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GP Comprehension Paper – Man & Society

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

GP Comprehension Question Paper – Man & Society


(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)

Note: When a question asks for an answer IN YOUR OWN WORDS AS FAR AS POSSIBLE (IYOWAFAP) and you select the appropriate material from the GP passage for your response, you still must use your own words to express it. Little credit can be given to answers which only copy words or phrases from the passage.


Passage A:

1 (From Paragraph 1) Briefly explain the irony of having a statue of Arthur Ashe standing within a mile of a statue of Jefferson Davis. [1]


The irony lies in honouring two local heroes in the same vicinity / location who represented / supported totally contradictory world views / aspirations / ideals / ideologies / causes.



2. (From Paragraph 6) In lines 58-60, a commemorative statue is compared to a tattoo. According to the writer, in what two respects are they similar? UYOWAFAP. [2]


Both the tattoo and statue are relatively permanent; they cannot be easily got rid of when feelings towards the subject change.

Getting rid of them will probably create / cause a permanent and ugly unsightly mark reminder.


(physical in the case of the tattoo, emotional in the case of the statue)
Note: This is not necessary for full marks to be awarded, but makes for a more complete answer


Passage B:

4. (From Paragraph 1) What does the writer find “appalling about the proposal to have a plaque on a new shopping mall as a memorial to the World Trade Centre tragedy? UYOW… [2]


The main motive is profit / commercialism, so as to take full advantage of the well-located, highly priced land, not remembrance.

The plaque is just a hollow empty gesture. [1]

The plaque lacks any figurative significance
OR  does not represent / evoke any deeper idea / feeling / response to the tragedy.

(Award 2 marks for any 2 of the above points. Award 3 marks  – i.e. 1 bonus mark – it all 3 points are made.)


The overriding motive is to exploit “a prime piece of real estate” (l.3)
a token plaque (l.3)
fails to communicate any poignant symbolism (l.4)


5. (From paragraph 2) The garden is not manicured into conventional beauty but beginning of this paragraph? Explain the meaning of this statement. How does this details serve to illustrate the sentence at the beginning of this paragraph? UYOWAFAP. [2]


Meaning of the statement:
The grounds have not been shaped / artificially designed / arranged and groom / beautified

to conform to the usual standard ideas of an attractive area

Instead, it is an actual copy model of the topography of the Irish countryside


How it illustrate the statement at the beginning of this paragraph:
The details draw attention to the fact that the memorial is visually a carbon copy of the Irish scenery / topography / landscape OR
It is very literal in that it is realistic / accurate / faithful / lifelike presentation, not purposefully symbolic.

(Note: the answer must show awareness of literal vs symbolic; representation vs representation!)



6. (From Paragraph 3) “But more than a literal place, it is also a contemplative space (16) Using your own words,, answer the following

(a) What does the writer mean when he says the garden is a contemplative space? [1]
(b) How does the garden prove to be a “contemplative space in both a specific and general sense? [2]


(a) The phrase implies that the viewer or visitor is invited to encouraged to engage in quiet and personal individual reflection, without being told what his emotions or opinions ought to be.


Specific sense: The visitor reflects / ponders on the specific subject the tragedy of the potato famine

General sense: The memorial causes the visitor to go beyond the specific subject to consider the wider issues of world hunger / food shortages and global dislocation / refugee problems today.



7.(From Paragraph 3) Explain why, according to the writer, a re-creation of the World Trade Centre (WTC) would not be an effective monument. UYOWAFAP. [2]


The WTC did not boast of any architectural merit/it was not a beautiful building.

The WTC had no particular distinctive/unusual character charm.

People only went there for shopping.

Or used it for a view of other attractions.


The World Trade Centre never on its own had any aesthetic appeal (l.30)

or quaint attraction to visitors. (l.30)

The towers were merely commercial and utilitarian: they offered a place to purchase trifles and trinkets, and a vantage point for a view of other places (I.30-32)


8. (From Paragraph 5) Why does the writer think the steel fragment from the ruins of the World Trade Centre is a fitting testament to the victims? State two reasons. UYOWAFAP. [2]


It makes a credible/suitable for realistic tombstone. pointing upwards, like a gravestone, marking the grave of the victims
OR It physically resembles a gravestone, marking the grave of the victims.


It is a remnant from the original building
OR a literal reminder of the original WTC.


It is a reminder / representation of fortitude / regeneration / restoration because it still stands erect having withstood the damage suffered by the rest of the building
OR a symbolic reminder of the human will to live.

