Inside Out: A Movie Worth Your Tears

Meet all your emotions come to life on the big screen.

(Disney X Pixar)
(Disney X Pixar)

The current motion picture industry is suffering from an unquestionable scarceness of originality. Sure, it may encompass a variety of genres, fulfill the spectator’s tastes, and guarantee an unwavering audience. Yet a movie that exhibited the director’s flair for creativity has not been presented for a long time; the lack of uniqueness is clearly present in the cinema as can be seen from the bland, repetitive plotlines and characters. Pixar has managed to overturn this bleak recurrence in the movie theatres with its latest production – Inside Out. Satisfying audiences ranging from young toddlers to adults, this innovative movie offers entertainment to children and conveys intense and touching emotions of childhood memories to adults.

The plot of the movie revolves around the life of a 12 year old girl named Riley, but mainly revolves around the five emotions that supervise Riley’s daily life — Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust. The emotions, along with the so-called memory balls that contain Riley’s memories and are stored at the brain’s headquarters, shape the thoughts, memories, and future actions of Riley. From preventing Riley from eating disgustingly green broccoli to bursting to tears after losing a hockey game, the emotions, as characters, have a say in Riley’s every move. Joy, however, predominantly leads the other emotions to make the best decisions for Riley.

The conflict begins when Joy’s leadership, which has previously been perfectly on point, begins to slip when Riley’s family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco. Riley’s utter confusion in a completely new environment overwhelms her, hence putting her emotions in chaos and keeping them alert on full time with the problematic assignment of keeping Riley the cheerful Riley she has always been. (In other words, Joy is occupied full time while Sadness is wallowing over the fact that she cannot do anything to help.)

(Disney X Pixar)
(Disney X Pixar)

On top of Joy’s overflowing list of things to do, Sadness accidentally tampers with one of Riley’s core memories — which refer to the memory balls that characterise Riley for who she is — and modifies her gleeful, carefree emotions contained in the memory ball, altering it to become a melancholy memory ball. This leads to a major quarrel between Joy and Sadness over the now seemingly permanently dispiriting memory.

When things seem like they can’t get any worse, Joy and Sadness are sucked into ‘long term memory’, a maze that stores millions of Riley’s memory balls. The headquarters falls into panic mode as Joy and Sadness are whisked away. The film further progresses as Joy and Sadness futilely attempt to find a way back to the brain’s headquarters and as the other emotions hopelessly strive to keep Riley content without Joy’s leadership.

The reckless journey they confront is filled to the brim with both childhood innocence and psychological and emotional complications. From the train of thought, presented in the movie as a literal train, to Riley’s childhood imaginary friend Bing Bong who fades away from Riley’s coming of age, metaphorical elements are used throughout the movie to attract the wide variety of spectators. Directors Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen finds the flawless balance between the elements of child psychology and the heart-wrenchingly beautiful story of Riley’s coming of age and swept away the movie industry with yet another blockbuster.

 

– Serim Jang (’16)

Murder Rates in U.S: The Soaring Notion

We don’t want explanations — we want actions.

We have been taught since we were young that murder is a wrong doing, for it ends another life. Even the Declaration of Independence states that all men are given unalienable rights to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness—which implies that killing another is eradicating their given rights. Then why is that there has been a sharp escalation in the murder rates in the United States? Is it a human tendency to kill one another? Or is it merely a passing phenomenon?

Although there has been a significant decline in the overall murder rates over the past several years, contemporary findings show that the recent murder rates in the United States have drastically increased. As depicted in the figure below, more than 30 cities have reported that there has been a shocking increase of murder rates since last year. In St. Louis, particularly, 136 people have had been killed this year—which is a 60 percent rise compared to the 85 murders they had last year.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/01/us/murder-rates-rising-sharply-in-many-us-cities.html?_r=0
(New York Times, via city police departments)

Tamiko Holmes, a mother of five children, has lost two of her children over the past eight months; her daughter was shot during a robbery while the second got shot in the head while driving. With devastation and fear rising inside of her, Tamiko attempted to move out from Milwaukee with her three remaining daughters. Yet, one of her daughters was injured—again–by an unexpected shooting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/01/us/murder-rates-rising-sharply-in-many-us-cities.html?_r=0
(New York Times)

“The violence was nothing like this before,” said Ms. Holmes, “What’s changed is the streets and the laws and the parents. It’s become a mess and a struggle.”

