Is korean pop culture a bad influence on Singapore teenage fans?

[The crux of the video is from 3 min 15 s to 4 min 03 s]

Zhong Zhu Xuan — Sasaeng fan

Idols are a huge source of inspiration for fans. The way they give their best in whatever they do, no matter how tired they are, really pushes fans to do the same, which is why many fall for them. All fans want to get noticed and remembered by their idols, but some do it through unusual means, and they are commonly known as sasaeng fans, derived from the term ‘sasaenghwal’, which means ‘private life’ in Korean. From the name, you can somewhat infer that these fans encroach on the personal life of idols.

Sasaeng fans try to find out more about their idols, like their schedules and personal life, and do things that are not within the capacity of normal fans, such as stalking the idols everywhere they go, even to the extent of forgoing their education. In their opinion, by knowing more about their idols, they are closer to the celebrities than the others. Even if the idols find them a nuisance, they still believe it is a good thing, as long as the idols recognize and remember them. There have been cases where a sasaeng fan slaps the idol just so that she can leave a lasting impression of herself. Many of them camp outside or even intrude into the places where the idols stay. From this perspective, it seems that the Korean pop culture has a negative impact on fans, considering the extreme actions of fans like throwing used sanitary pads into their hotels. However, if we were to put ourselves in the shoes of the sasaeng fans, the influence is good.

The motivation behind the actions of sasaengs is the thought that “My idols actually recognize me!” The idols rarely come to Singapore, and when they do, it is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to get closer to them. If you know that someone you love is finally coming to Singapore, but only for a short while and might not return in the short run, would you not grasp this opportunity to get closer to that person? This is the notion that sasaengs carry. In a distorted way, the idols actually positively influence us to do what we really want, so that we will not regret it later for missing the chance to do so.
(380 words)

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Is K-pop a bad influence on Singaporean teenager fans? – Perspective of parents of addicted fans.

Gao YueYing

With waves of Korean pop sweeping across Singapore, there is an increasing number of teenagers falling head over heels for Kpop idol groups. How has k-pop influenced the lives of these children, then, and what implications does it have for their parents? Despite the entertainment that kpop provides for these teenagers, parents have found that the negative influence in the aspects of studies and finance is what makes kpop undesirable.

Kpop negatively influences teenagers’ thoughts about studying. As teenagers catch their idols online every day, they think that as long as they can sing or dance, they will earn big money and become famous. They feel that being an idol is an easy way out in life – being famous and also able to earn large amount of money while doing something they enjoy. Watching kpop videos and fantasizing about performing on stage takes up a large percentage of their time. Even after settling down and doing their work, they might not be focusing and rather, have their minds drifted off to their favourite idol groups. Less effort is spent on their school work and as a result, they tend to get low grades in school. It would be natural, then, for parents of k-pop fans to worry for about their children’s future. In Singapore, a highly competitive country, bad results equate to no future. These teenagers do not see the full picture of their idols’ tough lives, only blindly dreaming about being an idol themselves. Their studies are neglected and hence compromised. Therefore, kpop negatively influences Singapore teenagers’ thoughts on studies.

It also doesn’t help that these teenage fans splurge on kpop merchandise, burning holes in their parent’s pockets. They are negatively influenced to spend money to support their favourite idol groups. For instance, they spend around twenty dollars on each album released. Addicted fans go overboard and spend over a hundred dollars to buy numerous copies of the same album. Once in a while, when their favourite idols hold concerts in Singapore, they jump at the chance of seeing their idols up close and willingly fork out hundreds of dollars to get good seats in the concert venue. Spending parents’ hard earned money on such superficial items is considered a negative influence on these teenagers.

ImageThe most expensive standing tickets (as near as 1m away from their idols) are priced at $242. (img source: http://jovenatheart.com/wordpress/2012/11/25/sm-town-live-world-tour-iii-in-singapore-2012-post-mortem/)

Overall, as parents who see these influences kpop has on the children, negative influences outweigh the positive influences in terms of studies and finance.

 

(400 words)

A stem cell researcher’s view; Stem cell research: a field of scientific research in UK?

 Stem cell research is funded by the UK government and the supporting organisations such as Centre for Stem Cell Biology, Institute for Stem Cell Research, Scottish Stem Cell Network. As of 2008, the funds have increased from £25 million to £100 million.

