Sunday 27 July 2014

can GM food can help africa? by demi tay

summary : If there is one place on earth where farmers have it hard, it is sub-Saharan Africa.
Some 80 children live here, many of them are orphans and budgets are extremely tight.The school is struggling to cope. Staff are worried that, soon, they will be unable to feed the kids.The diet could hardly be more basic. At breakfast time the kids tuck into porridge made of maize flour.When you see children picking away at the arid, red, African soil with the most rudimentary tools, it is clear that African agriculture can use all the help it can getThe trouble is that the price of the maize has gone up three fold in a year.Most people are farmers, but not for profit - to survive. Africa is the one continent that cannot feed itself.It is a field trial. The plants have been genetically modified to withstand a deadly fungal infection which kills plants and destroys yields.
The promise of a home-grown African solution drives the scientists here.
in my opinion, i feel that gm food can greatly help african.This is because gm food are insect resistance and would not die off easily.This can increase the farmers crop yield to a larger extent.Due to this increase in the productivity i can allow them to sell the crops and make money and feed on the crops to survive.This can definitely help afica. However gm food require a large amount of fertilizer which is expensive.Therefore i feel that other country should help out by providing some financial assistance to african.If other country are willingly to help out i am sure that starvation and malnutrition would be greatly reduce in African.

singapore education PISA test by demi tay

summary: Singapore’s 15-year-olds excel in thinking flexibly and creatively to solve complex and unfamiliar problems.according to the 2012 PISA findings, our students are innovative, are able to handle uncertainty, and dare to experiment with alternative solutions.The strong performance of our students reflects our curricular emphasis and our schools’ efforts in developing problem solving skills in our students.The results of PISA 2012 show that Singapore has one of the deepest and widest talent pools of students who have the ability to apply thinking skills effectively to solve problems.PISA study shows that our students perform very well in both the knowledge acquisition processes (exploring and understanding, representing and formulating) and the knowledge utilisation processes 

i feel happy that our country has excel in the pisa test.This shown that our students are able to solve problems and not just memorize and don't know how to apply.However,i feel that singapore education can be further improved.firstly, MOE should give more test that test on the skills rather on content work.This can better allow our students to learn how to apply knowledge to a greater length.secondly, i feel that MOE should allow learning to take place outside of classroom.This can allow students to understand better and absorbed better.

Saturday 26 July 2014

UN urges action to protect forests' genetic diversity By: Sherman Teo

Forest species are coming under increasing pressure from human activities and climate change, and face the risk of extinction, the UN warns. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has published a global action plan to improve management of the world's forest genetic resources. Building on data from 86 national reports, the FAO document covers 8,000 woody species (trees, shrubs, palms and bamboo) that are among the most utilised by humans. It found that a third of these species, about 2,400, were actively managed specifically for their products and/or services. It suggests their great potential to support agriculture, forestry and environmental sustainability, as well as food and nutrition security, if better evaluated and developed. Forests provide food, goods and services which are essential to the survival and well-being of all humanity. The report constitutes a major step in building the information and knowledge based required for action towards better conservation and better management of the planet's precious forest genetic resources.

In my opinion, I believe that more and more people are starting to use up many of the earth resources especially trees. These forests are being deforested by people for other usage such as building of furniture and making of houses. Such use of wood not only harms the forest creatures but it also harms the environment as there will be more carbon dioxide emissions. With rising carbon dioxide emissions, we are then contributing more to global warming rather than trying to stop global warming.

Friday 25 July 2014

Is Singapore the worst environmental offender?

Summary: A study by NUS which ranked Singapore as the worst environmental offender among 179 countries. Study shown that Singapore modernisation had taken a terrible toll on its natural environment. The study is a little unfair as it's base on total land area which Singapore have a limited area. While Singapore fared poorly in terms of proportional environmental impact, it is too small to figure in terms of global or absolute environmental impact. For that, the 10 worst countries are: Brazil, the United States, China, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, India, Russia, Australia and Peru. Singapore has taken environmental issue seriously since it's independence.

Opinion:  study should be done a little more fairly such that smaller country like Singapore wouldn't be at an unfair situation and that it's an equally fair for the others country. Singapore also is making efforts on tackling environmental problems such as reducing Singapore's carbon emission amount.

