Creative Japanese Health Products You Must Buy

By now, it is almost an established fact that Japan, our neighbor, produces some of the world’s best candies and jellies. Starting with the famous fruit konyak jellies, I’ve encountered blueberry and sweet potato pockies, green-tea powdered chocolate kit-kats, strawberry sodas, puffy melon breads, ice-cream mochi (rice-cakes), and this list of creative treats will go on forever. And often times, it is quite common to notice KIS teachers and students travel to Japan during their break or AISA sports seasons and return with humongous suitcases loaded with sweets.

But recently, I’ve found another reason to go shopping in Japan— not just for the delicacies, but for the convenient “over-the-counter” health tonics. These aren’t just any simple medications or prescription drugs you get from your doctors when you’re sick; these are useful, safe, and cheap daily life necessities that will assist you anytime and anywhere. Especially for the AP saturated high school juniors to worn out athletes, these five must-buys, highly accessible Japanese health products may one day come to your aid.

1) Eye drops for Computer strain and Contact lenses: Santen, Smile and Rohto

ROHTO-V-Rohto-Premiu
PC: Takasaki

 

These eye drops will certainly benefit many of our KIS students who spend day and night staring at their MacBook screens and smartphones or even those with dry eyes from wearing contact lenses. Also commonly known as eye refreshers, these eye drops contain  Vitamins A, E, B6, neostigmine methylsulfate, Allantoin and taurin that will relieve eye fatigue, a major cause of vision deterioration. Moreover, they will clear eye inflammation and provide extra protection from ultraviolet rays.

2) Cabajin Kowa alpha

cabagin_kowa_b
PC: eBay

Cabajin is not just any temporary digestive pill. With its nickname “national gastritis pill,” Cabajin allows for a long term use in maintaining healthy gastric function. Its primary ingredient is the MMSC (Methylmethionine Sulfonium Chloride) found in cabbage juice that improves gastric movement; a total of 150 mg of MMSC contained in five whole cabbages are contained in six small pills, which is the recommended amount to consume each day. It is also worth noting that this particular medication is also widely available for purchase here in Korea as well, so perhaps you might want to try it out!

3) Loxonins

Loxonin-500x500.jpg
PC: Japan Health

Especially popular for its quickness and efficacy, this headache medicine is made out of ingredients that do not harm the gastrointestinal tract. It is non-steroidal painkiller that is lower in toxicity compared to other headache pills, thus creating less irritation to your stomach.

4) Kobayashi Medi-Shield

 

$_58
PC: Sendaikobayashi

These are waterproof “liquid” bandages, which means all you have to do is apply this thin, clear, odorless coat of this Medi Shield over your wound. Not only will it provide instant waterproof for any cuts, abrasions, scratches, or even burns, this will also clean and disinfect the wound by natural healing by preventing bacteria from entering.

5) Lion Cooling Sheets

$_1
PC: eBay

This is for anyone who is suffering from various muscle cramps after standing for long hours with high heels to playing sports. Japanese cooling sheets can also be a beauty product, almost like basic leg masks, providing instant soothing and moisturizing through vaporization of water. Moreover, they come with five aromatic fragrances—lavender, common sage, rosmarinus, lemon, and orange— that you can choose from.

– Sammie Kim 18′

Featured Image: Crescentia Jung (’19)

The Silent Voice of Nature

What the new EPA head Scott Pruitt has in mind for our nature

Ever since Rachel Carson’s SIlent Spring revealed the unexpected hazards of agricultural chemical pesticides, humanity’s perception of the environment has altered. Americans, for the first time, realized how their technological progress has come at the expense of our Earth. “In nature nothing exists alone,” Carson has stated, and indeed human lives are inevitably intertwined with the breath of our very home.

-gvVhzPn_400x400.png
E.P.A logo

 

In effect, the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A) was founded in 1970, with hopes to protect human health and the environment through legislative means. For years, the E.P.A has endured as the main U.S agency in tackling pollution, instigating series of reforms such as the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Air Act, while attempting to curtail and regulate carbon dioxide emissions through its international programs.

 

 

But under the Trump administration, the E.P.A will head towards a new, unforeseen direction. For one, E.P.A will be experiencing the largest budget cuts by 31 percent along with health services, housing, diplomacy, and the arts in efforts to increase military spending by billions of dollars. Not only this, the Senate has ultimately given its final confirmation to the new head of the E.P.A, namely the Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt “who has built a career out of suing to block the E.P.A.’s major environmental rules” (N.Y Times).  As a climate change skeptic and a renowned opposer of the E.P.A, Scott Pruitt’s hypocritical vision for the E.P.A is now stirring a great deal of controversy in the United States.

“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do, and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” were the recent words by Pruitt only last Thursday. Holding the support by President Trump, Pruitt aims to reduce regulations over fossil fuel industries, allowing them to “thrive” and “planet-warming emissions to increase.”

ScottPruitt_120716-1250x650.jpg
Scott Pruitt stirs controversy (Daily Signal)

Already, It has been noted that for the last six years, Pruitt took part in 14 lawsuits against the E.P.A, while attempting to draft his own climate change rules that run counter to Obama’s major achievement—the Obama Climate Plan. The Obama Climate Plan strives to gradually replace fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy, aiming to cut 2005 greenhouse gas levels nearly a third by 2030. Upon this, Trump had long expressed desires to repeal the Obama water regulation that prohibits pollution in most rivers, streams, and wetlands, and Pruitt is more than willing to replace them.

climate_change_share_graphic_wh.jpg
Obama’s Climate Plan (BeyondChron)
130628_SCI_ObamaClimatePlan.jpg.CROP.original-original.jpg
President Obama (Slate)

As much as America holds its global reputation economically and politically, it must maintain responsibility over its industries’ environmental ramifications that affect the world. And while the Obama Climate Plan has endeavored to ameliorate pollution, Pruitt’s inauguration to the E.P.A may pose a major threat in the long term.  It is true industries may prosper momentarily for if Pruitt’s regulations do come in effect, but we must realize global pollution may hit its peak at unprecedented levels.

