TOK PRESENTATION: EUREKA!

I’ve always enjoyed Theory of Knowledge because it allows me to explore such abstract concepts that we might not be able to in other subjects. Over the past year, I feel like it has made me grow in terms of my mentality, intellect and open-mindedness. This is why I was happy to do the TOK presentation.

For my final TOK Presentation I posed the question of “To what extent can anything be measured?”. I thought this was a worthwhile question to explore because it is quite broad so I can incorporate my thoughts and ideas into the presentation while also imposing some factual knowledge and logic to support it.

I enjoyed doing the TOK presentation because I was able to formulate an argument and counter that argument thus allows me to explore both sides and be more informed. This has also taught me that exploring both sides will give me a more informed opinion since it makes me realise that there are no wrong answers as long as it is justifiable. As a person, I have always been open to light debate because I understand that I can’t always be right and that if I believe in something, I must be able to argue for that belief and approach my arguments with logic. This also makes for good conversation.

In preparing my TOK presentation, I was able to think critically for myself and I think this will help me largely in any work I may pursue in the future such as in my TOK essay. In a way, my TOK presentation has created a new network of thinking not only within the confines of my knowledge question, but the same approach to anything that might be open to debate.

Mentee Adventures #2

As we reach the end of the school year, it’s time to look back on my achievements in CAS and what better way to do it than with my CAS mentor, Ms. Davidsen. On  Wednesday the 14th of June, I showed Ms. Davidsen my CAS achievements and got her up to speed on my projects. Here’s a little check-in on all of the aspects of CAS.


CREATIVITY

Selcouth Creatures: I have been constantly improving my photography skills with small workshops on  some weekends with professional photographers. My shoots have been becoming more experimental because I wanted to do things more abstractly. In July, I will be going on a National Geographic Photography Expedition so that will improve my technical skills and getting input from experts.

Jukebox: After a hectic half term of exams and presentations an what not, the Jukebox team and I haven’t yet released a new issue however we are working on it and have brainstormed the theme for our next issue. Due to the recent departure of one Mr. Thomas Gleeson, the Jukebox mentor, everything has been even more frantic but we are getting through this together and hope to make progress with it next school year.

ACTIVITY

Tennis: For the 2nd stage of our fitness cycle in PE, we have moved on to group sports. I chose Tennis for this however, because we took a break for exams, I have only played it 3 times so it is still a fairly new skill for me. I will have to see how I can develop my Tennis skills in the future (next school year)

Nike Fitness: After 5 months of Nike Fitness, I have lost weight. This is also due to a healthier diet and activities outside of school.  I enjoyed Nike Fitness and it combined cardio with strength training and it was a good kickstarter to a healthier lifestyle since it was not too vigorous but still pushed my abilities. I feel like I have increased my stamina with Nike Fitness however Tennis will allow me to think quickly on the spot and make my speed increase under pressure.

Yoga: I have been practicing yoga weekly since March it is easy for me to practice it even when I am travelling. I am glad to be able to do this as it will give me a routine to follow during the holidays as I am putting many of my projects on hold for the summer. My instructor has recently taken on floating yoga and intends to teach me it in the future once I have gotten a better grasp of the basic elements of yoga.

SERVICE

Tiny School Movement: A recent visit to our newly constructed Tiny School has made me aware of all the achievements I have made this year. Our engineers have constructed the skeleton of the school, we had quite a delay this year because of administration problems with our partners SOS but all is well now and we have cleared the pathway for next school year.

Baking: We haven’t baked for a month as the Sekolah Bisa kids are on a break for the summer.  As we found it difficult to meet up every weekend, my teammates and I decided to divide the weeks between the 3 of us. At my most recent attempt at baking cookies, I could see major improvements in the shape and texture of it because I have learnt by doing.

TOK PRESENTATION: SHELLSHOCK!

When I have a conversation with someone, I need the conversation to have some depth and to be able to have a light debate with the person without them getting upset. It is because of these reasons that I enjoy TOK so much. While I’ve heard many complaints about how TOK is such an abstract subject, I think that there needs to be some sort of abstraction to our school days.

