YES: SPEEDING UP THE PACE OF LIFE BRINGS MANY DISADVANTAGES AND PROBLEMS FOR MODERN SOCIETY, MAKING THE ADVANTAGES OF SLOWING DOWN A COMPARATIVELY ATTRACTIVE ONE.
1. In many of our economic activities and work-lives, excessively speeding up the pace of life has resulted in disastrous financial and health consequences, making the act of slowing down practical for individuals, institutions and entire societies.
2. In many intellectual and educational endeavors, slowing down helps engage the deep learning centres and processes of the human brain, facilitating the acquisition of complex knowledge which is increasingly vital to modern life.
3. From a moral and ethical standpoint, slowing down provides opportunities for many to reflect on our personal choices, relationships and decisions in life, which is invaluable in a modern world that compels us to make many decisions hastily and move on to the next stage without due consideration or insight.
4. As a modern consumer driven society, slowing down the pace of our material acquisitions may yield important and practical benefits, as we collectively engage in the act of reducing, reusing and recycling, thereby investing in our collective environmental well-being.
NO: MODERNITY THRIVES ON SPEED AND SLOWING DOWN THE PACE OF LIFE IS A REGRESSIVE RATHER THAN PROGRESSIVE ACT, AND WOULD BE A DISADVANTAGE IN MANY ASPECTS OF OUR LIVES.
1. The dangers of speeding up excessively are undeniable but the economic benefits of speeding up moderately are more than comparable and should be encouraged, as they increase the many factors – pace of production, transaction volumes and acceleration of learning cycles – that are integral to economic growth and prosperity.
2. We live in a modern age saturated with data and information, making the act of slowing down and processing information a less viable one compared to developing skills that speed up our capabilities to process complex knowledge.
3. Despite our romantic notions concerning the purported benefits of slowing down, the pace of scientific research, technological development and its integration into our lives should be speeded up, as doing so provides us with more avenues and innovations to solve the major societal challenges of our time.
YES: STUDYING MATHEMATICS PROVIDES IN-DEPTH VIEWS INTO THE COMPLEXITIES OF THE DISCIPLINE AND IS INTELLECTUALLY SATISFYING BUT ULTIMATELY LESS USEFUL TO MOST INDIVIDUALS AND SOCIETAL WELL-BEING.
1. In many acclaimed educational systems worldwide, the foundational levels of mathematics contain many topics that may engage youths’ intellectual curiosity but prove less useful if they specialize in other fields upon graduation from high school.
2. Studied on its own at the undergraduate level, mathematics may appear to be a highly abstract and specialized discipline for enthusiasts but appears less relevant to the concerns of acquiring a professional qualification.
3. At its more advanced levels of study, mathematics become extremely complex and specialists may devote a major portion of post-graduate work or experience on the identification and solution of highly abstract mathematical problems that are totally removed from everyday life.
NO: STUDYING MATHEMATICS IS BOTH INTELLECTUALLY SATISFYING AND PROVIDE PRACTICAL MEANS FOR BOTH INDIVIDUALS AND SOCIETY TO ENRICH OUR LIVES AND OVERALL WELL-BEING.
1. It is the process rather than mere data one acquires that is useful in the study of complex mathematical topics at the high school level, as these topics help develop the critical thinking and visualizing skills in students that are so vital to holistic development.
2. At the undergraduate level, mathematics is integrated as a component both vital and applicable to a wide variety of seemingly unrelated disciplines, including economics, psychology and social work.
3. The more advanced levels of mathematical study aim to identify and contribute practical solutions to major challenges faced by humanity, such as complex formulations to calculate the rate of melting polar ice-caps, which may be vital to international deliberations on climate change.
YES: THE TOURISM SECTOR IN SINGAPORE REMAINS LARGELY COMMERCIALIZED AND SUPERFICIAL, LEAVING MANY TOURISTS WITH A SURFACE RATHER THAN AUTHENTIC PERSPECTIVE OF THE COUNTRY AS SEEN BY SINGAPOREANS.
1. The tourism sector in Singapore is highly commercialized and supported by various industries, such as hotels, food, beverage and retail, which largely direct tourists and their activities to the urban center rather than the authentic parts of Singaporean life, such as HDB estates.
