists and Today, you don'tjust choose a country - you brand consultanisio find that extra edge thatreould Itra urodloii! o ondeC make then stand oot amongst the rest. i rhr r]tr rit ro @l ebodi choos€ a tr;bal idenlity and appr(,priilc l]rcir o.hei oigin6rdI'm rr imFrirl 'o projected heritase and aspirations as your 0ul5 ol tiino trd hoi ord own. Tlie b.and - or reputaiion ofa country is not S'l'ArD UP FOR SINGAPORE/ So w|ere does wi?li olmrdflr o o vld€ Singapore's braDd staDd iD all this? Do we have (he 6dlr 0 yllrndr. t!e' 0o m simply di.tated by dre mgarics of history or geognphy. 5m mgeriltr{o! ir p lJloi PerceptioDs ofa country c|ange along with twists and ich, emotive aspccts ihat help a brand Bo beyond molrore bdr, dshr,i!hj, merely appealing to convincing and inspiring cult Nklrer iliom md ipmlj in hrns in cucnt politics. Iloreover, in a nedia-rich hry fs jr ol heor ond world, popular culture has developed a ' disproportionate amourt of influencc over hos a country is perceived. ADy counhy that loses touch krolm chdacteristics ftlfill Certainly, our best sirh $l.Jr .1. (uld rhr ,l. . n l.- -i,k. lo. 18 the tunctioral but essential componcnts that tuurdnlI l93l l!e,ij m. ol everything iD the great Darwinian race among make a world-class brand. A country s brand is ft hprllr! b.sj r .vorll shaped by what it says of iisell what it actuaLly does, perfurmin! we r [jio ori civjlisations. ,I$t ast Arneicn the steady descent of Nhat it produces, $'hat it looks like, the conpaDy it U nlr€ i (insdon. 1!er 0er hcrbrand in ihe Middle East and Iurope $'as partly liirrlhul!! 1o N 60 msrrier because ofher curious.etusal to believe thai so rnaiv keeps as well as what people say of it - and on all !i ube0 mr*lrintuod! nh counts, Sjngapo.e peffomrs extremely well. We arc dre dlflnulr Ans on mrhr i people could possible hate the Land ofLibertr. Or ask l{j r. | [,{ .oni:sr"n.l) rJrl-Jb r dFn.,d", sou-c".rsl'pir'g o nmg Fr Neiv Zealand lio$' m:Dt billions nr ioudst dollars and iork liinm, irn l'onriro t.rps in all-rouDded dcv.loprnent, economic success hror fld i pnli{rl 0ermir interDational attentioD to its digital animation indust.y h@!of fD polllorrrolrDr it gamered by appcaring so prominently iD the 'rJBUUdsn, J,...WparF.Fdit.lilllop,hu:.r i(s5,irionr borl!lh!n celebratcd Lord ofthe Rnrgs trilogy. ^r in' sl^N,hl pd work"N dn,l ni.hr ro r r". nir'irts caNed out a respectable Dame as a politically and Many countries car no longer rest on the economically stable anct secue hub for resional laurels of beiDs "whiter, brishtcr, faster" headquarters, biomedical rcscarch, rnedical care, because this is no loneer as key a educatioD and ftuDcial seNiccs. Politically neutral li! EAIYA lrft hohl5 | i.esrr5 tufineolrh!{ud!msrw€ differenti{tion as ii uscd to be. Wihess ho. aDd diplomatic, r{c have no overt enemies and are lordsd asi w'rilrq holld,'l Dubai and Shanshai have successlolly recreated frierds with a slir?Iisinsly di€rse crowd China and gehvoF 8rrryon Tre i' ! ! Taiwan; Anrerica.Israel and the Muslini bloq India moliisommelo,itelinmm. themsclvcs as the nesest plalgrounds fo.the global m.loll 0 .ior vo}l I r clite, closing tl e gap between them atrd stalwarls like .nd Parr-lan ln ln" inl rniriun! pr-ss. SilBJt'nn i.. kmrr iptml oEEirl m lo London and Geneva. TeD yeaN aso, fc$'would have still mostly well-received." ord 5bMl irtor {ii{oki onr ol f. ror r0 *olriEi{liy believed that snosgy Beijins could rcbrand itselfas hores nftv0dlyr'N' ahipcityto work nr. Yet, fr.rn its a€inspiring gokt Singapore is ir Piace vou go to gct things medal srveep to its sturnnrg Herrog & de Nletrron dorte - a poNclful statcment llot nran '' ,l,rm Jld rL.1'".r' .ula oI'Fr'nB FrFn'on) 8, rjints nations can make rviLlrout aclding ABOUTTHIlVRTIR has Drade the 2oo8 Olympics Cliina's greatcsi adve isenenl for its positioD as Sufcrpower of caveats. Anyone who has Mesi:led with br taucratic red tape, co.ruptioD or ld labour laas can atprcciate this great SingaporeaD cliaractcristic. 07 BR0ADIR PtRsPtOlVtl fie $rsdtrore issrf
  7. 7. FEAIURE ARTI(LE All rhesc rractical characteristics sumnred suessins ou abili8 to be orisinal. We know ifea, Dui had ant thing lo do ith Francc? up in the afor€nentioned statemert is that peopl€ who cover themselves froni head It is as if s.e stili need that spfinkle of clert a najor eleneDt of our brddiru that to toe wrlh a plethoE of brdds hale a deep- Westem fairy-dnst to coDnore eleganc€ and i{e should not and cannot divorcc ouNeh€s set insecuri0 and resortcd to borowing a hom. lJrit thc conurrdl tlnt here is glamou. that they think is not intrilsic to thcf selves. singapor€ is not thai diffcrcnt Despite our meteonc risc, Singapore thal Lhose :Lrr'J srme in this nspcct. This is aD especial, grievious srill f€els like a self-conscious chiuactcristics Lhat have rnadc thom in ihc sides ofsins.tporeans who |a!