For my TOK presentation with my partner, Kyungmin Kim, I suggested that the topic relate to how each generation behaves differently and take into account the historical context of the generations. My partner, taking my idea into account, showed me a talk by George Carlin about how language has softened through the generations and been, to quote Carlin “completely buried under jargon” and thus we found a topic for our TOK presentation.

The question we explored for our TOK presentation was “How do we decide if something is offensive?”. I found this question quite interesting because it opened a whole new train of thought for the both of us to explore and share with the class (which I guess is what TOK is supposed to do). We used the areas of knowing “Natural Sciences” and “History” although what I realised during forming the content of the presentation is that all of the AOK’s and WOK’s are linked together even by the vaguest of connections. We explored why, as the generations grow, do the younger generations get more offended by certain things thus creating the need for politically correct language.

I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t say I was nervous before the presentation but I’m quite happy with the way it turned out. Even though our knowledge question was leaning slightly toward the broad side, which meant we weren’t able to share all of our ideas within the 10 minute time frame, I enjoyed our topic. I’m not saying that our TOK presentation was absolutely flawless, in fact it was from it, it lacked a lot of critical theory that I think should have been added however, what we did well was include all the essential links to the AOK and the real life situation. From this practice presentation I can gather that I need to genuinely like the topic I am doing for my actual TOK presentation for it to turn out well.

An extract of George Carlin’s speech

Another Term of CAS

Year 12 has gone by in a whirl! I’ve just started IB only I haven’t, it’s nearly April! It’s been a fan(CAS)tic term! *ba dum tss* My tiny school is built, I’ve designed a magazine and now I know how to do yoga. CAS has been, at least so far, an awesome experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything else.

(CREATIVITY) JUKEBOX & SELCOUTH CREATURES

I’ve learned to incorporate my interests to benefit my creativity projects. Because I’m planning on going to design school, these projects will benefit me in the long run. 

SELCOUTH CREATURES: This project has been a pride of mine since the beginning of IB. After coming back from New York refreshed and feeling ready to take on the world, I started this photoblog in hopes of working with abstract poses and styles. I now have learned how hard it is to organise a model and a makeup artist and am brought back down to reality. But I shall not let that stump me! (LO4) Throughout this school year, I’ve shot 5 people and am currently in the midst of planning another one that I have tailored more to my style (LO3) To ensure that I improve my photography skills, I always have a critique session and send some selected photos to my photography teacher in New York and my father, who also is passionate in photography. (LO1) I’m really excited about the prospect of this project. We’ve had a growing number of likes on Instagram and I hope it will continue to grow.

JUKEBOX: This is the title of our school magazine, of which I am the creative director. Although I came into this magazine club without any skills in any designing software, but I’ve learned a lot of skills in photoshop which I can use for my benefit when I go to design school. One problem that I’ve encountered with this magazine is the dysfunction of the Jukebox group. Although sometimes being dysfunctional is quite refreshing, there comes a point where it stops being funny. But fear not! For I know that some people will be difficult to work with and I shall not falter but come through (LO5) 

(ACTIVITY) YOGA & NIKE FITNESS

YOGA: Since I last checked in, I’ve started to take Yoga classes by having a private lessons at home. I’ve taken yoga irregularly in the past so this is a fairly new skill for me. (LO2) I started this school year with 0 flexibility but now that I take Yoga once a week, I have about 20 flexibility.

NIKE FITNESS: I have never been, nor (I think) will I ever be, the worlds most athletic person but Nike Fitness has helped me get into shape. I realised that measuring my heart rate by beats per minute was not reliable because there are a number of other factors that affect my heart rate such as caffeine intake (I’ve been drinking a lot of coffee since IB started) but I lost about 6 kilograms since then because of this. This might not be a lot to some people but it took me a lot of work. It’s taken a while to get into shape so I am happy that this came through (LO4)

