GP Samples Essays – Sports, Leisure & Work

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This topic of Sports, Leisure & Work covers the range of sports, events, leisure, adventure, etc

 


Q1: Is there a future in sports as a career?

(Essay on Sports)

For a long time, the youths of Singapore have been told that success only comes from chasing paper qualifications. Talented and promising youngsters in different fields have, slowly but surely, been forced to drop their passions for academic pursuits. However, with an increasing number of Singaporean athletes succeeding in both regional and international competitions, this mindset has changed. I believe that indeed, there lies a future for people who want to pursue their passions even further, to carve out a career in sports.

Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Serena Williams all play wildly different sports, but earn astronomical amounts of money from winnings and, more substantially, sponsorships. Despite the fact that Michael Jordan has retired, he still earns millions of dollars from sponsorship deals. Athletes today are becoming increasingly marketable. Selling anything from cereal boxes to cars, their widespread appeal is a huge plus point for advertisers who want to sell their products to 8 year-olds and 80 year-olds. Closer to home, star athletes like Li Jiawei, Remy Ong and even Fandi Ahmad have earned thousands of dollars simply by excelling in their sport. With wages and bonuses given out by the government, they have shown that sport can definitely be a stable career.

Admittedly, the millions of dollars are earned only by the best in the sporting world- the cream of the crop in their respective fields, those who will have people raving about their achievements long after they have retired. Those are a precious handful compared to the numbers who take part in sport competitively Also, the expiry date for athletes is much earlier than those in conventional jobs. Depending on the sport, most sporting careers last for around 10 to 15b years. Then, there is always the risk of early retirement due to injury. Martina Hingis retired due to chronic feet problems at the ripe old age of 21. However, there are other job prospects. The most common route is to become a coach. With years of experience playing the sport, they are more that equipped to pass on the skills to the next generation. People like Alex Ferguson of Manchester United are examples of mediocre athletes who later made it big through sport. Sport can also be used as a springboard for greater things. Stars like Anna Kournikova, known more for her advertisements than achievements, have used her career in sport for other purposes.

Fields like sport psychology and sport biomechanics were practically non-existent years ago. Now, these fields have become essential in an athlete’s quest for success. Broadly grouped under sports science, these fields allow people to continue their interest in sports by creating jobs. They can use their own experience in sport, and apply it to help other athletes. Benedict Tan, an Asian Games champion, is now a sports doctor. Treating patients with physical injuries, his experience in sport has definitely been beneficial. As technology becomes increasingly involved with sports, more of such jobs would be created, leading to greater job opportunities for those interested in sports as a career.

People in Singapore have long had the view that there is no future in sports. However, with Asian superstars like Son Heung Min, Paradorn Srichaphan, Pak Se Ri, as well as the influx of Japanese pitchers in Major League Baseball, making significant inroads in their sport, I hope that people will be convinced that Singaporeans can make it big in the sporting arena, with foreign talents like Ronald Susilo paving the way for future generations of sportsmen, it is hoped that plenty more will consider making sports a career. Yes, there are definitely numerous possibilities in sport but success would come only with old fashioned hard work. Passion for sport is an essential ingredient. To pursue sport as a career, we do need to love our jobs very much.

 


Q2: Consider the importance of adventure.

 

An adventure is something which we do that is not part of our everyday routine, where we venture into the unknown. Adventures are very important to everybody as we learn much and stand only to gain from it.

Adventures are very important to the society. One of the most obvious forms of adventure is to venture outdoors. We come into contact with nature when we are doing outdoor activities like hiking, camping or even fishing. We learn to appreciate the natural environment more when we spend time away from the city, a quality which an increasing number of people lack due to urbanisation. Some organisations organise activities for people to participate in. For example, AXN has been organizing adventure races in South-east Asia, situated in rural areas. One of the objectives is to bring people closer to nature while having fun. The Outward Bound School also organizes many camps all over the world away from urban areas to train leadership skills and to also allow people to experience living with nature. When people learn to appreciate nature, they will then learn to take care of their environment. They will also have more opinions towards certain acts like deforestation. This can be brought about by adventures.

