Newspaper articles 08 MEGA COMBO

Newspaper Articles 08

National Junior College Comprehension 2005 prelim (Sci and Religion)

NJC Sci&Religion Comprehension

Achieving Coherence: Transitional Devices and Connectors

Achieving Coherence

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Inferential Question – Inverted Commas and Italics

Inferential Question – Inverted Commas and Italics

1 Purpose of the Inverted Commas and Italics
• To show a contrast between the actual meaning and the contextual meaning of the word.

• To show a contrast between the expected effect and the actual effect of the word.

• To show a contrast between the attitude of the writer and that of the subject (which uses the word)

Example 1

One posh friend of mine remembers how, whenever her parents were invited, the mother’s ‘greatest friend’, a single man was invited as well; and the host ensured the trio was assigned connecting bedrooms. Everyone was in the know – including the cuckolded husband – but as long as the affair was conducted without fuss, no one felt in the least b it bothered.

Why is the phrase ‘greatest friend’ in inverted commas? [1]

Word Actual/Dictionary meaning Contextual meaning
‘greatest friend’ best friend
mother’s lover


Suggested Answer

• The single man is not really the best friend of the friend’s mother,
• but is in reality the mother’s lover.



Example 2

In the modern society, the make-up habit performs no positive function’, yet an element of magic persists. Each ‘new’ product holds the promise of otherwise unattainable beauty. No doubt many women subconsciously entertain such hopes, but this alone does not explain why make-up is so universal. In sophisticated societies, its use is an acquired and unquestioned habit, one which takes along time to learn, but though we should not under-estimate the power of habit, there are deeper social and psychological reasons for its mass unemployment.





Explain why the word ‘new’ is in inverted commas.

Word Actual/Dictionary meaning Contextual meaning
‘new’ a novel invention
product already existed in the market

Suggested Answer

• The inverted commas are used to signal the irony that the product is often packaged as a novel invention,
• but in reality it has already existed in the market.


Example 3

We could curb our involvement in world affairs, and religious radicals would still want to kill us for ‘corrupting’ their world with our movies, books, fast-food restaurants, blue jeans, ideas about women’s liberation.

Why does the author place the term ‘corrupting’ in inverted commas?

Word Writer’s View Subject’s View
‘corrupting’ American culture is not corrupting its world.


American culture is corrupting their world


Answer

The religious radicals/ Islamic fundamentalists believe that American culture is ‘corrupting’ their world.
However, the author does not disagree/ accept this view.


Example 4
The media are stretching the limits of every ethical and legal norm. Peephole journalism is on the rise. The pictures our media publishes during communal riots worsen the situation and make riot control extremely difficult and expensive. In cases of crime, pictures convict the suspect even if the courts acquit him later. The suspect and his or her family live with the stigma forever. Yet, for all their commitment to truth-telling, the media does not publish everything they know. Even where freedom of expression is conferred there are instances of voluntary waiver of such freedom which interferes with the free flow of information to the reader. The Hindu columnist Sevanti Ninan writes "But self-censorship in the Indian media is not just alive and well; it is growing. Self-censorship means that you have to read more than one newspaper, watch more than one news channel to get at the whole truth.”
Why does the writer put the word ‘whole’ in italics?


Word expected effect actual effect
‘whole’ The media report everything objectively
The media report news subjectively


Answer
The expected effect is that the media should be objective in reporting news but the actual effect is that it is partial as it does selective reporting.
OR
The author wants to emphasize that the media does selective reporting/ is partial in reporting the news when it should be objective.


Example 5

No matter what you think of his politics or his personality, it is hard not to sympathize with President Clinton. The economy is booming, war is on the horizon, yet the press is rabid about sex in the White House. Of course, even in this ‘puritan’ culture, there are few who would insist that the President should be impeached because of his by now well-known sexual proclivities. Rather, the question is: Did he lie? The importance of this question was summarized by one Congressman who pointed out that if the President would lie about one thing, he would lie about another.

Why do you think the word ‘puritan’ is in inverted commas?

• ‘Puritan’ means living according to a strict moral or religious code/ having a strong tendency to avoid physical pleasure.
• The inverted commas suggest that the author implies that our society is actually far from being strict about physical pleasures itself.

Figurative Language Questions

CHECKLIST ON THE USE OF FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

(a) Simile – a thing or a person is compared to another that has a shared quality

Hitler was as sly as a wily fox when he subdued his enemies.

