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Essays and stories

A-Level: English

Title:  Essays and stories
Description  23000 words of essays and stories. Creative writing and argument construction.
Word Count:  23000

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It's heading straight for the rapids! They're in trouble! The boat will be smashed against the rocks!" Ken exclaimed. "Let's get help!"

The boys sprinted back to the village for help. Along the way, they met the village headman. Stumbling over his words in his haste, Ken explained the emergency to the headman.

The headman was a man of quick action. Without wasting any time, he yelled out to some men to help him carry his powerful outboard motor to the jetty. With the motor tied firmly onto bamboo poles, they rushed hurriedly down to the jetty.
Their haste was indeed necessary for, by the time the men had reached the jetty, they saw that the boat was dangerously close to the rapids. There was not a moment to lose! With quick hands, the headman attached the outboard motor to his sampan and then sped off to the rescue.

Upon reaching the tourist boat with bare minutes to spare, the headman realized his mistake. How could so many tourists be packed into this small sampan? The headman was filled with despair. Then he saw the rope that had been used to tie down the outboard motor to the bamboo poles. It had been flung into the sampan in his haste. Quickly, he grabbed the rope and flung it to the boatmen on the tourist boat.

"I'll tow you back!" he shouted.

After the boatmen had tied the rope firmly to their boat, the headman made a swift U-turn and then, putting the engine on full power, he steered his sampan upstream. The rope gave a jerk and then, to everyone's relief and joy, the tourist boat moved forward, obediently following the small sampan.

Loud cheers burst out from the tourist boat and the observers on the shore. Thanks to the headman's courage, the cooperation from the villagers, and the quick action of the boys, the tourists were saved from certain death in the rapids.

Describe some of the minor accidents that you have experienced

Accidents are part and parcel of life itself and to say that you have never had a silly accident in your life would be like saying, "I'm a green-faced alien from Pluto." Well, I have certainly had my share of ridiculous accidents. Not all of them have changed my life, but they have certainly made me more aware of my limitations. Yet, sometimes, remembering those times, I think, "I can't believe I actually did that!"

There was this incident about five years back. I was at a piano recital. Actually, it was my debut, and I was shaking with nerves. Finally, the dreaded moment arrived. I sat at the piano and started playing. Halfway through the first movement, I felt a tickle in my nose. My fingers were needed on the piano keys so I could not reach tip to rub my nose. I tried holding my breath... to no avail. I exploded in a huge, sloppy sneeze that blasted my music sheets right off the piano. Absolutely humiliated, I dashed off the stage. Nothing could get me out there to face the amused audience.

Then, there was this skating incident which occurred only a year ago. My father had bought me my first pair of in-line skates. Actually, they were my first pair of skates. I had never skated before. Well, I confidently put them on and fastened them, not knowing what was ahead. Standing up, I shoved off. Then, for the first time in years, I lost all control of my bodily movements. I was waving my arms around, like a drowning chicken trying to fly out of the water. My legs had no sense of direction, with my left leg heading north and my right heading south-east. Finally managing to get upright, I found myself staring the gate right in its metal grille. There was a loud Crash! Boom! and Bang! Fortunately, all that was injured was my self-confidence, thanks to my protective pads.

Another accident occurred right in the safety of my home, in the kitchen, actually. My mother had just bought a microwave oven. On that fateful day, my mother had left me a plate of fried rice to be reheated for my lunch. On the plate were the usual accompaniments to the coconut-flavored rice: vegetables, groundnuts, chillied prawns and a whole hard-boiled egg. I was, of course, still considered a user with "L" (Learner) plates as far as this oven was concerned. However, warming up food was not complicated ... or so I thought. Carefully, I placed the plate of food in the microwave oven, turned the dial to "high" and pressed the lever to start the oven. It started smoothly. Gleefully, I watched my dish of food turn graceful circles in the oven. After a few rounds, I opened the oven to take out my warmed-up food. At that very second, the egg exploded. Boom! It was "Egg yolk keeps falling on my head". My clothes, my hair, the whole kitchen was covered with egg-yolk and rice that the force of the explosion threw. There was no lunch for me that day either.

Well, there you have them, some of the grimace-inspiring details of my life. So, am I clumsy or just low in luck? A little of both, I think.

The problem of deforestation.

Thousands and thousands of acres of lush rain forests are cleared each year to make way for development. The once beautiful and spectacular forests are reduced to barren landscapes. This is for the sake of development, for the advancement of man.