-Sammie Kim 18′ (Featured image: Valero Doval)

Artificial Intelligence…doctors?

By 2025, A.I will replace “80 percent of what doctors do” (Fortune)

 

Technology boom. Big data. Digital Age. Inevitably, our world stands on the brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution soon to be overrun with computers…and Artificial Intelligence.

artificial-intelligence.jpg
A.I (The Medical Futurist)

As a unique computer system that utilizes natural language to emulate human learning, logical problem solving, and decision making, A.I is expected to outperform various human tasks from manufacturing to even driving taxis on the busy highway. But what if I tell you, A.I may soon become integrated in the medical field, challenging the traditional roles of our present doctors and nurses?

Already, the global AI market is experiencing a 56% annual growth, where by 2025, AI systems will be implemented in “90% of the U.S. and 60% of the global hospitals and insurance companies” (Forbes). Though alarming as it may sound, A.I withholds the remarkable potential to improve diagnostics, patient care, and drug discovery due to its algorithmic ability to utilize patient’s mass electronic health records in clinical databases (2016 A.I Now Report).  

Regardless, let us explore some prime applications of A.I that may either alter our hospital experience for the better or worse.  

1) Diagnosis

watson.jpg
IBM Watson (Collective Evolution)

Last August, for the first time in Japan, the A.I computer system IBM Watson revealed its astounding successes with cancer diagnostics. By cross-referencing previous patients’ genetic database, IBM Watson was able to detect a rare form of leukemia and identify a lifesaving therapy. According to Professor Arinobu Tojo from the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science,  “Watson’s speed was crucial in the treatment of leukemia, which progresses rapidly” (Japan Times).  Where it would have taken at least two weeks for human doctors, it only took 10 minutes to identify “which of the 1,000 genetic mutations were diagnostically important” (Japan Times). And today, where  cancer misdiagnosis accounts for at least 40,000 annual deaths (John Hopkins report), the IBM Watson may indeed provide immediate and accurate diagnostics for oncology patients, possibly saving more lives.

 

2) Patient Monitoring and Care

step21.jpg
Sense.ly’s Molly (Sense.ly)

Sense.ly’s A.I mobile virtual nurse “Molly,”  naturally converses with patients about “pain, sleep, stress, and diet,” assessing them for risk and providing administrative advice regarding medication and symptoms. Moreover, Molly will provide personalized, long term assistance for patients with chronic diseases; this would not only save time for physicians and nurses, but also address the inability of the healthcare industry to monitor patients 24 hours a day due to its lack of resources.

But at the same time, there are concerns that virtual nurses like Molly may never fully attain the human intimacy with patients, along with its unpredictable behavior when faced with scenarios they are untrained in. For example, Dr. Sarah Jarvis notes A.I cannot read “subtle facial expressions” and “pick up on nonverbal cues” (Raconteur). Likewise, within the social setting, A.I may be limited in filtering patient’s personalities or emotions apart from pure empirical data that could perhaps result in miscommunication or flawed analysis.

3) Surgery

STAR.jpg
STAR autonomous robot (That Health site)

Finally, the development of the Smart-Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) led by Peter Kim, a Pediatric Surgeon from the Children’s National Medical Center, has marked a major breakthrough in A.I robotic surgery. STAR successfully performed intestinal anastomosis in both ex vivo and in vivo in pigs; after analyzing the “metrics of anastomosis,” from “the number of mistakes that required removing the needle from the tissue” to “completion time,” Kim concluded that the “autonomous surgery offered by the STAR system was superior” to “manual surgery, laparoscopy, and robot-assisted surgery.” Though STAR is yet to be performed on human patients, its achievement in complex soft tissue surgery of pigs that already surpasses human skills is significant. As long as further trials are carried out to ensure safety and trust, employing STAR may prove to be practical for surgical purposes that require extreme precision.

 

iStock_000009058764Medium.jpg
A.I transforming our social lives (Tech Republic)

Indeed, the growing prevalence of A.I will drastically transform the healthcare industry. However, we must still acknowledge the wide range of ethical concerns regarding accuracy, reliability, security, and privacy. Perhaps, rather than viewing A.I as innovative replacements, it is time we must find a way to work collaboratively with the emerging technology, monitoring its performance while utilizing it to its full potential.

-Sammie Kim 18′

(Featured image by Celine Yoon)

Russian Cyberattack on U.S

Russian hacking??

In the midst of all the tears—either from joy or despair—upon the unprecedented 2016 presidential election of Donald Trump, another piece of appalling news has been unveiled. The United States has disclosed shocking details about recent Russian cyberattacks against the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign director, John Podesta.

Based on a report by U.S top intelligence agencies (C.I.A, F.B.I, and the National Security Agency), President Putin had directed cyber attacks during the election campaign, “aimed at denying Hillary Clinton the presidency and installing Donald Trump in the Oval Office” (NY Times). The report accused the Russian agencies of gaining access to U.S state or local electoral boards, Russia’s main military unit G.R.U for creating media personas to release emails of the Democratic National Committee and of the Clinton campaign chairman, and the RT (Russian English-language new organization) for being involved in the Kremlin propaganda operation to influence the election.

Russian-Hackers-Allegedly-Behind-White-House-Network-Cyber-Attack-477916-2.jpg
(Softpedia News)

But what is even more shocking is that the report declares the Russian cyber attacks actually began long before Trump was even thought to win the Republican nomination; it is estimated that the Russian agencies had gained access to Democratic National Committee’s networks since July 2015 (N.Y Times).

