GP Comprehension Paper – Society & Globalisation

General Paper Comprehension Sample (Paper 2)

GP Comprehension Question Paper – Society & Globalisation

(Note that 15 marks out of 50 will be awarded for the quality and accuracy of your use of English language. 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, you still must use your own words to express it. This will ensure you gain maximum credit, out of the remaining 15 marks)


1 (From paragraph 1) Why is it hard to make generalisations about global migration (lines 5-6)? Use your own words as for as possible. [1]


The writer cautions against generalising about global migration because it is of such enormous scale / size

OR also allow import  / significance  / consequence / weight), and is complicated  / difficult to understand.



2. (From paragraph 2) The writer tells us that “the debate still rages” (Lines 10-11) between the supporters and opponents of globalisation. Explain the two main issues in dispute. Use YOWAFAP. [2]

The first issue centers around the question of whether there is a direct correlation between the two / whether one is an actual product  / consequence of the other.

or a merely arbitrary relationship between the increase in migration and better economic prospects for countries. (i.e. they are concurrent / contemporaneous but not related / linked)


The second issue lies with whether the loss of people’s traditional / customary way of life / community values and traditions have outweighed the more practical benefits of increased prosperity / affluence for countries.


High rates of immigration into industrialised countries have occurred together with prolonged economic growth. The debate still rages, however, as to whether the two trends are causally related or merely coincidental (ll.9-11)

And even if we can confidently state that the latter has been a product of the former, opponents migration argue that the socio – cultural costs have been heavier than the economic gains. (l.11-13)

3. (From paragraph 3) Why is there a demand for low-skilled migrants in rich countries even in times of recession? Explain with your own words as far as possible. [1]


There will always be menial / unpleasant / arduous jobs (inference) that locals refuse to do,

since they look down on them / are disdainful of them / view them with contempt / derision / regard them as demeaning / regardless of the state of the economy.


surprisingly. the low-skilled are also needed even in times of recession, since locals scorn the work (l.24-25)


4. (From paragraph 6) We are told that many European and American politicians have become strongly opposed to increasing immigration. What is the implied reason for this? [1]


European and American politicians have become strongly opposed to increasing immigration because they wish to gain votes / be in power by pandering to public sentiment. [1]
(inferred from lines 45-49)


5. (From paragraph 7) Explain using your own words, why foreigners flood into neighbouring countries. [1]

The writer suggests that the cause is substantial differences in pay / salaries between countries / migrants are leaving their homeland lured by the prospect of much higher wages.

*GP pupils must identify that sharp disparities of income have lured migrants across borders, in addition to foregrounding the direction in which migration is moving.



7 (From Paragraph 9) What solutions does the writer propose to combat the threat of Islamic extremism? UYOWAFAP. [2]


To keep apart extremist / fundamentalist factions /  groups from the rest of society.

Imbue new arrivals with a shared community ethos / sense of patriotism / nationalism.

Creating a workforce that is adaptable to the demands of society’s needs, by giving disillusioned / disenfranchised / discontented / dissatisfied / malcontent groups more opportunities to take on new areas of work.



Isolate the radical fringe, by making a greater effort… (I.70)

To inculcate common values of citizenship where these are lacking (I.70-71)

And creating a flexible labour market to provide the disaffected with rewarding jobs. (l.71-72)



8. (From paragraph 10) “… most fears about the increase in migrants are spectres of the imagination.” (Lines 73-74) Give two reasons why metaphor is appropriate. [2]


A spectre is a ghost. Spectres of the imagination connote illusory, imagined thoughts conjured up by imagination (i.e. the fears are imagined / unfounded / unsubstantiated / insubstantial as opposed to real). 

A spectre is something that we fear / strike terror in people. Similarly, people fear/are alarmed by the prospects of increased migration.


9(a). (From paragraph 10) “Better for Congress to resume its efforts to bring such workers out of the shadows” (Lines 81-82). What does the phrase “out of the shadows” suggest about the present situation of illegal migrant workers in the United States?  [1]

He suggests that illegal immigrants are hiding from the law / deliberately maintaining a very low profile / not part of mainstream society / not recognised as citizens by American society.