However, some people feel that adventure is not important and is unnecessary. Adventures are dangerous there is much risk involved. Furthermore, the qualities and lessons learnt from it can be obtained from somewhere else, especially in a world where workload is extremely heavy. Recently, there was an incident of hiker whose arm was pinned was an under a falling rock. He was immovable for a few days till such point that he had to severe his own arm in order to survive. Hence, such incidents demonstrate how adventure is not important and can be an extremely dangerous venture.

However, I beg to differ. To be realistic, adventures are important as they can help one earn money. Adventures bring one to something new where there is a risk in everything. In time one will gradually learn and dare to take risks. Risk taking is very important in the world of business. A multi-millionaire wrote a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad”, where he categorised Man into the common people, and the com “special” ones. To him, the “common people are those work for others going through the same routine everyday and feeling contented. The “special” ones are the people that dare to take risks, risks that are considered crazy by most people. Inevitably, the “special” ones are the ones that are rich and successful in the world. Other aspects like. decision-making also require some risk taking. Therefore, adventure can bring us much benefit and is important.

Adventures can sometimes help us see the true nature of our friends or working partner, or even some of our own weaknesses. An adventure, even something as simple as a short fishing expedition, is never smooth sailing. There will be times when problems set in, and everybody is feeling tired and we can out other people, frustrated. It is times like these that see the true nature of people. We learn things about nature of people. The including ourselves, we do not normally see. The incident of the hiker, earlier mentioned, shows people the courage he possessed and his strong will to survive. Looking at it from another point of view, it is also during these bad times that we can improve the bonding between each other and also develop. teamwork. This advantage of embarking on an adventure shows us that adventures are very important.

Last but not least, adventure is also important as it brings excitement and hope to people. Doing new. things is always very exciting and one gains a sense of achievement when one succeeds. For example, the Singapore team that scaled Mount Everest felt extremely happy despite the arduous climb as they accomplished something which few have done successfully. In the past, many proclaimed that man would never reach the peak of Mount Everest, or walk on the moon. However, when these were done, they inspired people to reach for greater heights. Now, Man has even been to other planets and more people have reached the summit of Mount Everest. Adventure inspires and gives people hope to reach for the impossible, Hence, adventure is very important.

To conclude, I feel that adventure is very important. It allows one to appreciate nature better and gives one excitement and hope. It also teaches us many qualities in life and shows us the true nature of our friends. Despite some of the dangers involved, I feel that the benefits outweigh the dangers, and embarking on an adventure is time well spent.

 


Q3: Choose a sport and account for its popularity in your country: Golf

(Sports: Golf)

One of the more recent sports that have risen in popularity among Singaporeans is the age-old game of golf, which originated in the Highlands of Scotland. Evidence can clearly be seen from the sudden surge in the number of golf courses constructed in Singapore; examples of these are the Singapore Island Country Club with two courses, as well others like the Laguna National Golf and Country Club. The number of golf courses in Singapore is large for an island as small as Singapore. And yet even with high land values, golf courses are still sprouting up and this must surely mean a large demand for the sport. Why then is the sport so popular in Singapore?

Golf’s popularity can be attributed to several factors, one of which is the social factor. Golf can be seen to be rather a social game, one which involves a small group of people, and a reasonably long period of time. Unlike other more rigorous sports, golf entails leisure walking and thus provides an opportunity for the players to inter act as they move from the beginning of the game to the end. This is thus a good form of mixing business with pleasure for most businessmen, and they can discuss business issues with whomever they are working, and get a little exercise while they are at it. Besides, golf is an established game in most foreign countries, and this also makes it a common one for business executives. Thus cultural differences between local businessmen and foreign ones need not be too important. It is a relaxing way of discussing deals rather than being cooped up in a stuffy conference room where tension is high. The role of golf as a good business asset, so to speak, makes it more popular amongst businessmen who, especially the young business yuppies, may in a sense find it a step up the corporate ladder.

