This segment is intended to be a collation of essays to serve as a point of reference for students who wish to improve their standards in English or General Paper. You may feel free to submit your essays to us for feature on this page via e-mail at

Table of Contents

Essay #1: To what extent is the impact of the arts in Singapore? (Written 02/03/2008)
Essay #2: Does the book still have a future? (Written 02/11/2005)
Essay #3: “It takes little to be a celebrity today.” Discuss. (Written 28/10/2005)

#3: “It takes little to be a celebrity today.” Discuss.

                As the rest of the world goes about the routine of everyday life, celebrities seem to have it much luckier. With the occasional snippet of gossip in magazines today, or a brand new television programme the next, it is clearly evident that celebrities enjoy high levels of exposure with immense popularity among the masses. A celebrity may be loosely defined as a famous media personality whom may hail from the arena of film, music, sport or politics. These media personalities may be idolized for a plethora of reasons.  It is certainly undeniable that today, it takes little to be a celebrity.

                bToday, all it takes is a scandal in the tabloids to be a celebrity. With the proliferation of print media, it has certainly become increasingly easy for one to be thrust into the limelight. A mere whiff of a scandal is sufficient to garner the full attention of laymen, making the parties involved famous. Previously little-known politicians (She was not a politician! Check!) such as Monica Lewinsky (whose scandalised (delete) affair with former United States president Bill Clinton stole the headlines in all major tabloids), and Hsu Mei-Feng Who? Explain to GCE examiner, had brought them (delete) unprecedented levels of fame and attention. Instead of lying low after the scandal made the newspapers, the aforementioned people chose to ride the crest of the publicity wave and hence became household names overnight. Their scandals had even garnered them huge followings, with Hsu even holding sellout concerts in the region, including Singapore, during her publicity stint, even though singing is obviously not her forte. Apart from the above politicians, it takes little for common people to become celebrities as well. For example, the recent furore in local newspapers over detailed entries of sexual escapades posted in a blog owned by a Singaporean, known by the nickname of the “Sarong Party Girl”, had drawn (Use ptT) a lot of attention and publicity to her and her blog, thereby making her famous. Local blogger Xia Xue also managed to make it big initially due to the incessant publicizing of her blog in the newspapers. Her celebrity status has since been ascertained with television appearances, as well as endorsements from companies such as Kimage. As can be seen, it certainly takes little to be a celebrity today due to the proliferation of the print media.

                With the bslew of reality TV programmes and singing contests on television today, all it takes is the participation of a layman in such a programme to become the new talking point of town. The recent spate of reality shows ranging from “Survivor”, “The Amazing Race”, “The Apprentice” and the like have made household names out of former commoners who held everyday jobs such as waiters and farmers,. These contestants usually attain massive followings too, with speculation and support being widely shown on Internet discussion forums. The road to stardom does not end for many of the more popular or photogenic contestants of these programmes even after the show has ended its run, with modeling or broadcasting agencies cashing in on their popularity with lucrative modelling contracts or offers of roles in drama series. The original British “Pop Idol” has since spun off a spate of singing contests all around the world, ranging from “American Idol” to the China “Super Girl” competition. Locally, there have since bbeen four singing contests in the four official languages – “Singapore Idol” in English, “Project Superstar” in Chinese, “Anugerah” in Malay, and “Vasantham Star” in Tamil. All these just serve to exemplify the popularity of such programmes, as well as how such programmes have made its participants celebrities overnight. Who can ever forget Clay bAiken, Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia Barrino or Carrie Underwood, all alumni from the “American Idol” franchise? Furthermore, with audience participation involved in the voting to keep the singers in the competition, the support from commoners has been phenomenal globally, with contestants becoming celebrities with their overwhelming support. As can be seen, it certainly takes little to be a celebrity today due to the spate of game shows on television

                Sometimes, all it may take is a mere stroke of luck to become a celebrity and to push one on the brink of superstardom. Recall William Hung, the goofy-looking tone-deaf singer who auditioned for American Idol 3. He has since gained a worldwide following, presumably due to people idolizing his humble attitude towards the entire fame game. Despite his apparent lack of talent, he has since attained a recording contract and has released two full-length albums. However, Mary Roach of American Idol 4 fame did not have such luck despite her lunatic mannerisms which were as hilarious as William Hung’s dance routines. Incessant publicity has also brought instant fame to teenybopper idols such as 5566 and Cyndi Wang (of the Taiwanese pop scene), who are certainly not credible singers but are able to sell records.