9(b) (From paragraph 10) Explain how the measures proposed by the writer would remedy the problem. UYOWAFAP. [2]


Creating a more flexible system allowing more opportunities / avenues for migrants to make it easier for more than to take up officially permitted / sanctioned / government-approved work for short stipulated periods, hence obviating the problem since there would no longer be any need to enter the country illegally.

Pardoning existing illegal immigrants who have kept to the law and contributed to the country for an extended period of time will change their status so that they can come out of hiding.


Lifted from GP text:
opening more routes for legal … temporary, migration, (l.82)

granting an amnesty for long-standing, law-abiding workers already in the country (l.83)



10. (From paragraph 11) “Over the past few decades, the freer movement of capital and traded goóds has brought enormous gains to human welfare. Similar benefits can be expected from a freer flow of people.” (Lines 89-91)

How convincing do you find the writer’s reasoning here? Explain carefully in your own words. [1]


The author’s argument is not convincing because his point that free trade has benefited the world does not logically presuppose that a similar liberal movement of people between borders will translate into similar benefits. The movement of goods and money between countries is not similar to the movement of human resources between countries.

(questioning validity of conclusion – it does not necessarily follow since people aren’t goods) 

OR The basis of the author’s argument is unconvincing because it is questionable or debatable if free trade has indeed benefited the world (questioning premise)


Further note by GP tutor: The reverse is also acceptable. (i.e. if the student finds it convincing) provided he identifies / appreciates the line of argument reasoning and makes a good case for the correlation.



H1 JC GP Passages – Article Sources for Society & Globalisation

JC H1 GP Tuition (Syllabus Code: 8807)
Source of GP Passages:
Global Migration, Adapted from the Economist, Jan 2008




Q11. Vocabulary Question (5 marks)

Explain the meaning of the following words or phrases. You may use a word or a phrase of not more than 7 words.


Word1 Mark 1/2 Mark
Backlash (l.5)A strong adverse reaction, hostile / antagonistic reaction


Reaction, recoil

No mark: Backward movement, backward trend

Unprecedented Mired (l.6)Unparalleled, never having happened before No mark: new, novel
Mired (l.43)Firmly entrenched / stuck / trapped in a difficult situation



Swept under the carpet (l.85)Purposely, deliberately, intentionally concealed, hidden away, ignored, disregarded 


Incontrovertible (l.86)

indisputable, Impossible to deny or disprove, irrefutable, undeniable,



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.



Q6. Summary Question (SQ) (8 marks)

In paragraphs 7-9, the writer describes some of the problems associated with increased migration in developed nations.
Summarise these problems in no more than 150 words, not counting the opening words which are printed below. UYOWAFAP. [8]

Migration has posed several problems for rich nations because ..


Lifted from GP Passage(s)Paraphrasing

sudden appearance of large numbers of foreigners may be disconcerting for locals overwhelm…with floods of foreigners

hostile attitudes linked to worries about the economy.

locals are more afraid that outsiders will take their jobs scrounge on their welfare systems If recession looms

A country’s downward spiral Into recession only further encourages xenophobia.

Poor worry about immigration even when economy is thriving.

Migrants have remarkable resolve and resourcefulness… special people

limit poor locals’ chances of moving up the socio-economic ladder

hurt the least skilled by depressing their wages.

Another anxiety is that migrants will put a strain on public services

And overburden the tax payer

Migrants are given undue priority where public housing is concerned

Clinics cannot cope

Schools are bursting at the seams

Residents blame foreigners for spiralling lawlessness

[local/state] authorities remonstrate that they lack funds for adequate policing

The presence of foreigners can rend the social fabric of traditional communities.

creation of enclaves can lead to ethnic conflict and

undermine efforts of nation building

The advent of Islamist radicalism has exacerbated the problem

fears that foreigners may fail to adopt the basic values of the host country


the unexpected and huge waves of migrants

may be disturbing/unsettling/cause anxiety for the locals

ill-feeling / animosity antagonism may result from fear that a potential economic slump / decline downturn will result in a loss of work  /employment

Migrants are seen as burdens / parasites on social services / public support / assistance schemes

In times of hardship, such fears can create a strong dislike of foreigners / racism