 

Firstly, stem cell research helps to improve lives. With stem cells, it can potentially help treat a range of medical problems and diseases previously incurable and provide better treatment for patients. Cures can be created to prevent deaths and bring recovery, thus sustaining humanity. For example, cancer is something humans have been trying to combat since the oldest case in 1500 BC in Egypt. Stem cells have the potential to become a specific type of cell such as a cancer-specific immune system cells. These type of cells specifically target cancer cells and thus is a cure for cancer. Before this discovery was made, cancer could only be cured temporarily with surgery by removing the tumor or chemotherapy which could cause damage to living cells due to high frequency radioactive waves. Even so, with stem cell research, we have now progressed to using Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS) which are artificially derived from a non-pluripotent cell, such as adult somatic cells.

 

(retrieved from http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/stemcell/images/pluri.jpg)

Secondly, stem cell research helps us to have a better understanding of the existing diseases. While fetal stem cells have been tested on people with Parkinson’s disease, there was notable improvement in younger patients but older patients showed little to no improvement. However, the stem cells differentiated into neurons, some of which produced dopamine. And we have prior knowledge that insufficient amounts of dopamine in the brain can be a cause of Parkinson’s disease. From such tests, we can infer that there is a difference between Parkinson’s disease in the younger and older patients, and we can then strive to discover new knowledge about Parkinson’s disease. For example, we could hypothesise that Parkinson’s disease in the old is not only caused by lack of dopamine but other neurotransmitters as well, like histamine.

 

Lastly, stem cell research is for us to satisfy out natural curiosity. As humans, we all like challenges, we want to prove everything impossible possible and find solutions to problems and find out the extent to which stem cells can be a cure for diseases. That is why we have airplanes and space travel today. Once thought to be impossible, we humans have created a new path for future generations to use.

 

In conclusion, we researchers believe in the potential in stem cells and wish for stem cell research to be encouraged in order to bring social and economic benefits to our country and the citizens.

PT draft (Ong Ray Yi) Abortion for rape victims? An insight from a medical perspective.

Should rape victims be allowed to abort the child they had with the rapist? Most rape victims would want to abort the child, as the child was “accidental”, and it would impact their lives in terms of getting a job, finding a future husband, and spending more time and money to take care of the child. Therefore, from a medical perspective, we need to look at the safety of the abortion procedure performed on the rape victim, to decide whether abortion should be allowed.

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The potential health risks the mother might face if abortion is performed depend on whether the surgical procedure is performed safely. Unsafe abortions, defined by the World Health Organization, are abortions performed by unskilled individuals, with hazardous equipment, or in unsanitary facilities. Due to unsafe abortions, there are approximately 70,000 maternal deaths and 5 million hospital admissions per year globally.

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However, abortion, when induced in the developed world in accordance with local law, is among the safest procedures in medicine. In the US, the risk of maternal death from abortion is 0.6 per 100,000 procedures, making abortion safer than childbirth (8.8 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births).

 

If abortion were to be restricted, there would be significantly higher rates of unsafe abortion. Rape victims who want to abort their baby would turn to other means for abortion, like unqualified and unskilled doctors or people with no access to proper medical facilities, or try to self-abort. This therefore does more harm than good. For example, the 1996 legalization of abortion in South Africa had an immediate positive impact on the frequency of abortion-related complications, with abortion-related deaths dropping by more than 90%.

 

From a medical standpoint, this would mean that more lives could be saved than lost. Many medical professionals will tell you that a fetus is considered alive when it becomes viable, which means that it can survive outside the mother’s womb. The age of viable fetus can range from 22 weeks to 27 weeks. Therefore, as long as abortion is carried out before the fetus is viable, no lives are lost. This supports legalization of abortion, as many lives of mothers could be saved from being taken away by unsafe abortion, and at the same time, fetal lives are not lost if abortion is carried out before the fetuses turn viable.

 

Therefore, in my view, abortion should be allowed, but only if performed safely, by a skilled medical practitioner. This is because the abortion has a low risk of health hazards, should the rape victim want to abort her child, and therefore will not harm her physically. There are no medical reasons why it should not be allowed.