Lounge with Leona: Controversial KIS Bus Policy

Sit down, take a chill pill, and relax for this week’s edition of Lounge with Leona; is the KIS bus policy fair?

Ever since I came to KIS, which was back in 2011, I have been riding the school bus to and back from school. Before I came to KIS, I lived a five minute walk away from my school so I basically paid nothing for transportation fees. Hence why it shocked my parents when they first saw how expensive it was to ride the school bus (you would think the fee is included within the tuition since it is insanely high-priced). Now, I’m sure the fees have changed (upwards) in comparison to six years ago, but let’s do some simple arithmetics here. The bus fee for the school year of 2016~2017 is 2,500,000 KRW. That multiplied by 6 is 15,000,000 KRW, which is the money my parents have been paying in order for me to ride the school bus for the past six years.

I could whine all day and night about this cost, but as it is a price all bus riders pay at KIS, complaining would pretty much get me nowhere. Besides, without the school bus, I have no other way of getting to school (as no sane taxi driver wants to drive us up the hill KIS is located on because of the morning traffic that takes ages to escape). In fact, I’m not even here to complain about this bizarre pricing. Rather, I’m here to question the fairness of the KIS bus policy.

Under the “Application for School Bus Service” google form found on the KIS homepage, the bus rules which “all students need to adhere to” can be found. Section B component i clearly states, “students must tag their RFID cards to board the school bus.” As it never explicitly states the specific time period this rule applies (before or after school), I’m going to assume it also includes the times we ride the late bus. According to the busing page found on the KIS homepage, KIS provides four late buses for students who stay at school after 3, due to drama practices, sports practices, and so on. However, recently, I’ve been noticing the after school bus that goes to Sunae, Jeongja, and Migeum that I always tend to ride frequently end up full. This is most likely because many students live in the area. Students used to have to stand and ride back when I was a middle schooler, but most recently, drivers have simply been bringing out new buses so that the students who couldn’t ride the original bus could still return home.

This got me wondering; would the after school buses truly overflow with students if only the students who were actually allowed to ride the buses rode them? Basically, I’m calling out the students who don’t pay a single won of the 2,500,00 KRW that myself and hundreds of other bus riders do, yet somehow justify themselves riding the after school bus, leaving many of us in situations of inconvenience. Sure, you still “pay” for your ride to school whether it be because you ride your parent’s car or taxi. But if I could get away with just paying for my ride to school instead of a round trip, why should my parents even bother to pay the 2,500,000 KRW? Surely, it would be smarter for me to do just as those who are breaking the rules.

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From the “KIS School Bus Service Information” found on the KIS homepage.

This brings me back to the point made earlier about component i that is frankly, highlighted in red, further establishing that that rule is important. I’m assuming this rule was implemented in the first place so that they could differentiate who is allowed to ride the bus and who isn’t (ie: if you aren’t a registered bus rider, you cannot ride the school bus). At the beginning of the year, I was constantly reminded to tag my ID card when I got on and off my regular bus as well as when I rode the after school bus, and I do admit, that process got tedious and annoying after a while. However, I did get used to getting my ID card out. Yet now, I only find myself getting reminded to tag my ID card when riding my regular transportation bus and not when riding the after school bus. Taking advantage of this, students who do not pay for the bus rides began riding the after school bus again, and bus drivers don’t bother checking whether they’re allowed to or not. Why? Out of laziness? Because they know the students will probably make up some random excuse and still end up getting their way? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s probably a little bit of both.

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PC: Clare Kwon (’18)

As my opinion alone would probably mean nothing to the administrators, I decided to interview other KISians who ride the bus on what they thought about the status quo. I ended up getting quite a range of voices – those who didn’t mind, those who were mildly irritated, and those who were upright furious.