Even in better / prosperous / boom times, less well-off locals feel threatened by the determination and versatility / ambition  /ingenuity of migrants (allow more general idea of not being able to compete with more capable foreigners) as their own promotional opportunities  /prospects / ability to better themselves are restricted the pay of the lower working class  those without training / qualifications is also suppressed / kept low (due to a ready supply of migrant labour)

Another concern is how migrants can overtax /put too much pressure on overload the system’ government provided services (allow ‘services) such that people will have to pay excessive taxes (allow”taxes’) (to supplement government revenue)

Migrants are unfairly unjustly given preference privileges In terms of accommodation

Medical services are unable to manage

Schools are overcrowded

Migrants are held responsible for an increase in crime illegal activities / a lack of law and order while a shortage of money compromises law enforcement programmes The cohesion/harmony of local areas / neighbourhoods may be torn apart by the arrival of outsiders.

While the formation of segregated areas may produce racial tensions / violence

and undercut / subvert / mitigate against the creation of a unified country / weaken nationalistic sentiments patriotism

The emergence  / arrival of Islamic extremism has made matters worse aggravated the situation

Migrants might be unable to share / do not endorse the fundamental beliefs / ideals of the community / society (may not be assimilated)



Make sure word count is within allowed range!



Q11 Application Question

The writer discusses the various advantages and disadvantages of increased global migration.
Which two issues raised in the passage do you consider to be most relevant to your own country and why?

Bearing in mind these two Issues, as well as any other important considerations, what do you think your government’s policies on immigration should be? Refer to relevant material from the passage as well as your own knowledge and opinions to support your answer. [8]
(Relevance to country)
(Government’s policies on Immigration)
The movement of people helps to alleviate specific labour shortages in rich economies. (L. 15)

A continuous supply of both skilled and unskilled labour necessary to the survival of Singapore’s economy.

– Specific labour shortages in Singapore – Menial / physically demanding jobs needed in the construction industry (workers from Bangladesh).

household cleaning services (domestic workers / maids from the Philippines and Indonesia). Jobs viewed as inferior or demeaning or menial – nursing.


An open immigration policy with liberal immigration laws – Government should welcome both skilled and unskilled migrants.

“state policy is opposed to long term immigration (of unskilled foreign workers) and directed at ensuring that this category of migrants remains a transient workforce” – Brenda Yeoh (NUS). The government should maintain this policy to ensure that Singapore does not become overpopulated.

Countries where migrants have been kept at arm’s length, such as Germany, complain about a chronic shortage of skilled workers such as engineers, scientists of programmers. (L 23-25)


Skilled professionals needed in service sectors as such as private banking and finance, biotechnology and education as well as in spearheading R&D as institutes and in the pharmaceutical industry.

– Stem the effects of the brain drain on Singapore’s economy Many equally talented locals are leaving Singapore’s shores for less stressful or pressurizing environments to bring up their children, or to retire.

Younger professionals leave for other developed countries to attain a breadth of cultural experience they would otherwise not have obtained in Singapore.


The government has been trying to attract skilled labour with the goal of having 240,000 become citizens or PRs within these five years (starting from 2007) (Financial Times). Such a policy would help to augment the local skilled population and enlarge the capabilities of industries that lack sufficient locals to fill skilled jobs.

– Different types of work passes Issued (skilled vs semi & unskilled). This is to ensure that specific areas of labour shortage can be addressed more effectively.

Migrants also help fuel the economy simply because an expanding workforce permits faster growth. More people can do more work, and many migrants are young adults who are particularly productive. Migrants also help to create jobs, because a good supply of labour encourages those with capital to invest more. (L. 19-21)


Singapore has been trying to encourage migration as it helps in the creation of jobs in the service industry and start-up companies that can hire local workers.

– The creation of international business incubators such as the India Centre, Japan Business Support Centre, Korean Venture Acceleration Centre, Israel’s Tech Match and the New Zealand Technology Centre encourage the technical and monetary support of fledgling international start-ups with the comforts of cultural familiarity.


Encouraging migration for economic development requires the government to relax policies on starting up businesses.

This benefits the local population especially where policies such as the HDB home office scheme, or the creation of the Singapore Venture Capital Association and SPRING Singapore help both migrants and locals alike to fund, market and house their businesses with relative ease These organizations provide financial support or loans for asset light and knowledge intensive businesses where banks would be unwilling to extend loans without a proven track record.