But the game is not purely a business game. Far from it, it is increasingly becoming popular as a family game, with father, mother and children trotting off to the green every Sunday morning. As it is an interactive game, pro viding opportunities for people to communicate, it may thus be that family togetherness is boosted and many find it a good way to keep in touch with the family and friends, especially in this increasingly hectic society.

The ability of people to indulge in this relatively ex pensive game could be due to a higher standard of living: incomes are high for many in Singapore as we experience the fruits of economic success. This makes luxuries in life, like playing golf for half a day, more real to most, and thus enables the Singaporean to enjoy such a game.

For some, the increase in popularity is due to the perception by some of golf being a “rich man’s” sport. Many, with higher incomes and spending power, may feel that social success includes the ability to pay for club memberships and that golf gives them social status. The game is often associated with the rich, and many of the newly affluent see it as a way of displaying their wealth.

The popularity of this sport may also be associated with the general trend towards healthy living. The government has frequently promoted healthy living, from the young at school having to be “trim and fit” to the ordinary person taking part in “The Great Singapore Workout”. This encouragement to lead a healthy lifestyle, may possibly have taken effect, resulting in an increasing desire to exercise. It can then be said that many of the younger citizens may turn to more active sports like tennis or working out at the gymnasium, but a large majority of those who wish to get into shape are the middle aged, who may find such exercises and sports a little too vigorous. Thus, golf is the perfect solution for such people.

The increase in the number of golfers could also be due to reports of golf being the most healthy form of exercise. This is usually true for not only the older people, but for the young as well. The game proves to be a very addictive game in the sense that it fosters in the player, the need to complete the course. This is true both for the young and old and since the purse often allows it, many go back for more. Thus the game can be seen to not only provide recreation for this affluent society, it has also been proven to be beneficial to general fitness.

There are also economic reasons golf has become so popular. The Singaporean may see this sport as a form of investment which will eventually reap rewards. Many invest in golf club memberships with the intention of selling these exclusive memberships at a profit later. The returns for such an act are usually quite high and in the period before selling off the membership, many take the opportunity to enjoy the facilities offered. The sport also brings in a substantial income to the country in terms of tourism as golf tours are often organized for Japanese tourists to play on our excellent courses, such as the Sentosa golf course.

Thus for all the recreational, social and economic rea sons, added to the fact that the climate in Singapore is warm and suitable for the game, it can be understood why golf has become so popular.

 


Q4: It is better to live a short, exciting life rather than a long uninteresting one. Comment.

(GP essay on Adventure)

If I were given a choice between a short exciting life or a long boring life, I would certainly choose the former. To me life is a journey of experience. It is a journey of endless possibilities and outcomes and there is much to experience. Life is certainly not a “see who lasts the longest and makes it to the end” contest. Thus I am inclined to believe that it is the quality of life which counts and not so much the quantity.

If I take a holiday and during this trip I experience nothing, feel nothing and think of nothing, then this trip is a wasted one. Can the same not be said of life? If I lay on my deathbed and I had spent my life doing nothing, then I would be terrified. Conversely, if I had enjoyed an exciting and fulfilling life, then I would have peace, as even if there were nothing after death, I would have done the things I had wanted to do.

Excitement does not mean you have to be treading on the brink of disaster every moment of your life. If you are a “middle-lane” person, you do not have to cut to the fast lane to experience an exciting life. Excitement varies with the individual. Some people find excitement in dangling on mountain cliffs and others find meaning in helping the needy. Thus exciting does not mean reckless.

I have often heard that a long boring life is like a slow death. What is the difference between death and just going through life existing from day to day? In a recent film starring Michael Keaton called “My Life”, Keaton is cast as a high-flying executive diagnosed as having cancer. He is given the grim ultimatum of six months to live and he goes from doctor to doctor searching for a cure until he finally turns to a Chinese physician who tells him, “You have already been dead for ten years.” This Chinese physician was not telling Keaton he was a living corpse or a zombie but he was telling him to live the six months he had left to the fullest. And this example illustrates the essence of living – that life is not just about earning money or writing long boring essays.

