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The Palaeolithic Period started 2.5 to 2 million years ago. This is the earliest period of man's history that is marked by the use of tools made of chipped stone. It ended about 10,000 years ago. Cave paintings from this period consistently show an absence of people attacking people. The hunter-gatherer were generally peace loving. When groups started to grow large enough to cause conflict, man's ancestor is supposed to have migrated out of Africa, 1.8 million years ago. Modern man appeared on the scene only about 200,000 years ago.

Man's progress to civilization continued in the Mesolithic period, Neolithic period, Bronze Age and Iron Age. Each period saw a steady increase in the sophistication of weapons and warfare. It would almost look as if fighting wars is an innate quality of the human being. Man's civilisation truly started when he started to look for peace and peaceful co-existence.

Today, the world has rapidly become much smaller. How is this possible? Just fifty years ago, it took much longer for news to reach the far corners of the world. Today, with the mobile phone and internet technology, it is not just news that reaches us in real time, as they occur, but we also get to see the events live.

The various avenues of social media give the world's citizen direct access to people all over the world. This is a new phenomenon that has gained ground over the last decade. This also means that people get to share their concerns, values and interests. The social media has had a direct impact on the values and beliefs of cultures around the world. Knowledge of conditions and values in each country are freely available to today's generations.

Compared to 5 decades ago, people are more pro-active about their basic rights. They also hold companies and governments accountable to transparency. For example, the days of secretly testing experimental drugs on the unsuspecting peoples of poorer countries is a thing of the past. In fact, today there are activists who demonstrate against the testing of experimental drugs even on lab animals. This is just one example of righteous demonstrations that occur all over the world. People have moved on from human rights to animal rights.

Demonstrations occur in places like the United States when the police force is perceived to use excessive force when apprehending suspects to a crime. Social responses and social unrest are not a matter of a few people shouting slogans. Whole communities, towns and cities can go into shut-down because of such social disturbances.

Disillusionment with the authorities today leads to demonstrations all over the developed world. It is only in the less developed countries, where there isn't as much freedom, that we do not see as many social uprisings. Demonstrations can easily get out of hand due to the instant information retrieval that comes from the use of social media.

When employees' unions announce strikes in the developed countries, their freedom to do so are guaranteed by their legal rights. The unions are not responsible for the losses incurred by the employer. In today's world, these losses can be massive because most successful companies are massive because of mergers and globalisation.

The above mentioned are just a small representation of the how there can be a lack of peace even in the absence of war. We in Malaysia are lucky that we do not have such problems. This is a result of the responsible governments that we have had over the years. The needs and rights of citizens and employees are guaranteed without the need of unions having to go on strike.

The non-confrontational approach that has proven so successful in our history is more valuable than we can imagine. The value of the peace that exists here can truly be appreciated when we imagine a situation where it has disappeared, and people are protesting and agitating all the time. This is true of many countries, where there are strikes and demonstrations nearly every day. The pasar malams and al fresco dining that is very common throughout Malaysia is a true example of how peaceful the country and its people are. Inter-racial and inter-religious tolerance and acceptance are typically Malaysian. This can surely be emulated elsewhere.

Gone are the days when governments went to war. Today, terrorist organisations wage insidious war without the limitations of national boundaries. It is up to each citizen to be alert to misguided individuals and to report them to the relevant authorities before our invaluable peace is destroyed.

   

Answer the following questions using complete sentences

 

1.

From paragraph 1, what reveals the fact that pre-historic man did not attack each other in the Paleolithic Period ?

 

2.

(a) From paragraph 2, what were the intervening periods in man's history between the Paleolithic period and today ?

(b) From paragraph 2, why do you think a period in man's history is called the Iron Age ?

 

3.

(a) From paragraph 3, how has access to news changed in the last fifty year ?

(b) From paragraph 4, give two examples of how today's generations benefit from the availability of social media.

 

4.

(a) From paragraph 5, do you think it is alright to test drugs on lab animals ? Give your opinion.

(b) It is up to each citizen to be alert to misguided individuals and to report them to the relevant authorities. What do you understand by this statement ?

 

5.

'This can surely be emulated elsewhere.'

What is the characteristic of Malaysia that is worthy of emulation elsewhere ?

Characteristic :

Reason:

 

6.

Based on the passage, write a summary of :

The benefits of peace in Malaysia

The curse of war

 

 

 

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Answers
 

1.

Cave paintings from that period consistently show an absence of scenes of man attacking man.
 

2.

(a) They were the Mesolithic period, Neolithic period, Bronze Age and Iron Age

(b) It was a time when man learned how to use iron to make weapons and utensils. ( Any suitable answer )

 

3.

(a) Fifty years ago, news was slow to reach people. Today, news is disseminated around the world as events unfold.

(b)

(i) Social media helps people share their concerns, values and interests.

(ii) With social media, the conditions and values in each country are freely available to today's generations.

 

4.

(a) It may be a necessary evil. It is imperative that drugs are tested on animals before humans are allowed to use them. It is the use of lab animals to test cosmetic products that is reprehensible. ( Any suitable answer )

(b) Terrorists organisations infiltrate societies all over the world and wreak havoc on nations. Hence, for the sake of peace and the country, it is important that we are alert to spot these misguided who do not worry about killing innocent citizens. ( Any suitable answer )

 

5.

Characteristic: The characteristic of Malaysia that is worth emulating is the inter-racial and inter-religious tolerance and acceptance.

Reason: Malaysian have worked together so well to make the country one of the most progressive and peaceful countries in the world. Malaysia has become a preferred destination for migrants from many Asian countries because of our peace and prosperity.

  6. Malaysia is a prime example of peaceful and harmonious co-existence. Different races live together in peace and harmony despite the differences of religion and culture. The nation's history since attaining independence 58 years ago shows tremendous improvement in all sectors. Since independence, there has been hardly any reason for the people to agitate and demonstrate the government. Peace and harmony consciously promoted by both the government and the people has meant that the country has become one of the most progressive of nations. The curse of war and civil strife in their home nations has meant that for many Asians, Malaysia is a preferred destination to find and peaceful, harmonious and profitable existence. During war millions risk their lives fleeing to look for other places to build a life.
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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