World Autism Awareness Day: In a World of Their Own

World Autism Awareness Day is on April 2nd where people all over the world come together to spread awareness of autism.

April 2, the World Autism Awareness Day, is celebrated all over the world to raise awareness of the people with Autism Spectrum disorder throughout the world. This year, the theme is “Assistive Technology and Active Participation.”

This year’s theme keeps in mind the significant role that technology plays in the development of people of all different form of disability, including autism. Technology not only is important to the development of individuals, but it also ensures people with disabilities are guaranteed basic human rights such as the individuals’ freedom and help them participate as a full member of society. This theme acknowledges the fact that assistive technology is expensive and inaccessible to the large population with autism.

Although the term “autism” could be heard frequently, most people are not fully aware of what autism really is. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a disorder that affects how people express themselves, communicate with others, and understand the world around them. According to Autism Speaks, this spectrum disorder can vary in degrees and everyone is different.

Autism Awareness Day gives us a chance to have a better understanding of the world around us and our community. Given the fact that about one in fifty-nine children worldwide has autism, it is very likely that you will meet someone with this disorder. Instead of assuming and making stereotypes, we should make the effort to get to know more about them.

One of the clubs in KIS, Light It Up Blue, advocates this cause and seeks to find ways to spread awareness about autism both inside and outside of our school. In order to find more about what we could do to spread awareness and participate in the World Autism Awareness Day, we asked the club officer, Joshua Choi (12), some questions.

Q: Why should we care about autism?

A: We should care about autism because it is a much more common disorder than most people think it is. It is very likely that you will meet or work with someone with autism in the future.

Q: Are there some ways we could do to spread awareness inside our school?

A: Some ways we can spread awareness in our school are to hang posters around the school. However, we think that the best way would be to have a guest speaker come and speak about Autism, which would be more difficult to organize. We can also pass out small fact cards in the morning to frequently remind people about autism.

Q: How should we treat people with autism?

A: We shouldn’t bully people with autism. Since they can be more sensitive to loud noises or bright lights, we should try to view a situation from their perspective and be ready to support them if they do not feel comfortable.

Q: Is your club doing anything for the World Autism Awareness Day?
A: Our club made a post on the KIS 2018-2019 facebook group, promoting the website that we made. Be sure to check out the website!

Ignorance can lead to misunderstandings and in order to stop those from happening, it is important for us to care and treat them with equal respect. The first step is to take part in this day and look at the community around you!

– Jenna Jang (‘22)



KIS Poverty Simulation

A poverty simulation by the Global Issues Network club stressed the importance of KIS students venturing beyond the luxuries we take for granted in our daily lives and develop a better understanding of our society.

Globally, around 600 million children live in extreme poverty and are put under harsh conditions. Families don’t have enough money for basic necessities—food, clothes, shelter, and education. This also means that people are forced to live in an unimaginable low poverty line, which is 11,667 KRW for Korea and about $2 globally.

For us, it is difficult to imagine living under the poverty line.  Lunches from our school cafeteria cost 5,000 won, and that doesn’t even include the other food most of us get from the deli or the convenient store. Spending 5,000 won on lunch is already two times past the poverty line budget. Most of the students from our school are used to having no trouble spending a large amount of money, which raised the question—would KIS students be able to survive under the international poverty line?

In order to further investigate in this, Global Issues Network decided to try a poverty simulation which lasts for one day in order to fully understand what being in poverty actually meant. On February 25, volunteers from the club went through the day with no more than 2,200 won, which is about $2. The volunteers were not allowed to eat any food from their house or get any additional parental assistance. To document their day and record the simulation, members recorded themselves in different parts of their day talking about how they were feeling and how they were going to use the 2,200 won that they had. Through this simulation, students were able to physically understand and learn first-hand the struggles that people in poverty had to face.

In order to have a better insight into this simulation, I met up with Hannah Kim (Grade 9), a member of Global Issues Network who participated in the poverty simulation.

How was your day like during the simulation?
I feel like it was a new opportunity for me because normally I spend more than 22000 won per day. Ramen was the only food that I was able to afford and when I thought about how people were forced to eat it every day, I was able to connect with their hardships.

What were some hardships you faced?
The change of food was my biggest hardship since I was used to eating cafeteria food that costs around 5,000 won. Especially because Thursday was a special menu day, and it was hard for me to endure myself from eating the food.

What did you learn from this experience?
I learned to appreciate what I already have and be grateful for my parents who provides me enough food and resources.

Are there any ways you can apply what you learned into our daily lives?
In order to not forget the lesson, we can try to use as little as possible. For example, when we go to the market, we can reduce to the absolute necessities.

All of the members said that this was an eye-opening experience for not only understanding poverty but our world. The Global Issues Network Club stressed the importance of KIS students venturing beyond the luxuries we take for granted in our daily lives and develop a better understanding of our society.

– Jenna Jang ‘22

Featured Image: Global Issues Network Club

Making the Most out of your Lunar Break

Lunar New Year is one of the biggest celebrations in countries like Korea. Families meet up and share a meal while catching up with each other. The four day Lunar New Year holiday is just around the corner starting from fourth of February until the eighth. While some of us will be traveling to the shi-gol to visit relatives, many will be staying in Seoul. As for those traveling, there will still be a couple of days before departing. This year, whether you are here in Korea for traveling or have time left after visiting relatives, instead of spending the majority of your break lying around the couch all day, why don’t you make the most out of this year’s Lunar New Year break by trying new things?

During the Lunar New Year, there are several exclusive festivals and events around Seoul that is an opportunity to learn more about the Korean culture.

