GP Comprehension Paper – Social Problems: Gambling

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

GP Comprehension Question Paper – Social Problems – Gambling

(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 passage for your answer, you still must use your own words to express it, ie to paraphrase or using re-expressions, rather than copying words or phrases from the passage.


Passage A


1. (From paragraph 1) “For puritans, the issue is clear-cut” (lines 2-3). What is the meaning of the word “puritan” and why does the writer use it? Answer IYOWAFAP.. [2 marks)


The word “puritan” refers to someone who has a rigid / overly-strict / prudish moral world view.

Here, it is a word with negative connotations / derogatory word used to show that the writer is dismissive of the black and white moralistic arguments of those who oppose the casino.


2. (From paragraph 1) What reasons does the writer give for the need to build a casino in Singapore? Answer IYOWAFAP. [3]


There is growing increasing competition in the global market and Singapore is struggling to maintain its top /preeminent position.

Nearby countries are threatening to overhaul / fast catching up with Singapore in areas where she has been traditionally dominant.

Singapore must broaden its appeal in international tourism,
OR find new ways to attract tourists, and building a casino is one good way of doing this.



…escalating international rivalry that Singapore faces as it tries to remain a  world-class player in the premier league.

Singapore’s neighbours are snapping at our heels as they develop their capabilities in offering the same services.

One way for Singapore to stay ahead is to hold out more tantalising fruit to tempt visitors.


3. (From paragraph 2) According to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, how has the government’s approach to regulation changed? What is the purpose of this change? Answer in your own words as far as possible. [3]


In the past proposals would not gain approval / consent if it was thought they could have detrimental effects, even for a minority.

Now, the government will weigh the potential ill effects against the advantages for businesses.

To make it easier for new businesses to be set up / encourage business ventures by minimizing/reducing red tape / official hindrance.



-if a particular activity was deemed to pose risks – even if only to a small section of the population – we tended to disallow the activity.

-our approach will be to balance the risks and potential problems against our desire to encourage individual enterprise and initiative.

-(Purpose) To promote entrepreneurship to allow entrepreneurial activity with as few  bureaucratic impediments as possible.


4. (From paragraph 2) “Critics should see the government’s reconsideration of casinos of cutting another apron string.” (lines 23-24). Explain carefully what the writer means in this context, paying particular attention to the words in a Use your own words as far as possible. [2 marks]

The expression being tied to one’s mother’s apron strings” refers to over-dependence on someone else who acts as a kind of parental/nanny figure, resulting in a prolonged state of immaturity.


The writer is arguing that the loosening of government control in allowing a casino to be built would be a step towards greater autonomy and maturity for the people of Singapore.



Passage B

5. (From paragraph 2) According to Mill, what two factors might damage the ability to make choices in the ideal fashion (line 12)? AIYOWAFAP. [2]


If the decision is made just / solely / purely / only for the sake of momentary pleasure to satisfy a passing whim.

In difficult or trying situations which damage the ability to think clearly and therefore hinder good decision making.


-(if they were made) in pursuit of merely transitory desires

-in various predicaments when the judgement is likely to be clouded


6. (From paragraph 3) Explain carefully the paradox contained in the last paragraph. Use YOWAFAP. [2]


The word “paternalism” implies a loss of individual autonomy, because the state in making the decisions.

The author argues here that government action to defend its citizens from outside intrusion actually preserves their autonomy. Thus, it is an apparent contradiction that actions which would normally deprive people of liberty can in fact enhance it.


-this presents us with an alternative view of paternalism: it is not the antithesis of liberty, constraining an individual’s freedom, but that which protects an individual from external influences that restrict his true liberty.



H1 JC GP Passages – Article Sources for Social Problems – Gambling


JC H1 GP Tuition (Syllabus Code: 8807)
Source of GP Passages:
Be practical about casino, The Straits Times 2004
Free will’s a gamble by Tan Seow Hon, The Straits Times 2005




Q8. Vocabulary Question (5 marks)

Word1 Mark 1/2 Mark
placate (1.26)appease, mollify. pacify



No mark: please



eschew (1.29)avoid, shun 
lucrative (1.38)profitable, generating / bringing in a lot of money



altruism (1.41)concern for the welfare of others, make more generous provision for the welfare of its citizens (specific contextual meaning)  No mark: caring
repercussions (2.2)

consequences/ effects that occur after an event (Note: These are often unexpected or unpredictable and unpleasant/undesirable results which take place some time afterwards)




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.