Yet, what happens when trees are felled? Firstly, the earth is left vulnerable to soil erosion. The heavy tropical rains will carry away the rich topsoil, and the land without its topsoil will no longer be fertile. Slowly but steadily, the lush vegetation will give way to wasteland.

Secondly, the flowing water will not only wash away the topsoil but will deposit it in the rivers. As a result, the rivers will become shallower. Consequently, floods will become frequent in the area. Thousands of people will suffer in these floods.

Another point to note is that forests are home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. Animals and plants live in symbiotic relationships in the balance of nature. Man destroys this balance when he flattens the forests to the ground. Where do they go then, the great and tiny inhabitants of these forests? Nowhere. They die. If this goes on, the food chain will be disrupted. As creatures dependent on the food chain, man is ultimately destroying his own sources of food through the destruction of rain forests.

When forests are a distant memory, a shocking fact will hit us full force. Mankind will be thrown into a state of unimaginable suffering and agony. What I am talking about is the lack of oxygen. While cutting down a tree to add yet another piece of luxurious furniture to Man's already opulent lifestyle, people forget that they are also cutting down our supply of oxygen.

Trees absorb the carbon dioxide breathed out by living creatures, reprocess it and, in the end, produce the life-sustaining oxygen. Without trees, where will this oxygen come from? Will we process it in factories? Will a time come when man will be fighting for the very air he breathes?

Furthermore, the excessive carbon dioxide will also effect a change in the micro-climate and raise the region's temperature. There will be a greenhouse effect on earth; warm air and radiation will be trapped under the earth's atmosphere. Then, as the earth's temperature rises, the ice in the polar caps will melt, raising the sea level. Great floods will hit the lower-lying areas.

As you can see, it is a vicious cycle. A change in our environment will trigger off another change which will trigger off yet another. This is why we. should keep the balance of nature. This is why we ought to preserve our forests. This is why environmentalist groups are pressurizing governments to reduce the felling of trees and the clearing of forests and to be serious about replanting forests.

With the support of ordinary citizens like you and me, they will get the attention of the people in power. We can also help by planting trees. Members of this beautiful planet must be united. By preserving our forests, we are preserving ourselves.

What changes would you like to see in your school?

If you were to see the number of suggestion slips stuffed into my school's Suggestion Box, you would be shocked. Granted, some of the suggestions are rubbish but I do agree with many of them. There are many ways in which my school could be improved, many weaknesses that need seeing to.

Firstly, and most importantly, teachers in all schools should realize that they are responsible for their students' future. This is especially true for children from less affluent homes who cannot afford to supplement the school's teaching with extra tuition. Teachers should not shirk their responsibilities towards their students.

I am neither emphasizing this point because some teachers do not seem to feel the slightest obligation to do their job well nor the slightest feeling of guilt when their students fail in the examinations. In fact, in my school, teachers are sometimes found sipping coffee or even having a snack in the school canteen when they are supposed to be in class teaching.

Of course, there are teachers who are truly committed to their job and do deliver the goods. They stay up late into the night to finish correcting their students' work and to prepare effective lessons for their students. Some teachers will even devote Saturday mornings to conducting extra-curricular activities, such as the Scouts movement. Now, if only all teachers were like this!

Furthermore, wouldn't the school be a much better place to spend our adolescence if we did not have to cope with teachers who vent their foul moods on us? We should not have to walk on eggshells because our teacher has had a bad day.

Another aspect of the school that needs changing is the set of school rules. Some are so irrational or petty! Take, for example, the rule on short hair for boys. What is the rationale behind this? Do the people in authority believe that everyone with long hair will turn out to be a thug or a villain? Well, look at Hitler: he had very short hair and he almost caused the extinction of the entire Jewish race!

On the other hand, punishments for serious acts of indiscipline should be made more effective, even if they have to be harsher. These days, students may get away with only a warning or a "booking" for offences such as breaking the school's tables, chairs and even doors. I strongly feel that these vandals should be made to pay for what they have destroyed.

Furthermore, I feel that criminal action should be taken against students who beat people up, or threaten to do so, to extort money from them. If you behave like a criminal, you should be treated like one.

Another area that needs reform is the school curriculum. One major problem is the subject called "Moral Education". You just cannot learn good morals the way you learn any other academic subject, memorizing facts for examinations. Good morals have to be internalized. So, "Moral Education" should either be taken off the school curriculum after primary school or changed to emphasize practical application rather than "head knowledge".