(b) Metaphor – a thing or a person is referred to as the thing to which it is being compared

Hitler was a wily fox who subdued his enemies.

(c) Metonomy – an object or person is referred to by the name of something that is closely related to it

The whole city (means people in the city) was addicted to the bottle (meaning liquor).

(d) Personification – inanimate objects and abstract ideas are personified, i.e. treated like human beings

Wisdom goes with the humble and she will teach them how to live a good life.

(e) Hyperbole – an extreme exaggeration to highlight a point

If I could move mountains but have no love, I am nothing.

(f) Irony – the real meaning is the opposite of what the words literally mean, or a result that is completely different, opposite or contradictory to the aim

What a good cook you are! (When the opposite is true)

This gadget which is supposed to help you to save time, is taking more time away from you.

(g) Contradiction – two contradictory or completely opposing states of affairs which cannot be both true

You cannot claim that you are sick when you are healthy enough to go ice skating.

(h) Paradox – similar to a contradiction except both state of affairs are true

He who wants to be the leader of a group must first be a servant.

(i) Oxymoron – a phrase with two words of opposite or contradictory meanings places next to each other

It was an open secret that Stalin and Hitler had made a pact.

(j) Rhetorical question – a question that does not require an answer and is intended to convey a point

Does Hitler, who has killed millions of people, deserve to be called a saint?

(k) Anthropomorphism – the idea that gods, animals or other objects have human forms or qualities such as jealousy, hatred, or love

(l) Analogy - the comparison of two pairs which have the same relationship

hot is to cold as fire is to ice



1. What is the author’s purpose in posing a string of questions from lines 25-28? [2m]

It is repetitive, even banal, to keep using this word, ‘unique’. Yet Gandhi - without trying or affectation, yet with a keen and calculated sense of theatre was sui generis*. No revolutionary of the past had ever so exploited the power of powerlessness, and discovered how passive resistance could flummox an imperialism built on physical force, that was accustomed to being attacked, but not suborned. How does an army deal with ‘passive resistance’? How does it subdue an unarmed opposition? How does a railway operate when men invite the trains to run over silent people prostrate on the line? There was no way - that was how Gandhi won the war he never fought.

* in a class of his own/unique in his own characteristics

Lift

Re-expressed

Questions:

How does an army deal with ‘passive resistance’?

How does it subdue an unarmed opposition?

How does a railway operate when men invite the train to run over silent people prostrate on the line?

The questions direct the reader to the _________________________________________ undertaken by Gandhi in countering his more powerful enemy who is used to aggression with ___________________________

OR any two of the following:

Method of victory

1. invites the reader to think about/highlights to the reader Gandhi’s _____________ methods – that of _____________________________(1)

Effect of literary device employed -

2. It is a _____________________ device used to ____________________ the strategies employed by Gandhi. [1]

2. Explain the irony in lines 3-5. [1 mark]

Social habit in the U.S. has taken decisive turns towards the awful. Since the end of World War II, Americans have been steadily relinquishing their inhibitions about the social consequences of their actions. They have lost a crucial sense of community, even while highways, jets, satellite TV signals and leisure travel have brought them physically closer together. The social environment has grown polluted along with the natural; a headlong greed and self-absorption have sponsored both contaminations. Somehow, Americans have also misplaced the moral confidence with which to condemn sleaziness and stupidity. It is as if something in the American judgment snapped, and has remained so long unrepaired that no one notices any more.

Lift

Own Words

They have lost a crucial sense of community, even while highways, jets, satellite TV signals and leisure travel have brought them physically closer together.

While technology can allow people to be more___________________________________

________________________________________

They are ironically ______________________

________________________________________

3. Aldous Lee compares handling the cigarette problem to a "war being waged" (line 25). Identify two metaphors in paragraph four that continue this comparison. No explanation is required. [2]

What else needs to be done? For a start, we should redouble efforts in every area of the anti-smoking war being waged by Mr Chan's committee. Our best weapon in the interim is a tax: raise the excise tax every year, if not twice a year, which might help persuade a few smokers to give up well ahead of the total ban being imposed. Parliament should raise the consumption age from eighteen to twenty-one, while imposing punitive measures not amounting to criminal charges for underage smokers. On the home front, we should consider charging parents of underage smokers with parental neglect. Why not prohibit smoking for all pregnant women since they are introducing nicotine and creating unwilling passive smokers among the helpless future citizens they carry? Cigarette manufacturers must be required to carry full-colour visuals and messages depicting, in gruesome fashion, the very real consequences of the habit - lung cancer, stroke and arteriosclerosis. As a gesture of understanding, the Environment Ministry could assign designated public smoking areas, a kind of no combat zone where desperate smokers may still light up. Finally, we must impose a heavy monetary penalty on all those caught flouting the cigarette law so that the stink of the weed becomes a sting in the wallet.