It has been said that a coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero dies but one. This is very good advice as one must always strive to try new things. Any idiot can go through life being a “spineless bootlicker” but it takes a man of courage to challenge people. Many people have devoted their lives to fulfilling their dreams and these people have. led more exciting lives than just about anyone. Mother Theresa spends her life helping the needy and when she dies no one will deny that she has achieved something. Bruce Lee led a relatively short life but his movies had a great impact on the world. Imagine how he felt when he became the first Asian star to make it big in Hollywood and when Westerners started learning Chinese martial arts after seeing his movies.

It is sometimes said that at the most peaceful times one has the least peaceful frame of mind. People leading boring lives often feel frustrated inside without knowing why. Many young people in Singapore are angst-ridden and feel the need to change their lives. Those living life fully and excitingly often achieve more in a few moments of their lives than the whole long life of someone who leads a boring, unimaginative live.

 


Q5: “Leisure activities are a necessity, not a luxury.” Do you agree?

(Paper 1 question on Leisure)

Leisure the word definitely has a very familiar ring to it. It brings to mind visions of relaxation, (on the beach perhaps?), lazing around, being at ease with yourself, not having any worries in this world, or to some, visions of perspiring profusely and enjoying every minute of it. Leisure, like other things in this confusing world we live in, is different things to different people. Beauty is in the eyes of its beholder, and to a great extent, so is leisure. Leisure activities can be as varied as sun-tanning on the beach, drinking Long-Island iced teas and trekking in sub zero temperatures in the Himalayas. A cornucopia of examples could easily be provided by any ordinary per son living in a fairly developed country, but the thing to ponder is whether leisure is a necessity or whether it is just another luxury.

To a certain extent, leisure is a necessity. The world today is a very difficult place to live in. The phrase “survival of the fittest” could not be closer to the truth than in our present-day context. There are exceptions, of course, but most people, and indeed almost all people in Singapore, lead a very hectic life. To many of these people, leisure is a God-sent gift which provides a sort of inter mission in the endless battle of life. Leisure activities take their minds off their work and give them a much needed break. It is a well known fact that most Japanese are absolute workaholics, and if not for the regular lei sure activities that they participate in, many of them, ac cording to fairly rational people I have talked to, would go insane at the age of thirty-five from overwork. People are not machines – and even machines need a break now and then.

Besides the mental aspect, there is the inevitable physical one as well. For those who do strenuous physical work for a living, a leisure activity which relaxes the body is necessary. For those who sit at a desk, the most taxing physical activity done every day being punching the keys of a computer keyboard, a slightly more physically active leisure activity is in order. It greatly improves the health of these people and in many cases, increases their lifespan. More importantly, it reduces ailments that come with age-rheumatism, high blood pressure, etc.

Also, leisure activities are a way of improving one’s social life. Everyone needs to socialize – no human likes to live in total solitude. It is necessary for humans to interact with each other, exchange ideas and share thoughts. This leads to our developing our intellects and opinions. Most leisure activities can be carried out in a group, and in this way, the person can socialize.

Leisure activities are also necessary, as any individual needs to know in his heart that he can actually do some thing besides work. They provide a sense of achievement. This is not true for all types of leisure activities, but for many it is.

Despite having said all this, many consider leisure activities to be a luxury. A large percentage of people with this opinion, are the poor. The word poor includes both the destitute, for example those in Somalia and Ethiopia and also the “not very well-off living in a developed country.

Let us consider the viewpoint of the destitute first. People in developed nations like Japan and the USA spend thousands of dollars every month to buy their golf equipment, to buy their skiing equipment, to buy roller-blades, to finance trips to the Himalayas, to buy expensive pleasure yachts, to become members of country-clubs or swimming clubs – the list is endless. At the other extreme, people in Somalia do not have enough money to buy them selves a decent meal, not enough to buy themselves clothing, definitely not enough to buy a house. People, whose constant daily worry is survival, cannot understand why the people in developed countries cannot forego a few leisure activities to feed the hungry. For them, leisure activities are definitely a luxury.

As for the poor living in developed countries, leisure activities are a luxury. They work constantly from morning to night, seven days a week, so that they and their families can survive. They actually have no time for lei sure activities. To them, leisure activities are also a luxury as they cannot understand why they have to slog to make ends meet, while others enjoy a game of golf.

