Monday, 6 May 2013

High School Essays (13-30)

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 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.

"Cleaning toilets should be part of the school curriculum." Do you agree ?
About two months ago, our Education Minister brought up the subject of school toilets. He suggested that cleaning these toilets should be part of the school curriculum. The public reaction to this issue was so strong that people have been flooding the mass media with opinions for and against his suggestion. One of the reasons the Education Minister gave for his proposal was that cleaning toilets will teach students humility and respect for others. Firstly, the students will be able to understand the humility of the school workers when they have to clear up other people's messes in the toilets. This job is looked down upon and considered one of the lowest. "They will also be able to respect the cleaners because he is able to do the necessary job, regardless of the low status it accords him. Another advantage of this proposal is that the students will try to keep the toilets cleaner as their friends will be the ones forced to clean up any mess they create.
On the other hand, there are countless reasons for me to be apprehensive about this proposal for making toilet cleaning part of the school curriculum. Firstly, which student in his right mind would be happy about having to clean a toilet? Most school toilets are dark, dirty and smelly. Cleaning them will be most unpleasant.
Furthermore, a spell of cleaning toilets will certainly be a blow to their ego. Of course, in a wholly girls' or boys' school it would not be so humiliating. However, if it were a co-ed school, the male ego would certainly suffer a lot of pain. Imagine girls laughing and teasing a guy who is forced to clean toilets. Some egoistic guy will create havoc in retaliation!
Then, there is the consideration that most students are playful, anyway. Imagine them expressing their playful nature in the toilets. Other than the fact that excessive water is sure to be splashed all over the place, the students may slip and fall in their merriment. More ill-behaved ones may even purposely push each other into the toilet bowls.
One other possibility that cannot be excluded is that students may be so turned off at the thought of toilet cleaning that they may decide to skip school on the days that it is their turn to learn this skill. Thus, the teachers of other subjects may find it hard to complete the syllabus, due to the rise in absenteeism. In conclusion, I feel that the Ministry of Education should really ponder on this issue carefully. Frankly, I do not agree at all that cleaning toilets should be part of the school curriculum. Actually, jobs like toilet cleaning make one think of prison camps, where the inmates are forced to do humiliating chores. School is supposed to be a place where young people can imbibe knowledge and good values in a pleasant, enjoyable atmosphere. It is important that young people actually like to come to school.

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!
"I rest my case. Thank you."

Write a speech for an elocution contest entitled " Should men be househusbands ?"
"I would like to share my thoughts with you on a subject that has always been close to my heart, that is, whether men should be house-husbands. You see, as a member of the male sex I feel guilty. I feel that man has always dominated, or should I say, bullied, the fairer sex. Women have long been downtrodden and forced to mind the house. "There was a very good reason for this in ancient times. Eking out a living then consisted mainly of running around with a club or spear, hunting deer, moose, or dinosaurs. However, now that we're approaching the year 2000, there has been a vast change. Bringing home the bacon in modern times needs intelligence and sensible thinking. And, as we all know, women can and do think as sensibly and intelligently as men.
"Thus, more and more women now qualify as doctors, lawyers and scientists. So, then, who will stay at home to take care of the children? Usually in cases where the mother works, the children are left in daycare centers. This is not healthy. Children need parental care. So, what often happens is that the wife has to quit her job. Is this fair? Not really. The men should be given the duty to mind the house occasionally, especially when the wife has better qualifications.
"Some people doubt that a man can manage a household. You see, the women have been doing it for centuries. People have thus come to the conclusion that it is the woman's duty to mind the home and it shall be her role forever.
"Actually, men are perfectly capable of performing domestic chores and minding children. And, as fathers, men can give the affection and care that the children need. And that's what really counts.
"Personally, if my wife insists on being the breadwinner, I will be relieved of the stress of running in the rat race. I could even play golf every morning while the kids are at school. What's so bad about that? So, let's give the women the chance to work at those jobs that they've always wanted, while we men opt for more 'relaxed' lifestyles. And, who knows, perhaps the country would be run better. After all, looking at the current state of the world, what with wars, famines and nuclear weapons, perhaps we men should just stay at home to mind the house and let the women run the world!"

"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.

"The Golden Age of Youth". How true is this description of your life as a youth ?
"The Golden Age of Youth"? Who coined up that expression? I am certainly not experiencing "golden" days in my life as a youth. Furthermore, many of my friends' complaints seem to attest that their experiences of youth roughly match up with mine, that is, life as a youth is tough! Firstly, being young automatically means that I have limited knowledge and no job skills, which means that no one will employ me for any worthwhile job. This means, clearly and simply, "No Independent Income". Now, it is undeniable that without money, you become severely limited in your options. You cannot buy anything, go anywhere or do anything. Obviously, this is a problem for me.
Unable to function without cash, I have to rely on my parents financially. Unable to buy a car, I have to rely on them for transport. Unable to buy a house, I have to rely on them for accommodation. This means, theoretically, that my parents are my Supreme Commanders. When they tell me to jump, I have to jump. In such a situation, I am deprived of the vital human right that caused the American Civil War - Freedom.
Secondly, as long as you are not too old or too ill to walk, people will always be measuring you by your achievements. This is especially true for people in their youth. Parents, teachers, society and the government love to gauge us scholastically, physically, socially, morally and in whatever means they can think of. Thus, school examinations become so important that many of us will study hours on end to perform well in them.
Actually the pressure on us to perform well at all times is great. The pressure from our family gets stronger the older we grow. Since we started schooling, our parents have been comparing our test results with those of the children of their friends', who happen to be equally goal-orientated parents. In fact, since we were born, our parents have been comparing the ages at which we first started talking or walking, our kiddy IQ test results and such other traps for vainglory. If I were a piece of chicken, I'd consider myself "Kentucky Fried", not because I was "spicy" or "original" but because I have been chopped into pieces, tenderized, pressure-cooked and well-fried.
Then, there is the question of romance. Practically speaking, youth is the worst time to get romantically attached, because, as was earlier explained, we lack the time and money to maintain a special boy-girl relationship.
Yet, during our youth, we are at our peak; physically, we are at our most attractive. Furthermore, our hormones are swinging about wildly as we mature sexually. Unfortunately, this causes us to be more prone to getting involved in romantic relationships, which leads to heartache and causes us to perform badly in our examinations. I think that the government should have chosen a better time to set all the major examinations than at this time, don't you?
So, youth is a traumatic time. It is definitely not "golden". In my opinion, the idea of "The Golden Age of Youth" must have been an illusion dreamt up by fools. Perhaps we should call it the "Iron Pyrite (Fool's Gold) Age of Youth".