Ans:

4. Identify and explain one pun (a play on words) in paragraph six. [2]

Clearly, there are no easy answers when it comes to stubbing out cigarettes once and for all. But if there is any country in the world which can pull it off and make it work, it has to be Singapore, which rid itself of chewing gum and the sticky problems that came with it.

Ans:

5.Why is the word “voluntary” (line 6) in inverted commas? (1)

Once upon a time, a psychiatrist named Fredric Wertham went on a tear over Wonder Woman. He detected a vagina in the crook of her cartoon arm and he thought her superpowers were giving girls “the wrong idea” about women’s place in society. As for Batman’s ward, Robin, his bare legs and devotion to his guardian were planting homosexual thoughts in boys, or so Wertham believed. His crusade led to Congressional hearings and the “voluntary” censorship of comics by the industry.

From passage

Own words

“His crusade led to Congressional hearings and the “voluntary” censorship of comics by the industry.”

Advocates of active euthanasia appeal to the principle of patient autonomy. But emphasis on the patient’s right to determine his or her destiny often harbours an extremely naïve view of the uncoerced nature of the decision. Patients who plead to be put to death hardly make unforced decisions if the terms and conditions under which they receive care already nudge them in the direction of the exit. If the elderly have stumbled around in their apartments, alone and frightened for years, or if they have spent years warehoused in geriatrics barracks, then the decision to be killed for mercy hardly reflects an uncoerced decision. The alternative may be so wretched as to push patients toward this escape. It is a huge irony and, in some cases, hypocrisy to talk suddenly about a compassionate killing when the aging and dying may have been starved for compassion for many years. To put it bluntly, a country has not earned the moral right to kill for mercy unless it has already sustained and supported life mercifully. Otherwise we kill for compassion only to reduce the demands on our compassion.

6a. Identify one metaphorical expression in paragraph 4 lines 24-28 and explain its meaning. [3m]

Ans:

6b. Explain the paradox in ‘we kill for compassion only to reduce the demands on our compassion.’ (lines 32-33) [2m]

Ans:

7. From paragraph 2, identify the two metaphors used. What is the author’s intention of using each of these metaphors?

The future? Well, yes and no. E-mail, as it turns out, was just one drop in a dam-breaking flood of technology that has inundated our lives. Today, the constant pinging of your e-mail can be like the drip-drip-drip of water torture. We are swimming in doodads* and options — text messaging and search engines, Blackberries and blogs, Wi-fi, cell phones that try to do all of the above, and the promise that we have not seen anything yet.

Ans:

8. How does Jean-Francois Bayart’s metaphor of ‘a goat on a leash eating everything in its radius’ (line 34) exemplify many an African politician? Use your own words as far as possible. [2]

Anthropologist Jean-Francois Bayart calls it the “politics of the belly”, using a metaphor of a goat on a leash eating everything in its radius. It reminds one only too tellingly of many an African politician; they bleat some clichés about development to please the aid agency, and then get on with the real business of government: eating up all available resources for that Swiss account. The outside world simply cannot solve this for Africa. Legitimacy will come when honourable men and women make a genuine effort to serve their people. It may take time but it is something Africans will have to learn to do for themselves.

Ans:

With a good attitude, all things are possible.

With a good attitude, all things are possible.

In reality, the given statement does not apply most of the time. A good attitude has to work hand in hand with skills, knowledge and time management to ensure a high level of success. Apart from the stated internal factors, there are other factors that affect successes in our life which cannot be controlled. These include external factors, such as influences from family and friends and the element of chance.

