H2 Economics vs General Paper: and why I’m taking the H2 Economics examination in 2018 — Mr Seah (dotcom!)

[W]hy do we study perfect markets, where firms are price takers? One reason is that they provide a useful approximation to the real world and give us many insights into how a market economy works. [. . .] Another is that perfect markets provide an ideal against which to compare the real world, since in […]

via H2 Economics vs General Paper: and why I’m taking the H2 Economics examination in 2018 — Mr Seah (dotcom!)

The above is a wonderful article by my friend and fellow GP tutor Kevin Seah. A must-read for all students taking both General Paper and H2 Economics in JC.

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from NUS, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as an English and GP tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to GP and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.

English or GP tutors keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10 on Google) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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SOMEONE TELL TRUMP THE TRADE WAR IS OVER. CHINA WON

Chicken feet

SCMP file photo.

BY KEITH B. RICHBURG

South China Morning Post

Nine years ago it was car tyres followed by chicken feet. Now it’s washing machines and solar panels followed by sorghum. Aluminium and steel may soon be tossed in the mix.

The familiar trade skirmishes between the United States and China usually end with a whimper. But American presidents have traditionally been like the proverbial cartoon character who gets dropped off a cliff, run over with a steam roller and blown up with dynamite; he gets up, arches an angry eyebrow and declares: “Next time, I’m going to get really mad!”

 

Is the “next time” finally here in the US versus China trade dispute? Is President Donald Trump about to get really mad and launch new trade actions against China? Will the administration really start rejecting more Chinese commercial deals in the US on national security grounds? And will Beijing retaliate with an all out global trade war? Don’t count on it.

For all the huffing and puffing, it’s good first to remember that we’ve actually been here before.

Read more here.

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from NUS, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as an English and GP tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to GP and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.

English or GP tutors keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10 on Google) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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Keeping Singapore’s economy dynamic despite nation’s demographic challenges

Sg foreign workforce

This TODAY file photo highlights Singapore’s tremendous dependence on foreign manpower

Some have advocated for zero net immigration and no increase in share of foreign workers in the workforce, while others argue that it is necessary to expand the labour force here to sustain economic growth. Yet, Singapore can achieve only two out of these three objectives and must make balanced choices in addressing this demographic trilemma, said managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore Ravi Menon. Speaking at the IPS Singapore Perspectives forum on Monday (Jan 22), Mr Menon added that Singapore’s demography alone does not dictate its destiny, as he spelt out how the nation can sustain its economic dynamism in the face of demographic change. Below is an edited excerpt of Mr Menon’s speech.

I will focus my presentation on the economic implications of demographic change: what it means for economic growth and economic dynamism. The two are different.

My presentation will centre around two broad themes.

First, I will describe our demographic trilemma – the constraints and the choices we need to make.

Second, I would like to argue that demographics is not destiny – why economic dynamism is not a numbers game and how we can remain dynamic amidst this demographic challenge.

Let’s start with the total fertility rate, or TFR.

By the way, we must be one of the few countries in the world where most people know what TFR stands for! It is indeed an existential issue for us.

The TFR is the starting point of all demographic analysis. Singapore has had a sustained decline in its TFR. Our TFR fell from around 1.8 in the 1980s (which is already below the replacement level of 2.1) to about 1.3 in the early 2000s. This has weighed heavily on resident population growth as seen from the relatively close correlation with the TFR.

Read more here.

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from the National University of Singapore, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as an English and GP tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to General Paper and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.

GP or English tutors (including part-timers) keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10 on Google for GP tutor/ tuition searches) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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Taking the Misery Out of Revision: the RAYL method

Keep Calm and Start Revising

So this is another technique discussed in Dr Richard Palmer’s splendid book, Studying for Success. He calls it Review As You Learn (RAYL) and promises that it will take the misery out of revision. I will try to explain the technique as concisely as possible; if you want a fuller account and more priceless tips, get the book!

Essentially, says Dr Palmer, most students look dreadful at the exam hall – “pasty and drained, with bloodshot eyes and trembling hands” – and why? Because they’ve had to cram a year’s work or more into two months. The problem is a lack of long-term memory (LTM) of what you have learned in school. When exams draw near, you dig up your old materials and find that you have to do much more than just revise (the re-perusal of familiar material) – you need to learn from scratch because a lot of the stuff is no longer familiar to you.

RAYL3

So the secret is to Review As You Learn, “an immensely important principle” according to Dr Palmer. A key premise of this is:

The likelihood of remembering something is in direct proportion to the number of times it is used or studied.

This is why you probably find it quite easy to remember your ID number, your phone number or the lyrics to an overplayed song. Thus, the key to transferring content from short-term to long-term memory is repetition: a constant and regular review of past work. Figure 3.4 shows a suggested series of intervals at which to revisit past material. By your sixth return to the content, it should be firmly lodged in your LTM.

