Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chapter 6 What's Happening Out There (Tan Hao Ming)

06 Extensive Reading Questions for Chapter 6, What’s happening out there?
1. Living in a World of Fear
Do you feel safe in school? You can consider safety from either physical abuse or verbal abuse or both.
Yes, I feel very safe in school, no matter whether it is from physical abuse or verbal abuse or both. My friends treat me well and they have never bully me before, or do this to me before, instead, when I have problems, they will help and encourage me. I have a lot of people to look up to for comfort whenever I feel sad, or whenever I have doubts. They always joke with me, and do not mention offending words or words that will offend me, so that is why I feel safe. 
Why did a stranger deem Kelly ‘the crazy girl’ in Basha High school?
The stranger heard that Kelly was the girl who even planned and attempted to shoot and kill the other students and the teachers in her own school, Basha High School, so she deemed Kelly ‘the crazy girl’ in the school.
Why did Sarah, the author of the article, respond with anger by correcting her that it was ‘Kelly’ and not  ‘the crazy girl’?
She corrected her as she believes that Kelly does not really mean and want to shoot the students and teachers in the school even if she planned for it, as Kelly was one of her friends, classmates and she knows her very well. She also knows the reason behind why Kelly had planned for school shooting and she knows that Kelly should not have been blamed or Kelly was not at fault either, so she corrected the stranger.
What was the school’s reaction to the plans made for a school shooting and anything related to it? Why do you think they reacted so?
When the school heard that Kelly was planning for school shooting, they immediately called the police and an investigation was conducted in the school and her house, and safety measures were then tightened in the school for a few weeks due to this, with more security guards. A meeting was also conducted by the school for the principal to talk to the concerned parents and there were also cameras and medias for a few days. I think they reacted like that as they want the students and teachers in the school to be safe, safe from school shooting. They also wanted the parents to be reassured that nothing is going to happen. 
Do you think Kelly was fairly treated? Give reasons to support your answer.
No, I do not think she was fairly treated. She had a learning problem, and therefore it was a big shock for her when she received the news that she was being held back, and it would not be easy for her to be in a class whereby she is a year or two older than everyone else. This caused her to have mood swings, that her mood will keep changing and she had to take medication, and this was why she planned to have school shooting.

When people have fear of what they don’t know or don’t understand, they tend to over react or at least make decisions. Is this a justifiable reaction?
Yes, this is a justifiable reaction. When people are scared of something that may happen to them, they will naturally think of something which may not happen to them instead. They will not know what to do since they do not know or do not understand the thing, and the things which they do in their daily lives will definitely change. They will just try to make decisions on what they should do without even knowing what is going to happen next, in order to prepare themselves for it.
Students snap under pressure and sometimes they act this out violently against other students and teachers. In Singapore, there is little possibility for carrying a gun to school but there are other acts of violence that happen. What are some of them and how can you prevent them?
One of the other acts of violence are physical bullying, which is also known as bullying through fighting or rather physical contact. The other example of an act of violence in Singapore is forming a gang or a clique to bully other people. I can prevent all this violence or physical bullying in schools by trying not to offend other people and if I witness someone being bullied, I will inform my teachers or his/her parents immediately as this matter cannot drag on and on and it is serious. Informing any adult quickly can stop the bullies from carrying out what they want to or what they had planned for in case something serious is going to happen to the victim.
2. The Day We Lost So Much
Do you have any fears? What are they if you have them? If you don’t have any fears, what are some fears you know your friends or other people have?
Yes, I do have some fears, fears about my physical body, fears about things which may happen to me in school, if it is serious enough. For my physical body, I am not convinced that I may continue to grow or grow healthily, and I am scared that my legs have a problem as they are curled instead of straight up, but I do not know whether this is normal or not. I  am also concerned with my little finger, it is curled too, but after knowing that my parents do have it too, it became okay. 
As for the things which may happen to me in school, I am scared that I am unable to cope with the amount of homework given to me and also what I am learning, though I have teachers and friends around me to help me when I have any doubts to clarify and any problems that I face throughout. I am quite scared that the topics will go tougher and tougher after each and every year and I am unable to cope, but I will try to cope with it by following the five important points which I had learnt during assembly.


