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Author Archives: Chua Wen Feng

Blog Prompt 5

Week 5 Blog Prompt:

Justice vs Mercy

mercyJustice

By the end of the trial scene, do you think true justice and mercy was achieved? Reflect and write on the following questions:

1. Is there true justice? Why?

No. There was justice but no true justice. Shylock is persistent in having his revenge – pound of flesh from Antonio. Portia, intelligently, manipulates the words in the bond. She asks Shylock if he was going to show mercy three times. However, he insisted on having his pound of flesh. He had slowly fallen into Portia’s well-planned trap. Just as Shylock was about to get his pound of flesh, Portia mentioned that the bond does not mention a drop of blood. At this moment, Shylock realises that he had been defeated – he knew that blood and flesh are inseparable. Therefore, he quickly says that he would just take the money. Before Shylock could do that, Portia enacted an ancient Venetian law against Shylock. Shylock was defeated. There was justice. Shylock wanted his bond, he wanted justice. Therefore, Portia lets him have his bond but before he could do it, she attacked Shylock with the “loophole” she found from the bond. Actually, she was manipulating the words. She was smart to predict that Shylock would reject the money. There was no true justice because the defeat of Shylock was due to manipulating of words in the bond, this seemed a little unfair.

2. Is there true mercy, as expounded by Portia? Why?

Yes, there was true mercy expounded by Portia. At the beginning of the trial scene, Portia advised Shylock to retract the bond and take the money but Shylock insisted on having his revenge on Antonio. Portia had repeatedly advised Shylock to retract the bond but her advice fell on deaf ears. His vengeance had led to his downfall unknowingly. As he wanted the bond, Portia granted his wish but at a later part, Portia pointed out the loophole in the bond. When Shylock wanted the money instead of the bond, Portia pointed out that Shylock had declined repeatedly and therefore shall have nothing but the bond. Later, she enacted an ancient Venetian law against him. His life was spared by the Duke if he is converted to Christianity. The Duke showed mercy to Shylock by sparing his life while Antonio showed him mercy by letting him keep half of his wealth. Many people think that Portia is ruthless. What do you think?

3. Justice and Law can be manipulated by people in power. Comment on this   with reference to the text and other real-life cases and examples.

Justice and law in this world now can be manipulated by people in power or wealth. They can bribe the judge, juries and witnesses and at the end of they day they will still get away scot-free. In the text, Portia merely manipulate the words in the bond to manipulate justice and law.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Blog Prompt 4

1. To what extent do you agree with the issues that the student has raised here? Point out some issues of agreement and possible contention.

Yes I do agree with the issues the student has raised here. In our current education system, it is true that just memorizing facts can ensure an A1 grade for your exams. In a typical class, you can see many people taking out their textbooks and memorizing all text in the textbook, as well as notes and handouts given by the subject teachers. In a humanities essay, we just need to throw out all the points we have already memorized and we can happily get the A1 out of the paper. In a science exam, it is true that in chemistry, there would never be a question “why is carbon a non-metal?” The teachers will only teach us which ones are metals and which ones are not. Which one is more reactive than the other? Which one has a denser volume? Etc. Just memorizing all these facts would ensure as another A1 in the grade. I believe that is a reason why Oral Participation is a very important in the education system in Hwa Chong. It motivates students to ask more questions. Not just sit there and fumble with their textbooks and stuffs putting all the facts into their brain. In the letter, I agree with the point about the CME classes being replaced for subject lessons. In my P6 class, I remembered teachers cancelling Physical Education, Social Studies, Health Education and Civics and Moral Education and replace them with subject lessons to ensure they finish the syllables and ensure that we have memorise them well. They may have done this for the sake of us but what they had done was wrong. CME shapes the character of a person, teaching them self-discipline and stuff. I also feel that the CME teaches us that we should help people when they are in need. In the letter, a point was raised out that many people are too busy meddling with their smartphones updating their profiles and checking facebook instead of helping the old lady. In CME, the teachers tell us what to do is right and what to do is wrong. If we all do what is only right, then we would be a good person. It may somewhat sound true and wrong. The teachers cannot possibly make us do only what is right. We have inquisitive minds as what mentioned by the student. We have our own way of thinking. Lastly, I feel that memorizing facts will never work. As mentioned by the student, a real and good leader will never recite what he had learnt from political science. However, he applies them to solve problems, not just memorise for exams and “delete” them afterwards.

2. Examine her tone and attitude in this letter. Do you think it’s a well-crafted letter with the appropriate tone?

Most of her arguments are from her point of view, but are seemingly true as we can see. She can be biased but she does provide several counter arguments. She is moderately polite as she does not scold or push the wrong doings to the Minister of Education.

