GP: Paragraph Development (2)

In this post, I shall discuss some examples regarding paragraph development.

Example 1

Additionally, some may challenge the importance of celebrating such hero. They believe that such heroes are formed from mere acts. Given the circumstances, background and a little luck, they feel that anyone could have done the same thing. On many occasions, sceptics also try to downplay on others’ deeds by claiming that it was only right to do so, hence, there is no need to recognise and celebrate something which all of us should be doing. When the Huang River flooded due to an unexpected monsoon event of high propensity, Chinese soldiers rushed in to help the victims in inundated areas. As the levees failed, some of the soldiers even tried to build a human barricade so as to ease the discharge of water onto the inner city areas. Such acts of bravery are certainly heroic as they put their life on the line, so as to save the lives of others. However, some critics said that is was part of their job to protect the citizens. Furthermore, they argued that celebrating such efforts is unnecessary and may, in fact, promote crisis mismanagement. As such, it can be deduced that it is not important for us to recognise and celebrate our heroes as these are mere acts.
—–adapted from ‘How important is it for us to recognise and celebrate our heroes?’ RJC KS BULL Issue One 2014

This paragraph is clearly structured and insightfully developed. The point is clear – some heroic actions are mere acts, and worth nothing of celebration. The author also gives some explanation of the point before giving the example of Yellow River flooding. The stand-out point of this paragraph is its evaluation after the example. It further explains the example and links to the main point naturally.

Example 2

Secondly, technology when used in an attempt to simplify our lives by solving a particular problem, can result in a host of new problems that further complicate our lives. For example, nuclear technology was seen as an alternative energy solution to meet the demands of the world’s energy consumption – it resulted in the creation of the world’s second most destructive weapon (the atomic bomb) and the development of the world’s first (hydrogen bombs with the power of millions of atomic bombs). Indeed, the threat of nuclear warfare has left its indelible mark on global politics, in some cases fostering peace (theory of mutually assured destruction) and in some cases starting war (fears f Iraq stockpiling nuclear armaments). And of course, that is not the end of the story. Trust human creativity to pervert technology and invent a plethora of military weapons, from germ bombs, dirty bombs to hacker warfare and what you get is a range of dangerous, very real threats that certainly do not make life any simpler. Another example would be genetically-modified organisms, particularly genetically-modified (GM) crops. They were meant to be the simplest solution to solving the world’s perennial problem of food shortage and hunger – increase the output and efficiency of food harvests. Yet they introduced a host of complicating factors, in the form of the standard bio-technological agricultural industry model, for example Monsanto, in which patent rights for certain GM products clashed with farmers’ practices of sharing crops. Let us not forget the many long-term health risks these “unnatural” foods can present. Hence technology is almost never the simplest solution – as George Bernard Shaw once remarked, “Science never solves a problem without creating ten more.” These new problems have a direct impact on the lives of many people in third-world countries or countries at risk of war.
—–adapted from ‘Technology has failed to simplify our lives. To what extent is this true?’ RJC KS BULL Issue One 2013

This is the typical example-driven paragraph without any analysis or any link to the question. It is mostly rehearsed and vomited during the exam. It shows that the student is incapable of independent thinking and expressing his own thoughts. There are too many unnecessary details, and the use of brackets is really idiotic, making the marker impatient and eager to deduct content score. The way to get out of this story-telling mode is to ask yourself the WHY question – why does technology/science brings more problems? Human carelessness? Human greed? Scientific uncertainty/unreliability? Push yourself in answering these questions. After that, do remember to stick to the question “SIMPLIFY OUR LIVES” – why does creating more problems make our lives more complicated? The link, although simple, should not be left out.


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