Thursday, April 28, 2016

MID YEAR 2009 WRITING QUESTION 2



Information and communications technology (ICT) is the cause of today’s many social ills. What is your opinion? Support your answer with examples. You should write at least 350 words.

Nowadays, it would be unusual to find anyone between the ages of thirteen to fifty who does not have a mobile phone, a computer or Internet access. It is impossible to deny that information and communications technology (ICT) has had a profound impact on society especially in the past thirty years. However, has this preoccupation with ICT helped or damaged us?
We cannot deny that ICT has brought a lot of positive developments in today’s world. With just a click, we can obtain a voluminous amount of information from the Internet. We need not spend hours browsing pages of books or poring over heavy encyclopaedias to learn more about a field of interest. Besides that, the Internet is user-friendly and caters for all ages. Hence, with the Internet, we will be more knowledgeable about the happenings around us and have greater access to all sorts of information about and around the world.
Apart from that, ICT has also taken communication to another level. ICT has indeed helped us to save time — messages can be sent and received in a jiffy in the comfort of our homes. Within seconds our emails are sent across the globe. The corporate world has also embraced the use of ICT, for example, video conferencing to negotiate a business deal or transaction instead of relying on physical meetings.
However, there is also a dark side to ICT. The sheer amount of information that people are exposed to as a result of ICT has its own dangers. There is a lot of misinformation and undesirable elements like pornography on the Internet as well. Excessive information without any controls or filters is just as detrimental to the psyche as complete ignorance. For example, people may try to self-medicate based on information that may be incomplete or skewed, and violent computer games posted on the Internet may promote violence among children and youths. Children are easily influenced and are not mature enough to weigh what is right or wrong, which unfortunately can lead them to practice harmful behaviour in real life. The anonymity of Internet chat rooms could also mean that people do not really get to know the person with whom they are chatting. They could actually fall victim to conmen or charlatans.
I think that ICT is a tool like any other. It can be used for both good and evil, it has benefits for some and detrimental effects for others. While it may not necessarily be causing social ills, ICT has certainly played a part in disseminating wrong information. It also magnifies the negative effects of too much information, made available to too many people who may not be able to make the best judgements on what to do with the information.

YEAR END 2008 WRITING QUESTION 2



“People are becoming more materialistic. They are concerned with making more money and what money can buy.” What is your opinion on being materialistic? You should write at least 350 words.

MODEL ESSAY 1

 

Many people have the mindset that everything revolves around money. It is, after all, a fact that having a large amount of money brings greater spending power. One is more easily able to satisfy one’s hedonistic impulses if one is rich. This idea has influenced many people nowadays to aspire for greater riches in order to be able to buy whatever they want. In my opinion, being materialistic can drive us to improve our lives and be able to contribute to society.
Being materialistic can drive people to work harder to earn more, which can lead to a better and more luxurious lifestyle for them and their families. There are many rags-to-riches stories of how children of labourers, hawkers and other menial workers have made their way up in the world through sheer determination. This motivation has led many successful people to where they are today.
Materialism can also positively impact the industrial and manufacturing sectors. As people’s lifestyles improve, they seek things and experiences to lavish their money on. Some would never settle for anything less than the best in the market. This willingness to spend and insistence on quality products has pushed the retail sector to come up with innovative, creative ideas and trendy products to capture the interest of their customers. Hence, industries and the economy benefits with the constant development of new and improved items.
People who are less fortunate can also benefit from someone else’s materialism. A person who has achieved his monetary goals and lifestyle is free to turn his thoughts and energy towards helping others in need. There are many cases where these people have come forward to readily donate large sums of money. They sponsor charity events, scholarships, establish foundations for the less fortunate and take up other worthy causes. They give others an opportunity to rise above difficult situations.
There is nothing wrong in being materialistic and it does not necessarily turn a person into a heartless beast. For some people, being materialistic is a way of achieving a comfortable life. What matters is how a person has achieved his financial goals and what he does with the results. If criminal means were employed, and lives were destroyed in pursuit of one person’s materialism, then that is a sin. If someone has earned a lot of money through his own hard work, determination and talent, I think that that is perfectly acceptable.

MODEL ESSAY2

They say that money makes the world go round. And indeed it does as without money, life would be very difficult as in today’s society, nothing is free. The side effect however is that people are becoming more materialistic; more concerned with making money and what money can buy. But how much money is enough? Is it ever enough? To some, it will never be enough. In my opinion, I truly believe that this statement is true and that people are becoming more materialistic in nature. In this essay, I will discuss how materialism has affected modern society’s way of life on an individual level, the country’s economy as well as our spiritual and moral beliefs.

First and foremost, each individual is affected by materialism to some extent in this day and age because hedonism is becoming an uprising trend. This is because today's generation are geared towards making more and more money so that they can enjoy the carefree lifestyle that is so popular these days. Moreover, people now are striving to earn more income in order to afford things that are more expensive and branded. For example, people spend their hard earned money on material objects like genuine LV and Coach handbags, expensive gadgets like Iphones and Tablet pcs and so on which in my opinion is a waste of money when regular goods may prove to be good enough. Therefore, while individuals become more focussed on their pursuit of material wealth and improving their standard of living, they may forget that what matters most in life is quality time spent with family and friends and not the quantity of their material goods.

Secondly, when society starts spending in a materialistic manner it will surely have a domino effect on the country’s economy. This means that the spending power of society will help boost the economy and create more business opportunities for the booming trade. However, when a society overspends, using plastic money or credit cards, or when they take loans they cannot afford to repay, then the country’s debt margin will be higher. For instance, USA today is facing an economic crisis because banks have approved home loans to people who aspire to own bigger houses than they can actually afford and this is causing the collapse of the country’s economy there. Thus, while a society’s spending habits helps our economy to grow, overspending due to materialism will have an adverse effect to the country’s financial stability.

Last but not least, materialism affects our spiritual and moral beliefs. This is due to the fact people who are materialistic may become ‘amoral’ whereby they disregard their spiritual and moral upbringing and instead turn to crime to satisfy their materialistic needs. In fact, the crime rate is increasing because criminals these days have developed many ways to gain more money from society. Take for example, there are more reports of snatch thefts, burglaries, kidnapping for ransom, credit card fraud, internet banking hacking and others that are driven by materialistic criminals. Hence, when people lose sight of their spiritual and moral beliefs and believe instead in the greed of materialism, therefore the crime rate is bound to increase.

In a nutshell, materialism is a common agenda in the 21st century as more people are working hard to afford things beyond their reach. While this may spur individuals to work harder to improve their standard of living, overspending due to materialism may cause the downfall of a country’s economy and their morality. In my opinion, I still firmly believe that materialism has a strong hold on today’s society; both positive and negative effects. Our government can encourage society to be less frivolous and wasteful in spending by running campaigns such as ‘Consumer Awareness’ and ‘Buy Malaysian Made Products’ in order to educate our younger generation for the prosperity of our nation.