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What do you find striking and why?
In what way(s) is what you have read related to the Cross-Worlds stories?

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http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/st-editorial/auntie-robotica-may-get-a-new-job

With the rapid technological advancements, there is foresight that an increasing number of artificial intelligence and robots, will step in to take their places in our society. Manpower cannot be increased indefinitely to meet the continuing rise in demand for cleaning and waste management services. Instead, it is technological innovation which is necessary to make the supply-demand relationship a sustainable one.

Although it is good news that the supply and demand can be easily met with the involvement of robots, humans are prone to being replaced by robots with greater efficiency. With that being said, there lives an underlying threat in the workforce. Unemployment rates may soar sky high, affecting thousands of households. Lower skilled workers still need a place in the current workforce to earn a living. In addition, with our ever increasing ageing population, a fraction of them fall within the category of low skilled workers. Adequate control of the engagement of robots is needed to ensure that cleaning uncles and aunties redundant in massive numbers

This issue can be amplified to fit into the large picture of the workforce. Not only the low skilled jobs are facing the threat of being ruled by robots, but it can easily escalate to higher rungs up the ladder. Professions such as doctors and nurses will soon realise that in order to complete their tasks, workers will have to go through and report to their superiors whose brains are wired. As technology evolves to a whole new overpowering level, the impossible will now be made otherwise. Literally any task can be completed using technology with both effectiveness and efficiency. Why then, after having this advantage, will we still want to pay to employ humans whose skills pale in comparison to the robots?

The consequences of having a smart nation is positive on the surface, but there are hidden dangers. While keeping up with the times and inching closer to the future, we do have to step back and reflect on how we should rope in robots, without leaving humans behind. This will be another level of challenge, but it is vital that we keep our usage of technology balanced.

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http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/the-guilt-of-shopping-at-amazon-prime

foray--a sudden attack or incursion into enemy territory, especially to obtain something; a raid/make or go on a foray. It is interesting because it can be used as both a noun and a verb

disintermediation--reduction in the use of intermediaries between producers and consumers, for example by investing directly in the securities market rather than through a bank. It is interesting because I did not know it was a proper word.

ubiquitous-- present, appearing or found anywhere. It is interesting because I did not know the exact meaning of it.

invariably-- in every case or on every occasion; always. I found it interesting as one might think it comes from the word variable, but even if I use “variable” to try to guess what invariable means, I cannot get the meaning out

Knell-- the sound of a bell, especially when rung solemnly for a death or funeral. (Also exists as a verb). It is interesting because it sounds funny

I do not agree with the writers standpoint. The writer is putting forward that she feels guilty buying groceries from other suppliers instead of local ones like NTUC or cold storage. Firstly, from a very personal point of view, the author over-romanticizes grocery shopping. The author, Chua Mui Hong has been with the paper since 1991 and covered every election in Singapore since then, except the 2001 General Election when she was in the United States doing her Master’s in Public Administration at Harvard University. In her salad days, she was an English literature graduate from Cambridge University. She blogs regularly on notable issues and commentaries and writes a monthly column in the Sunday Times. Evidently, she is a rather well read and educated woman.

“I point, he picks, I never bargain. I also enjoy going to the HDB estate near my apartment to browse the amazing array of wares in the ubiquitous household goods stores. So many colourful containers of all shapes and sizes; every kitchen utensil I never knew I would have a use for; all manner of brooms, brushes, laundry baskets, cleaning tools. I have spent many pleasant evenings lost in those aisles, emerging happily an hour later to pay for some item I will hardly use.”

The writer is stating that she spends hours shopping for buckets and brooms and pays for them happily when she knows that she might never use them. In this day and age does it make sense for anyone who has an office job and possibly children to be spending hours at a supermarket. Not to be overly critical and subjective, this brings me to my next point on why I do not agree with her standpoint. She says she feels guilt buying from Amazon because she might be “killing” off grocery stalls here. It is evident that in this technological era, businesses have to evolve to continue being competitive and to avoid being “amazoned”. It comes as little surprise that brick and mortar stores are under threat from online competitors. "Survival of the fittest" is a phrase that originated from Darwinian evolutionary theory as a way of describing the mechanism of natural selection. Quoted from Charles Darwin, “ It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Evidently, it works the same in the retail business. In the states, during Black Friday this year, malls were shockingly quiet, a far cry from the past years where people were trampling over one another to get the best bargains-- well, it was all online. My Aunt got an IPhone X at half price without getting off her couch. In lieu of this, retailers are now rushing to digitally transform, understanding that the only way to avoid being “amazoned” is to run on online platforms that could allow them to be competitive. Sure, NTUC does offer online shopping now, but compare their website interface to Amazon’s. It is slow, rather user unfriendly and face a lousy interface. Feeling guilt at shopping online because she might be killing local retail, is akin to being overprotective of an underperforming child, and shielding their eyes from the fact that others are doing better, and that he or she has the potential to do so too.

