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Practice 1: Reading Comprehension and Summary Writing

Read the text below:

For some people, going green means switching off a light or two, using more public transportation or
joining an environmental awareness group. For others, it is about immersing themselves in green

1 How many of us have wanted to save the environment but never quite knew how to
contribute to the cause? This troubled Firdaus Nisha Muhammad Faizal, 29, and Loo Ly
Mun, 31, who as avid travellers could no longer turn a blind eye towards the increasing
deterioration of Mother Nature.
2 This spelt the birth of Ecocentric, a business that focuses on promoting environmental 5
education and a sustainable lifestyle.
3 Nisha, who studied aeronautical engineering, says the pair has always been adventurous
and the outdoor-type and are both members of Raleigh International. They got their
environmental wake-up call right in their very own home.
4 We took a look at the amount of waste we were producing and the plastics we were 10
using in our house. When we bought our 3-in-1 coffee, it was a packet in a package in a
plastic bag. We realised this had to change and this was how we got into the whole idea of
sustainable living, says Nisha.
5 The concept of sustainability is evident in their living space. Their home has a mini
organic farm in the backyard. Various vegetables and fruits such as chillies, bananas and 15
okra are grown without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilisers. A specially designed
gutter directs rainwater to a large tank, and the water is used for washing clothes and
cleaning floors. When one walks into their home, jars of organic compost and soap nuts can
be seen lying around as testament to their green lifestyle.
6 Even though their enterprise only began last March, their list of activities and projects is 20
already a lengthy one. They began by conducting sustainable gardening campaigns for
schools, selling compost bins and facilitating youth programmes for the National Science
Centre and school nature clubs.
7 We run these workshops called Discovery Weekend for kids where we have activities
such as solar cooker building, pinhole camera building, walkabouts and nature hunts. We 25
get paid as facilitators for these workshops where we try to empower kids and teach them
about nature and the environment. The important aspect is to not only organise these
activities but to facilitate the discussion after that because these kids have so much to share
but there has to be a trigger to the conversation, says Nisha.
8 Along with sustainable living, they are also promoting the concept of organic farming. 30
From a sustainable perspective, we need to eat food that is locally grown, that contains no
pesticide and that is full of nutrition. Most of the food we eat has been sapped of nutrients
and we need to change this trend, says Nisha.
9 Even with their green ideals, both Loo and Nisha realise that they need to have food on
the table, organic or not. Promoting organic farming and compost bins may be personally 35
fulfilling but it proved to be a financially difficult business model.
10 Initially we just wanted to sell compost bins. But we found that it takes a whole day to
make one bin. Then we tried selling compost but it took three months to make a bag, which
would only sell for RM80. Then we drew on our strengths which were running workshops
and sustainability consultancy and we have been building on that since, says Nisha. 40
11 As of now, their main source of income is their sustainable living consultancy where they
provide green guidance for property projects.
12 In a current project, they are incorporating green concepts such as container gardening
and harvesting of rainwater and greywater (wastewater from kitchens and bathrooms) into a
residential development in Kuala Lumpur. They will collaborate with the developer to 45
design designated composting and recycling areas so that residents can dispose of waste in
the most efficient and eco-friendly manner possible.
13 Their plans for the future includes running more workshops and building on their
consultancy service. However, they have not lost track of their original principles, upon
which their business was founded. What we are trying to do is to raise awareness about all 50
these different areas which relate back to food, people, health and sustainability, says

1. From paragraph 2,
a. what is the name of Nisha and Loos company?
b. what is purpose of the company?
2. From paragraph 5, state two ways Nisha and Loo practice sustainability in their home.
3. From paragraph 6,
a. which word means organising ..
b. where do they facilitate youth programmes?

4. From paragraph 12,
a. what is greywater?

b. why will they collaborate with the residential developer to design designated composting
and recycling areas?

5. Without using examples from the passage suggest two ways you can save the environment.
6. Based on the passage given, identify the content points on:
how Nisha and Loo are saving the environment
use material from paragraph 5 to paragraph 13.
Task 1: Complete the table below.
Content Points

Point 1

Point 2

Point 3

Point 4

Point 5

Point 6

Point 7

Point 8

Point 9

Point 10

Task 2: Paraphrase the content points in the table above but care must be taken not to change the
original meaning.

