Tuesday, October 22, 2013


MARCH 2013

Man's careless attitude is the main cause for the destruction of the environment. Discuss. You should write at least 350 words. (60 marks)

Below is a good sample answer written by Franky, my 2013 lower 6 science student. 

In this modern civilization, man struggles to survive the high cost of living expenses, which significantly increases with each passing year. This causes them to use any method available that generates income and they start to sideline the importance of preserving nature. This is due to mankind realising the potential of economy that can come from nature. So, I strongly believe the destruction of nature is mostly caused by man's careless attitude whereby they prioritise their greed for money and the development of civilisation. Let us analyse this phenomenon in terms of the country's development, illegal activities of exploiting nature and the job opportunities. 

First of all, many nations try to achieve the title of the most leading nation in economy or infrastructure. So in order to compete with other countries, most nations try to explore any available land in their country for development such as industries, tourist spots and many other purposes that are related to money. Whenever they see the potential of a certain piece of land, they tend to develop it despite some of these places might still be uninhabited or the home for many wildlife. Sometimes, they would also plod through jungles or level the mountains for road development which severely changes the landscape of nature. As a result, this selfish and careless act will cause the deforestation and global warming. For example, Indonesia has become quite careless with their handling of these problems. In Kalimantan, Indonesia, the forest is being severely deforested by their people for land development. And to make matters worse, they even choose the fastest and cos-saving method of deforestation which is by burning down the trees, the mass release of carbon dioxide from the mass burn down of trees lead to ozone thinning and greenhouse effect. Also, the haze problem is another negative side product. As for the real victims of these acts, they are the neighbouring nations such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Philippines especially as haze causes many health issues such as lung cancer and breathing problems. Therefore, these careless acts and greed not only cause the destruction of nature but also endanger many lives, both man and animals. 

Secondly, some people's greed for great fortune and easy life make them become selfish and careless by over-exploiting nature. They willingly do illegal activities such as cutting down trees or animal hunting, seeing the high demand for these materials. It will slowly cause the depopulation of different kinds of flora and fauna. In China, these activities of eating inner organs of animals such as tiger or bear and they even use these animals' body parts for economic purposes such as tiger skin, crocodile skin and elephant teeth and tusks by exporting it to those who pay a high price for it. This has a serious effect on the ecosystem which is the extinction of animals. In Indonesia, trees are being cut down for making expensive house furniture made of material such as teak wood. In fact, these trees require a long period of 10 to 20 years to mature. Thus, the continuous cutting down of trees will eventually lead to its extinction. These activities are illegal by law and still occurs widely despite many countermeasures that have been taken by the authorised organisations such as World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Somehow, these criminals are able to slip through the organisations's enforcement laws of protecting the wildlife and nature. Plus, most society are careless to even take notice of these problems because they have yet to come to awareness of the dangers that would happen from these illegal acts. If only they had given more attention and cooperation to the authorised organisations, these problems might have been able to be prevented. 

Lastly, to survive in this modern world, every person needs to be able to make a living for themselves of their family, but many people with low education level cannot get high salary jobs, even university scholars are yet to be certain of getting a proper job after their graduation despite their high level of education. The competition is just like the survival of the fittest among these graduates and people with low qualifications. Therefore with the growing demand for more natural materials such as petroleum gas and minerals from the earth as well as a high demand of smuggled goods, people are willing to pay high prices to have employees do their job of exploiting nature because these jobs are high risk. So people that are desperately in need of jobs are usually tempted with the pay and they would take up the call. This situation had opened up a lot of job opportunities, but they are careless to not realise that these jobs are the main cause of nature's destructtion because they are being pinned down by the pressure of high living cost in this modern world that they have forgotten the importance of preserving nature. 

In a nutshell, I still strongly believe in my opinion that nature's destruction is mainly caused by man's careless attitude. They strive to make a living in the world so desperately that some eventually deny the truth that it is their own fault for nature's destruction. If no serious and proper actions are being taken immediately by many wildlife and nature preserving organisations or authorised organisations such as WWF, UNESCO and ASEAN to prepare an effective strategy or blueprint to prevent this problem, there probably won't be any jungles or wildlife left in the future and our young generaton will have to live in a polluted world. 

Will this student get a high band? Why? 
Leave a comment below mentioning what aspects of this essay will be awarded high band marks. 
For example, the concrete examples of various countries being 'careless' in treating the environment will definitely earn him more merit/bonus marks. 
What else? 

Monday, October 21, 2013

MUET SPEAKING 2013 Sample Scripts

One of the questions that came out for this end of the year MUET speaking exam is :

(Submitted by a candidate)
How to attain happiness?
A. have a goal
B. good relationship with others
C. good health
D. positive outlook

Here are my sample scripts... take note that these r just samples that I'm going to 'hantam' write now... haha.. just for fun n to show you how to answer the speaking question as best as you can. 