Our school hours take up a large portion of our day. Let us spend these hours usefully, in a secure, caring, fun-filled atmosphere. Our school years take up a large proportion of our lives. This is the time that we are molded, intellectually and morally. Help us to grow into worthy citizens of our nation.

What occupation do you see yourself in after you have completed your schooling? What are you going to do to achieve this ambition?

I climb into the cockpit and sit myself down on the metal seat of the F-16 "Falcon", one of the best supersonic planes ever invented. I run a routine check on all the aircraft's dials and gauges as well as the weapon systems through the heads-up display.

The sergeant gives me the thumbs-up sign from the far run way, indicating that all the external parts of the plane are in order and functioning well. I return the gesture to indicate that all internal systems are working well and that I will be taking off.

I flick the start button and feel the soft vibration begin. I hear the hum of pure power. Pushing the throttle to three quarters, I feel the acceleration of the plane taxiing off the runway and into the air....

I have always aspired to be a fighter pilot. My dream began when I was about seven years old. One day, my uncle took me for a ride in his private plane. It was a momentous experience for me! Soaring freely in the sky, high above the rest of civilization, I knew that I would never want to do anything as much as I wanted to fly.

As I grew older, I began to read books on aviation and air adventures. I was especially fascinated with accounts of air battles. Biggles was my hero above all other heroes. Thus, my ambition narrowed from just wanting to fly a plane to becoming a fighter pilot. The thought of scudding through the sky with the ability to defy gravity with a multi-million dollar piece of machinery and patriotic fervor excited my soul.

The requirements for fighter pilot candidates are many and difficult to fulfill. Among them are academic excellence, perfect eyesight, a fit body, quick reflexes and the ability to stay cool under pressure. Well, I have never been the kind of person to leave things to chance: I am constantly aware of the need to work towards my goals.

Thus, throughout my childhood years, into adolescence and up till now, I have always made time for exercise. I play games regularly, run ten kilometers a day and work out in the gym at least three times a week. It is crucial for a fighter pilot to be fighting fit. He must be able to withstand the high and low g's when piloting a jet at high speed.

I have always been conscious of the need to preserve the perfect eyesight that God has blessed me with. So, I have always curtailed my hours of television-viewing. When I do watch television, I make sure I sit a good four meters away from the screen. I have always been careful to read only in well-lit areas. In addition, I watch my diet, eating food rich in vitamin A, which is essential for healthy eyes.

In school, I never stint on my study times. I made sure I qualified for the science stream in High School, as a pilot must have a good understanding of physics and mathematics. My hard work has paid off and I have been topping the class in these subjects. I have just sat for the O levels. The results will not be out for months but I feel confident that I have done well. Next year, I plan to do my A levels. And after that, I shall enlist in the US Air Force.

There is not much longer to wait. My dream is almost within my grasp. I pray with all my heart that it will become a reality and not remain just another of my boyish fantasies.

It is better to be the eldest child than the youngest one in the family. "Write a debate speech, proposing or opposing this motion.

"Mr. Chairman, honorable judges, misguided members of the opposition, and members of the floor: Good day to all.

"Standing here today on this breezy morning as the third speaker for the proposition, I wish to continue where my team-mates left off to correct the misleading information presented by the opposition.

"For instance, the second member of the opposition claimed that the youngest child will be treated more leniently than the others. Now, is this an advantage? By being treated too leniently, the child might think that his misbehavior is perfectly acceptable. Ever heard of the expression "Spare the rod and spoil the child"? It is true. Without strict and loving discipline, a beloved child might end up being the black sheep of the family. Now, the opposition contends that it is an advantage to be spoilt in this way. How can this be?

"The opposition has also pointed out that the youngest child is usually more pampered. I agree. But, again, is this good? It is indeed enjoyable to be fussed over, pampered and mollycoddled but what will this pampered child grow into? It is a maxim that too much or too little is no good: Once a pampered child grows up, he will be overly dependent on others, in other words, spineless. Would you like to be this spineless adult? I leave you to decide.

"Ladies and gentlemen, having straightened out a few delusions of the opposition, I shall present my own points. One of the advantages of being an eldest child is that he is used to being respected and obeyed by his siblings. This is because they know he is wiser and more experienced. This is a good feeling and it creates high self-esteem. This self-esteem will motivate him to succeed in every aspect of life.

"Undeniably, the eldest child will shoulder more responsibilities. He will often be left in charge of the younger ones. The eldest child is also cast as a role model for the younger ones. Thus, he has to try harder to maintain discipline and a high standard of behavior.