What qualities would you look for in a future wife or husband ?
Along the road from cradle to grave many of us get married. This in itself can cause more emotional disturbance than all the other events of our lives combined. Many factors make the difference between marital bliss and having "an old ball-and-chain" but the most important factor is probably whom we choose to marry. That is why I often meditate on the qualities I would seek in my future wife. To be honest, the first thing I notice when I meet a girl is whether she is pretty or not. Long lashes and sparkling eyes do not cause someone to "fall in love at first sight", of course, but few people go round seeking ugly mates. I am no different.
Of course, I would also prefer to have a wife who is intelligent. Some men have the stereotyped "dumb blonde" image of a perfect woman. However, I know my life will be enriched by having an intellectually stimulating partner to share my thoughts with, and to offer fresh insights to old situations. More importantly, a husband and wife should be intellectually matched so that they can understand each other.
Sports and games and other recreational activities are fun and foster closer ties. Who better to enjoy sports with than my wife? This will draw us even closer together. A wife should, after all, be a true friend whom I can have fun with and want to spend my leisure activities with. So, my ideal mate will be someone who participates in the games and sports I like or at least, be willing to learn them.
Often, quarrels between husband and wife concern other family members. Your wife may be perfect but her parents may be irritating beyond comprehension. There was, for example, an incident in City Center where one man's mother-in-law came to stay. One day, she cooked and ate his pet dog for dinner! So, I always say that one's future in-laws should always be checked carefully before one makes decisions about marriage.
If you are dead tired after a long, frustrating day at work, a loving wife who comforts you and listens to your problems can really make a difference. So I would say, a sympathetic, caring kind of woman is the only one with whom I would make any commitments for marriage.
Commitment is very important on her part, too. If a girl isn't prepared to be faithful to you but she marries you anyway, chances are she's going to run away and leave you one day, for your best friend, perhaps.
I realize that I have listed a whole string of qualifications for my future wife. Well, if I can find all these qualities in one woman, I will really consider her The Ideal Wife. However, chances are, with a girl like that, everyone else will be trying to win her hand, too. So, I'll be in for a tough time! Furthermore, as the proverb goes, "The best laid plans of mice and men can fail". More than likely, I will meet a girl one day, fall in love and get married. And even though she might not be perfect, I'll love her, and, through the years, that might just be enough.

Write a composition entitled: How I know my mother loves me.
When I was very young, I was a sickly child. In fact, I had to spend most of my life away from school and in bed. Not surprisingly, I was miserable. I fretted a lot and constantly demanded my mother's attention. I was a spoiled brat. During the day, I would demand that my favorite delicacies be served to me and that my favorite stories be read to me. At odd hours of the night, I would ask for a hot drink or a cookie, or just some company.
"Mummy, stay with me!" was my constant whine.
Not once was that demand refused. Not once did my mother groan or grumble. She answered every unreasonable demand of mine with unfailing patience. My mother would put everything aside to comfort me.
My world was very small then. There was just me and Mummy. My world consisted of the feel of her cool palms soothing my brow and her floral scent as she leaned over me to tuck in my blanket. I remember her low voice, hushing me as I fretted about the pains in my joints. Most of all, I remember the look in her eyes, of deep concern for her sick child. That was how I knew my mother loved me then.
Miraculously, I have outgrown my childhood ailments. Now that I am on the threshold of adulthood, my world has grown to include many exciting friends. Set free from the prison of the sickbed, I revel in the fun that the world has to offer.
My relationship with my mother has suffered from my wild pursuit of fun. She criticizes my choice of friends and tries to enforce rules and regulations to curb my activities.
Two nights ago, I stayed out way, way past my "curfew" hour, which is eleven o'clock. It was almost 1 a.m. when I reached my house. To make matters worse, I had been unable to call home to inform my mother that I would be delayed. There were no phones where we were "hanging out". I knew that I was in for it!
My mother flung open the door the minute she heard my friend's car pull in. Her face was red, sweat was pouring down her temples. My friends made a quick exit as she ranted at me, her arms waving wildly. I didn't say a word, in case one of those hands should find its mark on my face. I was ordered straight to bed.
As I got into bed, she stood in my room, still ranting at me for my disobedience and "wild behavior". I was tired. I just wanted to sleep. I looked up at her face to try to gauge if her scolding would be continuing much longer.
Then I saw something familiar about the look in her eyes. It was the same look of concern that she had always had when I was so sick. I saw in her eyes all the fears that she had suffered that night as she waited for her daughter to return safely.
This is how I know my mother loves me now.

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 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.

Describe the system for maintaining law and order in your country. Can you suggest any improvements?
One hundred and fifty years ago a Conservative British Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, founded the modern police force. This replaced the old system of town and village constables in their local peace-keeping role under the beadle. Very quickly the new force obtained a national respect which it had never previously enjoyed, and despite a vocal left-wing and liberal minority, it retains that general respect today. In case of serious trouble, behind the police force stands that section of the British Army which is home-based. It has, with reluctance, been called on in various roles during domestic emergencies. To man essential services during a general strike, or a strike of one or more of the essential services, including railways, buses, power-stations, water works, ambulance drivers and fire brigades. A less frequent role has been to quell riots and this is unpopular with the army since soldiers do not like inflicting injury or even death on fellow citizens. Examples are riots in pre-war London stirred up by the National Socialist movement, and more recently the riots in Liverpool. Birmingham and London attributed to a mixture of ethnic discrimination and unemployment. British people accept the need on occasion for this military back-up, but prefer it not to be used.
Today the police are controlled by the Home Secretary, who is also responsible for that other troubled part of Britain, Northern Ireland, through the Secretary of State for Ireland. Ireland has always caused more headaches than the rest of Britain put together, and in that country the Royal Ulster Constabulary, an armed force, needs the presence of armed and equipped British troops, who are constantly called into para-military action. Opinions vary from those who advocate a 'troops out' policy, leaving Ireland to get on with a civil war, to those who would like to bring the whole of Ireland, forcibly, back into British hands. Since the Irish Free State came into existence in 1922, and before then, during the First World War Southern Ireland has tended to side with the enemies of Britain.
The county police forces of the rest of Britain are controlled by chief constables responsible to the Home Secretary, and the Metropolitan Police Force by a commissioner, also responsible to the Home Secretary. Because of crime increase, and the modern mobility of criminals there is more co-operation between these separate forces than before, and often, when the ramifications of crime cover a large area, joint operational headquarters are set up, their work being aided by data banks in a nationwide computer system.
Apart from straightforward crime, the situation is further complicated today by crime in a new guise i.e.. political violence, mostly in London. This often consists of a group of extremists from one foreign country attacking the embassy of another, and trying to buy publicity or political advantage with threats and the taking of hostages. To deal with these we now use a quiet little section of the armed forces known as the SAS just as we use a new section of the police force to quell street rioting, looting and arson, known as the SPG. So far these have not often been needed.
The traditional police force has only been armed with a whistle and a short truncheon, maintaining law and keeping order on the streets by presence rather than violence. Some of us deplore the tendency to issue firearms, but recognize that the police are at a disadvantage otherwise. Do we have to accept that the world must become more violent, meeting violence with violence, or work for a diminishing crime rate and a more peaceful and law-abiding community?
If the latter, there will need to be fundamental as well as cosmetic changes in our national life. The cosmetic changes include less policing by vehicles, and more on foot; more community policemen back on 'the beat' and knowing their area and people, and being known by them. Another will be to restore confidence in the policeman's fairness and integrity in areas where interested parties have sought to erode this confidence. Local authority police committees to monitor police activities are in the hands of anti-law and order elements, and do no good. They merely erode police morale. The fundamental changes needed go deeper. Since the motion to restore the death penalty was defeated in Parliament, a life-sentence must mean what it says. Firearm availability must be more strictly controlled. Above all children and young people should be less exposed to television and film violence, kept off drugs and alcohol, and taught, in the home, a new respect for law and order. 

