Category: Uncategorized

GCD: Community Engagement (Library Council)

In February, there was the library councils first meeting with other councils from other schools. We went to British School in Tokyo and shared what we do for the library and got to socialize with students from other schools. Library Council has been a very important club that I love and joined in tenth grade. The main goal of the Library Council is to promote reading within the community and to have the Libary be the core of the school. We think that reading is a very important thing to promote because it enhances learning and empathy which leads to more open minds and that is very important in being a good person in the future. Although it is a small scale promotion within the community I believe it to still be an important one since reading is very healthy within education. Since I have been a member of this club for some time I have seen that Library council has grown into a much larger group and has begun to push reading further. The first council meeting we held was evidence of that. At the meeting, we discussed further ways to promote reading within our schools and we came up with creative ways such as book battle events (as shown in the image). Every year our club creates posters and gives out bookmarks with book advertisements so that the students get motivated to read. Coupled with that we have events such as book battles where people get to participate in competitions and such with their knowledge of a book. This motivates students to read more which is good for the community.
Another thing that helps my YIS community is book shelving. In order for the library to be useful to students when studying books need to be in the correct places for students to find them. I think that this small act contributes greatly to the community. Shelving books is a pretty tedious activity but is very worth it since without shelving the books in the correct place it would be almost impossible to find the book you need. I think that it is valuable to have this responsibility since it helps me remember that small actions such as shelving books can contribute largely in a community and that no small act should go unnoticed. This has (as far as I know) positively affected the students within the community since students that I know rarely have problems finding books since they are in the correct place.

GCD: Inter-cultural Communication – Phuket

In the ninth grade, I went to Phuket for my expedition. The main goal for the trip was to interact with the Thai orphans and try to help their school and daily life a little bit better by donating clothing, toys, school supplies and also playing with them. It was a very interesting and new experience for me to go to another country and do service like this. At first, it was hard to communicate with the Thai orphans since they spoke no English and I did not speak Thai. In preparation for going to Phuket we learned a few phrases/greetings in Thai so that it would be easier to communicate with them but otherwise, most communication was through hand gesture. I learned through this trip that a common greeting – hello, good morning and such in Thai is “Sawasdee Ka ” for females. Sadly greetings did not help very much to communicate and so as I said hand gestures and using props helped the most. For example, when we played with the orphans in the gym to explain how to play the games we would have to point at the equipment and play out the actions so that they would understand.

Through this experience, I realized how much impact small hand gestures have on everyday conversation. When I don’t think about it I don’t even recognize that gestures help me understand what people are trying to communicate but through this experience where I had to communicate with only the small knowledge of Thai I had and my hand gestures really made me realize that. After experiencing this I think that in my daily life I have become more considerate of how I express myself while communicating with my friends and teacher etc.

Other than the gifts and games, I think that our visit was valuable to the orphans because their daily lives are usually in a routine with very slim chances of meeting and interacting with people from different cultures. I think that making sure they do not think of themselves badly and they know that they are valued by others outside of their circle is important to know also. To ensure that the children felt comfortable around me, I made sure to keep a kind face and be patient with them.

GCD: ARC- Global Understanding

I would say that I have always been passionate about abolishing animal cruelty and so finally joining Animal Reflief Club (ARC) was a good decision for myself. ARC reminds me about all of the horrible unethical practices that go into cosmetic industries and the food industry towards animals and so stops me from purchasing certain products occasionally. I was a vegetarian before joining the club but it has further motivated me to take action to help animals in need to my best ability. In ARC currently, we are trying to raise money for a Trap Neuter Release (TNR) program for the stray cats within our school area. This project made me realize that I had been very focused on trying to help animals such as cows and pigs since I had done wide research on the food industry, that I forgot about pet/domesticated animals. I think that since animals (excluding us) do not have the privilege of speaking up for themselves and so it is important to use the power that we have to prevent unethical practices from taking place and take care of animals. I learn a lot about the different economic value placed upon animals such as the Pangolin which are hunted down for medicinal purposes and the unneeded unethical testing on animals within cosmetic industries. I think that Humans have been killing animals and using our power irresponsibly to the extent that it is very unsustainable for the future.

ARC teaming up with the sustainability group to sell DIY cruelty-free lip scrubs to fund our TNR program.
Creating the DIY lip scrubs


Charlie Hebdo – Freedom of Expression

The debate of the definition of freedom of expression has been ongoing for some time now. This is probably because of how vague the restrictions are and because of how thin the line between hate speech and freedom of speech is. This leads to problems such as the Charlie Hebdo 2015 terror attack in France.

Charlie Hebdos comics have always been controversial and for a long time people defended it because of freedom of  speech but after the terrorist attack, people began to debate more wether the comics were hate speech or not. The pope, siding with religious groups, stated that there should be limitations to freedom of expression especially towards faith. “One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.” (Toynbee)

Although many groups are offended, since they are comics and cause no real harm in the laws eyes it should not be seen as hate speech – “… being offensive is not a criminal offense and just because someone… might find a cartoon to be in bad taste, that doesn’t mean the cartoonist should be imprisoned.”(Chapman) Charlie Hebdo has repeatedly been prosecuted by mostly religious groups and yet has never been imprisoned because of this opinion. If things such as comics with strong opinions were labelled as hate speech and got censored, the freedom of expression would become very limited.

Toynbee, Polly. “On Charlie Hebdo Pope Francis Is Using the Wife-beater’s Defence | Polly Toynbee.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 16 Jan. 2015. Web. 28 May 2017. (Toynbee)

Chapman, Zoë, Jay Shooster, Ryan Goodman and Alex Moorehead, Julian Sanchez, Eugene R. Fidell, Kate Brannen, Peter NoorlanderTuesday, September 22, 2015 at 1:55 PM, Just SecuritySaturday, May 27, 2017 at 9:00 AM, and Zoë ChapmanThursday, February 23, 2017 at 8:00 AM. “Charlie Hebdo and Hate Speech: Don’t Prosecute the Messenger.”Just Security. N.p., 22 Sept. 2015. Web. 28 May 2017. (Chapman)

Hiroshima Reflection

Question: How did my trip to Hiroshima change me?

Before the trip I did not think I would learn that much on my field studies because I thought I would just go and not take in the things that I learned in the museums but overall I learned a lot about the atomic bomb and how much suffering there was at the time. I thought before going there Hiroshima field studies would be really relaxed but with the hiking and learning about such an upsetting time I felt very restless and not at all relaxed.

In the future I hope that I want to learn and grow more curious of learning about history by myself and not just because it is a school trip.