“Personally, I don’t really mind. But I do understand that it’s unfair and honestly it causes clutters pretty often. Especially on the more popular buses like the Jeongja one.” – Amy Choi (‘17)

“I honestly don’t really mind it when people ride the after school bus despite not paying for it. Who knows, maybe they really need that ride and they don’t have any other method to get home. But in the case that there aren’t any seats, I believe that it’s only fair that those who did pay for the bus service should get seats first.” – Erica Lee (‘17)

“To be honest, I would be angry because I’m paying for the bus and they’re just using it for free. But at the same time, I understand when people ride the bus for free after school because…a lot of teams act in groups and it’s so hard when a lot of people can’t ride the bus with them.” – Anonymous

“As a person who pays a whole lot for the bus fee to ride the bus, I honestly think it is unfair when people who don’t pay for the bus still ride the after school bus. Once in awhile is fine, but riding every single day is a different story.” – Anonymous

“I just think it’s really ridiculous that we have to bare having so many people ride our bus[es] when they don’t even pay for it. I understand that the bus rides are very expensive and it honestly isn’t fair for everyone to pay 2,500,000 won to ride a bus that’s probably only a 15 minute ride home, but it’s not fair that some people have to wait for extra buses since so many people are filling our seats when they didn’t even pay a single penny.” – William Lee (‘18)

I also received this interesting opinion that did change my perspective.

“I have mixed emotions about it. On one hand, I don’t really like the thought of my parents paying for someone else’s transportation- since that technically is what occurs in such an occasion. However, I do understand the struggles of transportation and that there are multiple factors that go into it- some parents have work and other students depend on public transportation in the mornings, and after a long day it can be really tiring to get back home.” – Anonymous

It is true that there is only one public bus station in front of the school, and after long hours of practice (whether it be for theater, music, or athletics), students will be annoyed to not be able to ride a form of transportation right away, not to mention, the closest subway station, which would be Sunae, is a very long walk away from the school.

We tried the ID card tagging system, and clearly, it’s not working out. It’s inevitable that someone will find a loophole within a set of rules; it always happens. Perhaps what we need is something different, because this “innovation” only took us so far. For example, a one-way bus ride option which is currently not available according to the KIS homepage. Or, bus drivers enforcing the ID card tagging policy at a higher degree. Either way, the situation we all are currently in is not favorable towards certain students who pay the bus fee. However, that is not to say that we do not have any sympathetic feelings towards those who ride the after school bus without paying, because they probably have their personal reasons for it. What could be done to solve this problem? We have yet to find out.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: Clare Kwon (’18)

Sources:

http://www.kis.kr/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/2016-17-Tuition-and-Fees.pdf

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdMUSyG9BKpOuHSR6vLIf2p4DiwHAYJAbBWRLPCgIP6bXr11A/viewform?c=0&w=1

http://www.kis.kr/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/MS-HS-AS-BUS_20161013.pdf

Lounge with Leona: Does Going Mainstream Mean Failure?

Sit down, take a chill pill, and relax for this week’s edition of Lounge with Leona; does something going mainstream ruin it?

So that thing you love, the one thing you consider your safe place, is now going mainstream. Now what? Perhaps you will continue cheering for and supporting that underground band whose music you could only find on Soundcloud before, or the hipster movie you wouldn’t dare talk about in front of your friends because they wouldn’t have seen it anyways. Or, will you end up getting annoyed by the constant exposure it will receive, thereby beginning to dislike or even hate the thing you used to absolutely adore?

I don’t blame you; I’m definitely a victim of this vicious cycle too. I (supposedly) discover something none of my friends have ever seen or heard of, go crazy over it, decide to share the love with others, only to unmask it so much that I get annoyed of repeatedly hearing about it (now that I’ve got my friends hooked to it as well). Take La La Land for example; an exceptional film. I’ve seen it twice, and it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen it in theaters, but I still, to this day, find myself constantly humming the soundtrack. However, I did also catch myself saying, “La La Land is so overexposed” and that the movie never really deserved the title of “Golden Globe Awards record breaker,” which, now that I think about it, is something weird to say. Had I forgotten about the times I got chills down my spine whilst watching the movie because the screenplay was so beautiful, or when I almost teared up towards the end of it? It’s definitely not that I was the first one to discover the film, but I did question why I could not genuinely be happy for the film getting more exposure, thus giving the actresses and actors I love the recognition they deserve.