The rising concerns for the escalating murder rates have triggered the government officials to take action and resolve the cause for this escalating outrage. However, rather than proposing a single direct solution, we were given a plethora of explanations and theories to why this is happening.

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/11/post_538.html
(Masslive News)

One interesting interpretation by rank-and-file officers is the “Ferguson effect”—the idea that the less hostile policing have encouraged citizens to become criminals. To some extent, this notion may be true; without strict regulations, citizens can have the tendency and the freedom to carry out evil unconscious desires. However, Richard Rosenfield, a criminologist from University of Missouri, stated that homicides in St. Louis have already escalated since 2014—which was before the Ferguson incident, where a police officer killed an innocent teenager. This belied the”Ferguson Effect” and made officials further investigate the reason for rise in crime.

.
(News Media Corner)

Another prominent theory comes from the power of materialism. Today, our society mainly relies on one’s social rank and wealth. Adding on to that, the large social gap gives room for conflict and jealousy.

Despite the negative aspects of murdering, Amy and Beth Purdon—twin sisters who have recently moved to Korea International School from California, gives an interesting opinion. “ I don’t think murdering is justified;because, it hurts not only the victim but also their family. But it is alright if you do it to protect yourself from danger.” This suggests that in some cases, where one is in a desperate situation, murdering or use of violence may be justified for he or she is protecting oneself from eradicating their unalienable rights. On the other hand, Kelley Shim (’18), a freshmen student, suggested in an interview that “murdering is a sin, regardless of the situation, because you forcefully take another person’s life”. These two seemingly contradictory opinions allows us to ponder on what KIS’s teenagers think about an oppressing situation going on in U.S.

Although government officials have stated that they will hold a meeting regarding the soaring notion during late September, the actions to resolve this situation solely depends on the citizens themselves. Allowing this situation to go untouched will only lead to further conflicts and tension among the society. Bethann Maclin’s daughter, for example, stays inside most of the time, fearing the tangible violence that looms outside of her house. If these situations continue to grow, it is not difficult to imagine what the streets of America would look like in the near future.

A possible key to solving this ongoing problem is to elongate the method of teaching our young generations to be generous and to remind them that murdering—or any other violence—is a wrong behavior when performed for unjustifiable reasons. Recent research shows that most of us are not purposely doing wrong doings, but rather unconsciously doing it since we are not reminded. Perhaps with the right guidance and constant reminders of morality, the escalating rates will soon decline.

Even though the answer to whether murdering is justified is unanswered and a single cause is unknown, we should continue to teach our younger generation to respect others and their needs.

– Sarah Oh (‘19)

Featured Image: Chris Urso for The Tampa Tribune

Seeking for Righteousness: Through the Eyes of a Syrian Refugee

“I am a Syrian Refugee; and, I am not ashamed nor afraid of being one. “

My mother always told me that there is always good will in every human’s soul—no matter how sinful he or she is. And I,with such limited experience and knowledge on this complex world, believed so too. But as the countless days pass by, this notion gradually begins to evaporate from my mind—leaving the concept of egocentric and irrationality to augment my perspective. Was my reverent mother untruthful towards me? What has happened to the world of equality that our God has given us?

I am a Syrian Refugee; and, I am not ashamed nor afraid of being one. For I am like my family, my community, the world—and,of course, you. I am a human as well. I have all the components of a human: brain, body, expressions and blood. But there is one that the public assumes that I don’t have—a good soul.

All that our family is looking for is a place to call ‘home’;all I want is for my children to go outside without having the fear of getting caught by the enemies; I want them to have a life where they are free to express their ideas, values and thoughts; I want them to  have a better life— a life where they can breathe.

Perhaps, my mother and I were wrong. For now, I believe that we are neither the villains nor the problem; the government and the society of the countries have made us the victims—they are the ones who have no good will. For an elongated time, I have always thought that we were the problem;we always use violence towards a group. But now I realise that we are fighting to protect ourselves and that it is not us who don’t have good souls.

http://www.intifada-palestine.com/2015/01/their-unpardonable-crime-is-that-they-are-this-action-by-syria-may-well-assist-lebanese-officials-to-recall-the-treatment-the-people-of-syrian-granted-to-the-hundreds-of-thousands-of-lebanese-who-stor/
(Intifada Palestine)