Particularly, Moscow has been seen as a threat to the “American government, military, diplomatic, commercial infrastructure” due to its “highly advanced offensive cyber programme” (scmp). If Russia was truly involved with hacking the Democratic Party operatives before the election, this may be posing a new, controversial question upon the outcome of the U.S election.

As a result, Obama had ordered “the expulsion of 35 Russian suspected spies and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies” (Reuters). These initiatives, conducted within the final days of Obama’s administration, shed light on the U.S- Russian ties, as if marking a “new post Cold War” while spurring debates in the Congress upon how to deal with Moscow (Reuters).

PROD-President-Barack-Obama-delivers-remarks.jpg
Obama’s response to the cyberattacks (Mirror)

Meanwhile, along with Moscow denying any connection to the hacker groups referred by the report, Trump has also criticized the nation’s “intense focus on Russia.” Expressing the lack of any concrete evidence of the cyberattacks, Trump even noted past mistakes by the American intelligence agencies, recalling “weapons of mass destruction” as an example (N.Y Times). However, after directly meeting with the officials, Trump is now moderating his position, conceding that “Russia, China, and other countries” are “consistently trying to break through” their cyber governmental institutions.

As hypocritical as Trump’s words may be, this seems to raise a claim that the U.S presidency election campaign may have been unlawfully manipulated. The report by U.S agencies noting the various covert cyber operations (hacking into the Democratic National Committee’s computer systems) to denigrate Hillary Clinton’s reputation implies corrupt activities that have been occurring before the public’s eyes. Despite the fact that evidence of direct voting modification is not solid, the report nonetheless generates doubts by many and shows how vulnerable the U.S. government is in maintaining cyber-security

103051177-trumputin.530x298.jpg
Putin and Trump (CNBC)

Moreover, the idea that Putin may have backed Trump is appalling, since Putin is notorious for undermining civil liberties with his authoritarian control. Trump’s inconsistency with his attitudes towards the allegations, it further raises questions about Trump’s qualification for president. In addition to the problem with Russia in Syria and Ukraine, this news is only causing more uproar in the public.  

– Sammie Kim ’18 (Featured Image: The Daily Beast)

“High Fat Diet”? Is it real?

Can “Fat” be our friend?

For all of you stressing, fussing, and crying about losing weight, there is news to brighten up your spirits. No more “one banana,” “bagel a day,” or “only protein” meals! No more “Fat-free” cereal bars. Stop starving yourself; it’s time to embrace our all-time greatest enemy — fat.

A new, shocking diet trend is sweeping over South Korea — the LCHF diet, also known as “Low Carbohydrate, High Fat Diet.” According to The Korea Times, “eating more fat-rich food such as beef, pork, butter and cheese is the latest trend in weight loss attempts.”

Ever since the recent airing of the MBC documentary “Fat: falsely charged,” highlighting the astonishing benefits of “low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet,” fatty products sales have soared at an unbelievable pace. Already in E-Mart, Korea’s largest retailer, butter sales increased by 41.1%, while cheese and pork sales rose by 10.3% and 7.6% respectively (Korea Times).

This isn’t just in South Korea. The LCHF diet is attracting worldwide attention from Sweden, USA, Australia, and even the U.K. Apparently, people can lose up to 90 kg through this special diet, proven by the numerous successful cases in Sweden, along with results from the Low Carb USA conference in San Diego this summer (Diet Doctor).

So what’s the whole science behind this mystery? Almost paradoxically, by depending on fat as our primary energy source rather than carbohydrates, it creates an optimal “fat-loss environment.” Insulin, a hormone released based on the amount of carb intake, is cut down in proportion to carb intake, and our body turns to utilize fat, rather than storing it.

And with this, the trend is widely spreading through numerous social media and blogs. For example, one blogger named Backpack Boy “lost 4.7 kilograms over the past three weeks” in which “pork, salmon, cheese, and vegetables were the main source of his diet.” Moreover, experts, such as Professor Yeom Geun-sang at St. Mary’s Hospital in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi Province, reported that “the LCHF diet is truly effective, though how much so may vary by individuals” (Korea Times).

So here are some recommended, incredibly easy recipes from Diet Doctor if you’re ever interested in trying out the LCHF diet. Yes, you may be surprised, but these are truly diet food. Good luck!

unnamed-4

Ingredients:) 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 – 3 lbs salmon, 1 teaspoon sea salt, ground black pepper, 7 oz. butter, 1 lemon

Instructions)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Place the salmon with the skin down in a greased baking dish (1 tablespoon olive oil), salt and pepper generously.
  3. Slice the lemon thinly and place on top of the salmon. Cover with half of the butter in thin slices.
  4. Bake on middle rack for about 20–30 minutes, depending on size.
  5. Heat the rest of the butter in a small sauce pan until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat and let cool a little and carefully add some lemon juice.
  6. Serve the fish with the lemon butter and a side dish of your choice. See below for suggestions.

unnamed-5

Ingredients) 2 lbs chicken thighs, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 5 – 10 garlic cloves, sliced, 1 lemon, ½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, 4 tablespoons butter

Instructions)

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (225°C). Place the chicken pieces in a butter-greased baking pan.
  2. Salt and pepper generously. Sprinkle the garlic and parsley over the chicken pieces, and drizzle the the lemon juice and olive oil on top.
  3. Bake the chicken and roast the garlic slices. This may take 30–40 minutes, depending on how large the pieces are. Lower the temperature a little towards the end.

unnamed-3

Ingredients) ¼ lb cooked ground beef, 2 eggs, 2 oz. shredded cheese

Instructions)