"The eldest child, having to cope with his siblings' antics, will also develop patience. He may have to give in to his siblings because `they are too young to understand'. Thus, he develops tolerance and understanding of other people's weaknesses.

"All these points were described as 'disadvantages' by the opposition. They are only disadvantageous if you are unable to see the long-term benefits. You see, these momentarily trying circumstances will shape the child and prepare him for the challenges that lie ahead.
According to a survey conducted by the Home Ministry, an average of 3 out of 5 successful people -- corporate leaders, lawyers, politicians -- were the eldest children in their families.

"On to my next point, which centers on the word 'privileges'. In most cases, the eldest child will inherit the greater share of the wealth. According to Chinese custom, the eldest son carries on the family name, therefore he deserves a larger share of the property. In monarchies, the eldest child is the heir to the throne, as in the case of Prince Charles. If you think that the eldest child is only privileged if he belongs to a wealthy family, you are wrong. The distinction is even sharper in poor families where the eldest child may be the only one whom the family can afford to educate or feed properly.

"So, there you have it. Clear arguments to demolish the opposition to this motion. And now I hand over to my opponents, to give the sensible ones amongst them a chance to start defecting over to our side. Thank you."

Should our school examination system be abolished? Give reasons for your stand.

From primary school to the end of their tertiary education, students face the daunting task of preparing for examinations every single year. So much time and emotion is poured into preparing for examinations.

Advocates of the system contend that annual examinations are a good way of training children for the stress of life after school - where deadlines and sales quotas need to be met, and work completed methodically and with minimum fuss.

Government examinations are also said to be the necessary yardstick for measuring the capability of each person for further education or employment.

Yet, are examinations an accurate yardstick? A person's true abilities may not be shown by written examinations. Take Winston Churchill, for example. He was a school dropout and yet he became one of England's greatest statesmen, a national savior in World War II. Clearly, some talents and forms of ingenuity go undetected in examinations.

Another problem related to our system of examinations is that teachers become too "exam-orientated". They race through the syllabus so that they can cover everything in it in time for the examinations regardless of whether their students have understood the material. The weaker students often end up the victims in this race -- they are left far behind the rest of the class. They become more and more discouraged as they understand less and less of the lessons, to the point that they hardly care if they pass or fail. Sadly, this attitude will be carried with them into adult life.

What about the "swots"? Well, speaking as one, I confess that I often wonder whether it is worth it. We rush from one tuition class to another and we spend most of our time studying for tests and examinations, or doing our homework. All through the school semester, we only have one thought in mind: to excel in the examinations. Is this really living?
A related point is that some students are so occupied with their studies that they do not develop their potential in other fields. It is true that there are many clubs and societies in the school. However, many students just do not have the time to make full use of these extracurricular activities. They have to study, study, study. So, our emphasis on examinations is indirectly producing people who are only trained to study and reproduce facts rather than well-rounded individuals.

In conclusion, while I realize that it will be impossible to do away with all examinations, I feel that they should be given less importance within the school system. For example, instead of basing entry qualifications on one examination, students should also be evaluated through the cumulative marks of tests and assignments. Furthermore educationists, employers, parents and the students themselves should always be reminded that the results of examinations are not equal to the sum of the net worth of the individual.

Write a debate speech in support of advertisements.

"Mr. Chairman, honorable judges, my most worthy opponents and everyone else present here today. Good afternoon. Before I begin on my main points, I would like to express my disagreement with one of the points expressed by the proposition team.

"The second speaker for the proposition said that advertisements cause people to keep buying low-quality goods. Now, I feel that people generally are not so naive. Even the members of the proposition team have been able to note the various tricks and so-called brain washing maneuver. So, the tricks haven't worked, have they? Actually, few of the usual purchases that we buy are heavily advertised on television or anywhere else for that matter. For example, do you choose the most highly advertised tissue paper or toilet paper? At most, we would try a much advertised product only because it was something new. Take the Cherry Coke advertisements. Its advertising mode probably fits all the descriptions made by the proposition team member. However, how many of us were so influenced by these advertisements that he or she has started to drink the beverage weekly, or even monthly?

"Now for my first point, I would like to state the benefits of advertisements from the economic side. Advertisements can help companies to introduce their latest products to the market. If the companies are not able to inform the public about their new products, they will not have the confidence to try to produce it. It is undeniable that advertisements play a crucial role in increasing a company's sales. This may sound capitalistic, but we must remember the importance of these factories to the nation. With the increase in sales, the company can afford to give better pay to the workers and offer more jobs.