Task A 
Candidate A

A very good morning to one and all. The issue at hand today is how to attain happiness. I believe that this issue has been on the forefront for as long as man existed. In fact, I believe even animals and other beings strive to achieve this wonderful state of happiness and contentment. It is therefore my honest opinion that in order to achieve happiness we must have a concrete and measurable goal. Let us analyse a few reasons to justify this point. 

First and foremost, to aspire towards happiness is not enough. Just wanting is only half the battle won. To attain it there must be some kind of action involved and this most certainly begins with setting goals. The most important reason for setting aims or goals is to provide a way to measure if you have achieved it or not. For example, my aim is to be happy. In order to be happy I must have enough money and job security as well as a stable and happy family. Therefore the next logical step is to provide a timeframe to achieve this goal. If we set a goal based on a timeframe, happiness will be more easily achievable. A young person could aim to get his degree before he turns 25, get a stable high paying job by 30 and get married before he/she is 35. Thus, having a goal or goals will help discern the level of our happiness. 
Secondly, we can attain happiness when we have a goal because it gives us something to work towards or aim for. However, please note that the beauty of having goals is that it can be modified to suit ourselves and our situations. And once we have achieved it, we can create new goals. Conversely, if we cannot attain it, we can modify them to be more realistic. For instance, Mahatma Ghandi's goal in life was to achieve peace through peaceful means. Furthermore, he was happiest when there are no wars and people can live in peace. Even when he was sent to jail, he still held on to his goal which was to solve things through peaceful means, not war. And even in jail, he could attain happiness - Ghandi is a truly inspirational man. 
As time is running out, let me reinstate that a key method to attain happiness is to set reachable goals for ourselves. It also brings to mind a quote, 'Aim for the sun so that if you fail, you will still be amongst the stars'. Thank you for listening. 

Candidate B

A very good morning I bid to the examiners and my fellow candidates.  As the saying goes, 'No man is an island'. Therefore we thrive on good relationships with others in order to attain happiness. It would be quite strange to achieve ultimate happiness yet have no one of consequence with whom to share it with. Hence,  good relationships with others are some of the fundamentals of achieving true happiness. Allow me to describe this issue further by presenting a few points. 
On the one hand, happiness is maximised when happiness is shared. In general, everyday we interact with the people closes to us be they family members, spouse, children, best friends or colleagues. In fact, sometimes, happiness comes from external sources and we may not even know them personally. But it is these very relationships with others that will build the foundation of happiness brick by brick. When we need help, and a friend offers it, or when we just need to spend some quality time with our family and every member of the family shows up, well, these instances feed happiness to our souls. Imagine if you received really good news like a scholarship to study abroad but had no one to tell. Indeed, our happiness would fade a little, or we might even end up depressed! 
On the other hand, happiness diminishes when we have few or no good relationships with others. In times of need, it is human nature to reach out for help especially from our closest and dearest. As a child, when we fell and hurt our knees, we would call out for our mom or dad. When a friend backstabs you with nasty gossip, we call our best friend to unload our unhappiness. In the workplace, when our colleagues treat us unfairly, we go home to our spouses and use them as sounding walls to express our anger or disappointment. Thus, the human race is fragile, and we depend on good human relationships to keep our happy odometer high.
In short, it would be pointless to attain happiness yet be so lonely with no one to share the good times with. Hence, each of us should work on improving and bettering our relationships in order to attain unlimited happiness in life. Thank you and have a nice day. 

Candidate C

A marvelous morning I bid to one and all. As the popular saying goes, 'Health is Wealth'. There is indeed a whole lot of truth to this age old adage as I am sure everyone will admit that without health, we would live a poor quality and even substandard life hence marring our ability to attain true happiness! Allow me to further elaborate by providing a few different perspectives on this issue. 
First and foremost, the level of our health will determine how happy we are. Surely there is not a single soul out there who rejoices in being unhealthy and unwell. Basically, being healthy is crucial to our happiness because if we cannot do even the simplest of things such as brushing our own teeth and going to the toilet unassisted then it would be a very sad day indeed. There can be nothing joyful about waking up every morning to face blood transfusions or chemotherapy or surgery after surgery. In fact it would be downright depressing and it isn't any wonder that these people would suffer depression and even contemplate committing suicide. 
Conversely, when we have optimum health, happiness is easily attained. When you wake up in the morning and stretch and take big lungfuls of fresh air, it makes us ready to face the challenges in the day ahead. We are able to play our role in society well be it as a student with a sharp mind to study better, or a worker in this industrious world, doing our job well. Or when our health is maximised, athletes all around the world break records and cry in jubilation as when Usain Bolt does when he literally flies down the track or when Micheal Phelps or even Lin Dan lifts the Olympic gold medals high in victory. 
Needless to say, in conclusion, happiness is easily attainable when we are healthy because it is one of the pillars of the basic necessities in life in order to truly achieve a state of bliss. Thank you. 

