A Different Pair of Eyes

Post done by: Alexandra, Celestine, Julia, Nikita and Yu Bin

An insider is in a better position to photograph a place because he/she has a deeper purpose and drive when composing the photograph and he/she would also have a more personal understanding of the given situation. Firstly, an insider would be able to frame the photos with a more significant purpose in mind. Given that an insider photographer has a more in depth understanding of the current happenings, the chosen subjects would be highly reflective of the situation the community is in. Secondly, an insider is in a better position to capture the raw emotions linked to the current situation, as he himself would have first hand experience.

Deeper purpose- why would a person bother to take a picture of his own hometown? Unlike an outsider who would take pictures simply for capturing special moments in a foreign land, an insider would have a more deep-seated motive for taking the photo. His reason could be to portray suffering that his fellow countrymen are experiencing, or to show the injustice in his country. Whatever the reason, the motive will have a great impact on the photographer’s choice of composition, which in turn affects the impact that the photo has on viewers. But, what about the pictures taken by an outsider? Outsiders would have much ‘shallower’ motives for taking the photo – they could include for memory’s sake if he was on a vacation, capturing beautiful architecture and so on. They do not tell as powerful a story as insider pictures. Their purpose for capturing the photos would not be as in-depth as that of an insider.

Insider knowledge- an insider can take on both the perspectives of an outsider and an insider. One example would be North Korea. An outsider such as ourselves would only be able to capture photos of what we are able to see, for example, portraying them as a country poising to fire its missiles. However as a native North Korean, one would be able to capture the true essence of the country, having been granted access to many private areas that foreigners may not be permitted to enter or see. An insider would also be able to select the subject matter that is most relevant to the topic or situation of the area. Outsiders, however, are not able to experience of even see the country’s social problems and crises, such as hunger and confinement. Photos taken by outsiders would be unable to portray the true circumstances of the country as many of these circumstances could have been censored by the insiders of the country.

In conclusion, given that an insider has a more significant purpose and more motivation when composing the photograph as well as a more personal understanding of the given situation due to the first-hand experiences, he/she is in a better position to photograph the situation.



These pictures are powerful as they tell a compelling story about North Korea’s current situation. 


This picture shows a typical photo taken by an outsider, who is only given access to North Korea’s propaganda, and not the country’s inside situation.This picture does not tell a lot about the people’s problems or the country’s policies.

Things to note (16/4 lesson)

– Title

– Hook

– Paragraph 1: Thesis statement –> stand, reasons, summary

– Paragraph 2: Topic sentence (Reason 1) –> stand and reasons

– Paragraph 3: Topic sentence (Reason 2) –> stand and reasons

– Conclusion: Restate thesis statement (Note the persona we are taking on when writing this piece of persuasive writing)

– Image (Visual) – with caption


– 3rd person

– Simple sentences/words (Less jargon)

– Engaging

– Always ask “why”

– Cite (Hyperlink)

Looking Through the Other Eye


picture from: vimeo.com

Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

While our perspectives are shaped by what’s around us, sometimes all that blocks us from the truth is we ourselves. As an outsider, we will not be impeding the truth with our own biasness and experience and hence be able to determine and ascertain truth, symbolised by ‘sunlight’ here, with more ease.

Being a photographer, each and every one of us have the power to depict a moment of a place or time which will in turn reenact the very scene or distort it. Considering the immense capability of a single photo to either make or break, a major question to be raised now is who then is a more suitable photographer, an outsider or an insider?

An outside photographer could be defined as a person or party who has minimal involvement in the subject of his photography. This means that the person does not live in the place being photographed, does not have personal involvements in the happenings in the area, and has not done much research on these happenings that could potentially divert his stance on the issue to a particular side. An insider would be the opposite of this, with significant personal involvement in the issue.

Being a relatively neutral party, an outsider is in a better position to photograph a place. It can be assumed that an insider is one who has previous insights of a particular location, whereas an outsider does not have prior exper lbience with regard to a place.