Gyeongbokgung Palace (경복궁)

The Gyeongbokgung Palace is the largest of all the five palaces and was the main royal palace in the Joseon dynasty during 1395. The palace was destroyed during the Imjin War but was later restored. With lots of historical and cultural elements, Gyeongbokgung palace currently attracts many tourists. During the Lunar New Year, the admission fee is free to everyone and many people choose to wear hanboks (Korean traditional dress) while walking around inside the palace. For those who don’t own hanboks, there are hanbok rental shops inside so everyone could experience it. Also, if you want to fully experience the Korean culture, there are Korean traditional guest houses inside the palace that you could make reservations for.


Korean Folk Village (민속촌)

The “Fortune Party Celebrating Seoul” will be held in the Korean Folk Village from February 11 to 12 and from 15 to 16. This festival only happens during the New Year and there are multiple attractions such as face painting, horse riding, kite flying, rice cake pounding, and many more. In addition to that, there would also be Korean traditional performances including dancing, acrobats on tightropes, and horse shows throughout the day. The Korea Folk Village is open from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM and the fee for all of the attractions only costs W18,000.


Pyeongyang-myseonok (평양면옥)   

While many of the restaurants would close during the holiday, Pyeongyang-myeonsok would still be open. Located in the district of Jung-gu, Seoul, Pyeongyang-myseonok is one of the oldest and best naengmyeon (traditional Korean noodle) restaurants in Seoul. It is known that after the Korean War, many of those who fled from the north settled near the Dongdaemun station and opened naengmyeon restaurants. Pyeongyang-myseonok is one of the restaurants opened during this time and it is still loved from all mix of people from working men to naengmyeon lovers to tourists. Since this restaurant is always overflowing during lunchtime, it is recommended to avoid peak hours.

Han River Ferry Cruise (한강유람선)  

By riding the Han River (Hangang River) Ferry Cruise, you can easily see all the famous landmarks of Seoul such as the Seoul Tower, the 63 Building, and the Sports Complex. Going on this cruise during the Korean Lunar New Year would allow you to enjoy live music performances and fireworks. This cruise attracts both travelers and Seoul residents as it provides a luxurious buffet and time to spend time on the cruise. There are currently two terminals and seven docks available for the cruise, which is Yeouido, Jamsil, Ttukseom, Jamdubong, Seonyudo, Seoul Forest, Gimpo, and Incheon.   

Each of these places shows a different aspect of Korean culture and it would help to make memorable experiences during your four-day break! For this Lunar New Year, we recommend visiting at least one of these places to make your holiday special.

– Jenna Jang (‘22)

Featured image:

Marketers’ Manipulation of Customers

Seollal, or Lunar New Year, is soon approaching. Surely, this holiday is meant for distant families to finally meet and catch up while all huddled together around good food. However, this is also a holiday where the department store sales skyrocket with soaring sales of extravagant gift baskets. In weeks leading up to the holiday, marketers are making use of various effective tactics to deceive customers into purchasing their product.

When technology was not as accessible as it is now, marketing was done personally by gradually building relationships with them. The owner of a supermarket would have daily conversations with customers living across the street and have workaday conversations whenever they stopped by. However, in half a century, this all changed with the rise of technology. Now, marketing lost its once warm and friendly human touch. Instead, marketers are busy crunching numbers to find the best way to cleverly deceive their customers so that even the customers wouldn’t notice.

Here’s one. Human nature makes us to be more attached to products with emotional relevance. Marketers use this to increase their sales by artificially engineering personal connections with the customers. Sam Biddle, a writer for Gizmodo, summarizes this process in a five-part plan: approach, probe, present, listen, and end. Through this five-step process, marketers aim to make the customers think that their needs are being understood and empowered. As Biddle puts it, the key to mastering the process is to “[becoming] strong while appearing compassionate; persuade while seeming passive, and empathize your way to sale.”

Any marketing employees are expected masterfully execute this process, and the five-part plan’s touch is commonplace is any stores we walk in. Employees often approach the customers with a friendly smile, and product descriptions frequently use words such as “feel,” “felt,” or “found.” This is no coincidence. These words create a caring and compassionate image for the company as part of a company’s emotional engineering scheme. Ultimately, this image can help customers become more attached to the brand or product and ultimately increase marketing sales.

But, in the end, a marketers’ primary purpose is not to have empathy or establish real relationships; it is simply to find the most effective way to maximize their sales. These relationships would only be existent when it is beneficial for the marketers and fade as soon as the customer is not seen as valuable. Feigning false intimacy to the clients is just one way of establishing their goal.

Another tactic marketers use is blurring out customers’ ability to distinguish between their wants and their needs. Dr. David Lewis, the author of Secrets of Inspirational Selling explains that marketers “generate an emotional desire so powerful that… it has to be satisfied, no matter what the cost.”

One efficient way to turn a want into a need is through imposing scarcity. Off-White converse, which was sold for 45,000 dollars during Christmas last year, was a limited edition shoe that grabbed international attention. With only a thousand of them available in Korea, it immediately triggers the thought “I need that!” Because of this, this shoe was sold out. Such marketing tactics also cause an impulsive reaction that makes a customer to buy large amounts of the product. Marketers call this smart advertising. We call it manipulation.

There is no way to completely rid marketing from our modern society. It is an inevitable part of our economy and lifestyle. However, being aware of the methods marketers use to manipulate customers can prevent ourselves to get overwhelmed and make impulsive decisions. So next time when facing situations where you are putting everything you see in the shopping cart, stop and think once again. You might be caught in one of the marketers’ deception.

– Jenna Jang (22)

Featured Image: