Why I’m Not “Good People”

Jenny's Library

I’m not a nice person.

I’m not a good person.

I’m not a kind person.

This isn’t to say that I don’t ever try to be any of these three things.  I do, especially the last two.

It’s more to say that, for me, surviving in this cissexist, racist, ableist, heteronormative, classist, often fucked up world of ours has involved rejecting the idea that “good” and “bad” are static states of being.  I will never be a “good person” because, to me, “good” is not something that you achieve.  It’s an ongoing process that never ends.

It is, in fact, almost impossible not to be doing bad things as well as good when you are human and therefore flawed.  Especially when you are part of a messed up system, as we all are.

This, to me, is why it’s important to call out bad behavior, or hurtful language, or even…

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My Past Academic Writings 6: Do you agree that it is increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle in your country?

So, I have decided to showcase some of my past, not so well-done academic writings that I have done in my 2 years in Junior College. They are not the best, but these are definitely pieces which I have placed my hard work, sweat and blood into. And I most definitely welcome discussions!

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Singapore is a place where one can expect crowd proceeding to work as early as 6.00 a.m. in the morning. Singapore is a place where the definition of attaining 5 “C”s (Condominiums, Cash, Car, Card and Careers) is the drive for both the young and old. Singapore is a place where youths sometimes struggle to manage their academics. The above are the common daily lifestyle habits and norms of the people in Singapore, each of which depicts a very hectic schedule people have. Given that people in Singapore are engaging in more hectic schedules, it is increasingly difficult to manage the different aspects of health (mental health, emotional health , spiritual health and physical health) and as such harder to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

The increase in the number of fast food outlets in Singapore, brought about by globalisation, has made it more challenging for her people to maintain and manage a healthier lifestyle. Fast food outlets chains, such as MacDonald’s, Wendy’s or KFC, is a commonality among shopping centres, which are often located near offices or housing estates. As such, these fast food outlets provide several incentives to entice people to consume their products. They include convenience, cheap deals and comfort. Together with the constant exposure to advertisements from the print media, the broadcast media and the public transport, people are becoming more aware of the current deals and are succumbing to their temptations to try the new products; fast food is irresistible.  Marketing strategies such as “MacDonald’s spicy cook-off” and their Hello Kitty Promotions causes many locals to consume more fast food. In all, people are over-consuming fast food. A documentary, “Super Size Me” shows a man’s journey to consume MacDonald only diet for a month, it indicates that an over-consumption of fast food leads to an increase in obesity rate. Being obese not only leads to greater risks of coronary heart diseases but also a greater risk in being diabetic and having a higher chance of heart failure. Hence, globalisation has made it, increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle in Singapore.

However, there are more and more infrastructures constructed in Singapore to encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle. As compared to the past, we see a greater variety of options to exercise, such as the construction of more gymnasiums and more upgraded park facilities. Each of which serves to target different age group; the gymnasiums targeted at the younger groups of people, while the public parks seem to target the senior citizens. Research has been conducted and it shows that the more and more people are signing up for gym memberships. From this, it is evident that more and more people are exercising and hence more aware of the importance and the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, as part of the National Healthy Lifestyle campaign, All Children Exercise Simultaneously (ACES) day was created. On the 31st of August, students from multiple institutions are required to participate actively in a 1-hour workout. As such, all of the above platforms allow the people, both young and old, in Singapore to continuously exercise and lead a healthier lifestyle. Hence, it can be argued that it is not increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle in Singapore.

In Singapore, people are always in pursuit of materialistic wealth, often at the expense of his or her health. Students are expected to juggle not only their homework and self-revisions but also their tuition work as well as their Co-Curricular Activities (CCA), many burns the midnight oil and sacrifice their sleep to accomplish certain tasks, which may deteriorate their physical and mental health in the long run.  Unlike the past, attaining a secondary school certificate no longer entitle one a stable income job. Students are first expected to attain diplomas followed by their masters and eventually a double degree. With the invention of smart phones, people in the workforce are seemingly expected to work 24/7. Also, technological advancements also allow workers to work at their own home, which is supposedly a place for one to rejuvenate, rest and bond with their family.  It is no wonder that the pressure people face over the years have increased and this is reflected by the Gallup survey, which states Singapore as one of countries attaining the lowest happiness index. The exposure to overwhelming stress is so frequent and vast that it is increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle in Singapore.

Opponents may also argue that people in Singapore are now more educated and are more aware of the causes of illnesses as well as the means to stay healthy. This is true, especially so when the advancement in technology, allows information to be gathered immediately anytime, anywhere. With the information, people are able to educate themselves on how to be responsible for their own health. Furthermore, media platforms are also avenues for such information to be showcased to our local audiences. This is evident from the short advertisement between two old men, one Chinese and one Indian, who discussed at different scenarios of the importance of health checkups in a humorous manner. As such, there are greater awareness of the importance of seeking medical help early, frequent health checks and early prevention. Therefore, it is not increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle in Singapore. However, the crucial issue here is whether people, who are facing a very busy and tight schedule, have the time to go for health checks or participate actively in exercises. More often than not, people in Singapore do not have the time and as such they have a higher tendency to prioritise such activities later at the end.  Hence, even with the given information on how one should live a healthy lifestyle, it is up to an individual to put in an effort to carry out these activities or else it they would be futile.

The over-consumption of food unknowingly by people in Singapore is one of the reasons why it is increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle in Singapore. People in Singapore are getting wealthier over the years and as such they are able to afford a larger variety of goods. In many wealthy societies, there are multiple differing lifestyle concerns. On one hand, people want to consume the best products but also at the same time keep up to trends. There was an instance where organic products, goods that were known to have beneficial health properties, were one of the trendy products that attracted the people’s attention. With higher purchasing power, people can easily afford these products and consume these products, even thought there may be some things that they are unsure of. The consumption of goods unknowingly can lead to a deterioration of one’s health and this can be dangerous. As such, it is increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle in Singapore.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is important because it can benefit us holistically in many fields. However, it is ultimately up to an individual’s effort to exercise regularly, eat moderately and stay healthy. No one is responsible for anyone’s health other than their own. Only when we can keep our body healthy, then we can live life to the fullest and perform at our best. As the saying by Buddha goes, “To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

My Past Academic Writings 5: “Education is society’s solution to its problems.” Discuss.

So, I have decided to showcase some of my past, not so well-done academic writings that I have done in my 2 years in Junior College. They are not the best, but these are definitely pieces which I have placed my hard work, sweat and blood into. And I most definitely welcome discussions!

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Education has evolved over the years. The invention of the internet and the advancement in technology has allowed humans to get information anytime anywhere. Humans are no longer reading from tomes or scrolls in ancient libraries but through modern platforms such as the internet or the print media. Education is the process where one gathers information and in turn becomes wiser and more knowledgeable as he ages.  In today’s society, humanity still faces multiple problems, such as crime, poverty, gender inequality and even racial discrimination. These are the problems that ultimately harm the fabric of our society and should be eliminated. As such, I largely believe that education is society’s solutions to its problems even though there are certain limitations to what education can offer.

Firstly, the provision of education to people, especially youths, will help eliminate poverty. Education teaches and prepares people with the relevant skills for the rigor in modern society, such as communication and team work. Sometimes, schools go the extra mile and diversify their students’ skills, making them specialised in multiple fields. Together with established qualifications, they will allow one to get employed and earn a sufficient salary that will not only support their family but also enough to spend on other miscellaneous activities. Yet, in less developed countries (LDC) not everyone is entitled a proper education, what more a good one. People do know the importance of receiving education, but sometimes, people have their reasons, which may include families needing extra hands in farms or to work for more salary or the inability to afford education. These boundaries and obstacles can be overcome and they require commitment, just like how Mr Bai Fang Li, a trishaw man helped finance poor students in China their tuition fees and living expenses for sixteen years.  He understood the importance of education and gave his best to help the poor children. He is a role model for many to follow. When people in communities are employed and earning sufficiently, their quality of life and standard of living not only improve, their poverty level also diminishes. Overtime, the gap between the rich and poor will narrow and be eliminated. Hence, I believe that education is the society’s solutions to its problems.