Because an outsider takes on a more neutral stand in the particular subject, the photograph may not be framed through any personal perspective that may result in any incredibility. If an insider were to take a photo, he may consciously omit extra details from the photo and possibly force a perspective into the audience. He may also subconsciously omit details that he assumes is unnecessary and obvious due to his familiarity with the place, when in fact, the truth is that the audience has no idea or clue about it. In this case, an outsider will prove to be more suitable.
In addition, an outsider has the tendency to take note of trivial details more carefully. Due to his lack of familiarity with the area, he will have to be more observant, and is likely to take a photo that is more adequate in providing a more holistic view of the place. An insider would probably be less careful and observant as he is already familiar with the place. Hence, he will probably assume that he knows a lot about the place and tend to omit what may be important but not very obvious. This once again, proves the point of an outsider being a more suitable photographer.

Last but not least, an outsider lacks the prior knowledge to the place which may prove to be helpful in giving unexpected or uncommon insights and interpretation of certain observations. This provides a more unique and out of the ordinary point of perspective by the photographer.

All in all, a photograph shot by an outsider would be a more appropriate and wholesome one in giving an overall outlook of the place. He is also able to complement it with a third party perspective of the place which would definitely differ from that of an insider.

Behind those eyes of an outsider photographer

With the onset of technology in photography, photographers have been advancing into two distinct types– insider and outsider photographers. Insider photographers are native to the environment and thus familiar to it, whereas outsider photographers prefer to take photographs in an environment unfamiliar to them. Recent debate has it that outsiders take better photographers. It is this blogger’s humble opinion that outsider photographers are the better of the two, as outsider photographers have a less biased perspective of the environment and are more able to provide differentiated viewpoints.


Outsider photographers, as an audience and unaffected by the environment, are more likely to be unbiased when providing his or her perspective of the environment, both emotionally and situationally. Unlike outsider photographers, insider photographers are much more familiar with the environment. As such, their opinions are more likely to be influenced and shaped by the various factors present in that environment. Outsider photographers are unfamiliar to the environment, as such they tend to be less influenced by the elements in that particular environment. Their perspectives are not affected and their imagination and viewpoints are less biased. In this way, the photographs created by outsider photographers carry messages less influenced and biased by the environment, allowing the viewer to have a more realistic and less screwed picture of the situation depicted. 


Apart from that, outsider photographers, being less familiar and jaded than insider photographers tend to express novel and differentiated viewpoints. Given the same situation, an insider photographer might portray a scene generic to environment which is especially common in such a situation. As such, the viewpoints expressed might not interest the audience. However, an outsider photographer’s mindset is less chained than that of an insider photographer’s, resulting in his/her opinions to be less influenced. More often than not, outsider photographers portray scenes overlooked or unique which is not commonly noticed by the insider photographers. As such, novel and differentiated viewpoints are expressed through an outsider photographer’s pictures, allowing the audience to be exposed to alternative viewpoints. 


Photographs taken by outsider photographers


Outsider photographers offer realistic portrayals

Therefore, in conclusion, outsider photographers produce better photographs than insider photographers due to the nature of their photos. Such photos are less biased and more able to provide insights into the environment that may not be noticed by insider photographers.


Inside Outside Outside In

Photos. Photos everywhere, everyday. Of you, your family, even your favourite playground. There will hardly be a day you live your 86400 seconds not spending at least one looking at a photo. But are these photos reflections of the truth? There are many people who could have taken that photo you just saw. Whether the photographer is an insider or an outsider, the subject of the photograph you were looking at could have been portrayed in a drastically different manner.

The insider could be a primary character who is taking part in the situation itself, while the outsider could be one who is looking at the situation or anyone else not taking part in the situation itself. The significance in difference is that as an insider, emotions and feelings about the situation can be portrayed in the picture. However, if an outsider were to take the picture, she would be able to see both sides of the story, a more well rounded point of view, and the picture would be able to remain neutral.

