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Sunday, July 10

  1. msg Post-Course Reflection message posted Post-Course Reflection PPE has definitely benefitted me. It has made me consider with a grain a salt current affairs happe…
    Post-Course Reflection
    PPE has definitely benefitted me. It has made me consider with a grain a salt current affairs happening all over - the political and economic motives behind governmental policies and international relations.

    The teaching pedagogy of PPE is commendable. A typical lesson does not begin in the classroom. It begins with independent learning back at home on the students' part, before queries are answered by the teacher in the classroom, and quizzes are given to test our understanding on the topic.

    However, I genuinely feel that too much time and emphasis has been put on research techniques relative to the content of research itself. Small details like font, font size, cover page would greatly affect our grades if not formatted properly. Personally, I feel that this is rather unfair for students simply not used to such undertakings. After all, this is a course ultimately for Secondary School Students.
  2. msg Post-Course Reflection message posted Post-Course Reflection PPE is a challenging yet intriguing course. Although at the very start of the course I am flabberga…
    Post-Course Reflection
    PPE is a challenging yet intriguing course. Although at the very start of the course I am flabbergasted to saw various unfamiliar phrases such as comparative advantage or security complex, I am deeply allured by the charisma of studying international relationships and various various economic theories. I felt that they are very thought provoking and let me becomes that of a critical thinkers.

    I would also like to thank Mr Balan for the hardwork that he has put in. He has taught us research techniques as well as how to write a research paper.
    5:25 am
  3. msg Post-Course Reflection message posted Post-Course Reflection I feel that PPE have definitely benefited me. I am the kind of student who does not like to read ve…
    Post-Course Reflection
    I feel that PPE have definitely benefited me. I am the kind of student who does not like to read very much. I can still cope with short readings but definitely not the 30 page long-with-no-picture massive PPE material. In the middle of the course, i have to go to Beijing for immersion programme. Mr balan gave us 6 very long readings and told us to read at Beijing and complete our essay before we come back. From the first day at Beijing, i procrastinated to the last day and did not finish my PPE research paper. Mr balan gave us a extension in deadline since a few of us is unable to meet it. In a hurry, i completed my essay but was rejected immediately because i carelessly forgot to write the reference. My Balan kindly gave me a second chance and threatened to fail me if i continue with this kind of sloppy work. Because of this incident, i understood the importance of reading. I went home and carefully read all my readings and attempted my essay. In the end, my research paper got A2. I feel that PPE taught me the importance of reading and how to read. I have definitely changed, before the course, i did not know how to read, scanning and flipping through the materials but now, i feel that i could understand more about the readings given to me.
    In conclusion, apart from the knowledge in politics like the Foxconn incident, Taiwan-China relationship, North-South Korea crisis; \in economics like absolute advantage, comparative advantage.etc ; In philosophy, Differences between chinese and western philosophy, the prince,etc, i have learnt how to analyse a reading, reading beyond text and i think that PPE have benefited me and prepared me for future challenges.
    5:00 am
  4. msg Post-Course Reflection message posted Post-Course Reflection PPE is a very challenging and interesting course to me. At the start of the course, I was intrigu…
    Post-Course Reflection

    PPE is a very challenging and interesting course to me. At the start of the course, I was intrigued to find out more about politics, economics and philosophy in life and expected this course to be theoretical only. However, as the course progresses, I found that many questions my teacher raised in class were rather high-leveled and involved critical thinking. Whenever I thought that I had the question covered, my assumptions were easily detected and I had to re-establish my arguments. It was a totally different course than what I expected. My opinion on different affairs was often found to be vague and not to the point. I discovered many of my weaknesses along the way. Through class discussions, reading quizzes, and online reflections, I could tell that my view of the world is rather limited. Thankfully, further readings and clarifying my doubts helped me to improve. After the course, I am now able to understand why there are conflicts in the world, and how international peace is maintained etc. I also learnt of various useful techniques like how to write a research paper and what is a proper bibliography. What I find most interesting about the course is on the differences between Chinese and western philosophy. I was also amazed at how companies could violate human rights to such an extreme degree. It made me realize how rapidly the world is changing right now and how ignorant I am.
    I agree with everyone else on the point that to learn PPE well, we must develop a self-dependent mindset. We must learn to apply what we have learnt, instead of ripping off information from the internet and be free riders of this course. PPE has taught me rather well to be well prepared before the lesson to first understand the basics.
    Overall, I am very thankful to Mr. Balan for conducting such an excellent course and being so demanding. Without the high expectations and critical thinking, I do not think that I could benefit so much from this course. I felt that this course is very educational and useful in a sense that it develops our mindset to be receptive to new ideas and new perspectives. I had to agree that I enjoyed this course a lot and hopes to continue from where I left if possible.