"Now, another point is that it is only with proper circulation of the products made possible by advertising that the companies are able to mass-produce their products. Mass production is more economical and allows the producers to lower the price of these goods! As a result, consumers can purchase these goods at reasonable prices. As you can see, millions of consumers benefit because of advertisements.

"Thirdly, industries can also greatly contribute to the expansion of a company from regional to international status. Let me give a real example. One man started a small and humble cottage industry of jeans-making. Because of its increasing popularity through advertising, this industry gradually weaved its way into the market until it started to prosper. From a cottage industry, this industry grew into an international company known by both the young and old. The name of this brand of jeans is none other than Levi's. This company was able to grow due to advertisements, creating job opportunities for millions of people, not only in America but also in Levi's factories in Indonesia, the Philippines and other third world countries.

"Fourthly, advertisements of the latest technology and inventions are also beneficial for the consumers, for it means they can find the right kind of product for themselves easily and quickly. Here is another real-life case. My grandmother used to have too many lizards crawling around her house and she is paranoid about them. Then, one day, she saw the advertisement for a lizard spray that can paralyze lizards temporarily. End of lizard problem. How could my dear grandma have found out about such a strange but useful product without advertisements? Jokes aside, through reading the advertisements in newspapers or magazines, many people find just the product required to take care of their particular problem. Estate managers can find out about the right fertilizer or pesticide; computer owners can find the best software; doctors can find out about the latest medications. Imagine all the bother one must go through to find out the product one needs amongst the rapidly expanding array of products and inventions available, without advertisements. Why, one would have to phone just about every shop in town! Nowadays, we can just flip open a newspaper or even the Yellow Pages. See how advertisements have been such a blessing!

"Friends should never hide anything from each other." Do you agree?

No man is an island. Everyone depends on his friends to a certain extent. Ever since man formed a system of verbal communication, all people have been in constant chatter with one another. Relationships are important to man, so much that people may shape their entire lifestyles simply to find favor with their clique or circle of friends. Therefore, much caution must be applied when dealing with our friends, especially in our speech. So then, must we always tell our friends the whole truth and nothing but the truth or is it sometimes simply none of their business?

One thing is clear: finding out that your friend has lied to you always hurts. In cases where lies have been told to hurt you or other parties on purpose, the friendship will never be the same. If the lie caused you great damage, the friendship will not be salvageable. Who would want a treacherous person for a friend? Yet, even when the matter is not of great importance, little lies can lead to the spoiling of relationships. I have a friend who often tells little untruths. Sometimes, he exaggerates circumstances a little, just to impress others, sometimes he tells half-truths to get out of trouble, sometimes, he makes up stories just to entertain his friends. Personally, I just do not feel comfortable with him. You see, I just never know whether he is telling the truth or one more of his little lies.

Apart from the question of maintaining credibility, sharing one's problems and joys with a friend can also be helpful as we deal with the problems of daily living. As the saying goes, shared joy is double the joy and shared sorrow is half the sorrow. Sharing the good times can brighten up a friend's day if he feels down. Sharing one's problems and despairs with a friend will bring forth the encouragement and advice we need to hear. Sometimes simply having an ear to hear our heart's cries and knowing that someone understands us will make us feel better. People have been saved from suicide just by having a friend to listen to their troubles.

It is clear, then, that some things need to be said to our friends without any twisting of the truth. However, there are times when telling a friend too much can also lead to problems. An all-too-common example of such a time is when one hears rumors. Gossip can start simply because someone thought a rumor was true and shared all her thoughts on the rumor with a friend. The friend, who actually had no real knowledge of the matter, passed all her thoughts and ideas to another friend and so on and so forth. The final result can be a mangled product which could really hurt the parties involved. The thing to do about rumors is not to spread them, even if you have strong opinions, about them.

Another noteworthy fact is that sometimes, telling the truth may be worse than saying nothing. If an ugly girl with an inferiority complex were to ask you if she was unattractive, it would be a very bad idea to tell her just how unattractive she was. One must use his discretion in such situations, stressing on her good qualities, of course. Telling the whole truth in this case would destroy her remaining shreds of confidence.