The insider knows the true stories and character of a place. A playground, for example, is commonly known to be a place of fun, joy and laughter since it is where children spend their time playing. However, an insider of a particular playground will know that rowdy, drunk teens sit around smoking at the playground, forcing the children to play somewhere else, he will thus portray the playground in a more ominous manner.

Though it is commonly believed that outsiders give an unbiased point of view, due to the lack of emotional ties with the subject matter, this view can be challenged, take for example a photographer taking a picture of African children. Very often we see images of these children huddled together, looking small and pitiful, their eyes large and doleful due to the angle the photographer has chosen. The photographer here is merely an outsider. He portrays the children how he wants to, according to the stereotyped view he has of them. He could just as well have portrayed them playing with their friends and laughing, but he chose not to. He would have portrayed them that way, since the real truth of the life of children is one filled with play and exploration, which an insider should know and hence would want to capture. This renders the common belief that a photo taken by an outsider is unbiased and therefore more truthful, invalid.


Insiders are the ones who go through the experience as depicted in the image. Insiders are known to look at things in a way that would echo feelings, or experiences from going through what he/she has. Such elements of thought are incorporated into the message intended for the photo to represent and convey to the audience. While outsiders are impartial, public judges to the situation at hand, they are known to shortchange the image of the intended message and its depth and breadth.

Outside the Insider

An insider is one who has more knowledge about the place itself, having a better idea of the community and surroundings. His viewpoint may of course, be then biased; he has inside information of the place. An outsider is the exact opposite – someone who does not have much knowledge about the place and an unclear idea of the community and surroundings. His viewpoint will be based on his own interpretation of the place and may be misleading.

This can thus greatly influence what the readers will perceive about that place. The natives of the place would, most probably, put on a facade for the outsider, showing only what they desire the world to see them as, in order to mask the unknown while not revealing the truth about the place, be it their culture or traditions. However, an insider is in a better position to photograph a place, considering the fact that the insider is not biased and will be able to produce a picture that will depict a neutral stance.

An outsider does not have any idea about the place and its hidden identity. The outsider is in a worse position as compared to the insider when taking a photograph of a place. Despite the fact that the insider could be biased, he would be able to portray truthfully, a part of what the place is really like, as compared to the outsider, who would show an entirely wrong image of the place itself.

In conclusion, we feel that the insider is a better choice out of the two to photograph a place.Image

Stem Cell Research as a Field of Research – Multinational Pharmaceutical Companies’ View


The pharmaceutical industry strongly encourages the scientific field of stem cell research, to develop and advance modern medicine.

Stem cells are unique among all biological cells in that they alone hold the ability to become any other type of cell in the human body. This ability holds enormous potential for the future of medicine. In today’s world, the number of cell-ravaging diseases is in the millions, and is set to rise as pathogens evolve. As such, the number of medicines needed to specifically combat each pathogen will eventually increase beyond the abilities of Man.

Stem cells provide a simple and effective method to combat this otherworldly problem. They provide a regenerative mechanism for the body to replace any and all diseased cells. The body would be able to regenerate every single cell perfectly, preserving the subject’s health without going into the time-consuming and overly complicated process of analyzing the pathogen. This is the true essence of a “cure”, to eradicate the very ability of the pathogen to harm the body, in contrast to today’s “treatments”, to merely inhibit or slow down a pathogen.

In fact, incurable diseases or handicaps may soon be cured by stem cell therapy. Experimental therapy has already cured the vision of two women, a handicap once assumed to be a given. Such therapy is set to expand into other areas such as the curing of “terminal illnesses” such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition, stem cells open up an avenue of opportunities for drug research and testing. They provide the perfect test subject for experimental drugs with unknown side effects, without going against the ethics of animal or human testing. By monitoring the effects of the drugs on the stem cells, scientists are able to model the possible effects on the human body. Thus, any benefits or harmful side effects of the drugs can be noted in advance, and taken into consideration when deciding to release medicine to the rest of the biomedical and pharmaceutical industry.

The possibilities inherent in stem cells, Nature’s masterpiece, are truly astounding. It should be a priority for research to be done in this field, so as to unlock Nature’s secrets, and seek a utopia free of disease.