                While all the above points definitely show that it takes little to be a celebrity today, such was not the case in the past before the advent of cable television and the Internet. While talent is secondary today, celebrities in the past could only make it big largely through their talent, due to the lack of improved broadcast technology which could help thrust them into the limelight. Hence, it is thus unsurprising that there were much fewer celebrities in the past as compared to the binexhaustible list we have today. With such a never-ending list of celebrities, it therefore comes as no surprise that there is hardly any celebrity today who fits the bill as a “superstar”. While celebrities of the past were held in great admiration and respect, and will be remembered for their works in time to come, for example ABBA, the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and the like, the large pool of celebrities today has indeed made the media industry too saturated. However, it has to be said that it is to meet the insatiable demands of commoners who pay much attention to the media scene that there have been so many shortcuts available to attain celebrity status today. As a compromise, (delete) However, the true meaning of “celebrity” and “superstardom”, has been lost.

(1017 words)

Conclusion is rather long.
This is an excellent essay, well written, developed and elaborated for the view that you hold, however.
Possible to reflect an opposite viewpoint too?  Consider how some people have to work to be noticed?  Actors who finally make it big?  And especially people who aspire for fame – to be elected leaders, for example.Consider how one also has to guard one’s privacy and good name, to remain ‘idols’ or to remain at the top.  President Clinton, Wayne Rooney? The question also means that it takes work to stay being a celebrity when one gets up there – the higher one climbs, the harder the fall.  Consider who? 
True, in this era of the Internet and broadcast journalism, compared to the past, it is easier for some to catch the eye of the public, with rather cheap stunts.  This is a different category of people. The language is certainly so much better – expression as well.  Well done and keep it up! Content – 21/30
Language – 15/20
TOTAL – 36/50 

#2: Does the book still have a future?

With the dawn of the information technology era brought about by the advent of the Internet and the proliferation of broadcast media, it has been widely proclaimed that the book is fast becoming obsolete and the dearth of books will come about sooner rather than later. These claims appear to have some basis of truth in them, given the numerous broadcast media adapting novels into films with state-of-the-art effects which blow audiences away, and the massive amounts of resources available on the Internet which threaten to replace encyclopedia and Science journals. I believe that whether or not the book still √√has a future is largely dependent on the type of book in discussion. While novels and textbooks still have a bright future ahead, the future of reference books, encyclopedia and dictionaries looks bleak.  Very well focused and well put.Are novels  not threatened by being translated into film?

Even though novels which are adapted for movies face stiff competition from the glamorous film industry, I believe that they still do have a future. There has indeed been an increasing trend of movies adapting screenplay from novels in recent years. Book-to-screen adaptations ranging from the “Lord of the Rings” (LOTR) trilogy to the recent “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” have generally been mammoth box office hits. However, the essence of the story and the subtleties of what the author had originally intended to portray may be lost √OKmidway during the book-to-screen transition, which makes it essential to read to gain the full insight of the story. Many chapters from the fourth instalment of the Harry Potter series, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”, did not make the final cut for the soon-to-be-released movie due to length and budget constraints. “The Brothers Grimm”, which was adapted from various Grimm fairy tales, was severely lambasted by critics as numerous scenes in the movie were original ideas of the director, and went against what was written in the original stories by the famous Grimm brothers. These are mere instances of the many examples around which exemplify the need to read a novel even after one had caught the movie. In fact, trends have shown that these movies tend to popularize the books they were adapted from, as seen from the LOTR trilogy topping numerous bookseller lists for weeks after the movies were released. As can be seen, there is a positive co-relation between novels and films – one would tend to read the original story after watching the movie (or catch the movie because one liked the novel as in the “Harry Potter” case), and as such, in this case, novels and films do complement one another.Persuasive and well elaborated but can be put more concisely?

