Sports overrated? Some views…

Body Paragraph For

The entertainment value of professional sport is overrated as it has been plagued by rigged matches devoid of true action. Due to high monetary stakes, the outcomes of games in different sports have been fixed. This contradicts the purported passion and skills that are found at sporting events. In cricket, a massive match-fixing scandal was uncovered in 2000. Hansie Cronje admitted he had accepted money to throw matches. Soon players from other countries were implicated, among them Mohammad Azharuddin and Saleem Malik. Ten years on, three leading Pakistan players were suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after police investigations. It was recognised that bookmakers and the underworld were manipulating cricket results and specific moments of play. Australian rubgy was arguably disgraced when ex-player John Elias admitted he once tried to fix the match for a Western Suburbs victory while he was playing for the opposing South Sydney team. His biography entitled <Sin Bin> stated he had four other players on board but the fix did not eventuate. Another player, Ryan Tandy, was convicted in 2011 for deliberately conceding a penalty in 2010. The judge found there was contact between Tandy and three others who had placed “substantial bets” on the match. The nefarious impact that gambling and capitalism exerted on professional sport has thus degraded its entertainment value, regardless of how much sport advertising proclaims it to be otherwise.

Evidence against:

Ferrari’s Formula One Handovers and Handovers from Surgery to Intensive Care. (No date). [Enhanced patient safety with 20% reduction in patient errors].

Wales hospital uses F1 pit stop tactics for newborn resuscitation. (10 May 2016). Financial Times. 


A pained dilemma – Story/Essay

I awoke in the stuffy heat. The fan failed to dissipate the all-pervasive tropical humidity. Summoning my strength, I raised my hand to squeeze my cheek – the pain merely confirmed that it was reality, and not a dream. This was the new normal, a life devoid of luxury. My two older siblings had already left since they studied further away. It took some time getting used to life without Father’s car: becoming accustomed to public transport and once even getting stuck due to a train fault. In any case, I got ready quickly. It would soon be time for school. I stepped into the claustrophobic kitchen of our recently purchased three room flat to take breakfast prepared earlier by Mother. She too had to re-enter employment. This was another consequence of Father’s failed business. It was something we all had to adjust to…

I had the usual day in class. The sole highlight was that I topped the class in Physics and Malay. I had put in extra effort as grandmother reminded us the best way to help our parents was to excel in school. I hoped that the news would lift the gloom ever so slightly for them. Perhaps I would seek entry into a polytechnic next year and join the workforce in order to reduce the family’s burden. But first the stomach had to be filled, so I made a stop at the nearby food court for lunch. Satiated by the meal, I went to the toilet. As I was about to leave the toilet cubicle, I noticed a thick brown envelope on the ledge (for the placement of personal belongs) above me. Curiosity hit me and I took the envelope to peer inside. I saw the words ‘Negara Brunei’ with the numerals and symbols ‘$100’ – the envelope was filled with them! This must be Bruneian currency, and I remembered Father telling me that it enjoyed parity with the Singapore dollar: the contents of the envelope were worth around five thousand dollars at least. The first thought that came to mind was to keep it. Was it not said that ‘finders were keepers’? The money could pay for an entire year of spending with extra left over. The allowance I received from my parents could be saved and then given back to my parents later on. On the other hand something pricked me. I recall Mother’s constant refrain to be honest; and she indeed walked the talk. She always returned the incorrect change when buying things and she never took more than the amount she paid for. And there I stood stumped by the dilemma. In the end, I reasoned with myself that I could decide later. So I stuffed the envelope into my bag and exited the food court.

On my way home, my thoughts were filled with ideas of how the money could be well spent. Putting that aside though, I stopped to buy a newspaper to run through the sports news; a small pleasure that I could still afford. But as I flipped through the pages, I saw a story on about a taxi driver found and returned a bag filled with a sum of $20,000 US dollars left behind by a passenger. The driver when interviewed said: ‘I did not hesitate to bring it to the police station…the money was not mine after all.’ It turns out that that money was urgently needed to pay the medical bills for a visiting medical tourist. The accidental loss had brought so much anxiety while the return provided immense relief. I knew not whether the article was a coincidence, but I realised someone out there was the owner of the money, and right now he or she may be going ballistic upon the discovery of the loss. Perhaps their situation was even worse than mine, just like the one described by the journalist. I halted in my tracks and took the turn to the police station. At the front door I hesitated for a fraction of a moment but something in me got me through, and I reported the misplaced cash. That was one week ago and I have thought little of the incident since. But today I received an envelope with a cheque for $300 and a little note: ‘Thank you honest youngster! I wished my country had more people like you!’ So I reckon that honesty does pay, it definitely did for me and I was glad to openly share the news with my family.

Note: a hybrid of recount and reflection

Law & Health – Mobile/Hand/Cell phones

5 years on in two different cases, the first in the Supreme Court and the latter in a regional one (north Italian town Ivrea), mobile phone usage was deemed to have ‘causal link(s)‘ with brain tumours. [In effect, the Supreme Court judgment became the legal precedent.]


Cancer cells: Italian court rules ‘mobile phones can cause brain tumors’. (20 Oct 2012). RT News. (TV-Novosti)

Italian court rules mobile phone caused tumour. (21 Apr 2017). Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). Australia.

CBC Radio (Canada) through its show ‘The Current’ ran an episode entitled: Cellphone in your pocket? CBC’s Marketplace investigates why you might reconsider. (24 Mar 2017).

[Reproduced from]

O/A Level Resource – Indians/Globalisation

This post is based on the same book from the prior post but with a focus on Globalisation. Therefore is would be helpful to the same target audience but I believe would be enjoyable for those who love learning and would like to improve their writing in general (since reading is a method to enhance one’s style and vocabulary). Related syllabus concepts include: entrepreneurship, resource management (with sub issues like brain drain), and sustainable development.

Pg 42 – 45

Vineeta Sinha cited the 2010 Census. Indians numbered roughly 348,000 (348k); 237k citizens (7.35% of citizen total), 110k permanent residents (20.45% of permanent resident total) – in sum, 9.2% of the total staying population.

To reverse the Indian populace ‘brain drain’ originating from the late 1980s (which arguably affected the ethnic ratio balance), it became government policy after 1990 to ‘attract the very bright, highly skilled and talented Indians from abroad…’ and over time encourage their permanent residency. (Law and Home Affairs Minister, S Jayakumar, 20 April 1990). Selected categories included: IT, Finance, Banking, and Investment.

From the 1990s, Indian manual labour also rose, though this was perceived as less displeasing. (Consider the complaints against workers drinking in public; and the competition in transportation, housing, and schools stemming likewise from affluent migrants etc.) Of the 1.321 million foreign employees (all ethnic groups), around 160k were S-Pass holders (semi-skilled labour). [2013 figures from the Ministry of Manpower, MOM]

Pg 91 – 94

Indian migrants are perpetually seen as with ‘foreign worker’ or ‘foreign talent’. Further,  the latter section has aggravated the disparities within the local Indian community. Somewhat overlapping with the latter would be the ‘entrepreneurs with high earning capacity’ (p. 52). The author closes optimistically with suggesting ‘politics of inclusion’ where similar ‘identities, practices, experiences’ become our focus instead of distinctions.

Related references:

  • List of foreign worker dormitories (MOM, accessed 7 Apr 2017) shows a total of 47 such living areas
  • In June 2016, as reported by Ronald Loh (The New Paper), dormitory operator KT Mesdorm was fined $300,000 (maximum quantum) for putting up foreign workers in overcrowded quarters at its Blue Stars Dormitory in Boon Lay. It was first provider to receive this penalty. Mr Jolovan Wham, a social worker at Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME) refers to the issue as “out of sight, out of mind” – effectively concealed and less emphasised
  • In the 1990s, the pillars of the Singaporean economy were manufacturing and services (p. 49)

O/A Level Resource – Indians/Society

This information, in my opinion, is useful for Singapore based Social Studies (SS, Syllabus 2204, the outgoing syllabus) and General Paper (Syllabus 8807 – more immediately Application Question or Essay/Paper 1). Generally, it may be helpful for students taking Express English since Text 3 (Paper 2) of the 1128 syllabus is ‘non-narrative’.

The content comes from the book ‘Indians’ (published 2015) by Vineeta Sinha (locally based sociologist). It would be useful for the topic of Social Cohesion and Harmony – with related concepts (SS syllabus document) being: discrimination, compromise and mutual accommodation, common space, minority rights, and integration. The pages are:

  • 47 to 48
  • 54 to 55
  • 62 to 63 (useful for SS, 2267 Syllabus – Blue coloured textbook)
  • 88 to 90

The author, became a Singapore citizen in 2002. Her rather interesting and heartwarming life story (dated 15 Jan 2016) can be found on tabla! – hosted by Asiaone news.

Repost: Financial (or Capital) Globalisation

This would be useful information/analysis for the GCE Cambridge A Level History and General Papers; and would more be useful for the GCE Cambridge O Level Social Studies paper (Syllabus 2267 than Syllabus 2204).

