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How can we lead a healthy lifestyle ?

A healthy lifestyle means maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet as well as engaging in sports
or other fitness related activities. A healthy diet alone however is inadequate to ensure a healthy
body as physical activity helps to keep one in shape and free of sickness and disease.
According to the World Health Organization, only one in ten people exercise regularly and a
majority do not follow a healthy diet. The main culprit is our penchant for junk food as can be
seen from the popularity of fast food chains and other western eateries. even local foods such as
fried noodles, friend rice and snacks and savories are laden with fat and calories. Thus,
consuming this type of food on a daily basis can contribute to weight gain. Overweight and
obese people suffer from many health complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high
cholesterol and even cancer.
Hence, the emphasis on healthy lifestyle should start at a young age. Parents must urge their
children to eat more vegetables, fruits, juices, wholemeal and wholegrain foods. Many parents,
due to time constraint, usually find the easy way out by cooking two-minute noodles or heading
towards the nearest fast food joint for quick meal. They do not realize however that sets the
stage for an unhealthy lfestyle for their children who quickly become addicted to such foods.
Thus, parents can counter this problem by cooking or preparing meals that do not take up time
such as cheese sandwiches, soup, stir friend vegetables or buy pre-packed meals from
supermarkets which can be warmed up in the microwave oven.
Dining out usually involves eating heavily and unhealthily. Most of us are prone to ordering deep
fried food and oily dishes as opposed to steamed or baked food. Thus, though eating out is
unavoidable, parents of children and adults as a hole should order fresh food and foods that are
nutritious and not laden with oil, fat or sugar. Once a pattern of healthy eating is established, it
would be easier to carry through such a lifestyle and for the children to follow suit.
School canteens must be urged to sell only highly nutritious food and drinks. Vending machines
that sell soft drinks and drinks that are spiked with sugar should be banned. Hence, school going
children would be exposed to healthy eating form young.
Daily exercise is vital. In fact, schools should implement Physical education on a daily basis
rather than twice weekly. Only the minority are actively involved in sports. Most students are
sedentary and prefer to concentrate on their studies as they consider indulging in physical
activities a waste of time. By enforcing regular exercise daily, these students would be exposed
to the importance and benefits of exercise.
Many parents and adults do not allocate time for physical activity. A large number of them work
long hours and return home late thereby depriving themselves of the benefits of exercise. Parents
must lead an exemplary life which can benefit their children by increasing awareness on the
health benefits of exercising regularly. Bringing their children for walks in the morning or
evening is a good start to achieve this goal. They should become members of clubs which have

swimming pools and gym facilities. During the weekend, the family can strengthen their bond by
adjourning to clubs for exercise and a healthy meal after that.
In short, leading a healthy lifestyle is a conscious decision. One can ignore that and lead a life
that exposes one to many healthy hazards. it is important to recognize that a healthy living
ensures a longer life span as well as a life free of disease and complications.

How can schools play a role in producing well-rounded


individuals ?
Schools play an important role in imparting knowledge and producing individuals with high
moral and ethical values who contribute to our country's development.
However, there have been accusations that Asian schools are not churning out well-rounded
individuals. The main culprit they say is the education system which is heavily exam oriented
and although students excel academically, they are not good in sports or extra curricular
activities. even straight As students are considered only paper smart lacking common knowledge
or even skills-based knowledge. Thus, schools play a vital role in ensuring its products are not
only academically well qualified but also confident, intelligent and have multiple skills.
The most important step schools should take with the cooperation of the Education Ministry is to
place less emphasis on scholarly achievements and examination grads. Currently, due to heavy
stress on examination results, many, if not all, student study to excel academically rather than
have a balanced approach to studies. they study had and attend tuition classes so that they are
able to get straight As in all the subjects. This leaves them little time to indulge in extracurricular activities or sports. Thus, a markedly different way of grading and assessing students
should be adopted like in the West. In order to produce well rounded individuals, grades should
be given for assignments, extra curricular activities as well as involvement in sports. Ideally,
only 50% of marks should be allocated for examination and the rest for participation in nonacademic activities. This would produce students with a innovative, intelligent and creative
personality as progression in school would not be based solely on examinations.
In addition, a system should be introduced to make it compulsory for students to volunteer with
community-based organizations such as orphanages, centers for the disabled and other social
non-governmental organizations. Assignments related to involvement in these organizations can
form part of the examination system. Thus, students will be compelled to participate in various
kinds of extra curricular and sports activities, under the guidance of their teachers of course. That
would ultimately enable them to acquire people's skills such as communication and writing skills
through the ability to interact with others and engage in stimulating discussions.

Study environment can be made less mundane and monotonous by introducing outdoor learning
experience. More emphasis on outdoor learning activities rather than those confined to
classroom activities should be made part of the regular teaching method. Students thus, will
acquire interest in their studies and would be able to expand their general knowledge Schools
would stop churning out "book worms" and diffident students. Rather, this novel approach would
produce students who are smart, intelligent, bold and inquisitive.
In all, the task of producing well rounded students and hence, individuals lay heavily on the
shoulders of the education ministry and teachers. It is the step in the right direction towards
creating a generation that is inquisitive and smart. these individuals can then contribute
tremendously to our nation's development and standing in the world.

If you are the school discipline teacher, how would you tackle
the problem of gangsterism among students ?
Indiscipline among students is one of the major problems faced by schools today. Gangsterism in
particular has become a menace due to its violent nature. Gangsterism involves bullying,
extortion and even physical assault. The victims are mainly fellow students and there have been a
few cases in the Philippines where the act of bullying and assault had been fatal.
If I am the discipline teacher, I would first undertake to study the extent of the problem in my
school as well as the reasons why students would get involved in gangsterism. I would then haul
the bullies and suspected gangsters in the school to determine further the reasons behind their
individual behavior.
Statistics and studies on gangsterism indicate most student gangsters hail from poor backgrounds
or broken families whereby they lack attention and love from the family members propelling
them to behave in such a manner. Poor students become gangsters as a means to gain extra cash
by extorting money from other students. Those who are a product of broken families normally
indulge in these kind activities to seek attention and as a outlet for their frustration and
unhappiness.
Thus, by engaging in a discussion with these gangster students from my school, I would be able
to find out which category they belong to. I would then proceed to advise them on the dangers of
their behavior which could land them in jail or in correctional institute for juvenile delinquents.
If this method does not work, I would then engage the assistance of inspectors from the local
police station to give regular talks at our school on why gangsterism is a crime and the penalties
faced by the perpetrators.
A school-wide campaign would follow suit on how students and teachers can tackle the problems
of gangsterism. the campaign would involve talks by former gangsters and reformed criminals

who resorted to bullying and violence to achieve their goals and how that in turn has affected
their lives and their families. Students would then be required to take a pledge not to resort to
such behavior even if they face severe pressures from other students or as an easy way to make
money from others.
Instead of caning or punishing gangsters, I would counsel them and use the soft-handed
approach. These facing financial troubles who resort to extortion as a solution would be given
assistance pending their promise not to repeat such behavior. These who engage in gangsterism
to seek attention would be sent for professional counseling. Students facing constant pressure to
become part of gangs, would be exposed tot he dangers of such behavior and encouraged to
report, without fearing for their lives, to the school authorities. I would collaborate with the other
teachers to expose students to fun-filled activities and outdoor learning experience to make
school a more exciting place. This would prevent bored students from contemplating joining a
gangster group to seek excitement and acceptance.
Thus, I hope with all these measures in place, the problem of gangsterism would be dealt with
effectively and efficiently.