3. If you should write a letter to Minister of Education, what are some issues you would raise? Remember- your intention is to make the system better for society’s betterment via CONSTRUCTIVE ideas.

Firstly, I would address the “questioning” part. Our education system now is based on only memorizing facts. I feel that it’s time for us to change.

Second, I would address the importance of CME classes and explain why they should not be replaced although the exams are still important.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Blog Prompt 3

In your opinion, is money important in a relationship?
I agree to a certain extent. I feel that a true relationship should not involve too much of money in their conversation. However, in a world we are living in now, everything costs money and therefore I should say money is indispensable in a relationship. Once in a while, the male might want to cheer his partner up by buying a diamond ring or something expensive to express their love. In the society now, many people weigh money and value as relationship. If they get an inexpensive gift, they might think  that the partner does not love them. I feel that this is not true. As it is the thought that counts, and the sincerity. There are couples who are not very wealthy but they lead a happy life as long as they have one another by their side. However, It is also quite true SOMETIMES that money makes the world go round.

Consider the ‘transactional’ element observed in the relationships between the couples.Do you think there is an upward trend of relationships and marriages valuing money over other qualities? Provide examples for your responses.

Yes I do agree that there is an upward trend of relationships and marriages valuing money over other qualities. Nowadays, in Singapore, there are more of young girls married with old men. The old men are old enough to be the father of the young girls. In my opinion, I feel that the young girls married them for their wealth. Once they get their aim, they will file for a divorce. This seems cunning but that is what is happening in Singapore.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Portia VS Jessica

Hwa Chong Institution

Secondary Two Language Arts Term 3

William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice

Name: Chua Wen Feng (02)                         Class: 2O3                             Date: 19 July 2011
Kang Jun Yi (08)
Tan Wei Jin (24)
Kevyn Yong (32)

Let’s Discuss!

What qualities do you look for in a future wife? Why are these qualities important to you? Tell your friends about it!

  • Smart
  • Beautiful
  • Faithful
  • Sweet
  • Caring
  • Cheerful
  • Understanding
  • Generous

Questions:

Would you consider Portia as your ideal wife candidate? Give reasons and evidence to support your answers. Consider Portia’s positive and negative qualities in your response.

Positive Traits:

Positive qualities

Evidence (Cite Act, Scene, Line)

Generous

Act 3 Scene 2 Lines 307 – 308

She offers to pay 20 times the amount in a bid to save Antonio.

Has a good sense of humour

Act 1 Scene 2 Lines 75 – 80

When reviewing her suitors, Portia shows her funny and witty side describing them.

Highly Intelligent

Act 4 Scene 1 Lines 255 – 257

She cross-dresses as a lawyer and saves Antonio’s life, outwitting Shylock.

Beautiful, Attractive

Act 1 Scene 2 Lines 32 – 34

Princes all over the world wishes to marry her as they found her very attractive.

Negative Traits:

Negative qualities

Evidence (Cite Act, Scene, Line)

Racist

Act 2 scene 1 lines 1 -7

Portia is racist towards the Prince of Morocco but does not show it to him.

Sensible

Yet, she accepts Prince of Morocco with courtesy and only shows her comments and dislikes  when she is alone with Jessica.

Manipulative

Act 3 Scene 2

Portia lets Bassanio know that the man he gave the ring to was her, and scolds him for lack of love. Portia wants him to know that she’ll be watching.

Ruthless

Act 4 Scene 1 Line 337

She forbids Shylock to retract the bond and enacts an ancient Venetian Law against him

Questions:

Would you consider Jessica as your ideal wife candidate? Give reasons and evidence to support your answers. Consider Portia’s positive and negative qualities in your response.

Positive Traits:

Positive qualities

Evidence (Cite Act, Scene, Line)

Caring

Act 2 Scene 3 Line 15

Jessica bids farewell to Launcelot, thanking him for how much he has impacted her life

Smart, Resourceful

Act 2 Scene 4

Jessica comes up with a plan to escape with Lorenzo

Morally Sensitive

Act 2 Scene 3 Line 17,19

She feels ashamed to be her father’s daughter, but recognizes that she has a different nature from her father.

Negative Traits:

Negative qualities

Evidence (Cite Act, Scene, Line)

Disrespectful, Unfaithful

Act 2 Scene 6 Lines 49-50

Jessica robs her father of all the jewels and money she can carry to marry Lorenzo. She also took her mother’s ring and exchanged it for a monkey.

Rebellious, Disobedient

Act 2 Scene 3

Jessica plans to elope with Lorenzo, which would have been against her father’s wishes.