Leisure activities, then, may seem very important. If we are lucky enough to be able to provide for our basic material needs, they may seem a necessity. To some people, survival is more important.

 

Comment: Well-written! You did well to integrate your discussion of advantages and disadvantages.

 


Q6: I came, I saw, I spoiled everything.” Is this a fair view of the modern tourist?

(Leisure & Tourism)

 

APPROACH
– The phrase refers to how tourists visit places, and in the process have some kind of detrimental effect on the place or on the people. It need not be purely physical (some answers spin out endless variations on the same main idea- leaving rubbish behind, touching limestone formations, plucking flowers, scaring animals, causing air and noise pollution, ad nauseam); the way of life, values and arts of the indigenous people can be affected, as well as the economy.

The word “everything” is too extreme-this needs to be recognised.

The phrase “modern tourist” was largely ignored by students. While there is a new kind of tourism known as eco-tourism, this is still a relatively small part of the industry; it should be recognized that most tourists are still of the insensitive, package tour, sheep-herd variety.

Often, the introduction had too many generalized comments about the rise in popularity and importance of tourism. A good introduction would need to link this up to the impact that this is having on the countries/peoples which are being visited. The stand should also be made explicitly clear: Tourists do ‘spoil’ a lot of things through their actions and presence: however, they also bring with them positive effects. In addition, eco-tourism not only minimizes the negative impact, but tries to create a positive impact on the tourist locations.

Lastly, some of the blame for damage must be laid on the locals, who may be unscrupulous and willing to prostitute themselves or their culture in their greed for money. Therefore, the comment is not really fair at all.

 

Body
Tourism does spoil:

1. The environment – tourists generate and leave litter everywhere they go, especially harmful in nature areas (eg. Nepal). They are also indirectly responsible for the deforestation and construction work carried out to provide for their needs. There is also the air pollution which is a result of their vehicles. Wildlife is often severely disturbed.

2. Landmarks through vandalism, wear and tear (Egyptian tomb paintings being affected by mould from perspiration and breath, the Pyramids crumbling, the erosion of Ayers Rock).

3. The values of the indigenous people-tourists bring material goods (electronic equipment, watches, styles of dress, food and drink) which can make the locals feel dissatisfied with their traditional goods. This creates consumerism, high expectations of life and inevitably, frustration which can lead to crime/alcoholism/drugs. (Incidentally many countries already have these problems – they do not need tourists to import them as many students claimed).

4. The way of life of the locals – Traditional occupations are supplanted; agriculture is reduced; local people lose their sense of identity and dignity as they become a nation of waiters, tour guides and handicraft salesmen.

5. The artistic standards of the locals – Crafts, festivals and dances are lowered in standard as the locals cater to the tourists. Native tastes become reduced to the likes of Michael Jackson and Baywatch.

6. The economy – tourists create inflation due to their ability to pay more for basic goods. Locals suffer from the inflated prices of rice, fuel, land etc.

 

HOWEVER, tourism does contribute to the good of a country too.

7. Tourism is a big income earner for many countries, in particularly developing countries. It is far less environmentally damaging than industrialization, and spreads money down to the very lowest strata of society (eg, crafts manufacturers, waiters). It also helps boost related industries like construction.

8. In the effort to provide tourists attractions, governments preserve, protect and restore local land marks which might otherwise have made way for development. National parks are created, thereby protecting wildlife.

9. In an effort to maintain a good international image and attract more tourists, some countries put more effort into crime prevention, the upgrading of transportation and communications infrastructures, and even improving human rights (eg. Myanmar, South Korea prior to the Olympic Games).

10. There are possibly opportunities created for greater understanding and cultural exchange, although. most tourism is of such a superficial and exploitative nature that the effects are more likely to be negative than positive.

11. Finally, eco-tourism is attempting to minimize the environmental and cultural damage done by tourists, while contributing to the preservation and study of special ecosystems. The awareness that is created can also be educational and help galvanize more such efforts.