I did give this a thought, and this is perhaps because I like variety in the things I watch, eat, listen to, or do. I’m always up for new things, hence my attraction towards lesser known genres of entertainment. However, there are a certain number of times things are allowed to be played constantly before it gets redundant, and before I get bored of a conversation involving it rather than genuinely enjoying the talk. So here’s the question we all want an answer to: is it always a positive for the thing you hold dear to your heart to go mainstream, or is it downhill from there? Take Taylor Swift, for example. I used to listen to her music when I was in the third grade, when she was still a singer with the guitar singing country music. Now, her songs are still about love and heartbreaks but they more or less fit the pop genre. Don’t get me wrong, I still listen to her discography. However, I assure you there are fans who have distanced themselves from her and her music because they can’t accept her new style of music. But honestly, can we blame her, or any other singer who has had a similar experience as her? They figured out what the majority of the populace likes to listen to, and adapted themselves in order to continue making music and more importantly, money. If they have found what works for them, whilst continuing to please the public, go figure.

If you have been a loyal fan of something or someone for a fairly long time, of course you may feel betrayed by them after they’ve gone mainstream (whether that was their decision or not). However, you should also remind yourself that those singers, youtubers, actors, DJs, artists…; they’re human beings. They won’t stay the same forever, and where’s the fun in that anyways? People experience new things, change, and adopt certain elements they’ve learned into whatever they’ve been doing to create something new. And such change they make in order to impress the majority may end up in them going mainstream, thus perhaps giving them a little too much exposure. But just like the La La Land example I’ve given before, try to stop yourself from no longer accepting your favorite thing just because more people know about it now. Instead, be happy for the attention they’re receiving. That’s what will allow them to continue producing what you love. Moreover, I’m sure they will always remain loyal to the fans that have continued (and hopefully will continue) supporting them before they gained immense popularity.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: Crescentia Jung (’19)

Lounge with Leona: Why Environmental Problems aren’t being Solved

Sit down, take a chill pill, and relax for this week’s edition of Lounge with Leona; why Environmental Problems aren’t being Solved.

Grey, smoggy, and dusty skies. Constant coughing. Days in which fellow KISians are sent home instead of participating in after school activities because of the air pollution outside. It is without a doubt that South Korea is heavily affected by environmental issues, especially revolving around that of the atmosphere. We often see people blaming China for the air pollution in South Korea, when in reality, much of it is due to our nation. South Korea is a small country where over 50 million people reside, many of whom drive cars which contribute to the deterioration of the cleanliness of the air we breathe. Moreover, South Korea’s economy is ranked fourth overall in Asia, making it inevitable for the country to build many factories in support of industrialization, also contributing to air pollution.

Of course, South Korea is not the only nation suffering from environmental problems. Complications such as climate change, overfishing, and ocean pollution affect multiple countries. Ironically, society is seen constantly calling for protection of the environment for the sake of future generations. However, we do not see nearly enough action taken for this to actually happen. In fact, it is quite interesting to speculate about why efforts towards protecting our planet is often minimized. For example, thousands of environmentalists call out for the increase in usage of renewable energy sources, yet we see the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe supporting the use of coal. The way I see it, it is perhaps because appealing to one’s sense of morality and humanity is simply not enough. Yes, individuals obtain satisfaction for having done something to improve the status quo of the environment. However, there is a limit to how effective such good will can be, in comparison to the satisfaction, power, and fame people may gain from depleting resources for certain reasons such as producing goods. Perhaps to influential world leaders, efficiency is more worthwhile than a badge that says, “I’m a proud environmentalist.”

“Yet in the same year that the world agreed to combat climate change, Japan’s utilities continued to increase the use of the cheapest but dirtiest fossil fuel, ramping up coal imports to a record.” – Osamu Tsukimori and Aaron Sheldrick

The pinnacle of economics is not a single equation. The essence of this subject is built upon the assumption that an individual will always act in their own best interest. However, couldn’t this tendency to act in one’s self-interest prove to be the greatest flaw found within one’s intelligence? Indeed, according to the theory of Laissez-faire, a utopian economy is formed when a nation is left in a free market situation, in which every man is bound to act in his best interest. Supposedly, the invisible hand works to form a perfectly functioning economic system as a result. Yet such pillar begins to crumble when it is juxtaposed with Hardin’s theory of the tragedy of the commons; in a situation in which people share a common resource, they will abuse and deplete the shared resource due to self-interest.

