Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

KIS students reflect on their past.

As much as we contemplate on what to do with what’s ahead of us, we look back in regret of the decisions we made as children, perhaps impulsively and for sure unforeseeing how it will affect us today.

How incredible would it be to have a mirror that not only reflects you from now but you from yesterday and you from tomorrow?

Let’s see what advice students at KIS would like to give their younger selves.

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Unfortunately, time is not a force we can overpower. And after all, it’s hard to live a life with No Ragrets. And that’s why we’re evolutionary beings–we learn from our mistakes!

 

 

– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Photos by Clare Kwon (’18), Victoria Shin (’19), Kyle Son (’20)
Graphic by Neo Pak (’19)

Environmental Science: Stepping Out of the Classroom

Students apply environmental science to new realms–new classes, extracurricular activities, and EE-trips.

“Acing a rigorous test or getting a first hand experience? The latter gives me the thrills.” – Kevin Suk (’18)

KIS has steadily advocated a novel approach to learning: learning from doing. Over the few years, there is one course ahead of the game—Environmental Science.

Based on the foundational skills established from the AP Environmental Science class, Diana Koo (’18), Sarah Mirae Kim (’18), and Kevin Suk (’18), with Mr. Taylor, have together built a new class solely focused on Independent Research. The Independent Research class follows a distinctive curriculum in that it does not have one. Instead of referring to specific pages of textbooks or understanding specific theories, the class is about learning on the way—thus, undefined—and taking what they have learned the past year to understand and assess the real world. Kevin (’18) says, “The class is very free and full of creativity; our desire to apply what we learned in school to reality and thereby make a tangible difference allows us to stay motivated.” Throughout the year, the three students will each conduct their own researches on Seoul’s water, fully immersed in the opportunity to take the seed of their ideas, plant it, and feed it.

Apart from the school curriculum, the application of Environmental Science in KIS has been displayed by extracurricular activities—an active environmental club Green PEAS. Despite being an year-old club, Green PEAS has since broadened their sphere of influence; evident changes materialized in the school environment are integrating natural elements to remodel KIS and facilitating the recycling in classrooms. Kevin, founder of the club, says the club “aims to improve KIS’s environment and combine a variety of fields together using ‘green’ as a solute.” He emphasizes that Green PEAS in fact manifests interdisciplinary learning—“those interested in business [have sold] thousands of dollars worth of worm fertilizers, and those talented in designing [have created] bird houses to observe growth from shell to feathers.” At the end, actions taken by members of Green PEAS all come down to the unified willingness to bring change to the KIS environment with knowledge acquired from various subjects.

The passion for Environmental Science further escapes from the restricted boundaries of the school campus. Along with the traditional class Experiential Education trips, KIS now offers Experiential Education trips to K-Water reservoirs. Whereas the applied learning aspect may be a bit open-ended for regular EE trips, the trip to K-Water is an unquestionable application of more specified talent. Kevin adds, “The trip concentrates on doing in-depth analysis and research about the water quality of Korea and how it is regulated by scientists at K-water. We also conduct experiments on plant growth, nutrient run-off, and other topics that are impossible to be tested within the classroom environment. We are literally performing what we learned through the textbook in reality.”

– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Featured Image: Claire Yoon (’18)

Movies for March

A preview of 9 astonishing movies soon to hit the theaters in March.

March is a month of blossoming. With warmth, we embrace a blossoming of new changes—that includes the season, temperatures, and, of course, movies. To perhaps aid you in planning for what movie to watch during spring break, here provided is a list of 10 movies that will hit the theaters in March.

Logan (March 3)

In the third and supposedly last chapter in the superhero Wolverine’s saga, Logan protects newly introduced character Laura, a young mutant girl who shares the same power as Logan, from a government organization Transigen that exploits mutant children as uses of weapons. You must not miss out on this one because it is most likely this will be the last time Hugh Jackman will play Marvel’s mutant Wolverine on the big screen after his 17 loyal years as Wolverine.

The Shack (March 3)

Faith—the single word that can sum up this movie. Based on the New York Times best-selling novel by William P. Young, The Shack steers us through a character’s journey revolving around the forces of family and faith. The main character, Mack Phillips, weathering through a family tragedy alone, receives a mysterious invitation that is later proved to transform his life to one “full of wonder and miracle.”

Before I Fall (March 3) 

What would you do if you could live a day again? Before I Fall is a mystery drama literary adaptation of Lauren Oliver’s novel. Samantha Kingston, a young and charming woman with everything one can ever ask for—a boyfriend, friends, and the looks—is compelled to relive her last day over and over again while unveiling enigmas surrounding her death.

