Borneo’s Moment of Truth

I have given you an article to read over the one-week break that I took from National Geographic’s November 2008 issue. The theme is of course environmental, so there will be some content input there for you, but I would like to draw your attention to the text types in the article. Here are the things you need to do as you read the article:


  1. Mark out any words or phrases that look interesting to you, and that you think you might want to use in your own writing.
  2. Draw brackets around stretches of text that seem to be of particular text types. You will notice that there is a mix of text types.
  3. You might also notice that there is one primary text type, and that the others are included (or embedded) to support that primary text type. What is the primary text type? What are the secondary text types?
  4. Who do you think the article is written for? Consider the average readership of the magazine.
  5. Write down your answers to these questions on the front page of the article, or anywhere in the margins as the thoughts occur to you.

This sort of activity is not only useful for raising your awareness of and sensitivity to writing styles targeted at particular audiences (something that can come in very handy when you do situational writing in school, and REAL writing when you leave school), it also exposes you to the type of text that examiners love to choose for comprehension passages.

(The photograph of the orangutan appears in the article. I think there is something to sweetly vulnerable and trusting in the way this young one is exploring its surroundings while holding tightly to the man’s hand. Check out this poem I wrote when Ah Meng- whom I always considered Singapore’s own orangutan- passed away:

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