(SERVICE) TINY SCHOOL MOVEMENT & JUKEBOX & BAKING

TINY SCHOOL MOVEMENT: As you know, I am on the team that is working to build this ‘school in a box’. I started this project with such an energy at the prospect of having built a school at the age of 16 but it’s come to be so much bigger than that! After a visit to the SOS children’s village, to which we are donating several schools, and interacting with the kids there, I understand how important this school is to them. It is so much more than just a couple of high school kids projects (LO6) While we may only be helping a couple of local kids get their education, it is a big deal for the kids in this third world country and may even help shape the future leaders by opening their eyes to a whole new world.  This project has had many obstacles on its path and we are still in the midst of hurdling one. While the school has already been built, there are some issues with the land permit and we have yet to donate a school. It’s been a tough 2 terms for this project but the permit is said to come through in 2 weeks so I’m keeping my fingers crossed! (LO4)

JUKEBOX:  Jukebox is probably the project that I’ve put the most effort in. I believe that the magazine has the power to influence many children in our school and help them grow as an individual. With our slogan being “What do you want to hear?” we are making the voices that would have normally been overlooked, heard. (LO7) All the articles published by the magazine were written by students and I feel so lucky to be a part of this project because I too have had (and still have) trouble voicing my opinions so I believe in the power of the underdog because there are so many interesting people in this world yet we only ever get to know about a couple hundred who dare to get attention. (Which is not even to say that they’re opinions are really very educated) This goes by my belief that some of the quietest people have got the brightest minds. The editors of the magazine have had a very critical eye on my designs, this has actually helped me improved my design skills and notice minor details. (LO1) This has been helped my photoshop skills improve and find a way to fix their critiques when I wasn’t familiar with photoshop so it pushed me to explore the technicalities.

BAKING: My friends have always enjoyed cooking and it had never shared so when this opportunity came up to gain a new skill (LO2) and have a shared interest with my friends, I jumped at it. Adopting this project from a year 13, who had done all the baking himself all of last year, I learned how to be organised because we had to work with other people as opposed to the year 13. We started out with 6 people, which meant we could alternate between groups of 3, but now we have to bake every week as well as organise times when we were all free (LO3 & LO5) 

Very first photoshoot for Selcouth Creatures
My favourite page from Jukebox’s First Edition
Pastries made for the Sekolah Bisa Rugby Team

CAS Reflection #2

As a part of the ‘Creativity’ aspect of CAS, I started a blog called “Selcouth Creatures”  where I feature my photography. Photography is a hobby I recently got into so I am still not very skilled at it thus I would like to take it farther. I always judge my photographs after a session thus I am identifying what I need to improve.  With this blog, I am achieving Learning Objective 1 and 2: I identify my strengths, I identify areas for growth and I undertake challenges, I develop new skills.

Tumblr: selcouthcreatures.tumblr.com

Instagram: selcouth.creatures

#shutterbug #lifethroughalens #selcouthcreatures

IF HE GETS UP, WE’LL ALL GET UP! IT’LL BE ANARCHY!

 


 

democracydictatormini_pic

Ancient Athens circa 508 B.C. : The origins of the democratic system.

Ancient Athens circa 508 B.C. : The beginning of this whole tyrannic act.

When all of the worlds countries are democracies they go to war.  The rhetoric of war is something to which politicians (who essentially rule the country) and dictators (who actually control the country) regularly fall back upon. These rulers scare the country’s population into believing that other countries (which may or may not be other democracies) will pounce on them at any given moment. The only solution: FIGHT! Our so-called democratic government controls what we think by censorship and propaganda but we’re more enlightened than that right?

Imagine a democracy without people of intellect. Where people vote for a leader as a joke. This is what is happening in the USA right now. People are protesting for Hillary yet statistics show that a third of these protestors did not so much as take time out to vote against Trump. Is this really what the ‘land of the free and home of the brave’ should look like? A soggy, orange cheeto as their elected leader?

In a Ted Talk led by a fellow IB student of mine, she outlined Plato’s anti-democratic ideology. He once said “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” to a sense I believe that what Plato says is true. After all, he is one of the greatest philosophers in all of history. Democracy grants the people far too much freedom, it often leads to chaos and, in reference to Plato’s ship metaphor, shipwreck. A ship’s crew is in no place to elect a captain because what do they know of being a captain? This is the same way a president elected, they’re not elected based on their qualifications, they’re elected on how able they are to persuade a crowd.