However, education can be seen as a redundancy, a hindrance. This is so because the skills or subjects taken in institutions may not be useful or applicable in reality or in the future. One does not use algebra to calculate how much to spend in a shopping mall. Furthermore, the very fact that the future is unpredictable would mean that what we learn today may not be necessary for the future, and hence it would mean a waste of time. Even though education has its perks, it may still be undesirable and may not steer one in the direction of solving problems in today’s society.

Secondly, education reduces crime rates. The provision of information on the punitive punishments to various crimes acts as an effective deterrence for future culprits. This is especially so due to the improvements in technology, where one can gather such information through the print media, digital media as well as the social media easily. In Singapore, a television programme, called “Crime Watch”, was created to showcase to the public the efficiency of the local police force by showing the swift apprehension of criminals and the low tolerance for criminal activities. Such public education not only deters potential crimes from taking place but also raises awareness to the public the importance of staying alert outdoors. Hence, education can be society’s solution to lower crime rates.

Lastly, education can foster unity among people. The past offers a variety of problems for different civilizations. Some societies have seen riots, some have seen wars. But all these problems showcase various lessons to be learnt, they range from violence to racial discrimination to gender inequalities. These lessons can be taught to the current generation of people and inculcate morale values into them. Learning about the past mistakes is important for it shows the folly of past actions on innocent victims. Singapore has faced riots back in the nineties, and they have taught modern generation the importance of social cohesion between different races and religions and that our society requires different communities to work together in order to prosper harmoniously. Learning about the past can prevent past mistakes from taking place again and ultimately protects people. Hence, I believe that education is society’s solutions to its problems.

All in all, I believe that education is important for it allows one to process information, insights and ideologies from the things he experiences with his senses daily. It is required to help people establish sound reasoning and provide evidences. They have been proven, in the earlier paragraphs, to benefit humanity by eliminating potential threats that society faces and hence are able to be classified as potential solutions to multiple problems.

My Past Academic Writings 4: To what extent is nuclear energy a suitable alternative for Singapore to meet her energy needs?

So, I have decided to showcase some of my past, not so well-done academic writings that I have done in my 2 years in Junior College. They are not the best, but these are definitely pieces which I have placed my hard work, sweat and blood into. And I most definitely welcome discussions!

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With the pursuit of long run sustainable development in the minds of many governmental organisations in the 21st century, one unanimous problem often appears in the minds of these groups of people. The problem of the increasing demand for energy brought about by the booming population of humans around the world has since burdened many countries. Singapore, a land scarce island with a growing population, faces the similar dilemma. Over the years, as technology becomes more advanced, more methods to generate energy have since surfaced. One of which is the conversion of wind energy to electrical energy via wind turbines, another is the manipulation of solar energy to generate heat via solar heat cells. Then, there is this particular form of production that has since received much controversy – Nuclear Energy. Some deem it pernicious but there are others who deem it beneficial. Regardless the case, Singapore seems to be intending to pursue Nuclear Energy, and ultimately will it be a more suitable alternative to meet her energy needs? I doubt so.

First and foremost, it would be unwise to set up a nuclear plant in Singapore as Singapore has a relatively small land space and a very dense population. Comparing to other countries with nuclear plants, such as Japan and Northern Ukraine, there is no suitable land available for the construction of a nuclear plant as much of her priority involves satisfying and meeting the needs of the growing population. And even though, there are talks and discussions by the government to construct one on inhabited area – the sea, it would definitely pose as a problem to neighbouring countries should a disaster occurs. This may potentially harm international relationships. Accidents in nuclear plants are not unheard of, from the Chernobyl disaster in Northern Ukraine (1986) to the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in Japan (2011), which resulted in the exposure of people to radiation. Despite the fact that there is a need to search for other alternative sources of energy for sustenance, it is not suitable for Singapore to adopt nuclear energy to meet her energy needs as she has a relatively small land size and a dense population.