 

Comment by General Paper tutor:
Weaknesses: 1. Students did not read or address the question directly. Very few even referred to the phrase, let alone explain what it meant. The keywords or main concepts were hardly seen in the introduction, in topic sentences or in the conclusion. They must remember that this helps remind them what the question is asking for, and also maintain relevance (so that the question doesn’t degenerate into a “ad vantages vs. disadvantages of tourism” question.)

2. Lack of balance – Some students gave only a catalogue of the bad things that tourists do, while some counter-arguments merely stated that not all tourists do these bad things, and therefore the statement was unfair (eg. not all tourists throw rubbish indiscriminately). A balanced argument should examine the positive effects that tourists bring.

3. There is a need for students to write topic sentences. which give the generalized point which they are trying to make, and then give examples which sup port their point. Too many essays give a scenario which is meant to stand for that phenomenon all over the world, but they never make it clear that it occurs anywhere else but on a particular beach. The examples need to be specific, representative rather than obscure, and not all about Singapore.

4. Students need to learn how to qualify their statements. Too often, they will say that it is a fair comment because tourists do such-and-such, and in the very next sentence, contradict themselves by saying it is an unfair comment because tourists do this and-that. They have to get away from making such grand, absolute pronouncements. Also, there is a tendency to make grand claims such as “Tourism leads to world peace/trade agreements”, or erroneous arguments such as “the statement can’t be true because these countries still try to attract tourists”.

 


Q7: What are the advantages and disadvantages of hosting a major sporting event?

 

In the light of China winning the bid to host the 2008 Olympics, comes the recent apparent success of the FIFA World Cup 2002 hosted by Japan and South Korea concurrently. With China lobbying hard to win the bid and Japan and South Korea’s national soccer teams surpassing expectations, it seems that hosting a major sporting event has become very prestigious and important to countries. However, most people and governments overlook the fact that hosting a major sporting event, like the World Cup. has its disadvantages as well as its advantages.

The most obvious advantage of hosting a major sporting event is the worldwide publicity and recognition gained for the host country. From being a country which is usually only featured in the news when disasters or calamities, like earthquakes and typhoons, cause many lives to be lost or when elections cause the ruling party to lose its parliament seats, the country will be featured virtually every day in the news, at least during the sporting event itself.

However, this is still secondary to the amount of foreign investment and tourist dollars flowing into the country, before the event, during the event and hopefully after it, too. One of the reasons why China lobbied so hard to win the hosting bid was the foreign direct investment that it would undoubtedly gain as the multi-national companies trip over each other to sponsor the event, hoping to advertise themselves and thus garner more customer support for themselves. Coca-cola and Pepsi are said to have spent tens of millions of dollars to beat each I other and gain the right to be the official beverage sponsor of many major sporting events. The tourist dollars that seem to go hand in hand with hosting a major sporting event is also an advantage. especially if the economy of the country is not doing as well as before and if the government plans to promote the country as an international tourist destination.

On the other hand, there is always a risk that the amount of foreign investment and tourist dollars will not be as high as expected or as needed to cover the high costs of upgrading, repairing and building the the necessary sporting infrastructure, like stadiums and indoor swimming pools, as South Korea and Japan discovered after the World Cup. The economy of Japan was not experiencing growth and economic recession was just over the horizon when Japan spent millions of dollars to build and upgrade soccer stadiums in time for the World Cup. Now the government is left with a huge budget deficit, as the expected foreign investments and tourist dollars have been slow to trickle in South Korea and Japan are also now left with numerous new stadiums which do not seem necessary now but are still expensive to maintain. Thus, if foreign investment and tourism are not sufficient to cover huge infrastructure costs, the country will undoubtedly experience an ailing economy and a big national debt, which would have to be balanced by raising taxes, which individuals and corporations decidedly do not favour.

