GP Comprehension Paper – Social Problems: Smoking

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

GP Comprehension Question Paper – Social Problems: Smoking


(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. Little credit (out of the remaining 15 marks) can be given to answers, which only copy words or phrases from the passage.


Questions on Passage 1


1. Using materials from paragraph 1, only briefly explain Mr. Chan’s concerns about the possible consequences of implementing an excessive tax on cigarettes. Answer in your own words as far as possible (aka AIYOWAFAP). [2]

Commercial enterprises may suffer. There could be a high incidence of illegal trafficking, requiring increased monitoring by the Police Force / CNB o Central Narcotics Bureau. We may be criticised by other countries, and the number of tourists / foreign visitors to Singapore may drop.


GP Passage Text
“He also cautioned that the implications to business, potential smuggling, policing, tourism and international opinion must also be considered before making any excessive hikes in excise tax, let alone imposing a total ban” (lines 4-6).


2(a) In paragraph 2, what argument does Mr Chan use against the banning of cigarettes. Explain IYOWAFAP. [1]

He argues that a ban never worked completely in stopping all unlawful demand for prohibited drugs, so it is unlikely to work with cigarettes.

OR It will just lead to a black market (1/2), but not a fall in demand. [1/2]


From the passage The banning of hard illicit drugs and trendy designer drugs, such as Ecstasy. and the imposition of the death penalty for trafficking have not stopped narcotic usage totally in Singapore” (lines 10-12)

“…banning cigarettes would only push the problem underground” (lines 9-10)


2(b) In paragraph 2, what argument does Mr Lee make for banning cigarettes? [1]

Lee argues that because nicotine creates a stronger craving than contraband drugs, there is good reason to consider it in the same light as hard drugs and ban cigarettes.


“It is precisely because the nicotine in tobacco is a tremendously addictive substance, even more so, in my view, than hard drugs and alcohol, that it ..other narcotics (l.12-14)…”


3. Explain what Mr Lee means when he says “Singapore loosened up alarmingly in the 1990’s”. Use YOWAFAP. [1]

Mr Leo thinks that in the last decade, Singapore become tolerant / permissive of smokers to a worrying / dismaying degree / extent / level.


4. Aldous Lee compares handling the cigarette problem to a “war being waged” (line 25). Identify two metaphors in paragraph 4 that continue this comparison. No explanation is required, 12)

“legal weapon” (l. 30), OR “on the home front” (l.33) , OR “no combat zone” (l.40)

Any 2 for 1 mark each


5. Identify and explain one pun (a play on words) in paragraph six (2)

Answer: stubbing 10 ridding Singapore society of cigarettes  / the stub is the short remaining part of a smoked cigarette / putting out or extinguishing a cigarette;

OR sticky (1) tho unpleasant difficult issues / chewing gum remains are adhesive, gluey, gummy
(1 mark for pun and 1 mark for explanation)



Questions on Passage 2

7. “Besides, our city state cannot afford to accommodate all kinds of minorities” (lines 26-27). Comment on the irony here. [1]

The irony is that Singapore has always prided itself on being cosmopolitan / pluralistic / multi-racial / tolerant (indeed, given its multiracial ethnic religious composition, it needs to do so). Whereas the writer is asserting the opposite

(Impression mark: accept any similar and coherent answer)


8. Is Carter Hung being serious in the punishments he recommends for smokers in paragraph three? How do we know? [2]

Ans: No, because the punishments suggested are out of all proportion to the “crime”. The writer is deliberately exaggerating and does not mean to be taken at face value.

(Allow any comment about the writer using a “facetious tone” or “irony”, with elaboration present as well.)


9. The writer refers to the Disneyfication of Singapore” (line 42). What criticism is implied here? [2]

Disneyfication” suggests the process of taking a natural place and turning into a strictly controlled, artificial environment, much like the man-made theme park Disneyland (also known as “the happiest place on earth”). “Disneyfication of Singapore implies that she is in the process of becoming a scientific, sterile, artificially maintained and strictly managed place like Disneyland.

