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Hong Kong International School 1 Red Hill Road Tai Tam, Hong Kong http://dragonnet.hkis.edu.hk

“Veritas vos liberabit�

ISSUE 3

Department of Defense Schools Pull Out of Holiday Basketball Tournament

CONTROVERSY OVER CHURCHSCHOOL RELATIONSHIP BY CHARLES PACKER

HANNAH PASSAMONTE/JUNTO BY MICHAEL LIN

Following the US military’s new policy disallowing homestays, the Department of Defense Schools (DODS) in Asia withdrew from the Holiday Basketball Tournament. Coaches and players of HKIS’s varsity basketball team alike feel disappointed at the loss of these teams, who have been extremely competi-

tive with HKIS in recent history. Mr. Evans, coach of the varsity basketball team, described several recent games against DODDS team Kubasaki as “coming down to the wire.� The HKIS varsity team also feels extremely disappointed at tough competition pulling out of the tournament. HKIS players disagree with the new DODDS policy because they feel

that it will cause them to miss out on opportunities to improve their game. Jeff Chow, co-captain of the varsity team, stated, “Considering that this tournament had been going on for the past 30-40 years, it really doesn’t make sense for them to withdraw since there were no problems within that period of time.� Continued on Page 3

New Teacher Payment Structure “Controversial� BY THOMAS RUAN

The teacher drew close and lowered his voice, even though we were the only two in the room. “Put this in your article,� he said, pointing at my notebook, “I’m considering leaving the school because of this.� The “this� he was referring to is Career Structure, a new teacher assessment and payment scheme that was introduced three years ago. Before Career Structure, salaries for teachers were determined by a ‘historical’ payscale. Under that system, the number of years a teacher had taught would decide how much he would get paid. Career Structure, on the other hand, is ‘performance-based.’ Under this system, teachers are assessed in six areas, such as “Knowledge of Content� and “Instructional Strategies.� Their assessment yields a score, which is then used to compute an appropriate salary. The traditional ‘historical’ system had been in place for a long time, but a few people on the Board of Directors expressed concern about it. Joy

Okazaki, Director of Human Resources, said that, “we recognized that the historical step system was outdated.â€? The Board started researching methods that would, in Okazaki’s words, “align professional development with individual needs and strategic schoolwide initiatives.â€? According to Kasey Perry, an Upper Primary literacy specialist who helped design the program, “The aim of Career Structure is to get educators WRUHĂ HFWDQGLPSURYHRQWKHLUWKHRU\ and practice—to ponder what they used to do and think, and to be open to changing their minds.â€? “It doesn’t look bad on paper,â€? George Coombs, a Humanities teacher, said. Yet, Career Structure, “is just about externals.â€? “It’s about money, you ask any teacher and they’ll tell you that,â€? he said, calling the program “a big bureaucratic waste of money and energy.â€? Coombs’s disapproval of Career Structure has been voiced by many other members of the faculty. Responding to the negative reaction of some faculty members, Head of

Are Sparknotes Ruining English Class? PAGE 3 South China Morning Post Reports on Chai Wan Move PAGE 3

School Kevin Dunning said, “people are going to work through at different speeds. There’s going to be some volatility.� “It’s very controversial. It shouldn’t be, but it is,� said Kevin McCaughey, a math teacher. One criticism is that teacher assessment is directly connected to salary. One teacher said that he felt like Career Structure is “taking something that I love and diluting it with a bag of cash.� “Most of us don’t go into education for money,� another teacher said. Furthermore, “I don’t think students want teachers who are motivated by pay.� Some of the professional research on incentive-based assessment seems to support that claim. Dan Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, wrote that, “I can’t see a way to construct a merit pay scheme that is both simple and fair.� He cited research on motivation as reasons for why incentives don’t work well. Continued on Page 4

A recent article in the South China Morning Post has drawn attention to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) relationship to Hong Kong International School and the nature of religious studies at HKIS. The LCMS, based in St Louis, Missouri, helped found HKIS and is responsible for approving both HKIS’ Head of School and property spending and loans over 10 million HKD. LCMS and HKIS’ operating agreement states that “The school will function under the leadership of a Christian administration. The head of school shall be a member of the LCMS, and a majority of the senior administrators shall be members of the LCMS or members in good standing in a congregation served by the LCMS.â€? 7KHFKXUFK¡VLQĂ XHQFHRYHU HKIS, especially their refusal to waive the LCMS membership requirement for David Condon to be Head of School, has been the source of considerable debate. For many, the lack of clarity in the church’s rela-

