Sports and COVID

With COVID continuing to persist, is it worth it – or safe – to play sports?

Céspedes gets on-deck as cardboard fans look on

“Of all the unimportant things, football (soccer) is the most important” – St. John Paul II

Sports are a key factor in many people’s lives that affects both their mood and their enjoyment of life. Watching sports is entertaining and the organizations that sponsor these sports make tons of revenue. However, the coronavirus has thrown a kink into 2020’s sports plans. 

The NBA has arguably done the best job at managing the coronavirus. They’ve created a ‘bubble’ in which all teams, with their players and staff, are going to be playing in Orlando together. It has worked incredibly well so far in limiting the cases of coronavirus in the NBA to 0. The organization has successfully managed to organize games with 22 teams of players and around 1400 staff members without instigating any threats to public health and wellbeing. Clearly, the work that Adam Silver put into learning about the virology and logistics of containing the virus has paid off. 

However, less can be said about the MLB. The New York Times reported on the Marlins, Phillies, and Cardinals, all with coronavirus cases that caused delays. It was clear to Zac Shomler from Strong Opinion Sports that Rob Manfred, the commissioner of the MLB, has done a far worse job at setting an example for the type of conduct that was to be followed in order to prevent coronavirus cases. Although a bubble like the NBA would be more difficult to maintain for larger leagues such as the MLB, it was still poorly managed as to how seriously players and staff should be concerned with maintaining their safety. These delays make it harder for teams to go through with playoffs, as regular season games become more staggered. 

The NFL season has yet to start, but training camps have already seen cases of coronavirus pop up. Now, if a bubble with the MLB would be hard, an NFL bubble would be downright impossible. NFL teams would have 32 teams, with a roster of around 40-50 players each, and their own staff of around 3800 people each on average. It would be a logistical nightmare, and there is not even a facility to house that many people in order to have a bubble. However, teams have begun to check into hotels, so that there is less contact with outsiders. Teams and staff are living in their own hotels and going from training camp to the hotel everyday. According to the Washington Post, there were “56 players [that] had tested positive for the novel coronavirus since the opening of training camps,” but Allen Sills, the chief medical officer of the NFL, says that they expect more cases to arise, and that their goal is to quickly identify and prevent the spread of these cases. Even so, some players have begun to opt out of practice and likely of the season completely, given that it would even start. 

These struggles are universal as coronavirus takes an ever larger toll on the world. Professional sports, although entertaining, should be considered as a luxury of a time before the pandemic. The leagues outside of the NBA get larger and deal with more staff and players, making any solution that is reminiscent of the NBA’s a logistical nightmare. It is far more important that the health and safety of the players is considered, especially in the US where the handling of coronavirus has been far less consistent. 

– Sean Choe ‘21

Featured Image: Al Bello/Getty Images

China’s Coronavirus Outbreak

Here’s an overview of China’s Coronavirus

Currently, leaving not only the city of Wuhan infected, but also other international cities vulnerable, China’s coronavirus is continuing to spread unabated. Patient zero appeared on December 31st last year, and the SARS-related respiratory disease quickly grew at an alarming rate. Today, this virus reached a shocking number of  42,000 confirmed infections over 28 countries. Most of the stores and businesses in China are closed, and other Asian countries closed down major department stores and places that usually hold a high population. In such, the Coronavirus became a global health concern all around the world. 

After the virus contaminated a handful of people in Wuhan, scientists and the World Health Organization were quick to identify the disease and its origin. Researchers found out that bats were New Coronavirus’ reservoir host. Although scientists are not sure how it was transmitted, they predict that it either transmitted to other animals, eventually leading up to us, or was sold in illegal black markets (as China consists of a lot of black markets for animals). 

Although scientists and the WHO were able to recognize the vaccine, the Chinese government denied proposing an action to prevent the disease from mushrooming to other countries. Due to its rapid outbreak, there were only a few ways in which the government could respond (they could only use thermometers and workers to look for potential patients). In such, people from Wuhan and other cities that had Coronavirus patients immediately took refuge in nearby countries, positioning South Asia and East Asia in danger. People were readily able to leave as it was difficult to differentiate the new Coronavirus to a regular cold. In social media, there were constant stories of how patients escaped Wuhan by taking fever-reducer drugs, indicating how easily people could get away from the government’s eye.