What were the reactions of the following people mentioned in the article when the Twin Towers were attacked and then when it later collapsed and during the aftermath:
Jane; the author of the article; her parents; students in school in general; the girl in her school whose mother was in New York then; the teachers in school; and some other people in general.
Jane was first feeling very confused but not fear by the situation when she saw and heard the news of two planes half-hidden behind the twin towers and going to attack them, as she does not know what the twin towers really are. However, for her parents, they were very surprised and shocked by the news and they could not believe what was going to happen. They just look at the television screens or news to find out more.
For the students in her school in general, they were very shocked too and they were chatting in class about this news as they do not know what will happen. For the girl in her school whose mother was in New York then, she was very calm and was not worried by the news when she heard it at first, but suddenly she turned and started to get scared as the students were talking and discussing more and more about it. 
For the teachers in her school, they were also shocked but tried to calm their students down to stop the commotion in the class. For the other people in general, including the people whose family members were the victims of the incident, they were feeling very sad during the aftermath as some of them have lost their family members or loved ones, who was working in the twin towers and died during the fall of the twin towers terribly.
When the twin towers collapsed, these people mentioned above were all equally shocked and were all staring in disbelief at the twin towers. During the aftermath, all of these people were wishing, wanting and hoping that this had not happened, wanting the bodies of their loved ones to be found, wanting the twin towers to be restored. Some of the other people even put the blame on others, saying that others did not do his/her job, but Jane decides not to follow them and decides to help broken families to improve the future instead.
Towards the end of the article, Jane suggested that we should not spend our energy looking for people to blame for something bad that had happened.  She instead, suggested a proactive approach to help people affected by the bad incident, remember the good in their glorious moments and smile in the face of despair. She believes this might change the future. What do you think of Jane’s stand? Give reasons to support your stand.
Yes, I think her stand is correct and perfect, a good way to deal with the incident. When we blame other people for things which had happened that caused harm to us just because we think they did not do their job well, it will not only offend other people, make other people’s trust with you disappear, it will also allow both of us to feel even more sad, as it shows that we keep thinking of the incident instead of looking forward. 
When we help other people affected by it, then it not only shows that we have a compassionate heart, others will also appreciate our help and be convinced by us. Helping other people is a good thing and will also help us to know more people, and it will be easier for us to work together to change the future when we have more people to work.

3. Looking Back
Have you ever thought of or have been involved in raising funds or helping out in any voluntary situations for disaster relief?
Yes, I have thought of and been involved in helping out in voluntary situations before. I had went to an old folks’ home before to talk to the elderly there, so that they will not feel bored. This is also known as service learning in my school. Though this is just what my school planned, the reason why I feel that being involved in voluntary situations is very important is that we must have some kindness and show some care to the needy who really needs more than we do. We should not take everything for granted or ask for more  when it is enough for us as this people needs it more than us, so we should give it to them. 
How is the author of this article, Paulina, different in her reaction to the 9/11 tragedy from the Jane, the author of the previous article? In particular, what sort of feelings does she have?
For both of them, they have learnt different things from this incident. For Jane, her reaction was to help the broken families and those people who were affected by the incident instead of blaming people so as to change the future. For Paulina, her reaction was that she felt guilty that she was more fortunate than most other people, and that she has nothing to compare about. She has learnt a lesson of not taking everything for granted and instead she wants to bring what she had learnt from this incident which is about strength and courage with her towards the future.
Why is it that every time an airplane passes by, Paulina’s mood changes as quickly as the plane passes?
She had fears of aeroplanes since after the incident of two airplanes knocking down the twin towers. She kept thinking that the planes were going to crash down or plunge down towards the ground when they were flying in the sky or that they were flying too low that they are going to crash into the buildings, and this reminds her of the incident of the two planes crashing into and attacking the twin towers, and so causing her mood to change, since she was very sad and feeling guilty by the incident.
Do you think Paulina’s fears are rational? Why or why not?
Yes, I think her fears are rational, sensible and logical. The incident was something which she had felt guilty from and which had changed her life, her way of thinking about the world she was living in. It was about two planes attacking the twin towers, and so everytime when she sees a plane flying in the sky, she will have fear in her naturally, as it reminds her of the incident, and reminds her of how guilty she should be, how she should not be complaining about wanting more, how there are people who are less fortunate or not.