What are the benefits of volunteering ?


volunteering means to carry out a duty or a job without expecting repayment or remuneration.
The concept is very popular in the advanced or rich countries such as United States, Australia,
United Kingdom and other western nation. In Laos, the concept is rather alien as may look at
volunteering as rendering help without expecting payment in return as a waste of time and effort.
However, there are many benefits one can gain through volunteering.
When one volunteers to help out someone such as a friend, teacher or parent, one is immediately
seen as selfless and helpful. When you help a teacher to clean he classroom or get involved in
cleanliness campaign at the school level or other community projects, your standing would be
elevated. Teachers and adults would look at a young person who volunteers his or her time for a
certain activity as mature, responsible and deserving of respect.
In addition, volunteering with an organization such as orphanages, community centers and other
non-profit organizations such as the Society for Prevention of Cruelty towards Animal and other
welfare organizations allows you to interact with society at large. In addition to helping these
organizations carry out their duties, you not only gain experience but can learn a variety of skills.
This is especially beneficial for students. Even though one is not being paid, through
volunteering time, effort and skills one would learn more than what money can buy. You can
learn to be bold, assertive, independent as well express your opinions and gain communication
and interpersonal skills. In Laos, this is lacking. Thus, the responsibility falls on the teachers to
encourage students to volunteer their times not only for school activities but to spend their

leisure in helping out community-based organizations.


Volunteering also allows one to become more mature at a relatively younger age. When you are
exposed to volunteering at a young age be it at the home front, school or their organizations, you
would learn the importance of responsibility in carrying out your duties to the best of your
ability. Embarking on volunteer activities would enable one to learn survival skills such as
responsibility, ability to express ideas as well as the importance of hard work and diligence.
Volunteering also exposes one to many interesting ideas and issues. For example, if you
volunteer your time regularly at a charity organization, you would learn how the organization
works and the importance of team work, and other essential ideas related to the day-to-day
operations. of the organizations. You will not only enhance your general knowledge, but also
learn how to deal with problems, challenges as well dealing with different types of personalities.
Thus, there are many benefits to be gained by volunteering. Students in particular should be
allowed to participate in volunteer activities to enhance their knowledge as well learn useful
interpersonal and organizational skills.

Do you agree the widespread influence of western culture among students corrupt
them morally ?

It is very hard for Easterners to resist Westernization. The influence of western ideas and culture
is widespread namely in dressing, mannerisms, food, books, entertainment and even education.
However, western culture can also corrupt a person morally especially young people.
There are many aspects of the western culture that are deemed not suitable for Asians namely its
sense of fashion, moral values regarding pre-marital sex, pornography and wild entertainment.
The young mind is easily influenced and corrupted. When one enters shopping complexes,
restaurants and other public places, the first thing that catches one's attention is the way the
young dress. Many follow the fashion nuances of the west with little regard to Asian values and
perspectives related to modesty. Many young teenagers can be seen clad in low cut tops, low
waist jeans and in short very revealing outfits. They mimic western style of clothing as well free
intermingling of sexes.
This situation has led to many undesirable consequences. Chief among them is the practice of
free sex among students. The Asian values of saving oneself for marriage or until the right person
comes along is discarded and considered archaic. Since many teenagers lack awareness on safe
sex, they expose themselves to unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases such as
AIDS, gonorrhoea, syphilis and other life-threatening disease. WE read newspaper reports
almost on a daily basis on how unborn babies are being dumped in toilets, houses of worship,
hospitals and other public places. There are yet many students who upon finding themselves

pregnant resort to abortion. The later can be fatal if not done by professional gynaecologists.
Many charity organizations report of teenagers coming for advice when they find themselves
jilted by their boyfriends. There are also many reports on teenagers contracting STDs and other
dangerous diseases.
Another strong influence of westernization is in the arena of entertainment. Teenagers find it
exciting and fulfilling when they visit video arcades, discotheques, nightclubs and other places of
entertainment. Thus, they expose themselves tot he morally deficient elements at this kind of
places. Apart from picking up bad habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol and other behaviors
unsuitable for people of such a young age, these teens also expose themselves to abuse and
exploitation. Many young people have admitted to being sexually abused this way by friends or
strangers who spike their drinks with drugs only to awake next morning in the bed of strangers.
Thus, though not all elements of westernization corrupt young people morally, the latter seem
more susceptible and even naive with regards to western influence in the arena of entertainment,
fashion and behavior. Many teenagers demand unfettered freedom without realizing the
consequences o their behavior which brings harm to them. In their desire to be westernized, they
accept those elements which provides pleasure but places them at great risks.

"Money is the key to happiness". Do you agree ? Why ?

Money is of course very important for human beings to lead a decent and satisfying life. unlike
animals and plants, money defines the existence of human society as we cannot live without it.
Money is an important exchange for food, shelter and clothing.
Many people believe that money si the root of all evil. But contrary to that, I believe and agree
that money is the key to human happiness. it has become indispensable in our lives when humans
began using money for exchange of goods and services instead of he barter trade which was
popular hundreds of years ago. Humans work to earn an income that would enable them to bring
food to the table, clothe themselves as well as indulge in pleasures that can be obtained only
through money.
When we are able to afford goods and services, it inevitably grants us a lot of happiness,
satisfaction and stability in our lives. In many poor countries such as Africa, Cambodia, Laos,
Vietnam and others, millions live in misery due to extreme poverty. They are deprived of
happiness, dignity and a sense of direction n their lives as they live from hand to mouth and their
future is at best uncertain. Thus, it would be foolish to think that money causes distress, and is
the root cause of immorality and evil behavior. On the contrary, most of us earn an income
through legal means which allows us to maintain a good standard of living. it enable us to travel
for holidays and have access to good food, medical facilities, and a lifestyle that grants us much
happiness and satiety. Many parents admit that they slog at work so that thy could provided

comfort and stability to their offspring. Money especially comes in handy when a family member
is stricken with a disease and cash is needed for treatment.
Unhappiness results when we are denied the above. Many families struggle to make ends meet
and the lack of money almost inevitably sows seeds of unhappiness. They are exposed to
continuous bickering, quarrels and ultimately, misery.
There are of course those, due to greed for more material wealth, resort to illegal means to
become rich quickly. They commit robberies, murders and cheat to get ahead in lives. However,
this does not grant them the happiness or the peace of mind. In the case of robbers and murders,
the constant threat by the law enforcement authorities closing in on them, creates jitters and a life
full of uncertainties and fear.
Hence, money would always be looked at as the most or at least one of the most important keys
to happiness. it has become a part of what defines us as human beings as it allows us to live a life
of dignity, happiness and contentment.