Yet, our voices are sealed with the society’s assumption. They believe what they see; Syrians are a threat to the other countries. But how can the public assume that just by what they hear and see? Do they, and you, not see us?  What makes my family and I different from the rest of the world? Because we are Syrians? We bleed the same tears and cry the same way. I have four children and an amiable wife  just like the man who lives in America, Australia, Italy, France and China. Then how am I and my family a threat to your country? To some degree, I understand the view of others—we are Syrians and they believe that we are only a group of sinful, violent people who come to the new country to do wrong doings. But what the society needs to realise is that not all of us carry that notion of hatred and violence. There are people in this country, who only wishes a place for their children to live and not just exist. There are children crying in pain to get a proper education and a chance to walk around the streets with laughter and joy. There are grandmothers who only wish to have a chance to hold their granddaughter’s hand and walk her to a mall with a warm smile of satisfaction.There are teenage boys who want to have the opportunity to be successful doctors, soldiers, lawyers and judges. Do you not see these painful wails yearning for freedom and justice? Do you, still, not see the good will in the soul of our communities?

We are waiting for our registration for immigration to be accepted; however, my wife tells me that we are never going to pass nor gain justice for our children. Perhaps, I should not blame you nor the government of Australia, America, France, Italy and other countries. For if I blame them, I am becoming one of them—those who criticise others just because of one’s actions and behaviors. I will continue to wait as long as you and your government endures. For we are innocent Syrian refugees craving for justice, righteousness and a glimpse of hope.

 

— Sarah Oh (‘19)

Yay or Nay: The New Testing Schedule

What? Mondays are ALWAYS ABCD? You better believe it.

It’s no exaggeration when we say students of  Korea International School are extremely competitive in terms of academics, and it’s definitely not an exaggeration when we say major amounts of stress result from such phenomena. According to an academic stress study performed by New York University, “nearly half (49%) of all [high school] students reported feeling a great deal of stress on a daily basis” The majority of the sample students also “claimed “grades, homework, and preparing for college were the greatest source of stress” (nyu.edu). The positive correlation between following an academically rigorous curriculum and gaining large amounts of stress is evident, and the new testing schedule that’s replaced the so called “first and third block” rule is could be the leading cause of that stress gain.

The “eight block system” (as briefly covered by Blueprint here) was installed at Korea International School in the first place for the students to experience the benefits of having a free block, also known as the autonomous block. As Mr. Cathers, the Director of Korea International School states, “The high school is using the eighth block to make more independent learning time for students and time when teachers will be available to assist and tutor students.” He also adds on by mentioning that “…other top schools such as Singapore American, Shanghai American, and the American School in Japan” have also installed this system. Students are expected to work collaboratively as well as get help from classes they may be struggling in, or even just complete homework. As of now, mostly positive comments have been heard about this autonomous block. However, what those who don’t complain do not realize is that due to this new system, something that students and faculty members were always used to got messed up: the testing schedule.

KISians have always appreciated the “first and third block rule,” for not a single student had to endure the terror of having two (or more) summative assignments due back-to-back. The rule came into place around three years ago after various complaints from students who, without such boundaries, had to take and turn in multiple tests and projects each day. From then on, summative projects or tests have been required to be due on either a first or third blocks for the students’ sake of not drowning in piles and piles of summative assignments each day (which probably used to happen). As stated by the KIS handbook, “this structure is designed so that a student will never have more than two (2) assessments per day.” However, now that the rotating schedule of seven blocks has disappeared, teachers have had no choice but to abandon the rule. Instead, the faculty members came up with a new system, in which certain subject areas give out summative assignments on certain days. For example, the math department can only give out summatives on Mondays and Tuesdays, while the English department can do so only on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Help. (JohnDavid Choi, '18)
Help. (JohnDavid Choi, ’18)

How has this affected the KISian community? Some students appreciate the system. Lisa Han (‘17), a current junior, has her autonomous block during G block and her AP Psychology class during H block. She uses her time wisely then to do her psychology homework (endless, endless, amounts of reading).

“I just had a test today for AP Psych, and I studied during my entire free block. The schedule works out for me, and I felt confident when I took the test,”

she tells Blueprint. Indeed, some students’ schedules are nicely arranged, in that they have their autonomous block right before their most difficult class. This gives them more time to study, whenever they know an exam is to be given.