RAYL1

Dr Palmer stresses that this should not take much time: as little as ten minutes a day. Provided you concentrate properly for those ten minutes, such review can be done at the end of an evening’s work or at any fallow time.

It is exemplary time management. Invest these little bits of time on a consistent basis, and when it’s time to revise for exams again you will find it so much more comfortable. All or most of the material will look familiar to you, and you can quickly recap and reinforce. Moreover, you would have had months for it to ferment and synthesize in your mind. Chances are your understanding and appreciation of the material would have grown, and you would have developed deeper insight into it.

Happy Revision!

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from the National University of Singapore, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as an English and GP tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to GP and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP sample essays here.

English or GP tutors keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10-15 on Google) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

 

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Artificial Intelligence Still Isn’t a Game Changer

Man vs machine

By Leonid Bershidsky
Bloomberg, 4 Dec 2017

Not much time passes these days between so-called major advancements in artificial intelligence. Yet researchers are not much closer than they were decades ago to the big goal: actually replicating human intelligence. That’s the most surprising revelation by a team of eminent scholars who just released the first in what is meant to be a series of annual reports on the state of AI.

The report is a great opportunity to finally recognize that the current methods we now know as AI and deep learning do not qualify as “intelligent.” They are based on the “brute force” of computers and limited by the quantity and quality of available training data. Many experts agree.

Read more here.

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from NUS, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as an English and GP tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to GP and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.

English or GP tutors keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10-15 on Google) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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Overcoming laziness (or how to get your butt off that sofa)

Lazy

I’m writing this to address the oldest of all problems for students: laziness. You know, “today I don’t feel like doing anything”?

What do all forms of work – writing an essay, tidying your room or bathing your dog – have in common?

The hardest part is getting started.

It’s a form of Newton’s First Law of Motion. Part of it states that every object will remain at rest unless compelled to change its state by the action of an external force. This is also known as inertia (layman explanation: when your butt is on the sofa, it’s very difficult to get it off. And if I may add Steven Ooi’s Law: the longer your butt is there, the harder it is to get it off.)

But once you do get your butt off and get started on your work, you find that it’s not so difficult, sometimes even pleasant, to continue. That’s the other part of Newton’s First Law at work: every object will remain in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force.

Thus a very simple solution to laziness is this: push yourself harder to get started. And the rest is not so difficult.

Need additional motivation? Give yourself a reward for work done. If you work for half an hour, you get to have your favourite drink. If you work for two hours, you get to watch a TV show or Youtube videos. And if you manage to plow through four hours of work (do take breaks along the way), then you get to go out. Our brains are wired in a way that’s not so different from monkeys or dogs – we are responsive to reward. But don’t give yourself those rewards or play before you work. That is a surefire way to reinforce laziness.

Finally, if you don’t like a certain kind of work (or a certain subject), learn to look at it from another angle. Sometimes a teacher makes you feel that a subject is so boring, but if you look at it in a different way (say, linking physics to your favourite sport like soccer: the force or trajectory of a shot), then it might actually take on a new life.

Sound basic principles in life are the foundation for doing well.

The above is largely adapted from Dr Richard Palmer’s outstanding book, Studying for Success.

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from NUS, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as an English and GP tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to GP and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.

English or GP tutors keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10-15 on Google) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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Marbles, Mayhem and my Typewriter: the memoirs of Mano Sabnani

The cover of 'Marbles, Mayhem and My Typewriter' by Mano Sabnani

Former Business Times/TODAY editor, senior banker and legendary activist investor Mano Sabnani has published his memoirs. This wonderful and heartwarming book by my good friend holds rich narratives from Singapore’s early days and reminds us all what Singapore is really about. It offers many precious insights, not least of which is how even an ordinary person can find success and fulfilment by following a very simple, ethical set of principles. Mano belongs to that rare breed of human beings who speak so simply and yet hold such depth of wisdom. All of us, young and not so young, can benefit from hearing his story and his thoughts.

You can order this book direct from the author. Singapore-based buyers can just click here. Payment by Paypal or credit/debit card. Buyers outside Singapore, please click here. You will need to pay a little more for shipping.

(Disclosure: I rendered some assistance to Mano in the production of the book, but did not receive any remuneration for it. I will also receive no remuneration from the sales of the book.)

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Website owner Steven Ooi, a First Class Honours grad from the National University of Singapore, retired from a distinguished 14-year career as an English and General Paper tutor in 2016. He continues to blog on issues of concern to GP and student life.

To view tutors recommended by him, click here.

GP model essays here.

English or GP tutors keen to be listed on this website (consistently ranked top 10-15 on Google) as a Recommended Tutor, please email stevenooi18 @ yahoo.com (remove the spaces). Tutors in other subjects interested in having links to their website are also welcome to contact him.

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