Kong: Skull Island (March 10)

Beauty and the Beast is yet another live-action adaptation of the animated and another classic and more or less familiar Disney fairy tale. With Emma Watson playing Belle, the bright, beautiful, and independent young woman, and Dan Stevens playing the Beast, the public’s expectations are high. Let’s hope the re-telling of the romantic and true love story allows us to relive the 90’s animated renaissance (And that the tea cup can still sing).

Life (March 17)

A science fiction horror film, Life is about a six-member crew trapped aboard the International Space Station in the middle of their research about extraterrestrial life on Mars. Get ready for the thrill as the movie is thought to resemble movies Alien and Gravity in various ways.

Power Rangers (March 24)

Chances are you all remember them from your childhood—and that they were for some reasonably period of time, your idols. Just like the film you faintly remember, Power Rangers features five ordinary (American) high school students with extraordinary powers and, most importantly, colorful suits to save the planet.

Ghost in the Shell (March 31)

With technology becoming a greater part of our lives, Ghost in the Shell shows a complete engulfment of humanity by technology. The main character is a human-cyborg hybrid, starred by Scarlett Johansen. And ironically, the movie is devoted to tell her battle against hackers.

The Zookeeper’s Wife (March 31)

Based on the real-life story of Antonina Żabińska,The Zookeeper’s Wife pictures the story of a woman who becomes a war hero during World War II. Putting her family and herself at great risk, Antonina opens her arms and the entrance of the Warsaw Zoo as refuge for people and animals in the midst of German invasion.

Boss Baby (March 31)

Dreamworks and animation. Putting those two together make perfection. The Boss Baby is not only hilarious with the most eccentric baby, Tim, who is boss like the title suggests wears a tie and speaks with the voice of Alec Baldwin, but also it leaves us with a heart-rending message about the value of family.

– Yoo Bin Shin (‘18)

Supreme: Fashion and Exclusivity

Why is Supreme so expensive?

With its much-anticipated uncovering at Paris Fashion Week, the FW collaboration of NYC street label Supreme and French luxury house Louis Vuitton has thoroughly enraptured souls of many. Deemed a new era in fashion history, the coalescence of the two discrete worlds of street and luxury has been said to represent an unexpected coming together of the looks of the uptown and downtown. Emma Hope Allwood, Fashion Features Editor of Dazed Magazine, described the collaboration to be “At first, a kind of surprised disbelief…But the more [she] thought about it, the more it made sense.”

Despite the Supreme x Louis Vuitton collection not due to release until July, a rumored jaw-dropping price list (shown below) for the collection items has surfaced online. A denim jacket adorned with the famous LV and Supreme stamps is expected to cost around $2,000 USD, and a leather trunk also embellished with the two labels is expected to retail for more than $68,500 USD.

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Rumored Price List (PC: Nice Kicks)

For those loyal hypebeasts out there, the big-budget costs are conceived, for the prices for Supreme products have never been so friendly. However, many have expressed their dismay—how can a street brand cost a fortune?

With its founding year traced back to 1994, Supreme has established itself as a stalwart street brand garnering much notice among the fashion industry. Ever since, the label has proved its success, demonstrated through its frequent collaborations with renown brands such as Thom Browne, Vans, and Stone Island.

A reason for its steady success can be searched for in the surface—hype. Hype is the instant boost of publicity. Let’s say, Kanye West or Rihanna, idol of many, is spotted wearing a Supreme box logo tee. That’s surely cool and so is the T-shirt; that’s why such exposure encourages people to forage for the same item.

Charles Park (‘20), an avid follower of fashion labels at KIS had his say, attaching a widely different reason to its popularity, one conceivably many fellow hypebeasts would agree with:

“I like Supreme because of their general character as a brand. The unique attitude and voice that comes out with every season is what I’m attracted to. I think that the reason why Supreme is loved by so many and has stood the test the time in terms of trends, is that they’re not afraid to try something new. Many of their items appeal to different demographics, which is how I think Supreme was elevated from a small New York skateshop to a icon in streetwear and street culture. To put it simply, I like Supreme because as a brand, their political messages, their skate references, and their musical influences have been authentic and true to itself.”

Yet, the ultimate and the true key to success of Supreme, throughout its 23 years has been consistent—exclusivity. By making a limited amount of product for every release, Supreme plants exclusivity. Although the online shop selling out in minutes after a new release and resellers mass purchasing products, Supreme never fails to keep the supply low. The demand is yet more or less assumed. That brings us to buying director of concept store MACHINE-A, Stavros Karelis, who left a rather interesting yet questionable comment that the Supreme x LV collaboration, “from a retail and marketing point of view, I find it brilliant!”

It seems to be Supreme’s cerebral play of economics—supply and demand—that has fueled its sustained successes and has allowed it to stay high in budgets all throughout. The exclusivity and rareness, which people naturally seek to differentiate themselves, have led to its unfailing popularity and attention.

