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.


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

The Silent Voice of Nature

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

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

E.P.A logo


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



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

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

Scott Pruitt stirs controversy (Daily Signal)

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

Obama’s Climate Plan (BeyondChron)
President Obama (Slate)

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

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

Free After Three Decades Behind Bars

What do three decades in prison do to an innocent man? Read on to discover the astonishing story of a man who suffered 32 years behind bars to walk out of jail into an unfamiliar yet welcome world.

On March 16, 2017, Andrew Leander Wilson left Los Angeles’ Men’s Central Jail as a free man after being wrongfully convicted of murder. In 1984, a 21-year-old man was sleeping in his truck, with his girlfriend Saladena Bishop also sleeping next to him, when he was fatally stabbed to death.

Wilson was picked out by Bishop in a line up after a police officer pointed at Wilson’s photo. This unfortunate choice placed Wilson in prison for the next 32 years, yet he says that he is not bitter, stating that “I’m past it. I just want to get something to eat right now and love my family.”

Image 2 : Free After 32 Years.jpg
PC: Daily Mail Online

Wilson’s 96-year-old mother fought for the entirety of Wilson’s prison life to free him, and her efforts, joined by attorneys and students from the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent, culminated in his release.

Superior Court Judge Laura Priver ruled that Wilson was deprived of his constitutional rights to a fair trial when he was pointed out by Saladena Bishop. Furthermore, a friend of Bishop’s revealed that she had stabbed her boyfriend in the past, leading the police to designate her as an unreliable witness. This is further supported by the fact that Bishop once falsely filed a police report that accused someone of kidnapping and (attempted) rape. The Loyola student team revealed that none of this evidence had been supplied to Wilson’s defense attorney.

Image 1 : Free After 32 Years
PC: Daily Mail Online

As Wilson walked out of the LA County jail, he was greeted by an army of cameras and reporters, but what he truly found gratitude in was reuniting with his daughter and sister and meeting his granddaughter for the first time. Wilson’s sister Gwen Wilson, with tears in her eyes, expressed her deep gratitude for the miracle of her brother’s release, stating that “We just needed to love on him and keep him encouraged through it all. All we can do is keep our head up you know that’s just it. We’ve always been a hopeful that one day…by the grace of God today is that day.”

Image 3 : Free After 32 Years.jpg
PC: Daily Mail Online

Soon, Wilson will go to St. Louis to visit his mother for the first time in 32 years. We can only imagine the wave of emotions that the reunited family will wade through.

– Daniel Park (’17)

Featured Image: CNN

Shoot for the Moon: Soon to be a Reality

Space mission to the moon and back planned to take place in 2018.

Is a trip to outer space something you’ve always dreamed of? Our generation is said to have been born too late to explore the earth, yet born too early to explore the galaxy – middle children of history, if you will. However, that may no longer be the case as a trip to the moon might soon become a reality.

It was announced recently, by Space Development Company SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, that the company is planning on sending two lucky tourists around the moon by 2018. It’s nearly impossible to even fathom of what’s in it for the tourists when it comes to “mak[ing] a long loop around the moon”, as it’s difficult to conceptualize what it’s even like out there. As of now, all we can say is that the passengers will travel for “perhaps 300,000 or 400,000 miles distance altogether,” and that “the mission [will] not involve a lunar landing.” Moreover, if this trip is successful, it will be the first return of human beings to the deep space since the 1960~1970 Apollo plan. It has also been revealed that the private tourists have already paid a substantial amount of money for this getaway, and that they will be going through training as well as health and fitness check ups within this year.

“Like the Apollo astronauts before them, these individuals will travel into space carrying the hopes and dreams of all humankind, driven by the universal human spirit of exploration.” – Elon Musk

PC: IBTimes UK

The passengers are planned to travel on the capsule spaceship Crew Dragon, which will be placed on the rocket Falcon Heavy. The Dragon spacecraft will, for the most part, “operate…autonomously,” which means the passengers must “train for emergency procedures but will not be in charge of piloting the spacecraft.” 45 years have passed, but mankind will finally be re-exploring the solar system and beyond. It is exciting to see how far we have come in terms of technological advancements, and what more the future awaits. Who knows, maybe we weren’t born too early to explore the galaxy!