Meanwhile, for the myriad of novels which are not adapted into movie screenplay, the future is not as bleak as it seems. Does this mean that novels which are made into film are threatened? The novel promises experiences which are otherwise out-of-this-world in today’s realist society. Through novels, one can easily put oneself in the shoes of Miss Marple (the protagonist of several Agatha Christie novels), snooping around relentlessly to find clues to solve baffling murder mysteries, or follow the poignant adventures of autistic Christopher Boone (protagonist of Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time”) as he sets out alone, away from the confines of his safe neighbourhood, for the first time. As such, even as people today generally lead very hectic lifestyles, many still do make trips to bookstores and libraries to purchase or borrow novels to read. The recent brouhaha over Google Print is testimony to the fact that reading novels in the book form is nonetheless hugely popular today. Google had originally intended to scan fifteen million novels and √√make their content readily available to cyberspace users. However, the plan ceased to materialize as the company had met stiff resistance and opposition from publishers as well as the general public, who believed that the joy and feel of reading novels on paper would be lost. As such, I believe that novels still have a bright future even in today’s age of information technology.Very well elaborated. But you  need to account for why after all, novels which are made into film may be threatened after all.               

Even in today’s proliferation of the Internet, which invariably increases the accessibility to massive amounts of information and resources, there is still a future for textbooks. Governments around the world have been advocating a paradigm shift in the basis of learning from rote classroom learning to one which emphasizes critical thinking and the use of information technology, to allow students to keep up in the ever-changing world. This has eventually resulted in the increased use of multimedia in learning today. A pertinent example is the usage of computer games to enhance the learning of mathematics and English in primary schools. However, it has to be noted that these forms of multimedia at best serve to complement the textbooks VERY GOOD POINT used in curriculum in a bid to enhance learning. Even as such new teaching aids are implemented, primary schools and secondary schools around the world still fall back on the use of textbooks today for students to learn the basics, and textbooks will still remain relevant in the future. How many words are there now?               

On the other hand, the same cannot be said for reference books, √√dictionaries and encyclopedia, in the wake of the accessibility of the Internet. The large number of search engines available ranging from Google to AltaVista has made information students need to acquire for schoolwork just a few clicks away. Cynics may claim that the Internet is in fact a vast cesspool rather strong word! of flawed information which does not have any credence, and it remains the prerogative of students to cross-reference all the information they attain via the Internet with that of reference books and journals. However, it must be noted that the Internet is not as bad as it appears to be, there being a multitude of credible websites as well. Free online encyclopedias such as have Wikipedia also allow interactive learning – readers can add on info effectively reduced the hassle in attaining information. One no longer needs to plough through thick volumes of small print in a bid to find out more on a particular topic. Meanwhile, reputable dictionaries and thesauruses such as Merriam Webster and Oxford have gone online as well, making it easier for one to check the meanings of words. Paid? As can be seen, the increasing popularity of the Internet among the masses will lead to the demise of reference books, dictionaries and encyclopedia in the long run.                                

In conclusion, even as the Internet and broadcast media are part and parcel of our everyday lives, the book remains irreplaceable in terms of novels and textbooks, though the same cannot be said for reference books, which will eventually succumb to the availability of information on the Internet. 

(1,084 words)

* Extremely well written and argument is sustained and elaborated well. But what does the computer count for the words? 
One part you can do better in is that of novels that are translated into film. 
Also you can say something about many people’s love for books, esp. when this love of reading is nurtured.  Libraries are also doing a lot to encourage reading.
The hard copies can be made very attractive, special covers and illustrations.  Conclude perhaps with the idea that books are books whether in hard or soft copies. 
There could also be different types of electronic books – such as a special portable electronic book.  One can adjust the font etc. 

Content – 23/30
Language – 18/20
TOTAL – 41/50

#1: To what extent is the impact of the arts in Singapore?

The arts have truly risen from its popularity abyss in the olden days to become one of the burgeoning areas of development Singapore has witnessed in recent years. True to its name (which somewhat brings to mind the locally-coined slang ‘artsy-fartsy’), the arts was regarded as haute couture in the past, and was only affordable to the rich. With several government initiatives coming into play to boost the local arts scene, however, the arts are now readily accessible to hoi polloi, becoming increasingly popular among the masses. The arts can take on a gamut of roles in society, be it at a personal level, grassroots level or even at the community level, and its impact is gradually escalating to new heights.