– Yoo Bin Shin (‘18)
Featured Image: Highsnobiety

Sources:

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/supreme-and-the-psychology-of-brand-devotion

https://www.businessoffashion.com/articles/fashion-show-review/louis-vuittons-protean-new-york

http://www.highsnobiety.com/2017/01/24/supreme-louis-vuitton-reactions/

 

2016 in a Nutshell

Science innovations and political conflicts to recall 2016.

Every year we experience discord of some sort, and every year we make progress of some sort. 2016 was yet another queer year, too breathtaking to be explained in a couple of words. We as a civilization experienced evolution: a quantum leap in science yet an endless dispute in worldly politics. Here are eight symbolic events of 2016, whether a legacy or a setback, all to be recalled hereafter.

Detection of Gravitational Waves (February)

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PC: Nasa.gov

One of the greatest science breakthroughs of 2016 was the first direct detection of gravitational waves—ripples in spacetime. Approximately a century after its proposal, Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity was at last witnessed. Physicists detected ripples produced in space-time by the merger of two black holes which happened 1.3 billion light-years away. This discovery has given rise to a new era of astronomy and physics that will begin to unveil the cosmos.

Alphago (March)

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PC: International Business Times

During the month of March in 2016, media flooded with the news about a game of man versus a man-made machine. Lee Sedol, ranked high amongst Go players worldwide, played five matches of Go against the Google DeepMind’s Alphago. Losses of champion Lee was not a drawback for his opponent Alphago was created by a team of over 100 scientists. Hence its victory was essentially humanity’s great step forward in the study of artificial intelligence.

Brexit (June)

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PC: NBC News

To many unforeseen, to some unhoped for, and to some awaited. The UK EU membership referendum that took place on June 23 ended with 52% of the British citizens voting for the UK to exit the EU. Since then, inevitable impacts have followed: the resignation of former Prime Minister David Cameron, an immediate contraction of UK economy, and the plummeting of the pound. However, further implications and long-term effects of Britain’s leaving of the EU are open for debate. In fact, negotiations have not yet ended in resolving the issue at hand.

Pokemon Go: Progress in Augmented Reality (July)

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PC: Venture Beat

2016’s summer cannot possibly be described without Pokémon Go. With its first release on July 6, 2016, Pokémon Go immediately attracted millions of users worldwide, topping game download records with more than 500 million downloads. Pokémon Go immersed users into the entertainment of augmented reality and allowed them to interact with digitally generated Pokémons in the real-world environment.

Juno Enters Jupiter’s Orbit (July)

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PC: ABC News

Five years after its launch on Atlas 5 in 2011, NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully completed its 1.8 billion mile journey, reaching Jupiter’s orbit on July 4. To enter the realm of the “scariest part of the scariest place that we know” as said by Heidi Becker, a physicist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, Juno weathered anticipated challenges in Jupiter’s brutal radiation environment. Juno is expected to create a mark in our grasp of not only the largest planet in our solar system but also provide a blueprint in understanding a deeper enigma—the universe.

Rio Olympics (August – September)

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PC: money.cnn.com

2016 once again marked the comeback of the summer games. The five weeks of sportsmanship were a highlight and a source of tear and joy for many nations. From August to September, athletes from 205 nations gathered at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, breaking 19 world records and 65 olympic records. One of the greatest distinction of the 2016 Summer Olympics was the first ever Refugee Team with ten equally talented and deserving athletes who competed in the games.

South Korea Political Controversy (October-Present)

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Disappointment after disappointment. 2016 was an inexplicably bewildering year for Koreans—a political scandal. One woman from nowhere shook the country, as her hidden influence behind the Korean government was gradually revealed. However during the disclosure of such absurd corruption, the nation experienced a union through the impeachment of President Park and successful weekly rallies that gathered more than 2 millions a day to sound a unified chant.

US Presidential Elections (November)

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PC: Business Insider

The 2016 US Presidential Elections sparked more controversy than ever before. Despite a yearlong series of scandal plagued campaigning, Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States. Trump began as a Republican businessman with mere infamous publicity, initially believed to have extremely low chances of winning. Sharing his notorious and rather contentious opinions on globally disputed issues of immigrants, women, LGBTQ rights, and racism, Trump fueled a global fuss. Yet, results are results. As Barack Obama put it in his last remarks as President, “This is not a period. This is a comma in the continuing story of building America.”

The list goes on. Giant pandas are no longer on the endangered list. Leonardo DiCaprio won his first Oscar. Departures of numerous celebrities, the Aleppo offensive, Duterte’s presidency.

The End, 2016!

– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Featured Image: Crescentia Jung (’19)

Creating a Home for Everyone

We are Korea international school, and it’s quite difficult to realize the facade of it all.

We are Korea international school, and it’s quite difficult to realize the facade of it all. It wasn’t until later when I tried to understand the situation and draw a conclusion that, with hindsight, I realized our school’s name was misleading.