Discuss the benefits of and the problems caused by the artificial damming of rivers.
The damming of rivers to form reservoirs was common practice in Roman times, and probably much earlier. Over the intervening centuries the practice has evolved for three main purposes; human consumption, irrigation, and industrial use. Since rainfall is never sufficiently uniform to provide a reliable water-source from normal river flow, the reservoir has always been a great boon, spanning as it does lengthy periods of drought. There are, of course, other reasons for damming a river. Following heavy storms in mountainous areas more water than a river can carry will flow down to the plain, inundating large areas often destroying crops, homes and animal and human life. Mountain passes, if dammed, give the opportunity not only to control the flow of flood water at its peak but also to retain large quantities for controlled use in dry weather. This control of water works from sea to river as well as from river to sea. An example is the recently constructed Thames barrier below Woolwich on the River Thames in England. This consists of solid pillars across the river with massive steel plates between each pillar which can be raised or lowered mechanically. The object is to protect the low-lying parts of London when a certain combination of wind and tide raises the water level by as much as thirty feet. A further use of the dam is to produce hydroelectric power, the power station, of course, being built below the level of the dam. Water is channeled through conduits and used as mechanical power for the turbines. It is then returned to the river. Reservoir water is also used today in vast quantities in nuclear power stations for cooling and other purposes and is similarly returned to the river or to the sea.
Some rivers in their natural state arc not navigable by large vessels, or run dry in sea- sons of drought. Where such rivers can be dammed they can be given a constant depth for purposes of navigation, and this benefits a country's communication system.
More often than not a dam may be central in a multi-purpose scheme including most of the functions outlined above. This is particularly true in countries lying in temporate zones, where water shortage can be a nuisance but is rarely a disaster.
Matters are different in underdeveloped countries which are hot, dry and barren. In these areas populations are often nomadic, driving flocks and herds from waterhole to waterhole, or scratching a mere subsistence from the soil. Drought means disease, hunger, dehydration and death to animals and humans alike. The damming of major rivers such as the Nile is crucial to life itself, and the control of their floodwater for irrigation purposes essential, but even this is not preventing large tracts of North East Africa from reverting to desert.
Perhaps of least importance is the social value of a reservoir. Some stocked with trout, provide good fishing, and most are used by sailing clubs, and for other aquatic sports. A reservoir is also a great attraction to water-loving birds and often becomes an interesting staging-post for migrations.
Damming a river can also cause problems. A great area of land, with its trees, flora and fauna, farms and houses, has to be inundated. Neither the residents, who have to resettle elsewhere, nor the environmentalists, appreciate this. The problem is more acute when the countryside about to be spoilt is environmentally unique, as in a recent case in Australia, where attempts were made to involve Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the dispute. Creating an artificial lake inevitably changes the character of a large area. Farmland is destroyed, natural scenery, in the opinion of some, despoiled. People have to move, inconveniently.
A second drawback may be political. Many rivers flow through more than one country, that lying higher up the river having the whip-hand. A dam built for one country's benefit may be much to the detriment of another. The USSR has been in dispute with Turkey over this matter as has Egypt with the Sudan.
Dams are vulnerable to air attack in wartime. The destruction of the Mohne See dam in the Second World War brought the industry of the Ruhr to a virtual standstill, as well as causing loss of life. There have also been cases of the collapse of dams due to inadequate strength and imperfect design.

Why is common salt so important?
In its mineral form sodium chloride, NaCl, is known as common salt. It is important because it is essential to the health of human beings and of animals. For domestic use it is fined down to what is known as table-salt, and small quantities of other chemicals are added to it to keep it free-flowing when in contact with the atmosphere. Salt and potassium are combined to produce iodised salt, used when iodine is lacking in diet. Its absence causes goitre, the swelling of the thyroid gland.
Livestock as well as humans need salt, and this provided in the form of solid blocks, known as 'salt-licks'. Salt is also crucial to the food industry. It is used in meat-packing sausage-making and fish-curing both for seasoning and as a preservative. It is also used in the curing and preserving of hides and in the form of brine for refrigeration purposes.
Salt is extensively used in the chemical industry; in the manufacture of baking soda, sodium bicorbonate; of caustic soda, sodium hydroxide; of hydrochloric acid, of chlorine etc. It is also used in soap-making, and in the manufacture of glaze and porcelain enamel. It also enters metallurgic processes as flux, a compound used to assist the fusing of metals.
Salt lowers the melting point of water, so in combination with grit, it is used for clearing roads of snow and ice. It is also used for water-softening by means of removing calcium and magnesium compounds from tap water.

Discuss the relative importance to man and animals of the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.
It is difficult to grade the senses in relative importance to mankind. Opinions vary particularly between sight and hearing. A person blind from birth has no concept of vision, so presumably does not `miss' sight. It is different for a person who goes blind because suddenly, or gradually, so much is lost; personal independence to a large degree, driving a car, reading and watching television, enjoyment of all forms of visual beauty. Some of these deprivations can be partially overcome. The loss of sight tends to train a more acute hearing. People will always help the blind in practical ways, and there are many modern aids for the visually handicapped, ranging from braille and books on tape to all kinds of domestic appliances designed for the sightless. Musical appreciation and music making are also open to the blind. Many blind people would grade vision as less important than hearing, since, given help and their own determination, they can live a relatively full life. The obvious drawback to deafness lies in loss of communication, though today there are some marvelous machines which allow the sufferer to learn speech through varied frequencies of vibration. The traditional method of lip-reading supplements this, so that conversation and teaching can be carried out. The social disadvantage of deafness is that of the impatience of others. Deafness is not at once obvious and so may be mistaken for stupidity. In the modern world deafness can also be dangerous; traffic-sense, particularly in children, depends largely on hearing. Touch, taste and smell are all sources of pleasure, the two latter being important in the enjoyment of food, but they are all relatively dispensable. Their absence can, however be dangerous; the loss of nerve endings can lead to severe domestic burns and abrasions, while taste and smell can detect lethal gases and poisonous substances.
From the human point of view most people would grade the importance of the senses in the order given in the question. This is not necessarily so in the animal world. Smell or scent is of crucial importance to many animals, who rely on it to detect enemies and to find quarry. Thus it becomes far more highly developed than in humans, since survival may depend on it. For the same reason hearing is of nearly the same importance. The hearing range of animals is much wider than that of humans. Dogs can hear supersonic sounds and react to them at great distances. Many animals have very limited vision, simply because vision is relatively unimportant. Touch and taste are also of less importance to animals than to humans, though, as with humans, these two senses, combined with smell, have a protective role in warning them off obnoxious and poisonous organic and inorganic substances.
Nobody can ask an animal to grade the importance of the senses, but it seems to be, smell, hearing, sight, touch and taste in that order.

