PART 1 – Introduction:
[The examiner asks the candidate about him/herself, his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Q. What would you suggest a visitor should see and do in your country?
A. I am from Singapore and my country is not only famous for high-end shopping malls, fine dining and luxury hotels but also it has a vibrant history and diverse ethnic quarters, lovely public places and many tourist attractions. For a visitor, I would suggest Marina Bay Sands, Chinatown, Changi Chapel and Museum, Sentosa Island and Singapore Flyer. Those are already very famous tourist spots in our country and a visitor would definitely enjoy the lovely sights and attractive landscapes there. If the visitor loves shopping, Singapore is the place to be.
The rich collection antiques, local products, electronic gadgets and other necessary things make the Singapore shopping malls hot favourite among visiting tourists. Dining is another great experience a tourist can have from here and the museums and botanical gardens would be exquisite places for any tourists to explore and learn about true Asian traditions and customs.
Q. Are there any traditional arts or music you would recommend?
A. We have comparatively young history and we went through a rapid modernization and due to this genuine art, cultural heritage and music are not as diverse as it should have been. However, in terms of rich ethnic markup without any doubt, we have the best Western-style performing arts such as opera or ballet as well as plenty of indigenous Malay, Indian and Chinese arts.
Each of the ethnic group here maintains their traditional music, art and artistic heritage. We have vibrant art galleries and exhibition works across the country.
There is no better place than Singapore Art Museum to get a thorough grounding in Singaporean visual art. Singapore Symphony Orchestra at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay is a place I would recommend highly. Apart from these Mosaic Music festivals, Singapore Dance Theatre, Indian Bhaskar Academy of Arts some other recommended places to get a thorough glimpse of our traditional art and music.
Q. Tell me about the kind of foreign visitors or tourists who go to your country.
A. Tourism in Singapore is very famous and it is indeed a major industry to our economy and GDP. We get more than double tourists each year than our own population. A majority of the tourists who visit Singapore come from Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Australia and India. Other countries from where a significant number of tourists visit Singapore each year are the Philippines, Japan, the UK, Thailand and the United States.
The visiting tourists come from different age groups and among them 20-40 years old could be seen more frequently. Some tourists come to enjoy their holidays, some come for shopping and business needs and some of them are adventure seekers and explorer.
Q. In what ways has tourism changed your country?
A. Tourism is one of the most significant contributors to our economy. The numbers of tourists come here is much higher than our own population. Because of the substantial growth in tourism in Singapore, both seasonal and full-time job opportunity has increased. Cross-cultural and intercultural communications have developed and many extensive infrastructural developments have been done by the Government. For example, the creation of SembCorp NEWater plant has been established in Singapore which is one of the world’s largest water recycling facilities now. Because of the tourists from different countries, our own heritage has been greatly enriched and it has become a lively place.
Among the negative impacts, I would say air pollution has increased from all the carbon emissions from planes and land transport. Some loss of authenticity of culture and traditions was obvious.
PART 2 – Cue Card
Describe a memorable event in your life.
You should say:
- when the event took place
- where the event took place
- what happened exactly
and explain why this event was memorable for you.
[ You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you’re going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]
PART 3 – Detailed Discussion
The role of ceremony in our lives:
Q. How important are ceremonies in our lives?
A. Ceremonies are our expressions of joy, passion, devotion and bonding. We celebrate through the different ceremonies we have in our life. Some ceremonies have religious, patriotic, cultural and traditional significance. They are filled with ritual and it helps us to acknowledge the true meaning of our life and presence.
Many ceremonies strengthen our family and social bonding. We celebrate to welcome a newborn into this world, to cherish our memory, to congratulate someone; in graduation, marriage and anniversary ceremonies. Many ceremonies show that we care, and we are true friends; which simply help to heal the wound.
Ceremonies motivate us, inspire us and refresh us to work in new spirit and some ceremonies let us forget our woes and depression. Some ceremonies like New Year Eve, Christmas, Eid are celebrated worldwide and remind us who we are, what course of actions define us. Finally, ceremonies can bring enemies together to forget their hostility and gives us excellent opportunity to know new people and make friends.
Q. Do you see the role of private and public ceremonies changing in the future?
A. I think I have already observed some changes in the role of both private and public ceremonies in our life. That’s why I believe that the ceremonies, as well as their roles in our personal and social life, would also change in the future. For example, some ceremonies are not as widely celebrates as we used to do it in the past. Many public ceremonies have political relation and that would surely be changed.
In terms of the role of private ceremonies– their role would change in terms of their influence on our personal and social life. Since people in a different era have different doctrine and way of living, the role of private festivals thus changes over time. The public ceremonies changes based on a country’s economic and political situations, so do their roles in our lives.
Attitudes to marriage in your country:
Q. Have attitudes to marriage changed in recent years?
A. Yes, in my opinion, that has changed a lot. While arranged marriage was the norm in past decade, people no longer follow this trend nowadays. The average age of marriage for both male and female is around 25 years, while it was far less than that just in last decade. Parents in older generations prepared their daughters to get married to established men. This attitude has changed and they are now making sure that their daughters have their own identity and establishment before getting married.
While the number of single fathers or single mothers in our country was very few, this has increased nowadays and seems like this is because of the increased divorce rate.
Q. In what ways do men and women feel differently about marriage, in your opinion?
A. I think the basic feelings of marriage would be same for both men and women. This includes the excitement, some anxiety, dream, hope, uncertain new lifestyle, responsibilities etc.
But it’s also true that in our society marriage means a bonding between a man and woman and in a traditional arrangement the bride would leave her house and start living in the groom’s house. From this context, the girl’s feeling would be different from the boy. The boy would be responsible for earning the money and that’s something the bride would not feel anxious about.
Events of national/global significance:
Q. What sort of national events make headlines in your country?
A. Any big political movement, a success or failure by our national sports team, a natural disaster, a new law, any brutal crime, national festivals or misconduct by any renowned politician would usually make headlines in our newspapers.
Any big success by our scientists, engineers, researchers would also make headlines. Sometimes news editors pick some interesting and comical events to presents at the headlines of their newspapers as well.
Q. Does the media in your country pay more attention to global or national events?
A. We have more than 100 daily newspapers and more than 20 TV channels that mainly focus on our nationals events. But that does not mean that they ignore the important global events to be reported. In fact, they make a good balance of national and international news and events. Some programs and sections of newspapers are dedicated for national events while others are for international news and events. I would say that would be a 60, 40 rations in terms of national and international news and events in our media.