A review of Chapter 2 in Part Two of <The End of Finance>. The term ‘capital’ refers to financial capital. The book describes one subset as ‘portfolio investment’. This has traits similar to subprime mortgages – which were sold and purchased on secondary markets; such capital can be recalled and disbursed quickly. One can consider the ‘capital flight’ during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis as an example. The authors argue that such volatile inflows and outflows form the crux of crises from Mexico (1995), Southeast Asia (as written above), Russia and Brazil (1998), Turkey and Argentina (2001). Hence, history continually repeats itself. Why does this happen? Arguably changes in market confidence, which ironically can be a self-fulfilling prophecy… [Foreign Direct Investment were deemed less responsible for fluctuations of international capital availability and transfers].

This globalisation was underpinned by 3 things: international freedom of capital flows; ostensibly unrestricted enlargement of money supply; and central banks acting as a lender of last resort to prevent collapse (for most of the years after 1945, this was the US Federal Reserve; and perhaps of greater prominence in recent decades, its Governor Alan Greenspan). The trend began in the mid 1970s. [Technology was also pinpointed as a catalyst by Walter B. Wriston (August 3, 1919 – January 19, 2005), a banker and former chairman of Citicorp, in 1988. It should be surmised though that technology’s role should be considered contributory, in my opinion.]

Relating the recent subprime crisis, it had been the ‘international capital market’ who targeted the credit shaky borrowers in the US with ‘predatory practices’, and ‘often underhand and occasionally fraudulent’ methods. This has some parallels to the 1970s ‘oil shocks’ and resultant ‘petrodollars’ which flooded Latin America, providing the structural foundations for the Debt Crisis of the 1980s. The negative repercussions from the subprime collapse amounted to an estimated net loss of homeownership for approximately 1 million American families (quoting from Subprime Lending: A Net Drain on Homeownership, 27 Mar 2007, Center for Responsible Lending – headquarters in Durham, North Carolina, US)


Wriston’s works can found at his Tufts University archives.

More on the Debt Crisis from <10. Debt Crisis of the 1980s> by Japan’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS). [Do note that their analysis for the causes of the crises may differ.]

=> Reproduced with approval from

Sample – Hybrid Essay

Following up on the previous post on essay trends, the below presents an attempt on a (partial) hybrid essay containing elements of ‘personal recount’ and a reflection conclusion.

They say experience is a hard and painful teacher. I went through that first hand last year…

It was a night out with my classmates in the second week of the year-end holidays. We had grown and gelled in the eleven months, from strangers to friends; and some even became close buddies. My own initial discomfort was overcome by their comical jokes and the common bond in face of the recurrent tests and examinations. They had accepted me into their fold in spite of my taciturn shyness. Sadly, most of us would spend the next year in different classes having selected our preferred humanities and science combinations. Not wanting to think about that, we tried to spend as much time together before the actual split.

So that night we picked a movie to watch… (Description of the movie and the experience) Though the film fell flat and disappointed, our spirits were hardly dampened. As the night was still young, Ahmad proposed that we headed to the arcade. We dived headlong into action. The group of us streamed into the arcade and topped up the game cards. Eagerly, we headed out to the First Person Shooter game, or the tennis player, while I made a beeline for the fighting games. Recalling it now, it seems things went in slow motion as I put my wallet right on the controller panel. I was full on into battling my ‘live’ opponent sitting opposite me. Unfortunately, after three rounds I made no headway. After one lost match, I felt something pushing against my shoulder, I turned to look but it just happened to be someone who nearly fell. Without much thought I went back to my game with more than a hint of desperation to beat my opponent. I gave up after ten minutes. As I stood up, I felt something was missing… Then it hit me – my wallet was gone.

My heart sank.

I remembered that my Identification Card and the whole week of allowance was in it. At that moment emotions raced through my head until Rajoo caught up with me. The others then offered to look around, unfortunately, to no avail. It was gone without a trace. Resigned, I trudged ever so reluctantly to the nearby Police Centre… (Description of loss reporting)

Although my parents did not give me a good telling off, I truly felt bad about the incident. Upon reflection, I thought it best to have constant sight of my wallet and mobile phone. Most of time, I put them in my front pockets. Maybe that explains why my trousers have such deep ones. On a more serious note, I remind others to keep their personal belongings on them. In doing so I hope to protect them from the hard, and rather painful teaching which experience gave me.

By: CWL, Jan 2017