On the other hand, proponents may argue that global warming brought about by increasing carbon emission is imminent. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organisation in 2013, carbon emissions around the world have since tripled as compared to twenty years ago. Possible implication of high carbon emission over the decades will result in an increase in temperature causing the rise in sea levels, due to the melting of poles. Hence, adopting nuclear energy procedures would be the most ideal solution to firstly, reduce carbon dioxide emission and secondly, produce sufficient energy. While I agree that there are intangible benefits to using nuclear energy as a source of energy, it is however too presumptuous to only look at one side of the coin. With regards to increasing carbon emission around the world, it would be impossible to tackle the issue in the short run. Should a nuclear plant be constructed, the issue of high carbon emission will still exist for the construction of a nuclear plant may take 10 – 19 years to set up, from planning to operational. This may inherently result in a budget deficit incurring in Singapore, for the set-up costs may be too expensive. As such, it would not be suitable for Singapore to build a nuclear plant to meet the energy needs and curb with the problem of high carbon emission.

SV: Secondly, the presence of other alternative sources of energy can replace the harnessing of nuclear energy and at the same time meet Singapore’s growing demand for energy. Such sources include solar energy or wind energy. These energies are renewable and can never run out. Such abundance of supply can only mean a cheaper alternative resource for Singapore to tap on for future usage. Singapore, being located near the Equator, is exposed to vast amount of sunlight yearly; it is hence rational to make use of such advantage to construct solar cells to convert solar energy to electrical energy. Furthermore, the construction of facilities, required to harness the renewable sources of energy, occupies significantly lesser space as compared to nuclear plants. Having mentioned that Singapore is a land scarce country, the land saved can be used to serve for other nation-building purposes. Lastly, the time taken to set up the equipment to harness the renewable sources of energy is significantly lesser than that of nuclear plants. Analysis by the American Nuclear Society states that the construction of wind or solar facilities can take about 2 -5 years to set up. Therefore, considering the vast amount of advantages such alternative sources of energy can provide, Singapore should tap on the renewable sources of energy and not utilize nuclear energy to meet her energy needs.

However, proponents of my arguments may state that the overall benefits garnered from utilising nuclear energy ultimately outweighs the costs, hence it should be used for Singapore to meet her energy needs. Such benefits include, aiding nuclear disarmament as the production of nuclear energy makes use of materials found in current nuclear weapons. While I agree that there are indeed some potent benefits, it is however ignorant to not consider that in the pursuit for nuclear energy, the sanctity of human life may be violated. The production of nuclear energy produces nuclear wastes, which contains a small amount of radioactivity. Even though these wastes are visible and can be contained, the disposal may prove to be difficult in land scarce Singapore. Disposal of wastes may take some time. Long term exposure of radiation can cause people to suffer from afflictions, such as cancer, birth defects and genetic mutation. Drawing back to the Chernobyl Disaster, radiation exposure has resulted in more than 7 million people living in contaminated territory.  Very evidently, people’s lives will be put at risk. Hence, it may not be suitable for Singapore to harvest nuclear energy to meet her energy needs.

In conclusion, despite having its perks, nuclear energy is not a viable alternative for Singapore to utilise to satisfy her energy demands. Nonetheless, we cannot turn a blind eye to the possible benefits nuclear energy can bring to us, and I believe that more research should be made to seek other possible methods of energy production or perhaps implement safer methods of harvesting of nuclear energy. Otherwise, it is unwise for Singapore to tap into nuclear energy as a source of energy to meet her energy needs.

disdain and repugnance.

Funny how I have always been saying that life isn’t fair, and there I am always wanting grasp the better end of the stick. And when I don’t, I, more often than not, let out a big fuss. Which in other words also meant that I have become an unhappy, pessimistic, cynical, self-centred and rude prick. Such self-invoked evolution is not without reason.