Q7. Summary Question (SQ) (8 marks)

In Passage B, the author refers to the negative effects a casino could have on Singapore and Singaporeans. Using only material from paragraphs 4-5, write a summary of these ways in no more than 120 words, excluding the opening words printed below Use your own words as far as possible. [8]

Casinos could have a negative effect because …


Lifted from the GP Text
Suggested Re-Expressions

-casinos often have the power to reduce a person’s self-restraint.

with their seductive ambience become snares for the naive and the unwary.

they lessen the individual’s ability to exercise self-control/self-discipline

…are tempting traps for the innocent and the unsuspecting

Casinos will encourage organized crime.


-The result is insolvency.

-and an inevitable trail of white collar crime.

-Sadly, loan sharks will flourish, bringing with them an array of intimidatory tactics. Worse, casinos are known to provide a breeding ground for sinister groups like the mafia and triads.


The outcome is bankruptcy.

and instances of fraud / embezzlement / theft in the workplace.

Ruthless money lenders will thrive.

-The mere proximity of the casino will indubitably increase the prevalence of problem gambling

-There will an increase in marital discord

-The community will face huge economic costs in dealing with the ramifications of gambling

The nearness / accessibility of the casino will raise the incidence of compulsive gambling

There will be more stress tension / arguments  /conflicts between husband and wife.

Society will have to pay a great deal of money in attempting to solve the problems which result from gambling.


-For them (religious leaders), such places are little more than dens of iniquity

-Wrong signals are sent out that society which should place communitarian spirit and social compassion above purely financial considerations


Church representatives see casinos as wicked/evil places.

A misguided message is communicated that the pursuit of wealth takes priority over the care and concern we should show for others.


Note: Write down the number of words used.



Q10. Application Question

Recently there has been heated debate about whether the government should allow a casino to be opened in Singapore.
What is your view? Refer to relevant arguments from both passages as well as your own knowledge and opinions. (8)



YES, we should have a casino

But times have changed …  world-class n the premier league (A, lines 6-8)

It is particularly important for Singapore to remain competitive in light of her small size and lack of natural player resources. If we do not move with the tide of change, we  will be easily outdone by the other bigger nations surrounding us.
And as long as the activity does not cause unmanageable problems to others (A, lines 20-22)Gambling serves only as a trigger to the problems associated with gambling but is never the main cause of these problems. They are usually in existent already.  though latent. Besides, PM Lee has also assured the public that measures will be put in place to manage these problems should they arise.
Ultimately whether one steps into a casino or not is a personal decision. (A, line 34)Singapore is often seen as a nanny state, which stifles creativity and entrepreneurship. We need to grant more autonomy to the individual to make his own decisions. 34) albeit wrong at times It is only through making your own mistakes that we can truly learn from them.

With more money (by levying taxes on casino taking], it [the government can display more altruism’ (A, line 41) 

The money we get from casino taxes can be channelled to various charitable organizations to help the underprivileged It can also be used to build better infrastructure and facilities to increase our competitive edge, eg advance the biomedical field.

NO, we should not have a casino

-alternative view of paternalism protects an individual from external influences that restrict his true liberty’ (B, lines 16-18)


Freedom is not arbitrary but is tagged with a certain degree of responsibility as well. The government has a mistaken notion of freedom in allowing the opening of a casino in light of the potential consequences of gambling since they are likely to ‘cripple’ a person socially, emotionally and economically.
if the main rationale for the casino is economic…communitarian spirit and social compassion above purely financial considerations! (B, lines 33-35)

The ends do not justify the means. Much as we are concerned about our economic situation, we should still be careful in the means we use to achieve these economic aims, such that they do not contradict our long-held values. Much of Singapore’s appeal is also due in large part to her conservation of traditional values.


‘Social costs will be born of individual weaknesses.’ (B, line 30)

It is precisely because Singapore is a small nation made up of many races that we need to be careful not to destroy this social fabric. The presence of any tension though small, can severely threaten her stability in the long run.


But when we say ‘yes’ to a casino…destroy their lives for some economic gains We would receive?’ (B, lines 42-44)

Though it is one’s personal decision to gamble or not, it would be selfish of us not to intervene should this decision lead to one’s downfall Being members of moral community, we need to look out for each other’s welfare.



Focus on Explanation (EX) and Evaluation (EV), for the easiest way to at least a 6.
The other 2 elements of Requirement and Coherence forms the remaining marks.


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