Global Understanding

On March 10th 2019, I went on a 6 day trip to the Philippines for a diving and service experience in Anilao, Batangas. Throughout the trip and the journey leading up to the trip, I was able to learn a lot about the life underwater in the country. Some of the major takeaways for me during this trip was seeing the pollution by the shore, in the ocean itself, amongst many other harmful effects done to the life underwater due to human activities. While I was diving, seeing the impact human activities has on the environment underwater has definitely changed my perspectives in some of the things I do in my day to day life. For instance, during the dive, I saw a lot of plastics laying and floating around. Knowing how harmful this can be to the life underwater, I collected some of them, to ensure that they will be disposed ethically.
Moreover, going there with an intention to take part in the coral propagation service experience, I was taught about some of the things that I can do to help preserve the corals and of course learning about coral propagation itself. I learned that corals take hundreds and hundreds of years to grow, but due to its fragility, it can be damaged in just a matter of seconds. Therefore, in order to prevent any damage done to the corals during my dive, I was taught on ways to correct my trim. I was also told to not wear the normal sunscreen as some of the ingredients in them can be harmful to the corals thus would defeat the purpose of us going there and trying to preserve them. Therefore, we were provided with some sunscreen that is safe for the corals.
I’ve learned a lot from this trip and it has definitely helped me to become more aware of my actions on land because after seeing the impact it has, I wanted to at least do my part in conserving the environment. However, I know that issues like plastic pollution is not easy to overcome because many countries depend heavily on the power and privilege they have over their access to resources like plastic. But often the way people dispose them is unethical and is overlooked which explains the amount of pollution I saw near the shore and in the ocean. But realizing that some people are making an effort in helping making the environment better shows me that I should do the same.

Community Engagement

Being a part of the YIS HS CHIKU service group has taught me a lot in terms of the impact one can have on a community. From joining the group, I first learned that the aim of the group is to help serve the homeless around Kotobuki-cho, a nearby area in Yokohama. I was interested in helping because, from previous knowledge, I know that many homeless people all around the world struggle to get out of the cycle of poverty due to many reasons like income and lack of good health care. Therefore, I hope that by taking part in joining this group, the impact I can have on the community is beneficial. To do so, I strive to contribute as much as possible to give some to those in need at the Chiku center.
One of the many ways this service group has taught me the value I have in taking responsibilities is through the monthly visits our group has, which is going to the Chiku center. There, we aim to help the Chiku center serve those in need by preparing food early in the morning as well as help serve the prepared food during their lunchtime. Throughout my time joining this service group, I’ve been to 6 visits in total and was able to serve this community through the contribution I’ve made during both the morning and evening visits. During the morning visit, I would usually help them cut vegetables whilst during the evening visits I would help serve food to the people there and wash dishes. During my time there, I was able to witness the number of people who go there and usually the queue would be really long. I also get the chance to directly interact with some of the people there, listen to their stories and learn a bit more about what goes on in their lives. Listening to their stories and struggles truly opened my eyes. It helped motivate me always to do my best to help them.
Therefore, to provide some additional help on top of the monthly visits we have, I also am a part of a food drive project for the Chiku center. The project aims to help the Chiku center by collecting food donated by students. This year, my group have had at least 5 rounds of food collection and all the food collected comes from the donation of students in high school. The food collected is then delivered to the Chiku center on Wednesday evenings. Doing this helps the people at the Chiku center to have more food source and thus be able to serve more food to the people at the center. Some of the food collected are vegetables, fruits, soy sauce, rice, curry roux, etc. Some of the food like soy sauce and curry roux last longer and from this contribution, we hope that it would suffice until the next food drive.

Being a part of the food drive group, I helped created a pamphlet to help raise awareness and spread the message about the food drive we’re having to the people around the school:

Evidence of some food we collected from 1 collection:

Intercultural Communication

Every day, people all around the world use language, often their mother tongue, to help them communicate and socialize with others. Being able to do so helps us get through our day to day life. With there being roughly around 6,500 languages spoken in our world today, the possibility of learning new languages is wide.
Before I moved to Japan, I really didn’t get much chance to interact with people from the other parts of the world. Mainly because where I come from, everyone I knew came from the same place, share the same culture, and all spoke in our mother tongue, Malay.
However, in school, it was mandatory for everyone to take both Malay and English as a subject in school. Therefore growing up, I was able to learn both languages and speak both languages fluently. But again, because everyone around me came from the same place, and we all spoke better in our mother tongue, I didn’t see the importance of speaking in English outside of English class. Not until I moved to Japan and came to an international school where I was suddenly surrounded by people from all over the world who speak different languages but can all bond together through one language, which is English. I soon realized the importance of being bilingual. But because I rarely converse in English, I realized how rusty my English social skills were. Therefore, for the first few months, I struggled to keep up. But over time, through my studies and the time I spent with people around the school, I was able to improve my English and communicate with others in English effectively. Up until today, this is still something I strive to improve on so that I can become more confident at speaking with others in English.
This was not the only intercultural communication experience I’ve had. Another experience I have is also the experience I gained during my time living here in Japan. I learned that Japanese people are very proud of their language and culture. Moreover, many locals don’t speak English. Therefore, whenever I step outside of my school compound or my house, I realized that conversing with the locals in languages I’m fluent in and gestures are not enough at times won’t help me at all. This led me to step out of my comfort zone and take risks by applying the skills I learned in my Japanese class. I push myself to always speak in Japanese to the locals whenever I get the opportunity to do so. Some examples of when I do this is: asking for directions, ordering food, helping my family members with something they need translation with and even helping some locals I met. Realizing the need of me to speak in a language I am not fluent at motivates me to focus in class and pay special attention to any phrases that would help me when traveling around Japan. Doing this shows me how important learning and communicating in different languages are and how with just a few simple phrases, it can help me tremendously with what I am doing. On top of the different phrases I learned, I also learned about the different gestures like bowing to show respect to one another. From all these experiences and opportunities I’ve had, I will look back at these moments and use it as one of my motivations to keep learning new languages.