If a resource is common, one is typically not charged for it. As an example, human beings do not have to pay for the air they breathe (imagine Thneedville from The Lorax coming to reality…), resulting in people taking advantage of those resources, polluting them as a result. It is interesting to see how in economic situations, each individual’s selfish actions end up cooperating for the satisfaction of humanity, yet when it comes to the environment, self-centered behavior only leads to collective abuse. Couldn’t this be due to the fact that in both situations, acting in one’s self-interest allows for profit? Meaning, in the economic sense, what one considers correct is what one yearns for, because they both lead to money, highlighting the idea that money always holds the highest of priority and importance. It is difficult to compute the correlation between the proximity of what one considers “morally correct” and what one simply wants, because in the environmental sense, actions for “the greater good” may be considered correct, but not necessarily prioritized.

As long as human beings continue acting in their self-interest, environmental problems will never be solved. People are rarely, if ever, motivated by ethical agendas. After all, people are practical beings, always seeking rationality and functionality, even when their actions may not necessarily serve the commons very well. It is natural for human beings to have selfish motivations. Isn’t this why the usage of renewable energy is rarely implemented, because it is much more costly in comparison to if they were to simply use coal? Human beings chase profitability, and will most likely choose the path which promises them the largest amount of revenue. Nevertheless, we must realize that in the long run, nonrenewable sources of energy will run out. We must realize that it will be too late if we continue putting off our responsibility to protect the environment. We must realize that there may be no future if we do not change our patterns of action when dealing with the finite amount of resources found on our planet. There will be a time in the future where we will regret not taking action in advance. Determining a way in which we can consolidate natural, selfish motivations of humans with a need to protect our environment is pivotal if we want to do something about the status quo of the Earth.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: Hannah Kim (’19)

Sources:

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-japan-energy-demand-idUKKCN0V30N6

Lounge with Leona: Fidel Castro’s Death & Trump’s Reaction

Sit down, take a chill pill, and relax for this week’s edition of Lounge with Leona; Fidel Castro’s death and Trump’s reaction.

On November 25th, 2016, the Cuban politician and revolutionary Fidel Castro passed away. He governed the Republic of Cuba for nearly 50 years as a Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and as President from 1976 to 2008.

In the year of 1959, Castro overthrew the Cuban President Batista, took full control of Cuba, and installed a communist Marxist government. Following the Marxist philosophy, under Castro’s rule, the government took over much of businesses, farms, and industries. Moreover, freedom of speech and of the press was restricted. However, after he fell ill in 2008, Castro resigned as president, and his brother Raúl has been running the country ever since.

In the year of 2014, as Cuba slowly began to disengage from Fidel Castro’s oppressive system, U.S. President Barack Obama loosened the economic embargo between the United States and Cuba, together with Raúl Castro. Such alleviation of a blockage excited the populace of both nations, as this meant not only an increase in travel between the two countries, but also a broadened scope of trade and business. Not to mention the Cubans who had defected to the United States during Fidel Castro’s regime, for now they could fly back to Cuba without encountering hardships.

As the catalyst for Cuban dictatorship was now gone, many believed the system of absolute rule, too, would disintegrate into thin air – everybody but Donald J. Trump. After a mere two days of Castro’s death, Trump had already begun threatening Cubans without even allowing enough time to let the reality of Castro’s death sink in.

It’s as if we have been pulled back to 1962 – that’s almost six decades ago –. It’s as if Obama’s attempts at normalizing the status-quo was for nothing. Trump is looking to potentially put the embargo which once existed back in place, thus nullifying the steps the United States as well as the Republic of Cuba had been taking towards truce.

Perhaps this isn’t surprising, as during his presidency campaign, Trump promised the nation to overturn any probable openings of U.S. relations with Cuba, “unless the Castro regime meets our demands – not my demands, our demands.” He is only restating what he mentioned before getting elected as President.

However, does Trump even know what he’s talking about? Honestly, I doubt that. His position on supporting U.S. hostility only unnerves the entire Republic of Cuba. In the meantime, he is allowing Raúl Castro to gain even more strength, therefore only emphasizing the authoritarian rule which Cuba is under. It is not outdated Cold War policies Cuba needs. It is the continuation of Obama’s efforts towards establishing a positive relationship with Cuba. What is the point in giving the dictator more power? Or in discouraging the reopening of embassies and limiting trade? Now is exactly the time in which the nation of America must influence the Republic of Cuba with American values and ideas of freedom, thus putting an end to Cuban dictatorship.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: http://wtax-am.sagacom.com/

Lounge with Leona: Time for a Change

Sit down, take a chill pill, and relax for this week’s edition of Lounge with Leona; Time for a Change.