(Accept any 2 of the 3 points)



A headstone pointing to the heavens (l.35)

relic of destruction (l.38)

symbol of survival, epitaph to endurance (l.39)






H1 JC GP Passages – Article Sources for Man & Society:

JC H1 GP Tuition (Syllabus Code: 8807)
Source of GP Passage Texts:
Premature Adulation by Gary Younge, Guardian Weekly 2002
The Complex Art of Honouring Memory by Verlyn Klinkerborg, The New York Times, 2002


Q9. Vocabulary Question (5 marks)

Word 1 Mark  1/2 Mark
liberal (A, l. 27)

generous, charitable


No mark: liberal


tellingly (A, I. 41) significantly, in a revealing way


No mark: obvious


gathered pace (A, l. 44)

increased in momentum / intensity

No mark: quickly


spell out (B, I. 21)
directly convey, state explicitly

No mark: obvious


evocative (B, l. 23) suggestive of feelings/memories, capable of arousing


No mark: encourage



Reminder: Do not try to give a list or a string of answers. Credit is most often be awarded to the first word or phrase.


Q3. Summary Question (SMQ)
(From Passage A, Paragraphs 2 to 4 only)

According to the writer, before erecting a monument to a prominent person, what considerations should we bear in mind?
Write your summary in no more than 120 words, not counting the opening words which are printed below. UYOWAFAP. [8]

The first consideration is…


Lifted from the GP Passage
AIYOW / Re-Expressions / Paraphrase

-A people carves its own image in the monuments of its great men (210) The only trouble is deciding which people (l.13)

-what image (l.13)

-and who determines greatness” (l.13), for these figures to remain relevant, the notions of greatness” they embody must not only be fixed but agreed upon (l. 27-28)


The first consideration is deciding who should be commemorated…

And the manner in which they are to be represented…

As well as who sets out the criteria for the qualities of actions that are worthy to be celebrated/remembered OR Also, the ideas of what constitutes worth/worthiness should be unchanging and accepted by all.


-and the small matter of the half of humanity otherwise known as women (I.14) Another consideration is that females who have also contributed to history are seldom remembered in monuments.



-If they are to be truly effective they must be made to last (l.15). -There is little point erecting a statue that people will one day want to remove (l.16-17)

-General idea: And if they are to be truly public they should be embraced by most, if not all (l.15 – 16)

-Subset of above Public monuments are meant to achieve consensus (l. 30)

-Nor is there much dignity in erecting a statue that will antagonise large sections of those who see it (l. 23-24)


A further consideration is that monuments should bul often do not withstand the passage of time OR it is redundant/meaningless to construct a monument if the reasons for wanting it are not long-lasting.

Generally, the subject of the monument should be readily/gladly/enthusiastically welcomed by the majority.

Specifically, a monument should pull people together to achieve a common understanding/agreement about an important person’s role in history.


..meant to achieve…closure (1. 30) …to seek a sense of completion (I. 31)

to draw together the various strands of meaning in the lifetime of a personage and condense its significance (l. 31-32)

Certainly, a memorial should not offend / upset / provoke most people.

It should fill the visitor with a sense of finality / conclusion about an event or person’s contribution.

It is difficult to encapsulate in one statue or monument the entire contribution or the total achievement of a person and thus crystallise the meaning / importance for a country.


Note: Time management is important for success in the summary question!
Reminder: it is a good practice to write down the number of words used.



Q10 Application Question (From Passages A and B)

A multi-millionaire in your country has donated a large sum of money to the nation to be used to erect a monument of great national significance.
Suggest a person or event or concept that you think is suitable to be commemorated in this monument. Justly your proposal by referring to specific arguments and ideas from both passages, as well as your own knowledge and opinions. [8]


Answer: Points from Passage A

Paragraphs 2-3: Students should identity “great people who possess ideal traits/characteristics that are by and large. representative of what the people in the country believe to be “great”.
Para 4: The event or the personage should allow people  to seek historical closure to an event or personage, and embody the significance of that event / personage.


Points from Passage B:

Para 1-3 The monument  /building must portray or be linked to a poignant historical event that touches present generation (e.g. early immigrants, famine, hunger, displacement)

Shows how this event reflects larger world issues (e.g. globalisation)


Para 2 & 5. The monument / building has some authentic features of the historical event


Para 3-5 The monument must raise consciousness of the people, to contemplate larger issues, to have empathy for humanity and not just a particular person / event / people


Para 4-5. It must be an event that can be portrayed artistically to transport the viewer beyond the immediate. make the viewer feel and think of more than simple numbers and literal reality, to the realm of the abstract.


Possible Subjects For Monument:

Tan Kah Kee (philanthropist for Chinese education)
Tan Tock Seng (contribution to affordable health care donated to hospital)
Lim Boon Keng (First Chinese member of Legislative Council Chinese philanthropist)
Eunos Abdullah (1st Malay member of Legislative Council)
Hajjah Fatimah (Malay business woman)
Govindasamy Pay (Indian businessman)
Lim Chin Siong
David Marshall
Yusof bin Ishak


1959-PAP swept into power
Maria Hertogh Riots
Inter-racial riots (1963)
Separation (1965)


Racial Harmony
Cultural / Religious tolerance
Pioneering spirit of early settlers



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