Cowardly

Jessica hides her identity to hide her shame from running away from her father

Has a low self-esteem

Jessica is willing to be Lorenzo’s “torch bearer”

Class Discussion:

For Love or Money?

  1. Between Portia and Jessica, who will make a better wife?
  2. How important is money in the relationships between the couples? Do you think Bassanio truly loves Portia? Do you think Lorenzo truly loves Jessica?
  3. Is money important in a relationship, in your opinion?
  4. Consider the ‘transactional’ element observed in the relationships between the couples. Do you think that there is an upward trend of relationships/marriages valuing money over other qualities?

 
2 Comments

Posted by on July 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Blog Prompt 2: How has war evolved from the past to present

War is something that is happening for a very long time for the past thousands of years. War is something that nobody will want because it takes away peace. But, how has war evolved from the past to the present? War still have its characteristic today – violence and killing. Everyone knows that war is about killing and taking away lives from innocent people.

In the past, people fight with swords, cannons and arrows. As the technology improves gradually, guns were introduced into war with faster and more accurate kills. Then, bombs were created and lastly, the most destructive warfare weapon – atomic bomb. With these powerful weapons evolved, the violence in war has also increase. There will be cases where a bomb will kill innocent people. In the past, swords and arrows would not take out as much lives. At present, an atomic bomb can kill thousands in a split second, and deal long term effects. That is something we humans would never try to think of using.

In the past, war comprises mainly of physical kills and manpower, Now, we need lesser manpower than before. This is because of the introduce of atomic bombs. War happening now is mainly of chemical uses like guns and bombs. The consequences of using atomic bombs are unthinkable as we look back at history. We see the plight and hardships the Japanese suffered during the World War II. They were being tested by the atomic bombs. We could see from past accounts that it took away many lives instantaneously.

In conclusion, with the rapid development, war has indeed evolved a lot from the past to present, We rarely use swords and arrows during war due to low accuracy. Therefore we prefer modern and high technology weapons like guns and bombs which can deal a huge damage. Technology has really changed the world a lot. Who knows that might be a more deadly warfare weapon than atomic bombs in the near future,

 

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

“The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke

Young men in Singapore, including you, will have to do National Serivce. Why do you think National Service is compulsory in Singapore and why is it important? In the poem, the speaker expresses his love for his country, England. Do you find this same spirit of passion and patriotism Singaporeans have for our country? Why? Do you have this same spirit of patriotism for Singapore? Why?

National Service is important in Singapore because Singapore has limited number of young and trained soldiers for in times of war. Therefore, National Service is very important because it provides the basic skills in war for all young Singapore Citizen men. I do not really find a spirit of passion and patriotism Singaporeans have for out country. Nowadays, Singaporeans in Singapore are very pampered, seldom do they have to worry for food and shelters over their heads. Also, many are complaining about the system of National Service; they want the National Service system to be made optional rather than compulsory for all young men at the age of 18. In a society like Singapore, many people are aiming for luxury, and they are not willing to spend two years in National Service. They want to use the two years to build up their career so that they can have all the luxuries, but not to go for war training, which is full of hardships. I do not really consider myself having a spirit of passion and patriotism for Singapore but I do not go against the National Service. I feel that the National Service is rather important. It builds up a group of well-trained soldiers to be ready for war in times of need. Like many other Singaporeans, I would also want to aim for luxuries in life, I also want to succeed in life. However, I feel that after the two years in National Service, I would feel proud of myself for my part for trying to serve my country.

Consider your loyalty to Hwa Chong. Are you proud to be a Hwa Chongian? How have you shown your loyalty and pride as a student of Hwa Chong?

I am proud to be a Hwa Chongian. I would find myself very loyal to Hwa Chong. Yes, I have shown my pride as a student of Hwa Chong. I behave well in school uniform and even in home clothes out in the public. I would not do things that tarnish my school’s reputation. Also, I wear my uniform with pride. 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Book Review 1

Book reviews

Book Review 1: Mysterious Benedict Society

Mysterious Benedict Society and the prisoners’ dilemma

By: Trenton Lee Stewart

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure

 

Main Characters:

  • Reynard “Reynie” Muldoon is an eleven-year-old boy living at Stonetown Orphanage. He is exceptionally talented at problem solving, logical deduction, and reading people’s emotions, and his brains have resulted in the assignment of a special tutor, Miss Perumal. Reynie looks between the lines, observing and questioning, and gets past most obstacles by finding the “puzzle” within the situation. He is described as an especially average-looking boy with average brown hair, average pale complexion, and average clothes.
  • George “Sticky” Washington is a dark-skinned boy with a bald head. He is also eleven. He has a prodigious photographic memory and a talent for speed-reading. He is, however, timid and nervous and resorts to polishing his glasses in stressful situations. He ran away from his parents because they forced him into academic competitions and because he later had reason to think that they no longer wanted him around at all.
  • Kate “The Great Kate Weather Machine” Wetherall is a twelve-year-old girl who is resourceful and athletic, possessing extreme agility skills and dexterity bordering on the superhuman. She has fair hair and skin. She carries a red bucket containing various items, including a Swiss Army knife, a flashlight, a pen light, rope, a bag of marbles, a slingshot, a spool of clear fishing twine, one pencil and eraser, a horseshoe magnet and a spyglass disguised as a kaleidoscope. She is very cheerful and optimistic. Kate’s mother died when she was a baby, and she believes that her father abandoned her.
  • Constance Contraire is a small, extremely intelligent, precocious, stubborn and often unpleasant girl. She has the ability to write clever and whimsical poems, and her ultra-sensitive mind is also the most severely affected by the hidden messages transmitted by the Whisperer. She is shown at the end of the book to be 2, but she still argues, ‘I am almost three’.
  • Ledroptha Curtain is the antagonist of the story and the head of the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened (L.I.V.E.). Mr. Curtain created the Whisperer and other inventions in order to brainsweep all the world’s minds, as part of a scheme in which he will control the world and be declared “Minister And Secretary of all The Earth’s Regions” (M.A.S.T.E.R.) Partway through the story, he is revealed to be Mr. Benedict’s twin brother. He uses a modified wheelchair to get around, due to his narcolepsy, a condition he shares with his brother. However, unlike his brother, his narcolepsy is triggered by anger, whereas Mr. Benedict’s narcolepsy is triggered by happiness and laughing.
  • Nicholas Benedict-also known as Mr. Benedict- is the person who started the whole thing and brought the children together. He is the one who wants to stop Ledroptha Curtain’s Whisperer. He has narcolepsy like his twin, which is triggered by feeling strong emotion. He is very reluctant to let the children go on a dangerous mission, but when reminded there is no other way, he lets them go. He leaves a note to the reader at the end of the book saying that to find his first name, “if you are acquainted with the code, the I assure you that the answer lies within your grasp. “The key word in the note to the Reader is “code” and the phrase “answer lies within your grasp.” In hardback versions of the book, a Morse Code sequence appears on the inside of the book jacket underneath the author’s name and blurb, literally where a typical reader would be holding the book. In paperback versions, there is a Morse Code sequence on the back cover of the book, underneath the plot description.

 

The Mysterious Benedict Society:

After seeing a newspaper advertisement  about a test for gifted and talented children, Reynie decided to take on the competition with the consent of Miss Perumal. The written test contained many strange questions regarding logic, honesty, bravery etc. He was the only one in the class to pass the test and was given a venue to follow-up more test the next day where he met a former student of Nicholas Benedict, Rhonda, who lost her pencil into the drain. Reynie broke his pencil into half and gave one half of the pencil. After which, she offered Reynie the answers to the test which Reynie refused till the end of the test. The test was incredibly hard but there was a pattern which only he figured out. He was the only one who passed the test and was given another venue to go to where he meets Sticky, Kate, Constance who had passed the tests too.

They were invited to the home of Mr. Benedict a kind, clever, elderly man suffering from narcolepsy, who presents them all with a task to do. He tells them that by using subliminal messaging hidden in television a man named as the “Sender” can make people believe things causing them to imagine that there is an “Emergency” where there isn’t one. One example of a hidden message is “The missing aren’t missing, they’ve only departed”, which causes people to ignore the disappearances of others. Mr. Benedict tells them that the one sending these messages is a Mr. Curtain, the principal of L.I.V.E. (The Living Institute for the Very Enlightened), a school on an island off the coast of their city of Stonetown. Reynie thought about  L.I.V.E being spelt opposite as E.V.I.L.

The children were enrolled into the school and discovered that  the messages were sent out by the Messengers in the school who were once students and were promoted. They discovered that the Executives carried out orders for Mr. Curtain. One of the Executives, S.Q  Pedalian, was the only one who was kind to the Mysterious Benedict Society.