Currently, the control of the disease is still in the process as more confirmed patients are found all over the world. Although the world has a better grasp of what Coronavirus really is and ways to prevent it, it is still difficult due to its subtle symptoms and contagious characteristic, making everyone paranoid. To make matters worse, there has been racism against Asians from Caucasians that discriminate Chinese. People were trying to find a scapegoat for this crisis as their lives were put into danger. Korean social media is also quick to criticize foreigners from China. In addition to social issues, there have been political conflicts; for instance, many younger generations are criticizing President Moon for opening doors to Chinese tourists despite the virus. This phenomenon is happening to other countries as political parties clashed in these types of problems. Coronavirus is bringing political, social, and economic problems to our society. 

Many experts compare this crisis to that of MERS and SARS. Although this virus is less lethal than those two, its rate of contagion is much higher. The only way to keep ourselves safe is to wash our hands and wear masks. Stay safe!

Featured Image Source: Al Jazeera

-Mark Park (’20)-

Hong Kong’s Autonomy

The Hong Kong protests, explained.

The 1984 Sino-British power transfer agreement stated that China would give Hong Kong a “high degree of autonomy” for 50 years as the country would run under the “one country, two systems” principle. With an independent judicial system, the financially thriving country of Hong Kong demonstrates a great model of democracy and freedom.

However, its underlying relationship with neighboring mainland China has proven to invite a myriad of issues concerning universal suffrage, free speech, and independence. The concept of  protesting or organizing mass activist movements in Hong Kong is not a foreign one. In fact, ever since 2014, Hong Kong millennials have initiated protests against Beijing’s increasing control over its legislative and judicial systems. 

Though the protests currently happening in the status quo are unprecedented. Peaceful protests took place early in 2019 grew by June into marches of astonishing numbers, drawing hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers. 

Although the extradition bill has been completely withdrawn, protestors are fighting for “The Five Demands” to be fulfilled by the Hong Kong Government. The Five Demands include investigations against police abuse and universal suffrage. The greatest public demand is conduct direct elections where legislative and presidential candidates do not have to be prescreened by a body of politicians from Beijing. 

With all the chaos among protestors, Hong Kong police, and Chinese politicians, I was fortunate to interview two of my friends in Hong Kong who both wish to remain anonymous for their individual safety. While the two are currently enrolled in international schools in Hong Kong, they both hold a strong sense of attachment and devotion to Hong Kong’s heritage and sovereignty. 

For the people who don’t understand what’s going on in Hong Kong, can you provide some background information on what’s currently going on with the recent protests?

A: The protests in Hong Kong began due to a very controversial extradition bill, which would essentially allow China to step into Hong Kong’s judicial system and try [Hong Kong] criminal cases in China. This sparked a lot of outrage among citizens who first started protesting peacefully. Over time, the protests have escalated. Although Carrie Lam has officially withdrawn the bill completely, the protests evolved into a debate about Hong Kong freedom and independence as well as overall dissatisfaction with the government in general. There are several points of contention, some condemning the police for their actions taken against protesters and others who are calling for Carrie Lam to step down. One of the main points behind the protests is that they are fueled by general dissatisfaction and disappointment with how Hong Kong is currently being run in accordance with China.

B: I’m sure most people know about it, but the protests basically revolve around this extradition bill that was introduced ever since a Hong Konger killed his girlfriend in Taiwan. Even though this bill might properly prosecute that individual, it means that China can interfere with Hong Kong’s judicial system and extradite Hong Kong criminals to China. There was a lot of opposition against this bill and basically this is where all the protests originated from. The bill was withdrawn a few months ago, but Hong Kongers, especially the young ones, are still demanding for free elections and transparency in the police department. 

How are you, your friends, and family reacting to these protests? 

A: I definitely know some of my friends who have attended, and I’m very supportive of their attendance, that being said protests have generally escalated far more now, with more police involvement and violent clashes. At the current state of the protests, it’s more difficult and dangerous for students to participate. While I don’t think I would go out and protest, those that I know that do go and protest, I hold immense respect for their bravery and dedication. I’ve seen footage and stumbled across police barricades and it is sometimes quite frightening, but it also just makes it all the more clear how important going out and participating is for the people of Hong Kong. 

