Monday, July 20, 2009

Tiananmen Massacre

In 1989, a free-speech movement was held by student groups at Peking University. They brought up unconventional issues and even challenged the notions of their government. Leaders of such groups were labeled as public enemies. Thereafter, when the police closed the avant-grade exhibition of the Maoist propaganda, uproar was created among the public. It eventually led towards a violent denouement in China. Tiananmen protests began in mid-April, where students from the elite universities gathered. They initially assembled to mourn the death of Hu Yaobang, who has been purged as the head of the Communist Party two years earlier. Hu had lost his job partly for refusing to crack down on liberal trends that were advancing, and to many students, he was their beacon of hope for a normal nation. After gathering on campuses to read the eulogies and hang commemorative posters, a few students decided to unfurl banners honoring Hu. This was actually done by foreign elements who wanted to overthrow China and its communist rule. On June 4, the Tiananmen massacre took place, and killed hundreds. Students became pawns in a power struggle at the pinnacle of the Party as the soldiers sent in tanks and machine guns. They started to shoot at the crowd indiscrimately. The killings could have been prevented if top officials advocated a softer approach and tolerance.
By Zhiqi, Dionne, Tricia Ann.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Setting a Tone for History

(TIME magazine Issue Jun29-Jul6, pg. 56-57)

On the July 5, 1989, Nelson Mandela, who had been apartheid for 41 years and jailed for 16 years, took the first step toward racial peace in South Africa together with then-president P.W. Botha.

Some five months later, F.W. de Klerk succeeded Botha and the former requested to meet Mandela. In the discussion, Mandela demanded de Klerk release him and his comrades, lift the ban on the former's African National Congress (ANC) and end the state of emergency. Not giving an immediate response, de Klerk was willing to listen on, opening the door to racial peace in South Africa.

Thereafter, South Africa became a multicoloured nation, where colour is no longer a legal distinction, and a diminishing social cum cultural distinction. The people of South Africa began to find peace.

According to Mandela, South Africa is a shining example to the entire world of people drawn from different racial groups who have a common loyalty, a common love, to their common country. The Afrikaners are going to face a problem of this country together.

South Africa's story of miracle, illuminates the world with hope.

184 words by Moses, Isaiah, Reuben & Gabriel.

Rushdie's Mumbai (TIME magazine: June 29 - July 6 2009)

The Satanic Verses was not a meditation on Islam, but about the author's faith in his own hometown.

Salman Rushdie's controversial novel, The Satanic Verses, angered Muslims throughout the world with its blasphemous content. As such, Iran's supreme leader ordered a death sentence upon him during which Rushdie was given protection by the London police, further accentuating the situation; riots in Mumbai killed 11 people. Behind these controversies, Rushdie actually wished to ask the question of Mumbai's identity; whether, as a religiously diverse city, its unorthodox views boosted or busted its strive for secularism. He wrote the book to show a diverse India, during times when the idea of a “Hindu India” was on the rise. To him, the Satanic verses celebrates this diversity because of its “cosmopolitaness” and shuns the idea of Pure. The price of freedom is the responsibility not to offend. Till today, feelings of distrust exist between the Indian Muslims and the police. Suspicions were drawn towards them after the Mumbai attacks. India is both more and less open to the book today. The Satanic Verses is freely available but remains officially banned.

(169 words)

By Sabila, Natasya and Syaheerah

A triumph for Love

TIME magazine ( June 29 - July 6 , 2009, pg 76 to 78)

In October 1, 1989, the Axgils became the world’s first gay couple to legalize their union which led seven countries to permit such marriages and fifteen more to authorize civil unions. In 2005, mass protests held by religious and conservatives groups led to the repeal of such marriages via referendum. In Denmark, polls showed that only 25% of the public opposed and the gay marriage bill was passed with a clear majority. At that time, homosexuality was still a taboo but something changed which led to legalization being the only option after the 1984 attempt to legalize same-sex unions. Traditionalists felt that maintaining steady, single-partnered interactions between gays would be excellent. With this decision, homosexuals could openly show their affections. However, the legislation sees gay and straight unions as different altogether. Also, homosexuals are not allowed to adopt children. Since 1989, Denmark has pronounced 4,700 gay and lesbian marriages.

(149 words)

Done by : Teanna, Samantha and Shayne! :D

Saturday, July 11, 2009

It Happened One Night

The fall of the Berlin Wall
TIME magazine ( June 29 - July 6 , 2009, pg 40 to 44)

In 1989, something bitter and edgy had entered the soul of 16.7 million Germans in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) caused by the Berlin wall. The fear of being walled in even haunted the young. Opposition groups flourished and embassies were swamped with Ossis seeking asylum. A chain of events led to the fall of the wall that imprisoned imaginations as well as those behind it. Despite the unease, the time in East German is yet glorious. Shops and factories were closed. People were celebrating openly. As many as 1.5 million of citizens applied to leave the country without fear. The Berlin party chief held press conference and promised fair and free elections and visas to be issued. Eventually, the wall was opened due to the number of people wanting to be free.
( 133 words)
Done by: Jessica and Jia Yun
Moscow’s Revolution
TIME (June26-July6, 2009. pg45-48)

This article starts off by talking about how Mikhail Gorbachev
changed the political structure of Russia away
from the communist system.
Before Gorbachev took over,
the Kremlin was in charge that treated the people unfairly.
Many delegates did not agree with Gorbachev’s ways
even though his intentions were good.
Gorbachev managed to achieve his goal by 1989.
Trips overseas were undertaken to learnt more about
the other countries.
Gorbachev’s presence cheered on the protesters
who aimed to change history.
He had intuitively felt the inevitability of
German’s unification and
was not bothered by the disappearance
of the social edifice thus,
neither helped nor stopped the collapse of
the Soviet empire when it happened. As such,
he was labeled as a traitor by Russian leaders but still,
he firmly believes that they had no right to interfere without
reckoning the people’s will and for that, the Germans supported him
for respecting their right for freedom.

(153 words)

Done by : Vanisha, Tracy, Shaotong

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Discuss the merits and demerits of the education system in your country.

Required readings:

You should also spend some time looking at the private education system in Singapore. This will include international schools as well as the universities. You should also google MOE, SOTA, La Selle SIA College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and the Singapore Sports School for your own enrichment.
Best wishes

Best wishes
Mr Low