"Health is wealth". To what extent would you agree ?

The saying "health is wealth" is very apt as good health comes from a good physique that enables
one to enjoy the pleasures and manage challenges of life. health here comprises the mental and
the physical.
Thus I agree that good health is actually wealth as it allows one lead an existence without being
hampered by disabling circumstances such as disability (both mental and physical), medical
conditions such as diabetes, cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. A disabled person faces a
lot of challenges n life including having to depend on another for basic needs and perform simple
tasks. The situation is even more daunting if you are paralyzed and mentally unfit to lead a
normal existence. One would not be able to earn an income becoming a burden to family and
friends (though the latter are usually encouraging and supportive).
Many cancer patients and others who suffer from debilitating sickness spend huge amounts of
money for treatment. In addition to that, they have to undergo very painful medical procedures. A
cancer patient for example typically has to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy which have
undesirable side effects such as vomiting, hair loss, weaknesses and other unpleasant symptoms.
Despite all that, there is no guarantee that one would survive such sickness.
Thus, our good physical and mental well being provides us the opportunity to enjoy life without
any hindrances. The "wealth" one derives from good health is actually a life free from
circumstances that afflicts us in some way and hence, affects our happiness and comfort.

There are many people in this world who are extremely wealthy but due to poor health, they are
unable to enjoy their material coins. Their daily performance is hampered by physical and mental
incapacitation and hence, they can be actually considered "poor". A materially poor man or
woman but rich in terms of health actually can be termed as "wealthy' as he or she is not
hampered by sickness. the later does not have to fork out money for treatment and can enjoy a
peaceful and blissful life.
In short, good health si wealth as no amount of money can cure one of terrible sickness. Good
health ensures a fulfilling and enriching life.

Friendships

Friends are very important in our lives. Friendships are easily formed when we are young and do
not demand too much out of it. According to studies and research, humans tend to form highest
number of friendships at kindergarten and primary level. However, one tends to have less friends
as one grows older and wiser. This is because we realize there are good friends and bad ones.
The saying that a friend in need is a friend indeed is very apt in this scenario because good
friends are those who are reliable and trustworthy. at a younger age, our demands are not too
high regarding friendships as we rely mostly on our parents, siblings and relatives for important
things. The friends we formed at this age are merely considered playmates rather than
companions and confidants. Thus, our expectations of them are not high.
More serious friendships are formed when one enters puberty and achieves certain level of
maturity. the latter allows one to forge fellowship with those who share the same interests,
passion as well as similar moral and religious values. Thus, it is not surprising to observe that in
some Asian country, mature students at the upper secondary level have friends of the same ethnic
and religious backgrounds. At the university level, it is even more apparent. Even the Ministry of
education has voiced concern over this phenomenon where polarization is prominent. The
Indians, Chinese and Malays hardly mix with each other and are seen usually in the company of
their own kind.
One of the main reasons for polarization among university students is that as they reach a certain
level of maturity, common binding factors such as religion, customs and traditions play
important role in selection of friends or mates. In addition, since majority of these students come
from rural backgrounds where there is not much cultural interchange, they feel rather awkward
to forge friendships with students of other races. However, this does not mean the students are
racist or suffer from superiority complex. Thus, the university should introduce more programs
that allow cultural and religious mixing and understanding of the other.

Nevertheless, in the working world, a different scenario prevails. One finds Indians, Chinese and
other races forging stable and long lasting friendships. This is most probably due o the fact that
to be productive in one's work, one has to believe in team work. The latter actually enhances the
bond between the workers and eventually long lasting friendships are formed. In fact, this
situation has even led to many inter racial marriages between the three major races. the products
of the intermarriages are very unique as they have friends and relatives from both ethnic
backgrounds.

Examinations good or bad ?

"Examinations" - This is a word that causes sleepless nights, a word can change a cheerful
person into a nervous wreck. So, what are examinations, and how can they be any good?
An examination can be defined as a detailed inspection or analysis of an object or person. For
example, an engineer will examine a structure, like a bridge, to see if it is safe. A doctor may
conduct a medical examination to gauge whether a patient is healthy. In the school context, it is
the students who take the examinations. These are usually a series of comprehensive tests held at
the end of each term, year or, in the case of public examinations, after a few years.
One of the main purposes of school examinations is to improve the quality of education. From
the results of the examinations, the teachers and planners of the curriculum will be able to gauge
the extent to which the students have acquired the knowledge and skills of the course material.
This would, first of all, provide an evaluation of their teaching methods, so they can improve
them, if necessary.
Examinations are also used as a yardstick for measuring the capability of the candidate, for
further education or employment. For example, examination results are the main criteria when
selecting students for entrance into universities. It is assumed that the examination results would
indicate whether or not the student will be able to handle the course. In the case of employment,
it is felt that the examination results will indicate whether or not the job seeker has the skills or
intelligence to handle the job.
However, does the school examination system provide an accurate yardstick of the candidate's
ability? Albert Einstein, at the age of 16, took the entrance exam to the Swiss Federal Institute of
Technology, but failed and so was rejected by this elite school. Yet, Einstein went on to develop
the theory of relativity and quantum theory, winning the Nobel Prize in Physics at the age of 42.
Other examples of famous achievers who failed in school examinations would include Winston

Churchill, Thomas Edison and Bill Gates.


One may also question whether the present examination system results in better teaching in
schools. In fact, some teachers are so pressured to produce good examination results that they
are forced to practise poor teaching methods. They may race through the syllabus, ignoring the
fact that the weaker students have not grasped some of the concepts. Some other teachers may
concentrate on popular examination topics, ignoring the topics which are rarely tested in the
examinations.
Pressure to succeed in examinations may also be detrimental to the students. They may be so
filled with anxiety and stress that they do not enjoy their school years. They may be studying
only to get good examination results, rather than a rounded education. Some of the weaker
students, who cannot seem to achieve good examination results, may lose interest in their
studies. In extreme cases, students may be so frustrated or disappointed in their results that they
may consider ending their lives.
In conclusion, I realise that examinations are necessary and useful in many areas of our lives.
However, within the school system, they should be given less emphasis or conducted in a
different way. Furthermore, educationists, employers and students themselves should be
reminded that examination results may not provide the best assessment of an individual's talents
and capabilities.