The arts play a major role in advocating innovation and creativity in Singaporeans. Prolonged exposure to the arts has widened the mindsets of Singaporeans aplenty, and has since gone a long way in liberalizing the somewhat conservative outlook and antediluvian ideas people used to adopt. While many may proclaim this to be a direct cause of globalization, I beg to differ. The proliferation of broadcast media locally is irrefutably responsible for the massive amounts of exposure one has to the arts. Movies and television are marketed as entertainment, but deep down, they are mainstream art forms which go down easily with the people. Innovation in Science may stem from excessive research, but innovation in the arts manifests within oneself through widespread exposure, a keen eye of observation and an acute sense of hearing. Innate artistic flair is steadily becoming secondary as the arts take on a new role as something for the masses. Anything and everything may be considered ‘abstract art’ these days and people are no longer babes in the woods, becoming their own critics. Minds are, in turn, being kept open to the endless possibilities the arts can throw up. The annual Chingay parade encourages participation from the grassroots masses, with participants endeavouring to design floats which are no doubt a representative of their mindsets and who they really are. Open spaces such as that at the Esplanade are open for public viewing of exhibitions and the artwork of artists, and artistic booths are readily available for rent for budding artists to showcase their work. The emphasis on the arts is further epitomized by the growing prominence of arts in schools today. Annual arts competitions are being organised in a plethora of fields ranging from orchestral music, drama, art, photography and the like. These are platforms for participants to exchange ideas and compete. The recent opening of the Singapore Arts School nurtures budding art talent and also goes to show the growing emphasis the government is placing on innovation and creativity, and the huge role the arts play in it.

With innovation and creativity come the opening of sights and senses of the people through theatre and museum visits. Singaporeans are also showing growing support for the work of local artists, if the current restaging of local play “Beauty World”, and the upcoming widely popular “Dimsum Dollies: The History of Singapore” are anything to go by. Sellout theatrical productions such as “The Pillowman” and “The Swimming Instructor” also show how much locals are receptive to drama and theatre today. Communal participation is also on the rise. Local drama groups “Drama Box” and “The Necessary Stage” have spearheaded forum theatre showcases annually. Drawing massive crowds and enthusiastic participation, these forum theatres are held in the heartlands. Audiences are allowed to stop the play midway, and take on the role of one of the characters themselves. Meanwhile, the National Museum has also come up with new initiatives to draw people to their exhibitions, and to ignite a new trend of visiting museums. Through celebrity ambassadors such as MediaCorp artistes Qi YuWu and Mark Lee, guided tours are provided around the museum. This provides an educational avenue for the people to open up their sights and senses. 

The arts also serve to bond people through street performances and to retain the multi-cultural practices which Singapore holds so dear. It is undeniably a boon on the family and grassroots level. During the Hungry Ghost Month, street opera shows, more popularly known as wayang, are held, culturally, as forms of entertainment for the departed and for people to burn offerings for them. They are also road shows for the community, and it is certainly not uncommon for families to gather and watch these opera performances together. Communal bonding comes about with the large crowds drawn to these shows. Meanwhile, the festivities along Geylang Serai during Hari Raya and Little India during Deepavali also serve to forge the Malay and Indian communities in Singapore. Lastly, fireworks festivals, despite being marketed as pyrotechnic shows by fireworks enthusiasts, are a huge draw for crowds. These show how, through the arts, people can be brought closer together.

With the rising of the arts in the local scene, it is more than evident that the arts do play a major role in Singapore society, be it on a personal level of exposing people to new ideas and possibilities, or on a communal level of bonding. This, in no part, is largely due to the receptivity people have shown to the arts scene in general. It certainly does not look like the dearth of the arts will come anytime soon, as Singapore strives to become the next regional Arts hub.

(902 words)

3 Responses to “ESSAYS”

  1. anonymous Says:

    haha, aren’t those ur gp essays marked by mdm lim?

  2. Luigi Fulk Says:

    I was searching for photography when I found your site. Good post. Thank You.

  3. Thank you for the informative work. Regards, Lorna

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