But when there are pros to a situation, we must always consider the cons. Other students, unfortunately, have suffered somewhat due to the demolishment of the first and third block rule. Amy Choi (’17), also a junior, had her Pre Calculus exam back to back with her APUSH exam (oh my) since both the Math department and Social Studies department give out their summatives on Mondays and Tuesdays. This means that she, not only had to drill two subjects (one of which was an AP course) into her brain during the weekends, but also cope with the stress and anxiety. Sure, to some, the eight block schedule may be lovely. However, when looking at the other side of the spectrum on whether students like the eight block schedule or not, there’s always a completely different story. After having her brain fried with functions and polynomials, Amy Choi had to run down from H5 to G6 and switch up her brain to the Christopher Columbus and the French and Indian War. What could be more stressful, annoying, and potentially harmful to grades than this back to back situation going on?

Also, consider this: Is psychology a science class or a social studies class? You don’t have a definite answer, and neither do teachers. It’s not just students suffering, teachers are having a difficult time because of the new testing schedule as well. The Social Studies department tests on Mondays and Tuesdays, while the Science department tests on Wednesdays and Thursdays. So which days are psychology exams supposed to be given? (debatable). Mr. Van Moppes, the AP English Language & Composition teacher, is also having a tough time with the testing schedule. He is notorious for his “surprise essays” and the essay bomb could have been thrown anyday as long as it was a first or third block. Not anymore. His B and C blocks are given the test on Wednesdays, and since the schedules never rotate, his F block has a whole day to prepare for the essay once they find out about it, until the date changes to a Thursday. Not so much a surprise anymore. The thrill, nervousness, and the fear of being dropped a surprise essay can no longer be felt by F block AP Lang’ers.

Of course, the new testing system is merely a test itself. Nothing is definite, and things are always prompt to change. If the schedule does not seem to work out, a change must be made. However, as of now, this is the best solution to the problem of no longer having a first and third block rule. Will the new testing schedule, in the long run, grow on the KISians? Or will it continue to benefit only a certain amount of students, while absolutely wrecking others? Blueprint will continue to examine this case.

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Featured Image: JohnDavid Choi (’18)

Donald Trump’s Candidacy

What will become of the billionaire’s simple-minded circus?

It’s more or less an accepted fact that the at-first laughing stock candidate, Donald Trump, may actually be a potential pathway for the Republican presidential nomination. So, here’s a quick crash course on Trump regarding his candidacy journey so far.

Firstly, hats off to Trump for exceeding the expectations of being just a media sham, and getting down to work straight away after announcing his candidacy in New York. Travelling to Iowa, New Hampshire, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Trump had a good kick start his campaign with rallies and speeches that has done a pretty decent job of swaying the people as proven by survey statistics.

However, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine for Trump- Trump has become fairly well known for his pretty potent criticism after declaring to run for presidency; he’s openly offended ‘the women’, ‘the Latinos’, Asians, immigrants, ‘the blacks’, Jews, Muslims, Mexicans, and the list goes on. And all of this surfaced during his first major debut as a Republican candidate on television on the August 6 Fox News Republican Debate. At the beginning of the debate, the candidates were asked if they would pledge not to run as an independent candidate in case they don’t win the Republican nomination, and Trump was the only candidate who refused to pledge. As one can see, Trump clearly has quite the assertiveness. Let’s not forget what Trump said about Fox News’ Megyn Kelly after the debate: as a “lightweight” with “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever”. Despite the efforts by both Fox News and other candidates to crush Trump during the debate, Trump retained the first place after the debate, with an NBC News poll showing him at 23% not long after its air.

Let’s look at some of his standpoints on some of the major issues that have come up so far:

  1. “ObamaCare is a catastrophe that must be repealed & replaced”
  2. “I am against gun control”
  3. “Mexico & Latin America send us drugs, crime, and rapists”
  4. “Build great wall on southern border; have Mexico pay for it”
  5. “One-time 14% tax on wealthy to pay down national debt”

Not to mention his renown public comments that made it to becoming GIFs:

huffingtonpost
(huffingtonpost)
huffintonpost
(huffingtonpost)
bdcwire
(bdcwire)

It’s a political milestone really for the US as the billionaire real estate media mogul has become the consistent frontrunner for the Republican nomination. The question is whether people would really vote for such a personality and extremist views when it comes down to the 2016 elections. It will definitely be interesting to keep an eye on how Trump’s campaign turns out throughout the next few months.

– Hyun Jung Choi (’16)