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: SpaceX





Rise of the Far Right: The Alt-Right & Neo-Nazis

“Put us first!” “We want our country back.” “Make America great again.” — Will the rise of the far right last?

With Trump’s surprise victory and Brexit, 2016 was marked with a definitive swing to the far right. Such “right-wing victories” have emboldened members of the far-right who were previously considered too radical. The migrant crisis revealed how many in the West still remained hostile to outsiders, and far-right parties are now gaining traction on political platforms in Europe as disillusionment with the European Union continues to grow.

If you’ve been keeping up with the news these past few months, you’ve probably come across the terms “alt-right” and “neo-Nazi” quite often. Both words, especially “neo-Nazi,” were not used commonly in mainstream media until 2016, when the far-right movements finally started to catch the attention of the public.

So what does “alt-right” and “neo-Nazi” mean? Alt-right stands for alternative right, and it was coined by Richard Spencer, the leader of the movement. George Hawley, a political scientist at the University of Alabama, described the alt-right as “a loose movement, predominantly online, and largely anonymous.” They distance themselves from traditional conservatism (hence their name) because they believe that mainstream conservatives are too weak to actively support racism and anti-Semitism or prioritize the interests of white people. Their beliefs have been described as racist, homophobic, and misogynistic.

As Donald Trump started to gain support during his campaign, members of the alt-right recognized him as a hero of their cause. They had previously been considered a fringe movement in politics, which meant that their ideas were considered to be outside the spectrum of acceptable opinion. Having a man who spoke of the same ideas as them elected for the highest office in the country electrified the alt-right movement, leading them to believe that they were no longer to be marginalized in Western politics.

The alt-right uses memes to spread their ideologies on the Internet, hoping to attract young educated white people by claiming that their “white identity” is under attack because of multiculturalism and political correctness in the status quo. The ADL, or Anti-Defamation League, announced that Pepe the Frog has become a hate symbol after white-supremacists and other groups re-drew the frog so that he was dressed up in Nazi and Ku Klux Klan clothes. The frog is now generally recognized as the mascot of the alt-right movement, much to the dismay of his creator, Matt Furie.

Neo-Nazis, unlike the alt-right, have some history; they have existed since 1945, the end of Nazi Germany. Neo-Nazism is very similar to the original Nazi doctrine, containing elements such as racism, xenophobia, homophobia, ableism (discrimination against people with disabilities), anti-Semitism, and ultranationalism. Neo-Nazis seek to establish the Fourth Reich, a revival of Nazi Germany. Significant effort has been taken in European countries, particularly Germany, to prevent such movements; many countries have banned Nazi-related symbols such as the swastika.

hate groups; Nazis; skinheads; homophobia; racism
PC: huffingtonpost.com

So what is the difference between the two? Although not all of those who identify with the alt-right movement are neo-Nazis, a good number of people in the alt-right are represented in the neo-Nazi movement. Since “alt-right” is such a broad term, it can include neo-Nazis; in fact, neo-Nazis are often considered to be a minority in the alt-right. The line between the two movements, however, has become so unclear that the two terms are often associated with each other. During a speech to his supporters in Washington after Trump’s victory, Richard Spencer, the leader of the alt-right, shouted, “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!” His supporters responded with enthusiastic cheers, applause, and Nazi salutes.

The rise of the far-right didn’t end just with Brexit and Trump’s election; right-wing parties in the Netherlands and France have called for Brexit-like referendums on EU membership. Even in Germany, where shame over the Holocaust prevented any nationalistic movement from gaining serious support, the far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD) has become one of the mainstream political parties; in a local election last September, the AfD won more votes than Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union in her own electoral district. Recent efforts to ban the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), a party usually described as a neo-Nazi organization, have failed once more. This has only emboldened the members of the party, who say that their victory once again proves that their beliefs are not a threat to the safety of their country.

However, there is no need to fret too much over the alarmingly swift swing to the far-right in Western politics. Over a period of 150 years, studies suggest that every major financial or social crisis was followed by a 10-year surge in support for far-right parties that claimed to be populist, so this far-right movement is not likely to last any longer than far-right movements in the past. Just examining recent reactionary politics is not looking at the big picture; in history, we have seen that even with all the political ups and downs, society has always taken steps towards progression.