Singapore’s environmental issues in 2013 by JunTian

Summary: Singapore's priority and challenge will be in inculcating more socially gracious attitudes among Singaporeans and also methods to cope with a potential sea—level rise. National water agency PUB has also been making preparations for rainy days and the monsoon season, such as widening drainage and installing closed—circuit cameras (CCTVs). Singapore aims to be "water independent" by ramping up land catchment areas and building more Newater plants. Singapore’s first water agreement with Malaysia expired in 2010 and the second one is due to expire in 2061. In addition, the ministry and its statutory boards will take a tougher stand on littering. The Home Affairs Ministry will be installing CCTVs in almost every block for for surveillance, and the National Environment Agency (NEA) will ride on this technology to catch high—rise litterbugs. As penalties increase, 2013 will also see stepped up enforcement, including giving citizens the power to take action against those who litter.
NEA will start a course next year, which will be very similar to the same course NEA officers go through, before they’re issued with warrant cards to take action if need be, when a minority of people litter, or act irresponsibly in our environment.

Opinion: I feel that everyone have a role to play when it comes to our environment, especially Singaporeans. Singapore is reputed for being a Garden City, and every citizen have the responsibility to keep it this way. Therefore, I feel that the NEA new initiative of allowing citizens to step up and stop others from littering is very good. Also, more should be done to teach people about conserving water so that we will not have to produce so much water.

Thursday 24 July 2014

21st Century Competencies by Ki Eunyu

21st Century Competencies

The world is changing fast and students must be ready to meet challenges they are going to face in the future. Ministry of Education (MOE) aims to give students a holistic education to prepare the students. Their focus is on the 21st century competencies. The core of 21st century competency is values. MOE believes that values shape a person in every way. Next is Social and Emotional competencies such as self awareness, self management and social management. This is followed by the competencies needed in the world we live in. These include Communication, Collaboration and Information Skills. MOE does this through various ways. For example, Co curricular activities where students are required to deal with real life open situations, Character and Citizenship education which teach students how to apply their values and character. Teachers are also trained to develop the 21st century competencies in the students by learning learning strategies through the Teacher Education 21 framework. Teachers should help students in their thinking process. Nowadays, there is an increase in self directed and collaborative learning among students. Schools also work closely with community to ensure that students are able to see and develop skills needed for them in the future.

I personally feel that 21st century competencies are very important. Nowadays, people are graded highly on their problem solving skills and creativity rather than just memorisation. With the 21st century competencies, students will be ready to face challenges in life and they will be developed in all ways, from communication skills to values. This will definitely help the students in this fast changing globalised world as they will be able to face any problems that comes in their way with application of these skills.

Wednesday 23 July 2014

SG Education PISA test By Carlenko Wang

Based on the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) computer-based assessment of Problem Solving, organised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Outperformance of Singapore’s 15-year olds suggesting that Singaporean students have the ability to deal with uncertainty and explore alternative solutions through experiments. These characteristics ensure that our students keep highly valued competencies in the globalised , information-rich economy increasingly as well as develop our society. Singapore’s education system has at times been criticised for encouraging rote learning at the expense of developing creative skills. The PISA 2012 assessment of problem solving skills proves those critics wrong. Moreover, this approvals our efforts in giving students not just a good literacy and numeracy foundation, but also in equipping them with the skills to solve problems in real-world contexts.
In my opinions, our long struggle for education of fostering student’s creativity and content education is not in vain. The results of the test of Singaporean students of performing well when competed with elites from all parts of the world inspired us that we should keep up in the increasingly competitive globalised world .On the other hand ,we should not stay at our laurels .Instead, we should take other alternative methods so as to terminate our education’s loopholes.

Learning for life, the Finnish way By Carlenko Wang

Unlike Singapore, most developed countries with good education systems do not have private tuition at large .Character develop programmes are treated as a choice as to whether students want to be part of them. Their understanding of exams is not about memorising but to test understanding and ability to apply knowledge. The fact that Finland education does not have major exams every few years, Finnish educators can tailor lessons according to pupils’ pace of learning, allocating time for field trips and frequent group activities.
In my opinions, other countries’ education system may not apply to the scenario that Singapore facing today. After all, the only way to keep the survival of economy Singapore is to use talented elites to develop the country. Singapore does not have rich natural resources, thus deciding that our education system is unique .I believe that we should keep our major way of improving students—examination as well as find better alternatives to enhance Singapore’s education.