B: I’ve been told by my parents to avoid certain streets, subway stations, and landmarks. [My parents] are a bit passive and they don’t talk about the protests unless they tell me to be careful. They also get frustrated when the protests are blocking major roads and create traffic, but that’s all. A few of my classmates were really passionate, but now the protests are quite violent. Most of my friends who are foreigners immigrated to Australia and Singapore because the police are beginning to even harass foreigners or anyone who doesn’t speak Mandarin. 

How is your school responding to the protests? (ex. safety, potential student absences) 

A: My school is farther removed from the protest areas, so we are currently not having too many safety requirements regarding protests. Typically, during weekdays protests are scarce as they mostly occur during weekends. They haven’t actually disrupted our school life all too much, but our school has held an assembly to address what is going on in our city and offer different perspectives on the protests. Although the school is an international school and mostly neutral, it holds respect for both the protesters cause and the government.

B: My school has been closed for the past week because the protests these days are extremely dangerous. There was a college student who was shot on Monday as well as a man who was set on fire. These days, the protestors are even beginning to enter areas where protests never took place. 

Have you ever considered participating in a protest? 

A: I would say that myself and the people around me are generally more removed from the protests since not many of us are actually from Hong Kong and we always have the opportunity to return to our country of origin. That being said, most of the people I know are sympathetic to the protests. Although the protests have had a significant impact and inconvenience on our lives, we understand the necessity of this cause for the Hong Kongers. Most of us are hoping for a peaceful and nonviolent end to this cause with resolution soon.

B: Nope, I haven’t and I never [will] protest because it’s really dangerous with the tear gas and rubber bullets. A bunch of students got shot and a pregnant woman was physically assaulted by the police. 

In truth, Hong Kong has a bleak future. 2047 marks the 50th year since Britain’s return of the country to China, encouraging a higher degree of Chinese control and autonomy over Hong Kong. The rubber bullets, bloodied heads, and broken umbrellas all symbolize Hong Kong’s brutal and prolonged fight for freedom, but defeat is inevitable unless the West fixes its disappointing response to this cry for democracy. 

–Hannah Jo (’22)

Reality Check, Mr. President

It’s high time that the president learns that he is not above the law. 

On September 24, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an impeachment inquiry into the president. This decision was backed by resounding support from the House Democrats, with over 95 percent of them being openly supportive of the investigation. 

The impeachment inquiry stems from two main reasons. The first is the shocking news that Trump had talked to the president of Ukraine about investigating Joe Biden, the former vice president and his political opponent for the 2020 elections, although there is no evidence of wrongdoing by him. In addition, he has withheld nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine just days before the transaction was to take place in order to focus on the investigation. 

The longtime accusations that he had conspired with the Russians to sabotage the 2016 elections didn’t help, either. This isn’t the first time that the president has thought that he is above the law. A comprehensive investigation paper named the Mueller Report (after the lead investigator, Robert Mueller), which was released a few months ago, outlines the illegal actions Trump and the Russian government took to uncover harmful information about Hillary Clinton through the emails of government information she sent via her private email address. Although the report seemed damning enough, Trump managed to squeeze his way out of an impeachment. The anger of the nation continued to fester under the surface. 

But now it’s erupting with full force. 

What’s frankly hilarious is that the president thinks that he can run away from this situation and cover it up with flamboyant, inflammatory remarks and tweets, like he has always done. In a letter to the House Democratic leaders, the White House said that the inquiry had “violated precedent and denied President Trump’s due process rights in such an egregious way that neither he nor the executive branch would willingly provide testimony or documents,” according to the New York Times. It went so far as to announce that “it would not cooperate with what it called an illegitimate effort ‘to overturn the results of the 2016 election’”. To add the cherry on top of this fabulous sundae of distractions, Trump mocked the democrats by calling the house a “kangaroo court”. 

What he doesn’t know is that the world is now mocking him. There’s nothing he can do; this week, House Democrats plan to hold their first public hearings in their impeachment inquiry into Trump for his communications with Ukraine. 

Reality check, Mr. President.

– Lauren Cho (’22)

Image: The New York Times

Extinction Strikes: Why the Youth Are Angry

From September 20th to September 27th, over 6 million people around the globe marched out into the streets to demand climate justice. With 2,500 events scheduled in over 150 countries, the protest turned out to be the largest climate mobilization in world history. The events were intentionally scheduled so that the United Nations Climate Action Summit (Sept 23rd) would be sandwiched between the two strikes, pressuring countries to take ambitious and transformative action.