We all have our own problems. Everyone’s different. Some have theirs bigger, graver and more dismal while at the same time there are some who have problems that are so much less severe. Regardless, problems are still burdens, created to provide nothing but unnecessary pressure and perhaps a deluded sense of fufilment when they are overcome. The thing about problems is that sometimes, just those unfortunate rare instances, they can stockpile and add up to a great deal of stress and pressure even though each individual problem may have no correlation with one another. As such, breaking the mental threshold and resilience of one person. And it just so happened that yours truly just got himself entangled in a mess of shit. Here’s the synopsis:

About 2 weeks ago, I received my A-levels Cambridge Examinations grades. I did not fare well to qualify to local universities. I braced myself then, but that feeling of regret and shame still manifested itself. My parents were not entirely please, for this is the first time I have let them down so badly. That spelled trouble for me because I am starting to get paranoid. Will I get into university? How will the others react? What other choices should I do? Long story short, it was a bad start and I could not finalise a decisive path to answer my beloved kin.

Then comes Field Camp, a 4 days camp where recruits are dispatch out to hone their combat skills in the jungle to become a better soldier. I divined myself crawling through the mud, consuming stale food rations, getting punished for the sloppy movements and more. I was right. But I braced on and completed it. By then, I was frazzled.

On the 5th day, there is this Situational Test (SIT Test, for short), a final activity that takes place after the completion of Field Camp to test the recruits capability to lead in a self-induced stressful environment, essentially an important test for those who wants to be commanders. That morning, I blech and puked everything out. And because I had diarrhea the night before, I had no choice but to be sent back to the medical centre for treatment. That day, I did not take my SIT test.

It didn’t end here yet.

After a day of unpremeditated vomiting and diarrhea, a high 39.0 degrees temperature turned up the next day. I had no choice but to be sent home for 2 days, which I gladly took my time to recuperate. I ate little and drank little. I had no energy. I was frail.

And it still isn’t ending yet.

The day I returned to Pulau Tekong, with a body only slightly stronger, was the day I daresay I’ve gotten the biggest shock of my life. I was informed that because I did not manage to complete my SIT test, I need to redo my Field Camp with another company so that I can retake my SIT test. 2 Field Camps?! 1 extra week confined here?! (I disregard the fact where I was sent home on the basis of necessary recuperation and recovery.) That’s not fair!

First and foremost, I have already completed my Field Camp with my company for the four days (slept with them, shit with them, worked with them, trained with them) and now they are expecting me to redo it because I need to retake the test to qualify being a commander? I might as well retake the SIT Test?

Wait. What do you mean I have to be in the fatigue state of mind of having gone through field camp before I can proceed on with taking SIT test? I really cannot understand why other companies allowed retaking the SIT test as a choice and we don’t. But, you know what? I am not a fan of taking responsibilities, and I have no inkling to be a commander in the future. I would still like to opt out of the Field Camp that I have already completed.

Still a no.

The amount of stress – from the grades, the inability to get into a university, the disappointment, the sickness, the mere notion that I may have to redo something I already did/suffer the shit which I have already suffered, the other mere notion that if I missed the re-fieldcamp will result in me getting oot,when graduation is in a few weeks away- is starting to take its toll on me. I’m glad however that there are people who cared for me, and that little bit of care really is what pushed me on. All I want to say that I am very very tired, and I just want to give up. But giving up now is pointless.

I long for a voice to tell me with certainty what my choices are and how they will influence me. I long for a miracle. I long for …

My Past Academic Writings 3: Is a study of history relevant in today’s uncertain world?

So, I have decided to showcase some of my past, not so well-done academic writings that I have done in my 2 years in Junior College. They are not the best, but these are definitely pieces which I have placed my hard work, sweat and blood into. And I most definitely welcome discussions!

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The study of history has always been a focal point in education systems around the world. Students learn about their country’s history from young, and subsequently going on to cover global history later in their academic life. While such depicts its popularity and importance, History has always been involved in a debate about its relevance. There are some who argue that history is irrelevant, given that the 21st century is ever-changing and fast-pace; there are also some who contends that there is significance in studying history regardless of the prevailing uncertainty in our modern day context. This essay shall show how the study of history is not only beneficial, but essential to our lives in the 21st century.