Time for a Change.

On the other side of the hemisphere, hundreds of thousands of people are protesting the new president-elect of the United States of America – Donald J. Trump. As he is expected to take office as the 45th President of the nation on January 20th, 2017, perhaps they see this as a count down. A clock, slowly ticking away, for time waits for no one.

Time for a Change.

I assume most of you who are currently reading this article had no say in who to vote for either because you’re too young, you’re not a citizen of America, or both. If you are a part of the minority who actually voted during this election, I have no right to, by any means, judge you by who you support. In fact, that’s not what the world needs right now. This is exactly not the time to play the blame-game, sabotaging those who support a party different from the one you do, or a candidate who you do not.

Rather, this moment which will be recorded in future history textbooks is one in which we must stand with one another, hand in hand. Ever since the first day Trump got elected as president, defeating Clinton, countless hate crimes have taken place.

Immigrants are terrified of deportation.

Muslim women are afraid of wearing certain articles of clothing, because they’re scared of the assault that may follow.

Women face the terror of Planned Parenthood perhaps being defunded.

Time for a Change.

We all say we need change, especially at a time like this. But what is change anyway? Change doesn’t happen by starting fights with those who disagree with you on a political level (or any other level, really). Nor does it happen by shouting profanity at protests. You’re only taking advantage of potential outlets for hate and to vent. And the world can only take so much hate, as it’s already flooded with it as of now.

Do not judge others by their sexual orientation, race, gender, or opinions.

Do not attempt to spew hate.

Do send love.

Do change from within, and be an accepting individual.

Time for a Change.

It doesn’t just go for those who are American. We’re all in this together. We, as humanity, can be the best Change.

#Lovetrumpshate

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Featured Image: https://static1.squarespace.com

Lounge with Leona: Hagwons

Sit down, take a chill pill, and relax for this week’s edition of Lounge with Leona; Hagwons.

Waiting for the elevator. The door opens, and teenagers rush out of the no longer sealed box, frantically running towards the nearest convenience store to buy snacks and drinks within the five minute break time. Upon arrival, a sweet looking young woman welcomes everybody, and perhaps offers them tea or coffee. In one classroom, students all face down only to stare at thick packets of endless questions, desperately flipping through the pages to finish before the timer rings.

“Remember, you don’t have to say anything when the same questions you solve today comes out on the test tomorrow.”

In another, a teacher stands in front of the whiteboard, speeding through a semester worth of course material within a mere hour.

“If you don’t feel like you understand the entire concept, just memorize this, this, and this. They always come out on the AP test, so you have to know them.”

In another, a single student with their parents meet with the director, discussing about which colleges they should apply to. The director flips through their calendar, telling the student to take which standardized test and which AP course at exactly what point in their high school career.

“The average accepted SAT score for [insert IVY league school here] is [insert any number between 2200 and 2400]. We recommend you enroll into this SAT program at our hagwon to ensure you finish it in one try. You will come in every day during summer break for 8 hour classes. 6 hours of lectures and 2 hours of solving questions.”

It’s unnerving. It’s frightening to think that this has become our norm; students worshiping hagwons, or cram schools, and feeling as though it’s only right for them to attend one (or more). I guess it’s not that surprising. It has become a norm, after all. Millennials are so obsessed with getting perfect scores, even if that means they have to pay millions of dollars to hagwons for some “extra help”.

According to Yonhap News, a 5 week SAT program (5 days per week from 8:30 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.) offered in a hagwon in Gangnam costed around 2680 dollars (around 2400 dollars for lectures and 280 dollars for materials).  Another hagwon offered a SAT program starting 8:30 A.M. and ending 11:30 P.M. (that’s 13 hours stuck in hagwon, even with lunch and dinner hours subtracted ). This program was offered for 7 weeks, and costed over 5000 dollars [1]. If a student can’t finish the test because of an unsatisfactory test, that’s doubling costs so that they can repeat the whole process of going to hagwon all over again. This is the problem with private education today. 