Grade 9 expedition – Wilderness Engagement


On October 16th I went for a 3-day hiking trip in Niigata as a school expedition trip. Over there, I’ve developed many new skills that helped me understand what is required in order to be in the wilderness. Also, I’ve learned many new things about myself and what I can do to overcome the challenges while being in the wilderness.

1. What did I learn about myself?
Throughout the hiking trip, I’ve learned that I could really push myself to do things that I didn’t see myself doing. For example, while hiking, there were some quite challenging trails that I have to go through, but overtime, I realized that it was okay to fall and that the challenging trails make me feel more accomplished.This makes me think that I can now always challenge myself and should always try to challenge myself to be a risk taker.

2. Describe the challenges you faced and the ways you challenged yourself.
Like mentioned earlier, one of the challenges I face was some of the challenging trails while hiking. Before starting the hike I didn’t feel very confident to hike due to the steepness of the mountain and I was scared that I would fall when stepping on the big branches laying on the ground. However, I challenged myself to still try to pass through the trail and it all end being a really fun experience since this was something I have never done before. Also with some support from my friends, while hiking, it makes the challenges I faced more fun to go through. Another challenge I faced was using the rope to hold onto when hiking. Initially, I was scared of the idea of using the rope because I thought that it would be hard to adapt to the use of the rope. However when seeing other people did it I realized that I should also be able to do it and face the challenge of using the rope. So once I did it, I realized that the rope was there to help me more than to make it hard for me.

3. How did you develop self-reliance?
I developed self-reliance by not relying on other people to build the tents for me during camp but instead, I worked together with the people in my tent to build it. From that, I’ve just gained a new skill and learned that building a tent is actually an essential skill to have when being in the wilderness. Also, I’ve developed self-reliance by organizing myself on what items I should bring together with me during the 3-day hike. This was very important because I have to pack enough clothes in order to keep myself warm throughout the camp and hike since the weather during the time I was camping and hiking was really cold. Also while hiking I would carry my own hiking backpack which is filled with a lot of the essential items that is required during the hike and camp. For instance some of the items I carried in my hiking backpack were tents for the people in my group and carrying food. So by taking the responsibility of carrying some parts of the tent and my own food, I did not have to rely on other people to do everything for me and make it a burden for them.

4. What would you do differently next time?
Something that I would do differently next time would probably be to be a better risk taker because although I’ve learned that I could push myself to a certain limit when hiking, I am not always the best risk taker since I don’t always start off the trails with a lot of confidence. However, I feel like if I could’ve been a better risk taker, I think that I could’ve enjoyed a lot more of the things I did while I was on the trip and not have to worry about how I am not confident to do that certain challenge.

5. Describe your role in the community of the expedition and your connection with the YIS community.
I think that during the expedition my role was to be a good supporter because I noticed that during times when there were people struggling, I would support them by cheering them up or hike together with them. I thought that this was a very important role to have because I know that there are a lot of people who feel like me; not confident to start off the hike. And by having this role, I believe that we could support each other and made the trip a very memorable one. This has a connection with the YIS community because when in YIS, everyone believes in being helpful and supportive of each other which helps create a fun community.

Reflection video:

Nature vs. Nurture

In class, we’ve been studying the topic of nature vs. nurture. I now know and understand that nature means it is something that is in your genes and nurture is something that you are taught. For example people’s hair type is the way that it is because they mostly likely have it in their genes and that means it is nature. An example of nurture could be that someone is really good at sports because they have been trained really well and have adapted into their routine.

However, this is not always the case. Some people might have been really good at sports because they just have a really good genes that gives them the ability to do and perform well in sport. On top of that they could also be trained well by their coaches, making them perform even better in sports. So overall in this situation it could be a combination of both nature and nurture.