My perfect future husband or wife

A popular saying goes, "Marriage involves three rings: the engagement ring, the wedding ring,
and the suffering."
If it is commonly felt that marriage is so difficult, why do most people wish to get married?
Probably, the instinct to find a mate is inherent in human beings; and I am no exception.
Somehow, I believe that there is someone out there who was made specially for me, and, once I
find him, we will fall in love, and get married; and only then will I feel complete. So, how will I
recognise my Mr Right? What qualities should I be looking for?
First of all, I am not looking for "Mr Tall, Dark and Handsome". Character is more important
than looks. I cannot deny that I am attracted to good-looking boys, but marrying solely for
physical attraction will probably lead to short term pleasure but life-long regret. I have also
noticed that handsome boys are often vain and arrogant, which I find most unattractive. One of

the main things that I admire in a man is humility. Such a man will not boast about his wealth,
intelligence or achievements, but, instead appreciate other people's abilities and achievements.
He will also readily admit when he has made a mistake. Such a man would be a joy to live with.
Good communication is the key to any solid relationship, most of all, marriage. I would want my
future husband to share his thoughts with me. I want to hear his dreams and to share in his
struggles. On the other hand, I will also need someone who will be ready to listen to me, and
interested to know what is happening in my life. There should be no secrets between us.
Life is full of challenges. We can expect to face failure as well as success; heartache as well as
joy; boredom as well as excitement. So, the perfect husband should have a positive attitude and a
good sense of humour. He should be witty and say things which make me laugh. The perfect
husband would also be one who can see the silver lining behind every cloud, rather than focus on
the flaws in every situation. With such a man, I will be encouraged to look at life in a happier and
more positive way.
Above all other qualities, the perfect husband will be faithful. He must be someone who really
believes in that marriage is made to last "till death do us part". He will be totally committed to
our relationship, and willing to stay for the long haul, "in sickness and in health, for better or for
worse"; as couples promise in the wedding vows. The perfect husband would not be distracted by
other women; not even when I have lost my looks. He would be a "one woman man". In return, I
will also promise my total loyalty and faithfulness to my future husband.
Actually, there are many other qualities that make a man perfect husband material. For example,
one obvious quality would be the ability to provide; and, though it is not the most important
quality, physical attraction must be a part of the equation for a marriage to work well. However,
while it is easy to make lists, finding a man to live up to them will be very difficult. Furthermore,
instead of focusing on my requirements for the perfect husband, I think I should recognise my
own imperfections, and set about correcting them. As Barnett Brickner said, "Success in
marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate."

Why I would like to be rich

Everybody wants to be rich and no one wants to be poor by their own choice. This is a fact.
Event he rich wants to be richer and the very rich wants to be super rich. In a materialistic world,
money is an indispensable commodity which everyone, young or old, man or woman, seeks.
Everyone has their own reasons for seeking wealth. I have mine as well, and these are my
reasons.
First, I would build my dream house. It would be in a quite and secluded area, away from the

busy city. It would be built on a large tract of land which would also include facilities such as a
swimming pool, a tennis court, a badminton court and a jogging track that would run around the
perimeter of the estate. It would also have a beautiful garden and a barbecue area for garden
parties.
Then, I would also like to own a large yacht in which I could sail out to the sea. The yacht would
have a well-stocked larder with the best foods an drinks available so that my guests and I could
stay at sea for several days or weeks at a stretch.
I would have my own jet plane in which I could fly to anywhere in the world at a moment's
notice. I could be in New York one day and in Paris the next and then in Shanghai the following
day.
Then, I would also like to help people. I would start a charity foundation to help the needy. I
would award scholarships to exceptionally talented youths so that they would be able to further
their education without thought of financial worries. I would also set up homes for the aged and
the handicapped.
Finally, I would donate a princely sum to medical research. Scientists have not found a cure to
diseases such as cancer and Aids. It would be good to render y help to such worthy causes.
These are my reasons for wanting to be rich.

Tuition

The word `tuition' refers to remedial teaching in small groups. In the past, students who are weak
in their studies engage the services of a tutor, one who was an expert in his field of study. Today,
it is a different scenario altogether. Tuition has become a major money spinner for many
teachers. Almost every student who can afford it go for tuition and parents are willing to fork out
huge sums of money just to ensure that their children are not left behind in the rat race or paper
chase.
The rationale for sending students for tuition is to provide opportunities for students who are
weak in certain subjects to catch up. In schools, teachers have limited time to teach students. For
example, there are only five lessons per week for subjects like Mathematics and English. The
time allotted is certainly insufficient for weak students to understand a particular subject.
Moreover, with increasing paper work and a load of other duties, teaching time may actually be
further reduced. Teachers may rush through the syllabus leaving weaker students in the lurch.
These students who have difficulty assimilating what is taught may then resort to tuition.

Nowadays, due to work commitments, parents stay away from home for the greater part of the
day. Parents would then prefer to send their children to tuition classes just to keep them from
getting involved in undesirable activities or just to prevent them from idling their time away.
Some educated parents may be too busy to help their children with their studies. On the other
hand, there are parents who are unable to help their children because they do not have a
sufficient level of education. For these groups of parents, tuition is helpful.
Tuition classes, nowadays are no longer confined to small groups of students. Many tuition
centers have a large enrolment. It is not uncommon to find tuition classes which have bigger
enrolments than classes in schools. In such instances, students cannot get personalized attention
from tutors and this defeats the whole purpose of tuition.
The authorities should come down hard on such tuition centers which are out to fleece students.
Otherwise, such centers will be churning out teachers who give their wholehearted attention and
devotion to tuition and slacken in school.

Children's Safety
News headlines about heinous criminal acts against children such as kidnapping, abuse, assault,
murder and rape are more than just disturbing. They are shocking. It is right that we condemn
these despicable acts. While our hearts go out to theaggrieved parents who may never see their
children again, we must realize that we live in a time and age where it is no longer safe for
children to roam about freely. Protecting children from harm and violence is not just the duty of
parents and the authorities concerned. Society has to play its part as well.
For starters, action needs to begin with parents and the family. Parents must be vigilant and know
the whereabouts of their children all the time. They nee to watch out for their children especially
when they are outside, be it in the playground or while shopping. Moreover, they need
to chaperone their children constantly, even if the distance traveled is short. Leaving a child
unsupervised and assuming that a child will ultimately return home safely is unwise. Parents
should set boundaries about places that children may go, people they may see and things they
may do. Children should also be taught to say 'no' to strangers offering lifts and gifts.
The authorities, including the police, can ensure better protection for children by implementing
several measures, for example increasing patrols in high-risk areas such as shopping malls and
playgrounds. They can also carryout awareness campaigns on child safety. Installing CCTVs in
areas frequented by children ill also go a long way towards ensuring child safety.
Schools should place special emphasis on child safety education. As young children are the most
vulnerable, child safety education should start in primary schools so that children can learn how

to be safe from strangers. Children should also be taught to trust their instincts and seek help
whenever they feel threatened.
It is a harsh but true fact that the world is no longer a safe place for innocent children as sexual
predators lurk in every nook and cranny. A safe environment for children to live and grow can
only be realized when all parties, including parents, schools, communities and the authorities
work together.