Discuss with examples the relationship between pure and applied science.
Pure science is the investigation of natural phenomena for the purpose of understanding. Observation leads to the formation of theories, which are tested experimentally. If the theory seems to explain to all the phenomena it is classified as a principle and added to the store of existing scientific knowledge. Applied science is known today as technology, which is concerned with techniques. As pure scientific knowledge advances, so does technology or method. Since method depends on knowledge, no improvements in method can increase knowledge, though they can facilitate the increase of knowledge. The historian of pure science can trace its advance from the records of the earliest recorded cultures to the 20th century, during which pure science has made greater advances than ever before.
6th to 7th Centuries B.C. Thales and his school. Pythaggoeras and his successors provided the first systematic method of understanding the natural world, especially in the field of Mathematics and geometry. Figures were constructed to provide proofs. The Egyptians, though less interested in strict accuracy, made their contribution, as did the Arabians and Indians in the field of arithmetical notation.
17th Century. The second upsurge of pure science began with Galileo and his predecessor, Copernicus, who gave the world its first true understanding of the universe. Astronomy and Mathematics were brought together for the purposes of navigation. Francis Bacon sought to produce a system to replace that of Aristotle. The logical approach of Renee Descartes was of great importance, though the greatest advances were made by Sir Isaac Newton, who synthesized many theories into an intelligible whole.
Later advances took place in the field of biology, bacteriology, surgery, anthropology. The names of Pasteur, Lister, Darwin and Harvey come to mind.
In the present century, atomic theory with all its consequences, was developed (Dalton), and the new theories of light, relativity and quantum mathematics. (Einstein).
Although applied science will always remain the handmaid of pure science, it is also true that the advanced machines made possible by higher technology, enable the advance of pure science. Thus, although theory produced the telescope and the microscope as optical research instruments, electronics transformed both. The fact that we can now see into the far universe and into the construction of matter has had a profound effect on the theories concerning both.
Another example of many is the modern computer. While this remains the servant of the brain which invented it, one of its uses is to make a multitude of instantaneous calculations. This in turn eliminates the laborious mechanical aspects of investigation and gives the researcher the tools for making rapid new discoveries.

What are the most popular types of film in your country and why?
Answers to this question will vary widely according to the country concerned. For example romantic feature films seem to receive great popular support in India, and their stars are almost national heroes. This may be due to the lack of good, or indeed any television, combined with the instinct to escape from a deprived environment. In the West the film has not been the major entertainment medium for over twenty years. Almost every home contains a television set and much of what is left of the British film industry is concerned with film-making for this medium. Film stars in the old sense no longer exist. The great days of Hollywood ended with the last war. No longer do families make a weekly outing to the cinema. Today there are less than twenty films showing in the West End of London. In the 30s any provincial town could offer more than this. Today most cinemas have long since become Bingo halls.
However the film industry, though small, is alive on both sides of the Atlantic, and when a good film is made there is still a following, and an excellent film can still make a lot of money. Another point in its favor is that the quality of television is deteriorating and seems likely to become atrocious when cable television is introduced. There will be even more space for rubbish and repeats.
During the past twenty or so years much has changed in the taste of film goers. For one thing the cinema of today is the virtual monopoly of young people, unless a film such as 'Gandhi' with wide general appeal is put on. Deliberate attempts to entertain the teenager have produced many films with the accent on explicit sex and violence, though more recently such productions have moved into the 'video nasty' area. However the government is trying to prevent the sale of such cassettes for use in home television sets.
One 'clean' though juvenile taste which is fairly new is for space fiction films. 'Star Wars' and 'E.T.' are recent examples of overwhelmingly successful productions. 'The Return of the Jedi' is currently showing in London's West End.
There is no doubt that current popular taste rejects films which set out to be amusing. The days of 'Doctor in the House', of situation comedies, of films built round 'stand-up' comics such as Arthur Askey, have gone forever. They now form part of the television menu as repeats.

Consider the influence of Pop star and their music
Pop music began in 1960, suddenly replacing dance music, jazz and the tuneful lyricists such as Crosby, Sinatra and their imitators.Prior to 1960 young people were either adolescents or young adults, but then the 13-19 year group became a new class, the teenagers. They were the fashionable group, and at that time of full employment in the USA and the UK, the group with the spare money, since they had high wages and few outgoings. Thus they became the market for the pop industry.
Parental discipline, school rules and wartime restrictions had hitherto kept this age group in place. Now, in 1960 their instinct was to break loose, become totally independent, discard the society which produced them and ignore its social sanctions. They succeeded, aided by two groups of cynical adults; the money-makers and the drug pushers. Left-wing activists provided a third group.
The music began with 'skiffle'; the drummer, the electric guitar, the vocalist, but this quickly changed to rock n roll, with Elvis Presley as its afficionado, and his titles such as 'Rock around the clock' reaching international heights of popularity among teenagers. The focus became the star rather than the group. In Liverpool a group of four fresh-faced tidy young men with neat hair, began to produce original themes which reflected the innermost feelings of teenagers; calf-love, loneliness, insecurity, 'doing one' own thing', the misunderstanding of the adult world and a few curiously alien themes. 'Beatlemania' swept Britain and many other countries. But the sinister initial letters of 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' suggested the drug scene. The Beatles made millions, but millions more for their promoters. The world knows about the end of Presley, who has now become a cult figure.
The pop cult grew in the late 60's and early 70's into a major industry. This was the heyday of the top twenty; getting into this ensured rich rewards. Successful single makers cut LPs. Those selling over a million records entered the golden disc bracket; large country houses, Rolls-Royce motor cars, yachts, world-wide travel spread before the eyes of young hopefuls. And because a few made it, everybody tried, whether they really had talent or not. The money, the fame, the adulation proved irresistable.
The real money was made in the industry associated with the stars. For many years Carnaby Street set teenage clothing fashions, and, although Carnaby Street is no longer the centre, the denim jeans, and T shirt uniform has persisted. Perhaps the biggest money was made by pop concert and festival promoters. From time to time these festivals have caused trouble because of noise, litter, insanitary camp conditions and drug abuse. The problem has abated because of careful police monitoring.
However the deepest effect of the pop scene on affluent young society was upon teenage attitudes to life. The establishment, by which is meant regular hours, hard work, morality, a worthwhile job and, in general, a sense of responsibility, was condemned as square. There is no doubt that the pop scene was orchestrated and manipulated by cynical adults, some of whom were villains. It has taken massive youth unemployment in England to destroy the pop market, and while there is still money in it for the few it is no longer possible today to buy an electric guitar and make your fortune in a month.
Musically, pop stars never had the slightest influence in the real world, though in the old days they made more money than the virtuosi.
Today the euphoria has largely gone, and with it the acclaim and the overnight fortunes. Perhaps the twenty years or so of pop fever provided a safely valve for the young who were none the worse for it providing they kept out of drugs and crime, unless one counts the partial deafness which results from long hours in a discotheque.