Based on Plato’s ideologies, we can connect these situations to the Area’s of knowing: History and Human Sciences and the Ways of knowing: emotion.

The reason Nathania’s talk is related to History is because past democracies have failed, there have been recordings of these failures, yet people still insist that a democracy is the best way to rule a country. History was made just this year when Britain voted to leave the EU and Trump was elected the President of the United States.  A lot of voters who voted ‘leave’ are said to regret their decision. What does this say for letting the people ‘have a voice’?  Are a bunch of sheep really capable of making the best decisions for a country? Their decisions can shift politics, not only in their country, but the whole world. Human Sciences are also linked to this talk. People are unpredictable, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. If you study a person for the longest time, it will never be possible to predict what they will do next. This is why there is no way to predict an election accurately. When I first heard one Mr. Donald Trump was running for president, I scoffed but here he is, only a matter of time before he is inaugurated.

Believe it or not, emotion plays a large role in something as mundane as politics. Most people who vote know nothing about politics. They just know which of the politicians sounds better to them, which one is better at using fallacies to convince them. It’s all just a giant lie in the end isn’t it. Politicians are masters at appealing to audiences emotions. With your emotions on their side, they can make you do almost anything they want HOWEVER, this is where your intuition comes into play. We don’t just sit there passively and eat whatever it is they are feeding to us. They’re getting better at the art of deceiving us but so are we.

This TedxYouth talk was very eye opening. It opened a whole new plane of thoughts in my mind. I now know that sometimes what we think is best might not be, we should always be open to exploring new ideas that stray from our current ideologies.

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xo, adventure is out there

I’m a manatee (No I got that wrong, I meant mentee)

CAS is, hands down, one of the most stressful but fun parts of the IB curriculum. To be talking about what I have achieved for 20 minutes was a piece of cake! Especially if it was with someone who was going to giving me advice and guidance to make sure I don’t completely mess up.

My assigned CAS mentor is Ms. Davidsen. I have never talked to her before as I have never taken an activity or been in her class so I was quite nervouse beforehand but she was very friendly during the interview and really helped me get a clear idea of what I want to achieve with CAS because it is one of the fundamental aspects of the IB curriculum.


 

CREATIVITY

I’m a right brained person, it wasn’t a surprise to me when, by this time in my IB career, I’ve already started 2 creativity projects (These are ongoing really) and finished 1. As I’ve written in my last blog post, I ran the schools annual haunted house with my peers and had a blast doing it. I don’t have any problem working with people so long as they’re not too difficult to get along with. With the haunted house, I’ve achieved LO5.

As for my other creative projects, I’ve started a photoblog a few months back, it’s only got 104 followers so far but hey, we’re just starting out. Photography is a skill I really would like to develop for the future. I figured that I’d kill two birds with one stone if I took it up as a part of my CAS. This also means that I am achieving LO1, LO3, LO4 and LO5. I put a lot of time into these photos, organizing the models and make-up are hardwork. I talked with Ms. Davidsen about the process I go through for each photo shoot, and I think that just talking about it made the angle I was aiming for with this project more coherent.

ACTIVITY

This would probably turn out to be my weakest aspect of CAS. As I’ve discussed with Ms. Davidsen, I think my biggest challenge of ‘Activity’ would be organizing myself especially after coming home from a long day of school and not having regularly exercized before.

I’ve taken up dancing and Nike fitness for my activities. I’ve set a goal for Nike to have a lower resting heart rate than my usual 68 bpm. A lower resting heart rate would mean that I am getting fitter because, according to my research, lower resting heart rates mean a more efficient heart. For now, I’ve set my goal to 64 bpm. Ms. Davidsen had given me the advice to be ‘persistent with myself’ if I want to reach my goal. Although, I will struggle I will just have to push through to meet my goal.

I have no trouble being persistent with myself with Dance classes because I enjoy it very much. I told Ms. Davidsen that I find it easier to achieve my dance goal than my other goal because it is on a fixed weekly schedule. She agreed with me on this and I was glad to find that she sympathized with me because she said that she also found it hard to exercize by herself.  As I was talking to her about these projects, I realized that I need more of them in order to achieve the learning objectives because so far, with these projects, I have only achieved LO1, LO2 and LO4.