€ Cinderella, a cultural country lLs so succcsstilj untorturrillely begun tobelieve in the NoIth aDdtaLent of bumpkin who is afi:ltid rhat she will lacl errolive iospilation. Bcing thei. o{n narion and abhor the slalish cop)- lose hcr borrowed firery and return to the rags ofher former developing eff iciert, plagnatic, rlep-.ndable world status at midnight. Interestingly and slrble docs not - in Rclativc toothr nations, Singapore is young enoush, two highly acclairned local fashion :rch'crtising parlance rnake ibr and ihus prone to ehibiting considerable brands Raoul ard woods &Woods chose lhe seiest blalld. anxieq! orcr her identiq'. singapore's values to dcliberately lraiiil themsel"es os and perception of hd oM i{ofih have not Eurotean in Dame, aesthetic and So far, ihe marketing tagliDes we have conc.etised as yet compared to co Dtries advertising. By disassociatirg themselves created to sell Singapore hare net with with stmnger (and more stident) Dotions as far as possjble fron the "N1ade in mixed reviews fron Singuporeans: of selhood like china. Britain or America. Snuaporc" label, lhey could charse as much siigapore Touist Board's "Utliqtel) in the 2oo5Anholt Nation tsrands Index, as foreisn bmnds fo. Lheir Droducts as wel Sinsapore , Urban Redevelopmenl Sjngaporc scored amoDs the lowest in self as gain populaity fast $ithout suflering Authoitl's "City in the Garden", I'Iinistry image than almost all couDtries rvith top frorn thc prej dice of brand and status of Forcisn ,trairs' Global Cir]*, World of conscious Singaporeans. Despite Opportu ties". The taglineis i.e attractilcl)' Singaporc's stroDg repuiation politicallJ_ worded but they still lack distinctileness Despire our sense of acsthctics, and economically, culturally she believes and {aside fron thc UR-A'S tasLine) are critical valid{tion and ou. bcst she is losing the battle: it's.jusi not irendy, rena.lebly applicablc to nany other cities practices, we de not convinced ofrhe classy, elegant nor magical to be by substituting the word "Singapore". Just viability or stpedority of developins SiDsaporcan. IroDically, this seif affliction nnastue: "Uniquely Dubai" or "Dubai: our own brand our own vay. Many couldbcthe sinsle biggest obstacle to the clobal city, World of Opportunities". Sfigaporeans still nreasurc thenselves by creaiion of truly nnique culture in this A counrry cannot brand itselfwith dr stddards of nore establishcd' counties in{ormation age wherc thebest way to go such neutral terms for it risks and seck their brands, thejr colhnal so slobal is to renllt' think local. Loc sounding just likc ever'] ole else. ahead and their political seal ot approval to distinction is what will scr onc apart a irm our dcvcloped workl status. !Ie ftom the slobal herd. So SiDsrpore has also been industdously imported a ParisiaD burlesque show, promotins its more colourtul characteistics promoted Bangkok stle bar-top dancing VHERE DO ^'IE GO I'ROM HERE?/ (Cr0z.! Horsel Bar-top dancing! Sinsaporc aDd recreated London's siant fenis $'heel ]jlery brandins as.ncvknom a brand rvil Eyel F1l Ministry of Soundl) to the to prove we are a sex], trendy to$'n. We fail ifit attempts to be all thirgs to Jll men. international nredia over the pst few rears. talked of benls Asia's Zurich in the 198os Sinsapore cannot be known as But to some critics (especially local ones), and now wiih the Int€grated Resods and primarily efficient, pragmaric, it is akin to walchins ihc scliool's most expensive ScDtosa homes, we paint ncutral and dependable and sensible nerd dressjng up in sltu},a clothes ourselves as Asia's Nlonaco - as if, being simultaneously be crazy, se4', cool, a liitle paintul, sonewhat laughable and Asia's Singapore was not enoush. wl1en we creatiwe, intellectually urbane, snellins ofa despemte need for approval. want to build a nationalarchitcctural icon stimulatina and colourtul witl equal like the Esplanade or the new Supreme weightage. Something has to give. Worse, Sinsapore is wearing Court. ive borrow the brand of aD Every country slroggles to find ihat one borrowed plummase rather than international architeci as opposed to message that can service tleir requilemcnts coming up with a style of her orm. It supporting one ofour oi{n proven talents a.ross ihe differ€nt sectorsr Ireland. is a uDique' singaporean sna&s/ $at has - a KenzoTange and NormaD Foster.r!e. a Scotland and Italy retain strong lourisl boih bencfited md injured us bybonowiDs Tay Kreng Soon or Mok Wei l4rci. AId what appeal because ofinases ofquainl, rustic ideas, best practices and concepts from are we to make ofour propensity to adopi countryEide livins whcre tine has stopped foreign lands and aptb ins it reholeheftedly Eumpear-sounding names lbr our local but this is at odds with their tudusties' io our country, we halc ocated a successfirL condominiuns and conpanies? Why call a struggle for credibilitt' when coDvtuchg Sinsapore brand while underminins our condoninium Cosfo del S.rl. as if Bedok ,Iapanese aDd American IT compani€s they confidence n1 our orvn creatjliil and sccond- $'as in Spain? Or adnnsunshop dBrn as are efficient places io relocate to. 08 ER0ADLR PIRSPIOIVIS the siryapore isue
  8. 8. Not uDlilie peopie thernseh es. in the nrlernaLioral nedia is our lach ol ol policies. l he globil audieDce is quick to political and nedia lreedom buL the serse dissonance and no amount of counlries are ofteI] lonr bct'(:'crl tougliest fact for critics to deal $'ith is the brandins exercises and public relatiorls brancling thcrusch,rs accolcling parado ofhow tliose ver,r'hnits hale so campaisns caD colcr up ihc basic lack of ir) who Llle'rerll rre. rvlro the flr brought pr2cti@l rcsults. $'c are bdldnrg follo$'through i. tcnns ofdonestic and ,ant to l)c ancl nho thcl thinli a reputation for environmental friendliness foreign policy. It was i lesson llrand because 1re are wiliing to jmpose lerl America learnl the hard way as it sax.its l)eopl-. anl lhenr Lo L)e. untrjend' Dl€ctronic Road Pricins schernes nane plunn1et turther aniong Mtrslims in singapore needs ro develop deseFed and Certifi.ates of Etrtitlenent for car the rrorld despite a slicldy prcduced pro- ronfidence ald pdde ir her existing oMerslip- lve remair economically f iable Muslim media campaisn. because we have bccn resistaDt to aD srrengths, discern and play up ne$' str€ngths that a.e emerging and stay idcalistic cradle to grave social tr'elfare CITY !'ITI{ A SIIALI, TOI'N MINI)/ far away from pretending she