  1. Set the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Put the ground-beef mix in a small baking dish. Make two holes with a spoon and crack the eggs into them.
  3. Sprinkle shredded cheese on top.
  4. Bake in the oven until the eggs are done, about 15 minutes.
  5. Let cool for a while, eggs and ground meat gets very hot!

unnamed-2Ingredients)  5 oz. butter, 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 pinch ground black pepper

Instructions)

  1. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan. Pour into a jug with a spout and let cool.
  2. Mix the egg yolks and mustard in a bowl. Pour in the butter in a fine stream while whisking, using a hand mixer. Leave the sediment at the bottom.
  3. Keep whisking until the mayonnaise turns thick. Season with lemon juice, salt and black pepper.  

unnamed-1

Ingredients) 1 egg yolk, 2 garlic cloves, ¾ cup light olive oil, or other flavorless oil of your choice, ½ teaspoon chili flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoons greek yogurt

Instructions)

  1. Press the garlic into a bowl. Add the egg yolk and mix well.
  2. Add the olive oil in a thin stream while continuously whisking by hand or a hand blender.
  3. Whisk down the yogurt and spices. Add some more salt or lemon juice and garlic  based on taste preference.

It’s time to take a new stance on our choice of meals, especially when on a diet. Radically cutting down fat does not mean more efficiency; it is scientifically proven that once fat is becomes our primary fuel, we will quickly observe weight loss. But also remember, keep your carbohydrates to the bare minimum.

-Sammie Kim 18′

(Featured image designed by Crescentia Jung)

Thailand After the Death of King Bhumibol

A national mourning…and “social sanctioning”.

The world’s longest-reigning monarch has finally breathed his last on Thursday night, October 13th. As a deeply revered figure for his glorious seven-decades rule, the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej has left Thailand muddled in deep grief and despair.

king-bhumibol-adulyadej-940x580
A crying woman in the Siriraj Hospital where the king is being treated in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP.)

The “Father of the Nation,” as his people called him, King Bhumibol was widely respected across Thailand for his valuable achievements going beyond his role as a constitutional monarch; he brought national unity in the midst of political turmoil and took active role in rebuilding the economy. In effect, he was “the very model of Buddhist leader” (Bernstein), symbolically standing above the law, parliament, and court.  

thailand-king-bhumibol-adulyadej
King Bhumibol (IBTimes UK)

During the Cold War period, when Cambodia had already fallen under the Khmer Rouge, Saigon to the North Vietnamese army, and Laos to the communist insurgents, Thailand was the single last domino confronting the communist expansion over Southeast Asia. As the authority of the central government was challenged by a series of communist rebellions, it was King Bhumibol who stood up with his people to counteract the insurgent forces through coups and twenty constitutions.  

Moreover, in order to restore the national economy, King Bhumibol had visited every poverty-stricken area to establish rural development centers and promote infrastructural improvements. Using his royal purse, he distributed aids during crisis, funded clinics, schools, village roads, electricity, and irrigation systems. He even convinced “hill tribes to switch their growing of opium to that of vegetables, fruit, and coffee,” and opium cultivation declined by 85% as a result (Biography).

“He had been a fabric of Thai life for the last 70 years that he has reigned as king. He has been partially lifted up to a god-like status here, because of what he has done for this country,” said Scott Heidler (Aljazeera reporter from the capital Bangkok).

Even U.S President Obama had once described the king a “tireless champion of his country’s development,” further stating, “I had the honour of calling on his majesty the king during my visit to Thailand in 2012, and recall his grace and warmth, as well as his deep affection and compassion for the Thai people” (BBC).  

obama-meets-king-of-thailand-main-image
President Obama and King Bhumibol (VeryThai)

However, King Bhumibol’s death has also left the nation with the new burden of charting its own path for the uncertain, ambiguous future. Everywhere, thousands of people are dressed in black and white in honor of the King, where it is forbidden to wear any color during the month of mourning. All the websites, newspapers, social media sites, and television shows are stripped of color.

3963141000000578-0-image-a-59_1476475021001
Thailand in black and white (DailyMail)

But apart from the national lamentation, other social problems have already begun to arise. Entertainment businesses are already at risk due to the sudden suspension of all celebratory behavior from drinking alcohol in public, partying in clubs or bars, to television programs like comedy. Especially in a country where tourism and entertainment industries are key economic contributors, this official abrupt halt is perceived to have repercussions.

On top of the great profit losses, the nation is also faced with the “remarkable mass outpourings of grief from black-clad Thais” (aljazeera). Extreme monarchy forces such as mobs and online crusaders are seeking to punish anyone who is suspected of insulting the monarchy. And even Paiboon Koomchaya, the justice minister, announced, “there is no better way to punish these people than to socially sanction them,” pledging to “pursue those people who violate the law” (aljazeera).

This “social sanctioning” has reached the point where recently, videos have gone viral on social media, showing mobs violently beating up a man, forcing him to apologize for insulting the monarchy as he pleaded out, “I didn’t mean to do it, I love the king! It’s my fault.” Another elderly woman in a Bangkok bus was berated then slapped on the face by a woman dressed in black all in the presence of police.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-11-57-45-am
Video of a man getting beaten up (The Independent)
busslap
An elderly woman slapped and forced off the Bangkok Bus (Khaodod)

As a nation that has revolved around King Bhumibol for decades, his death is indeed having a far reaching effect. More than just a sorrowful, anticipated tragedy, unexpected backlashes are firing back. It seems the time has finally arrived for Thailand to overcome their challenge in truly manifesting their independence and stand up once again.

– Sammie Kim (’18)

(Featured image from DailyMail)

My Reaction from Miss Peregrine and the Peculiar Children

Tim Burton is back.