You enter the cafeteria.

You hang on words from each table, yet rarely understand a line.

Your voice crumbles in as you head upstairs to find a safer place.

You probably realized that our student body has become a lot more than just “Korean” these past few months, with several students joining us from Saudi Arabia.

Having been a part of the student body for many years, I had heard students talk about this change. And it was an inescapable truth that the generally accepted tone towards these “foreign” students was of discontent.

It was back in September I noticed there were new faces to our school, spotting them time to time–in the restroom and at the library. Perhaps Once during lunch, I waited in the HS 4th floor hallway to meet with a teacher, and next to me were two new students staring into their computer screens that spoke in a language I did not understand.

Seeing the impervious divide, I decided to ask new students about their experience so far to gain insight into their lives in KIS.

“We don’t have transitional programs. We’re just expected to know everything when we show up. I think it’s difficult not to feel like a minority.” – Anonymous (’18)

“This is my fourth week at this school, and I’m not sure if I understand what’s going on in class or out of class. But overall, I’m doing fine. I mean, I didn’t really have a choice.” – Anonymous (’17)

“When you don’t speak the same language, it’s hard to ask for help. Because I am not very fluent in English, and I don’t understand Korean at all.” – Anonymous (’20)

“It’s nice here, but it’s not my home.”

It was an epiphany, and this was when I began to digest the problem in our school. One of the reasons students turned their back from these new students was that they had heard the students were rich, anyway. From gossips down, it had been told that these new students were extremely wealthy and that they lived in luxurious hotels in downtown Seoul. I heard assumptions that they were rich as their parents had come allegedly due to a consent.

Regardless of these myths being true or not, after all, as this student had said, they were not home. It is true that we are too immersed in our own lives by the competitive atmosphere circulates through the school in regards to academics or friend groups. And by this, I don’t mean that we should suddenly start offering more opportunities. However, we should realize that it is the indifference that stops us from creating the inclusive community (we long for). I’m saying the effort should come from both parties; I’m not saying that we should take immediate action. Rather, we should strive to understand that it wasn’t their decision to move to Korea.

It’s true that inclusion is a difficult movement to assess.

It’s difficult to see beyond, or rather to make the decision to see beyond what others see. Yet in a community that prides itself on equality and opportunity, shouldn’t we treat more fairly those students most out-of-place?

– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Featured Image: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/Leave-no-child-behind/article14623232.ece 

SEOMUN XIX: An Achievement of Young Minds

Providing an insight into diverse student experiences of SEOMUN and the famed ICJ.

From November 24th to 26th, hundreds of students from different international schools gathered to participate in the 19th annual SEOMUN conference hosted by Seoul Foreign School (SFS). Yet, there was one evident difference—the location. For the first time, the conference was held at not the Coex but the Ilsan KINTEX center. Despite the change in location, SEOMUN remained the very in terms of endless passion, active exchange, and fruitful debate of young intellects.

Yet in the conference rooms of KINTEX were not only students participating SEOMUN as delegates to represent countries, to draft, resolutions, and to debate on worldly issues. For the conference being completely student-run, students partook in the conference with varying roles. Students took leadership. The executive secretariats as well as chairs were completely composed of students who often had prior experience of MUN. In fact, there were two media teams, Seoulite and SEOTV, dedicated solely on publishing updates on the three days of the conference by press and video respectively. Not to forget, the littleluns who have the most integral responsibilities of passing notes and counting votes are also students. Attending the same conference yet witnessing it with such varying roles, SEOMUN participants are likely to have widely different experiences.

How was your experience of SEOMUN as a ____?

General Assembly II Delegate: Elizabeth Choi (‘18)

“This year was my second year participating in a SEOMUN conference.Through this year’s conference, I realized that all the committees were truly different, not only in terms of the issues discussed but also cooperation among delegates. Frankly speaking, SEOMUN XIX was an opportunity for reflection for me both as a student and a delegate. Because the committee size was grand, it was quite difficult for me to fit in and find a place to passionately contribute my ideas. Although it was thrilling to see the heated debates and speeches among other delegates, I felt that the more the conference progressed, the more I lost my place in the committee, especially due to my absence on the second day. But don’t get me wrong. The delegates of General Assembly II were cooperative and one of the most enthusiastic group of people I have met during the different conferences I have attended. Furthermore, I noticed that all delegates, especially those in my lobbying group, had great leadership and never ceased to ask questions for feedback. I was often amazed at how supportive, confident, and bold each delegate was when he/she came up to the podium. All in all, this year’s SEOMUN XIX was a great chance for me to observe and learn from other delegates as well as a chance to look back on my personal MUN progress. I wish that next year, I can participate in a slightly smaller committee so that I can contribute more to the conference.”