is nrodel. Our high level ofpublic security is We are qujle a rarit) and all tlis makes us somebody else. It is key ihat ordinary based on the compromise of private al.eady 'sey" and trlly "cool" bv aDy Singaporeans themselves - rotjust iibe ies. our multi-relisious, stable and account. This s rpasses the temporal and the Aovernment or foreigrers - buy tolerant socieb is fo nded on ficrcc qnestidrablc "cool" quotieDt that wc bought into rhis. The cittens ofa cornha arc not intoleraDcc of anyone rlho se.ks io instigatc thlough bxHof prancing, Fl racilg or senri just the nosi natrral andbest ernbodnnents nn.le Frcn.h den.eN.In the end. these ofa countdsbrand, Lheyare also theones short-term gimn cks will neither i{tio day by da) ensu.e that the brand To manynew mi$a s, Singaporeans make nor break dre Singapole hmd. rctually works as it promises. If hwe lived so long in this countrydrat SiDgaporeaDs aDd the state arenotaligned they calnot perceive clearly how Some ofthe most succcssful honc groMr ir iheir ideals about what ihc Singaporc respectable it acrrally is. What has bmnds we have ar€ ihose that never saw bnnd means, ih€n all marketins addpublic becone tcrtbook clichdroiocals is actually themselves as having less to ofier co pared appreciated by the nany Chinese, lndians, to bigger n1t€rnatic,nal brands. BmLlds like relations strategising will eventuaLly iail. tturopears, Anericans and all who have ,{shley Isliam, H).flu, Crcative and Razer Singaporeans must see rhat we have decided to nake singapore their hone. all took a uniqnely Sirgaporean look at not only achieved world-class sonethirg in the Singapore brand has things and saw no rcason why a Singaporcan srandardr in many aspecls, we havc touched them enoDgh to uploot thcrnseh€s- could not equal and even surpass To Kofi Annan, we are one olthe !€ry tew international standards be it about in water acrually set the slobal standard in certain fields. At a time when water countrjes who managed to go fron thjrd desahlation, conputer ha.dwa.e or creating world to first iD one remarkable geDeratioD. scrrcity is r real challenge to the x.orld, Singapore has Dearly We have the lowest infant nortality ratc nr the $'orld. Our liicracy ratcs and ID ihc Dlay Hone.sict bylocal plaFrisht achieved self-sufficiency in $'ater. A 2006 UNDP Human Dselopmeni Repoit ferformance in Maths and Science are Alfian bin Sa'at, a character remarks thaL, .rnons ihe highest intemationalb,. Povertv ''Singapore is a snall to$n lhat thinks it's cited Singapore as one of the best if not exisls in all countriesbut lre aremanlrging thebest - at watersupply and $,aste-water nunagenent in the world. Our success here the situatioD ofthe poor such that sluns has not only been because of developrnent are Dotr-cistcnt and home oi{Dcrshjp t{c caD bcg to differ- of our oim cuttinS-edgc tcchDology, but reDaiN at 9o.9% dcspitc cscalating costs also because of good public policies. The ofreal .state. We remain one ofthe fei! Tlre Lrolll)le iies irr loo ulnrr siates in theworld nordjrectb involved in lvorld recognised this at the 2()()6 Clobai Singaporlrilns f ot Ic iising thilt any rrar or conlict an oasis ol political Water Awards rher€ Singapore s Public and econonic calm that is increasingly nre she illrea(il is l cill lirill keeps Utilities Board nas Damed WaterAgency ofthe Year and bcal comtan]' H]'f]Dx took iD a conflicied $'orld. thirliing shc is a snriLll torm. Ancl the pize of Water Conpany ofthc Year. 'hal a trenlei(la)0s ciL 01 Most imDortanrly, the SinsaDore rrligirral nrrlis slre colrld bc ()r{re for a brand to brand still possesses that elusive lrail Secondlr, in the long mn, that once lost can never be earned sirc LcaIns ro -(hr.1 lhal stll be success{ul, performance still (lr back - htegity. Sirsapore's greatest {sset )r rh1 a, outweighs imrge. Our derotjon to is that it renaiDs an iDternatiorally tmsted pragnatism, political neutrality, name. It has oedibilill, buili up throush 43 nrcritocracy and discipline may be questionable on nrany lev€ls (and worth ycars that whatever she says she is she js. No pretense and noholdsban€d, even when repeated critical examination) but it norks. it comes 10 the most potentially ollensive lhe biggest critique that is held against trs 09 8R0AD[RPIRSPIOIVIS ii?sirlgdp.rc6sue
  9. 9. ON 2ND THOUGHT Rethink Singapore Arts Will Singapore ever produce great art? Or are we doomed to be a cultural wasteland? By Joselire Rau /'x rsx riEi flfl HPfl .sQ fnk* HEr&l SEr&l ril I= tt lg1' tI EI [: I] EPENDS ON 'IVHERE YOU LOOK/ "Singapore So there wiLl nelerbe agreat Singapore novel. There willneeropi ddl:n8 orig:ndl.Lrars,e, JenLalpiF." of liieratu.e that will finally mark and cement English Sirgapore's place in the literaryxorkl. u'e will never havc a Sinsaporean nol€l rp for the Booker Dor have Singaporean texts promincnily displayed in Literature international bookshops. Never saynever? Or are we just facing the cold hard f:cts and doomed to reference C2iherine Tim's aiftl" /rdrrt.s for ihe resr of.n.lives? AE1]UT IHi WR iIR has no real Thoush Enslish has been Sinsapore's doninant literary merit!" languase of eduction and public discourse for decades, English Literature has not flourisbed the way one might expect norgarnered as nuch unqualified local or slobal respect as one wodd hope. l0 BRolDlR PIRSPIOIVIS r/)€strodpore issle