2. Government agencies and statutory boards fund programs and facilities that present the more sanitized and glamorized aspects of Singaporean history and culture to tourists, inevitably censoring information and knowledge of societal issues that may either be contentious or controversial.
3. As a small and strategically located country in South-east Asia, Singapore is often a transit point into the region’s tourist attractions, such as Malaysia’s nature reserves, rather than an end-destination for many tourists, whose stay in Singapore will necessarily be shorter and cursory.
NO: THE TOURISM SECTOR PROVIDES VISITORS WITH MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO INTERACT WITH AND UNDERSTAND LIFE AS SEEN BY SINGAPOREANS.
1. More tour operators in Singapore now recognize that tourists desire to experience aspects of authentic Singaporean life and incorporate compatible programs, such as trips to hawker centres in HDB estates, into their itinerary.
2. Various government programs, such as short home-stay and exchange programs for foreign students, integrate visitors more thoroughly into everyday Singaporean life, providing them with a more authentic experience encompassing both palatable and contentious societal issues.
3. More tourists today, such as backpackers, recognize the varied cultural and historical depths and experiences available in Singapore and choose to stay longer, thereby undergoing a thorough appreciation of the country that more closely resembles the experiences of Singaporeans.
YES: MANY ASPECTS OF HUMAN INTERACTIONS TODAY DEPEND ON THE ADEQUATE SOURCING, SUPPLY AND DISTRIBUTION OF OIL, TO THE POINT THAT MINOR DISRUPTIONS AT ANY STAGE PARALYZE OR GREATLY REDUCE OUR CAPACITY TO FUNCTION EFFECTIVELY.
1. Most of our energy supply comes from the use of oil to generate electricity and even the most minor disruption in oil supply causes harmful changes in the price of oil, energy markets and global finance.
2. The environmental hazards associated with accidents involving oil, such as tanker spillages, are often underestimated and ignored by the international community as everyone falsely assumes that such accidents only happen to other countries and can be easily contained to their immediate locality.
3. Despite its imminent depletion in the next 50 years, many countries continue to utilize oil as their main energy resource rather than invest in the research and development of cleaner and more efficient energies.
4. The majority of our economic and industrial activities remain powered by oil-generated electricity, and emphasis on sustaining economic growth at all costs pressurizes many countries to continue their dependence on oil.
NO: A RANGE OF SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENTS AND ACTIONS BY STAKEHOLDERS HAVE REDUCED OUR DEPENDENCE ON OIL, WITH POTENTIAL BENEFITS TO OUR LONG-TERM WELL-BEING.
1. Disruptions in the supply of oil and their accompanying shocks to the global economy are factored in by many oil producing countries, which have committed to binding international trade agreements that raise production of oil to adequate levels in such cases.
2. The international community recognizes environmental hazards associated with the production, transport and storage of oil, taking adequate measures through international safety codes, emergency response procedures and collaboration with oil companies to minimize the negative impacts of such accidents.
3. Governments in more countries today have undertaken significant levels of research and development into alternative energies, as they are pressurized by their increasingly informed citizens and civic society leaders.
4. Increasingly, the drivers of our major economic and industrial activities such as multinational corporations (MNCs) and entrepreneurs have recognized the limitations of oil-dependent businesses and initiated programs to move operations away from such models, replacing them with sustainable alternatives.
YES: HOSTING MAJOR SPORTING EVENTS IS A HUGE PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION CHALLENGE IN ITSELF, FOLLOWED GENERALLY BY HARMFUL AND UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES BOTH FOR THE HOST AND HUMANITY.
1. The financial resources expanded into hosting major sporting events often drain the national budget, leading to constraints on other forms of essential public spending. In some cases, poor planning and policies may lead to overspending and accompanying costs to societal welfare.
2. Public expectations of athletes in hosting countries to do well and win medals becomes extremely high, and the focus on nationalistic pride replaces healthy competition.
3. The large numbers of visitors, alongside consumption of energy, goods and services undertaken during major sporting events can cause irreparable levels of environmental damage and degradation to both the local and regional environments.