Security Council President: Geo Han (‘17)

“My experience as a chair was like a culmination of my five years of experience in MUN. However, I felt the pressure of perfecting every procedure to provide the best experience for all the delegates in Security Council since they are the elites of MUN and also because this was my last conference. The level of debate was exceptionally high for all of the delegates conducted thorough research ahead of time, and all I did was guide them throughout and remind them of the protocols of MUN. It also felt surreal for me since I was in the exact same spot 2 years ago as a delegate of Security Council. It felt a little weird seeing myself in the same committee, but in a different position. All in all, I believe I can call this year’s SEOMUN the best conference I’ve ever participated in with all the helpful delegates and thoughtful co-chairs Grace Lee and Jennifer Rhee.”

Seoulite Reporter: Kristin Kim (‘20)

“As a reporter, I definitely had a much more relaxed time because as long as I handed my drafts in on time, I could go to whichever committee and watch yet not participate. Although I was a little stressed when I got writer’s block while writing an introduction for one of my POI articles, I genuinely enjoyed being a reporter. The best part was that the Seoulite room had so many snacks, so I ate a lot while I was there. Seoulite is composed mostly of SIS students, and luckily they were all very nice too, so when i was struggling, I knew that I could ask anybody (including the KIS juniors!) for help.”

SEOTV Editor: Joey Park (‘18)

“My experience as a SeoTV editor was phenomenal. Of course, there were moments where I hoped I signed up as a camera man rather than an editor, however the hard work paid off eventually. I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment even if the result ended up not the way I had in mind. SeoTV offered multiple challenges, and these challenges that I faced as an editor raised the feeling of accomplishment, which I would like to experience again! Although the final video seemed to contain many errors, it was perfect to me.”

ICJ Report

For more than 4 generations of SEOMUN, KIS has dominated at one specific committee: the famed International Court of Justice(ICJ). Known for its peculiar proceedings that vastly differ from the other committees in the conference, ICJ throughout the years has come to be known as one of the most prestigious committees. Unlike other committees that discuss resolutions for global problems, the ICJ instead focuses on righting international wrongs. For example, this year the ICJ’s Advisory Opinion was the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation upon a Complaint Filed against the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the anticipated Court Case was Questions relating to the Obligation to Prosecute or Extradite (Belgium v. Senegal). The set-up of ICJ is very much like that of a Mock Trial; there are advocates defending each position, witnesses that provide in-depth analyses of the topic at hand, and judges that determine the final verdict. But for the KIS ICJ Chairs, Judges, Witnesses, and Advocates, who by the way won the Belgium v. Senegal court case, ICJ is much more than just a simulation of real world problems.

ICJ President: Suahn Hur (‘18)

“International Court of Justice. The grand title of this committee intimidated me since my first experience in it as an advocate for SEOMUN 2015. This year for SEOMUN 2016, however, I had the grand honor of serving as a president, which, regardless of the committee, is a pressuring position to take in the world of Model UN. As a president, my role greatly varied from other chairs in the entire conference as I had the role of a judge within the actual court of justice. From training advocates on court procedures months ahead of the conference to ruling objections during trial, it has been an excruciating process both mentally and physically. However, watching the judges and advocates fiercely voice their opinions in the committee room was rewarding nonetheless. Close interactions between the chairs and the judges and advocates prior to the conference, which I define to be the most unique quality of ICJ, enhanced my experience from ICJ overall, and I cannot be more thankful for having been able to lead such a special committee this year!”

ICJ Deputy Assistant President: Sally Hong (‘18)

“From the procedures to the issues we debate on, the fundamental nature of ICJ vastly differs from that of other committees. This year, the judges debated on the legitimacy of a decision made by the ILO Tribunal where they had to discuss the legal identity and relationship of the different pertinent parties. They not only had to debate on the issue as a whole, but they also had to weigh the evidence that they would use to come to a conclusion, taking into consideration the credibility and possible biases. The advocates, on the other hand, debated on Senegal’s obligation to persecute Hissène Habré. Even though there were a few minor disputes and heated arguments beyond the typical “healthy, fruitful discussions”, judges and advocates were still able to see past these problems to focus on their responsibilities as “delegates” of a major international court, which I was very relieved to see.”

ICJ Advocate: Leanne Kim (‘19)

“Being an ICJ advocate was an experience that I think was vastly different from other MUN committees, because it held a different value. Instead of a standard conference procedure, we followed a mock trial procedure that grew very heated and intense. It’s especially different in terms of the specifics– the entering of evidence, objections, direct examinations and cross examinations. Though I value both standard MUN and ICJ, I think ICJ holds a different aspect of debate and speech, where you deal with a specific international dispute between two or more nations.  Overall, ICJ was an experience that was really exciting and intense!”