aggrieved

feeling sad

chaperone

accompany

nook and cranny

everywhere

The benefits of exercise


As students, most of us lead sedentary lifestyles. We spend most of our time in
claustrophobic classrooms and homes. With loads of homework, assignments and exams,
exercise seems to be a monotonous chore. The increasing demands made upon us by our
studies, exams and the high expectations of our parents and teachers leave us with little time for
pleasure and leisure. The need to exercise becomes a bitter pill to swallow. Nonetheless, health
experts prescribe exercise as a prerequisite for along, healthy life -- a life free from diseases and
ailments.
Physical exercise not only stimulates and develops muscles, it has a host of other benefits.
Regular exercise can prevent obesity. When we exercise, our bodies burn up all the extra calories
which would otherwise be converted into fat and lead to unwanted bulges. Being overweight also
carries with it a number of other health problems, so, exercising not only keeps us trim, it also
keeps away weight-related problems.
Exercise improves blood circulation which, in turn, provides constant nourishment to the
millions of cells in our body. When physical exertion takes place, the rate of breathing increases.
Thus, the capacity of blood to carry oxygen is increased. At the same time, it helps the body to
get rid of harmful carbon dioxide.
Vigorous exercise also eliminates modern-day stress. The number of people suffering from
insomnia is on the rise. The increasing pressure and nagging worries of work and study often
keep us awake at night. For many of us, the dawn of a new day brings no cheer. Exercise can be
instrumental in helping a person obtain a more relaxed sleep. A tired person will be refreshed and

high-spirited after a good night's sleep. A few hours of exercise will help in getting sound sleep
and is the perfect, soothing balm for a tired body and a restless mind.
Increasing affluence has caused changes in our eating habits. we indulge in rich food, high in
calories and cholesterol. Medical evidence substantiates the fact that exercise can significantly
lower the levels of sugar and cholesterol in our bodies. In other words, consistent physical
activity can actually provide relief from ailments such as hypertension, diabetes and heart
disease.
There are many benefits to be gained from exercise. A person who exercises regularly has good
health and more vitality compared to someone who does not exercise.

sedentary
claustrophobic
monotonous chore

seated most of the time


Enclosed
repetitive and boring task

Obesity - a growing problem


The accelerating rate of obesity among Asians, especially children, is indeed alarming. If left
unchecked, it will soon become the major cause of preventable death. Once obesity develops in
childhood or adolescence, there is an increased chance that it will persist into adult life, and that
is why it is important for overweight people to lose weight.
The phenomenal increase in the levels of obesity among children can be attributed to unhealthy
eating habits. The food we eat is extremely high in calories and fat, and more often than not,
children tend to prefer processed foods over fresh foods. Moreover, more and more people tend
to eat out at restaurants and fast food outlets nowadays. Fast food contains more calories and a
single meal at a fast food outlet provides a person with the total number of calories he needs of
an entire day. There are numerous vending machines in many schools selling carbonated drinks,
while school canteens offer students unhealthy food choices.
Today, as a result of technological advancements and conveniences, we tend to be inactive and
lead sedentary lifestyles. Children spend hours in front of televisions and play computer games.
Many children are not active enough to use up the energy provided by the food they consume.
The many conveniences which are available such as elevators, cars and the Internet reduce the
level of physical activity. The lack of physical activity means fewer calories are being burned,
leading to weight gain and obesity. The lack of physical education classes in schools for children

furthercompounds the problem.


Obesity has many attendant risks and effects. If you think that the bulging mass of fat under your
arms or in your belly, thighs and other parts of your anatomy is the only effect of obesity, then
you are sadly mistaken. Obesity is not merely a cosmetic problem that denies you the pleasure of
looking smart and fit. It is a health hazard that puts you at risk of developing various lifethreatening diseases. Many serious medical condition have been linked with obesity, including
heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer and stroke. Obese people are also likely to
feel depressed as they often become objects of ridicule.
The best way to avoid obesity and its effects is to maintain a healthy weight through healthy
eating habits and regular exercise. Children should avoid eating fast food and junk food. They
should also exercise regularly and be active throughout the day. At the same time, they should
avoid watching too much television or using the computer for hours at a stretch.
Children must realize that if they take in more calories than they burn, they will gain weight. On
the other hand, if they burn more calories than they ingest, they will lose weight.

phenomenal
compounds
ingest

exceedingly great
intensifies
eat or consume

Preventing truancy
Truancy tops the list of misdemeanors by our students. Almost every day, students are caught
playing truant. Although it is not a serious problem, it must be nipped in the bud.
Truancy means being absent from school without a valid reason. Students play truant for
number of reasons. Most of them play truant because of negative peer influence. they follow
their friends who skip school. Financial problems can also cause a student to stay away from
school. This explains why students who play truant are mainly from the lower income groups.
Learning problems is another cause of truancy. Students who find academic subjects difficult or
boring would prefer to play truant. Some students who are addicted to drugs or alcohol will
frequently be absent. The fear of bullying or harassment may also cause timid students to play
truant.
If left unchecked, truancy can lead to juvenile delinquency and numerous other negative
outcomes. Youths who play truant have an increased risk of dropping out of school. School

dropouts are more likely to be unemployed as prospective employers are concerned about
attendance of their potential employees. Regular school attendance is also important for
academic success. If a student often plays truant, he may fail in his examinations. Students who
play truant also have low self-esteem and become social misfits.
To curb truancy, initiatives must be taken. Prevention is the key. Early intervention can tackle the
problem. Students who often skip classes should be given counseling. Parents should check with
teachers and school authorities periodically to monitor students' attendance. Police patrols will
also deter repeat offenders.

misdemeanors
nipped in the bud
juvenile delinquency

bad conduct
put an end to something while it is just starting
young people who are guilty of committing a crime

Advertisements
The mass media is flooded with advertisements of every kind. One only has to flip through the
pages of magazines or newspapers or sit through a television program to see the wide coverage
that advertisements receive in terms of space and time. Companies fork out large amounts of
money just to advertise their products or services.
What, the, are the benefits of advertisements ? Advertisements offer a wide variety of options to
both potential buyers and sellers. Through advertisements, employers can recruit workers. People
who wish to put up their properties for sale can find buyers or vice versa.
Although there are grouses about advertisements, the numerous benefits of advertisements
remain undisputed. Advertisements are the lifeblood of many television and radio stations. Many
companies build a reputation for their products through advertisements. Sometimes companies
sponsor major sporting events and help in the development of sports in the country.
Advertisements inform the public about the wide array of products that are available in the
market an dhow much they cost. Customers can compare the prices and merits of the different
products and then decide which product to buy. Advertisements help increase the sales volume of
products. In this way, companies expand their business and enjoy economies of scale.
As with most things in life, advertisements can be both a bane or a boon. Nevertheless, in my
opinion, the advantages of advertisements far outweigh the disadvantages and it is up to the

discerning public to discard the advertisements which do not profess the truth.

fork out

spend

grouses

complaints

economies of scale

the financial advantages of producing something in large


quantities

Keeping fit
A recent health survey indicates that lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and
certain types of cancers are on the rise. Bulging waistlines, obesity and clogged arteries are
becoming more common as the Chinese continue with their unhealthy lifestyles. Our
preoccupation with tasty but unhealthy meals as well as our increasingly inactive or sedentary
lifestyles have taken a toll on our health. The government's call for the Chinese to live healthy
lifestyles have fallen on deaf ears. As a result, we have a growing generation of couch potatoes.
The Chinese have to give top priority to ways of keeping fit if they wish to live a disease-free
life. Keeping fit requires sacrifice, determination and discipline.
Our exotic cuisines are enough to whet anyone's appetite. Our choice of food almost always
includes food that appeal to the taste buds regardless of whether they have nutritional value or
otherwise. As a result, we gorge ourselves on food that has a high oil content such as fried
chicken and french fries. To make matters worse, many of us have a sweet tooth. When calorie
intake exceeds output, the inevitable is bound to occur -- obesity and an inactive lifestyle.
What we need to do is shed all the extra weight by reducing our calorie intake and by exercising.
Choosing nutritious food that is relatively low in calories is a move in the right direction. If we
need to go on a diet o weight reduction program, then it is best we consult a qualified nutritionist
or dietician.
When buying food, choose products with healthier ingredients. When you eat out, choose dishes
that have less fat or oil content.
Exercise is an integral part of keeping fit. Regular exercise not only helps to manage weight, but
also increases fitness levels. A person need not have vigorous workouts in the gym to keep
himself fit. Brisk walking or even walking up the stairs instead of using the life are good forms
of exercise. Health experts recommend that an individual exercise at least three times a week

with each session lasting for about 20 to 30 minutes.


Keeping fit also requires changes in other aspects of our lifestyles. Smoking and drinking
alcohol can wreak havoc on our health. Smoking increases the risks of developing certain types
of cancers while heavy drinking can lead to liver damage. A chain-smoker and a heavy drinker
cannot hope to live a long, disease-free life. Habitual smokers and drinkers not only have to fork
out large amounts of money for cigarettes and alcohol, but also for higher medical bills.
Life is a precious gift from God. It is the duty of every individual to value this gift. Keeping fit is
therefore our responsibility. Shirking from our responsibility indicates either ignorance of
indifference. We have to get our priorities right before we become victims of our own careless
habits.

bulging
wreak havoc
shirking

protruding
to cause damage
avoiding oneself from doing something

Bullying
As the Head Prefect of your school, you are asked to write an article on bullying.
Statistics provided by the school's Disciplinary Board show that cases of bullying are on the rise.
There were only 12 cases of bullying in 2010. The number increased to 18 cases in 2009, 20
cases in 2011 and 25 cases this year. This is an unhealthy trend and if left unchecked, it can
become a problem.
Verbal bullying, which includes name-calling and insulting remarks, accounted for 45 per cent of
bullying cases. This was followed by indirect bullying, which includes spreading nasty and
malicious stories. It accounted for 35 per cent of all bullying cases. Physical bullying accounted
for one-fifth of the cases.
Bullying occurs for a number of reasons. Often, bullying behavior develops in response to the
environment, whether it is at home, school or within a peer group. Bullies usually come from
homes where physical punishment i used. In such a scenario, physical punishment is seen as a
way to handle problems. The child then resorts to aggressive behavior. Negative peer influence
can further aggravate the problem. With the absence of a proper role model both at home and in
school, children have no opportunity to learn behavior skills. As a result, bullies tend to derive
satisfaction from inflicting injury or suffering to others without feeling empathy for their

victims.
Close monitoring by parents and school authorities can curb bullying. Parents must monitor their
children's activities. Those who are at the receiving end and bystanders must report all incidents
of bullying. The school must enlist the help of parents when dealing with such cases. Schools
must have clear rules against bullying. Repeat offenders must face the music. If the offender
does not turn over a new leaf, he should be suspended or expelled from school. The use of
deterrents sends a clear and strong message to perpetrators that bullying is unacceptable.

aggravate
empathy

face the music

to make a bad situation worse:


the ability to share someone else's feelings or experiences by
imagining what it would be like to be in their situation
to accept criticism or punishment for something you have done

Tuition
Tuition centers have become a booming industry, raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars. On
the average, parents fork out about $100 to $200 for each child per month. Today, more and
more teachers are giving tuition as it has become a major money-spinner for them. What has
triggered this phenomenon ? Are schoolteachers shirking their duties or are parents just afraid
that their children will be left behind in the paper chase ?
The rationale in sending students for tuition is to help them better understand what has been
taught in school. Students who are slow in grasping what is taught in schools can attend tuition
classes to catch up and improve their performance.
Moreover, in schools, teachers have a limited time to teach students. There are only about five to
six lessons a week for most subjects, including English, Mathematics and science. The time
allotted is clearly insufficient for weak students to understand a particular subject. A the same
time, teachers have less teaching time due to increasing paperwork and other duties. Teachers are
forced to rush through the syllabus because of time constraints, thus leaving students in the
lurch.
Classes in school are too big and teachers do not have enough time to give personal attention to
teach and every student. On the other hand, tuition classes have a smaller number of students,
making personal attention possible. Thriving on the education system's weaknesses, tuition
centers have gained popularity among both students and parents.
Parents, too, prefer to send their children for tuition. Parents who want their children to excel in

their studies are willing to spend large amounts of money on tuition fees. Nowadays, due to
work commitments, parents are away from home for the greater part of the day. Parents would
prefer to send their children for tuition just to keep their offspring from getting involved in
undesirable activities or from idling their time away. At the same time, parents who are not
highly educated prefer to send their children for tuition.
For students who are unable to get personal attention in school and for those who have
difficulty assimilating what is taught in schools, tuition is definitely a must, as the gain is more
than the cost. Teachers should be allowed to give tuition to improve students' performances.

rationale
leaving students in the
lurch
assimilating

reason
to fail to help when they are relying on you to do so
fully understanding

Is it better for mothers to stay at home ?


Why is it better for mothers to stay at home and not work ?
Governments all over the world are encouraging education and are trying to remove barriers to
education. As more and more women are also getting an education there are greater employment
opportunities for them.
In spite of this, there is a greater need for women to stay home and be homemakers. Young
children and growing families require the attention of mothers. If women are to spend eight
hours each day at work, then the children, especially the very young ones, would have to be left
at day care centers, nurseries, with maids, grandparents or relatives.
It cannot be denied that mothers are the pillars of strength in any family. If they give up their role
as homemakers and thrust it onto others, such as maids, then there may be some unpleasant
consequences. In some cases, children have been abused and in other cases, they have been
greatly influenced by the maids, who are usually foreigners. The children would not only have to
learn the language of the maids, but would also be susceptible to the mannerisms, customs and
practices that do not belong to their own cultural background.
As it is expensive to hire maids, in some cases children are left in the care of others who may
exert a negative influence on the children's upbringing. It is therefore imperative that mothers
should stay at home to care for their children, especially during the crucial period of their
growth. Furthermore, mothers would be able to guide and supervise their children in their daily
routines and therefore act as role models for their children. When mothers stay at home, they

will be able to mould their children better.


It is said that the generation of tomorrow depends on the mothers of today. Social ills and other
socio-cultural problems, faced by both young children and teenagers, could be eradicated if
mothers stay at home and not go to work. They will be able to devote more time to caring for
their families.

thrust

push it to

susceptible to

open to

eradicated

avoided

Fighting crime
Everyone should be involved in the fight against crime.' Do you agree ?
The rise in criminal activities has always been a matter of grave concern among Asians. Gone are
the good old days when we could roam the streets freely and safely without fear of being robbed,
assaulted, kidnapped, raped or even murdered. There have been comments that the authorities
have not done enough to fight crime. What people fail to realize is that crime prevention is a
shared responsibility. Crime prevention should include the authorities, such as the relevant
ministries and government departments, the police, as well as the various NGOs and the public.
For their part, the authorities have beefed up the police force and put more police officers on the
streets. Non-uniformed personnel have been assigned crime-prevention duties. Moreover, Mobile
Police stations and Mobile Police Vehicles have been placed in crime-prone areas. Law
enforcement alone is not enough. Law enforcers can only patrol areas periodically. They cannot
possibly be everywhere all the time. It is the members of the public who can provide the police
with relevant information, report the dangers that lurk in their neighborhoods or report suspicious
characters. We have to be the eyes and ears of the police if we wish to eradicate crime.
We can also play our part in fighting crime by organizing neighborhood patrols. Residents can
form their own residents' associations and link up with police stations nearby. It is only when the
public become more vigilant and work hand-in-hand with the police that we see a significant
reduction in crime.
More crime prevention campaigns should be organized to reinforce public awareness on the need
to act together to combat crime. The media should not only report sensational news, such as
brutal killings and grisly murders. It should educate the public on crime prevention. With
responsible reporting, the media can help to create awareness and make the public more safety

conscious.
Crime prevention is a collective responsibility. Although police presence has a strong impact on
fighting crime, the public too can play its role by improving security on the streets and our
neighborhoods. Only then can we help to mitigate crime. We must come together in a true spirit
and be resolved to fight crime.

beefed up
grisly
mitigate

strengthened
shocking
make less severe

Happiness
Many people today are not as happy as they wish to be. Technological advancements have made
our lives easier and more comfortable. We enjoy higher incomes and better standards of living as
a result of progress and development, but happiness has remained a rather elusive goal for many
of us. Our pursuit of material wealth and worldly possessions has robbed us of the contentment
that we long for.
What is happiness and how can we obtain it ? Happiness can be defined as a state of mind
characterized by feelings of contentment, satisfaction and pleasure. People always think that their
achievements, education, career, family and financial security can make them happy but later
find that happiness is not always the end result. We can own and live in a beautiful home, afford
a lavish lifestyle, wear designer clothes or drive expensive cars and yet we may be unhappy. It is
a misconception to think that having lots of money can make a person happy. What then can
provide lasting happiness ?
Abraham Lincoln once said, 'You are as happy as you make up your mind to be.' Happiness is a
matter of choice. We can make a choice to be either happy or sad. Being satisfied with who we
are and what we have can make us happy. Unfortunately, there is no short cut to happiness. we
should first set our goals and determine the areas in our lives that are important to us. Then we
should strive to attain these goals. we should make a conscious attempt to change what we can
and accept what we cannot.
Being optimistic can aid in creasing our happiness. Always think that life is going to get better. It
helps to have a positive outlook. Dwelling in the past and ruminating about something that went
wrong can lead to depression. At the same time, we should never try to compare ourselves with
others. It will only lead to unhappiness. Instead, we should count our blessings and be thankful

for all the good things we have -- good health, family, friends and education. Happiness starts at
home. Therefore, we should all try to improve our relationship with our parents and siblings.
Research ha shown that happy people live longer, are healthier and are more successful. they also
enjoy more fulfilling relationships and are respected by others. Therefore, instead
of brooding over our pains and sorrows, we should always keep ourselves busy and find
pleasure in small things.

elusive
ruminating
brooding

difficult to obtain
thinking deeply
thinking seriously

Preventing snatch thefts


Write an article for your school magazine and give your suggestions.
The local media, especially the local dailies, have been replete with reports of snatch thefts. The
barrage of media reports has caused more than a sense of anxiety, it has caused fear and panic
among residents. Recently, there has been a spate of snatch thefts in our area. Snatch thefts tend
to escalate during festive seasons and holidays. Hotspots of snatch thefts are quiet and deserted
areas such as residential areas, by the roadside, in lifts and around the bank.
Snatch thieves choose their targets carefully. They often strike when people are off guard.
They home in on people who are alone and those who are distracted. Women and senior citizens
are especially susceptible as they may be unable to defend themselves. Often the victims are
seriously injured or even killed. To avoid becoming potential victims, we should take simple
crime prevention measures.
Do not walk alone especially in dark and deserted areas. Take your handbag only if necessary. It
is better to carry your purse. Always hold handbags and personal belongings close to the body. If
a snatch thief tugs at your handbag, do not hold on to it. Just let it go. Although you may never
be able to retrieve your belongings, it is better than to hang on to it and suffer injuries inflicted
by the perpetrators. Keep important or valuable items out of sight and be careful of suspiciouslooking motorists or persons. Always be alert and attentive to your surroundings. If you suspect
that you are being targeted, walk to a crowded area. Walk against the flow of traffic and hold on
to your handbag on the side away from passing motorists.
Be careful of suspicious-looking motorists or persons. Snatch thieves often approach potential
victims on the pretext of striking up a conversation or asking for directions. If someone

approaches you, always keep a safe but polite distance. avoid wearing excessive jewellery or
carrying large amounts of cash. Do not flaunt cash and valuables in public. Instead, you should
always be observant of your surroundings.
Snatch thefts are crimes of opportunity. they occur because people do not take the preventive
measures mentioned. Snatch thefts can be prevented if people are vigilant at all times.

replete

filled

home in

target

flaunt

show off

Absenteeism in school
Write a report to your Principal about why students are absent and provide suggestions on how
to overcome the problem.
Absenteeism has long been a vexatious issue for school authorities. Students are absent from
school every day without a bona fide excuse. The Counseling Club of our school carried out a
survey to find out the reasons why the students are absent.
Most of the students who are absent say that they find the lessons boring. In the light of this
revelation, teachers should try and explore creative technologies and teaching ideas to increase
student attendance. Obtaining poor grades was another reason for frequent absenteeism. If the
school becomes a place where students feel unsuccessful, then they want to avoid it. Therefore,
special tutorial programs should be initiated to equip students with adequate academic skills.
Peer influence also has a significant bearing on student attendance. Students often miss class to
be in the company of friends. Students who associate with delinquent peer groups are at risk.
Student absenteeism may also be a red flag for a more serious problem such as anxiety,
loneliness and stress. These students should be sent for counseling sessions. In addition, after
school sports and other programs will enable students to make new friends and experience a
positive environment. Results of the survey show that lack of parental supervision may also lead
to absenteeism among students. As parental involvement relates closely to student attendance
and academic progress, parents should be reminded of their responsibilities. School authorities
should liaise with police and the local community to patrol neighborhoods where truant students
are likely to spend school hours.
Occasional absenteeism among students can be excused. However, frequent absenteeism is a
cause for concern as it has often been linked to serious problems such as violence, substance

abuse, gang involvement and criminal activity such as burglary and vandalism. Left unaddressed,
absenteeism can have significant negative effects on students, the school and on society.
Therefore, it is critical to determine the reasons fro absenteeism and identify strategies to tackle
the problem.

vexatious

causing worry or frustration

bona fide

genuine

liaise

cooperate

Do you think that there is any need for change in the education system in your
country?