  10. 10. RADTH]5: ! 11GAPORI IITIRATURT l,Ia1'be the most salient lealut e of WORII] Tl]KKIN(] {]UI ufi1, Singapore Litelatulc is not punching above its u'eight in ihe 1p i .161 0 literary alena is that $'e don t sccn Lo sa] anything impoltant or !3,',J" nl lglnill ( llotlllll. [1on lo dl lirerlture "iLl r r flogs thc dcad horse ofsnigapore s inmigrant past or HWII HjiV[ETN 5 BOOK5 f0RflGN 80Dtt5 deals $ith the same tite sentinents ofdisillusionwith lctua V the Singapore expenencc ihat tends to neld into an w0rth anorphous mass ol bomosencitJ. will webe able to move past our ubiqLrilous HDB landscapc or our reading, oveuated aDd tircd nomentsofyrppie ennui? While sonreiimesdidactic, post-colonidSingaporeLiterahn€ bad notable poets who ere able to epress themselves and appropriate a colonia] lansuase in Dew aDd startling rvays that expressed ihcir conccrDs about the lt[10 ]AY'S nascent state of Singapore and her rcuic towards sln D,{t0t{t nodenity,joinnis orisinality with social relevance at the sametime. CoDtemporaD- litemture bJ contrast Paladorically, the role that l')nglish seemsto have tumed ini{ard, ci.crlar aDdnNulated, plays as the linguisLic tnediun of and we dorr't meaD h agood Romantic-poet-search- foFthe-]'nrth sort of s'ay. rvork and cornrnelce rnay lrave strippcd arvay its abilitl'to be the Worsc still is how proponents and teacheN oflocal nwtN PA G5 t]TY Of RIIN prit-lnrncnt nleollllT) oT cl cl|'t' literahrrc sometimcs pmctice a blind sort of reverse Ji, rimindlionwr"r",.omp. r4a' -I.bn8,,r'lpi"Urts ano l]itgtnlll c ('xpt'essron. r'l,i' local texts. To proinote local canon is ofcourse an a VI5ITTllI5: trtilita.ian lunctjon coDlled with a high stakes inportatrt prrt ofliterary growth but to insist that examination slsten $nere English Litcraturc is f ierred Sirgapore terts are goodjust because they extmss as one of the most difficult subjecis tosuarantcegood some soft ofSinsaporeaD voiceor sensibililyadds lo sr.drs aDd hence dropped as a subjecl, it is little the challense oftrliDsto raise literary standards and wonder l.iteEturf is ir the doldmms or seen as the appreciation. Praise for such tcts tcnd to be focused P'oo{lhol Sinsoporeom do love solepreserve ola srnall enclavc ofthe educated elite. only on measules ol a Singapore scene and rice (rcad: rheir lihrcl!re, Bookslduolly SinslishJ. since when is a plethora of local places i1 o (oJy lllrlo indeFndenl English Literature, in a pragmatic culture $'here itis rncntioDed any measrre ofultimate literary mcrit? lo(ol booknorelhol (0f't be secn io be of litde economjc aalue, is mrcly appr.ciaicd Surcly it does not have to be a trajtorous notion or hed lor shei donr. Old xhool as an acsthetic and creative erpression ir itself. some colonial hangovcr when we point out that local rypeu,rilsrs, (hormins relro Iersion aises frorn the fact that Erglish Literature literature, even the approvcd sct texts for the local postords ond *ond hond is onl)' seen as having purpose when goverDment exaniinations, is sometimes just not vcrr' good. (omeror sil rlde by side wilh urF' i-lr Jnr "4"cdlors .rry anur rl, ,r'ni rss ui vel retonmended literory ofN.iinnrl Ldu.!lion and moral lalucs. and more Ai ihc end ofthe day, the rhole point of whcther r€@Dtly, see! 6 a niears to build criLical and anal]'tical Singaporc Literature is goiDg to be truly distinctne tbinking iD Sirgapore s youDg for success in loda!'s and make its ma* on the global scene iswhetherlhey knos'leds€ ecoDon)'. Tliis ovefi subsuming of neet the sinndard ofwhat makes a good to great LilFrdlurp n'o a:rhp- i _.rinr h.rld nB'--,urun'i" agerda does no lavours for its long t€rm apueciation Singdpor@n boakstotc rndraortei r.n (o e, ler l) oosi-.9boosi$ (dr Uiis pxgd) ll ER0ADIR PIRsPECTIVES the sitlsapore issue l
  11. 11. Dare we say that real literar,ri merit should trump That bejng said, lhe success of Singapores literary anrthing else? It s not a doom and gloom though. sccne needs Sood and involved readers as rvell. Mornents of luciditt, genius and quiet i t€lligence cD We need to cultivate noi just qood writeN bui an be lound in the poeDs of L€ Tzu Pheng, Arlhur Yap edLrcnted, noteljtist, readership. lheresho dbenorc and tsoey Kin chens. And the some short stoics of inclusive and mcaninsfut discussions, not arbitrary Cath€rine Lin, Simon Tay and Clairc Thdr have some starldn.ds, of { hat nakes good literatue. Terls shonld lor€ly nomcnts ofrriting. Check out thc first halfo{ be choscD on quality not locality alonc. Tben maybe Ta! Hwee Hlvee's l.breign Bodtes and one, two oncday. s€ wilL have a Shsafore literary canon that t?nsnalional poems liom the third generation poets. rnany will voluntanlyadmit marked an excitins and I-oca1 press houses' - in particular ntnos Books vibrdt wateNhcd in ijterarf historyi It .upporr ol u' d l.'-t ,ev,, i. alo :nJl.rJ ,. ir buildiDg up a tocal canon, as t.ro local oDline sites ol "A Singapore film will win at Cannes one day." HoPEFULI.Y/ CoDsiderins Singapore s heaq bcing jn lhe r95os and 6os). Hard to watch or Dot, handed anrl censor-happy attitude towa s film it spurred real aDd bogus talent to come out of thc (watch RoystoD Tan's satirc oitocal censo.ship, Cld, woodwork ard starled a whole trend of independent thatsome considerthebest thinghe has creatcd), ii and commercial filmmaking activity ir Singatore. seens alnost inconceivable tliat we caD evcr cultivate Dric Kloo's M€€ Pofr Man followed aDd in 1997 his a maturc and sophisticated filmmaknrs indusrry.Is other fcature, 12 ,gtoreys, debuted at Cannes to it even possible for filmnakins to flourish in su..h a generau] positive reviews. socially consen'atne country r$ere nlnis have been banned or resularly c€nsored, much less ask if However, it was the rclease ofJack Neo s Mone! No Singaporean films are capable of such clevaied tnougfi iD 1998 that sar! jnc.easiDg local acccptance honorrs? Aftd all, such constraints in Sjngapore s of Sinsaporc made filns. The amalsamatjon of socio-I]olitical climate are quite