Would it matter if all the performing venues in your society, such as concert halls and theatres, were closed down?

YES: Performing venues in Singapore fulfill many important societal roles and their closure would result in significant gaps and losses to society.

  1. Performing venues provide employment to a fair number of Singaporeans and closing them down will cause undue economic hardship and job losses for these citizens.

  2. Many performing venues are either unique historical and heritage structures by themselves or located on sites with such value, making their closure an irrevocable loss to Singaporean identity and culture. 

  3. Many performing venues are the workplaces of local artists as well as educational spaces for training youths interested in the arts, and their closure would significantly set back Singapore’s attempts to develop a thriving local arts scene and community of dedicated professionals.

  4. Many performing venues, such as open stages in well-known pubs, are concurrently profitable commercial sites which attract patrons and consumers, and closing them would deprive many Singaporeans and visitors of numerous leisure options.

  5. Some performing venues, such as the annual getai performances on make-shift stages or theatre spaces in community clubs, serve important cultural or religious functions, and banning or closing them completely would deprive Singaporeans from exercising our right to practice our cultures or religions.

NO: The closure of performing venues in Singapore would not result in significant societal gaps or losses as they are largely peripheral to our well-being.

  1. Seen from a ruthlessly pragmatic view, the numbers of Singaporeans employed by performance venues are relatively lower than in other sectors or industries, and negligible compared to the cost of running these venues, especially if they were unprofitable to begin with.

  2. Given the imperative to move forward economically and develop Singapore’s scarce land resources, it is a regrettable but inevitable fact that some performing venues will have to be closed down if the land they are sited on can be used more effectively for other residential, commercial or industrial purposes.

  3. The loss of practice and teaching spaces resulting from the closure of performing venues can be alleviated by the major educational institutions and schools which continue to host training programs and artists on their premises, making these closures less disruptive to the local arts scene.

Author’s Note

 Questions like these often present either an inherently impractical or immoral position. In such cases, your best strategy is to take the moral or pragmatic ground and argue against the statement.

You do need to balance your view somewhat and defend the statement to a slight degree.

This is best achieved when you use the ‘exception to the norm’ principle: put in specific conditions under which the statement can be defended under very limited circumstances.

In this sample, you may notice how using phrases like ‘ruthlessly pragmatic’ and ‘especially if they were unprofitable to begin with’ and ‘it is a regrettable but inevitable fact’ makes it clear to your examiners that you do not agree with the statement but can see why the situation may be true in some cases.

 By using the ‘exception to the norm’ principle, you demonstrate your ability to think critically about the issue while maintaining a firmly pragmatic and moral worldview.