What, if anything, have the great empires of the world achieved?
Self-interest, in some shape or form, has always been the motivation behind empire-building. Its occasion has been the development of military and naval power and in recent times air power, as in the case of Germany under Adolf Hitler, who sought to create an Aryan empire by the invasion of surrounding sovereign states. Its effects are interpreted variously, for obvious reasons. The course of history itself has always had something to say about aggression. Hitler's failure, for example, brought the democratic institutions of Western Europe into focus and laid the foundations of the European Community. The war also broke down social barriers, heightened the social consciences of the Western states, and accelerated the decolonization process of the European empires, especially that of Great Britain. Yet it also began the polarization of East and West, headed by the USSR and the USA respectively, and with the build-up of nuclear arsenals this poses in 1984 an even greater threat than that of Adolf Hitler in 1939. Self-interest needs definition. To consider the great empires of the world we need to look back 4000 years. The earliest empires were necessarily limited geographically. The Phoenecian Empire provides a good example. The seaboard of Libya, centered in the Lebanon, produced a hardy race of seafarers, the Canaanites, who established colonies in Cyprus, Carthage in North Africa, Malta, Sicily and Spain. They visited the Scillies and Cornwall and circumnavigated Africa. Yet their real interest was in trade, and they exported cedar to Egypt, furniture, purple cloth and jewelry all over the Middle East, thus enriching much of the known world. Moreover they invented an alphabet which gave rise to both the Greek and Roman alphabets, and through those later empires to the alphabets of most of the European states. Their inscriptions, such as the Moabite Stone and the Siloan Tunnel inscriptions, provided invaluable points of reference in Jewish Biblical history.
The aggressive instinct, the desire for enrichment by trade, and of course the need for territorial expansion; all are natural, if self-interested motives. An agricultural community with a growing population needs more land; hence, colonization. Following the Phoenicians, The Greeks acquired most of the Mediterranean world, and, following them, the Romans, at the height of Empire, had acquired the whole of the known world including territories as far apart as Britain and the West African coast line. We are used to thinking of the Romans as cruel, oppressive and rapacious, interested mainly in exacting taxes, 'asset stripping' wherever they went.
All this is true, yet our modern dislike of the empire-concept must not blind us to the immense enrichment conferred, if only as a by-product, on their vassal states.
The city states of Greece, in the period 750 to 600 B.C., were governed by tyrants, a name meaning 'kings', but whose powers were limited by the essentially Greek concept of democracy, which was the original forerunner of the modern democratic process of the free world today. The Greeks were adventurers, traders and law-givers, and their political contribution to the Mediterranean sea-board and even to France and Egypt, is incalculable. Their trade in wine, oil and scent, wood, metal work and pottery enriched other countries. Their sculpture, and architecture has never since been equaled. Their poetry and drama have remained supreme.
The extent and duration of the Roman Empire were of course much greater. Their positive contribution to the lives of vassal states covered the whole political, legal and cultural spectrum. Roman law provided the foundation of much modern law. They also enriched the known world in the spheres of art, architecture, law, town-planning, wall painting, and civic building.
No empire lasts forever. The dissolution of even the British Empire is now virtually complete. In a world where, because of modern travel, instant communication, and the heightened concept of sovereignty of states both large and small, it is right that this should be so.
Many people see the only hope for the future in a one-world concept, in which aggression is outlawed and mutual respect and co-operation fostered for the common good. The West is concerned to trade rather than to exploit, to lend money rather than exact it.
The French and Portuguese concepts of empire were, of course, doomed to failure in the modern world, basically because those countries tried to keep the concept of colonization as an extension of the home country, ultimately ruled by the central government. The post-war wind of change brought about an irony in the case of the British Empire. Government had long since devolved to the great dominions, and even the very least of the overseas possessions were encouraged to develop their own governments. Yet the worldwide process overtook the gradual process of emancipation and, as post war history has shown, with disastrous results in many cases.

What factors determine the location of a country's capital? Illustrate with examples.
Many capital cities were founded centuries, if not millennia ago, so it is often not possible to do more than deduce the reasons for the choice of their locations. Most, though not all of these, reasons are geographical. Before the arrival of modern communications and transport, any large settlement required a location which satisfied certain requirements. Firstly, an area of fertile land capable of supporting a growing population. The growth of Cairo at the base of the Nile delta provides an example.
Secondly the area must lend itself to the spread of housing, and the erection of public buildings. Thirdly it must be near a good water supply such as a large river, though built above flood level. Fourthly it must be well away from the earthquake belts and volcanoes. Fifthly it must be defensible against enemies. Most large cities and capitals were originally walled, though possible attack from long range artillery, from the air, and nowadays perhaps from nuclear weapons, has rendered all capitals equally vulnerable.
Capitals must have been located with these basic requirements in mind, though the origins of older ones are lost in tradition and folklore. London consisted of British settlements in pre-Roman times in a very defensible position which is now the city, the inner square mile. The Thames, England's largest river, not only communicates with the centre of the country but also provides deep water moorings for seagoing vessels.
More often than not, capital city locations were chosen at or near river-mouths for these reasons, with facilities for trade, both inland and overseas, very much in mind. South America contains a host of examples; Caracus, Venezuela, George Town, Guyana, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Santiago, Chile which is inland but has easy access to Valparaiso, which is on the coast; Lima near the Peruvian coast; Bogota, Colombia. To these could be added Johore Bahru, whence inland products were exported; rubber, tin, copra and pineapples. In a country covered by impenetrable rain forests and mountain ranges, rivers provide the only means of communication, both for trade and for political purposes.
Another factor rendering the seaboard popular was that of convenience to those countries which sought to colonize overseas. Conversely, some capitals became established because of foreign colonization. The U.S.A. is a case in point. Washington, the federal capital since 1800 was laid out by Pierre L'Enfant, a French engineer officer, who designed the city specifically as the center of government in 1790. He located it on the Potomac River, inland from Chesapeake Bay on the East Coast, as might be expected.
There are at least three examples of changes of capital city, made for political reasons. Peking was the capital of China from the 10th Century, the time of the Liao Dynasty. Later the seat of government moved to Nanking, but from 1421 it again became Peking. From 1928 to 1949 the capital was again Nanking and again reverted. Both Peking and Nanking which lies south of it, have easy access to the Eastern seaboard. The same thing happened in Soviet Russia. From the 14th century to the present day Moscow was the centre, excluding the period 1709 to 1918, when St. Petersburg, later Leningrad, then Stalingrad held that destination. The reason for the original choice of Moscow was that it was the gateway to the West; it was sheltered by a range of hills; it was built defensively; it satisfied all geographical conditions; it was the center of intersecting trade routes. The choice of St Petersburg was more political because although it is strategic for the Gulf of Finland and for Lake Ladoga, it nevertheless has a terrible climate and is icebound for much of the year. The fact however was that St Petersburg was the center for all revolutionary activity between 1815 and 1914. Also it is very defensible. The Germans never succeeded in entering it in the Second World War during four years of siege.
In 1960, Brazil dropped Rio de Janiero as its capital and moved inland to the newly-planned city of Brasilia, because it was felt that this would bring life to the interior. One hears that Nigeria is even now considering dropping Lagos as the capital in favor of a new town inland, though the reasons for this change are unclear.
Apart from geographical considerations, trade certainly affected the growth of Cairo from its early beginnings in 641 A.D. as the capital, not only of Egypt, but today of the Arab world. It has become the trading and distributive center for North Africa and the Near East.
Many of the foregoing factors also apply to the building up of Bombay. Originally an island off the mid-west coast of India it is now joined to the mainland by means of reclaimed land. Its great harbor and westward facing position made it the obvious choice by the Moguls in the 13th century, who were followed by the Portuguese and in 1662 by the British.  