A twisted imagination. A sinister but enchanting world where darkness coexists with brightness. A gothic world full of weird creatures with contradicting personalities, wearing stripes and twisted curves that never end.

pl_arts_burton4_f
Tim Burton’s gothic world (Wired)

It’s the world of Tim Burton – the artist, the idiosyncratic director of countless films that moved us with Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, and the list can go on. And recently, his new 2016 movie Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has arrived to surprise us with his charm once again.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-39-54-am
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Wikia)

Like many Burton heroes, Jake is an outcast. Growing up, his childhood is full of magical, but remarkably descriptive tales that his grandfather had always spoke of – the Welsh manor inhabited by headmistress Miss Peregrine and her “peculiar” children with bizarre abilities. But soon, the sudden, mysterious death of his grandfather triggers the astounding adventure full of time loops, engaging, unique characters, and horrendous monsters called “Hologausts.”

thumbnail_24150
The Peculiar Children (20th Century Fox)
screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-12-01-27-pm
The Hologaust (The Agony Booth)
missperegrine_334x518
Original Book by Ransom Riggs (Riggs Website)

As a passionate, heated fan of Tim Burton, I was thrown back the moment the movie was released. I remembered reading the book Miss Peregrine and the Peculiar Children written by Ransom Riggs years past, and I never imagined this would become a movie, and even more so, one by Tim Burton! In truth, I was not only surprised, but slightly hesitant, because I remembered the book being quite complex, elaborate, and full of characters and events. In fact, I even got lost in the middle of the book with its the rapid pace and so many happenings that constantly forced me to reread, just to follow the plot. But it turns out, I didn’t have to worry at all. 

The beautiful and decorative visuals with grand music set the motion for the fantastical adventure, along with Burton’s classic gothic production design. And at the same time, this film touched me with a different feeling. Unlike Burton’s other adventurous film Alice in Wonderland, Miss Peregrine and the Peculiar Children possessed a more intimate, humane connection with the main characters. It wasn’t just a display of the uncanny, but full of personal emotions like love, friendship, and coming of age. Beginning the scene in the busy, contemporary 2016 era with real-life “normal” humans for once, and Jake explicitly shown as an everyday teenager with conflicts with his parents, already felt like a new approach.

Moreover, there is an implicit tragic backdrop to this story. A true, historical depiction of tragedies faced during WWII and Nazism – where Jake’s grandfather Abe escapes from Poland and how the peculiar children are forever stuck in September 3, 1940, the day before their home is destroyed by the German bombs by a time loop, or even the name “Hologausts” for the monsters.  

I was impressed and shocked at not simply how entertaining and smooth the film went, but just the incredible scale of creativity and imagination Burton possesses. Nothing in the movie was what I pictured when reading the book. The exciting individuality in each character, the queer but alluring mood, and primely, the thrill during the fight between the children and Hologausts was so remarkably illustrated. I was captivated the entire time throughout the movie. Indeed, I admire Riggs for his novel book with his fresh, dynamic idea and plot, but for me, there was always that slight lack of delivery. I understand it must have been a great challenge to express all the dashing plotlines and ideas into simple words.

With this, I truly realized what an staggering job Fantasy authors must go through just to fluidly communicate the setting and plot for the readers, and what an unbelievable thinker Tim Burton is.

In other words, Miss Peregrine and the Peculiar Children is definitely another major film by Tim Burton that must be watched.

– Sammie Kim 18′

(Featured image from 20th Century Fox)

 

Painting out the Trauma

Delving into the True Beauty of Art

Globally, the refugee crisis is occurring at an unprecedented scale.

Within the last decade, the number of migrants has increased more than 300%, meaning every one out of thirteen people in this world is a refugee (Aljazeera). They have no choice. Millions flee from war, political oppression, violence, poverty, child labor, and other unimaginable, devastating grounds, hoping for safety, acceptance, and opportunity. Yet, this tragedy is provoking significant repercussions, in which painful trauma is leaving dark emotional wounds for the refugees, including children in the long-term.

dicenzo-lesbosgreece-children-141015-photos-1
Refugee Child (MEE/Andrea Dicenzo)

The most endemic mental disorders faced by refugees include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, prolonged grief disorder, and other anxiety disorders, along with developmental and intellectual hindrances for children. As a result, severe mental health crisis for the refugees is calling for greater efforts in developing effective psychological therapies that can attend to the multiple traumas of torture, rape, and war.

Recently, the field of art has been shedding light in transforming the lives of refugees. Through creative means, art therapy encourages non-verbal communication between refugees and therapists, a powerful way of overcoming language and cultural barriers, and allowing refugees of all ages to freely explore and express their emotions—a way to fight back the frightening memories of trauma.  

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-56-29-pm
Anita Toutikan guiding children (Knefel)
screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-56-35-pm
Art therapy in Lebanon (Knefel)

“We are not teaching art here, and we are not doing full therapy…We are offering them the opportunity to express themselves freely, without judgment, without evaluation of their work,” proclaimed Anita Toutikian, an artist/psychologist working in the Lebanon Barja Technical school (Knefel). Each day, Syrian refugee children randomly burst into Toutikian’s two hour long art sessions in Lebanon, where they paint out their diverse stories, or even “brightly colored landscapes full of sailboats, cars, and trees” (thenation).

But, it’s not just Toutikian who is venturing out to show the refugees a new life out of terror through art.   

  1. Castle Art in Akre, Donguk

Saddam Hussein’s once devastated prison of terror in Iraq is now filled with Syrian refugee children, twinkling with their bright smiles, joyfully holding up their colorful paint brushes.