4. Recovering from My Own Epidemic
What do you remember (you were probably 6 or 7 years old then) or know about the SARS (Avian bird flu pandemic) scare?
I cannot seem to remember anything, any information about the time of the SARS scare in Singapore, but I can remember about what I did and what actually happened. What I was doing was that my aunt brought me to some building in City Hall where I get to see some things about SARS, but I cannot remember what things are there. In the end, I got back a board game about SARS for my siblings to play with me. What happened was that school was suspended for one week to prevent the students from getting the disease.
What were the steps taken by the teachers and school for the prevention and the spread of SARS?
They decided to suspend school temporarily for the safety of the students and the prevention of the spreading of SARS between them. They also asked the students to wear their masks, which will help to prevent air transmittable diseases when infected students cough, wash their hands, which can help to prevent the disease and viruses from spreading among the bodies of those infected students. Lastly, they asked the students not to touch each other.

How did the SARS epidemic change the author of this article, Eri’s life? 
The SARS epidemic had caused her to feel bored at home since she was suspended from school and forced to be at home. This has helped her to realise that she needs to try her best to change herself and suit the life which she wants to live in. This has also changed her life by helping her to be able to realise that she needs to open the doors to the life which she wants to live in and that she need to take a step forward to do that. She now is able to think forward and never be reluctant at doing what she wants to do, and she is also able to thank for even the smallest things which happen in her life.
What were the thoughts that motivated this change?
The thoughts that motivated this change is that she ask herself what is the life she wants to live in, ask herself why she thinks she is not living the life she wants, and also ask herself why she has been coping with the life she cannot force herself to love. Mainly, these thoughts give her an idea on how to change herself to suit with the life she wants, and therefore she has successfully changed her life by opening the doors to her new life.

How appropriate do you think the title of this article ‘Recovering from my own epidemic’ is? Give a reason(s) to support your answer.
I think that the title of this article ‘Recovering from my own epidemic’ is very appropriate. The reason why I think it is like this is because the author’s epidemic was that she felt bored at home, and that she cannot cope with being suspended from school or forced to be at home. But in the end, she managed to change herself to become a better person by suiting with the life she wants to live in, which is also another example of recovering from the problem she was facing at home, as she has found a way to solve her epidemic and her problems at home, so this title is really appropriate in this article.
  1. Prejudice 
Why do you think students are constantly asked to recite the Singapore pledge? We the citizens of Singapore, pledge ourselves as one united people, regardless of race, language or religion, to build democratic society so as to achieve happiness, prosperity for our nation.
I think students are constantly asked to do this so as to show that they feel proud to be a Singaporean or a citizen living in the country. Only being proud with the country you are living in will allow you to move forward successfully and strive for your best in everything you do, especially when representing the country in a real international competition. I think they are also asked to do this so that they will know the rules of Singapore, what the Singapore government hopes that the citizens will do, will want to achieve as a huge nation itself. 
What is meant by ‘Difference is the brother of inferiority’?
This means that difference is the same as inferiority, we must treat both equally serious. Difference means that there is something unique, something special in someone or something which others or other things does not have. Inferiority means your low position in a job, in a competition, or in other things. It means that you have a lower status and quality than others. So, basically, they are the same, as being lower in status and quality than others is a difference in between you and the others.
Why is it that when the dark skinned girl is saying the same words that came out the author, Brooke’s mouth yesterday, it will be disregarded? 
This is so as the author, Brooke, thinks that there is a real difference in between their races, in between her race and the dark skinned girl’s race, in between being white-skinned and dark-skinned. She thinks that she is the one who has the right to say what she wants to say and that the dark-skinned girl has no rights to follow and copy what she said at all. This is why she does not think that it is important for her to listen to the words the dark skinned girl said as they are what she has said and she chooses to ignore them instead of listening.
Universities and educational institutes with a global focus strive to have a 10-20% percentage of foreign students. What are some of the advantages of having classmates from different races and different countries?
When we have classmates from a different race and different countries, some of such advantages are that we will be able to learn more about the different cultures of the different races of people and also about their countries. We will be able to make more friends and then listen to each other on what is happening in each other’s country. 
This will really help us when we do an individual work project in Geography or any other subjects whereby we have to list down each race/country’s culture, or list down what is happening, going to happen or has happened in each other’s country. If we happen to come across one country or race as our classmates’, then we will be able to approach the classmates and ask them, it will be much more easier to do work. When we do a group work project, it will also be more efficient in completing the work with them around.

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