A good attitude is an important factor for success as with a positive mindset comes characteristics such as determination and perseverance. This helps an individual to strive to overcome any setbacks or hurdles placed before him. This also means that if one has failed, he acknowledges his shortcomings and strives to become better. In the sports arena, athletes who have failed but have a good attitude train harder and longer, placing all their energy in becoming better so as to achieve their goals. In the working world, many businessmen who hold on to a good attitude treat their setbacks as learning experiences. Learning from these failures, they re-enter the market and persevere until they succeed. For example, it took Alexander Graham Bell four years to invent the telephone, working tirelessly with Thomas Watson, a mechanic, experimenting ways for transmitting speech electrically. With each failure, he learned a little more. Each failure pushed him to his goal. His did not have a defeatist attitude. Rather, he constantly corrected and improved, never losing sight of his goal. With this 'never say die' attitude, we are "blessed" with the telephone.

Aptitude is also an important factor for success. Without the necessary skills, abilities and knowledge, it may be impossible to achieve one's goals. For example, a student who has a good attitude but lacks the ability to conceptualise may have great difficulty in becoming a "high flyer". Likewise, a person with a good attitude towards swimming but lacks the stamina would surely not emerge as the champion if he joins a long distance swimming event in a swimming competition. Knowledge, skills and overall abilities have to be acquired in the process if one wants to get the best possible result.

Time management is equally important for one who wants to achieve success. As the saying goes, "No one plans to fail." They did not succeed because they failed to plan or keep to their plan. When everything is planned out and kept to, whatever that is done would be much more systematic and organised. To be successful in studies, students are often told to plan their revision and study schedule. They are also taught to prioritise their time properly, as managing their time is critical. An imbalance would pose a hurdle to them, making it harder to attain success.

As mentioned earlier, there are also external factors that affect successes in our life, the factors that contribute to the impossibility of success at times despite having a good attitude. Firstly, our family and friends and the people around us that we trust affect our level of success and the ability to attain it. This group of people basically influences us in terms of decision-making, our way of thinking, and the amount of support given, either as moral support or financial support. They may convince you into making a certain choice, ensuring you that success is certain. While at times good advice is given and success is achieved, there are also times when one deviates from his or her path to success and fails because of them. In terms of support from family and friends, receiving no support from them makes the road to success somewhat longer and tiring, if not disheartening. With their support and approval, one would know that even if he does fail, he has his friends and family behind him pushing and cheering him on.

The second external factor is the environment an individual is in. If the conditions faced by the individual are not conducive, he would find much difficulty in attaining success. For example, an entrepreneur with a brilliant idea or concept situated in a country facing economic downturn and recession may not be able to "make it big" due to the circumstances he is in. Another example would be the athletes sent by Laos for the SEA games held in the early 90s. It is understandable that they were at the bottom of the table as the people there live in poverty and there is internal strife at the point in time. It would be unlikely that the training the athletes there have is comparable with the training received by the athletes from the other counties in South East Asia. Their environment and circumstances pose a problem to their achievement of success.

Lastly, there is always the element of chance. Some people become successful because an opportunity is open to them at the right place at the right time. For example, a recording studio discovered Elvis Presley when he was recording a song as a birthday present for his mother. Some may miss the chance of becoming successful as an opportunity passed them by or an accident took place, taking away the possibility of becoming successful. For example, an Olympic athlete in a running event may lose his footing, trip or fall during his event accidentally, taking away the possibility of winning a medal.

In conclusion, I believe that while a good attitude is very important to achieving a high level of success, there are other contributing factors, namely one's aptitude, influences from friends and family, and the element of chance, which are also essential.

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Children Notes

1. Notions of children
• Perceived to be miniature adults
• Perceived to be pure, angelic and nearest to God
• Puritans: Asserted that they were not only conceived in sin, but born in utter corruption. Without strict controls, they would get out of hand.

• Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
- Parents were deemed to have absolute rights over their children, where they would be
freed from their parents upon their death.

• John Locke (1632-1704)
- Viewed the human mind as a “tabula rasa” or “blank slate” at birth. With time, it would
be “tarnished” by experience.
- This view was present in the Age of Reason, where the hope that humankind could be
improved upon was perpetuated.
- Children, viewed as weak willed and lacking reason are best educated by being placed
in situations which discourage the manifestation of bad character traits and kept far
away from situations which encourage them.
- Parents decide on behalf of their children.
- Discipline is to be meted accordingly in the form of beatings to make children learn
their lesson.

• Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
- Believed children were born “naturally good”.
- They became evil and were corrupted by the family and poor education.
- Asserted in Emile: On Education (1792) that children need to be nurtured by
education in order to maintain their innocence and freedom.
- Wrote: “Everything is good as it leave the hands of the Author of things, everything
degenerates in the hands of man.”