Screen Shot 2016-10-01 at 11.31.31 PM.png
Castle Art Brightens up Children in Akre Camp (Robinson)

The Akre camp known as the “Castle” is a prison building symbolic of the dictator Hussein’s crimes against the Kurdish people. But now, its derelict walls have become beautiful canvas boards for passionate children.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Funded by the Rise Foundation, the “Castle Art Project” provides children with spray cans, rollers, and paint once a week. With these scarce materials, a breathtaking mural has been formed—in place of once bleak paintings of war, weapons, and death, the wall is now filled with vibrant landscapes of flowers, birds, handprints, and people. Moreover, street artists like Banksy have volunteered to teach the children various mural techniques, including the usage of corridors, cracks, and staircases as a part of the canvas.

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-34-31-pm
How art has changed Deana’s life (Robinson)

“When I’m involved in Castle Art I am happy. I used to draw as a child,” expressed 15-year-old Deana who is now dreaming of attending art school one day.

  1. Art Photography in the Kawergosk Refugee Camp

“I want to learn photography because I believe that with it, everyone can see what I feel and how we live,” voiced out Maya Rostam, a 12 year-old refugee, who had been participating in Reza’s Exiles Voices Project.

The renowned photojournalist Reza had traveled to the Kawergosk Refugee Camp in Kurdistan, Iraq, and his photography workshop for children “The Exiles Voices Project” has finally developed into a five-year joint project with the UNHCR.

Displaced children whose lives were torn apart by the violent Syrian war have managed to capture the astonishing beauty, happiness, sincerity, and child-like innocence within the camp; a miracle against all the odds. At the same time, underneath the playfulness and simplicity of children shown in the photos, radiates great power, revealing the true reality of the camp situation—frozen shoes, lack of food, and unhygienic condition.

TEAM-PHOTO_1230611-copy.jpg
Photographer Reza and the Refugee Children (Maptia)

Ultimately, the culmination of the children’s photos and Reza’s portraits in the camp have made it to the Paris exhibition last year, inspiring people across borders.

3) The Za’atari Project

reema-mural-zaatari-5
Za’atari Syrian Refugee Camp (JoelArtista Blog)

There is not a single hint of animal or vegetation in the harsh region of the Za’atari camp located in northern Jordan. A cruel, deserted wasteland filled with endless rows of tents and caravans, along with the extreme sunlight and dust storms, it is the second largest refugee camp in the world with more than 80,000 inhabitants.

img_0943-1.jpg
Mural Art Created by the Artists and Children (JoelArtista Blog)

But the Za’atari camp is now filled with color that contrasts with the utter bareness of the region. Since 2013, the world-travelling street artist Joel Bergner partnered with a team of artists and educators from aptART, ACTED, UNICEF, ECHO and Mercy Corps, leading a series of workshops for children, who not only learn about water conservation or hygiene issues in camp, but were also given the opportunity to participate in mural art.  

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Dozens of children had the opportunity to participate and add their own creativity to murals that they created throughout the camp, adding color and life to the desolate environment and spreading messages of hope to camp residents” —Joel Bergner 

Likewise, the power of art has proved remarkable in not only raising awareness outside the globe, but also in changing the lives of many refugees. Whether it’s photography, film, or painting, the huge variety of creative mediums encourage refugees to express themselves and realize their boundless potential.  

– Sammie Kim 18′

Featured Image from JoelArtista Blog

Diseases that “Frighten” Us

There are people out there who die from “curable” disease

Disease— the awful word that alarms and unnerves us, stirring our world into weeks of hysteria and horror—has nonetheless proved to be humanity’s toughest, yet unpredictable enemy of all time. Even today with our advances in technology and sophisticated knowledge, we still have not been able to truly protect ourselves from the constant threat of viral infections.

And mid-2016, here we come; it’s the outbreak of the disease, once again.

1) Zika Virus

In May 2015, Zika virus was reported in Brazil, the first local case in the Americas. Primarily transmitted through mosquitoes or sex, there is no found treatment for Zika yet.

On top of the symptoms of fever, conjunctivitis, rash, and joint pain, a sudden surge in microcephaly cases has sparked a major concern. Microcephaly is when a baby is born with an abnormally small head, leading to underdeveloped brain functions fatal to life, or intellectual and developmental disabilities.

_89705215_032454640
Zika Virus and brain defects (BBC)

Just in Brazil, a total of 4,908 cases of microcephaly was confirmed, along with the 91,387 registered cases, according to Reuters. But it isn’t a local Brazil problem anymore. The WHO has declared it as a “public health emergency of international concern,” where “52 countries reported outbreak from 2015 onwards.”

zika-map-2
The Spread of Zika Virus 2016 (CDC)

“There are 18,611 confirmed Zika cases in the U.S” reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But recently, in late July, the first local transmission of Zika virus within the United States has occurred in Miami, Florida. Four people in Miami, all of whom had never been to Zika-affected countries, are believed to have been infected through local mosquitoes. So far, the number has risen to “56 locally transmitted cases of Zika virus in Florida” as further stated by CNN.

And with this, despite protests by angry residents, the “Zika aerial spraying” was conducted just last Friday over Miami beach. Dibrom is the main chemical ingredient of the Naled insecticide, sprayed in tiny, airborne droplets that instantly kill mosquitoes in their flight.

spraying-zika-florida-696x522
Aerial pesticide spraying in Florida (Your News Wire)

But at the same time, there have been major ramifications to the environment and health.  Especially for the residents, there is a higher risk for genetic mutation,where in the presence of sunlight or water, Naled degrades to dichlorvos, a toxic chemical.

Not only this, the aerial spraying has resulted in a drastic environmental loss in South Carolina, where more than 3 million bees were killed.