It has been reported Singaporeans clock an average of 2,371.2 paid hours a year - a figure higher than that in places notorious for their overtime culture, such as Japan and South Korea. In this case, is it not more convenient to be shopping for groceries online? Additionally , they do not have to waste time waiting in queues. Based on a global study, Singaporean women also sleep the least hours in the world. One glance into the supermarket, and one can see that most of the customers are women. On average, one grocery shopping trip can take up to 1 hour, travelling time included. Since time has become such a precious commodity in our society, has online shopping not become key?

In another equally metropolitan city, London, most people rely on online shopping to get their groceries. These groceries come from their local stores too. People do not turn to Amazon to get their groceries because they already have an avenue for them to do so. As such, being worried that shopping online would “kill” local businesses is frivolous.

Conforming may have helped businesses survive in the past. However, learning to adapt is the only way to thrive in this ever-changing world. Local businesses here should be learning how to adapt, instead of consumers having to “protect” them.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/20/opinion/how-evil-is-tech.html

I decided to read this article because the author blatantly termed technology as ‘evil’. In this society, there are countless schools of thoughts about the issue on technology. However, it is also a fact that there are extremists views about this controversial topic. Judging by the title, it suggests that the writer may more or less be completely against technology.

Due to the integration of technology into our daily lives, it has already reached the level of being highly indispensable. That’s for sure, it plays a mammoth role in ensuring the continuity of human activities. It is true that 89% of the world population uses technology, regardless of which industries or occupations they are involved in. So it piques my curiosity to find out why would certain groups of people loathe technology to the core, after they too, have enjoyed the advantage of it in one way or another.

The 3 main points that this article discussed was about technology destroying the young, the tech industry causes addiction on purpose to make money, and that monopolies use their market power to invade the private lives of their users and impose unfair conditions on content creators and smaller competitors. Although I do agree to a certain extent, but I still feel that almost everything in the world has its plus and minus points. Technology has evolved into something formidable. However, humans do have the power to control this. It is about whether they are willing to lessen the burden of the world by causing over reliance and to halt scheming to make money by posing a threat to the general welfare and health of people.

Addressing all kinds of actions, there is definitely a cause and effect. Technology has the power to control human lives, only with the aid of selfishness in people. While we are all still in control of our future, it highlights the need to suppress the addiction of technology. It is and will continue to be something intangible, lingering around human life at all times without our awareness. In this case, it acts like a fish bait. In order not to be tricked by that few seconds of pleasure, resulting in eventual death, we need to increase our awareness and set a boundary to how much we can tap on technology.

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http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/what-we-can-learn-from-a-galaxy-far-far-away

Paragraph: Although "thinking-out-of-the-box" is a commonly used phrase, few people actually practise it. It takes courage and wisdom to challenge corporate norms because the tendency for many executives is not to try new things.
People are reluctant to change because they usually won't get blamed by keeping to the status quo. But they face risks if they push for a change that may not yield the desired results. Ultimately, companies can only develop out-of-the-box cultures if they have a confident leadership that celebrates efforts to push and do new things. Of course, there will be the risk of failure but setbacks can be minimised if it comes with a well-designed exit-strategy as well. It is about preparing for contingencies and finding answers to all the "what if's". It boils down to good planning and the courage to do, as well as to stop, if it fails.


This paragraph interests me as the act of thinking out of the box actually appears as a lesson in the famous worldwide movie serial, Star Wars. It reflects that success comes quicker on a platter if we are willing to do things differently from the norms. Referring to the movie, despite great odds, some of the warriors managed to plan suicidal missions to destroy the Death Star. The Death Star, a weapon for universal protection, is controlled by a single operation centre manned by a small team of people. Strategically, it is not an impossible plan to hijack the centre if the right talents are deployed for the missions.

A risk is something that almost every individual tries to avoid as it spells trouble when things go wrong. In other words, it can also represent the key to new opportunities and achievements that no one has ever had. Thinking out of the box is coupled with numerous risks. With that in mind, the first reaction of anyone would be “and so the safer option is to follow the crowd!” Even though it is widely known that doing things differently yields different results, if the end result of the mass is surprising positive, why not follow them and achieve the same? This relates to the first sentence of the paragraph.