In conclusion, I feel that friends, even the closest of friends, need not tell each other everything they know or feel. Some matters, of course, should be discussed with friends, while some others should be hidden. We have to balance our love for truth with the practicalities of the situation. Not being perfect, we are bound to make mistakes, of course. So, one must then be prepared to make up with our friends, apologizing for our verbal blunders and forgiving them for theirs. Well, that's what friendship is really about -- accepting people for what they are, imperfections and all.

How do you measure success in life?

Reaching the top of the tree in one's chosen occupation or profession is the usual standard by which success in life is measured, at least in the Western world. However many Asians would reject this criterion. The contemplative religions assert that success is only measurable in terms of religious advancement and of the acquisition of the virtues. Thus, success would be in inverse ratio to material advancement.

Most of the world accepts the definition of material advancement, its objectives being affluence and perhaps power over others, both being the most important means of self-expression.

Some are born into positions which already confer affluence and power, so success to them might lie merely in the preservation of the family business or estate and perhaps its enhancement for the benefit of the next generation. Most people have to work hard to achieve success.

The western concept of success is not always satisfying and some people, at the height of their affluence and power, reject it in favor of the simple life. This happens for a variety of reasons.

Beyond a certain point the acquisition of money proves unsatisfactory. The difference between the lifestyle available to a millionaire and that available to a billionaire is marginal. Unhappily money making can become an obsession, and some very wealthy people become very mean. Money also creates anxiety since it usually has to be put at risk if more is to be made. Other anxieties may be created when a large number of people become dependent on a financial empire. Money confers power which may corrupt. It is often made at the disadvantage of others, and it may damage a business man's relationships both with his peers and with his subordinates. These pressures and anxieties often have a detrimental effect on health and on family life. One's wife and children are inevitably neglected and unhappy. The children of successful capitalists or career workaholics sometimes reject everything the father or parents stand for. Success thus means failure.

It is of course possible, though unlikely, that worldly success can be combined with a sensitive and therefore successful approach to the problems outlined above. If a man or woman can achieve this then he or she truly has the right to be called successful.

However success is not strictly related to the externals of power, prominence and affluence, though these are often its attributes. It is more to do with happiness and fulfillment. What then are its features?

First, mental and spiritual peace. A satisfying yet balanced way of life makes for the former and a religion or at least a philosophy for the latter. The body should not be neglected; physical well-being is usually the result of good food and exercise; absence of strain is at least as important. A successful life depends crucially on good personal relationships both within and outside the family. To ensure the well-being and happiness of others forms a large part of success. Perhaps the fundamental way to achieve success is first to be sure of what you want to do with life and then to be sure that you are capable of doing it. Some people are strongly motivated to a profession or to politics or to social campaigning from early days; others have to find their own role in life by trial and error. Many of these careers will not confer much success in the worldly sense but they will lead to the success of happiness and fulfillment.

In what circumstances is the invasion of one country by another justified?

Invasion is never justified if there is a possibility of resolving disputes by diplomatic means. The U.N., drawn up by the San Francisco Conference in 1945, in succession to the League of Nations exists to maintain international peace and security. Its Security Council can urge members to take economic or military sanctions, or can provide a peace-keeping force drawn from member - nations. Its powers however amount to little more than those of the old League, since the two world-power centers remain NATO and the Warsaw Pact association.

This having been said, invasions do occur. Recent examples include the invasion of Iraq by Iran, the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, and that of the Falkland Islands by Argentina. Motives for invasion vary; how cynical they are is a matter of opinion. There is national pride; the desire to annex territory which rightly belongs to a country but which has either become independent or has become the dependency of another. There is the instinct to expand, or not to become encircled, or to gain strategic territory, or to gain access to minerals such as oil, or to food. The naked aggression of Hitler in Europe was totally unjustified, so the Second Front invasion of Europe by the allies in 1944 can be amply justified. Sometimes, as in the case of Afghanistan, the ostensible reason was to establish a stable government in a country which, bordering on the USSR was claimed to constitute a threat through instability. That invasion was not justified.

The ground for military invasion is usually prepared by other means. If there is instability and national discontent, or even two extremist parties each claiming the government, infiltration is much easier. An actual invasion becomes a mere formality when a government accepts perhaps thousands of military advisers, massive war equipment, and no doubt extensive economic aid from one of the great powers. A physical take-over can sometimes be achieved without shedding a drop of blood. What is certain is that after such a takeover a large section of the population will remain discontented. Future troubles, as in Afghanistan, are inevitable, and lead only to further repressive measures.

The guiding principle governing the justice of invasion is surely this; do the majority of the people want such a take-over? A case in point is the invasion of the Falklands by Argentina, which country was at the time suffering internal troubles and needed a famous victory abroad. The Falklands, close at hand and regarded as an easy number, were an obvious choice, particularly since Argentina regarded the 'Malvenas' as their historic property. However, the islanders wanted to remain British, so the British armed forces had to throw the Argentines out. That particular invasion by the British was justified, particularly since, in fact, the Argentines were refusing to negotiate. However, realistically it becomes another matter to retaliate when the major powers become involved. Nobody wants to risk a full scale war for the sake of a principle. Nobody forgets Vietnam. So to invade or not to invade involves a crucial balancing of factors.

'Scientists are the explorers of today.' Discuss.

Exploration in the commonly accepted sense began with people like the sea-faring Columbus when, in the middle ages it was realized that the earth is a globe, not flat. It held a crucial role for centuries in colonization and trade expansion. In the 19th century startling results were achieved by wealthy and gifted amateurs. However quite early in this century virtually the whole of the earth's surface had been mapped in outline, and most of it surveyed by explorers on foot. The process has more recently been completed by the use of the aircraft and the helicopter. Attention is now concentrated on underground and undersea exploration and in recent years on space exploration.

Before the First World War the international attitude towards exploration was competitive, as in the case of space exploration today, the USA. and USSR constantly trying to surpass each others achievements. After the first war the attitude was more co-operative. An international council of scientific unions was set up, its role being assumed by UNESCO after the Second World War. This organization co-ordinates results end supplies a limited amount of cash. This work culminated in the International Geophysical Year, 1957, in which 70 nations participated, producing a systematic study of the earth end the environment. A stop was put on territorial claims in Antarctica. The solid earth was examined scientifically by means of a series of deep probes, but since deep drilling is increasingly expensive, a stop was eventually put on this method.

Since only 30% of the earth's surface is above sea level end only 10% habitable, attention has naturally been diverted to underground end undersea exploration for human reasons. It is necessary to drill for minerals, for fuel end for water in order to plan new facilities. Although modern exploration is largely pragmatic, the scientific aspect provides most interest, e.g. the work of the Upper Manke Committee. All observations are naturally indirect. They are based on drilling into the earth's crust where it is known to be most shallow in order to find out its physical properties. In the process of drilling more is discovered about an area's liability to earthquakes, its underground radioactive end magnetic values etc. The USA. pioneered this venture, end a drill of 35,000 feet was aimed at. Since it proved so expensive US Project Mohole was abandoned in 1967. Seismic methods are used for the discovery of oil end gas deposits and today there are airborne devices for detecting minerals such as oil end gas. These operate by detecting slight changes in the earth's magnetic field. There is also a scanning infra-red sensor of greet use in geo-chemical exploration.

Undersea exploration is of equal, if not greater importance since its results have led to immense discoveries. Offshore oil end gas rigs now proliferate. However, much underwater work is a matter of scientific surveying. Sound echoing devices now enable scientists to map the ocean bed accurately end to discover far more about the seabed under the polar icecaps. Deep-see drilling produces core samples which provide useful information. Today the work is co-ordinated by a consortium of oceanographic institutes.

If space exploration is to be included then obviously science plays the dominate role in all ventures. The earth is now surrounded by hundreds of orbited satellites which provide various kinds of information, from weather reports to international communications. Many are in orbit for purely scientific reasons. They measure natural phenomena in space, solar end cosmic radiation, magnetic fields. They assist in technical observation of stars and lead to an understanding of the evolution of the solar system. There are also lunar end inter-planetary programs which further extend human knowledge. The manned projects must partly depend on the scientific know-how of the space explorer himself.

Has modern exploration lost glamour and the old dependence on self-reliance? Partly; but human nature being what it is, outward-bound ventures in relatively unknown areas of the earth's surface will always persist.

Discuss the various methods of advertising and their effectiveness.

It pays to advertise. The old adage remains true in principle because advertising not only sells goods but also creates the demand for new lines. The home computer is a modern example. The half a dozen big producers go in for highly competitive advertising, some of it aimed at children. They can play games, educate themselves, prepare themselves for modern living. All this can be done with books and paper, but parents are pressurized into buying computers, never-the-less, the sop to their consciences being that they can use the computer for family accounts. Of course they can. Equally they could do their family accounts once a month on the back of an old envelope.