160902083152-03-dead-honeybee-large-169
Zika Aerial spraying kills millions of honeybees (CNN)

South Carolina beekeeper Juanita Stanley declared, “This is crazy. It’s like using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut. The devastation that it has already caused is beyond comprehension. We can’t live without these honeybees” (CNN).

wtvj_000000025416585_1200x675_761157699946-1
Residents protest against Aerial Spraying (NBC)

It isn’t over. The Broward County Mayor Marty Kiar has announced that the “zika aerial spraying will be conducted Monday morning in five Broward County municipalities — Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Pembroke Pines, Tamarac and Margate” (ABC News), but with an alternative, preventative use of VectoBac WDG, utilizing BTI as the active ingredient that is different from the controversial use of Naled. BTI is an organic material naturally found in the ground, thus safer for the environment, though the only question now is how effective this would prove to be.

Likewise, it is a shock to what extent the Zika virus is creating an upheaval all over the world.

2) Cholera

A waterborne, gastrointestinal infection that causes vomiting and diarrhea, cholera can be transmitted by contaminated water or food. But it is usually most common in dilapidated regions with poor, unclean sanitation and water supplies, such as African countries. Still luckily, unlike the Zika virus, Cholera does have vaccines for treatment.

Since the beginning of the year, over 500 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo were killed, and the infection has even reached the western Capital city of Kinshasa (African News). Not only DRC, there are yet numerous other areas currently suffering from this disease, mostly due to the impoverished state where vaccination is not available. “As of  September 6, 2016, a total of 1762 cholera cases, including 26 deaths had been reported from five states: Juba, Terekeka, Jonglei, Eastern Lakes and Imatong” according to WHO.

Haiti Disease Outbreak
Cholera patients increase in Africa (WSJ)

To our terror, reported cases of Cholera have suddenly emerged in our country, South Korea. A first case in 15 years, three people who have all consumed seafood, were infected with cholera in Geoje Island. The fourth patient was reported to have contracted during his trip to Philippines. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is nonetheless conducting further investigation on how cholera had appeared.

ÄÝ·¹¶ó, ¿¹¹æÀÌ ÃÖ°í
Cholera patients confirmed in South Korea (koreaherald)

But ironically, it is not just Zika or cholera that is directly affecting our world today. Currently, Malaria is still on the rise, with more than 1.3 million malaria cases in Africa (WHO), along with Measles, Meningitis, Dengue, Chikungunya, and so many more. Just because we are not experiencing Malaria, does not mean it’s an unimportant matter; afterall, there are people out there who suffer and die just because they lack the few dollars for Malaria vaccination.

“Many people, most of them in tropical countries of the Third World, die of preventable, curable diseases.… Malaria, tuberculosis, acute lower-respiratory infections…” (Ken Silverstein, Millions for Viagra. Pennies for Diseases of the Poor)

aidsinafrica
Treatable disease that kill people everyday in Arica (Patheos)

For all KISians; do you remember the dramatic moment, two years ago, when the school officially cancelled our Ed. Trip, plus a whole week of final exams due to MERs? Or during 2014 to 2015, the Ebola that had swept African countries, caused “two-thirds of Americans to panic” (Washington Post), even obtaining the name “Fearbola”?

It’s ironic how until we directly face these constant bursts of disease, we fail to notice the everyday disaster on other regions of the world that desperately need our help, right now.

-Sammie Kim (’18)

Open Your Eyes to Some New Clubs in KIS!

Where is your passion? Find the club that truly interests you.

Welcome back to the official, busy start of the 2016-2017 school year with some of our new teachers, new students, and of course, new clubs! As important as extracurricular activities are for college, they allow students to explore and pursue their genuine interests ranging from that of academic, artistic, and innovative.

But it is apparent that some clubs are more favored over others in KIS, proven by their sheer size, such as MUN, Mock Trial, or NHS. Especially this year, it was quite a blow to see the substantial majority of students all sway over to one side. According to the officers, Mock Trial club had eighty students, whereas MUN had ninety students sign up, which is almost an entire grade level! What is the reason for this mass congregation? Indeed, all these popular clubs have something in common – they involve prestigious competitions, rewards, and global interactivity. Apart from the truly passionate, active club members, it seems as though perhaps, many tend to gather around the “popular” clubs for their name value. Or it may also be due to the simple lack of awareness upon the other special, multitude of smaller clubs with meaningful purposes of their own.

Though clubs have formally begun, let us still open our eyes to the other distinctive, passionate clubs that have recently shaped up this year.

1. Teach North Korean Refugees

Recently, there has been a sudden influx of North Korean refugees to South Korea, in which at least 450 of them came over to Bundang. The local authorities and the Bundang Police Station reached out to KIS for help, and as a result, TNKR (Teach North Korean Refugees) was formed with the collaboration between a couple of teachers and seniors. Many of these refugees include children, ranging from Elementary all the way to High schoolers, and they sought additional support with learning English. Every week, student members of TNKR are planning to teach English by visiting the Police station, hoping to approach the refugees like friends and open their minds up through education. Currently, twenty members are involved, and they are exploring lesson plans to engage with the students’ learning. Moreover, last Saturday, there was a mini-Olympkis in KIS to spend time to welcome these refugees through interactive games, sports, and so on.