rcal. Singapore's heartland concerns with a deceptively light social intolerance and overly cautious neatment of aDy commeniary' was a comnercial success. l'€w local subiect flatter deened politically or relisiousl]' films natchedthe box office receiprs of Jac.k Neo's sensitive may kill epcnrnental and creatjve thinki.g. films but the populariB' a.d isibility of such films Eut such tensions and conflicts have brousht out the paved the way for more local awarencss that best in creativc nnrds belbre - look atthc critically Snisapore filnN did not always have to be subordinate ardanned fitns cominja out of haD and Afshanistan to Holhvood blockbusters or HoDs Kong and ofallDlaces and Rotrton Tan did nanage to make Taii{anese filns. Regioml collaboraiions formed and 15 after all. So cm S sapor€ film then succeed too? mo-e cin8dpor. p'"duc"d ar nadp fiim' rourL t}c. way to an overseas market (Forerer |euer being one AU things considcnd, we ha€ definitely comc some of the fi6t to be inter.ationally distributed), turrher wals ftom,l,'?diLn Rdre, Singaporc's fi$t tuil lengih spread s thc brand o{Singapore fih!. Enslish featDre in r99r. The film received mixed rMews and did terribly atthe box office. But what Bnt let's not get ahead ofonrsclvesi the filnmaldDg was more important was how it nas the catalyst that industry is still iD its irfancy, making sone sparked .L spate of filmmahing after decades of constructive if occasionally stuttering steps. dormaDct' [sinsapore s golden ase of filmnakhg l? BR0l0lR PtRSPlolvts ti?singdpor. iss!e
  12. 12. !vAT(HTllIS: SINCAPORI I LMS lrom ditrerent lcvcls. ID addltion, lhere are plentvof o ift fiIn citi.ism siles and lorums which help or.n {ORIH CHIC( NG OUT uf lubljc discourse and awr.eness. Thc Singaporc IntcmaLionnl |iln festiyalis al$ oDe oft|e longesl rnnirgand besl regard€d filn fcstirk nr Soulleist Si ,.Jnrr. J r,.,l r, ' ... i ,1,r, u . , ..if r^ r. IRtt (H00't l2troREYs soins pofnlatjons in lhe world, hrs eDablcd filn to rc.ch orl lo a latgeraudieDceedharc social Fleianc€ at i|e sanre LiDie. Technologjcal advanccs Ieve also made lilm ar1d norie naknrs .n rccessible go to nednun for ShgaporcaDs i{ilh sonrethiDg to sa}. t Ilt. )tI]gitl)Ult- ne tnlllOt'tIJ r)T alrdience may r,eer tol alds casy, tou 60H &w00Yt YtN 5 escapist falc but this group is also 5INGAPORt ORtA]l]NG lnr)l e epc,se.t i to lIitIll]a lltatl lltr'r rto.onrelinres'licn ( t, LliI fbr'. It is e:rsicr to lelerage o1T such 5 SiDgaporc is not thc Cannes ol the l}st bv a loDg :rn increasinely fiJnr litcratc socieLl' R()YSTr)N TA CIIT shot. ftoer:s xtiD and i1s equivalents still rbound. alcl eler,:rtc the discoulse of u,hat i)ornestic fiuc is sLill plaguecl bv a lltilKec lr qo()(I T lf) rit Ditat. 5r,l p, lilr I' Ul sUl'ljllr(,'. Irlrl C|'|l)1.. .nvironIr)ent caD only encouragc nroRr |otential lilnnak€rs. filn citics and thc like lo lake the less copl,caL plots and clubious tutelled paih. Dcsfite Singapo.e s reput{tion for ffiLVIII TOIIG5 IATING AIR starclrrcis of acling. Aird even' tilne arbitraN and rampanl censo.ship, there arc still eDongh fitrns, s|orl lllnN and docuneDt{dcs of citical il 't l){rn-tr o.' (la)()c ltIl l)itii and.rcative ne'i( beiDg nude. mustcl in Lhe bo:r office. cr.nical V SIT]H S: attitudes and l-told vorL sos tencl Ol all the arts nediuns in silgapore, nlm mar liave ilLe hisliest chancc ofnrahing a spl.tsli iD the rturld Lo ntal,e the louncls. these'eralcons.nsus scene. of {e lvill alwrvs havc ch.af. cotrrse. 9nemasG is that i{c still need higher and mor. consistent . .,r d.r .1. , ' "rir: ,; i..ir! . ,. ..r tr ',, , g ul'' n' r' r 1 rl_r,lu. FI I F,..lri,,q. r'd r t",. arclit. t|ai. BLit {e:rlso have Tan Pin Pin. Ekac|ai Produclio. !alues could be tightcr.nd an all U.kronglha.r, Brian GothoDg Tan, Colin coh, Ilaniel enconrpassing local filnnnakiDg nrf.nstrucirre is yet Yun, and soon. Scrcenirg SiDgal)orelllms at Cannes 10 be full) est{blish.d. is alreadr ! realit!, so is s|o$ing ard placing rt countlcss inicrDalional filin listivals. lf Dot this SlNIMi,on indcpmded ml Thcrc arc lrsi€ lrc.ds lorthe ftrturc. Tlic SingaDore Seneration, tlren maybe when the rforcmcDtion.d govonmenl s push to make Singaporc a vibrant nanes |a€ becolr€ lhe ekler st{tesmen offilm. son,e slobal city of Lhe uts has opcncd up funds ard independert youDs p nk rlill nakc a filnr that ilill , , o I br b.r.ll.nr flrn n l"r . c 'r, F. ,a hir.; filn as atrulyunique cul!ulal good cerient SnrgtLpore lecliDicd and pmductioD skills are increasnUb otrered torthe whole wo dto consume. in schools and irlaccs s.apped up just as qrickl]. Expcrjncnt.tion !ith filDinaking is alrcadt lIatch t|is space, a Singapore braDd to bc froud of .ncouaged i{i1h the S(hools fideo A$'ads in ils 9lh is enreryinij fion the wings.It y..r ofcompetjlion rnd iDvolvins orm roo scbools l3 SR0lDlR PERIPffiIVtS I l( 5irudro r. 6sxc
  13. 13. ESSAY MAI(EOVER Getting Out of the AQ Maze why stude[ts fluctuate so much in their AQ grades. By Tong Yee Ithough the application question is not an essay per se, we have however been receiving emails and requests from both teachers as well as students to skills article for the Application Question. ^,-rite a Probably the bane of thousands of 'A' level students across Singapore, the emails we have been receiving generally expressed distress that peoplejust did not seem to be improving in their AQ scores. Despite trying all ways and means to do better, students AEl]UTTHIVRITIR explained that they had yet to truly grasp the flindamentals of how to tackle this exercise. One email summed up the general doubt.rer Lhat exasperation by saying pottnet oJ an.l tlachet 14 0R0AD[R PtRSPtfiVtS lle singdporc i!su.