SERVICE

This is the one that I could go on for hours about. I was very pleased with myself that I had talked very clearly about what I want to achieve and what the biggest problem I had to overcome was. I was a bit anxious about what I was going to say beforehand but Ms. Davidsen was very patient with me. I have currently taken on 3 ongoing service projects, 2 of which could double as a creativity project. I was really proud of myself for taking on these projects. These projects helpp me achieve LO6 and LO7.

The first project I had taken part in was the Tiny School Movement. This project creates a so called “school in a box” which can be shipped easily to anywhere around the world and put together. I enjoy working for this project because I have smart teammates whose skills complement one another thus we make a good team. I told Ms. Davidsen that I had a hard time in the past organizing our schedules accordingly because of everyone’s hectic IB schedules.

Another project I have undertaken is baking for sekolah bisa kids. This is a good project because it complements the Tiny School movement since it does not take up too much of my time and I have a good time doing it. This also helps me achieve LO2 because I have not done baking regularly in the past. I felt anxious telling Ms. Davidsen this because I feared that she would be upset that I am trying something new just to feed to the Sekolah Bisa kids.

The last project I recently got into was design and photography for the school Magazine, Jukebox. I have not talked about Jukebox yet with Ms. Davidsen because during that time I had not gotten into it yet but I will set up a meeting with her in the future to discuss this. I have an important job in this stage of the magazine because we are halting on the content of the magazine since we want to redesign it and change its so called “vibe”.


 

All in all, this interview gave me a better sense of direction for my CAS projects. Talking about them aloud helped me very much because I surprised my self with some of the things I said. I came to the CAS interview feeling a bit unsure at the beginning because I didn’t know what I wanted to say but as soon as I started talking, I couldn’t stop. This CAS interview helped me realize that I say  I am going to do a lot of things without actually setting a deadline for it thus always postponing it.

I’ve set myself a goal to join another Activity project before Christmas break. I look forward to see the future opportunities I will have for CAS and am excited for the outcome of my current ongoing projects. I’ve gotten to work and interact with so many different people that I wouldn’t have had it not been for CAS. I can only imagine what the real world would be like. So many different personalities.

xo, au revoir

DOUBLE, DOUBLE TOIL AND TROUBLE

I’ve always kind of been an adrenaline junkie. Scary movies and rollercoasters are my thing.

Halloween is the best night of the year, people dressing up, eating all the candy you’d like. It’s a good way to just take a break from being your self and  be someone else instead. For halloween night this year (although it wasn’t really halloween night because halloween this year is on a monday and I’m such a good student that I celebrated on the weekend before instead), my friends and I worked together to run the school’s haunted house event. It was as much fun as I expected but maybe that’s because I enjoy scaring people.


 

I genuinely enjoyed dressing up properly for halloween this year because I rarely ever put on a full costume since Jakarta really isn’t that festive; at least for western holidays. The hours before we actually opened the haunted house were the most vigorous since we only had a few hours to transform two english classrooms into an asylum. Running that haunted house was probably the highlight of my weekend.

We decided to go with the theme of ‘Asylum’ for this years haunted house and I was so glad we did because, when I was a GCSE drama student, this was one of the themes we had to explore for our exam. You could say that I have a lot of in depth knowledge about how to behave a little bit loony. I proposed acting as a nurse from a video game called ‘Silent Hill’ because I always enjoyed looking at the way they bring themselves, moving in a distorted manner. I thought “OH MY GOD. I’m actually going to be acting as a silent hill nurse, I’ve wanted to do that every halloween for 3 years!” (Yes, I know this isn’t what usually excites most people and it makes me sound a little bit deranged myself) Their characters intrigue me because they are actually a mirror of the characters anxieties and fears.


ON THE DAY

2:30 pm.

I arrived at school early that Saturday. I was way too excited to get started on the make up and prosthetics. The women’s changing room was the staging area for the scarers. It was hectic by 3:20, the makeup artists hands were full (props to them for getting everybody ready in time), I could barely tell who was who. For about 2 hours, everything was just a blur of wax, fake blood and face paint.

4:30 pm.

