GESS1025 / GES1035 Singapore: Imagining the Next 50 Years

Module: GESS1025 / GES1035 Singapore: Imagining the Next 50 Years

Semester taken: AY 2019/20 Semester 2

Lecturer: Various, including Dr Noorman Abdullah

Tutor: Mr Shaik Muhammad Nabil

Textbook: None

What it is about

This module is a ramped up version of Social Studies taken in secondary school. Instead of writing essays, it was more of classroom debates and readings to be done, in order to critically assess Singapore’s progress as a nation.

Assessment components

  • 20-minute group presentation and tutorial participation: 30%

  • Brief response paper to online interview (500 words): 20%

  • Short critical reflections on readings: 20%

  • Online open-book quiz (6 short questions): 30%


First of all, I had no idea how I managed to get this module. This is the only pass/fail module in the GES pillar and is notoriously oversubscribed. In fact on average, there are about 8 people fighting for a slot in this module, and it is because it is graded on a pass/fail basis and no essays need to be written.

If you are one of the lucky few that got this module, congratulations! You can focus on attention on other modules for this semester, as there is really nothing much for this module. The focus of this module is to bring together people of diverse backgrounds together so as to discuss issues on the 6 pillars identified:

  1. Singapore in the world

  2. Population

  3. Economy

  4. Security and threats

  5. Diversity, social integration and the urban environment

  6. Aspirations and identity

There are many lecture videos to be watched and readings to be done. However, the lecture videos are mainly to introduce you to the topics for the week, but if you have been paying attention to social studies lessons previously, this module would be a piece of cake. You will need to select one of the interviews conducted and provide your response as a brief essay.


Tutorials are 2 hours every 2 weeks, and it involves a group coming up to present about the week’s topics followed by an in-class discussion about the group’s presentation and the topic itself. There are no points for class participation, although it would be good to take part in the discussions and provide some of your inputs on the issues being discussed.

The group presentation will require you to research about the given topic and propose possible solutions for the issues identified. Usually, these issues can be found in the readings and it is up to your group to come up with a possible solution, even if it may not necessarily make sense.

Finally, each tutorial requires you to submit a brief reflection on the readings for that topic. This is to ensure that you can critically engage the readings assigned for the week.

Final test

The final test was originally supposed to be some MCQs, but COVID-19 resulted in it being changed to 6 short answer questions on the readings for each of the 6 pillars. Being an open book test, it was easy to search for the answers in the readings and then provide a brief response.

Other information

Assignment workload: One brief reflection every 2 weeks, followed by a longer response paper to one of the lecture videos of your choice.

Project workload: There is 1 group presentation to be done.

Readings: 1 or 2 every 2 weeks

Recommended if: Definitely the go-to module if you are looking for a chill module to fulfil your GES pillar, although the competition would be rather intense.

Rating: 4.5/5. Easiest module you can ever take, but at what cost?

Expected grade: CS

Actual grade: CS

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