Quotes

Discursive / Argumentative Model Essay #2

“Fear is good.” Discuss.

Fear is the bad feeling that one has when he is in danger or when a particular thing frightens him. A German proverb goes, “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.” This is absolutely true as fear will often cause people to imagine the worst and act irrationally. In that case, can fear be any good? Personally, I think a small amount of fear is good and even necessary as it not only acts as a form of control and deterrence but also serves to motivate oneself. Nonetheless, being overly fearful is bad as it will severely hamper man’s progress. In this essay, I will discuss how fear can be a double-edged sword, bringing both advantages and disadvantages to man.

Fear is good as it deters people from doing dangerous acts and prompt them to control and regulate their behaviour. For instance, despite the numerous wars since World War Two, the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan remain the only use of nuclear weapons in warfare. This is because the world is fearful of the widespread devastation that such weapons will bring about. Therefore, the fear of total annihilation has prevented world leaders from acting irresponsibly and going down the path of self-destruction. 

Next, fear is good as it is a powerful motivator. For individuals such as students and entrepreneurs, the fear of failure will prompt them to work hard and put in their best effort in their studies and business undertakings. This will lead to results and progress. Similarly for nations, the fear of losing their competitive edge will spur them to constantly improve and reinvent themselves to keep pace with the fast-changing world. For example, Singapore is taking active steps to maintain and improve her skilled and flexible workforce to ensure that she remains competitive and does not fall behind major economies like China. Retraining schemes and upgrading courses have been provided for the workforce to ensure that it stays relevant. Hence, we can see that the fear of losing out to others is one of the reasons that has motivated nations to take active steps in improving their economies. Without fear, nations will become complacent and they will eventually fall into a decline. 

However, although fear is good, man must keep in mind that too much fear may be detrimental to his development. Being overly fearful of the unknown and intangible will prevent people from venturing into areas previously unexplored. For instance, in the area of space exploration, Apollo 11 would have never landed the first humans on the moon if the Americans had let fear get in the way of their dream. As the late John F. Kennedy once said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” To achieve great feats, man must learn to conquer his fear and find the courage to overcome the obstacles that life presents. Only then can the human race continue to make progress and enjoy the sweet smell of success. 

In sum, fear is good as it will ultimately lead to a well controlled and motivated society. Nevertheless, people must keep in mind that they should not be clouded by fear as it will hinder their progress. I believe that a small dose of fear and a good deal of courage will make a great man as such a man will have the spirit to pursue his goals and the sense to act responsibly in the process. 

GCE O-Level, 2014, English Tuition

Teach to Learn and Learn to Teach

Einstein Quote - Explain it Simply

To learn something well, teach it to someone else. It’s like looking into the mirror of your mind. If your teachings are well understood, it means you have clarity. If not, deeper understanding is required. Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Hence, teaching to learn and learning to teach are sides of the same coin. A great teacher is a greater learner.

Mixed-text / Descriptive / Reflective Model Essay #2

I am who I am today - Eleanor Roosevelt

Who are you? Describe the people, places and experiences that make you who you are today.

Former First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.” I agree with her as the choices we make in life often define us and determine our destiny. Apart from that, there are also other important factors that make us who we are today. In my sixteen years on earth, a few people, places and experiences have made a profound impact on me and influenced my outlook on life.

A person who plays a significant role in my life is my older brother, Andrew. He is special. Born with one less chromosome, he has problems with learning and speech, which makes it difficult for him to be independent. Currently, he attends a school for the intellectually challenged, learning basic skills such as simple arithmetic. At home, he sometimes throws tantrums in an attempt to get attention, and these episodes may occasionally be violent. As his brother who has lived with him for so many years, I have grown to be more tolerant of his random outburst. I love my brother dearly and I try to spend as much time as possible with him despite my busy school schedule. Personally, I feel that I am more mature than others in my cohort as I had to step up to be the “big brother” and help to take care of Andrew from the tender age of three. I am who I am now because of Andrew and I feel very privileged to have him as my brother.