– Indirectly an immigration policy that welcomes long term skilled labour that is entrepreneurial, benefits locals as well by creating jobs, and attracting foreign investment in Singapore.

Foreign workers, it is argued.

provide more economic flexibility than locals. At times of strong growth an influx of workers reduces the risk of wage pressures and rising inflation. If growth weakens, migrants can go home or move to another country, or choose not to come in the first place. (L.26-28)


In Singapore, market forces largely determine demand for manpower in different sectors. The private sector will adjust hiring policy accordingly.

Singapore is dependent on several key industries where skilled foreign talent is necessary.

(Pharmaceuticals, R&D, IT Hospitality and Tourism)

The govt levies differing charges on unskilled foreign workers so that employers will take into consideration the number of such foreign workers they choose to hire.

– Govt hires foreign professional staff (eg IT) mostly on contractual basis so that the workforce can remain nimble and respond to changing demands. (This also applies to local staff)

Migrants can also release skilled locals to rejoin the workforce (for example, by providing child care that allows a parent to go back to work). (L.28-29)

The high cost of living in Singapore often entails or that both males and females have to work to upkeep re a certain standard of living. Hiring males to take to care of children helps mothers to rejoin the workforce while nurses help to take care of the aged, releasing children from the physical responsibilities of taking care of their parents.


The government’s policy on migration for low skilled workers such as domestic helpers sees them as a temporary workforce.

Males and labourers are deported If they are found to be pregnant forbidden to marry Singaporeans, cannot bring In spouses and children, and receive work permits typically for one to two years.

This allows the Singapore government to periodically review the labour situation in Singapore and adjust the number of unskilled migrants accordingly

Limiting the family unit of such workers also ensures that SG’s population does not increase unnecessarily and encourages a rotating class of migrants from Indonesia, Philippines and Bangladesh.


And they are consumers, too, renting accommodation and buying goods and services. (L.30)

Singapore has often seen itself as a melting pot of cultures, the cultural diversity of food and other specialty shops and groceries is a testament to the market forces that also cater to the niche demand of foreign consumers.


In welcoming migrants for such reasons, the Singapore government has to ensure that there is sufficient housing for locals, and to ensure that expatriates, who often arrive as skilled professionals will not inadvertently push up the cost of living. t.e. the cost of housing, transport and other public services.

entails regulatory measures necessary to keep prices of commodities and other services accessible to the local population An open immigration policy for skilled professionals.




(Relevance to country)
(Government’s policies on Immigration)
Hostile attitudes towards immigration are often linked to worries about the economy. If recession looms, locals are more afraid that outsiders will take their jobs or scrounge on their welfare systems. (L.52-54)

During the recession years, the 1997 Asian to Financial Crisis and from 2001-2003 in S’pore, the If Govt highlighted the need to bring in foreign talent in various areas like banking, IT It was inevitable that ir some Singaporeans felt threatened as they were themselves unsure about how secure their jobs were.

Govt constantly reassures Singaporeans about how the public sector will ensure that no Singaporean who is willing to work will be denied a job. This message is conveyed via different channels eg official speeches at community events, print reports about the contribution of foreign workers and about creation of new jobs that can be filled by both local and foreign staff.

– Singapore’s immigration policy does not take away jobs from locals – Singaporeans filled up about 40% of new jobs created while the rest were taken up by foreign workers largely in the manufacturing and construction industries, areas traditionally not taken up by locals.

It was also reported that there were not enough locals applying  for these new jobs, hence there are sufficient job opportunities for all in reality. (2007 Report on SG)


But the poor worry about immigration even when the economy is thriving. This is not surprising. Migrants have remarkable resolve and resourcefulness, which marks them out as special people. (L.55-57)

Local students are continually feeling the pressure of excelling in school because of competition from foreign students who are more prepared to put in effort into excelling.


A steady stream of foreign students maintains healthy competition between locals and foreigners. Preventing in complacency and the lowering of educational standards in Singapore.