Candidate D

To the examiners and my fellow candidates, a wonderful morning I bid you. The topic given today is rather interesting as it brings to mind a commonly asked question, "Is the glass half empty or it is half full?" A person with a positive outlook would surely answer 'half full' and this colours his or her life with positive energy therefore making happiness truly easily attainable. Allow me to elaborate what I mean about a positive outlook. 
Firstly, a positive outlook gives us a means of inventing options. What does this mean exactly? Well, people who are positive do not give up easily, in fact, they make it a point to inspect every avenue and come up with innovative ways to overcome any obstacle. For instance, after studying so hard a student fails due to a death in the family during exam time and she could not concentrate. Rather than surrender to her fate, she takes it as a challenge to get back up on the horse and find a job. After a few years of working, she collects enough money to do her degree on a part time basis and after 3 or 4 years, she finally graduates. This is because she has a positive outlook and looked hard for other options to change her fate. At the end, she has managed to attain happiness when her goals are achieved. 
In addition, a person with a positive outlook seem to draw positive energy into her radius and somehow good things start to happen to her. Even when bad things happen, like an accident that messes up her car, she would still find the silver lining in the sense that she is thankful to be alive and more grateful still for not having harmed anyone else. Therefore, a positive outlook is crucial in attaining happiness because it is a wonderful ability to find the good in any bad situation. 
In short, people with a positive outlook with find happiness under every stone, at every corner because they are better able to be happy and content with their lot in life. Thank you for lending me your ears. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

MUET Speaking Tips 2013 Year End

Hey ho! I'm finally done with all the American Inspiration training ( I represented Malaysia for a 6 week study tour all over america!) and hv cleared my backlog of training of teachers and students for PMR & SPM English.. called my Target A+ & Final Countdown projects... phew... now I can concentrate on MUET even though my students are not sitting for this exam.

A short reflection of my students' performance in the July paper.. gosh it was harsh... no band 4s... we reduced the amount of band 1s but quality has fallen drastically.. ah well. such is life. I was really shocked that even the science students scored mostly band 2s... If you ask me... it has to do with the increasing number of seats available in IPTAs around... hence the students left in form six who didnt get a placement are 'weaker'. If you treat this statement as a fact and not an insult, you need to find the solution which is to work harder and smarter instead of feeling 'hurt'. remember the song... what doesn't kill you makes u stronger.. but the latest song on the radio i heard recently is ... what doesn't kill you makes u feel alive... so soooo try your best to read more, write more and speak n listen more in English.

Ok.. about Speaking. here are my latest top tips:

1. Speaking is all about confidence - I would say faking confidence is 80% of the trick - the other 20% is your general knowledge and language.
Why? A confident speaker (even if he/she uses broken English) is more interesting and exciting to listen to. There is nothing more an examiner dreads than a boring, unconfident mouse. If you're a mouse, act like a rat. Speak loud enough with enough confidence, look the examiners in the eyes, give your most brilliant smile and talk and talk like there's no tomorrow. Just say whatever that comes to mind; serious stuff as well as funny jokes/stories that are related to the topic.

2. The 20% is general knowledge. Be well read. If you are talking about the environment you need to give concrete examples. Mention your personal opinions of how 'sad' and 'disappointed' you are that people are becoming greedier everyday, that for the sake of money and in the so-called name of progress 150+ hectares of the Tawau Hills Park has been deforested.. Talk about the widespread forest burnings to clear land in Indonesia that is destroying the habitats of wildlife like Orangutans and rhinoceros and so on just to build more palm oil plantations.. the destruction of mangrove swamps to clear and make way for shrimp farms and this releases ozone thinning gasses, hence global warming is escalating. The trick is to throw facts and figures at the examiners and make yourself look good and well-read. However, avoid sweeping statements like 'All governments are greedy', 'Everyone does it for money.', 'Society does not care about the environment' etc.. because these are over-generalisations and sweeping statements. Where is the proof? Instead.. say "Some governments have been proven to be profit-minded", "Many people are driven by the concept of making money, esp making 'easy money'." and "There is a certain strata of society that clearly do not care about the impact to society". Notice how I modified the sentences to be more 'believable'.

3. Finally, you need to memorise good phrases to use (I have blogged about this so look up the archive) and really use it actively in both tasks. A person who participates and is engaged in the discussion will definitely deserve better marks. Help each other out by asking questions, offering suggestions, making the discussion lively and even funny. Even if you dont feel excited, pretend!!! Think of it as a short sketch...

Finally, do scour my blog for more speaking tips and sample scripts... good luck everyone!

P/s: in the comments below, if u hv taken today's exam, pls write out the speaking questions. There are generally two sets of questions for each day. Cheerios!