The remarkable factor that distinguishes the climate strike from any other mass socio-political movement is that it is youth-led. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year old from Sweden, spearheaded the movement when a couple of years ago, she sacrificed a day of school to stand in front of the Swedish parliament and protest. This solitary ripple has inspired a wave of global protests where the youth are taking charge. Many public schools have been supportive of the student strikersmost notably New York City’s public education system that excused 1.1 million students to join the strike.

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In South Korea, more than 5000 people joined the 9/21 Climate Emergency work strike, and 700 for the 9/27 School Strike. Although the turnout rate was lower than other countries, the strikes were the biggest climate mobilization in Korea’s history, indicating significant and meaningful progress in Korean environmental activism. Below is what a KIS student who participated in the strike had to say. 

“When it comes to climate change, people give up saying “What difference will I make.” But we need to realize that everyone can make a difference. Difference doesn’t mean solving the problem immediately. It means moving forward together.” -Alicia Lee (‘20)

The strike organizers chose the Korean government as their primary target, criticizing the administration’s defeatist claims that they were “already doing everything they could.” In response to the government’s investment in six new coal power plants, strikers gave the government a failing grade in the subject of climate action and demanded that politicians entirely halt coal investment starting from 2020.

During the UN Climate Summit, President Moon failed to announce substantial and concrete climate policy, instead making vague promises about ‘clear skies’ and increasing funding for environmental agencies. His response is lackluster at best, and detrimental at worst. It is far too late to enact tepid, small-scale policies such as “increasing funding.” Because behind its dismissive rhetoric that blames China for the entirety of its climate crises, Korea stands as one of the most environmentally careless nations. Korea is one of the top 4 ‘climate villains,’ a term referring to countries that have been most irresponsible and negligent about responding to climate change. It also is the OECD’s fourth largest emitter of CO2 and has the fastest growing rate of carbon emissions. And despite such outrageously deficient political action, there still seems to be a dire lack of urgency coming from the government. 

Behind closed doors, the government has continuously claimed that fulfilling the conditions of the Paris Agreement is realistically impossible and incompatible with economic development. It seems as if Korea’s environmental policies are a tool for advancing the country’s reputation in the global arena, not a genuine political issue of concern. What we need from politicians is simple: an acknowledgement of the climate crisis and the government’s role in aggravating it. Of course individual citizens’ efforts matter, but there is a firm limit to how much change can be incited solely through grassroots activism. In order for humanity to avoid extinction in the coming 50 years, there is no option other than bold, aggressive, and revolutionary political action. The younger generation deserves to live, and we aren’t going away until those in power value us over economic growth. 

– Yoora Do ‘20

Featured Image: Charles Park ’20

El Paso Shooting

 America has once again been devastated by another mass shooting—the El Paso shooting.. The shooting took place in El Paso, Texas, where 22 were killed and 24 were  injured by a twenty-one year old white man. This is one of America’s deadliest modern mass shootings in the history and the 239th shooting of 2019 in the US.

The shooting took place in a local Walmart in El Paso, a city right on the border between Mexico and the States. The identified culprit, Patrick Crusius, killed innocent civilians with an AK-47 assault rifle and later testified to authorities that he entered the store with explicit intent to target Hispanic people. Crusius allegedly posted a white nationalist manifesto online shortly after the attack and admitted that his inspiration for the attack was by the gunman in Christchurch, New Zealand, who killed 51 Muslim worshippers in March. 

A man comforts a woman who was in the freezer section of a Walmart during a shooting incident, in El Paso, Texas

Such white supremist terrorism seemed to be fuled by the online community where zealous converts of radical nationalism find inspiration among each other to plan attacks such as the El Paso shooting. However, the government did not wield much power to be able to control or shutdown such platforms that spur violent acts because of the 1st amendment rule that boasts some of the most free-speech protections in the world. In the absence of government intervention, such platforms “serve as round-the-clock white supremacist rallies”, as the Anti-Defamation League wrote in April. With such racial crimes bound to continue, people are increasingly wary of their safety. They no longer feel safe in a place where they call home, and no longer safe to live with the color of their skin.

Image of the targeted areas during the shooting

Gun attacks are so ubiquitous in the United States that many aren’t even reported. For instance, a former graduate of KIS, currently at Berkeley University, told me that three students were shot dead on campus this year, but such a tragedy is so common that it didn’t even make it to the local news. 