Consider how the transport system in your country might he improved.
All services are capable of improvement, even the transport services of Western Europe and other western countries, where rail, road and air transport have long been established, and where there are few, if any, obstacles to the establishment of physical communications. It is a more basic problem for the emergent countries, where often mountain ranges and dense afforestation have to be overcome. In this essay the problems of England are considered.
Railways began to spread over England from about 1800, and until 1945 there existed a network which gave easy access from even the smallest village to all the main centers. Since then the system has deteriorated out of all recognition, for a variety of reasons but basically because England's constantly growing road network has shifted both passenger and goods transport away from the railways. In consequence almost all small lines have been closed down, and basically what is left is the inter-city network and London's commuter service from the home counties. Speed has improved with the adoption of the diesel motor but the experimental high-speed trains have proved a fiasco. As in most other western countries after the war the system became nationalized. High wage demands, lack of money for capital expenditure, and the general indifference of nationally unreliable, and generally unpopular, although we are constantly told that this is the age of the train, by Jimmy Savile. He is wrong. The 'age of the train' ended in 1954. Moreover British Rail makes massive annual losses, as indeed do most other European countries. Only a reversion to private ownership, as in the days of the rail system comfortable, economic and cared-for, and this is unlikely to happen. The present government is merely selling off minor assets, such as railway hotels and in some cases catering on railway platforms and in dining cars. The Socialist doctrine affirms that as a national service British Rail should not expect to make a profit or break even and should be subsidized by the tax payer. The Thatcher Government sees this as bad housekeeping despite the fact that most European rail systems are already heavily subsidized. About half the population probably accepts that competitiveness is the only real way forward.
Goods transport has largely moved over to the heavy, container-type lorry. In turn this involves the provision of suitable roads, and the road building program is severely limited by finance. The environmental lobby rightly complains about the damage done by these vehicles, especially in small villages, about the danger of pollution, about traffic jams, and about the loss of agricultural land where M roads are built. These drawbacks can and must be overcome by the provision of by-pass and further M roads. The London outer circle M 25, when completed, will remove heavy through traffic from the streets of London. Small vehicles and private cars, owned nowadays by over half of the population will also be able to move about more freely, and parking problems which at present bedevil all large towns and cities will be alleviated.
In a small country like England, internal air travel is of importance primarily to business people and nowadays all major cities have their own airports. London will eventually have five. Since there is ample private competition for British Airways, that organization, which of course operates a world-wide network, is efficient. The inefficiency is on the ground. It can take longer to reach Heath Row and pass through customs and baggage formalities than it takes to fly to Paris of Dusseldorf.
Rivers and canals must not be overlooked. There is a valuable move, backed by the environmentalists, to restore the waterways, not only as a means of commercial transport but also for tourism. This involves both bank-clearing and the enforcement of anti-pollution laws. The River Thames now contains a wide variety of fish whereas for over a century it contained none. Unfortunately it is little used for commercial purposes, though progress is being made on all fronts.
Many of the transport problems in England, though not all, have stemmed from bad government theory and bad industrial relations in the past. Part of the problem has been a steady shift of population originally from country to town, and now the reverse. The task of promoting comfort, safety, economic cost, speed and reliability is not easy, but is being tackled.

'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.

What Scientific knowledge should an educated person have?
The answer depends on one's definition of education, end there is no single definition. In the widest sense even the most primitive societies begin to prepare children for living from birth as a necessity for survival So do animals and birds. Formal education is based on literacy, in both East and West, that of China dating back to 165 B.C. when civil service examinations were instituted. Today one school of thought would define education as the means of living a civilized life, which in turn depends on the acquisition of culture. Culture implies a knowledge of the graceful and artistic things of life, and in Europe at any rate depends on no more than a knowledge of Greek and Latin, modern European languages being merely an optional extra. Many well-known schools in the West still lay a powerful emphasis on the classical languages as the best means of teaching the young to think properly. The problem with the first paragraph is that society does not consist of wealthy dilettantes. Some knowledge of science is essential to us all because the march of scientific discovery largely dictates modern living both personal and social. There are, of course, still pockets of privilege everywhere in which the rich can take advantage of the knowledge, skill and hard work of others, but today most countries are essentially meritocracies. If the purpose of education is to succeed in life as well as to enjoy it, some knowledge of science, however superficial, is essential. Nowadays in the free world, the opportunity to gain specialized education in order to succeed is regarded as a basic human right.
'Ars pro arte' is no longer a valid concept. We live in a scientific world. We cannot be safe in a modern home without a basic understanding of electricity. Children must be shielded from dangerous drugs. We need to know basic arithmetic if we are to deal with money, banking, even family economics. We need to know a little chemistry and biology if we are to remain healthy and fit.
However the topic question implies much more than this, especially for the young person today. In a world which daily grows less remote and more interdependent due to satellite communications, jet travel and the ubiquitous computer, boys and girls should receive instruction in them all and be encouraged to specialize in one of these subjects, because job opportunities are increasingly dependent on subjects such as electronics and computer science. In Europe the emphasis has already shifted away from the heavy engineering and artisan industries. Coalminers, steel-workers and ship-builders are the dinosaurs of 1984. The growth industries of today depend completely on scientific specialization.
Early Chinese education included the martial arts, necessary accomplishments for those above peasant status. Modern martial arts certainly have not destroyed the need for personal bravery in the soldier but effective military action today depends more on the technology which a country can buy, and on the specialized knowledge required for the use of the modern weapons of sea, land and air. The basis of any increase in a country's gross national product is trade. Today the marketing of sophisticated goods abroad is a main growth industry. You cannot begin to work in this field without at least a reasonable knowledge of the goods you are promoting. Neither, if you are a politician can you even understand many of the issues dealt with in government without a degree of specialized knowledge in those fields.
Today the emphasis has shifted from pure to applied science. It might be argued that men like Archimedes, Isaac Newton and Einstein were among the most educated people who ever lived. The frontiers which they established are still being pushed back. Yet modern interest lies less in discovering new laws than in the development of the old ones; modern education, for the majority, implies specialization in an established field.
Will science finally eliminate the divisive elements in human nature by encouraging understanding and co-operation, for this is surely one of the aims of educations ? So far there are few signs that it will. The truth seems to be that science has its own momentum, and the most that can be said is that the educated person should at least know what is going on in the world.
A knowledge of science is necessary if humanity is to be in a position to resist some of its worse results. Among these may be included nuclear and chemical warfare, and some of the frightening developments in genetic engineering. Science is neutral. Everything depends on its use or misuse. It neither explains nor contradicts religion. It is man's servant, not its master.