Advertising sells goods and services, otherwise it would not exist, and the development of advertising in the West dates back at least three centuries, coinciding roughly with the publication of early journals such as The London Gazette, Tatler and Spectator in England, the circulation of which was largely limited to London and one or two large provincial cities. So advertising began on a local basis, because wherever you create a demand you must be able to meet it. So various factors combined to create national and international advertising; mass-production, based in the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, rail communication and transport, the development of printing, especially color printing, and the freighter for overseas markets. For as long as most people can remember advertising has been seen wherever the public go; on walls, shop fronts and hoardings, in railway stations and the underground, on streamers trailing behind light aircraft, from static balloons, on trains, buses and business vehicles, taxis and container lorries. With the advent of color-television, the commercial break has assumed primary importance. Some commercial radio channels still carry advertising. Handbills, advertising local firms, flood through the letter-boxes. Junk mail, addressed to computerized lists of likely buyers, fills the waste paper baskets.

From this will be seen that overkill is one drawback to the effectiveness of modern advertising. People get fed-up if they are over-pressurized, especially intelligent people. The hard sell becomes counter-productive. Yet the fact that it continues argues that this kind of advertising is financially justified.

Advertising is therefore big business, and the world's capitals, outside the Eastern bloc, offer scope to advertising firms with their highly specially areas of expertise. Such firms employ some of the best ideas people, graphic artists, promotional experts, and film producers and technicians.

The effectiveness of advertising depends on the assessment of the consumer's motivation in buying, and a direct or indirect appeal to that motivation; sometimes the creation of that motivation, by an appeal to a range of human instincts. Where there is poverty in a potential market the only effective appeal is based on cheapness, reliability and effectiveness in a product. In a mixed or affluent community the field is wide open. Most Western advertising works in a competitive market where the variety of brands is matched by the consumer's power of choice.

The soft sell works best when appealing to the very rich, and usually price is not mentioned. A country house with a hundred acres of land is offered as a 'modest gentleman's residence, the Rolls Royce is merely described as the best car in the world. Everybody knows that a small group of products are the best in their fields, so advertising merely keeps them in the public eye. 'Apeing the celebrity' is another line of attack; if a famous heavy-weight uses a particular deodorant, or a great actress a particular shampoo, good sales result. Another successful line with a shampoo is that it works, implying that the others don't. In contrast sexy lingerie ads are self-defeating. They bore women and men don't usually buy lingerie. Yet sex can sell chocolates. If a stunt-man goes through the hoops to bring his beautiful girl-friend the brand of her choice he will take the easier way of buying them in the supermarket and she may begin to fantasize about the bringer. The appeal to snobbery still works. Because those bright, successful, affluent Jones next door buy certain brand names, the failed, boring economical neighbors must do likewise. Comic ads amuse some, repel others, but in either case people keep the brand name in mind, if only never to buy it.

Most countries today have a statutory body which seeks to deep advertising up to a certain basic standards; ads must be morally decent, truthful and legal. However there are countless ways of disobeying the spirit if not the letter of the law. Subliminal advertising has rightly been banned. The advertising of foodstuffs has been improved by 'sold by' and statements of contents.

Which is the more important, to cure disease or to prevent it?

The answer depends on the standpoint of the individual. Should he or she contract a disease, then prevention is too late. The only thing left is, hopefully, a cure. However, a minister of health may take a different view. In any country he will need to decide on the allocation of his budget, and this in turn will depend on the priorities obtaining in that country. The main priority may be prevention. This will require expenditure in fields other than medicine; these are public works, nutrition and health education. Other ministries will therefore be involved. In the long run there is little doubt that the prevention of disease is of higher priority than finding cures.

This is particularly true in countries where people become the victims of epidemics, or where certain diseases are endemic. In certain tropical countries, malaria is endemic. The effects of it can be suppressed by drugs and its source, the anopheles mosquito, has long been known. However without strict public health regulations, e.g. avoiding standing water, and using mosquito nets in the wet season, malaria will persist, although the mosquito can be destroyed by spraying. Meanwhile a course of drugs will build up the body's resistance. Suppression and prevention will ultimately lead to a natural cure.

Discovery of the cause of any disease is crucial. Up to the 17th century England was ravaged by a series of bubonic plagues which killed off people by the thousand, especially in London. The old theory was that the plague was caused by the stench of rotting refuse. In fact, it came from rat fleas, which infected humans. The prevention procedures was to destroy the rats, which in turn meant providing London with proper drainage, and also to educate people in public hygiene. The plague was eradicated by preventive methods, in a period when finding an actual cure was medically impossible.

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