– Kristin Kim (’20)

Featured Image: dailystormer.com



Russian Cyberattack on U.S

Russian hacking??

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

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

(Softpedia News)

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

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

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

Obama’s response to the cyberattacks (Mirror)

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

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

Putin and Trump (CNBC)

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

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

Arrest Warrant Served for Samsung Heir: Rejected in Court

Choi-gate prosecutors file charges against the de facto chief of Samsung for potential bribery and perjury.

SEOUL – On January 16th 2017, it was revealed by the Choi Soon-sil Gate prosecutors that they filed charges against Samsung heir Lee Jae-Yong for bribing President Park Geun-hye. The South Korean multinational company, of course, did insist on Samsung’s de facto heir Lee’s innocence, as he himself spoke of having been coerced by President Park into contributing funds in cooperation with Choi Soon-sil. However, Lee still ended up being questioned by prosecutors for 22 hours. Moreover, prosecutors seeked to have Lee detained for potential perjury and bribery.

Bluprint S1 1 .png
Illustration by Hannah Kim (’19)

According to the Choi-gate prosecutors, Lee paid 36 million US dollars (43,000 billion Korean won) to entities owned by Choi-Soon sil, including Mir foundation and K Sports foundation, through government affairs in exchange for full support of inter-subsidiary mergers within his multinational company. However, despite the issuance of this arrest warrant, the district court was not in favor of the prosecutors. The court rejected the warrant, claiming that there was insufficient evidence for charging Lee with bribery.

As for what the public has to say about this incident, many were seen to be appalled by this warrant rejection. Numerous Korean internet users disagreed with the court’s decision, saying that whether Samsung perishes or not, it is necessary to punish those who have committed illegal action (in reference to Lee). Many displayed discouragement. They spoke of the nation no longer being able to trust the South Korean judiciary system as well as Samsung. A few mentioned this was South Korea’s last chance to expose chaebols, or large, family-run conglomerates, as Lee’s arrest could prove fatal for Samsung, but overlooking possible corruption could prove fatal for the country.

Although chief Lee Jae-Yong managed to get away without being arrested, it is estimated that this scandal will negatively affect South Korea’s economy as a whole, reemphasizing the heavy influence this single ‘chaebol’ has on an entire country. Prosecutors have claimed this result to be “very regrettable,” but also that they will continue working towards reissuing a warrant, according to spokesman Lee Kyu-chul.

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)






Banner: https://si.wsj.net/

Thailand After the Death of King Bhumibol

A national mourning…and “social sanctioning”.

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

A crying woman in the Siriraj Hospital where the king is being treated in Bangkok, Thailand. (AP.)

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

King Bhumibol (IBTimes UK)

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

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

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

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

President Obama and King Bhumibol (VeryThai)

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

Thailand in black and white (DailyMail)

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

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

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

Video of a man getting beaten up (The Independent)
An elderly woman slapped and forced off the Bangkok Bus (Khaodod)

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

– Sammie Kim (’18)

(Featured image from DailyMail)

Victory for KIS: Speech and Debate

It’s not just the sports team that brought brought victory back to KIS last weekend!

During the two-day span of October 14th to October 15th, KAIAC held its very first forensics competition and of course, KIS Speech and Debate team was there for one reason and one reason only – to conquer. Speech was held on Friday, while Debate was held on Saturday, both of which were hosted at YISS (Yongsan International School of Seoul).

The Speech team went to the the final rounds for every category, with Juliet Miinalainen (‘17) proceeding to final rounds in Poetry, Amy Kang (‘17) in Impromptu, Elizabeth Lee (‘18) in Extemporaneous, and Amy Choi (‘17) in Prose. In terms of placing, KIS dominated. Leanne Kim (‘19) came in second place in Extemporaneous, Naidan Ganbold (’17) came in second in Original Oratory, Sara Kim (‘18) came in second in Prose, Hope Yoon (‘19) came in third and Matthew Kim (‘18) first both in the Poetry category. In terms of the two interpretation categories, KIS couldn’t have done any better. All three competitors in the Solo Interpretation category placed, with Amy Choi (‘17) coming in first, Tahee Strein (‘20) second, and Noah Kim (‘18) third. Same goes for Duo Interpretation, with Leona Maruyama (‘17) and Erica Lee (‘17) taking first place, Amy Kang (‘17) and Joy Youn (‘17) second, and finally, Tiffany Namkoong (‘18) and Katie Koo (‘18) third. A glorious double sweep! 