Just this year,  there have already been 297 mass shootings in the US—335 people brutally murdered. How many more lives must be sacrificed until the government finally acts upon the desperate cries of citizens begging for safety? Although it is difficult to fully comprehend the political and legal complications regarding gun regulation laws, we stand here today hoping that the government will be able to work past such obstacles to ensure the safety of their citizens.

-Sophie Yang (’21)

The Malaysia Corruption Scandal–How Did They Do It?

How did the largest kleptocracy case in the world play out?

The biggest corruption scandal of the 21st century is finally coming to an end. A single leader of a single country carried out a con game against not just his people but the entire world. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, currently awaiting a final decision by the jury, has been charged for more than 40 crimes including embezzlement of over $4 billion from the state fund. Mahathir Mohamad, who came to power last May in the general election, has openly denounced Najib and immediately barred him from fleeing the country. When the police forces searched Najib’s properties, they seized hundreds and thousands of luxury goods: 234 pairs of sunglasses, 423 watches, 567 handbags and 12,000 items of jewelry as well as 30 million dollars of cash in various currencies. By far, the Malaysia Scandal is “the largest kleptocracy case,” as US Attorney General Loretta Lynch described.

How is a 12 billion-dollar international fraud involving Hollywood celebrities and more than 12 countries worldwide possible?

It all began in 2009 when Najib Razak was elected Prime Minister of Malaysia. One of his first actions was creating the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a government-run investment company which was supposed to promote economic growth and lead Malaysia to become a more developed, sustainable nation. Its announced initiatives included purchasing privately owned power plants and building a new financial district in Kuala Lumpur, which would understandably lead to astronomical costs. In order to raise funds for his “projects,” Najib issued international bonds for state-owned oil and in the process took advantage of connections with the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), Goldman Sachs, and Deloitte to establish trust among the international economic society. As a result, Najib successfully raked in bond sales totaling 6.5 billion dollars. However, instead of reaching towards its initial goals, 1MDB was exploited by Najib and other high-ranking officials.

In the center of the scheme was Jho Low, also known as the “Asian Gatsby.” As the main conductor, Low managed to bribe famous Hollywood celebrities and renowned public figures and utilize them as tools of “word of mouth” to promote his 1MDB business. It seemed that Najib and Low would live in luxury forever. However, the US Department of Justice reported how the pair used the money from 1MDB to buy real estate in the United States, rare artwork, and custom-made jewelry.

Corruption is seldom uncovered when the corrupt are in power. However, at the time of the regime change, the power of the commander-in-chief is weakened, the inner circle of the politician handing the torch off to the new administrative team. With this newfound (minimal) instability, criticism of the Malaysian people against Najib and his party intensified. In the process, Mahathir recognized that he could rise into power once again and resolve this financial crisis.

Regarding the Malaysian case, it is hard not to notice a striking similarity with South Korea’s presidential scandal in 2016: a leader can lead his or her country to not only prosperity but also drive it towards chaos. In order to prevent such political and economic fiascos, it is necessary to establish global and international apparatuses and mechanisms of anticorruption so that the behavior of politicians can be scrutinized and regulated for any foul play.

–William Cho (’21)

Featured Image: Associated Press

World Autism Awareness Day: In a World of Their Own

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Why should we care about autism?

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

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

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

Q: How should we treat people with autism?

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

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

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

– Jenna Jang (‘22)

credits: www.investorplace.com

 

Why Universal Basic Income will not work

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a periodic cash payment delivered to everyone unconditionally and as a right. It’s an interesting proposition. It’s become more popular as of late because of not only the quick development of artificial intelligence and robots but also the persisting wealth gap present in most of society. Those advocating for it call UBI the solution to all of these issues: income inequality, low wage growth, and the mechanisation of labor. These are legitimate concerns, and on the surface level, UBI seems like a simple yet genius solution to all of them. Fighting poverty is a cause hard to oppose. But here’s the thing:

Similar systems have historically not worked.

The best example can be found in Cuba. After the 1959 Revolution, the Cuban government began to give a flat salary to all workers. In the beginning, thanks to communist fervor, these handouts worked; the Cubans stayed motivated and the economy began growing. But this fervor did not last. At a certain point there was no real or metaphorical revolution to be fought, and no reason to persevere. The Cubans grew demoralised. The economy entered a slow collapse. Why would they work hard? They would be paid the same anyhow.

