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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

2014 Literature in English SHSS Preliminary Examinations 2 - 28 July 2010 (WED) Answer Key - Main Points Only

How effective is Haddon in making the world we live in a challenging place for Christopher in the novel?

 • How Haddon helps the reader see our world from the perspective of a teenager afflicted with autism – Christopher interprets our world through his own lenses

• That Haddon makes Christopher consciously aware that he and his schoolmates belong to another category of people, different from ordinary people

• That unlike ordinary people, Haddon points out to us that Christopher needs a lot of effort to process moods / feelings / facial expressions / language – figurative especially dealing with metaphorical expressions / good or negative intentions, remarks from others / coping with new people, situations, encounters, problems and so on / also inability to accept lies or being lied to  merely considering all the things which could have mattered if that a lie is being told to him is a nightmarish experience for him / that he has to cope with signs and symbols invented by the world of normal people / nonverbal communication amongst them

• Haddon isolates Christopher by making him seemly anti-social / a loner – to normal people as well as people who belong in his lot. Haddon makes Christopher confess that he is comfortable only with instructions given to him by his teacher, Siobhan.

• Haddon makes it so difficult for Christopher to pursue what he cherishes most – to be left alone to run his life the way he wants

• Haddon makes Christopher fear normal people – he dislikes and shuns crowds and public places – narrows down his ability to interact and associate himself with others and yet forces Christopher to conduct investigations into Wellington’s murder with his neighbours / lands him in remand cell / makes his relationship with his father tension-filled / also makes him tell white lies to Ed Boone / makes him play central role in marital row between Ed and Judy / makes him take the journey of his lifetime from Swindon to London / makes him think about annihilation of human kind through meteor attack or viral infection / makes him think of staying far far away from normal people / makes him want to be so very much alone only to be with himself. Haddon creates in Christopher, a loner who seems in need of attention from normal people but also at the same time, cannot handle interactions with normal people effectively.

2014 Literature in English SHSS Preliminary Examinations 2 - 28 July 2010 (WED) Answer Key - Main Points Only

Question 1[A]
Christopher inspires in spite of his “behavioural problems”. Discuss with close reference to the novel.

• Christopher’s ability to be frank and forthcoming with his “behavioural problems” as outlined in Chapter 73 and the challenges faced by his primary care-givers at home and in the special needs education school.

• That he remains undaunted inspite of his “behavioural problems” by
- staying true to his thinking / narration / pledge to be “speaking and writing about the truth”
- earnest in his attempts to “impress”[?] his readers by including no doubt, somewhat awkwardly, tracts of mathematics and scientific knowledge in his running narrative
- spelling out his ambition to be an ASTRONAUT – no ordinary ambition, given his “behavioural studies” – by turning his personal weaknesses into strengths through the positive thinking that runs in his mind
- determined to do well academically and to complete his education and have a career – a successful one in the university and try to lead a normal life – according to his personal planning – ability to think ahead – matter-of-factly, no doubt but all clearly his thoughts

• That through our inference from his writing - he is not very different from most teenagers - his claim that EVERYBODY has learning difficulties, not just him or his fellow schoolmates in the special school

• That despite his autism – the word never appears in his writing, Christopher shows love and concern to his pet rat TOBY just like any ordinary teenager. That even though he fails to relate effectively with his father, mother, Mrs. Alexander, the policemen and the railway station personnel, Roger and Eileen Shears – he is capable of making assumptions about what these people mean to him and how he should be dealing with them. Christopher’s sense of self is a very powerful one.

• That despite his displays of tantrums and responses to cope with difficult situations, he may have been THE cause for the separation between his parents, he is open and honest to his readers about the crucial role he has played  Christopher consciously wants his readers to know that “he only speaks and writes about the truth”  a noble claim. He despises the ordinary novel because it contains a load of lies and consciously wants to present his writing to us in his own way  whether he succeeds is a different matter / it is the focus and the single-mindedness in his pursuit that lead to the eventual completion of his book – a rite of passage of some sorts – a milestone in his personal life

• That Christopher firmly believes that he is different / superior to normal people because he runs his mind at full capacity and copes with life’s challenges using logical thinking and reasoning.