  14. 14. We can o derstand thc frustratior. ln the earlyvcars afier irs inceptioD, mostreachers stntggled withthe Dccl1aintt olhontheyshould go about teacliing aDd assessinq theAO. To put things iD contet, students should know thar prior to theAe question, fo. DuDy years $,c as teachers ilere used to hchins stLrd€nts niaster the skiil of banal sentencc makins. Thanldully that eram cornponent was deemcd increasingly irrelevant for rhe dcmands oftodity's far morc conrplicated wor-ld aDd Es suitably replaced with the AQ. Thankfully,6 ),ears into thc development ofthjs questionb?e. some very clear trcnds hale eneBed that ive caD follo$'. slill, theAQ is meant to assess a st ent's abiliryto.ead anl given ter't aDd deterniine the value ofthe opinion eapressed. ciearb this is an inlahrableskill for an,vmodern cjtizeD of the world reho is inundated nith infoNation e'eryday. Ourpcdagogical trnining slionld sho$'studcDts holr to breakdo$D the ilibrmation they recci€, be jt frc,rD a newspapcr, blos or cven academic jouDal. They should theD be ablc to evaluate the streDstb ofthe ofinionsthet had but nostimpo{antly be able to asccrain rhe vahe ofrhesc opilions in apDlication to their orm ln'es. 'lhjs helps us to unders(and why it is called the application question in Lhe first placc. Students need t.r first rccogDise lhat And thar.onte*.nd audieDce js rareb,ours. What we arc rcqun ed Lo do is to appli that infbrmation to our livcs or neasurc the lalidlt), c,f an arg1lncnt or opinion agaiDst our orm rcaliry. i ake for iDstance a passagc argLring that the demand for indnidual frcedom has gone overboard aDd that lve sliould relinquish.ru fteedonrs in hvou. ofstate conrrol. A Singaporean strdent $,ho apflies lhis tohis owr conte{ may find tlie otinion fan iliar but nay nor nccessarily agree, especinlly corsidering the strongpeNoDal distaste he mightliave forpatemalism. He niav then read ftrther and notice that the author takes his DotioD of state control to an enreme. pictrring almost a Lotalitarian statc. This would certainly noi go down lrell with a}tung Singaporcan who is erperiencnrg increasirg, not dccrcasinit, liberties as a cirizen. Diffcrins questiol t]"es mayhale ernerged over thc years frotn ditrereDtjunior colleges that seek to stretch thcir studen ts and nat rallydernand mo.e thaDnharis requi.ed. But lIe arc soing lo therefore ernphasise the l(eyskills nccessart to do $,ell for thc Ae in ihe 'A lerels, discussnig simple steps to masterthatlrake it possibleforeach student tow.ite a sitong evaluatioD leit|in an average tinc liame of 25 minutes. l5 BR0ADIR PfRSPtOlVll lh.sirgr?ore issrc
  15. 15. $SAY MAIiFOiEA I ) So,ne i mV,orl6vl I /1; rys lcr n<rle /.{oru a;e Slarl ... The essal (AQl in pa]tr 2 is diffe.ert from the cssay iD paper 1 Please rerncmbcr that the AQ is very mLrch assessed upon the strength of)our evaluaLion oft|c .uthor's arguDlents. no( the strcDgtli ofy.ru. pe.sonal argrunent. The Canbddge e{arnincrs rcport lns expliciLly statcd this 3 }€ars running. rcspoDdiDg to a cornnol) mistaken pmctice ofwritiDg the AQ ans$cr like a free respons€ arsunent, similar io that iourd in drc cssar- paper. The AQ will therefore never ask you to inrroduce new contenr to rest your LrowledAe. It will however require you to uderstand the althor's argument enough to test your evaluation ofwhat he is saying. A less known facr among students is that the Short Quesrion and Summary sections often lead you into answering the AQ. This has been nertioned by Cambridsc sclelil tinies, with lvamiDss that the AQ should nevcr be iackledfirst snnpl) becausc the short q(estions and summan'r.e olten designcd to hclp r-'ou find the key argurncnts ofthe author. The short questiotis (primadlr-' those that ask'hy") and the sunimary would have aheadyrnade you highlight the kel a4umcnts of the pssage. A thnrking shdent would th en usc those argunents asthe ke!, poilts io clahate ir the AQ. i Students should aroid using the author's exanrples or inconsequentjal sent€nccs tbr points of evaluation. If$c arc to shorv comprchension of the passage by elaluatnrg lhe kcy arguments ofthe passagc, not aDy sertence can be dragged outforevalualion. l-argelyvou will need to refer to topic sentences of each pdaaraph,look out for where rhe author may switch arguments within a paragraph, i and at times, even islore paragraphs/sentences where the alrhor is I hishlighting altematiwe opinions, 1. Whatever skills you choose to apply in the exams, rhe end result has to be succcsstuIy achieved in 20-25 minutes. the challengc that maDy tutors as weil as studcDts face is to litd shaicgics that are indeed Dseflil in exantuttion conditions. Xlulii stcp evalLrations ,nal bc thorongh but ilyou arc not able to gcnerate eDough palagraphsto address all requirements of the question wirhin the timc linit then you will certainly need to lnd nrorc tirre efficient rviys Lo do so l6 ER0ADtR PtRSPtO VES .ie sir9.?ore issr/c