(Impression mark: accept any similar and coherent answer)



H1 JC GP Passages – Article Sources for Social Problems – Smoking:

JC H1 GP Tuition (Syllabus Code: 8807)
Source of GP Passage Texts:
Aldous Lee, The Straits Times 2004
Carter Hung, The Straits Times ’04


Q10. Vocabulary Question (5 marks)

Word1 Mark 1/2 Mark
flouting (1.37)

defying blatantly / openly / flagrantly



vociferous (2.3)

strident / loud and forceful / energetic expressing strong feelings / opinions


draconian (2.10)

very harsh


demonised (2.12)

portrayed as evil



mandatory (2.33)






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


Q6. Summary Question (SMQ) (8 marks)

Summarise the measures proposed by the writer for tackling the cigarette problem. Using material from paragraphs 3 to 5 only write your summary in no more than 100 words, not counting the opening words which are printed below. UYOWAFAP. [8]

The government should…


Lifted from the GP Compre
Paraphrase / Re-Expressions
-“phasing in five to ten years’ time”(l.19-20)

gradually institute a ban in stages


-Our best weapon in the interim is a tax every year twice a year” (lines 25-26) 

-raise the consumption age from eighteen to twenty-one” (l.27-28)

-we should consider charging parents of underage smokers with parental neglect.” (lines 29-30)

-prohibit smoking for all pregnant women (line 30)

Meanwhile, steadily increase cigarette tax annually or biannually.

Increase the legal age for smoking from 18 to 21.

Any unlawful young smoker should be punished / disciplined.

Hold parents accountable for their children’s cigarette-related misdemeanours / hold parents accountable for failing to exercise proper care / nurturing of their children

Make it illegal for expectant mothers to smoke.


“Cigarette manufacturers must be required to carry full-colour visuals and messages depicting, in gruesome fashion, the very real consequences of the habit” (lines 32-33)

-“designated public smoking areas … no combat zone where desperate smokers may still light up” (lines 35-36)


Cigarette producers/companies must advertise vividly how smoking is harmful to health.

Smoking can only take place in officially listed / sanctioned locations.

Finally, we must impose a heavy monetary penalty on all those caught flouting the cigarette law (lines 41-42)

-“”could be issued special identity cards” (line 39-40)

“Entrepreneurs should be encouraged with tax benefits to set up oxygen bars along Mohammad Sultan Road, Club Street, Boat Quay and other popular nightspots” (lines 40-42)

“ex-smokers inhale clean wholesome air” (lines 42-3)


Lawbreakers must be fined substantially.

Only those with special official permits will be allowed to purchase cigarettes in limited quantities.

Businessmen should be given incentives to set up special oxygen bars in areas frequented by smokers.

Any 8 points from the above will suffice.
Note: In this particular SQ, students are not required to offer reasons for these measures!

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



Questions on Passages 1 and 2

Q11 Application Question
The two writers have very different views about how the government should combat smoking. How do their views differ? With which writer’s views are you most in sympathy? Explain the reasons for your choice.

You should include relevant material from both passages as well as your own knowledge and opinions. [8]


Lee’s views (explicit and inferred):
1) Recommends an interventionist style government that is prescriptive, proactive and plays an active role in the personal lives of its citizens. Why? Singaporeans are generally immature and impressionable, some even ignorant and selfish – which is why they smoke. Therefore it is imperative that the government intervenes in our lives as “nannies for our best interests.

(Prescriptive) He wants the government to control and dictate the Lifestyles of Singaporeans by legislating a complete ban on cigarette smoking in Singapore
(Proactive) He strongly urges that the government criminalise and implement active measures to curb and eradicate this “problem


2) Favours a government that functions as disciplinarian” –
-Castigate citizens who smoke, sell or traffic cigarettes
-impose strong deterrents


Hung’s views (mostly inferred):
1) Is critical of government intrusion in the lives of citizens 2) Feels the government can be too harsh and unforgiving in its policies and they often overreact

-Uses terms like “draconian” and “demonise”.


3) The government should be more accommodating to smokers as “minorities” should not be made to feel marginalised.



Our GP Tutors will share the actual Exam Marking Criteria for Paper 2’s AQ, and a complete answer during the lessons.


For Mark Range 7-8m, the following is expected: systematic reference to the Requirements of the question, with evidence of a balanced treatment, thorough Explanation, sensible Evaluation and a high degree of Coherence.


Comments from Tutor for General Paper :
-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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