Practical and strategic planning, together with the courage to overcome these risks are required for new ideas to work out. In this world, we need entrepreneurs and leaders. They are the ones who show us the direction of where we should be working towards as a country. For the past centuries, we have had wonderful and life changing leaders. Scientists are already considered as one, since their experiments have made our lives easier.

Hence, I feel that in order to make a difference to contribute to the society, we have to try practicing to be risk takers. Risks, after all, are not involved in life and death matters. It is challenge of facing setbacks and efforts crumbling right before you. Think about it, once you have succeeded, these risks only appear as stepping stones to soar to greater heights.

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https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/20/the-guardian-view-on-and-the-police-justice-first


Credibility can be defined as the quality of being trusted and believed in, or the quality of being convincing or believable.

Though the writer is not mentioned in the article, and I have no idea who wrote this article, it seems very credible in every sense. In this case, the author has more than a dozen statistics and facts and has used all the correct and apt vocabulary in writing this. This is also published by the guardian, who has a rather good reputation in credible and unbiased news. As such, I would say that the writer has the credibility to write this.

According to an investigation by the National Psychology Ward Centre UK, a statement is 91.2% more likely to be believed when backed by statistics. Is that so? Psych. The national psychology ward centre UK does not exist and so does that investigation. The writer could very well be adding in fake facts, with no one bothering to check it out because it seems very credible. As seen in the second definition of credibility, the writer does seem the quality of being convincing and believable. However it is exactly this “does seem” that causes the recent onslaught of fake news. Fabricated stories posing as serious journalism are not likely to go away as they have become a means for some writers to make money and potentially influence public opinion. As breaking news unfolds and people increasingly rely on social media to stay abreast of the latest updates, this further perpetuates the spread of fake news. Every like and share supports each and every unverified rumor. Seemingly well ground statements which appear to be certain and accompanied by evidence makes users appear to be less capable of distinguishing true from false rumors when their veracity remains in question. I have read at least a dozen statistics and facts in this piece, but I have not bothered to check whether any one of them is true or not. Perhaps this was the explosive that triggered the avalanche of fake and indistinguishable news. Just because the article seemed reliable to be, with all the statistics used, I believed it, and so did many others. This writer definitely has the quality of being convincing and believable in the writing of this issue.

However, seeming to be credible in this sense is different from having the quality of being trusted. As such, I ran a check on all the facts mentioned. It is correct and not fake. So currently, the author fulfills both the definitions of being credible. This author has the credibility to write about this issue regardless of the fact that he or she may not be an expert on this matter. The author has done sufficient background check and homework before starting to write this.

However, how many people actually exhaust their avenues to distinguish real facts from fake?

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http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/cartoons/punchlines-dec-29-2017

The purpose of this cartoon is to highlight the challenge that the government bodies will be facing as the number of public exercise drills and announcements increase. As the nation population is on the rise, the need of educating the importance of surrounding awareness has become a necessity. The hidden meaning in this cartoon is that people tend to take their safety for granted, once they have had similar experiences. This serves as a reminder to the government that they need to set a limit to what they are doing, including the pivotal education of how to deal with situations that cause public distress, as well as the great repetition of important announcements, which will determine if the citizens are on schedule.

Perhaps a tinkle or two would make a good deal, but evidently, if there are too many, people will let down their guard, resulting in them assuming that alerts are mostly useless and time wasting. In the long run, it is rather detrimental because the whole idea of raising the citizens’ awareness in public will not get expected results, but instead experience a turn of events. I do understand that the government is trying to reach out to larger audience and adhering to this saying ‘practice makes perfect’. For this instance about the context of the government, the saying mainly brings out the idea of how they would like citizens to have numerous attempts at handling the same situations in preparation for the actual one. At the same time, repeated announcements are believed to increase the chances of more people being in the know. Take an example, with much emphasis placed on the recent terrorist threats, large scale exercise drills are conducted nationwide. Ranging from the most common fire drills, to serious terrorist invasions drills, a large percentage of citizens are pretty familiar with all. Since they have had cyclic experiences with these educations, with all turning out to be unimportant, it causes greater harm.

With people no longer taking announcements seriously, in the case of an actual emergency, they will act fast enough. Hence, exposing themselves to more threat and the danger of the loss of lives, on contrary to the government’s aim.
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