ICJ Witness: Sara S Kim (‘18)

“Having been a mock trial witness and through my time onstage as an actress, I was very confident of my knowledge and skills. Soon after the preparation process began, I realized that I was back at square one; I had a lot to learn after all the experience I had. The objection rules were different, an unbelievable amount of content knowledge was required, and on top of that, I had responsibilities in my own committee, Six Party Talks, as a main submitter.  Nevertheless, with the support of my ICJ partners and thorough preparation, I walked into the court room with a newfound confidence. Was it hard? Yes. Was it stressful? Of course. But do I regret it? No. Was the achievement worth all the hassle? Absolutely. The strange sensation of thrilling satisfaction in midst of palpable tension—that’s why I loved (and still love) ICJ.”

For these excited MUNers, ICJ is a culmination of months and years of preparation throughout every debate prep and theatre rehearsal. For these MUNers, ICJ is the ultimate stage where they can showcase their impassioned worldviews and their eloquent delivery. So next year in SEOMUN XX, take the time to stop by ICJ. The sight you see will leave you in awe.

Adios SEOMUN XIX!

Kidult Culture: Why Do Adults Collect Toys?

The motivation behind why adults collect toys.

Napoleon Bonaparte, Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, and Yoo Bin Shin, explicitly different people—both inside and out—all share something in common. We are avid collectors. Napoleon collected countries. Tom Hanks collects typewriters. Angelina Jolie is a machirologist who collects daggers, and I collect toys.

For these four distinctly different individuals to unite in a single matter is quite fascinating.

What is the driving force behind these collectors? What is it that the act of collecting possesses to bring these persons of different ages, generations, races to at once amalgamate into a single mold, a single motivation? In most cases, this bring us to one or the other: enjoyment or investment.

Some collect for enjoyment, and that is, for the fun, the beauty of collecting. Whether it be collecting Judean coins or refrigerator magnets, to some, these objects may have more meaning than their simple presence. The act of collecting allows people to cling to and treasure the past in timeless objects. Yet, for some, the joy comes from the thrill of “hunting.” Some objects are in fact difficult to get hold of, in most cases, for their rarity of condition. Thus, there exists this excitement in hunting when someone forages for something specific and uncommon. When finally this something is attained, a high level of satisfaction follows just as if an unexpected dream was reached. This fun may expand into the realm of connection as well. Many find the fun of collecting in getting to know like-minded fellow collectors and communicating with these newly introduced soul mates about their own collections. Regardless of which aspect, all aspects embrace the theme of collecting for enjoyment.

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PC: Pinterest

On the other hand are those who collect for investment. Once a collectable in their hands, they put it out on the market for other keen collectors to stumble upon and purchase. The motivation of these souls lies on the rather scandalous facet of materialism. For these collectors, conveying meaning and depositing emotion are considered extravagance—waste of time and effort. It is rather patience that comes at a price for them. Just like stocks that skyrocket in worth over time, collectables too gain monetary value with time (why antiques are big-budget). Thus, collectors with the intention of investment, would buy, let’s say, a ten-year old classic Darth Vader action figure. Then, they would be given two choices: to sell it immediately or wait for prices to rise (but usually they rise). These collectors can be categorized with those infamous Yeezy resellers.

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PC: soul4street

Now the question is why toys? Why toys out of the all other possible collections? When looked at from a distant glance, collecting toys may seem out of place, especially for grownups. Toys are an unable-to-be-pulled-apart essential for toddlers. Hence, the same goes for adults. Toys are relics that allow adults to relive childhood memories. As perhaps a quick drink from the Fountain of youth, “a spring that supposedly restores youth,” toys provide a short break from the demanding grownup life to at once drench them with innocence. Contrary to the widely accepted belief, toys don’t just have monetary worth but also attached is an emotional worth. At least, that’s why I collect toys.

#NoJudgement

Featured Image: Yours.co.uk

– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Childhood Toys That Will Make You Nostalgic

Let us wallow in nostalgia of our childhood with these treasured games and toys.

This society, full of competition, endlessly forces weighty duties upon every crosswalk of our lives. Hence we very unconsciously steer our lives for today at our present and tomorrow at our future. But sometimes we must sit back and reminisce. We must reminisce our treasured childhood memories, perhaps hidden in your inner most part of your closet or already past your generation of hand-me-down, these toys that define our childhood will certainly make you nostalgic.

(Yet I warn you, this list may be subjective.)

  1. Build-A-Bear

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    Familiar Sight? (PC: Disney.com)

    No doubt these animals were all of our first official pets. First generation customization, I should say. From stuffing it (where you would choose “Soft & Cuddly,” “Hard & Firm,” or “Somewhere in Between”), choosing it an hip outfit, to giving it a birth certificate, you learned to build-a-bear from scratch!