What do you understand by 'fashion' and why does fashion change?
 The word 'fashion' is generally used to mean style in clothing, 'style' meaning what is popularly accepted, admired or regarded as exclusive i.e. not available to the majority either because they lack the taste or the money to follow it. However fashion applies to many other things than dress and hair-styles e.g. house, building and the general design of most consumer-goods ranging from cars to kitchen appliances. The word also applies to customs, personal manners and standards of moral behavior. It certainly covers forms of speech, use of words and accents within a language.
All these things change from time to time, sometimes abruptly. Sometimes a form of dress, a phrase, or a custom may drop out of fashion but then come back for no obvious reason. However, the reason for change is usually apparent.
In the West post-war clothing fashions have been the subject of change because of the higher standard of living enjoyed in most European countries. Take England as an example. In pre-war days high fashion was the monopoly of the wealthy or well-to-do woman. If a woman works to a tight budget she will have to buy clothes and shoes for warmth and durability rather than appearance. During the war clothes for both sexes were rationed anyway, on a coupon system. This austerity, followed by post-war full employment, for women as well as men, started the fashion ball rolling.
Men's fashions have always remained relatively static, variations in suits and shoes remaining fairly minor. However the freedoms of the 1960's moved young men into a much more informal style of dress, which reflected their casual attitudes, behavior and morality. The tee-shirt and denim jeans became almost statutory for the young of both sexes. Recently there has been slight return to formal dress, although the hat has, for no apparent reason, become the symbol of the elderly men, and, for most occasions, women too.
Returning to women's fashions. A third reason for the constant changes lies in 'haute couture' as big business. At one time a new and exclusively styled garment from a couturier in Paris was sold only to the rich. The same garment today is only exclusive in its label, though a few models are sold to the rich as one-offs. The real business lies in the sale of the model to the mass-producing firms which bring new styles to the big stores in the High Street. Thus the shop-girl can wear the same style in clothes and shoes as Princess Diana. A fourth reason for change is that women like change for its own sake. They prefer two or three different outfits to one, in the course of a year. Mass-produced fashion clothes and shoes are therefore not made to last. They become 'disposables.'
Another reason for changes in customs, manners and morals, lies in subtle changes in ideas and outlooks. The Butch appearance of some western women reflects feminism, as does the look-alike garb affected by some couples. For men or women to live together in a homosexual relationship, so far from causing ostracism, is now accepted as fashionable in some quarters. Some men no longer open doors for women, stand when they enter a room or give up their seats in a railway carriage. Many women regard this once accepted behavior as male chauvinism.
Other changes in fashion occur because of the power of propaganda, advertising and political pressure groups. The anti-smoking lobby has largely succeeded in keeping all public places smoke-free. The lobby has considerable backing from the medical profession.
The term 'fashion' applies also to the written and the spoken word; B.B.C. English, spoken in an 'Oxbridge' accent was used exclusively by newsreaders and public speakers until the 60s. In that decade local accents became more fashionable, due partly to the prominence given to pop-groups, especially if they came from Liverpool, such as the 'Beatles' or from the Midlands or the North. Changes in accent and expression have greatly affected both the theatre and the television play; subject matter is also very different today. The term 'kitchen-sink drama' sums up the process. Novels have also undergone fundamental changes in fashion, partly because of travel and partly because of a shift in political interest. Today best-selling novels are usually spy-thrillers or books which deal with contemporary subjects such as aircraft, banking, electronics or industrial espionage; others result from a new and sometimes sentimental review of England's past glories, her old wartime achievements, her social and industrial progress in Victorian and Edwardian days and her colonial power up to 1939.

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.

What priorities would you set for government expenditure and why?
These priorities will vary enormously according to the circumstances and the state of development of the country concerned. Assuming that the country is politically independent, but that a reasonable level of defense has to be kept for the sake of parity with potentially hostile neighbors, a large slice of the national cake is already accounted for in terms of defense salaries and equipment. Could that slice be reduced in size. In terms both of nuclear and conventional arms, the current unfreezing of relations between East and West is partly based on internal pressures for economies in favor of more positive priorities. Similarly, all countries have labor-intensive annual commitments where the main services are nationally funded or subsidized; the civil service, the police and customs forces, the health service, education, roads, railways and airlines. All have the potential for rationalization, perhaps privatization, with consequent economies.
Basic policy must therefore be considered. If a country follows the socialist line, then all these, and many others, including housing and a comprehensive social security system, are the government's responsibility. If not, as many as possible of these services will be hived off to the private sector. For the purposes of this essay, let us assume that the country concerned is democratic, and that it encourages free enterprise, self-help and a business-like efficiency, and that it means to hold its own in the modern world.
To do so, it will need to achieve the following; economic development and the full exploitation of natural resources; a favorable balance of trade with, consequently, a strong currency; high interest rates if overseas money is to be attracted but if possible without prejudice to exports; the reduction or abolition of inflation implying some kind of wages policy in both public and private sectors, together with legislative control over the power of the trades unions. Given such an ideal and promising situation, we can now look at the national cake.
Any government's financial leeway consists of revenue less unavoidable expenditure, and both can he regulated within certain limits. Income normally comes from direct and indirect taxation, such as value added tax or purchase tax. Taxation covers personal income, business, profits made on resource exploitation, and of course levies on consumer durables and perishables among other areas. The total net income can be raised or lowered at the will of government, although such changes are usually marginal. In a democracy, wild changes may lead to the overthrow of government. Also, such changes have to be made with a strict eye to inflation, which cancels out improvements. Thirdly, any great increase in borrowing erodes stability.
Any chancellor will regard his expendable surplus as a cake to be divided into slices, after setting aside funds to service and reduce national debts. It will then be for the cabinet to press claims for the various departments represented, until agreement or compromise has been reached. So a budget is reached.
The press and the public may well have set their own priorities. Pressure groups will have drawn attention to social defects, and the opposition will certainly have done so.
Let us take an imaginary country which fulfils all the above conditions. The chancellor has a usable surplus of $2 billion. It has been decided that the country's outstanding short-term needs lie in the categories of housing, roads and railways, health, education, sport and the arts. The long-term needs include the modernization of the Armed Forces equipment, the exploitation of natural resources, and the establishment of centers for research and development, science and technology. At the risk of becoming unpopular the chancellor will have to balance these conflicting claims.
He selects the following short-term priorities; housing, health and education, and out of the long-term needs, the exploitation of natural resources. Roads, railways, sports and the arts will simply be maintained at the old levels, allowing for inflation. The sooner natural resources are developed the better, because this will guarantee greatly increased revenue.
A labor-intensive re-housing program will help to bring down unemployment. He allocates $330 million. Equal sums are allocated to the establishment of a subsidized health service, which he hopes will ultimately become non-contributory, and to the improvement of the national education service, to be shared from primary to university level. And since his hopes for a larger national cake in the future depend on resource exploitation, $1 billion must be allocated to that purpose.