It’s up and running! We’ve decided that the sound of a bell meant it’s a group of younger kids and we need to tone it down. The first group is coming in. *ring* Lily and I are still at first but we come to life when they walk in. Simon, donning a fake arm, is lying on a bed (which is really just two tables covered with a sheet), Araza, with his doctors coat and an evil laugh, are waiting for them. One of the kid asks the guide “Is it ok if I go back?” to which she replies “No, you have to go through to get out”.  So much for toning it down.

6:45 pm.

I’m sitting on a table, munching on some Yupi candies because we couldn’t have any food or drinks for 2 hours. The stream of kids were endless! I throw my wrapper in the trash and proceed to put the tables back in their places (The haunted house was really just 2 english classrooms we dressed up). Man, this place is a pigsty! I soon realize that half the mess was caused by the scarers themselves. Only I and a few other friends have stayed to clean up the place.

7:00 pm.

PROSTHETICS ARE HARD TO TAKE OFF. I spend 3 minutes clearing one of my wounds and another 5 removing a huge one on my calf. I’ve got a mask stuck onto my face, I rip some of the tape off and it takes some of my hairs with it. Speaking of my hair, these tangles will be hard to get out, I’ve messed it up to look more wild. Oops, I forgot I’ve got some makeup underneath my mask, oh well I guess I’ll just have to go to my family dinner with this on.

Me and my team of deranged nurses
Me and my team of deranged nurses
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Meet the scarers

xo, see you in your dreams

EMILY NEWTON-JOHN – LET’S GET PHYSICAL

I’ve never been a very sporty person. I always did just enough to keep myself healthy but compared to my peers, who trained for swimming competitions every morning and played football after school, I was always kind of a dud. When I heard that in IB we would have to fulfill at least three activities as part of our CAS “Activity”, I saw this as an opportunity to tone my body and get in shape.

I’m thankful to have my Physical Education lessons as part of my activity because I personally do not know how I could fulfill the “activity” requirements without these PE lessons. School is keeping me so busy and I am always so exhausted at the end of the day so having it incorporated into my school day is really helpful! At the beginning of the school year, we were given the chance to choose a type of fitness we would like to do for our activity. I chose Nike fitness because I think that it is quite rigorous for a person of my body type and trains all of my muscles. Nike fitness is a set of different exercises you do in 2-5 minute intervals. I actually really enjoy Nike because it keeps me entertained, I find that if I do one exercise over and over again, I get tired more easily because I get bored and thus unfocused. I’ve chosen to measure my heart rate as means to whether or not the weekly Nike fitness is making me fitter.  According to my research, a lower resting heart rate means that the heart muscles are in better condition thus athletes tend to have lower resting heart rates.

I chose to have dancing as my second activity. Dancing is something I’ve done ever since I was a child. I’ve done hip hop, ballet, modern and contemporary dance. You should know that this does not mean that I’m very good at it, it’s just something I enjoy having fun with.  I take dance as an extra curricular activity because I find that if I do things without a designated time, I get lazy. Unfortunately, I’ve only attended my dance classes 5 times since this school year because, being my clumsy self, I tripped and broke my foot (silly me). It took my foot some time to heal but this past Thursday I’ve finally been able to rejoin my dance crew. Dancing is still as fun as the first time I did it.  My dance class alternated between hip hop and contemporary. I really enjoy doing both of them however I find contemporary more suited to my taste as it is very expressive. I’ve chosen to measure my progress in dance by my ability to keep up with the beat of the dance routine. These past few dance lessons, I’ve had many stumbles here and there and being able to move my body smoothly. As I’ve said before, I’m a very right brained person so I think being able to coordinate my movement would benefit me. Dance is such a majestic form of art, I think being able to grasp even the basics of it would make me feel so accomplished.

The reason IB is such a great course is because it does not only focus on your academics but ensures that by the time you finish the 2 years, you’re a well rounded person. If you were to ask me what was the most important aspect of life, I wouldn’t have an answer because all of them are important in your own personal growth. Physical fitness is only one of the aspects. It also helps you build upon your teamwork skills and your perseverance. I’m looking forward to see what kind of person I’ll turn out to be at the end of this course.

xo, stay cool