• That despite all his problems, Christopher handles his “escape” from Swindon to London well – he successfully reunited with Judy in London.

• That although “traumatized” by his father’s confession, Christopher is able to contain his emotions and manages somewhat to complete his novel to deliver his story to his readers

• That he stays essentially TRUE to himself and remains SOLELY accountable for himself, his own past actions, thinking and his future

Monday, July 12, 2010

Desmond Lim works really hard.  I wish him every success in life.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

National School Literature Festival 2010 - 10 July at Nan Hua High School

Booktrailer Session - Hua Yi Secondary School.
Efforts...Costumes...Co-ordination and all

The warmth exuding from the Very Large Welcome Signage
on the PillarWall of the main building of Nan Hua High School

Madam Caroline Wong with teachers from other schools
A serious moment for both the literary text debate judges and
student participants

Mr. Cherry Chacko in the thick of action
The motion in the air
The belief the house holds
The quick and sharp delivery
The nerves
The stares
That 2 minute moment of basking in glory
and then
the judge's decision
settles all scores

Madam Norhani led her Secondary One F students to win a Bronze Medal
for SHSS at the Booktrailer's Competition.

The Ms Abidah smile tells it all...
Drama Club reigns once more by clinching First Prize
at the Booktrailer's Competition.

I was very lucky to have seen a high quality performance by students from
 Hua Yi Secondary School.
They put up a high-powered rendition of Stella Kon's Kumba Kumba.

The very heartwarming facade greeting any visitors at Nan Hua High School

Lighter moments at the Prize Giving Ceremony

The Beaming DRAMA papas and mamas


This notice for 4D parents is taken from the original schedule published by Mr. Tay Chye Huat of SHSS Internal Examinations with the approval of the Principal, Mr. Ong Kim Soon.

MONDAY 12 July 2010
English Language Paper 1[8:30 A.M. to 10:15 A.M.]

MONDAY 12 July 2010 
English Language Paper 2[11:15 A.M. to 12:55 P.M.]

MONDAY 12 July 2010 GCE N Level
English Language Paper 3 ORAL EXAMINATION
for scheduled 4D students only. [Examination DAY 5]      2:30 P.M to 5:30 P.M.
12080065 Stanley Ng Ding Feng
12080066 Tan Bo Yu Daniel
12080068 Tay Daniel
12080069 Wiskilver John Saberon Bitoon
12080070 Wong Zuo Wei

TUESDAY 13 July 2010
Mother Tongue (Chinese/Malay/Tamil) Paper 1 [8:30 A.M. to 10:30 P.M.]

TUESDAY 13 July 2010
Mother Tongue (Chinese/Malay/Tamil) Paper 2 [11:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.]

TUESDAY 13 July 2010 GCE N Level
English Language Paper 3 ORAL EXAMINATION
for scheduled 4D students only. [Examination DAY 6] 2:30 P.M to 5:30 P.M.
12080040 Chan Jun Heng Joshua

12080047 Goh Si Yun Vivian
12080056 Lim Jia Qi
12080058 Ong Jian JIe Mervin
12080064 Sheikha Ummairah Bte Zulkiffle
12080067 Tan Kai Xiang


WEDNESDAY 14 July 2010
Social Studies [9:00 A.M. to 10:30 A.M.]


THURSDAY 15 July 2010   


FRIDAY  16 July 2010
[9:15 A.M. to 9:45 A.M.]


MONDAY 19 July 2010


TUESDAY 20 July 2010
HISTORY ELECTIVE for selected students
[8:30 A.M. to 10:00 A.M.]

TUESDAY 20 July 2010
GEOGRAPHY ELECTIVE for selected students
[8:30 A.M to 10:00 A.M.]


WEDNESDAY 21 July 2010
Mathematics Paper 2 (NTT) (4042)
[9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M.]

WEDNESDAY 21 July 2010
Science - Physics (NTT) (5155 Papers 1 and 2) for selected students
[12:00 noon to 1:15 pm]

WEDNESDAY 21 July 2010
Science - Biology (NTT) (5157 Papers 5 and 6)
for selected students
[12:00 noon to 1:15 P.M.]