“Today, North Korea is one of the world’s poorest countries. The government undertakes extreme measures to ensure that the citizens adhere to systematic lifestyles, which allow the rulers to maintain dominance. Basic rights of free speech and movement is absent in the country. Anyone responsible for claims or actions that conflict with the country’s conventions is immediately tortured in a prison camp or may be even publicly executed. Teenagers and children risk their lives and those of their family members to escape the appalling lifestyles. The fortunate ones successfully escape the horrid conditions and reach South Korea; however, even in the new country, the refugees have very little to grow from. We’re too busy chuckling at the absurd laws, ridiculous lies, and amusing features of the president, completely neglectful of what is actually important: the people. In order for us to push for change, it is imperative to find a solution that will help the North Korean people, not the regime. If I successfully teach even one refugee, I have succeeded in making a change.” – Joy Youn (‘17)

“TNKR (Teach North Korean Refugees) demands learning from both the students and the students’ students, an essential component of the school wide service learning committee.” – Roger Han (‘17)

 

2. DECA

DECA is both a Tuesday and Thursday club that deals with business and entrepreneurship, where students learn how to make business plans and research reports that’ll prove extremely useful in real life. Aside from the major subjects that are dealt with like marketing, finance, business management, hospitality, there are also topics called “clusters”, which include fashion, restaurant management, sports, and so on. According to the Thursday DECA officer Minji Kim, their team will be “focusing on not only official DECA competitions but also other business competitions in Korea and business-related activities.” And proudly, KIS DECA is actually the first DECA chapter in Korea after its beginning in America, and there is great potential awaiting for the club. There is not a great load of homework in case many are worried, except the month before preparing for competitions.

“My favorite part of DECA is that we can learn skills such as making research reports and presenting plans in front of other people that will actually be useful in real life. We look forward to doing lots of cool things in the 2016~17 school year!” – Minji Kim (‘18)

3. Green PEAS

“Green PEAS or Green Phoenix Ecological Association for Students is a club dedicated to increase awareness of the environment at Korea International School. We believe that the environment is tied with almost every aspect of this world. Whether you’re an economic student, social study student, or even science student. The environment is always involved. More and more companies realize their Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. The environment shaped our history. Science is interrelated with the environment.

The support from the school is absolutely astonishing as Mr.Cathers allowed us to use a patch of KIS land for ecological research purposes. Our goal for this year is ‘Bringing back the Natives’ and we will be planting shrubs and various plants to bring back the bird species that used to live in the mountains. We’re also looking forward to cooperating with the elementary and middle school department for the bird house construction as well.

By providing students with such opportunity without any stress (since majority of the work happens during club time), we believe that students will be able to take a break from the monotonous life style that they live in and truly realize the beauty of nature which they may have forgotten over their school career.” — Geo Han (17’)

4. Fantasy Reading/writing club

The first thing that Judy Jhang, the founder of Fantasy Reading/writing club, mentioned is that, “although our club name is Fantasy Reading and Writing club, we are more like a creative writing club.” During club time, students work on their individual creative writing pieces with the ultimate goal of submitting their work to the Scholastic awards by the end of the year. Club sponsor teacher Mr. Collings, who is both an English teacher and an author of several books, always has great advices for these creative writers. Students also help each other by giving feedback and peer editing one another’s work.  

“Let your creativity be noticed by joining our club!” – Judy Jhang (‘18)

5. KIS Makers

KIS Makers (Tuesday club) sponsored by Mr. McCullough, is an innovative club focused on creating objects of imagination. Students use different design based computer softwares to create different 3D models that can be 3D printed or presented as virtual reality. A lot of people think that designing something has to be complex, but it’s actually not. And throughout the year, club members will be able to explore various aspects of art, science, and graphic design.

“Being creative and innovative is important in one’s life. In recent years you can see that it’s all those technological innovations that enhances the society. I want students in KIS to explore little things in life that bother them and use their imagination to fix it. KIS Makers studies and teach the fundamental elements into innovation.” – Emily Lee (‘17)

6. Blue Phoenix

“Blue Phoenix is a music ensemble club, performing and volunteering inside and outside of school. Blue Phoenix started out as a quartet group in 2010; for six years, our quartet have performed in school events and hosted charity concerts for the elderly and the disabled. As the years passed, more people wanted to join our quartet and perform as an ensemble with us. This summer we had our third charity concert in Bobath Memorial Hospital with 17 friends, including strings and band players. This year, Blue Phoenix has been opened as a club in Korea International School so that not only string players but also band players may enjoy music and volunteer with us. Our club will host two charity concerts, one at Bobath Hospital and the other at Aenea’s House, volunteer four times a year at Bobath Memorial Hospital, and continue to perform in school events. We hope people who love music and are willing to perform with us to join our club.” —Angela Park (‘19)

7. Bridge Publishers

A Tuesday club, Bridge Publishers is devoted in promoting free English education for all children. However, rather than visiting various sites to teach a few students, Bridge Publisher focuses on actually creating new ESL resources and materials for those who cannot afford them. In many public schools, students often face English through hard-core memorization of vocabularies and grammar, which may be effective for taking tests but inept for real-life, oral skills. And with the goal of promoting a more creative, entertaining, and interactive means for learning English, Bridge Publisher has been attempting on producing books with more features like detailed Korean explanations, study plans, quizzes, games, and so on. This year, they’re also aiming to make creative storybooks with their own illustrations, fun plots, characters, translation, or additional notes about vocab or sentence structures incorporated within. 

“This is our second year as a club, and we are continuing making more materials like we did during our first year, but we have also set up a PR group so that we can potentially partner up with other KIS clubs who can use our materials for volunteer purposes.” – Leona Maruyama (‘17)

“There are many organizations both in and outside the school that volunteer to teach kids from low-income family. I myself am part of this effort devoting an hour every week to helping young kids with English. Yet, while the act of volunteering made me feel good, I was disturbed by the fact that I wasn’t really helping the kids. So instead of starting just another club that links KIS students with tutoring opportunities, I wanted to lay the groundwork for an student-organization that is committed to building a sustainable curriculum that tutors both in and outside the club could use to make their volunteer experience more productive to the children in need.” – Eunice Na (‘17)

Like this, a variety of new, creative clubs continue to form every year. We all have distinctive, special fields of interest that excite us, and it’s that fiery passion that’ll truly allow us to grow as individuals. So how about we open our eyes to the wider opportunities lying ahead?

– Sammie Kim (’18)