This essay examines the current situation in England and will, if at all, apply only in part to other
countries. Educational tradition and emphasis vary widely, but the fact remains that whereas
Eastern and some Western countries are producing young people well-trained for key
employment and well-suited to modern life, England is, in 1990, signally failing to do either.
How can this decline be reversed?
First, it should be understood that there is a dual system in England. The private, or fee-paying
sector stands alongside the state, or free sector, but between the two there is a great gulf fixed.
Standards in the private sector remain very high, and produce the best results both academically
and behaviorally. A few independent grammar schools likewise succeed, and even fewer
comprehensive schools. The state sector is an almost unqualified failure. Many pupils leave
school illiterate and innumerate and are fitted only for the lowest-grade jobs. The situation is so
bad that both the Labor and the Conservative parties have education at the top of their respective
agendas.
The decline dates from the 1960s, the era of drugs, protest, pop music and the hippy outlook. All
this was a reaction against wartime restraints and disciplines, but with the coming of the new
freedoms the best of the old tradition was lost. Suddenly the 'teenager' was invented. Neither
home nor school could any longer exert discipline. In any case the old sanctions,
including corporal punishment, were made illegal. At the same time the economy was booming
and there was plenty of work, and therefore money, for young people. So parents, even if they
had ambitions for their children, were mostly powerless to instill incentive. At the same time the
teaching profession lost heart in the face of classroom chaos and often personal intimidation. To
complete the cause for decline, the educational theorists had been at work. Education became
child-centered, which means that if little Willy doesn't want to do his match, let him do what he
wants. Competitiveness, both in the classroom and on the games field, was frowned on, because

to lose, they said, made children feel inferior.


The consequence of all this was that teaching no longer attracted the best brains, and the
profession plummeted in reputation. Both political parties now vie with each other in bringing
forward plans to remedy a situation which, if not universally bad, is appalling in the denselypopulated city areas.
Ideally, education should offer the pupil three main objectives. These are: to fit well into society,
to cope with modern types of employment, and to continue with self-education after school days.
Commercially and industrially, England is becoming increasingly integrated into Europe. That,
plus national pride and pride in oneself should provide incentive enough. The latent talent is
there, but how can these incentives be imparted? And how can teacher quality and morale be
improved? Not merely by throwing money at the problem.
There should be free and subsidized creche places, since most women have to work at least parttime. England has far too many single-parent families. Ideally there would be a return to the
traditional family. Parents should help children at home and try to fire their enthusiasm for work.
Parental partnership with teachers should be much closer.
State education should drop peripheral subjects and concentrate on the traditional teaching of
reading, writing and arithmetic in the early years. Only when they are proficient in these should
children branch out into other subjects. There should be state-run examinations at three-yearly
intervals. These would not only check the child's progress but also the teacher's proficiency. A
system of awards to both teachers and pupils could be introduced. All this implies a national
curriculum geared to the objectives outlined above.
At about age thirteen it will become obvious whether a child is suited to a science or an arts
course, or to neither. Separate provision should then be made for all three categories. Youth
Training Schemes for the third category should be greatly extended and made compulsory. There
should be more technical colleges. Craftsmen should be encouraged to take on apprentices and
the income of both should be subsidized.
The A level and university entrance systems in England are good, and should be preserved, and
steps are being taken to improve the O level examinations which are now being replaced by the
GCSE.
The present Conservative government plans to implement many of these ideas. The real problem
lies in the middle i.e. in primary and secondary education. Correct this, discard faddy theories,
and the new ideas will rapidly bear fruit. Staff will improve, and will therefore be entitled to
increased pay and better standing in the community.

corporal punishment
creche
faddy

the physical punishment of people, especially of children, by hitting


them
a place where young children are cared for during the day while
their parents do something else, especially work, study or shop
The current custom

Can money buy happiness?

The title of the old American movie 'Poor little rich girl' answers the question. It is true that at
weddings we often hear the newly-weds toasted in the words Health, Wealth and Happiness, but
the epithet itself distinguishes between the three objectives. The fact is that you can be both
happy and healthy and poor, by normal standards, at the same time. Yet, if you are unhappy,
money can only cure your misery in some circumstances. And if you have an incurable illness no
amount of money can buy the treatment to reverse that condition.
Most people would accept that the human being is a composite of body, mind and spirit. Each of
those parts has separate needs which must be fulfilled if happiness is to result. This fulfillment is
most often, though not always, achieved through the love and companionship found in a good
marriage. The newly-weds referred to above may start out together with few possessions and
little money and still be blissfully happy. Body, mind and spirit are fulfilled. Yet, marital
happiness is not a static thing. As the couple grow older they change, and happiness has to be
constantly worked for if it is to mature into lifelong love and friendship. Sadly enough the
divorce rate in the west shows that many couples lack that incentive, and are not prepared to
show the unselfishness and willingness to put the needs of each other first, necessary if happiness
is to last. Very often, this process of alienation goes on at the very time when the couple are
getting past their money problems, when the pennies no longer have to be counted.
This situation is highlighted when money never has been a problem, as in the case of some of the
British royal family. Differences in outlook, i.e. in mind and spirit, severrelationships most
effectively. Whereas one royal, for instance, was interested only in farming and country pursuits,
the wife, some years ago, decided to devote her life to 'Save the Children'. Money never entered
the equation. They are permanently separated. Mind and spirit had grown apart.
If old money can be irrelevant, new money can be a positive menace. Every week in England
somebody becomes a sterling millionaire having entered a winning football pool forecast. More
often than not, the winner's cry is 'spend, spend, spend!' , and the money soon goes. In the
process, homes shatter, bad relationships are formed, drugs and alcohol are abused, and often the
winner ends up with nothing.

So at least this can be said. Money itself is neutral. The ideal is wise stewardship, i.e. its proper
use, which generally means making one's existing lifestyle more comfortable, but using excess
income for charitable purposes. Money should not be seen as the key to luxury and selfindulgence. Money is not the root of all evil, but the correct version is true enough; the love of
money is the root of all evil . The love of money is a cold, alienating obsession. Was Howard
Hughes a happy man?
What can also be said is that whereas money cannot buy happiness, the lack of it can bring
misery. Few things are worse than debt, as the family of Charles Dickens' Mr Micawber knew
full well. It is the duty of men, and in many cases today of women, to provide enough money for
the family to live in reasonable comfort. It is not their duty to provide that comfort by going into
debt. The modern way of doing so is through the credit card which, if abused, is the sure road to
unhappiness. As Dickens said, annual income 1 annual expenditure 19s 6d, the result,
happiness. Annual income 1 annual expenditure 1 6d, the result, misery.
There is, perhaps, one sense in which money can buy happiness, and that is among the poorest of
the poor in the third world. Happiness for them would be a safe home, enough food, medical
care, and a school for their children. One day, the conscience of the world will ensure that they
are given these things.

epithet
sever
stewardship

an adjective added to a person's name or a phrase used instead of it,


usually to criticize or praise them
to break or separate
Someone's stewardship of something is the way in which that
person controls or organizes it