Clearly, the current education system is not efficient by any means. Nobody wins in the scenarios. Students who come from households wealthy enough to be able to spend thousands of dollars in order to prepare for standardized tests (or anything else, for that matter) end up receiving scores they don’t deserve, perhaps get accepted into schools too high-level for them, where they may fall behind. Parents will be wasting a fortune on their children’s “education”. It could perhaps be said that hagwon teachers “win” if the concept of winning is measured through a materialistic scope, but at what cost? They’re emphasizing the fact that to memorize is to learn, which is obviously false. Moreover, certain teachers who don’t know where to stop even commit crimes by providing students with leaked tests, encouraging them to cheat.

Sure, whether or not a student wants to go to hagwon should only concern what they think as well as their parents. Sure, parents are willing to pay – ultimately speaking, it’s their money anyway. Personally, I think these parents can be broadly categorized into two groups. Those who support and encourage the idea of their children cheating, and those who are terrified into buying part of the entire process. It’s a no-brainer why the former group of parents only worsen the status quo. The situation with the latter group, however, is a bit more different. They are those who are manipulated into fearing their children may not get accepted into college (and by college, I mean either Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or any other ivy league school). Behind them are hagwons that prey on ignorant parents who don’t speak English, for example. Though extremely unethical, parents who are oblivious to the entire process of applying to colleges can’t help but fear. And those parents are exactly the type of people hagwons target for money.

The education “system” is no longer simply a system. It’s an industry. Hagwons are essentially machines that are destroying education, and the parents are byproducts of those machines. This industry is where money gets people into places. In such capitalistic society, money comes from money. Children born into families who are financially stable enough to pour millions into their private education are those who typically get accepted into private universities and find a stable top paying job, only to recreate the entire process again with their children. Name any billionaire you can think of. Elon Musk? Stanford. Mark Zuckerberg? Harvard. Also, throw in the fact that he went to Phillips Exeter Academy. Warren Buffett? Columbia. In our world, especially in an education-centered country like South Korea, high education is pivotal for a successful career and life. And to receive high education, money is a necessity. In essence, this mechanism is only an unfair and vicious cycle controlled by the movement of money.

Of course, in an ideal world, there would be no private education. Rather, there would be no need for private education, unless it’s for special interests purposes. For example, if a student wants to learn public speaking skills or how to play the ukulele, by all means, they should find professionals to teach them; most likely at a hagwon specialized for the purpose. However, this is different when it comes to academia. Schools are supposed to be a place in which students, as long as they pay attention in class and do the assigned work, receive high grades. Such proper practices of studying should guarantee high grades for students, which they so desperately yearn for. However, because the idea of “no hagwon means failure” is deeply rooted within not only the minds of students but also parents, they assume it’s natural for students to attend hagwon for hours on top of regular school.

You don’t need hagwons for success in your academic career. You absolutely don’t need hagwons to replace schools with. If students feel as though they’re falling behind, extra studying may perhaps be encouraged. Moreover, things that aren’t taught in school such as measures on tackling the SATs or SAT IIs can also be a reason behind attending hagwons. However, the moment a student begins to rely solely on hagwons is when problems arise. This rewards people who prioritize profit more than actual education. There are countless accounts of students who fall asleep in class or simply not pay attention to the lectures because they know they have a backup plan; catching up at hagwon. And most of the time, those hagwons only push the idea of memorization (if you’re willing to argue, tell me you haven’t seen all the kids forcing SAT vocab definitions into their brains without even knowing how to use them in sentences, or worse, pronounce them). This lack of pressure at school only allows them to slack off even more, hence the higher demand for hagwons. Like I said before, it’s an endless cycle. The answer to “I’m failing this class” should not be “Mom, can you get me a tutor.” It should be, “I should clarify confusing parts with my teachers.” Teachers are here to answer the students’ questions. It’s their job.