Practice 2: Reading Comprehension and Summary Writing

Read the passage below and answer the questions that follow.

1 How do teachers handle discipline problems now that they are no longer allowed to punish
students like in the old days? Some 20 or 30 years ago, it was not uncommon to see teachers
armed with canes, especially before they entered notoriously unmanageable classes. Feather
dusters and rulers were popular and effective substitutes when the need arose. I remember
Puan Saro, a colleague during my first year of teaching. She was a matronly figure clad in a 5
sensibly starched cotton sari who taught Home Science and English to Form 2 students.
2 The back of a wooden ladle applied swiftly and surely to belligerent and disruptive
students prevents any possibility of similar behaviour in the near future, she informed me
crisply. Other archaic corrective methods that I recall were running around the field three
times, standing in a corner or outside the classroom and, of course, the ear squats. According 10
to a teacher, when she was a student in the 1960s, her Maths teacher kept a bunch of wooden
rulers tied together under lock and key. Each time students misbehaved or failed to do their
Maths homework, the dreaded bunch would be drawn and after one sharp thwack on the
palm, no boy or girl in class would ever forget to complete their Maths homework again.
3 Then there were what I call punishment in grades methods. One method would start 15
with being made to stand at the back of the classroom for minor offences. Second time
offenders had to stand on their chairs. That progressed to standing on the table and the final
step was standing on the table placed outside the classroom. The main objective probably was
to embarrass, perhaps even humiliate, and to serve as a warning to would-be offenders. Often
the punishment backfired because instead of feeling remorse or shame, some of the boys 20
actually enjoyed their new exalted position and proceeded to continue disrupting the class
with loud comments and long explanations for the benefit of curious passers-by.
4 These days, caning is not entirely obsolete but female students are definitely exempted.
However, common disciplining methods have changed. Counselling sessions are usually
arranged. Then we have the warning letters, sent out at intervals and if there is no improvement 25
in the students behaviour, the parents may be called to meet with school administrators.
5 At times, suspension letters are issued for more serious offences. When all else fails, the
student will finally be issued an expulsion notice. But this is uncommon and done only as a
last resort or when the authorities feel that particular student is a threat to the harmony or well-
being of other students in the school. 30
6 Some teachers have novel punishment methods which may not meet the approval of the
education authorities. A colleague who teaches carpentry and woodwork to some of the most
notorious boys in the Living Skills class swears by what he calls the dictatorial fear-instilling
method. He threatens to saw off parts of their body or hammer their heads together if they do
not behave or follow instructions. What happens when things get stolen, wallets for instance? 35
One of the secret methods is to get a basin of water and throw some leaves and grass before
getting the senior teachers to recite mumbo-jumbo incantations over the basin in front of the
row of suspects. The latter are asked to take a sip of the magical water. The suspects are told
that the guilty student would have crippling stomach ache if he or she drank it. The result?
Confessions are made almost immediately and stolen properties returned. 40
7 There is an even more novel discipline method employed by a teacher I met who had to
handle a class of 35 students who were not only rude but rebellious and disorderly. The
teacher bought a picture depicting a demon and stuck it on the notice board. She told the
students the demon would watch over them. It worked and she never had problems with 45
that class again!

1. From paragraph 1, what was the most effective form of punishment a few decades ago?

2. From paragraph 2, what was the result of the methods of punishment described?

3. From paragraph 3, what was the main objective of the punishment meted out and was it effective?


4. In paragraph 4, which word has the same meaning as the word:

a. outdated ..
b. spared ..

5. From paragraph 5, what is the harshest punishment a student can receive?


6. From paragraph 6 and 7, do you think these novel punishments are appropriate? Explain
using your own words.
7. Based on the passage given, write a summary about
the methods of punishment in the past compared to the present
the extent of their effectiveness

Credit will be given for use of own words but care must be taken not to change the original meaning.
Your summary must
be in continuous writing (not in note form)
use material from lines 4 46
not be longer than 130 words, including the 10 words given below

Begin your summary as follows.

Decades ago, teachers employed harsher methods of punishing rebellious students...