    Zhang Aolun
    3:49 am
  5. msg Post-Course Reflection message posted Post-Course Reflection In my opinion, I had certainly benefited from this course by gaining more knowledge in the areas of…
    Post-Course Reflection
    In my opinion, I had certainly benefited from this course by gaining more knowledge in the areas of economics, importance of international trade and relations, world politics and the comparison between the Western and China philosophy. Through my participation in this course, I strongly believe that as I a student, I had learnt to be a more meticulous, critical and globally-aware learner.

    Moreover, especially in this 21st century, it is imperative that we are aware of the current affairs, knowing what is happening around the world and therefore, this can only be achieved by our exposure to Philosophy, Politics and Economics which is what this course is really about. Personally, I feel that this course is certainly beneficial and enriching to me; be it through analyzing various case studies given, online critical reflections, reading quizzes or just simply having class discussions.

    Through this course, I had become a more mature, independent and resourceful researcher. What differs this course from others is that as mentioned by Siyuan, besides providing us with the important notes and information, it does not spoon-feed us with answers to the questions, either raised during class discussions or online lessons, however, as students of this course, we are encouraged to search these necessary answers and formulate knowledge on our own, therefore grooming us to be a more pro-active learner.

    In addition, this course had also enhanced my writing skills and also reiterate the importance of research process. With valuable guidance from Mr Balan, the students had learnt to be able to better interpret and analyse the given notes and most importantly, we had gained essential writing skills and broadened our vocabulary by writing our research papers. We were also offered the chance to attend lectures by various guests invited to our school and this had further benefited us in the course.

    Despite facing several difficulties understanding a huge chunk of information given and completing the reading quizzes, I believe that I am more aware of my weaknesses now and have improved them in the course. With these, the course had indeed succeeded in moulding us into a critical thinker and effective researcher.

    In conclusion, I will like to express my heartfelt gratitude towards our course manager, Mr Balan and the whole course. These lessons and theories had inculcated an interest and curiosity in me in knowing more about the international relations and economics. Hence, the PPE course is indeed one of the most interesting and thought-provoking course which I had ever taken before.

    Joe Chua Song Yang (3B104)
    2:36 am
  6. msg Post-Course Reflection message posted Post-Course Reflection Other than increasing my knowledge in the field of international economics, western and china philo…
    Post-Course Reflection
    Other than increasing my knowledge in the field of international economics, western and china philosophy, various methods of governance and international relations. PPE molded me into a critical thinker and reader. Such life skills are irrefutably indispensable.

    Many a times, I have difficulty understanding a huge chunk of text containing countless of politic-related jargon, thus having much difficulty completing the reading quizzes. Hence, under Mr. Balan's guidance, not only have I widen my vocab, I have learnt to be a more critical thinker, and skills of analyzing a piece of text so as to comprehend the current situation in various context.

    Above all, I am grateful to Mr Balan for imparting a writing skill that will always be necessary regardless of writing a synopsis, a review or even your resume. That is, the skill of writing to the point, yet, in a skillful manner such that the writer's attitude is conveyed subtly. Many a times, Mr Balan always emphasised on the importance of succinct articulation and succinct writing, his imposed word limits forces us to tap into the deepest corner of our brain/dictionary to the most suitable word to express our opinion succinctly.

    Last of all, the lessons and theories involved are always thought-provoking, the number of questions we end lessons with mostly doubles from the number of questions we start lessons with. Of course, this shows that the lessons has ignited our curiosity to learn more and expand our knowledge as a result.

    Lionell Loh
    3B114
  7. msg Post-Course Reflection message posted Post-Course Reflection I feel that PPE is an extremely intriguing and thought-provoking course. Whether be it through anal…
    Post-Course Reflection
    I feel that PPE is an extremely intriguing and thought-provoking course. Whether be it through analyzing Case Studies, interpreting established research paper or simply classroom discussion, this course never fails to stimulate my critical thinking and make me question my assumptions time and time again. Rather than spoon-feeding the information and knowledge to students, this course forces students to be pro-active to find and formulate the knowledge on their own by providing the necessary materials and environment. Each component of the course benefited me greatly, as we went in-depth in the areas of Politics, Philosophy and Economics, i started to see the world we live in with a whole new perspective. Through the analysis of current and important case studies in both the micro and macro level, PPE has given us an greater understanding of world affairs and regional and how our world ticks. Other then topics that is directly related to the syllabus, PPE has also taught me many other key skills that will be absolutely essential for the rest of my life. They include: How to write a proper Research Paper, Effective reading skills, basic debating skilss and etc. In conclusion, PPE is one of the most thought-provoking and interesting courses i have ever taken.

