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GP Comprehension Paper – Globalisation & Cultural Imperialism

General Paper Comprehension Sample Question Paper & Answers (Paper 2)

GP Comprehension Question Paper – Globalization & Cultural Imperialism


(Note that 15 marks out of 50 will be awarded for your language, namely, for the quality and accuracy of your use of English throughout this paper)

Reminder: Answer IN YOUR OWN WORDS AS FAR AS POSSIBLE (IYOWAFAP) whenever the phrase is in the question. Little credit (out of the remaining 15 marks) can be given to answers, which only copy words or phrases from the passage.


Passage A

1. (From Paragraph 1) What general point in the water making in the opening paragraph? [1]

The writer says that American culture is pervasive / extremely dominant & prominent / highly visible / noticeable.



2. (From Paragraph 2, lines 7-13 only) In what ways is the spread of American influence different from that of previous empires? Answer IYOWAFAP. [2]

The scale of influence is exceptional / unheard of / without equal comparison / it’s incomparably extensive, and its powerful force / effects on society unmatched.

Domination in the past was based on superior armed forces. Now it is American attitudes, values and practices that prevail. American influence is forcefully propelled at an amazing pace.



…historically unprecedented in terms of its vast scope

and equally unparalleled in terms of its tremendous impact (line 7-8)

modern imperialism is cultural, not military (line 10)

modern technology flings culture to every comer of the globe with blinding speed (line 11)



3. (From Paragraph 2)
3(i) What does each simile below tell us about how Americanisation is perceived by the writer? [2]

“as stupefyingly shallow as a Disney cartoon” (line 14)

He regards American products as being incredibly superficial and hence lacking in any genuine value as one-dimensional Disney production.


“as stubbornly sticky as chewing gum” (line 14)

He sees it as something that is a nuisance like chewing gum and just as difficult to remove / eradicate.



5. (From Paragraph 6) According to the writer, why will the influence of America probably be more lasting than that of previous superpowers? AIYWAFAP. [2]

America virtually owns / controls the media industry. she could thus dictate / shape world view / the attitudes. values & beliefs of mankind.

because English is, by far, the key language used online / on the Net American influence is far-reaching.


…its dominance of technologies… means that, increasingly, America monopolizes and moulds the socio-cultural view people get of the world (line 38-40)

abetted by the overwhelming supremacy of English on the WWW …slickly spread …to millions (line 42)




Passage B

6. (From Paragraph 1) The writer uses metaphors (a type of comparison) to vividly portray certain attitudes about globalisation. Identify two different metaphors used and explain how each one one effectively conveys these attitudes. [3]

Globalisation is a threat which must be resisted / checked. Shutting the huge / heavy gates symbolises the action of keeping out the invader.

Globalization is feared as it is a disease transmitted by contact which society may succumb to.

Globalisation is a threat: the sheer force / power of globalization is a catastrophic flood that is overwhelming / submerging / drowning earth.


Lifted: Any 2 of the 3 metaphors
-the gates of the world are groaning shut (line 1)

-satellites, the Internet, and jumbo jets carry the contagion (line 2-3)

-the deluge of globalisation that is perceived to be engulfing our planet (line 5)


7. (From Paragraph 2)
7a) what objections do people have to globalisation? AIYWAFAP. [1]

Globalisation threatens individuality / removes distinctiveness or uniqueness, and would create a society that is suppressive oppressive an archetypal totalitarian society.


Critics of globalization argue that the process of globalization will lead to a stripping away of identity and a repressive Orwellian world (line 6-7)


7b) How does the writer counter these objections? AIYWAFAP. [2]

Given the sheer number of earth’s inhabitants. a uniform world will never be a reality.

Furthermore, the weakening of cultural differences should be viewed positively as an indication of the  state of advance / development / evolution of mankind
OR of more freedom & greater diversity.



On a planet of 6 billion people, this is. an impossibility (line 7)

More importantly, the decline of cultural distinctions may be a measure of the progress of civilization, a tangible sign of expanding liberty and increasing individuality (l.8) 



8. (From Paragraph 4) Why does the writer describe governments that oppose globalisation as “the heirs of King Canute” (l.26-28)? [1]

(inferred) He feels that just as King Canute could not change  / control the tides, so such governments are doomed to fail.



H1 JC GP Passages – Article Sources for Globalization & Cultural Imperialism:

JC H1 GP Tuition (Syllabus Code: 8807)
Source of GP Passage Texts:
Barbarians at the gates By Mark Rice-Oxley, Christian Science Monitor 2004
Open the door to globalisation By David Rothkop, Foreign Policy 1997


Q9. Vocabulary Question (5 marks)

Word 1 Mark  1/2 Mark

alarming (A.43)

disturbing, distressing, giving great cause for concern


No mark: concern


innocuous (A.46)


No mark: not affected

inflammatory (B.13)

provocative, that which fuels conflict  / evokes destructive passions

No mark: terrible


emancipating (B.22)



despotic (B.26) tyrannical, dictatorial, autocratic


No mark: dystopic



Reminder: Do not try to give a list (string of answers). Credit is most often be awarded to the first word, and the rest are disregarded.