A place I visited last year has also shaped me as a person. It was a small, impoverished village in Cambodia. The trip was part of my school’s community service project and I was there with two teachers and all my classmates. To be honest, I got a rude shock when I first arrived there. The place was practically made of sticks and stones. It also lacked basic facilities such as clean water pipes and sanitation. It was hard for me to get used to the living conditions there as my life back in Singapore was worlds apart compared to the shed where I stayed in for a week. Nevertheless, I took it in my stride and worked like a Trojan, repainting the only school there and even mending a leaky roof. In retrospect, my trip to Cambodia really opened my eyes to the outside world and allowed me to see how fortunate I am to be living in an urban and affluent city like Singapore. In the past, my life was rather sheltered and I was blissfully ignorant of the many hardships in this world. Now, I am an adolescent with a social conscience. I will always remember Cambodia fondly and I hope to go back for a visit in the near future.

Finally, an incident that happened nine years ago has profoundly affected me and made me who I am today. It was a typical Saturday morning and I was at a grocery shop with my mother. Back then, my parents were very strict and they forbade me from eating sweets except on special occasions. However, being a young and simple-minded seven-year-old, I furtively grabbed a handful of candies from the shelf and hid them in my pocket. When we left the shop, I felt elated that I had gotten away with the theft. Upon reaching home, I went to my room to feast on a few candies and kept the rest in my pocket, which I soon forgot. The following day when my mother was doing the laundry, she found the remaining candies and immediately questioned me. I lied that I had picked them up on the road. Needless to say, she did not believe me and demanded to know the truth. As her big eyes were boring into me, I was scared stiff and confessed my crime. She then dragged me back to the grocery shop and insisted that I apologised to the grocer. To teach me a lesson, she even suggested to the grocer to alert the police as I must pay for my mistake. Thankfully, the grocer was a magnanimous man and I was forgiven on the spot. Since that fateful day, I have learnt that stealing is wrong and that our actions must always square with our conscience.

To conclude, I am who I am today because of the above person, place and experience. I am grateful for them as they have taught me valuable life lessons and moulded me into a better person.

GCE O-Level, 2014, English Tuition

Mixed-text / Descriptive / Reflective Model Essay #1

What is your idea of beauty? Describe some people, places and objects that you think are beautiful.

According to Confucius, “Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.” This is because beauty is a subjective concept and people all have different ideas about what is beautiful. As such, beauty cannot be measured by any absolute standard. However, we can all agree that beauty comes in various forms. It can be a person, a song or even an everyday occurrence like the sunset. To me, beauty is whatever gives joy like the following person, place and object.

A beautiful person I know is my mother. At 46, she does not have a face that can launch a thousand ships. Instead, she is rather plain-looking and seldom puts on make-up. She also does not carry a stunning figure or wear fashionable clothes. Nevertheless, beneath her ordinary exterior lives a beautiful soul. As a physician, my mother has a clinic where she treats all kinds of patients. Besides that, she also makes frequent trips to the nearby hospice to care for those who are bedridden or terminally ill. However worn out she is from a long day of hustle and bustle, she always attends to each patient with a heart-warming smile. She will also rush home every evening without fail to cook for the family and spend quality time with us. I think my mother is really beautiful because the true beauty of a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the love that my mother selflessly gives and the care that she lovingly shows that make her beautiful. Such beauty does not fade but grows with the passing years.

A place that exudes great beauty is my homeland, Singapore. A tiny island off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore has prospered and developed very rapidly since its independence in 1965. Today, the young country is a highly urbanised city that is full of charm and character. It also boasts a stunning skyline and one of the best places to look at it is the SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort. Although I have been to the observatory deck several times, the spectacular views of the island city never fail to take my breath away. This is indeed a beautiful country and its beauty can be attributed to the tremendous drive and dedication of the people. Singaporeans are highly motivated but in our pursuit of success, we remain a caring nation with a strong community spirit. I believe this spirit will continue to grow in the heart of every Singaporean and make this country an even more beautiful place to live in.

An object that I think is beautiful is the piano that stands proudly in my living room. The piano has been with my family for three generations. Although it looks old and has a broken pedal, it can still play melodious tunes that touch the soul. Whenever I play it, I would be reminded of my late grandmother who taught me how to play my first song, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. She was a superb pianist who played with deep emotions, and thanks to her, I have great appreciation for music. This piano is my most treasured possession because of all the beautiful memories it brings back. I hope that it lasts for many more generations and that my grandmother’s love for music lives on in the family.

In conclusion, beauty comes in multiple forms and everyone interprets it differently. To fully appreciate beauty, I think it is not sufficient to see it. We must feel and be affected by it.

Secondary 3, 2012, English Tuition