When Cuban workers knew that money was guaranteed, they put in the least amount of effort possible.

Things began to change, however, in 2011. Raul Castro introduced the “New Cuban Economy” which, among many things, allowed a limited market economy. “Entrepreneurs” could sign up for private business ventures and purchase licenses to work privately, as opposed to preceding years in which all business was run by the government. The economy almost instantly picked up. Hundreds of thousands of private ventures began creating a stark dichotomy between private and state-run establishments.

Media coverage of restaurants in Cuba makes this difference clear. In “paladars” run by the aforementioned “entrepreneurs,” the kitchen staff are lively, and they’re running about. The host comes up to the customer smiling, ready to take their order. The customer is made to feel welcome. In state-run restaurants, where the government pays a tiny salary no matter how the worker performs, the workers barely pay the customer any attention. The workers make it apparent that they do not want to be there.

This failure of the flat wage system to support Cuba economically may be, of course, because of something else; a multitude of different factors contributed to the fall of the Cuban economy. Some people will work hard no matter what, as the UBI experiments and their success in Alaska, Iran, and India have proven. But that’s exactly the issue: UBIs are not a guaranteed method to avoid economic and social stagnation.

UBI aims to soften a blow instead of prevent it.

Instead of investing in a UBI program, money should be used to incentivize companies to keep human employees. There should be government-sponsored programs to train workers and start apprenticeship programs, encourage avoiding mechanisation of labor, and improve employee retention. These alternatives will be much more effective at addressing the slow middle class growth and worsening income inequality that plagues America.

Some advocates for UBI programs dismiss this alternative as “hard and expensive,” but the American government is designed to be taking on this kind of responsibility. Employment has become part of the American social contract. No matter how “hard” it is, the government should be taking action. Undertaking this task will not be as much of a challenge as it may seem to be. Experts have found that investments in public works, reductions in business payroll taxes, and reduction in interest rates will all be able to stimulate job growth, not to mention improve the economy. These are methods that are much less radical and divisive in our government than a UBI, not to mention cheaper.

As for UBI’s costs, giving just $1000/month to all Americans would cost almost 4 trillion dollars. Annually. The cost for government programs for employment, on the other hand, balance out in the long run. Running an apprenticeship program would yield economic gain thanks to the benefit of more skilled workers, which has been proven to work in the United Kingdom. Financial incentives for the private sector would cost money, sure, but certainly less than 4 trillion dollars annually. The American government would (and should) not be unwilling to pay a little money to fight unemployment.

Annie Lowrey, in her book “Give People Money,” argues that UBI might “revolutionize work” by giving people income to rely on in between jobs, encouraging employees to find jobs that pay better than “poverty wages” and thus increasing overall wages. While this may be true, is giving a safety net to all American people just in case better than finding and creating jobs for the unemployed?

Attention should be paid to prevent economic hardships rather than set up a Plan B for if they happen. It would be like if a boxer prepared for a tough fight by setting up a predictive hospital visit instead of going to the gym to practice. It’s misplaced attention.

– Logan Choi (‘20)

Featured Image: AFP/Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images

Is vaping risk-free?

Many advertisement market promotes the vaping device as “cessation device”. However, the skyrocketing surge of e-cigarettes among vulnerable adolescents is in need of immediate solution.

The rapid growth of vaping culture is a public health crisis. Its popularity has worried doctors and public health officials about the harmful side effects; addictive substances such as nicotine can even rewire your brain. Smokers may be tempted to turn to electronic cigarettes, but is smoking e-cigarettes (a.k.a. vaping) really better for you than using traditional tobacco products?

No. All types of smoking kills. Both regular and e-cigarettes contain nicotine, an addictive, toxic substance. From raising your blood pressure to increasing the likelihood of a heart attack, it can dramatically impact your physical health in the long term. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention nicotine can directly hurt the brains and change the synapses of growing adolescents; it can go as far as to cause a type of allergic pneumonia called acute eosinophilic pneumonitis. Not to mention, its impact on one’s heart can increase adrenaline levels, inconsistent heart rhythms, and frequency of unanticipated heart attacks and even death. E-cigarettes has been a common practice among countless teenagers because the absence of the repellent odor of cigarettes reduces the stigma of smoking. Notwithstanding the consequences, these teens start vaping to “fit in” or to “relieve stress”. However, due to the addictive nature of these devices, some even stated that they get headaches or feel shaky without vaping.