Q4. Summary Question (SQ) (8 marks)

Summarise the writer’s objections to the spread of American influence all over the world.

Using material from paragraphs 3 to 5 only in Passage A, write your summary in no more than 130 words, not counting the opening words which are printed below. UYOWAFAP. [8]

The writer’s first objection is …



Insidious/ pernicious (l.14,20) and

Inexorable spread

… will create a global dystopia (I15)


that one country will dictate how we all live our lives in exactly the same way.

The spread of this influence is subtle difficult to detect/ harmful but

impossible to check is relentless in its advance.


Devoid of linguistic diversity  (l.15)

Peddle bland, homogeneous products (l17)

Revere drab, ubiquitous apparel… pervasive influence. (l20)

serve the same common fodder


It will bring about a nightmare future for the entire planet Lacking in variety of language

Everywhere people will be selling nondescript and similar goods .

Wanting to dress like everyone else in dull outfits / clothes.
OR the same dull products are found everywhere.

And eating the tasteless mass-produced food consumed by everyone else.


World less picturesque …less local colour (I.21)

Unique festivals..on verge of extinction (l.21-22)

Local industries endangered …oligopolies (I.23)

Our world has become less charming interesting and special / different.

Our range of cultures (ceremonies / traditions) is at the point of total eradication.

Economically, the domination by a few huge American companies threatens national / a country’s own businesses.


Infotainment always from American perspectives (l 28) music… their tune (l 30)

Violating its own principles.. copyrighted… freedom of choice (l. 32-33)

Even political cultures..transformed by personality-driven American model (l.35)

News is commercialised, with an American slant / also the world is expected to follow / be swayed by American musical taste.

America is flagrantly disregarding the libertarian ideals which it espouses / legal ownership deny other communities the liberty to develop alternative versions.

Politically, American influence is changing how people choose their leaders / revolves around / focuses on individual image.


Note: Time management is important for success in the summary question!
You do not need ALL the points to get 8 marks.



Q10 Application Question

The writers present distinctly different ideas and attitudes about the spread of American influence in the world today.

Which writer’s views do you find the most persuasive and why? As far as your country is concerned, do you think that American influence is changing it for the better or the worse? In your answer, you should refer relevant material from both passages as well as your own knowledge, experience and opinions. [8]


For an grade A answer, ( i.e. 6-8 marks), the following are expected:

Systematic reference to arguments raised in the passages in support of the candidate stand.

Clear articulation of own reasons and arguments to justify the stand taken.

Inclusion of relevant specific socio-cultural, political, economic aspects of own country.

Very convincing evaluation of the validity and fairness of the views in both passages.

Questions writers’ conclusions, reasons and assumptions with reference to own country.

With reference to cultural monotony…
Singaporean audiences have been very receptive to Reality TV programmes and its popularity is clearly demonstrated with the Increasing imports from American broadcasters and the creation of local versions as well. Music Television, or MTV, is one of the largest global producers of media culture: in Singapore, African-American hip-hop music become a commodity fetish and mode of assimilation, and has spread internationally and across languages.
(Note: This change can be viewed in terms of cultural adaptation instead of cultural imperialism, where the Afro-American culture has been transported through MTV to influence the music industry)

Clearly, Singaporeans may imitate Americans, but that does not mean they automatically become like them. Singapore can preserve her own cultural traditions as it integrates American ones.

Crucial question Is globalisation more than Americanisation and what does this mean for the rest of the world?

With reference to the insidious effects of Americanisation
Most students will maintain that americanization has a dark side, an underbelly that we know. The traits that many people in Singapore equate with the American Way are violence, workaholism, disrespect for authority, an endless obsession with instant gratification. Wills core well if Gp students discuss why American movies and television seem to purposely and purposefully peddle these ‘values’.


Explanation of candidate’s reasons for thinking that American influence is changing his / her country for the better / worse, with appropriate illustrations & reference to personal insights & experience.

With reference to American domination
That Americanisation is a big chunk of globalisation is a reality no one can wish away That the US dominates in “hard power (military might and economic clout) is unquestioned. The dollar is now kıng, it greases so much commerce that some argue that the greenback should be the official currency The ‘dollarization’ of the world economy is just one aspect of the worldwide spread of American values. The question then follows, what do you make of these trends?


Shows a high degree of coherence and organization with good use of appropriate connectors.

Candidate’s views are clear concise and fluently expressed.



Extra Comments from Tutor for GP :
-If examples from own country is not given, only a maximum of 5 marks.

-remember to state your country and include reference to her in your application responses.


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