It is argued that encouraging migration may limit poor locals’ chances of moving up the socio economic ladder Immigration can also hurt the least skilled by depressing their wages. (L 57-58)

When low-wage unskilled local workers are retrenched they may find it difficult to find new jobs as many of the menial tasks (eg in sanitation and health industries and F& B services) can be performed by foreign workers at lower wages.


The Government adopts a policy of retraining and retaining the local workforce through various schemes

Govt has implemented and subsidised training schemes such as BEST and WISE training programmes to help upgrade skills of the low-wage workers. There is also the Workfare Scheme where govt tops up the wages of job holders earning less than $1,500 per month. Similarly the WBS gives a cash bonus to older low wage Singaporean workers to reward regular and productive work.)

The Government has decided to introduce legislation requiring companies to re-employ their existing workers, beyond the retirement age of 62, effective by 1 Jan 2012.


migrants will put a strain on public services and overburden the tax payer (L.59)

During the weekends, public spaces, eg specific shopping malls (eg Lucky Plaza, Golden Mile Complex, Mustafa Centre, Geylang, City Plaza, Peninsula Plaza) or open spaces like HDB void decks, and public facilities like toilets may see overcrowding and increased demand respectively These are times when locals may feel the squeeze of migrant workers and resent their increasing presence.


The government tends not to regulate or Interfere in this area. Hence foreigners tend to keep to their own areas, with integration or assimilation into Singapore society.

Their limited visibility reduces any resentment that locals may feel with regard to public services.


The presence of foreigners can rend the social fabric of traditional communities. At worst, the creation of enclaves can lead to ethnic conflict and undermine the efforts of nation building. (L.65-67)


Singapore maintains a delicate balance of races and nationalities. It is imperative that this balance is maintained especially with incoming migrant workers.

Attempts at integration

– Dilution of native cultures, cultures of the host country


An immigration policy that takes into account foreigners with the right credentials, skills and political alignments and is sensitive to the racial and religious composition of Singapore society is necessary here.

Community based celebrations (to mark festivals like Hari Raya Puasa, Deepavali, CNY) that bring locals and foreigners together can be organized by Town Councils.

– There is little fear of a dilution of the Singapore identity as defines the quintessential cosmopolitan nature of the state is precisely what Singapore culture.


incoming foreigners may fail to adopt the basic values of the host country. (L.68) 

Foreigners who do not endorse basic community values or laws of the country often create diplomatic tensions between Singapore and other countries.

Vandalism Laws – Michael Fay Drug Laws – Australian heroin trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van was hanged despite intervention from the Australian government.

Singapore’s use of corporal punishment and capital punishment and a generally strict law enforcement culture have drawn criticisms from neighbouring countries and other international human rights watch groups.


Singapore has a tight screening process for immigration and migrants into the country are often willing to endorse the values of the host country in exchange for the safe and peaceful environment.

– Singapore’s policy in immigration should not compromise on the values that the republic is built upon. A certain degree of restrictions are necessary to safeguard society’s larger interests.


Additional possible points:
Other proposed new policies discussed in parliament to deal with immigration (reported in The Straits Times 5 March 2008)

1) Doing away with the retirement age for Singaporeans, hence alleviating the need the depend on foreign labour.

2) Encouraging companies not to cut the pay of older workers – An old policy in 1999 allowed employers to cut the pay of older employees by up to 10 percent as part of cost cutting measures during the financial downturn.

3) Lowering CPF contribution rates for older workers helps them to stay employable and find jobs. It also makes the prospect of employing older workers cheaper for companies than relying on foreign labour.



Summary of Approach:

(a) Students should identify two pertinent issues from the given passage and show how they are relevant to Singapore or their country.
(b) Students should also make references to current government policies or suggest the direction of government policies on migration.


Explanation (EX) and Evaluation (EV):
(a) Students should be able to back up their points on why a certain advantage or disadvantage of global migration is important in the context of their country.
Students must be able to explain the policy (its rationale for implementation) for existing government policies, or to provide explanations to back up their proposed policies towards immigration .
c) Explanations and evaluations have to show a cognizance and sensitivity towards the limitations of S’pore (a limited labour force, an aging population, its racial composition, its dependence on various industries space constraints, local perceptions of foreigners demographics etc.


(a) Answers are expected to show a degree of relevance between the issues raised in the passage, its pertinence to SG, and the attendant proposed policies.



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