Hosting a major sporting event also has the advantage of increasing the national pride of the country’s citizens, especially so if coupled with the country itself winning or doing well beyond expectations in the event it is hosting. A very good example of this is South Korea South Koreans were  jubilant and filled with pride when their own national World Cup team managed to achieve fourth overall position in the tournament. The pictures in the newspapers and on television say it all: company executives hugging city road sweepers in the streets as they watched their team triumph over the supposed super-powers like Italy. This leads to another social advantage of hosting a major sporting event the temporary breakdown of social class barriers and the spirit of sportsmanship and goodwill when the supporters of one country cheer for another also. It has been said that sport unites the world; then maybe hosting a major sporting event is the catalyst for this, both domestically and internationally.

However, dealing with hooliganism (the epitome of bad sportsmanship) is a disadvantage of hosting a major sporting event. Hooliganism takes its form primarily as soccer hooligans, who can come not only from the traditional base of England, but even from within the host country itself. The host country thus needs to have hundreds, if not thousands, of riot police and policemen on stand-by for any acts of hooliganism, whether premeditated or spontaneous. This could increase the total costs of hosting for the country, as it has to pay for training riot police and their equipment, maybe even employing more policemen. This also strains the police force of the country, as there may be less police to deal with actual crises not induced by hooliganism. One of the most vivid pictures of preparation for hooliganism was of Japanese riot police and policemen with the protective shields and batons on the streets of Japan conducting drills on how to deal with hooligans. Japan also refused entry to over one hundred suspected English soccer hooligans before the World Cup.

The ever-prevalent threat of terrorism is also a disadvantage of hosting a major sporting event. Terrorism has taken place at major international sporting events, like the Munich Olympics in which terrorists killed Israeli athletes in their own locker rooms, and there is every possibility. This leads to the beet that it will take place again. to host country having to drastically step up security in the country and the venues. This is especially so in the wake of the uncovering of many terrorist plots and activities worldwide that have until now remained undisclosed. The security forces in the host country may need to delay or even postpone individual events as venues and people are thoroughly searched for contraband arms and ammunitions, Even a little suspicion could lead to delays of a few hours, leaving both the bureaucracy and the people upset. The costs and man-hours involved are also huge.

However, hosting a successful major sporting event. could boost the political success of the host country’s government, by diverting domestic and international attention from its short-comings and failings. This may even boost the re-election prospects of the country’s leaders. For example, in the midst of the World Cup euphoria, media attention was mostly focused away from the ailing Japanese economy and the scandals that have rocked the bureaucracy. It seemed to Japan’s citizens that at leas for the time being, everything was just fine the way it was.

Thus hosting a major sporting event may not necessarily be the glamorous task that it is made out to be. The host country would face many disadvantages, like a weak economy and security threats, as well as advantages, like publicity and socio-political triumphs. A good host should probably balance the pros and cons of hosting a major sporting event, or else it might find that it has followed Japan’s footsteps and faces economic upheaval, which might lead to social and political ones as well. China would do well to learn from the mistakes of its East Asian neighbours and prepare well for 2008.

 

Other examples are: Singapore hosts F1 Grand Prix, Euro 2020 in multiple FIFA venues, etc

 


Q8: Consider the importance of play.

What is one thing that everyone would like to do all the time? It could be watching television for some, or reading a good novel for others. But there is one thing for sure no one wants to feel stressed. Given a choice, most people would choose to have fun, and ‘fun’ is what we most commonly associate ‘play’ with. Indeed, play is what most people would want to do all the time. However, play is not always about fun. It has significant importance socially, economically and politically, and the importance of play should not be undermined.

To the individual, playing is entertainment. Through play, one gets to relieve stress. There are many ways we can play. We can engage in physical play through games like basketball, rugby or a game of police-and-thief. We can engage in mentally stimulating games like ‘Monopoly, ‘bridge’ or ‘blackjack’. No matter how or what kind of games we play we derive joy out of it and this form of joy is essential to help relieve stress. Playing is especially important in this competitive and elitist world today. When everyone in this world is trying hard to climb the ladder of success, it is necessary to take a break and enjoy before continuing the climb. The increased workload and resultant stress can bring about mental disorders. Even if does not result in such mental fatigue, too much stress hinders personal development. All work and no play makes people dull. Hence, play is essential to help relieve stress. Through play, one is preparing himself for another day of work and it equips him with the ability to cope with stress.