  16. 16. ; /1 v'ta/ reve/a(t on -t Peftaps the most startling re€latioD that wc can gain from the past 5 r eds ofcomprchcnsion papers is tha( Lhe passages are actuallv desigDed to invite evaluatioD as we can often ffnd deliberate instances of controversy within the arauments presented, Students .ho are awarc ofthis and therelbre acttrally looking out for conbovercr- will be pieasedto find that th€y are far more appa.ent in the A lclel pape.s than oorlocal school papers. Citing instances from tlie past few years for erample, we can almost ahra! s find points veeing to Dear crtrernes or at iimes eyen foolishness- We find littlene.jt for the points raiscd in the linal lew paragraplis of the 2(106 paper for instance. Coblel"s 6Dal views $'er€ far loo idealistic or remiDisccnt offailed ideologies." In the 2(r()5 paper oD aggression, 1ve were invited to asscss ho$' convincing $e fouDd Woolgar's rcasons for reduced aggressioD; paragmphs that irere already poiDted out to be .contror€rsial - in the sh.rrt questions, tofped olT with an overly simplistic suggestion that violence and contlict could be alleviatcd/elininated via spo.ts. soo4 had the camb dse eaminers connnentins on howfcwcaDdidales could find'nedt in Park's lifc ofrestricted choice and less paniflrl resfonsibilitv , exposing the passase as a weak j ustification fo. takirg less peNonal rc onsibilily. 2oo3 gave s t$'o passagcs on anirnal rights, an issue that a modcrn, animaltesting, food-loviDg, aDimal sacdficing. conservatjve Asian societl likc ours would lind cedaiDly contentious. These kinds of controweEial points are however urfortuately lackins in our local sefting of papers. One ofthe greatest limirations we face as teache$ is in linding suitable passages that align themselves wcu wirh .A, level requirements. Scarching newspapers, cunert atrairsjounals and lhe Internet lias beeD the modus operandi fo. the lonsest time, but has also resulted in us using professionai, well lvdtten ard often balanced articlcs for comprehension. This xrrld do $'cll for our settinit ofSho.t QuestioDs and Summar:v, but is howeve.linited in crcating the sane deliberate cont.oveNy found in our'A lelel conprehensions passascs dueto the article s balanced views. Short of $riting the passages ouselves, it bccornes theretbre diiicult to simtrlate passagcs that aliow lo. greater accessibility in inviting student eyaluation. Resardlcss, we should all still bear tlis jn mind. Findins enoLrgh cont.oversy iD the atrthor's arguments is not as challetrgiDg as $'c rnake it ouL to be, and is a revelatioD that conld prove vitaL in doins better for the AQ. l/ BR0ADIR PtRSPtfllV[S rltc strgororc rssuc
  17. 17. TSSAY MAKTOVTR Secti<'n A7 s.clion lr.a(Joru, Hon $'c attetnpted the 2oo7 -{' level AQ questioD on Tlrc C endt Retolutiatl TIP 1/The points $c intended to 'l llli |IR.ST 5 XIINli l t:S: PRTLIMINAR! PRIjPAR-^.TION evaluate were actualb; alrea(v chosen while attcmpting the SQ and Wc stalred b"" planniDs our AQ so as Lo nLake surc rc addressed all lhe requircmcnrs l]1 Sumrnary sections. Be reminded that the qoeslioD. h this casc, ihere $as onlvoDe rcquncDreDt ro address: Nhcthcr N. gene.ally they can lead into an accurate AQ agreed or disagrecd nit| the views (arg ments) raised. lhe secoDd 'rcqtrn..nrenr" {as actuallyjust a reDrilder that rre should usc eiamples lron our socictv/expedeDce to elahate/Nlxtantiate ourownpoints ofvicl. JLtsL p.oceeding with thc AQ as p€r nonnal TIP 2/wriiins an nriroduction or wonld havc alrcadt add.essed this sccond cornporeDt. conclusion is not a necessary requircment, but if writing thesc This is probably thc most stlaighLlbsva ofall thc AQ variarions we harc sccn so la.. paragraphs does indeed nnprove tJsuallt ive $'ould snnfly ide.Lil.' the nost conifocrsial olhis poirlts (casicst ro eraluate) your coherence then by all neans do buL thjs tinie wc wcnt h'ilh theparag.aphs that lvere rnost alrplicibl.io Sing.pore. $hile so. Just understand that an doins this $'c kcpt in nririd hoi{ our ctroscn points should trltimatctv have sorne ljtnt to introduction or conclusion is nore frciljtatc a nrore cohereDt responsc. This lvas dot necessarl bnt w. tlied lo do so anlvar. for the sake ofcoherence but is not Decessarily evaluation. Too mucb W. c|ose parag.aplr 3,7 and 6 ior evaliktior as thcsc argxrn erLs ro us. provcd Drosr eas) time should not be spent on doing io natch agailsto rBlical Snrgaporea! paradigm. 4rdr6iri lltrk.t/.?IIOTOCRhrxr/rcxdnord,rh.bar ntCoftrnoos l8 BR0ADtR PtRSPtOlVtS t/rrst'aoto,? iss!.
  18. 18. THF. NExl'? MINUTES: OURIiIRSI POINT OF EVAI-UAI lON SUCGESTED PARAGR-A.PHI I oould rtnd it hard to totalL! ostee uith TIP 3/ We pnrnarily identified ihe cftan's ueus on rhe gender re:lolution. I do tlot <Ioubt that it L tdeed llapPening key arsument of paragraph 3 by but the li|e alteing efects that le is suggesh_ng d?t n ot urll rcleuant ta the attempting SQ 6 md the summary. econonic histatr of Sitlqaporc - In parug rcph 3, Chan outlites i/re lel/ reosons we started by directly addressing the questipn with a dear stsnd tal€n LNh! the sender rcnolution is lnppenins . He explait:s tlnt gendet '.adinanal against the author as it did not apply roles tlrdt fioue exisred shce "time innenorial' wete underntnteLl ba tt'chnological and manogeme t chonges that altere.l orr uorfting enu;?nments to Sinsapore. We briefly summdised in.lauour aJ Jenldles entei itlg the aorkJorce. Altl1o11s h I sy tt?atllise uitll llou his argument to establish a point of this maA haue inlpacted otne nr.h older Ddrions, s'ingapore lrcweuer heson discussion (helped by sQ6) and tben its in.lepen.lerrc. atld cotlsequent turrulluous clinb io econo,ni. succes.s rudy pronptly evaluated why his line of arsument did not apply to Singapore. d.jier the ht.lusttial ReuotunoL In fact, o r ecanotnic hnitoirons conr'€r.sely We asreed that the gender revolution lbrccd us to encolnalge uotnen to enter the uarl.farce, not because the! noo c.'uld, but rathet becallse lhey had ta. The techtlologi.al dn.] lnalloseriaL was indeed real but it did not changet ua duide in fact alLo1Lled botl1 otLr lnen en l aorrcn to nlore etrsilu disadvantase singapore in the way entet the globol uorkforce, nanukctu itlo, R&D andrtrurte sec.or'.s, help;rg us 6ron.1 ouiselres as peot,le ulb uerc ellectiue uorkers. The <Jetldet reuohtnon ma]/ hdDe braug h1 blnnftuols change ta tlp uorld bri I feel tl&t the chanqes otlined in par(rgraph 3 brcught instead great adrantages to SingaPorc .tnd uds defnilel! noi as tot(lslroP/rtc"a.s /t suggerts. 