All history books are biased. Do you support this view?
This sounds a very sweeping statement. Nevertheless, there is much truth in it. The bias is not always deliberate. Every writer owes much to his or her background and to the national climate of opinion. The important thing about the writing of history is that it should not only be factual but that it should include all the facts. For example, it would be wrong to write about the French Revolution without dealing with what led up to it, the glaring differences in living standards between aristocrat and peasant, the inequity of the law, the callousness of the rich and the rational philosophy of human equality and human rights spelled out by Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Otherwise the account would read simply as a record of brutal and indiscriminate violence on the part of the Paris mob.
The best of historical writing therefore includes all the facts, objectively presented, leaving the reader to draw personal conclusions. The problem of this kind of writing is dullness, where personal opinion or interpretation is rigorously excluded.
Nobody, either writer or reader, is totally without a political stance. One writer dealing with a popular revolution will castigate a mob for violence, greed and looting, condemning the murders which lead to the overthrow of a stable government. Another, dealing with the same revolution, will put all the blame on the government for its autocratic and heartless attitude to the people, and argue that the ugly features of revolution are necessary if full democratic control of government is to pass into the hands of the people.
If some historians tend to write, however objectively, from the national point of view, others tend to adopt the one-world stance, which is basically left-wing. This stance favors aggression by the oppressed and is invariably censorious about colonialism. It is also pacifist insofar as the established powers are concerned, although vague about the consequences of total non-aggression in all circumstances. The one-world view also tends to be selective in the presentation of facts, eliminating those which conflict with it's overall moral outlook. For example there is no mention of social and material progress or of the Pax Britannica in certain modern accounts of British colonialism.
Much the same applies to domestic history. While it is true that the old-fashioned historian concentrated on power bases, monarchs and political leaders, perhaps excessively, some modern historians see history simply in terms of the upward struggle of the poor, writing only about violence against the class struggle and against the trades union movement.
More recently, the writing of history in some countries has been debased out of all recognition. This happens when an oppressive government decides to brainwash its people into continued subservience. The technique is to suppress all the truth of the past and rewrite only the material which fits in with government policy. Such travesties are forcibly imposed on schools, while objectively-written history books are withdrawn from schools and libraries.

Should one aim of education be the development of talent in such fields as music, art, drama?
It is only a tiny minority who are born without a talent in one direction or another. Even these people are usually employable. It seems logical, in general, that one aim of education should be to develop latent ability, whatever that ability may be. However, the pressure from educational theorists today is to concentrate teaching on preparation for employment. Parents, also, feel that the priority for their children is to become equipped to earn a good living. Governments urge concentration on certain subjects, so that a pool of labor can be formed which can move easily into specialized training. These essential subjects include English, or another international language, since these languages possess technical vocabularies and also equip young people to travel overseas in the course of their work. The other favored subjects arc mathematics, the sciences, the use of computers and other office machinery, engineering, and general handwork. Given proficiency in some or all of there, it is a short step to useful employment. Modern job opportunities lie in the fields of the service industries, i.e. banking, insurance and stockbroking, technology and the manufacture of sophisticated products, research and development and computers. Governments see these occupations as essential to national wealth creation, and therefore crucial to the general improvement of the national standard of living.
There will always he young people more interested in the arts than in the sciences. The arts are usually bracketed under the general heading 'liberal studies'; they include history, languages and literature, philosophy, politics and economics, social and environmental studies. Some require exact knowledge and serious study, while others are 'soft options'. In any real sense they are totally unproductive, and modern education has spawned a brood of these non-subjects. It is small wonder that both governments and parents discourage some of them nowadays. We live in a real world. Yet the reverse of this coin is the necessary enrichment of the culture of all countries in successive generations. What is material success if there is nothing to engage the artistic side of our nature in our spare time?
Perhaps the greatest concept of education originates in the European cultural renaissance in Italy, and dates back to the late Middle Ages. It is the development of the whole person. Perhaps the modern version of 'mens sana in corpore sano', a 'healthy body in a healthy mind', still has its place. So even attention to sports training is justifiable.
So music, art and drama must all have their place in the curriculum, even if this is not a prime place. Every country has its own artistic heritage, and it would be tragic if that heritage were lost through neglect. Yet this is not merely a matter of conservation. Artistic pursuits have now become international and offer brilliant careers to gifted young people of every country. It is clear that those with this kind of talent should be encouraged.

What types of fiction do you enjoy reading and why?
The reading of fiction is escapism, but not in any bad sense. To read is more positive than to watch television, because the visual nature of TV limits the imagination. Reading also excels radio listening, partly because the listener has no choice in the programs, and partly because the quality of radio programs is so uneven. There is a world of fiction available to occupy the reader's spare time, so much so that he or she can be ultra-selective in following personal taste. It is perhaps true to say that a good library is one of the finest assets a community can possess. Failing a library, paperbacks are usually available. Reading opens windows on the world, whether past or present, and most people enjoy looking through these windows. Robert Graves' novels I, Claudius and Claudius the god reveal the Imperial Roman Empire, just as his Goodbye to all that reveals the horrors of the First World War. It may be this quality which distinguishes great from mediocre fiction. Tolstoy's War and Peace reveal the Napoleonic struggle, whereas Jane Austen's Persuasion being a study of the mannered relationships of early 18th century English country gentry merely gives the Napoleonic Wars a mention. So are we looking for people's reactions to a great sweep of national events, the sort we find in Pasternak's Dr Zhivago, with it's comments on the Russian system, or are we looking for an encapsulated set of personal relationships? Perhaps, from time to time, we enjoy both.
Our choice of fiction also depends on mood. Perhaps, after a hard day in the office, we need to read something out of this world. What about Mr. Clarke's space fiction? Or perhaps it is something light and amusing. There is a whole world of this kind of fiction. Again, tastes vary. For this writer, the Atlantic Ocean is a great divide as far as humor is concerned, just as the Australian reader would see nothing funny in an English novel which I think hilarious. This argues that humor has to be related to a known background. The Englishman laughs at the James Herriott stories, because the adventures of this veterinary surgeon relate exclusively to provincial English characters. The American would be puzzled. However, a gifted raconteur like David Niven sells equally well on both sides of the pond. In The moon's a balloon and Go slowly, come back quickly, he pins down the foibles of both nations, to the delight of both, because he has spent much of his working life in Hollywood, and has absorbed both backgrounds.
Most people enjoy a good thriller, and some, horror stories. Edgar Allan Poe's short stories set the horror trend. He was followed by a host of others, notably Dennis Wheatley, and more latterly by people like Blatty, who wrote the terrifying novel The Exorcist. The real trend, however, is for the good whodunnit, because the acts of violence are no more than pegs on which to hang intellectual solutions. Violence is never dwelt on for its own sake. This is the popular Agatha Christie genre, followed by dozens of other writers, some highly gifted, such as Georges Simenon.
There are, among many others, three genres which in the 20th century have had a great following. The outward-bound adventure thriller, represented by Alistair MacLean and Hammond Innes; the spectrum of spy mysteries, based on the machinations of MI6, the KGB and the CIA, John LeCarre being a very able exponent, and a whole group of modern novels based on carefully-researched subjects such as airports, hotels and banks.
This short essay does not mention the Classics, perhaps because the student may associate them too closely with examinations. However, they are still read for pleasure, and one should not forget that they were the popular literature of their day, and were often denied the literary status conferred on them by subsequent generations.

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