Debate team also met high expectations. Ye Chan Song (‘18) placed first in Lincoln-Douglas, Leanne Kim (‘19) and Jay Jang (‘17) came in first in Public Forum, and Jenny Chung (‘19) and Ricky Seo (‘18) came in second in Parliamentary. Despite two of the three debate captains Chan Ha Hong (‘17) and Yujeong Lee (‘17) not being able to attend due to AISA tournaments, the debaters maintained their confident way of speaking and eloquence of words. Congratulations to all KIS debaters! 

Speech and Debate is off to a great start of the year, and both teams will only grow from here on now. The next competition is to be held at SIS (Seoul International School), on the dates November 18th and November 19th. The Forensics team has made KIS proud, once again! 

– Leona Maruyama (‘17)

Featured Image: KIS Speech Team Facebook Group

Duterte’s Presidential Bloodlust

Excited for the November election? We have a preview from the Philipines, with Mr. Duterte.

“F*ck you UN, you can’t even solve the Middle East carnage…couldn’t even lift a finger in Africa…shut up all of you.” – Duterte at the UN conference on June 2nd, in response to the concern about Philippines’ human rights violation. (PC: Channel News Asia)

While the Americans are concerning about Donald Trump entering the office, a country in the Southeast Asia has already begun coping with a similar kind of problem from June 30th, 2016. The man’s name is Rodrigo Duterte – ex-mayor of Davao. Duterte’s battle against crime is drawing global attention with its inhumane nature, while silencing the opposition with its apparent effectiveness.

Born in a working class background, Duterte was a problematic child. According to Newsinfo.com, he was once expelled from college when he shot a fellow student to “teach him a lesson”. He did, however, worked his way through the bar exam and became a district attorney after graduating from college. He had already gained notoriety with his aggressiveness against criminals back then. After he entered politics, he became the vice mayor of Davao and got elected as the mayor in 1988, perpetuating the position for the next 22 years.

Duterte transformed the city from its bottom to top. Davao, just one of many cities in Philippines with serious public security and corruption issues, experienced rapid improvement since Duterte. His austere policies did not discriminate people of different social status and his personal army – Davao Death Squad – executed a countless number criminals without the standard legal process. True, people were aware of the illicit nature of his unique ideology. However, the outcome speaks for itself. Davao is ranked top as the safest and the least corrupt city in Philippines.

Much like Trump, Duterte gathered his support not through established political figures but with his populist appeal to the general public. Unlike other candidates, he had a tangible credential in the city of Davao. The combination of Duterte strong, charismatic impression and the people’s need for a competent leader called for the age of tyranny.

Duterte again received the global spotlight recently, for referring President Obama as “a son of a b*tch” in his adverse remark on Mr. Obama’s concern towards Philippines’ arising human rights violation. This statement directly led to the cancellation of Obama’s visit and the planned summit meeting. Even though Duterte officially apologized through media, the incident further exacerbated the diplomatic turmoil between Philippines and America, especially after Duterte’s open inclination towards China in his foreign policy.

The negative view on Duterte is not merely stemmed from his impetuous words (even if it involved Pope Francis). Duterte’s bloodthirsty crime fighting is beyond the imaginable scales. According to Yeonhap News, his vigilante forces have killed over two thousand drug-related criminals and led another hundred ten thousand to turn themselves in. While it seems like a rather promising set of data, various human rights NGOs are worried if it might be used for his political power control, which is more like a given sequence based on every one of his historical counterparts.

Meanwhile, the filipino citizens are overwhelmingly supportive of their new president. The approval rating that was just over 30% in May has now skyrocketed to 95% in September. At the same time, some foreigners, too, are expressing their neutrality towards Duterte. Considering the abysmal condition his people were put in, the proponents say that such violent methods might have been justified, bringing back the old philosophical debates on ethics.

As the conflict between Philippines and the rest of the world ensues, Duterte sis even considering Philippines’ abandonment of UN membership. It seems like there is one common ground for both sides at the moment: that the trajectory of Duterte administration is, for one thing, interesting. What do you think about Mr. Rodrigo Duterte?

– Paul Jeon (’17)









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