Following the words by Famous historian, William Lund, “We study the past to understand the present. We understand the present to guide the future.” It is an unassailable notion that learning about the past offers individuals and societies a plethora of lessons to be learnt. Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” has not only been used in modern day warfare but also by managers to manage company. The past forms the rudimentary blocks of the present, and it can be said that what many possess today is derived from the actions of past.  That said, it is exactly because of the ambiguous nature of the present that there is all the more a need to study history. People need to be appreciative with what they have now, and not take things for granted. The Civil Rights March that occurred in the mid-1900s resonates the need for equality amongst people of different skin colour in America. In another instance, the teaching of a series of past tragic incidences, such as the Maria Hertogh riots or the Hock Lee Bus Riots, to youth in Singapore echoes the need for her citizens to mutually respect one another and appreciate the current peace and harmony she possess. By learning about the causes and effects of events in history, people can learn better ways to deal with conflict among nations and individuals. That is why, there is still a need for people to study history in today’s uncertain world.

Secondly, other than offering lessons to be learnt, the studying of history also offer different insights. Aforementioned, the present is uncertain and the past is fixated. Values and viewpoints will change at different eras. There was a stark contrast between the differing viewpoints in the mid-1900s and today. Then, historians believed that homosexuality was an immoral act, especially in Greece which they even believed that the abundance of homosexuals was a precursor to its downfall. However, in today’s context, most historians believed that societies who embraced homosexuality as part of their culture, tends to be a society with greater social tolerance and more liberty. It is the studying of history that allows man to better understand societal viewpoints at different time periods, or in some cases, understand themselves as well. Hence, there is relevance in the study of history today.

Thirdly, the study of history can help strengthen our cultural identity. As we learn about the cultural heritage of our race or religion, we engulf ourselves in an abundance of information, which often depicts the decisions our ancestors made or the traditions that have been carried down the generations. These define who we are and why we exist in our society. Festivals that are celebrated by the various race or religions have always been governed by a set of strict customs, and each brings forth a set of inherent values, often intrinsic in nature. The Chinese celebrates QingMing Festival, also known as the “Tomb Sweeping Day ”, by visiting the tombs of their ancestors as a form of respect and honouring. The Muslims shakes the hands of their friends and relatives, a practice that has been passed down from one generation to another, during festivals as a symbolism of forgiveness. Thus, only by learning and exposing ourselves to the values and traditions that our ancestors set, do we know who we are, simply because we are made of what our elders teach us. Hence, history is still relevant today.

Opponents of my arguments took the stance that the founder of Ford Industry, Henry Ford had once said, “History is bunk.” They believed that learning History offers no material values and as such finding it unnecessary as the time spent learning History could have been spent elsewhere. Such is perhaps the reason why there have been low employment rate of Historians in today’s society. Such stance is a parochial one because the opponents of my arguments failed to take into consideration of the potential intrinsic benefits that they might attain. This includes the above aforementioned. Furthermore, the stance of claiming history being a gibberish subject ought to be challenged. This is because the past and the present influence one another. The learning of a language, for instance Chinese, can be considered as also learning about the history of the language at the same time, since language has had evolved from the past. Likewise, if one remembers what they have learnt or even teach it, it can also be seen as helping to transmit a living language from the past into the future. Thus, the term “history is bunk” may not necessarily hold ground, as history may not necessarily be gibberish and there are still intangible values to be attained from learning history.

In conclusion, the study of history still offers a myriad of lessons to be learnt, insights to be discovered as well as retaining our cultural identity. Thus, the study of history is still relevant albeit the uncertainty of today’s world, and more should be done to instil zeal amongst individuals such that they actively indulge in learning about history. Like what George Santayana, a famous philosopher, once said, “Those who do not remember about the past are condemned to repeat it.”

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