THURSDAY 22 July 2010
Mathematics (NTT)(4042 Paper 1) 
[8:30 A.M. to 10:30 A.M.] 

THURSDAY 22 July 2010
Science - Chemistry (NTT)
[11:30 A.M. to 12: 45 P.M.]


FRIDAY 23 July 2010
Design and Technology (NTT)
[8:30 A.M. to 10:00 A.M.]


Instructions to students by the Internal Examinations Committee

1.  Report to school for flag-raising at the usual time.
2.  Late-comers must report to the office before proceeding to their classroom.
3.  On the day when the paper starts on or after 9:30 A.M., candidates are required to report to school half an hour before the paper starts.  They will assemble in the canteen and proceed to the examination venue 15 minutes before the paper starts.

4.  The main examination starts on 12 July 2010 (MONDAY) and ends on 23 July 2010 (FRIDAY).  Pupils need not report to school on days when they have no paper. 

5.  Lessons will be as usual on 15 July (THURSDAY), 16 July (FRIDAY) and 19 July (MONDAY).

6.  Lessons will resume from 26 July 2010 (MONDAY) onwards.
7.  No candidates are allowed to leave the examination room before the scheduled time. 
8.  Candidates are to bring their own stationery items.
9.  Mother Tongue P3 Listening Comprehension will be conducted during normal curriculum time. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010



                                                             THE AFTERMATH

              And they thought I was asking for run-of-the-mill...tsk, tsk!
          Memories will be made of stuff like this
These are some of the best people I've run into at 82.

Today - 8 July 2010 - N Level Oral Examinations Day 2 - Class Phototaking Day at 1105 hours

 But there were 34 out of 35 cos
Samuel Kum Jun Xing's gone MIA.

The smiles came at last...

And then the form teacher said he wanted more from his subjects...
and confusion reigned once more

We say "goodbye" to Secondary Four in advance because...

we are all moving on and up!

Believing, Achieving...

Life will go on...
See you in Secondary 5 in 2011

The World Is Out There Awaiting Us!
Just you wait!

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Then the police arrived. I like the police. They have uniforms and numbers and you know what they are meant to be doing. There was a policewoman and a policeman. The policewoman had a little hole in her tights on her left ankle and a red scratch in the middle of the hole. The policeman had a big orange leaf stuck to the bottom of his shoe which was poking out from one side.

The policewoman put her arms around Mrs. Shears and led her back towards the house.
I lifted my head off the grass.
The policeman squatted down beside me and said, “Would you like to tell me what’s going on here, young man?”
I sat up and said, “The dog is dead.”
“I’d got that far,” he said.
I said, “I think someone killed the dog.”
“How old are you?” he asked.
I replied, “I am 15 years and 3 months and 2 days.”
“And what, precisely, were you doing in the garden?” he asked.
“I was holding the dog,” I replied.
“And why were you holding the dog?” he asked.

This was a difficult question. It was something I wanted to do. I like dogs. It made me sad to see that the dog was dead.

I like policemen, too, and I wanted to answer the question properly, but the policeman did not give me enough time to work out the correct answer.
“Why were you holding the dog?” he asked again.
“I like dogs,” I said.
“Did you kill the dog?” he asked.
I said, “I did not kill the dog.”
“Is this your fork?” he asked.
I said, “No.”
“You seem very upset about this,” he said.

He was asking too many questions and he was asking them too quickly. They were stacking up in my head like loaves in the factory where Uncle Terry works. The factory is a bakery and he operates the slicing machines. And sometimes the slicer is not working fast enough but the bread keeps coming and there is a blockage. I sometimes think of my mind as a machine, but not always as a bread-slicing machine. It makes it easier to explain to other people what is going on inside it.

The policeman said, “I am going to ask you once again…”
I rolled back onto the lawn and pressed my forehead to the ground again and made the noise that Father calls groaning. I make this noise when there is too much information coming into my head from the outside world. It is like when you are upset and you hold the radio against your ear and you tune it halfway between two stations so that all you get is white noise and then you turn the volume right up so that this is all you can hear and then you know you are safe because you cannot hear anything else.