Saturday 19 July 2014

Baby Technology By: Sherman Teo

Baby with smartphones Babies may feel more comfortable about new technologies than their parents. The makers of one wearable - currently taking pre-orders from US customers - are offering exactly that scenario. The Mimo Baby Monitor is an all-in-one baby-grow suit with a slot on its front to which a data-collecting plastic turtle plugs in. Mimo Baby Monitor Mimo's "smart baby monitor" gathers data via a sensor-equipped plug-in turtle. It takes similar readings to Owlet's product, beaming the results to concerned parents via Bluetooth and wi-fi. And there are some who are concerned such manufacturers are playing on parental paranoia. This can lead to some expensive purchasing mistakes, she adds. From a paediatric perspective, there appears to be pros and cons to integrating technology with parenting and infants. It has helped raise money for projects, including Smart Diapers - a nappy that aims to warn of developing urinary tract infections, despite warnings from Dr Laurent and others that the system might lead parents to make unnecessary trips to their doctor.

In my opinion, I believe that baby tech can be good however, it may also harm the babies due to the lack of testing on some of these devices. Such lack of testing will then cause the baby harm instead of their original purpose which is to make the baby's life easier and their parent's life difficult. Sometimes such technology also do not give us accurate results because they are not extremely advanced. however, some of these technology have helped out the parents by finding out and displaying the baby's vital systems and whether the baby is ok to their parents.

Baby tech: Will new gadgets result in paranoid parents by ZhiGang


In response to the needs of first-time parents, many new gadgets are advancing which benefits both the baby and the parent. With these new gadgets, parents would not be so worried about their baby because they will be able to detect anything wrong immediately with the notification on their smartphone. These have provided ease for parents, usually first-time parent for they do not know when their children will fall sick. These gadgets ensures the safety of the kids which is attractive to parents.


In my opinion, I feel that these gadgets may somewhat be beneficial for parents but have parents ever thought before the consequences of these gadgets. These gadgets are made to earn loads off parents and these somehow provide ‘help’ to parents. These gadgets actually are useless for they made us over-rely on these technologies to do simple things that we in nature are able to do. These gadgets made us dependent on them and probably something we cannot live without.

PISA Test By Sherman Teo

Singapore’s 15-year-olds excel in thinking flexibly and creatively to solve complex and unfamiliar problems. According to the 2012 PISA findings, our students are innovative, are able to handle uncertainty, and dare to experiment with alternative solutions. The strong performance of our students reflects our curricular emphasis and our schools’ efforts in developing problem solving skills in our students. Our broad and inclusive education system has also allowed us to bring out the best in every child. Singapore students have performed well in problem solving processes which involve: Exploring and understanding the situation around a problem, Representing and formulating hypotheses about the factors involved in the problem and their relationships with each other, Planning and executing the steps in a devised plan, and Monitoring and reflecting on the progress of the plan and the eventual solution of the problem. This suggests that our teachers have been encouraging our students to be curious, innovative and to use their intuition to solve problems. This is the second time that Singapore has participated in PISA. A total of 5,369 students, mainly from Secondary 3 and 4, from all 166 public secondary schools participated in PISA 2012. One hundred and seventy-seven students from six private schools also participated in the study. The sampling methods applied by OECD in PISA ensure that the students selected were representative of the 15-year-old population in Singapore.

In my opinion, I believe that the PISA test is not a good way to be testing on Singapore's education system. This system glorifies Singapore students because they are being described as a group who are creative and innovative. However many of the PISA test criteria is already implemented into Singapore's education system under their Science practical experiments therefore it is not a good gauge as to tell whether Singapore students are creative. This will then make the education system in Singapore more stringent as they will start forcing students to do everything just for the PISA test and not taking note of the student's interest. Therefore I do not think that the PISA test is a very good gauge.

Friday 18 July 2014

Could your next boss be a robot?

Summary: automation are not only affecting lower level white collar work but also high level too. AS technology have a larger role, management would have face new challenges. When tedious jobs are hold by machine, economy would slow down as it interfere with human's full potential to do the job. Computers are able to do better than humans because they do not have human frailties.

Opinion: Robots have chance of replacing ourselves in work as they are more efficient than humans. Even though robot would also have it's own inefficient and ineffectiveness as they would be made by humans. Humans also do have their own superiority against robot if they were to have lesser frailties.