The children communicated with Mr. Benedict with a flashlight using Morse Code. The children were able to uncover the evil plans of Mr. Curtain and Mr. Benedict was able to shut down the whisperer but Mr. Curtain and the Executives he trusted managed to get away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review 2: Mysterious Benedict Society and the perilous journey

Additional Characters:

  1. TEN MEN: They are the henchmen of Mr. Curtain who were said to have ten different ways to hurt a child.

The story begins at Kate farmhouse, where the Mysterious Benedict Society decides to visit Mr. Benedict. When they arrive at Mr. Benedict’s house, they receive bad news from Rhonda that Mr. Benedict and Number Two have been kidnapped by Ledroptha Curtain, the villain and twin brother of Mr. Benedict. In his ransom letter, Mr. Curtain describes a certain “rare plant” and says he needs to know the identity of a person “extremely close” to Mr. Benedict, because that person has information about this mysterious plant. If this information is not provided to him, Mr. Benedict’s and Number Two’s lives would be in jeopardy. Constance reveals that Mr. Benedict gave her a letter before he was kidnapped, and told her to open it when the other children arrived. The envelope contains a message of greeting from Mr. Benedict, and a riddle. In solving the riddle, they discover that the words are in alphabetical order. This leads them to a dictionary, and then a journal – in which is another riddle. The children discern it to mean TAKE THE SHORTCUT. The children sneaked off on the  SHORTCUT, the “fastest ship in the world” and find more information that takes them to a castle in Portugal. From there, hidden evidence directs them to a library. There they learn that the “mysterious plant” is called duskwort and is extremely rare – possibly extinct. It has the power, when burned in fire, to put entire villages to sleep for hours on end. It also is a possible antidote to Mr. Benedict’s narcolepsy Researching the duskwort, they find that no one knows what it looks like. They travel to a hotel, but are found by two of Mr. Curtain’s henchmen, called the “TEN MEN”. Fortunately, they were rescued by Milligan, who accompanies them to find more of the mountain on the evidence. They finally find the location of the duskwort – an abandoned island. On the island they find a delirious Number Two, who tells them where Mr. Benedict was: the top island. They are ambushed by a group of “TEN MEN”. Milligan comes to the rescue, and takes on the Ten Men. The children travel to the top of the mountain, while Milligan was backed off a fifty-foot cliff and falls into mud. They discover Mr. Benedict chained to the wall in a cave. He begs them to destroy the duskwort. Upon the children saying they don’t know what it looks like, he jumps up and reveals himself to be Mr. Curtain, and locks the children to the wall with the real Mr. Benedict. Mr. Curtain leaves after Mr. Benedict tells him where the duskwort was. Mr. Benedict cleverly tricks S.Q. Pedalian into unlocking their handcuffs, and they get away. Mr. Benedict falls asleep from narcolepsy, and the children are forced to carry him down the mountain. They find Milligan (extremely injured) and Mr. Benedict comes back from his deep snooze too. They race to the forest with Ten Men are surrounding them everywhere, in addition to Mr. Curtain’s amphibious vehicle being hot on their trail. Just when all seems lost, the mighty figure of the SHORTCUT races into the bay at top speed. It grounds on the shore, allowing the children to climb on board. “TEN MEN” manage to board the ship, as well, and attach an explosive to the door of the security hold where the children, Milligan, Mr. Benedict, and all the other people in the ship are hiding. Kate jumps up and runs to the door, detaching the explosive and running up onto the deck. As it was about to explode, she tosses the explosive over the railing, away from the boat, and also away from the escaping villains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review 3: Mysterious Benedict society and the prisoners’ dilemma.

Summary: A mysterious blackout engulfed the city of stonetown into total darkness. The Mysterious Benedict Society members, Reynie, Sticky and Kate were on the trail of the clue left behind by the TEN MEN. Kate decides to go and follow the TEN MEN while Reynie and Sticky went to the library to find Constance. However, when Reynie and Sticky found Constance, Reynie suspects that the clue left behind by the TEN MEN was a trap leading them to be caught. Will the young members of the Mysterious Benedict Society be able to turn the tables at Ledroptha Curtain? Or will Ledroptha Curtain get away scot-free again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biography of author, Trenton Lee Stewart.

Trenton Lee Stewart (born 1970) is a bestselling author for both children and adults. He also teaches creative writing. He graduated from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He lives with his wife in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he is inspired by his two sons. Apart from writing he loves to read, watch movies, take long walks and he also spends a lot of his time being mysterious! His favorite books were books about children in very difficult circumstances on an adventure. They also include: Watership Down by Richard Adams and The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. His favorite superhero is Spiderman.

The idea for The Mysterious Benedict Society came from his belief that children are often seen, rarely heard, and always underestimated!

He has written:

  1. Flood Summer (2005)
  2. The Mysterious Benedict Society (2007)
  3. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (2008)
  4. The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (2009)

Information from Wikipedia

~lives with his wife and two sons in Little Rock, Arkasas
~is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Uncategorized