The policeman took hold of my arm and lifted me onto my feet.
I didn’t like him touching me like this.
And this is when I hit him.
Why does Christopher like the police?

They wear uniforms and Christopher is reassured of what the police are “meant to be doing”.

Why does Christopher find it difficult to answer the “WHY” question raised by the policeman?

Christopher uses a simile here to describe his difficulty in coping with the “fast” questioning of the policeman. He tells us that the policeman’s questions are “stacking up in his head like loaves” a baking factory.

Another simile is being used here: comparison of information overloading with “white noise”.

What is relevant to Christopher is not that relevant to us in terms of our expectation of how a writer or a narrator’s storytelling should take us as we read.

Why does the policeman ask Christopher for his age? Has he sensed something different about Christopher in the way he provides his response? In terms of how he responds rather than what he says to him?

Why does Christopher repeat here that “he likes policemen, too”?

Christopher cannot cope with “fast” conversation, especially when he thinks and claims that the policeman is “asking too many questions”.

Unless you know Christopher and we should not expect the policeman to understand that Christopher is trying to cope with information overloading by “groaning”.

Christopher hit the policeman not on purpose but because he does not like being touched like what the policeman has done.


CHRISTOPER PROCLAIMS:  This is a murder mystery novel.

Do you agree with Christopher that his book is about a "murder mystery"?

This is a murder mystery novel.

Siobhan said that I should write something I would want to read myself.

Mostly I read books about science and maths. I do not like proper novels. In proper novels people say things like, “I am veined with iron, with silver and with streaks of common mud. I cannot contract into the firm fist which those clench who do not depend on stimulus.” What does this mean? I don’t know. Nor does Father. Nor do Siobhan or Mr. Jeavons. I have asked them.

Siobhan has long blonde hair and wears glasses which are made of green plastic.

And Mr. Jeavons smells of soap and wears brown shoes that have approximately 60 tiny circular holes in each of them.

But I do like murder mystery novels. So I am writing a murder mystery novel.

In a murder mystery novel someone has to work out who the murderer is and then catch them. It is a puzzle. If it is a good puzzle you can sometimes work out the answer before the end of the book.

Siobhan said that the book should begin with something to grab people’s attention. That is why I started with the dog. I also started with the dog because it happened to me and I find it hard to imagine things which did not happen to me.

Siobhan read the first page and said that it was different. She put this word into inverted commas by making the wiggly quotation sign with her first and second fingers. She said that it was usually people who were killed in murder mystery novels. I said that two dogs were killed in the Hound of the Baskervilles, the hound itself and James Mortimer’s spaniel, but Siobhan said they weren’t the victims of the murder, Sir Charles Baskerville was. She said that this was because readers cared more about people than dogs, so if a person was killed in the book readers would want to carry on reading.

I said that I wanted to write about something real and I knew people who had died but I did not know any people who had been killed, except Edward’s father from school, Mr. Paulson, and that was a gliding accident, not murder, and I didn’t really know him. I also said that I cared about dogs because they were faithful and honest, and some dogs were cleverer and more interesting than some people. Steve, for example, who comes to school on Thursdays, needs help to eat his food and could not even fetch a stick. Siobhan asked me not to say this to Steve’s mother.

In this chapter, what do we find out about Christopher?

He tells us his preference on books he reads.

What does Christopher mean by “proper novels”?

THINK: How different is he from you?

This chapter contains Christopher’s only physical description of Siobhan.

Jeavons is the psychologist at Christopher’s special needs school.

Does Christopher invent the murder and create the murderer then? Do you think he is successful in building the puzzle to enthrall you?

Are we supposed to believe that Christopher is telling us a true story?

THINK: Is Christopher’s book about dogs?

Christopher’s world is surrounded by special needs children, most in condition probably more dependent on the caregiver’s help than him.


I pulled the fork out of the dog and lifted him into my arms and hugged him. He was leaking blood from the fork-holes.

I like dogs. You always know what a dog is thinking. It has four moods. Happy, sad, cross and concentrating. Also, dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk.

A "happy" dog?

A "sad" dog?