  2. American Girl

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    Only if I could own any one of them… (PC: nytimes.com)

    American dream and every girl’s dream, put them together, we got American Girl. Again another customization offer for kids to for the first time feel that spirit of independence. But there was just one downside, its price.

  3. Webkinz

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    Cute Plushies (PC: webkinz.com)

    It was our first experience of virtual reality. You would buy the stuffed animal with an impressed rainbow letter “W,” then find a secret code that opened you up to a virtual world online to take care of that new existence.

  4. Neopets

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    New Pets (PC: newscult.com)

    Another virtual pet community, with a magical twist.

  5. Yu-Gi-Oh Cards

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    I’ll take the fifth card from the left. (PC: yugioh.co.kr)

    The stars meant it all. The cards were sold in blind packets and that was probably why you owned so many cards of the same character.

  6. Calico Critters

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    Lovely Family Picture (PC: Target.com)

    These critters were not only adorable but velvety—guilty soft.

  7. Craft Lace Lanyard

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    True Accomplishments (PC: pinterest.com)

    The seamless weaves were just too satisfying. Starting and finishing a braid were the most challenging steps—I still can’t.

  8. Littlest Pet Shop

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    Complexity in Architecture (PC: terapeak)

    Absolutely plastic yet undoubtedly my favorite. Every little piece was as precious as gold. If one got lost, it was as if I could not complete a puzzle. Littlest Pet Shop was godtastic but maybe a bit demeaning now. Let’s face it, we gave every animal a different voice.

  9. Polly Pockets

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    17 fashions in one box! (PC: pinterest.com)

    Think of this as the smartphone of toys. It represented essentiality. A doll, house, car, furniture, outfits, even a castle, you name it, every thing quintessential was magically packed into just this one pocket.

  10. Tamagotchi

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    My First Pet (PC: Tamagotchi Time)

    When you asked for a pet, your parents brought you this. You were for the first time given a true responsibility, except the device and game were basically impossible to comprehend that your pet’s life depended on your rough guesstimates to hopefully press the right button.

  11. Sue Game

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    Loading screen of a Sue Game (PC: jr.naver.com)

    If you spent your childhood in Korea, these Sue games were those you couldn’t miss out. Making Ulcho (Frozen Chocolate Snack), eating in the classroom without getting caught, and giving your boyfriend Bin a haircut, were all possible opportunities as Sue. If you feel, sing with me, “Shrudidubibi shallalalala, my name is Sue, my name is Sue!”

  12. Pogs (Ddakji)

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    Precious Hexagons (PC:gmarket.co.kr)

    There was no such upper limit as to one in math class for the number of pogs you could have. You would match every single friend just to collect more and more. First time you learned that sometimes it’s quantity over quality.

  13. Hair Wraps

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    DIY Vogue Girl (PC: alibris.com)

    Hair wraps were cuter (maybe more stylish) than ombre.

  14. Heelys

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    Color on point (PC: skatecut.com)

    Another hot trend that you could not miss out, heelys was a must for both guys and girls. Why? Because it made you look so cool.

  15. Club Penguin

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    Where’s Rockhopper? (PC: freecpcodeonline.weebly.com)

    It reads Club Penguin, but I proudly call it a legend. If you find Rockhopper in this picture, you know it all. (I think I’ll play this tonight.)

Has a tear of sentimentality, of remembrance, of longing for your naive self dropped yet?

You do Toy Story Andy today.

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Buzz? Woody? (PC: tumblr.com)

– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Featured Image: cophilosophy.blogspot.kr

KIS Cross Country 16-17 Takes API Guam

KIS XC team sets unprecedented records in KIStory.

With a tincture of cold in the air signaling the arrival of a new season, the 2016-2017 fall sports season is already nearing its end. Yet before the end, the KIS Varsity Cross Country team has returned from the 13th Asia Pacific Invitational (API) Cross Country Championships held at Guam, bringing back special news to KIS. Over 300 runners from 23 international schools participated in this year’s API meet, nevertheless our runners have done us proud, placing overall 4th. The team has claimed several individual titles, set personal records, and exhibited astonishing performance.

This year’s Varsity Cross Country Team comprised of 14 runners, 7 boys, Roger Han (’17), Doohwan Kim (’17), Jake Lee (’17), Jeremy Ryu (’18), Alex Han (’18), Daewon Hong (’18), Patrick Seong (’19), and 7 girls, Michelle Kwon (’18), Jenny Lee (’19), Alice Jo (’19), Amy Purdon (’19), Beth Purdon (’19), Aris Huang (’19), Gina Lee (’20).