Is the Singapore soil fertile for creativity?

Summary: Innovation is a key component to boosting organisation performance in which Singapore has focused attention on for the productivity. But the truth is that not many companies had done so as they consciously or in consciously had put up a barrier to it. this barriers are not only is found in Asia but also in the UK. It is hard to foster an innovative spirit due to our Asian culture such as the problem with merit. In Singapore the dear of failure could also be another that lead to a barrier to innovation.

Opinion: In my opinion, if organisation would really want to boost their performance, they should change their way and remove the barrier to innovation. Only through innovation than would organisation performance be boost. Bosses should encourage their workers to be innovative and have resources given to them to be innovative.

Thursday 17 July 2014

PISA Study by JunTian

Summary: According to the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) computer-based assessment of Problem Solving, organised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Singapore’s 15-year-olds excel in thinking flexibly and creatively to solve complex and unfamiliar problems. Our students are innovative, are able to handle uncertainty, and dare to experiment with alternative solutions. These highly valued competencies stand them in good stead in a globalised, information-rich economy increasingly dominated by highly skilled, non-routine jobs, and give them the wherewithal to come together to create a brighter future for our society. The strong performance of our students reflects our curricular emphasis and our schools’ efforts in developing problem solving skills in our students.

Opinion: I feel that this result has reflected the effectiveness of Singapore's education system. Our education system is able to groom our students have the ability to take in knowledge and process them systematically and to be able to react adroitly when the situation arises. Even our students who were graded "lower performers" are much lesser as compared to the other countries. Therefore I feel that Singapore's education system is very successful.
Of course there are also others who argue that Singapore's education system is too stressful and too rigid. Students have to go through countless tests and examinations, and are expected to memorise large amount of information. However, I feel that while it is partially true, it is the amount of hardwork that students usually put in that allow them to be able to learn so quickly when presented with new information during the PISA study. The students have also proved that they do not only study blindly, but are also able to think flexibly when they have to.
Therefore, I strongly believe that Singapore's education system has been by far successful in grooming our students and training them to be skilled learners with the ability to react flexibly.

Little India riot: The dog that did not bark by JunTian

Summary: Prior to that fateful Sunday, more than 20,000 foreign workers were bussed into Little India every Sunday, adding significantly to the human and vehicular congestion there. Foreign labour comprises almost 40 per cent of our 3.45 million workforce. Singapore continues to need migrant workers and their numbers will remain substantial with a thriving economy and even as we restructure our economy. Hence, it is imperative that we work resolutely towards enhancing the working and living conditions for migrant workers, including the regulatory environment that governs them. But it is abundantly clear that the days of sustained rapid migration are over. There is a limit to securing economic gains, clearest in the short run at the expense of the fabric of our society social effects are often clearer in the long run. Therefore, it would be a larger tragedy if we only dealt with the riot as a law and order issue, but did not engage the broader questions raised — especially the urgency of right-sizing the benefits and costs of our economic and immigration policies.

Opinion: I agree with the author's opinion that the real problem underlying the "Little Indian Riot" is what we really need to tackle instead of just the superficial issues. Firstly, the issue of overwhelming number of foreign workers is a common worry of Singaporeans. Singaporeans feel threatened in terms of competitiveness, safety, and the over using of public resources. Secondly, is the relationship between locals and foreign workers. Many locals are bias against the locals and this causes a split in the relationships. However, the truth is that Singapore cannot do without these foreign workers as we need them in order to improve our economy.  

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Protect genetic Biodiversity by Carlenko Wang

Forest ecosystems, which is identified as the essential refuges for biodiversity ,are now facing challenges from human activities and climate change .Governments of 86 countries are criticized as their inefficient and tangible policies do not fulfill the criteria of protecting the forest genetic resources, according to the United Nation. To address the biodiversity issues which is related to our food, agriculture and forestry and essential sustainability are alerted to deal with .Steps are taken so as to resolve the forest genetic resources issues.

In my opinion, the protection of the ecosystems should be well conducted by both the state and the public. If we leave the issue alone, it will become a system which no longer has various species to maintain the biodiversity. The direct consequence will be the development of the agriculture .The agriculture has long been humans’ headache due to its disabilities of supplying sufficient food to the mankind. If we neglect this issue, our current food problems will no doubt become more serious .In order to build a better future which we expected, we shall take actions to deal with forest protection now.