A "cross" dog?

A "concentrating" dog?

I had been hugging the dog for 4 minutes when I heard heard screaming. I looked up and saw Mr. Shears running towards me from the patio. She was wearing pyjamas and a housecoat. Her toenails were painted bright pink and she had no shoes on.

She was shouting, “What have you done to my dog?”

An angry Mrs. Shears

I do not like people shouting at me. It makes me scared that they are going to hit me or touch me and I do not know what is going to happen.

“Let go of the dog,” she shouted. “Let go of the dog.”

I put the dog down on the lawn and moved back 2 metres.

She bent down. I thought she was going to pick the dog up herself, but she didn’t. Perhaps she noticed how much blood there was and didn’t want to get dirty. Instead, she started screaming again.

I put my hands over my ears and closed my eyes and rolled forward till I was hunched up with my forehead pressed onto the grass. The grass was wet and cold. It was nice.

THINK: How different are you from Christopher, assuming you are “normal”?

Christopher is so sure about a dog’s mood. He actually makes a definitive claim that a dog has “four moods”.  You may have to ask:  How does he know and what does he know about "doggie moods" if he has problems grappling with "human moods" and "human" facial expressions? 

What he has done is to reaffirm his inability to appreciate that a ‘normal” human being’s mood comes in a flux. We are “emotional” beings. We have mood swings – we are temperamental. Christopher gives up on trying to use drawn pictures of human expressions to identify other people’s moods.

THINK: Christopher is not so different from other teenagers. Nobody likes to be screamed at. His autistic condition may probably caused him to be more sensitive to the shouting than other people.


Do you agree with Christopher that a dog has only four moods?

Can you begrudge the fact that he makes an effort to publish the results of his analysis about a dog having four distinct types of moods in his murder mystery book?

Christopher claims in Chapter 37 that he “does not tell lies” because he “cannot tell lies”. Why is this such a powerful statement?

 He is telling us that he always tells the truth. Everything he writes in his book is the gospel truth.

What do you think of his reasoning then?

He tells us that dogs “do not tell lies because they cannot talk”.
1. Is his reasoning flawed? If so, why?
2. If not so, why not?

If we are prepared to put the question of whether his reasoning is flawed or not, then, what can you say about Christopher’s way of picking his preferences?

Let us compare Christopher’s reaction to Wellington’s death and that of Mrs. Shears. Who do you think cares more for Wellington?


Chapter 3
1. My name is Christopher John Francis Boone.
2. I know all the countries of the world and their capital cities and every prime number up to 7507.
3. Eight years ago, when I first met Siobhan, she showed me this picture

and I knew that it meant “sad”, which is what I felt when I found the dead dog.

THINK: So what if a person proclaims that he knows all the countries in the world and so on? Why does Christopher tell you this in his self-introduction? What can he say about him? What is the implication here?

CHECKED: He understands what is being “sad”.
4. Then she showed me this picture

and I knew that it meant “happy”, like when I’m reading about the Apollo space missions, or when I am still awake at three or four in the morning and I can walk up and down the street and pretend that I am the only person in the whole world.

CHECKED: He understands what is being “happy”.

THINK: Is Christopher different from you?
What upsets you?
What brightens your day?

5. Then she drew some other pictures

but I was unable to say what these meant.

Are you an expert in reading facial expressions? But why are we not anxious at all? Why are we not bothered at all, at least, most of us do not? Why don’t we do what Christopher has asked Siobhan to help him to do?

Could it be because we take for granted what Christopher does not?
So how similar are you to Christopher?
How different are you from Christopher?

6. I got Siobhan to draw lots of these faces and then write down next to them exactly what they meant.

7. I kept the piece of paper in my pocket and took it out when I didn’t understand what someone was saying.

8. But it was very difficult to decide which of the diagrams was most like the face they were making because people’s faces move very quickly.

9. When I told Siobhan that I was doing this, she got out a pencil and another piece of paper and said it probably made people feel very

and then she laughed. So I tore the original piece of paper up and threw it away.

