Singlish is a creolized language, drawing mainly from English but also supplemented by words and expressions from Malay, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese and Tamil. Having evolved and still in currency in Singapore, Singlish is not highly regarded by Singaporean elite society, which prefers and promotes Standard English. In many ways, this cultural conflict is reminiscent of several such linguistic dialectics witnesses over the course of imperialist history. The most famous being the subservience of English to the French language during the three centuries of Norman rule of the isles. Even in that historical case, it was the peasants and other underprivileged who kept English alive amidst elite preference for French. Hence, it is interesting to study the development and significance of Singlish in the backdrop of its sociological and socio-economic dimensions. This essay endeavours to inquire in those lines with an emphasis on ascertaining Singlish’s contribution postcolonial . . . Read More
The degree and scope of academic freedom has been a perennial topic of debate. But generally, it is the governing authorities who have their way, with students having to toe the line. In an ideal world, though, students will play a significant role in determining the courses and subjects to be included in their curriculums. While students in primary and secondary stages of education need to have a standard basic curriculum, those reaching college level should be given more autonomy. This relaxation is recommended keeping in mind that college students are entering adulthood and have a right to choose the type of individuals they want to become. (Robertson & Smith, 1999, p.69) As the system functions today, college students are forced to conform to an educational model that was not designed in their interests. In other words, the existing educational system serves to indoctrinate young minds into obedient servants of the established social order. At the top of the social pyramid . . . Read More
For this essay Chapter Five ‘Surveil Ordinary Citizens’ of Noami Wolf’s The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot is chosen for analysis. Wolf talks about the dangers of succumbing to internal security measures, which are just a facade for government control over civilian thought and act. Wolf makes salient comparisons between the post 911 situation in America and similar historical episodes under the Nazi and Fascist regimes. And to the reader’s alarm there are striking similarities between the methods and devices employed by these governments in censoring and subordinating the general population. This essay will argue in support of the points and concerns raised by the author by citing evidence from credible scholarly sources.
It was anti-Semitism and fervent nationalism that consolidated government control of German, Italian and Chinese populations respectively in the bygone era. In today’s geo-political situation, terrorism is the most discussed . . . Read More
There appears to be some fundamental differences between Western and Buddhist approaches to education. The Western philosophy of education, as is prevalent today, is more systematic and scientifically grounded in terms of its objectives and outcomes. But the Buddhist view of education is a lot more open-ended and fluid. Also, while there are fundamental tenets upon which Buddhist education system rests, they only serve as an aid to the student in discovering truths for himself. In other words, while the Western educational model has at its core the principle of ascertaining truth through rational inquiry and systematic experimentation, the Buddhist model espouses the principle that introspection through meditation will lead to the ultimate truth. (Haskett, 2005, p.192) Moreover, it is integral to Buddhist culture to put the ‘collective’ good ahead of ‘individual’ excellence. Notwithstanding these basic differences, one could still incorporate certain norms, . . . Read More
The definition and study of human intelligence is a subject that has attracted its fair share of controversy over the years. This is largely because there’s no consensus in how intelligence is defined. For example, while some scholars attribute practical problem solving skills, verbal ability and social competence as measures of intelligence, others include adaptability to new problems and situations, capacity for knowledge and creativity as key indicators. Then there are recent sociologists such as Daniel Goleman, who have revolutionized the concept of intelligence by including an ‘emotional’ dimension to the already accepted ‘cognitive’ dimension. Hence, the study of human intelligence is presently a flourishing field of scientific inquiry with a broad range of perspectives and approaches leading to its understanding. It is in this context that the role of working memory in the functioning of intelligence should be investigated.
Working memory (WM), alongside . . . Read More
Neil Postman’s essay titled ‘Defending the Indefensible’ appears in his seminal book ‘Conscientious Objections’, in which he critiques aspects of our culture that we’ve taken for granted. The essays in the book address quality of life issues related to advancing technology, new media and declining education standards. Defending the Indefensible pertains itself to one facet of our society that is particularly problematic, namely, the education system. Postman reckons that the education system should cultivate the faculty of ‘critical intelligence’ in pupils. This would enable them to question cultural and social norms and find rational alternatives for flawed practices. But unfortunately, the prevailing education system only seems to make students subservient to existing norms.
Postman suggests a list of seven intellectual tools through which students can decode the implications and hidden assumptions in the language presented to them. According to Postman, a . . . Read More
The state of our planet’s environment is a matter of much debate and concern over the last few years. With global warming and global dimming being established scientific facts, the future prospects of many species (including ours) are under threat. It is these concerns that are articulated by writers such as Rick Bass, Alice Walker and Jared Diamond. Bass’ article titled ‘Why I Hunt’ is lyrical piece of prose writing that praises the ‘natural’ life of the woods. The author suggests that activities such as hunting, trekking and other adventures afforded by expansive natural settings help rejuvenate and nurture our imagination – something that city dwelling people tend to lack. Jared Diamond’s article titled The Last Americans: Environmental Collapse and the End of Civilization issues a warning to those living in advanced economies (including the United States) that great civilizations of the past inevitably decline and perish after hitting their peak. He . . . Read More
The Temple of Dendur was built by Petronius, the Roman governor of Egypt more than three millennia ago. The temple was dedicated to ancient deities Isis, Osiris, Pihor and Pediese. It was Emperor Augustus of Rome who commissioned this grand project. Ever since the year 1978, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has showcased this important historical monument. Due to the risk of submersion in its original site in Dendur (which is 80 kilometers from the Egyptian town of Aswan), the Egyptian government presented the temple to the United States in recognition of the latter’s track record of preserving similar sites. That is how this historical monument built by a Roman Emperor ended up in an American museum.
My visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Temple of Dendur has been a satisfactory and educative one. I was amazed by the sheer size and bulk of the structure. The stone blocks of the temple weighed close to 800 tons in total. The curators of the museum . . . Read More
Bishop Thomas Dexter Jakes is a popular religious leader for the black American community. He is known affectionately as the “shepherd to the shattered” for his humanitarian work and compassionate personality. He is the founder and pastor of Potter’s House, which is a rapidly rising Church in the country with more than 27,000 members. Bishop T.D. Jakes’ is also an acclaimed author with more than 2 dozen books to his credit. They cover a wide range of subjects including philanthropy, religion and business. His latest book titled ‘God’s Leading Lady: Out of the Shadows and into the Light is a work addressed to women. Bishop Jakes’ unique scholarship applies the distilled wisdom of the scriptures to contemporary problems and issues. Talking about the trust behind his books for women, Bishop Jakes notes
“The secret to being able to help people is to be a good listener. In the book, I serve as counselor, as a male best friend, as a big brother, and even . . . Read More
Censorship and freedom of expression within school campuses has attracted a lot of debate and discussion over the years. School authorities have a difficult time in ascertaining where to draw the line between free enquiry and moral hazard. It is a surprising fact that in a country with a rich liberal tradition like the United States, there have been over 250 attempts by school districts at book banning in 31 states. This is just in the last 4 years. As shocking as this information is, “over 85% of bans go unreported either due to poor media attention or lack of opposition. The threat of censorship is much greater than it appears at first glance.” (Brenyo, 2011, p.544) The issue of censorship is also witnessed in high school publications, where a perennial power tussle exists between “student journalists decrying potential violations of their free speech and administrators who point to their responsibility to protect the welfare of the student body.” (Jenco, 2008, p.1) While . . . Read More