'lHB NRXT ? MINUIDS: OUR SECOND POINI OF EVALUATION TIP 4/ we worked from sQ 8 that SUC,{}ESTED PAIL{GRAPH / Infact, Sing.iparc recasn6es tfidt it Is necessd|v iniroduced the idea that education bolt genderc cotltinue Io u.lotk and connibute ta n r talent paol to keep s was a viial tool iD debating rvith ihe etunonticall! @tnpetitire as a cauntrA. Chan stggesb itt paragrapll T that effects of the sender revolution. "sendet educdtion tleetls to supplement tnete ser educdtio' 'ns neFeb tne Starting with a link from to ihe uorld is nol doinq etlaugll to mot!rc av npidla clnngnu natians ol oetlder' previorls paragraph to impro1,e Sinsapot! (laes not ueetfat ftan1 his conchlsion. InJdct, ue toke this dewlapment coherence, we then proceeded to rcru seriauslu . We haoe itldeed prcgressiDellt us.d education to highLiqht the again sumrnarise Chan's key Dercatilil]l aJ ouru1i(Ue gendets, plalins q the aduattq e that eoch ge der argument h pamgraph 7 and then ndr in s,:rectf. indlsh ies and encauraged eacl1gel(Ler ta learn to "iaditional simitarly evaluated it in the lisht of skills'o/ dle otn€r on { ttenpt lo brcak gender stereotvPes As sitgoPorel Singaporet prosressive tertiary as econalnA .antinues to tn.ll.lte, )e harlefautld uonlell DitaL itt speattuaditls well as vocational education system. olr seruice tldu.shies, rie craotire orrs se.tor dnd the groLoth af saciaL ]lis time e did not wholy disagree enterprises, beilt',ftins Jrctn hou their cureers bfib the ecanolnu , and lindnn with what he said as we fornd some uat/.s.o suppofi tftern in rheir roles ds uiues on.l notherc. ALsa to encoufage validity in his argumeni. we out prc Janil! policies, ue buiLd up tlle male's role n1 co tt'ibunns tu hirfoniL!, therefore explored botl sides ofthe belieuinq that the ftaditiotlal pah iarch..l rcle oJ nlen only seeks ro hrtr uoTnen argument in orr rcsponse. of.fron u1ntins to stott olirTnily, ir/r shll prcserDins the lroditianal Dalue t1€ ofplacnlg the nnlc ashead afthe hausehold. Chdn snssesis tfi.rt the nin.lset of our srondp1rents' is pftninre and haftllt releNalt far our moder uo d yet, ul1ile acknauLedg ing that an odrance h g.rlder ed!.d hon is necessd I r/, &re olso /mfe io rndersi{,r d tidt betlg Asr'on, ue shll need to Jind cotnPranlise iritir trdditiondl rdh€s rfi .rt ae ca not and sho1kl tror so easil! discdrd l9 Ei0ADtR PtRlPt(TlVt5 i/t! ii,r!dpul.6src
  19. 19. [5SAY MAl(I(]VER THI] L,ST 6 NIINUTES: OUR FINAI, POI]fT OI' tr,'AIUA I'ION ANI) CONCI,USIYE COM XII'NTS SUGGES'IED PARAGRAPH/ 1he pont is thereforc not.for Ls to ttttica u shift doau f,.am the nles plaue.l fot oDer o tnillian aears",l)uL rether ta litlrt e hatan.a, behoecn benerttinq lrom the adDontuse of lnritls lDotnen in the uo*li'.ce as L fan.tu .ncourcsnn men to haue sreater as intaluenlent in theirfanriliol drries, urtite sri not ercdn1q th.. essentiats af our cuttttat dnd rrodiftbndl roois. Cfron d/ready adtnitt in parcGroph 6 th..t m(o1!t pa."idrchat std tes slil rc?noirr so prtnd.rtu ,ecause t/res ttlsulate themsellles l;.tn the fo.e of L.lnnae,. Sinsaporc benllt rank..d the nlnst globalise.l countru in the uarld fot ttk tt1i..l trcar nolning sitlplu ca nat dfJin.l ta lnsulole " ous?lues i,? fi? s ane uelt. pr.)babtu to the rctief oJ Chan , u)e hdrc been tiuitlo th. rcQtit! ol the gendet rcuatunon strce otr Dlcep|ion as a natian and lnL. [o1o1.t etfectiu. udls ro hdrness t|1e stretlgths ol botl1 gen.].rs. It is iue, uie do foce probten, uith o loa birth rate and isinu dixorce rates, but these ptotleins cdnnoi 6e str?i r5hi r ty . 9 tn it1eL1 uuau I,u trtrrceiint t 1te tc Dc;t ba|:k to, at obdu I onl 1r.e hr'nan histotu" uh.n lhijllts tt.tt .joins lnrc. {e can apprcd(te Ctn , goo.l ilt.ntions it exprers;rq irs uieus tut .9in9aporc though prooressi)e h its openness ro underctanding culturuL chdrqc r.q also Dor caretess i n discet.tiw het identinJ. In Sammary RemeDrber that it is importaDt to 1i d logicat tinlts ber€er the poinrs you choose you erahale. Noticc how $'e oDce agaiD cxtended thc cohereDce of ou. own .vatuatioD br-' starting our final pamgraph $'ith a link to thc frevjotrs ideas discusscd. Atrer exptaining the gisr ofhis aryunrerL an.t ourllnal evaluaiion efound itjmpoftanr tos nnnariseo rcntire respons. ro rhe q cstioninoDc iinalsentence at the end. You sholrld also noticc how ile kcpr tryjng to qDole trom the passageto dlawetrcctileln*s in ou I respoDs€ to rvhat was discussed iI ttrepassagc. Up ro 6 of th ese .eferences "ESSAY MAKI.',O''ER" Hopeful'tliis brealdoro ofskills aDd cxplanarioD ofthe liev rationale beliinil theAe qucsiion wiu shed iight oD t|e nhny qucstio s yon have been askilg us about rheAe. ID cssence,,€ tDt),believc I that the AQ is a deepll meaningful skill ro mastcr as it ilt bc of use to you probablyforthe rest of yourlife. Till nexttimc, stayirthclighr and trappi. writins. 20 SRoADtR PTRSPIOIVlS ti?str9./pore 6sre