Now if the hagwons are for cheating purposes, it’s a completely different story. Cheating will get you nowhere. It’s true that certain questions from the SATs and SAT IIs are recycled. Certain AP class teachers at school may reuse old AP questions for their test questions. For both cases, certain hagwons have the capability to provide students with those questions. And both of those cases are illegal. Sure, it may be the easy way out. It’s indeed pressuring to not cheat on those pesky tests when virtually everybody around you receive those packets. And what if you don’t get the scores you truly deserve (in terms of your intelligence) because you’re not a good test-taker? Whether standardized tests truly measure one’s capabilities can be written about in an entirely different article. My point is, if it’s just to get into a brand name school, don’t. It’s not worth it. The education system is corrupt, and Collegeboard should be well aware of that. But hagwons that take advantage of this fact, as well as of students who fear of getting accepted into decent colleges, perhaps is the mastermind behind the entirety of this hypocrisy.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: Hannah Kim (’19)

[1] http://www.yonhapnews.co.kr/society/2011/06/25/0701000000AKR20110625061200004.HTML

Lounge with Leona: Feminism

Sit down, take a chill pill, and relax for this week’s edition of Lounge with Leona; Feminism.

When I was in the 2nd grade, I got called “bossy” by another boy in my class for wanting to lead the class discussion. He led it instead because no one opposed him, just like how the world is led by men who aren’t opposed of. I’ve been dress coded multiple times for exposing my shoulders during the summer while I see other male students showing them off, wearing tank tops. Just like how society has no problem with shirtless men being on magazine covers but the moment it’s a woman wearing a bikini, they get called a slut. Guys around me are afraid of expressing their feelings because they don’t want to be labeled a “pussy” or weak, at that – yes, men need feminism too.

Feminism does not make me superior as a woman. Neither is it synonymous with man-hating. Rather, it’s the concept that women and men are treated and considered equal counterparts. Women are strong. Men can be vulnerable. It is not to say that one gender can only be accounted towards one type of gender expression because it’s not one or the other; rather, it’s a spectrum over a large scale. Both women & men still don’t seem to understand this, hence the misusage and the negative connotations of the word “feminism” – yes, the education system needs feminism too.

Sexism is real. It exists.  Young children are taught to be sexist at a young age, whether it be unconsciously or not. People are not born with stereotypes. They learn them as they grow, and they teach the same things to their children – a vicious cycle. Think about it; the moment we’re born, we’re categorized into either pink or blue. Pink for the girls, and blue for the boys. I remember when I was in the fourth grade, it was a “thing” for girls to be un-girly as possible. And the way we did this was to pick, wear, and like anything of the color green. My Mom would be so confused as to why I suddenly stopped liking the color pink (though I actually hadn’t), and complained about how shopping for me became a much more annoying process. Imagine what it was like for boys who couldn’t express they liked the color pink, when I myself, a girl, found it hard to favor the color – yes, children need feminism too.

Gender stereotypes within the workplace does exist. People make a funny face when they hear a man’s occupation is a nurse, or when a woman’s occupation is a truck driver. Or when a woman is a bassist, and a man is a harpist. Speaking of which, The fact that human beings have attributed some jobs as masculine and others as feminine, so much so that the stereotype has been rooted within our minds, shows how sexism is prevalent in society – yes, workplaces need feminism too.

The Fortune 500 is a list compiled and published every year by Fortune magazine, which ranks 500 of the largest cooperations in the United States of America. With such a large number of 500 to consider, however, merely 21 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women [1]. Moreover, 290 of those CEOs are men who are six feet or over (182cm or over) [2]. This proves two things. First of all, not enough women are in leadership position. That’s 4.2% of those CEOs who are women. Secondly, it proves we as human beings are already predisposed to link the qualities of being reliable, trustworthy and faithful with tall, broad-shouldered, tough looking menCountless stereotypes like such are casted upon women, such that force them to take the job of being a “supportive, affectionate mother who stays home” instead of a “strong, career woman” – yes, world leaders need feminism too.

It is not to say that you must be against men, in order to be for women. The strength that men hold is not to be taken away, but is to acknowledged that women can also be possessors of that strength. There are clear signs of misogyny and gender discrimination found in various things, whether it be song lyrics, videos, books, and what not. It’s been too long for this issue to still be in continuation. I’m a feminist, and I need feminism. You can be a feminist, because the world needs feminism.

– Leona Maruyama (’17)

Featured Image: Crescentia Jung (’19)

[1] http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-ceos-sp-500

[2] http://gladwell.com/blink/why-do-we-love-tall-men/