By: Amanda Yung (2)

In the Shoes of a Rape Victim: To Abort or Not to Abort?


Imagine going to school with a plump swollen belly, not as a teacher, parent or worker, but as a student. All eyes will be on you, as schoolmates scurry out of your way, whispering, pointing. They call you cheap. Loose. Someone who slept around too much.


For rape victims who are impregnated, the initial trauma is only just the beginning.


“Many insensitive questions are raised on the girl’s character. Once the girl is raped, the society rapes her.” – New Delhi Rape Victim


In a society where the virginity of unmarried women is of high social value, rape victims already feel a distorted perception of themselves, a low self-worth, a tremendous feeling of shame, and a multitude of other feelings. The social stigma associated with rape, resulting in some victims becoming isolated by the society, increases the hurt afflicted on the victims. This is known as secondary victimization, where, like what the rape victim said, the girl is raped again by society.


From a rape victim’s perspective, how can she find the courage to raise the product of the most heinous crime imposed on a woman’s dignity? For nine months, she will be forced to carry this living reminder of the rape in her womb, haunting her, a visible imperfection to the society, inviting criticism, isolation and shaming.


Of course, many argue that the fetus conceived from a rape is still a life, and having an abortion would be killing this living being. Why is this innocent child paying the price for his father’s sexual offence?


However, would the child’s life be any better if he or she were born? Growing up without a father, with a mother who might regard the child with disgust at the memory of the rape, a child conceived without love. Even if the rape victim loves her child, will she have the capacity to care for another living being, when she is still schooling, still growing up, still unable to care for herself? She might be financially and emotionally incapable of supporting the child.  Furthermore, the child could be socially stigmatised as he grows up, resulting in bullying and discrimination. For both the rape victim and the child, wouldn’t it be kinder if the child was not born at all?


Therefore, from the perspective of a rape victim, abortion should be allowed as it minimises the hurt caused to the rape victim and the baby.


(400 words)

Done by Chua Ying Pin (7)


Korean Pop: Good or Bad Influence? (Perspective of Government)

With the help of the internet, the Korean wave has since spread over the entire world. Now, people all over the world, including Singaporeans, have fallen deeply into the clutches of the Korean wave.

In the opinion of the Singapore Government, the Korean wave has an overall bad influence on Singapore teenagers as it will hinder the development of Singapore, and thus affecting the lives of them in the future. This is the case because the teenagers will slowly lose their sense of identity as Singaporeans as they adopt the new Korean culture and also because of the large amounts of time spend on Korean Pop.

Numerous Singaporean teenagers have started incorporating Korean Fashion into their daily outfits. From clothes to cosmetic products, the Korean industry is slowly infiltrating the Singaporean markets. In the year of 2013, there are a total of 7 Korean cosmetic Chains in Singapore. One such shop is “Tony Moly”.


The reasons for teenagers to patronise these store are often because they are fans of the celebrity ambassadors of the shops and also because they desire to become as pretty as the Korean stars.  This shows that Korean fashion is rather popular among the teenagers in Singapore due to the Korean wave in Singapore. This way, they will gradually lose their sense of identity and belonging to Singapore and hence breaking the unity of Singaporeans. If Singaporeans are not united, nothing can be accomplished. Therefore the Korean wave has a bad influence on Singapore teenagers as it hinders the development of Singapore.

Many teenagers are also spending a lot of time on Korean Pop.

“I just want to be close to them all the time. I don’t feel like eating, sleeping, or studying,”   This is what a Singaporean Sasaeng Fan said.

She is not  alone. Many teenagers spend their valuable time attending concerts, trawling through the internet for updates on their idols, which could otherwise be used for studying or family-bonding. They will probably continue with their addiction until they reach adulthood. This will affect the quality of their work and hence hinder the development of Singapore.

To sum it up, Korean pop is a bad influence to Singaporean teenagers. Here are a few scenarios for you to ponder about. Imagine a Singapore which is not united; Imagine a Singapore which has fans who spend half their time on their idols. What will happen to Singapore? 

By Tiffany Kok:)

Does a meritocratic educational system breed Elitism? I believe so. (Student perspective)

The meritocratic educational system in Singapore does create a divide between difference classes of people with the rise of Elitism.Image

This quote by Larry Kersten encompasses the meaning of being an elitist; the assurance and satisfaction gained by trampling everyone else in academics, physical health and social life. I, however, am on the receiving end of this elitist society and so are many students of my school. Since we parted ways in Primary school, talking to friends who got into elite schools has not been much engaging. They got rewarded, in the form of their PSLE scores, to go on get the best grades, go on to get the best jobs and go on to secure their rightful place in the community. But we just get discriminated against and deprived of many opportunities to excel as much as those in an elite environment.

The school environment breeds notions of elitism. Surrounded by people of similar mental abilities, getting influenced is common. Students get influenced to compete in their own race in academics to be the best one on top and reap the benefits of that accomplished feat. Such great feelings of competition develop like a rapid fire in such environments. The educational systems in such elite schools place tremendous emphasis on being better than the rest of the students nationwide, be it in academics or athletics. With such a great impact on these students, a condescending perspective of such students ensues. Their motive is to widen the gap between “ordinary” students and themselves.   

At a school reunion, I was taken aback by the change that was reflected in my peers’ attitude. They had a constant urge to find out how we were doing in school – not socially but academically. Many of my friends, who are currently in elite schools, did not even approach any of those classmates who were not in such schools. Instead, they preferred to mingle within their social circle, creating a distinct boundary between us and them. Are we not worthy to talk to?
Growing up that way, these students lose perspective and forget that they belong to a privileged minority unlike others. An educational system that focuses on the commonly known statement, “May the best man win”, has seen its outcome as one that segregates the elite students from the others. What is not realised it that by doing so, we only boost the ego of elite students as being top notch in our community. 

– Nikita Gupta (15) 

The Patient’s View: Stem Cell Research- A field of research in UK?

Have you ever had the feeling of absolute hopelessness? That empty, buzzing feeling in your head when someone tells you that you only have months to live?

Religious activists might argue that embryos have intrinsic value from the moment of birth and thus regard using the embryo to derive stem cells as tantamount to murdering a baby. However, have you ever taken into account the lives that you could potentially save from Stem Cell research? A potential application of stem cells is to form cells and tissues for medical treatments but currently it is donated organs and tissues that are substituted for damaged and dysfunctional ones.

Sadly, the demand for organ transplant is way higher than the supply. Transplant waiting lists are unexhaustive and more than 4,573 U.S. patients died in 2008 alone awaiting a kidney transplant due to a donor shortage. It’s common for transplant recipients to get organs that are an imperfect match. But holding on to such an organ is difficult and exacts a serious toll.

To prevent the immune system from going for an all-out attack on tissue it sees as a threat, patients must follow an arduous drug regimen for the rest of their lives. Without the medications, a transplanted kidney that’s an incomplete match is likely to be rejected, and the patient faces the prospect of dialysis, a repeat transplant or death. The anti-rejection drugs — typically 15 to 20 pills a day — make patients susceptible to infection, diabetes, hypertension and cancers and are so toxic, they often overwhelm transplanted kidneys. They have typically cost as much as $20,000 a year, and remain a far cry from affordable despite the recent availability of generic versions.


And after all that hassle, many patients reject their transplanted organs anyway.

But all these could change in the future with future developments in the field of Stem Cell research. It could potentially change the lives of millions of people that would otherwise never have a chance to get well again. Stem cells can now benefit victims of Parkinson’s Disease, Diabetes, Arthiritis and also those of Cardiovascular Diseases. However now, with further research and testing ,even patients receiving an organ that’s less than a perfect match can be protected against rejection by a second transplant — this time of the organ donor’s imperfectly matched stem cells. More can and should be done to help these people.

Done by: Nicole Lim (21) 306