• View of children as vicious , for example in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies

Children featured prominently in English Literature after 1790.

• The Romantics; especially Blake and Wordsworth wrote in praise of the original innocence of childhood.
- Children displayed a curiosity about Nature and enjoyed it for its beauty.
- Characterised by innate sensibility and imagination
- “Lost innocence” with adulthood

• Victorian age
- Children were seen as frail and vulnerable and exploited in order to expose and
highlight the particular inhumanities of the 19th century such as corruption and poverty.
- Charles Dickens was adept at portraying the child as a victim of a brutal environment

Do such notions of childhood exist in the present?
Generally, children are essentially playful, often happy and oblivious to their surroundings. As pillars of tomorrow’s world, is it imperative to take care of their well-being and protect their freedom? What implications would there be for the rest of the world if children know only suffering in their childhood? What benefits can society reap when it ensures the freedom and dignity of children?

2. Some perspectives on the rights of children
• Where there is a conflict of rights, if one person has the right, the other is absolutely denied the right. For example, if a child lacks a right, the parent has sole dominion of
the right over the child till it ceases with death.
• One can have all the rights normally possessed by an adult or none at all. If children are deemed as miniature adults, they would automatically be accorded rights.
• “People either have rights of self-determination or they do not.” Even if they possess welfare rights, they are entitled to certain forms of treatment, not that they are entitled to make important choices about how to lead their lives. Children lacking the rights of self-determination have no freedom to choose, and their own choices count for nothing.
Are the above three perspectives acceptable?
- From a moral or legal perspective, whether one is deemed capable or not depends on
the age of their being held responsible for their deeds. Where is the line between
childhood and adulthood?
- If children are deemed as immature, or lacking in reason and knowledge, would they
be given the same rights as adults?
-Should children’s rights be distinguished from those of adults?
3. A quick glance at some facts…(source: http://www.unicef.org)
 Total number of children: 2.2 billion. Children in poverty: over 1 billion.
 Children in developing countries without toilets at home: 1 in 3; without safe water: 1 in 5; and without health care: 1 in 7.
 Children under five who die of mostly preventable deaths each day: 29,158.
Total child deaths in 2003: 10.6 million.
 Life expectancy for a child born in Japan : 82. In Zambia, 33.
 Percentage of infants with low birth weight in Sudan: 31. In the Republic of Korea: 4.
 Children born in Canada in 2003: 319,000. Children killed in Rwanda in 90 days in 1994: 300,000.
 Proportion of child deaths killed in conflict since 1990: 45 per cent.
 Estimated rise in under-five death rate during “typical” five-year war: 13 per cent.
 Children in Belgium: 2 million. Children exploited in commercial sex industry: 2 million.
 Cost of producing a landmine: as low as US$3. Cost of clearing a landmine: up to US$1,000.
 Estimated new HIV infections in 2003: 5 million. Infections among under-25s: over 2.5 million.
 Number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS: 15 million. Of them, proportion who live in sub-Saharan Africa: 8 out of 10.
 Proportion of people with HIV/AIDS living in developing countries: over 90 per cent. Of them, proportion who need ARV treatment but do not have access: 93 per cent.
 Telephones per 100 people in Sweden : 162. In Bangladesh: 1
 Percentage of central government spending on health in industrialized countries: 15. In East Asia and the Pacific: 1 per cent.
 Global military spending 2003: $956 billion. Estimated additional annual cost for financing the MDGs: $40- $70 billion.
 Countries that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child: 192. Countries that have not: 2.

4. Children in the Global Context (some hits and misses)
+ Unprecedented global prosperity and unparalleled access to information

- But persistent poverty and widening disparities exist both between rich and poor
countries and within them
 3 billion people subsist on less than $2 a day and 1.2 billion-half of them children suffer absolute poverty, with less than $1 a day to survive on.
 According to a new report by Oxfam, 45 million children will die in the next decade due to rich countries’ miserliness..
 G7 countries (Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Britain, the United States, Canada) are more well-off but only 40 % is spent on poor countries.
 The debt ridden countries are serving their debts rather than on health services.
 The G7 countries have been urged to cancel all poor countries’ debt and double development aid to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to reduce poverty.
What are the MDGs to be attained by 2015?
- Achieving universal primary education
- Halving the number of people living in hunger and on less than the equivalent of $1 a
day
- Reduce by two-thirds the mortality rate of children under five
- Reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality rate
- Halve the spread of HIV and other deadly diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis

 Economic sanctions or coercive measures taken against countries or political leaders through the deliberate withdrawal or threat of withdrawal, of customary trade or financial relations compound poverty.
 Exists in the form of trade embargoes, restrictions on exports or imports, denial of foreign assistance, loans and investments and constraints on foreign assets and economic transactions.
 With shortage of food, medical supplies, deterioration of infrastructure essential for clean water, adequate sanitation and electrical power, children are most heavily impacted along with the elderly and the poor.

+ Following the World Summit for Children, stronger international partnerships have
been forged with successful action to reduce major childhood diseases
 Polio has been almost wiped out
 National immunization campaigns in the developing world has provided mass supplements on Vitamin A, reducing child deaths and cases of irreversible blindness.
 With more access to iodized salt, there has been dramatic progress in preventing iodine deficiency disorders, which could have led to mental retardation.
 Yet, 30 million children remain unimmunized because of lack of vaccines, poor or inaccessible health services or lack of information and misinformation on where immunization is carried out.
 In Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, immunization rates declined dramatically with political and economic upheaval as a result of independence from the Soviet Union. Thus, more than 2 million children die unnecessarily each year.
- but unimaginable devastation by HIV/AIDS, especially in sub-Saharan Africa
 Sub-Saharan Africa has just 10% of the world’s population, but 70% of the world’s people with HIV/AIDs. 9 out of 10 children affected are African.
 Millions have been orphaned with the loss of parents to the disease, making them more prone to exploitation.
 The global picture: by end 2002, 42 million people were living with HIV/ AIDS, with more than 3 million children under 15.
 The disease is now increasingly affecting the young, girls and women and those illiterate and poor. In the most affected countries, the ratio is five or six girls (aged 15 to 19) for every boy infected in that age group.
 Eastern Europe and Central Asia have the fastest growing HIV/AIDS epidemic, fuelled significantly by injecting drug use.
 Every day, almost 2,000 babies are infected with HIV during pregnancy, at birth or through breastfeeding.
 Girl’s education can be an effective tool in the prevention of HIV/ AIDS as it could help reduce the spread of the disease by helping females become independent, delay marriage and comprehend the measures taken to prevent the disease.

+ Some gains for women, including greater legal recognition of their rights in many
countries
 The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women has become the second most ratified international convention.
 There are also more women in the labour force.

- but continuing gender inequity and gender discrimination.
 Nearly 120 million are still out of school, of which 53% are girls.
 Gender based violence still happens daily, such as sex-selective abortion, female infanticide; female genital mutilation; “honour killings”, domestic violence and abuse ; sexual slavery, prostitution and trafficking; and the use of rape as a weapon of war.
 About 1 million children are exploited yearly in the multi-billion dollar sex industry.
 Commercial sexual abuse of children is fuelled by a demand for the sexual tourism.
Child pornography
 Differing legislative standards in countries
- The actual age for legal participation varies with countries setting different age
requirements for hardcore vs softcore pornography.
- Production and sale of child pornography is generally illegal in most developed
countries. Some countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and The
Netherlands outlaw mere possession. In Russia, there is no special legislation on
distribution of pornography and child porn.
- Some prohibit all depictions of nudity of minors, regardless of whether the minor is
depicted in an erotic pose or engaging in a sex act.
- Others disallow written works that explicitly describe sexual activities of minors.
- Simulated child pornography such as paintings, drawings, or computer- generated
images, has recently been included in some countries’ definition of child porn.
- In most countries, materials dealing with underage sex are usually exempt from
prosecution when deemed to have artistic merit.
- The internet has made it difficult to stop dissemination of some images which
constitutes legal in some jurisdictions, and deemed as child pornography in others.
For example, in Great Britain, females as young as 16 can pose topless for
mainstream newspapers and adult magazines. Yet for them to pose for American
magazines, they have to be at least 18.

With the differing standards, how can children be adequately protected? Does the existence of the Internet compound the situation?

 Arguments for less restrictions on child pornography
- Simulated child pornography does not involve real children.
- The non-commercial trade and sharing of child porn can serve as a substitute for new
materials and bring about a decrease in production.
- Pedophiles are given an outlet such that the risk of committing abuse is lowered.
- Liberalistion of conventional porn in many countries shows that the availability of porn
reduces the number of sex crimes.

 Arguments against child pornography
- The trade in child porn precipitates a greater proliferation of the child porn market.
- Pedophilia might increase and lower one’s threshold to engage in sex with a child.
- Might encourage child molesters
- May give the impression that the depicted pornographic acts are normal.
-- Legalising simulated child pornography could make prosecution of true child
pornography much harder.
Child trafficking
 Worldwide, an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year.
-Moreover, families are often unaware of its dangers, believing that their children might have the chance for a better life outside their own country.
-Girls as young as 13 (mainly from Asia and Eastern Europe) are trafficked as ‘mail- order brides’. Up to 10,000 women and girls from poorer neighbouring countries have been lured into commercial sex establishments in one South-East Asian nation.

+ Increasing recognition of children’s rights and attention to violations of these rights
 Non-governmental Organisations and the media have been increasingly active in highlighting special protection issues.
 Children’s rights are now priorities on the global agenda and individual countries’ political agenda.

Some milestones…
1989- Convention on the Rights of the Child
1990- World Summit for Children
• 77 heads of state and government ad 88 other senior delegates met and put
children’s interests as top priority
• Leaders committed themselves to a World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children and a Plan of Action
• 27 specific goals that included their survival, health, nutrition, education and protection and to be to be attained by 2000

- but there exists the proliferating of armed conflicts that disproportionately killed and
injured children, the persistence of other forms of violence against children and
continued widespread exploitation of their bodies and labour.

 Conflicts killed more than 2 million children in the 1990s and left many millions disabled and psychologically scarred with displacement, insecurity, destruction of social infrastructure and judicial systems

 Trade in arms and illicit drugs worth an estimated $800 billion and $400 billion yearly result in increased proliferation of conflicts and violence.



Landmines
 More than 10000 children are killed or maimed by landmines every year.
 Children are more vulnerable because they may not be able to recognize or be able to read warning signs. Some landmines are hidden and difficult to spot. Besides, children are innately curious and likely to pick up strange objects.
 Survivors of mines tend to be concentrated among the poor who are exposed when cultivating their fields, herding their animals or searching for firewood. Those who labour in fields and forests and who fetch water are most at risk.
 In Cambodia, civilians use mines and other devices to fish, to guard property sometimes for domestic violence.
 Children may be so accustomed to them that they become immune to dangers.
Some even use mine casings for wheels for toy trucks.
 Children who are maimed would place their families in greater debt. Landmines
prevent rural people from growing food or earning a living.

Child Soldiers
 At any one time over 300,000 child soldiers, some as young as eight, are exploited in armed conflicts in more than 30 countries around the world.
• More than 2 million children are estimated to have died as a direct result of armed conflict over the last decade. At least 6 million children have been seriously injured or permanently disabled.
• In May 2000, the United Nations General Assembly adopted an Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict. Raised the minimum age for conscription from 15 to 18 and forbids anyone under 18 from participating in hostilities.

Small Arms and Light Weapons
 Development of light, inexpensive weapons has impacted the number of children recruited as child soldiers and trafficking of arms and drugs.
• They main and kill thousands of children year. Children witnessed or suffered direct attacks by light weapons in their homes, schools and committees.

Child Labour
 According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), 246 million are engaged in exploitative labour.
• Three quarters work in hazardous environments such as mines or factories, or with dangerous substances such as chemicals and agricultural pesticides.
• Some 5.7 million of these children work under slavery of bonded labour.

Depravation of primary caregivers
 Primary caregivers and the family forms children’s first source of protection.
• Their overall well-being and development is compromised with temporary or permanent depravation which comes about when they are separated during war, orphaned by HIV/AIDS, or placed in hospitals, orphanages, psychiatric units, prisons and detention centres.
• Sometimes this increases a child’s risk of exposure to violence, physical abuse and even death.
• Survivors often face malnutrition, illness, physical and mental trauma, and stunted cognitive and emotional development.

Child abduction
• Dramatic increase in child abductions and child kidnappings by custodial and non- custodial parents.
• Political and legislation differences make child abduction cases difficult to solve.
• Countries have adopted a treaty to expedite the return of children wrongfully removed to their home country.

 The Hague Convention
Under the treaty, each state which has subscribed establishes a ‘Central Authority” to
serve as a liaison with the other Contracting States.
- The parent files the application with the Central Authority (the child’s home country or
where the child is located)
- The Central Authority has to locate, protect and secure the voluntary return of the
child.
- If a judicial proceeding is initiated, the court must act quickly.

+ New opportunities for popular participation created by the spread of democratic
governance and increased decentralization, and a greater role in development for civil
society, NGOS ad the private sector
• Move towards political democratization; for example, Eritrea and Namibia achieved independence.
• Many countries have initiated programmes of decentralization and made efforts to empower local authorities.
- but continued poor environmental management, placing more children at risk of
disease and natural disasters.
 environmental degradation has been aggravated by rapid growth of cities, poor management of urbanization, unregulated urbanization, unregulated industrialization, wasteful consumption, neglect of urban poverty and population displacement.

Why have the above goals for the World Summit for Children not been met?
-Needed investments for children were not made.
-Developing countries spend only 12% to 14 % of their national budgets to basic social services.
-Donors allocate only 10 to 11% of aid budgets.

3.5 Solutions for children’s protection and civil rights
• Role of the family
- Strengthen programmes to support families with child rearing responsibilities
- Ensure the development of comprehensive national programmes for the prevention,
detection and treatment of neglect and physical or sexual abuse of children
- Ensure that all children deprived of a family environment have access to appropriate
forms of alternative care where their rights are fully safeguarded.

• Civil rights and freedom
- Laws to protect children from discrimination, especially in access to education in the
acquisition of citizenship and nationality
- Laws to care for children separated from parents, regulating and intercountry adoption
- Actions to counter harmful traditional practices, including female genital mutilation
(FGM) and early and non-consensual marriages
- New laws to prohibit child prostitution, child trafficking and child pornography
- Labour laws for minimum age for employment , prohibiting the worst forms of child
labour.
- Specialised juvenile justice systems, setting minimum ages for criminal responsibility
and ensuring the separation of juveniles from adults in detention centres.
- Strengthen strategies and mechanisms to ensure children’s participation in decision
making for to their family and society
- Promote awareness of child rights among children and adults, and foster changes in
attitudes and values that undermine respect for the rights of children
--Better collaboration between law-enforcement agencies and judicial authorities
- Continued efforts to build broad based partnerships at the local, national, regional and
international levels

In the local context, comprehensive laws have been implemented to protect the child.
Children and Young Persons Act (revised 2001)
http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/non_version/cgi-bin/cgi_getdata.pl?actno=2001-REVED-38&...

What are the limitations of these solutions?


3.6 A different set of challenges

Childhood obesity
• Possibility of a global epidemic of obesity which threatens to eradicate other improvements in children’s health and safety for the past 30 years.
• In America:
- According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. about 15.6% of American
children between 12 and 19 were obese in 2002 , from 6.1% in 1974.
How does this compare with statistics for violent crime and illegal drug use?
- 44.5% of every 1000 people between 12 and 15 were likely to be victims of violent
crime in 2002, drown from 77.5 % per 1000 in 1974.
- 39.3% of 12th graders used illegal drugs; down from 53.8% in 1978.

• In Scotland:
- Scots children are among the fattest in the developed world, according to Scottish
Executive figures. Only Italy and Malta have a higher number of overweight youngsters.
- This compares with England and Wales and in America, where 1 in 7 15 year olds are
obese.

• The International Obesity Task Force (IOFT) seeks to increase the awareness of the condition as a serious medical one with huge economic costs and to come with policies and strategies to deal with it.

• In Singapore, the ‘Trim and Fit’ programme has helped to improve fitness and reduce obesity with increased exercise and monitored eating habits.

Yet will the global epidemic be effectively curbed?

Children and stress
Some possible factors:
• Rise in expectations to perform
• Difficulties forming good relationships with peers,
• Higher trend of children having thoughts on suicide.
• Arguments with parents
• Loss of parents
• Divorce
• Break-ups
• Poor grades
• Boredom
• Eating disorders
• Depression


In conclusion,
 Are all children locally and globally in a dire situation?
 Do children learn any lessons while being mired in adversity?
 Are some so well taken care of and protected that they have become spoilt ?
 Are the laws in place inadequate?


Question for discussion
Discuss the plight of children in the world today. (SRJC PE99 Q1)

“Not enough to protection is given to children in many parts of the world.” Discuss. (AJC PE97 Q9)