4. Governments of hosting countries may carry out unethical or highly controversial actions to clean up their public image prior to major sports events, such as forcibly evicting squatters or homeless people from competition venues and urban centers.
NO: HOSTING MAJOR SPORTING EVENTS PROVIDES A RANGE OF BENEFITS FOR BOTH THE HOST AND HUMANITY, JUSTIFYING THE COSTS INVOLVED IN ITS PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION.
1. Although the financial resources expanded into hosting major sporting events are significant, the expenditure is matched by accompanying revenue streams and economic benefits, such as tourist dollars and a rise of employment numbers in the construction industry.
2. Athletes of hosting countries recognize the honor given by the international community to their countries, and take extra efforts to live the values of true sportsmanship such as integrity, respect for one’s fellow competitors and humility in both victory and defeat.
3. Hosting countries can work with the governments of participating countries to develop measures that alleviate the inevitable environmental damage arising from major sporting events, such as creating carbon offset programs for participating athletes and spectators flying in.
4. Major sporting events provide good opportunities for the governments of hosting countries to carry out actions that genuinely project a heightened and improved level of culture and civility, such as the release of political prisoners or the commissioning of commemorative public artworks.
YES: MEDICAL SCIENCE HAS ADVANCED RAPIDLY AND RAISED OUR POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS OF IT TO AN UNSUSTAINABLE POINT.
1. Advances in medical science have provided cures to many diseases and good health is now taken for granted by many individuals, who mistakenly believe that undergoing medication or medical procedures can replace healthy living.
2. Various aspects of medical science in aesthetic and elective surgery have progressed to unprecedented levels, encouraging many individuals to utilize such procedures excessively in search of physical perfection, displacing traditional wellness and values centered upon natural beauty and positive self-image.
3. Some highly publicized and profiled incidents of advanced medical intervention, such as the separation of conjoined twins or complete facial reconstruction, are mistakenly assumed by the public to be the norm rather than exception in medical science.
NO: MEDICAL SCIENCE MAY HAVE ADVANCED RAPIDLY BUT SOCIETY REMAINS GROUNDED AND REALISTIC ABOUT ITS POSSIBILITIES AND LIMITATIONS.
1. Many medical institutions and associations have educated the public sufficiently, such that many advanced medical procedures are duly regarded as life-saving interventions rather than substitutes for healthy living.
2. The public maintains a fair degree of skepticism and wariness towards the more dubious developments in aesthetic surgery and understands their risks, undertaking them only in exceptional rather than whimsical circumstances.
3. Many advances in medical science, such as cleft-lip surgery, are now routinely utilized in both economically developed and deprived conditions by medical professionals, vastly improving patients’ lives and becoming the healthcare norm that all societies can reasonably aspire towards.
YES: THE ARTS PLAY A HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN NURTURING AND ENRICHING SINGAPOREAN SOCIETY.
1. The arts are vital in educating Singaporean youths holistically and an increasing number of educational institutions and programs have allocated significant resources towards promoting the arts in students.
2. Commercialization of the arts has contributed significantly to the employment of Singaporeans and the growth of many local businesses in related industries such as events management, exhibition curators and advertising agencies.
3. In recent years, greater government funding and involvement in nurturing the arts has seen the growth and development of many talented local practitioners, who have contributed significantly to developing an arts culture informed by authentic Singaporean values, themes and voices.
NO: THE ARTS ARE PERIPHERAL TO SINGAPOREAN SOCIETY AND MAY BE UNDERAPPRECIATED DESPITE THEIR POTENTIAL VALUE.
1. The arts may be increasingly recognized by educators and their institutions as integral to holistic development but many Singaporean youths themselves are less enthusiastic and prefer to specialize in traditional science or business-related courses that are perceived as more commercially viable.
2. Many local businesses have grown due to the commercialization of the arts in Singapore but these businesses focus mainly on the presentation and promotion of art events rather than creation of art, thereby furthering only the economic rather than aesthetic profile of the arts.
3. Despite positive support by the authorities, the mass media has been too successful in enthralling the masses with foreign artists and their work, significantly undermining attempts to develop an authentic Singaporean artistic identity.