    Zhang Siyuan
    3B122
    1:07 am

Thursday, May 26

  1. msg Home Based Learning message posted Home Based Learning Indeed, under Lee Kuan Yew’s political acumen, Singapore flourished economically despite its geogra…
    Home Based Learning
    Indeed, under Lee Kuan Yew’s political acumen, Singapore flourished economically despite its geographical constraints and limited resources. However, in this day and age where Singaporeans are generally more educated, a system of elitism has raised concerns and I do believe such a system, supposedly euphemized as meritocracy, should be reviewed.
    Such a system would not exactly be fair to the entire population. In the case of late bloomers, they would not be able to enter top schools and in turn not be able to receive top scholarships which are only limited to certain schools. For instance, certain scholarships such as the SAF OS are only awarded to the top A level students and subsequently, the career path for these scholars is planned where they would rise up the ranks. While it may seem that this is a system of meritocracy where the good gets rewarded, this in fact perpetuates a cycle where the late bloomers or the not so talented are left out and not given a chance to shine.
    7:13 am

Wednesday, May 25

  1. msg Home Based Learning message posted Home Based Learning This article has taught me about how Singapore has been able to develop from a humble fishing villa…
    Home Based Learning
    This article has taught me about how Singapore has been able to develop from a humble fishing village into the bustling metropolis it is today. For too long we have been drilled about our old, cliched keys to success - a deep, sheltered harbour and a strategic location right at the end of the Strait of Malacca. There is, however, a lot more that goes into the equation. These are, inevitably, predicated on the basic assumptions of human nature.

    Firstly, Singapore is a highly competitive place. Our education system is testament to this. This is predicated on what is known as the animus dominandi – in human nature, the desire to dominate. This becomes especially relevant in a place like Singapore. Our country’s means of production is not agriculture but labour, and in the absence of quantity of it, like what China has, we must focus on quality of manpower in order to achieve the desired result of economic growth. This is why, in the 1980s, Singapore’s government focused furiously on skills development and continual self-upgrading. This in turn gave rise to a social norm of endless competition, or ‘kiasu-ism’ as it is affectionately called by locals.

    We have developed an endless desire to dominate over each other, because in Singapore’s rigorously meritocratic society, we need to be superior to the next person or risk being sidelined in the country’s endless race for economic development. Indeed, we are rewarded based on how well we do – and the article presents a very harsh, but realistic, view of Singapore’s education system and the vicious cycle it drives: “The city state streams pupils rigorously and is unashamedly elitist: one school claims to send more students to Ivy League universities than any other secondary school in the world. But such a system also produces losers—and many of the bottom third who do not make it to university come to ITE.”

    The government has been pushing in recent years for the system to be made more egalitarian. The article has already presented the case of the Institute of Technical Education as a way the government is giving chances to the down and out. Northlight, for students who do not make it through the Primary Schools’ Leaving Examination, is also an example of an institution that imparts practical skills to students so they can pursue their passions and desired careers in later life. However, it is hard to ignore the loopholes. The Gifted Education Programme, for one, puts more resources into maximizing the potential of so-called “gifted” students, but the system cannot be said to be “foolproof” and students with great potential can still be marginalized by the rigorous streaming tests and consequently lose out. Occasionally, those who work hard can assimilate into the IP programme and eliminate this rift, but students are usually disillusioned, their passion dulled, by a stultifying system that forces interminable, mundane tests, exams and assignments upon them.

    Singapore’s success could also be attributed to a ruthlessly efficient and unchanging government. While the article claims that Asian values have little part to play in this, perhaps the existence of ancient theologies that oppose change or “luan” could be the driving force behind a pursuit of depth and permanence, and thus the incumbency of Singapore’s government that has allowed it to accomplish much as it does not have to worry about whether it will get through the next election or not.

    Another new insight I gleaned from this article was that Singapore’s success could be attributed to its small size, something that I have been very used to viewing as a disadvantage. Indeed, its small size has made it convenient for the government to hold the country in an vice-like grip.
  2. msg Home Based Learning message posted Home Based Learning This article from the Economist provides me with a new perspective of Singapore's standing in the w…
    Home Based Learning
    This article from the Economist provides me with a new perspective of Singapore's standing in the world.

    It is undeniable that Singapore's government is stable and trustworthy, providing the most basic and necessary facilities and infrastructure to cater to our social welfare. Some examples include hospitals and schools, which cover the medical and education aspect respectively. Another well-known fact is that this stability ensures foreign companies invest in our nation, hence benefiting the economy.

    However, what I had been oblivious to previously was how Singapore's reliable and stable government, along with her medical and education systems, can actually be seen as a 'role model' to other countries. The article states that "China is trying to copy Singapore" and claims that this is "certainly true", and from what I have observed in Beijing for the past 6 weeks during my BSC trip, there are indeed many similarities between the two nations, in the education system especially. Also, the locals there seem to rate Singapore highly, showing great interest in our lifestyle and even currency. Although this is just my observation, and I can never confirm China copied Singapore's system, I can safely assume that Singapore and China are greatly related, and Singapore has indeed made a firm and commendable reputation in China, and possibly the rest of the world in regards to her governance, economy and policies.

    Justin Lim
    3i2 14

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