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PC: St. Mary’s International School

Despite the worries of the team being the youngest ever, the KIS Varsity Cross Country Team outperformed all schools from Korea as well as those from other countries in Asia. The Girls team placed overall 4th, and the Boys team placed 5th. It was an extremely close race—a total score standoff with JFK—with the relay being the tiebreaker, putting us to 4th. However, individual runners set blistering paces as well. For the first time in KIS history, three runners claimed individual titles. Jenny Lee (’19) received 8th place, setting a season best time of 21:48. Michelle Kwon (’18), again led her way to Top 15, received 10th place. From the Boys race, Patrick Seong (’19) received 6th place, clocking in at 18:02, his personal best time.

To take a closer look at the team’s accomplishments and personal outlooks, Blueprint has interviewed the team captains and head coach, Mr. Reschke.

  1. How do you feel about the API race and the team’s performance?

“This year’s API Guam was a mark in KIS XC history. The team did better than ever before, which, in all honesty, was not something that any of us had been expecting to achieve. I have to say, though, I would never forget missing out on a chance to win the first ever API trophy. We only lost out to the third placed team by the tie-breaking system. But considering that we were without two of the captains, our overall performance was remarkable, and I’m happy with the fact that everyone performed at the expected level or above. I would like to give special credits to Patrick, Jenny, and Michelle, who were in the top 15 of the entire API, making it three KIS runners with the individual API award and another improvement on the already-exceptional result of last year.” —Roger Han (’17)

“I’m proud that we made a new KIS record at API and surprised that we just get better as the years go on. We definitely surprised other schools by telling them that we’re still in the game.”—Doohwan Kim (’17)

“ The API Race is a unique and special part of cross country where we are able to race against talented runners and it’s really cool to be able to meet teams not just from Japan but from China and Guam as well. I’m just really proud of how well we did and how much stronger our team has gotten! Every year we do better than the year before and it’s amazing to be able to be a competitor to these great teams. —Michelle Kwon (’18)

  1. How do you feel about this year’s XC team?

“We lost three senior varsity members and some of the underclassmen were naturally expected to step-up, which they did. Also, we have an unusually small number of upperclassmen runners this year, including just two of the boys captains, so the burden of leadership was bound to trickle down. Thankfully, the expected underclassmen have shown great progress in not just their times, but in their leadership skills as well. From a long-term vision, I feel that this season is a transitionary one, as the team will undoubtedly get better on the oncoming seasons. But so far, our team atmosphere and race results have been nothing short of great.” —Roger Han (’17)

“Probably the team with the most potential so far. We always say we are tired but end up pushing each other to the absolute limits.”—Doohwan Kim (’17)

“I LOVE THEM!” —Michelle Kwon (’18)

“I’m very proud of this team. I can see the growth of the team over the year of how we started the season and how we are now towards the end; we’ve seen improvement out of every single member of the team. We’ve had less injuries this year as well. I think the students who have stuck with it year after year have definitely seen their improvement, getting stronger and faster as well. Dynamics among and within the team have definitely changed, but that’s going to happen every year. Each year brings a different set of students, but it’s still been a very productive and good year so far. ”—Coach Reschke

  1. What do you wish to accomplish before the season ends?

“Last year, the boys’ team was second place in KAIAC Conference and KAIAC Tournament, and I’m sure we can achieve similar results this year. We have found consistency as the season progressed, and we are only getting better. As for the girls, this year’s girls team is the best ever in KIS history, evidenced by their performance in Guam. With the way they are going, I expect them to sweep all the rewards.” —Roger Han (’17)

“Before the season ends, I would like to see this last week some more team bonding. As far as the races go, the students know what they’re doing. But I think what makes cross country so special is towards the end, there’s more team bonding, creating the family unit, a sense of community among the team. I’m not going to be concerned of any scores or championships, as the students are going to run, and they’re prepared. I’m not going to be looking for best times, but rather to finish the season on a high note. And I want to make sure students run the best they possibly can.”—Coach Reschke

  1. Last words for the team?

“Whether it’s the race or the season, we don’t stop until the very end. Let’s fight through it.”—Roger Han (’17)

“Remember that we are a family! Always take care of each other. Cross Country may be an individual sport, but we win as a team.”—Doohwan Kim (’17)

Coach Reschke shared a note to the departing seniors:

“Those of you who’ve been with the team for only a few years or all four years, congratulations for sticking it through. You’ve improved yourselves to really have the stamina to be able to finish and finish strong with a very tough and demanding year. I’ve asked a lot out of you this year, but you’ve came through, followed through. And it’s been an impressive year. Thank you.”

Altogether, this year’s cross country team has shown spectacular growth and is ready to claim another great season at the upcoming KAIAC race. Although cross country may lack the spirited supporters and spectators, the Cross Country team has achieved and accomplished. Although cross country may seem like an individual sport, let me reiterate captain Doohwan’s words, “Cross Country may be an individual sport, but we win as a team.”

– Yoo Bin Shin (’18)

Featured Image: Mr. Reschke