Play can also be considered an important aspect of human development because, through playing, people learn. This is repeatedly proven in life. In a game of soccer or any team sport, we learn about the importance of teamwork and communication. We learn that discipline is imperative on and off the playing field by obeying the rules of the game and respecting the codes of the game such as the disallowance of unruly behaviour, violence, and cheating. By playing games such as ‘Othello’, ‘Solitaire’ and ‘Risk’, we learn to be observant and learn about the need for careful planning and strategising. There are many games in this world, and each game teaches a different kind of lesson when played. These lessons are essential in making a person better and the good thing is that they are picked up without going through the normal routine of book-reading or work. Play, in this sense, is actually stress-free education. Moreover, through play, we get to meet people from all walks of life and, through communicating with them, horizons are widened and social skills become honed. Hence, play is important for human development.

Play is just as important when we think of the economic implications. Play is a profitable source of revenue for companies. When people want to play certain games, it could involve the purchase or rental of a certain commodity or venue. For instance, to have a proper soccer game, we will need to rent a soccer pitch. To play computer games, one will have to purchase a computer and necessary hardware or software, or rent a computer at a cyber café. Because people are willing to pay to play, new industries have arisen (like that of LAN gaming centres in Singapore) and revenue is generated. From wider perspective, international events have been organized for popular games like the IRB Rugby World Cup or the FIFA World Cup. The host countries of such events will see themselves earning greater revenue due to the people who visit the trips countries (be it players, fans or tourists) and stimulate the economy with their spending habits. The recent 2003 IRB Rugby World Cup saw host nation Australia earning millions. We can clearly see how play can be a source of revenue be it in the entertainment or sporting industry thereby illustrating the importance of play.

Play is a source of income for many. Players who play in professional leagues or tournaments receive income through playing. Big names like David Beckham or Shaquille O’Neal earn significant amounts as professional sportsmen. Playing in professional competitions could well be the only hope for an income particularly for those who cannot contribute directly to the economy due to the lack of educational qualification. Hence, in this aspect, play is important because it provides employment.

In terms of the political considerations, play might not be such an important issue to most. However, to certain countries, games have significant political consequences. When New Zealand pulled out of the 2003 Rugby World Cup Semi Finals, the country found itself having to deal with political unrest. Here, we can see how games have a powerful political influence, and playing certain games and playing them well could well be the criterion that brings political stability, hence showing the importance of playing.

Many could argue about the importance of play. Some people feel that play is not as important as it seems. From an individual stand point, when one plays, he does not work or he leaves his books aside, and this is a waste of time because the individual is not productive at all. He does not generate income nor does he gain any knowledge from books. Since play can be viewed as this waste of time, it is seemingly unimportant. Moreover, stress could be relieved through others means like reading, listening to music or meditation. Communication skills and teamwork can be built through workshops and lessons that need not employ play. There are many alternatives to play and hence play, being important in stress relief and education, is an overstatement. Economically, the revenue brought about by play might not be that much. The entertainment market, like theme parks or cyber cafés, is actually rather small and not many would want to pay to play. though some are willing to do so. Operation costs are high at the same time and thus, it is not that profitable after all. International gaming or sporting events do not take place all the time and the benefits. are usually reaped by one party – the host country. From the larger perspective, such profits do not benefit many. Hence, play might not be really important at all.

Despite the many counter arguments, play remains just as important. Though stress-relief methods are abundant, play is the most popular and probably the most effective method. Though play means a temporary stop in production, play brings higher productivity after that. Though play means not being able to acquire knowledge from books, it means learning from real-life experiences which cannot be done through study. Play creates a totally new market and it does bring additional revenue to the economy and this is undeniable.

An environment with play is much different from one which does not have it. Play brings about social and economic vibrancy, and is probably a major determinant in politics for some countries. As such, with all that was discussed, play is important socially, economically and politically.

 

Links to other GP Topics: The Arts | Philosophy | “Repeated Trends” |  Science & Technology | “Singapore” | Global & regional Issues| Economics Issues| Politics | Religion | Mass Media |

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