Today, the newest and the most popular vaping product is JUUL, a global phenomenon that is birthed by an effective marketing strategy. More and more research showed the public what the harmful toxin in cigarettes can do. But what brought the chemical to the center stage of international public health dialogue is the rise of its marketing.

Widespread among young middle and high school students all around the world, JUUL now accounts for well more than 72 percent of the market share of vaping products by promoting products that look like appealing food items such as Tootsie Rolls. They are usually sold in conventional outlets such as convenient stores, tobacco shops, or gas stations, while also found through online retailers. Even eBay once carried the product. By 2016, 4 out of 5 upper school students saw at least one e-cigarette advertisement. Increasing the curiosity of 20 million youth, such brainwashing advertisements indicate the companies’ attempt to capitalize on a young vulnerable audience. In particular, the introduction of JUUL became a marked inflection point in the dialogue about the smoking culture. Despite the prohibition by the federal laws, JUUL now controls ¾ of the vaping market in the United States. As opposed to other e-cigarettes in the market, JUUL, surveys substantiate, is more attractive with its shape that does not look anything like the actual cigarette. JUULs are appealing to youth especially because of its small size and can be easily hidden. With new advancements of technology, JUUL essentially packed a high concentration of nicotine into such a small device. Not only are the devices concealed and designed like USB devices, but they are also charged in the USB port of laptops. They are also presented with several enticing flavors namely mango, cucumber, mint, and creme brulee.

The biggest problem of this trend is that the practitioners believe that e-cigarettes carry fewer carcinogens than regular cigarettes, and they believe it is a safer alternative. As a matter of fact, however, JUUL pods, the liquid that transforms into smoke within the device, contain as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. Even the manufacturer acknowledged that a single JUUL cartridge consists as much nicotine as a pack of 20 regular cigarettes. Ironically, this device was initially marketed as a cessation device, yet there a blatant, unintended consequence among young adults. This particular device slows brain development in teens, its major consumer demographic, and ultimately directly impact memory, concentration, and self-control capability.

Although many advertisement market promotes the vaping device as an aid to help you quit smoking, e-cigarettes do not curb the nicotine demand. Afterall, e-cigarettes are cigarettes. Fortunately, the United States started responding to teen’s inappropriate use of e-cigarettes and began proposing various initiatives, avoiding its status as a bystander of the ongoing precedent. Recently, on the 18th of December, the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams declared “e-cigarette use among kids an epidemic in the U.S., point to companies like JUUL as problematic.” Moreover, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it would restrict the selling of flavored e-cigarettes to adult-only store; JUUL publicized to remove the bulk of its product to a less variety of flavors such as mint, tobacco, and menthol.

This unfortunate reality is not only seen in the States, but also here at KIS. Its use is pervasive around campus, even in the middle school building. Students would even huddle in bathrooms. Despite its direct violation of the student handbook, many students arranged a network of the vaping culture. As the unquestionably harmful factor of the carcinogen is continuously luring young teenagers, more and more students are secretly using these devices. Fortunately, the KIS high school administration announced its stricter methods of discipline and higher awareness upon this serious matter such as out-of-school suspension. The high school principal Mrs. Kellar further highlighted that tobacco products at school is “unacceptable” especially because the administration expects “high school students to embody the values of our school and serve as role models for our younger students”

No student may smoke, consume, use or possess tobacco products or e-cigarettes at any time while on or around school property during the school day or at any school sponsored activities. Before and after school, students are not to use tobacco products on or adjacent to the school grounds and/or within visual distance of any school grounds. Violations of this rule are cumulative for the students’ years at KIS and may result in school discipline up to or including an out of school suspension.” (KIS HS Handbook 2018-2019, p. 26)

As a means to reduce such illegal acts in an academic environment, both public and private schools should show initiatives. According to the administration of schools in the United States, suspension does not enhance the issue at hand, but rather aggravate it. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration figured the alarming need of a solution to the skyrocketing surge of e-cigarettes among vulnerable adolescents, one being Juul suspending its products from convenience stores or vending machines and regulating them to only age-restricted stores. In addition, e-cigarette products with misleading advertisement should be misbranded or regulated under the Food and Drug Administration.

– Jennie Yeom (‘20)

Featured Image: Crescentia Jung (’19)