10. And Siobhan apologized.

11. And now if I don’t know what someone is saying I ask them what they mean or I walk away.

Changes in our moods and temperament cause subtle changes on our facial expressions. Such facial expressions are not discrete but they segue from one expression into another unconsciously under normal circumstances.

Christopher has genuine difficulties in reading broad facial expressions like "sad" or "happy".  He is totally helpless with the more subtle ones - feeling of anguish, confusion, astonishment and so on.  We are luckier in that sense.  Does Christopher give up immediately?  No, he does not.  He attempts to understand these subtle expressions by asking Siobhan for help. 

What can we learn about him here? 
Why do you think he bothers at all? 
Why does he give up? 
What does he do when he gives up?


It was 7 minutes after midnight. The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs. Shears’ house. Its eyes were closed. It looked as if it was running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog. The points of the fork must have gone all the way through the dog and into the ground because the fork had not fallen over. I decided that the dog was probably killed with the fork because I could not see any other wounds in the dog and I do not think you would stick a garden fork into a dog after it had died for some other reason, like cancer for example, or a road accident. But I could not be certain about this.

I went through Mrs. Shears’ gate, closing it behind me. I walked onto her lawn and knelt beside the dog. I put my hand on the muzzle of the dog. It was still warm.

The dog was called Wellington. It belonged to Mrs. Shears who was our friend. She lived on the opposite side of the road, two houses to the left.

Wellington was a poodle. Not one of the small poodles that have hairstyles, but a big poodle. It had curly black fur, but when you got close you could see that the skin underneath the fur was a very pale yellow, like chicken.

I stroked Wellington and wondered who had killed him, and why.

1.  The narrator of a story is also called the persona, the voice or the speaker.
So who is speaking to us here? 

2. Whose voice are you hearing? (Repeating a question does help!)

3. How well informed are you by this speaker? (Don't you feel something quite strange about the way, for instance, time is being reported to you?)

4. What are some of the qualities you may infer about the speaker based on the narrative here?

5. What adjectives will you use to describe him?

6. What other impressions of the speaker do you have?

7.  What further qualities can you make of him?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The World of GCE O Level Type Literature Quesitons according to Mr. Rashidi

Please note:  Mr. Rashidi is now with Tampines Junior College.  He left St. Hilda's Secondary School in 2008. 

According to Mr. Rashidi, we should take note of the following ways in which the GCE O level questions are presented to us: 

                                             Don't just do a COLGATE.  Ask when in doubt.
  • How does the writer vividly create a sense of  __________ / convey to you the difficulties experienced by [character/s] in [action]?
  • Do you think that [character] is a [describing verb or phrase / adjective + er] person by the end of the novel?
  • What do you think makes [character A] so [appealing] to [character B / you]?
  • Do you think the relationship between [character A] and [character B] ever has a chance of succeeding? 
  • How far and in what ways do you think [author] criticises [ any human condition] depicted in this novel?
  • Why do you htink [author] calls the [a part of the novel] [sub-title]?
  • How does [author] memorably introduce [character] in this passage? 
  • What in your view is [character]'s importance in the rest of the book?
  • Choose any two characters from the novel that you found particularly [adjective], and in each case explain by close reference how the writer makes them interesting. 
  • In what ways does [author] suggest that [character/s] could have [done something / action] bettter towards [character]?
  • There are several occasions in the novel when the reader [notices something that the character/s does or do or does/do not ----].  Choose any two such occasions and explain in detail how they affect you. 
  • Why is this passage a particularly moving and signinficant moment in the novel?
  • By close reference to [a part / the novel], show how [author] creates a satisfying ending to the novel.  / In what ways do you find this an effective and fitting opening to the novel?
  • How does [author] make [character] an important character in the novel?  Support your answer by close reference. 
  • What are the effects of including [types of language] at various points in the novel?  Refer closely to hte novel in your answer. 
  • What do you think is the importance of [character] to [character] and to the novel.
  • What ideas or themes seem to yo to be important in the novel?
  • What do you find [adjective/s] about the different impressions of [character] that [character] give you in this passage?
  • When and why do you think that [character] first begins to change her views about [character]?
  • How far and in what ways does the writer make you feel [adjective] for [character] in the novel?