People have been debating about nature vs. nurture and have been studying on why people behave the way they do. For instance, Cambridge study has shown that people tend to give kids toys based of off their gender. They’ve conducted an experiment by dressing kids using clothes that is meant for the opposite gender. Then, they decided to hand in the kids to a stranger and told them that they want to see how the kids behave around strangers. What the strangers don’t know is that people are looking at what kind of toys will they give to the kids. Will it be toys based of the gender they think the kids are or will they just entertain the kids with any kind of toys and not follow the gender stereotype? The answer to that is, people give the kids toys based of off their gender. My opinion on this is that society have been fixed with the mindset that girls should be given toys that is soft, cuddly and cute where as for boys, they are given toys like cars and trucks. I feel like most people nowadays are raised in the environment where girls should stick to girly things and boys should stick to things that are meant for boys. However this doesn’t happen in all scenarios. We could now see that people is starting to break the gender stereotype. Most girls no longer stay at home all the time and most boys no longer go out and hunt. They’ve been nurtured to explore more things and not just stick to the stereotype.

Overall, I feel like we are in the period where people’s behavior is dictated by both genes and environment because we can now see that some people have the certain ability to do something because of their genes but is also supported with the environment they are in. People also like and dislike things because it is their nature but now that they are out a lot more and have the courage to explore new things, their likes and dislikes could also be influenced by the environment that they are in.

ATL video – Organization skills

On the first day of school, we were asked to make a video informing the 6 grade students about the ATL skills. We decided to make a video on the Organization skills. While doing the video, as group we all used a lot of communication and collaboration skills. By using those skills, we are able to create this video and get it done in time.

Here is the video that we’ve created :

Poisons on Mars

One of the issue of living on Mars is there are poisons all around Mars. One type of poisons in Mars is the poison from the dust of the Mars surface. The dust are not suitable for humans and it is called the dry iron oxide dust. This type of dust can be found on the rust of an old car. If humans breath in the dust, it may cause suffocation. The other type of poison on Mars is the carbon dioxide. In Mars, they don’t have oxygen like how we have it here on Earth. Humans can’t survive on Mars because of the carbon dioxide produced. The air here on Earth is oxygen which is the one us humans breath in.

One way for a human to live on Mars is to wear space suit. The space suit may produce some oxygen for humans and that can keep them stay alive. Space suit may be a good option for humans if they want to live on Mars. Another solution for humans to live on Mars is to maybe have a lot of plants planted on Mars. Since the air on Mars is carbon dioxide, plants could survive up there. Plants needs carbon dioxide to stay alive and by using carbon dioxide plants can go through the process of photosynthesize. Photosynthesize is the process where plants make their own food. It is when plants uses solar to make glucose. It is also when plants uses carbon dioxide and water to make oxygen for us human to breath. On Earth, plants receive carbon dioxide from the air that humans breath out. That way we can live on Mars and maybe have a second possible place for human to live in.

Between those two solution, I think the one that could be the best for us is to plant a lot of plants that could maybe survive the extreme Mars weather or maybe plants that could survive any of the Mars situations. The reason why I think that this is the best solution is because I think this way, we could make Mars more like earth with more plants. I think that this could help with the environmental issue because now on earth, there are problems where people are cutting down too much trees to make new and improved architecture. Maybe if we plant more plants on Mars people would think twice that we need to take care of the lovely Earth nature. That way humans will stop cutting down trees and save our lovely Earth ecosystem.

In conclusion, I think that in order for us human to live up on Mars is to plant a lot of plants that could survive the extreme Mars weather.

Kids Astronomy.com. “ASTRONOMY FOR KIDS.” Astronomy For Kids. Kidsastronomy.com, 1998-2016. Web. 14 June 2016. <http://www.kidsastronomy.com/Men-on-Mars-article.php>.

I & S debate trial

In I&S I learned and researched about the child labor in The UK. The task for this unit was to debate about should we support/not support child labor. I was in the support group and I did the finishing argument of my group’s debate.

Video :

Our group all dressed up nicely in suits and tie :
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Brain frame of the now and then child labor :

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What do you want people to know about child labor ?

Child Labor happened back in the late 1700’s and at that time children at the age of 7+ starts working. They worked in a lot of places such as textile factories, farms and a lot more places. All this work was dangerous for them because some children need to carry heavy objects. Some children needs to crawl under working machines. All this work is very dangerous for them. They need to work for a really long time. It could start from 5am and could last until 12pm. From all the hard work they did, they weren’t paid as much as they should have received. Sometimes, they didn’t even get paid which is very sad for them because they work really hard. This is also a very risky job of them and some children were crashed till death caused by the machines. That was in Britain but nowadays child labor is still continuing in a lot of developing countries and this is very dangerous and caused a lot of health disease.

Playing The Blues – Music

In music I learned about the blues. For this unit, one of the task was to play the Bass Line Challenge

Simple :

Medium :

Higher :

The notes that I first started on my left hand was C, then F and continue with G. On the right hand, I played the triads which is CEG, CFA and lastly DGB. For all chords the hard part was transitions. It was a little bit hard to change my right hand at the right time but with some practice I managed to play this chord. To improve the way of me playing this chord, I think I need a little bit more practice so that I can play this chord smoothly without stopping.