4MILMZ[PQXQVÆI\QWVI\031;  PAGE 5

Controversial Development Project Proposed on Lamma Island PAGE 5

New Water Packaged in Carton Containers Not Popular Among Students PAGE 5

Semester Exam Schedule Explained PAGE 6

HKIS Carbon Footprint Grows PAGE 5

tionship with HKIS raises questions DERXWWKHFKXUFK¡VUHOLJLRXVLQĂ XHQFH on the school. According to a source quoted in the South China Morning Post, the LCMS’ religious beliefs repel prospective students and parents from HKIS. The anonymous parent said that “people question whether LCMS truly supports the mission of the school,â€? which includes “respecting the spiritual lives of all.â€? The source continued “the LCMS is very conservative and dogmaticâ€? in its views, such as teaching that the pope is an anti-christ and that the story of Jonah in the belly of a whale should be taken literally. Mr. Kersten, who used to teach one of HKIS’ mandatory religion classes, strongly disagrees. “The insinuation that enacting our school’s mission means that literally interpreting the Jonah story or denouncing the pope are somehow central to what we do at HKIS is simply ludicrous,â€? he said. “Religion classes at HKIS,â€? Mr. Kersten added, “are not doctrine classes.â€? Continued on Page 4

Loud and Proud Thousands March at Hong Kong Pride Parade 2011 BY BARTON LIANG

Members and friends of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community took to the streets on November 12 to show their pride and bring attention to a variety of issues faced by the LGBT community in Hong Kong. According to the event’s organizers, over 2,500 people attended the parade, including major groups like Hong Kong University’s Queer Straight Alliance, AIDS Concern, and the Hong Kong LGBT Interbank Forum. Legislative Council member “Long Hairâ€? Leung Kwok-hung was also in the crowd, although he did not PDNHDQ\RIĂ€FLDOVWDWHPHQWV The parade started at East Point Road in Causeway Bay and ended at Southorn Playground in Wan Chai where a stage was erected for the closing ceremonies, including musical performances, an awards ceremony, and a drag show. During the parade, participants KHOGEDQQHUVZDYHGUDLQERZĂ DJV and chanted slogans like “love is a human right,â€? waving at passing buses and trams. Pedestrians also gathered along the parade route and watched from sidewalks and bridges,

REVIEW

SCHOOL NEWS New Teacher Payment Structure “Controversial� PAGE 1&4

DECEMBER 2011

A STUDENT PUBLICATION OF HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL

many taking photos or recording videos on cell phones. Participants had mixed feelings about local attitudes towards the LGBT community. “So far, the attitude [towards LGBT] has been really positive,� said Max Morris, a student at HKU. “Hong Kong is much more open and accepting,� said Cher, a visitor from Singapore. “[The LGBT community] is treated more as a curiosity here,� said Doug Kight, who works at Nomura International, a member of the LGBT Interbank Forum. “There are still a lot of prejudices,� noted Ms. Mayer, a local resident. Paul, a local resident working at Goldman Sachs, said that “their attitudes are improving – still not great, but improving.� Thomas, a tourist from Belgium, said that “[local people] don’t care. There’s not much support, but also not much opposition.� “The local attitude seems to be ‘live and let live, but we don’t want to see it,’ at least from the older generation,� said Mr. Louis Smith, who is originally from Texas. “The younger generation doesn’t seem to have a problem with it,� he added. Continued on Page 3

COLUMNS

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- Food - HKIS Tolerant But Quiet On Issues of Sexuality OP/ED

9th Graders Develop Passion for Foshan PAGE 6 Ongoing Field Space Controversy PAGE 6

- Career Structure - Fifteen Minutes Wasted

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JUNTO

JUNTO

Hong Kong International School 1 Red Hill Road Tai Tam, Hong Kong Junto is a student publication of Hong Kong International School. Student editors make all content decision. Please feel free to submit letters to the editors. Submit your letter to junto@hkis.edu.hk. Letters may be edited for clarity. Teacher Advisor ..........................................................................................................................................Chris Taylor Editor-in-Chief ................................................................................................................................Sanchita Kanthadai Editors ........................................................................................................................................................Thomas Ruan Emily Williams Christine Herman Charlie Packer Layout Editor ....................................................................................................................................................Jinny Lee Layout assistants ...........................................................................................................................................Andrew Yu Tiffany Cheung Danielle Park Photo Manager ................................................................................................................................Victoria Montecillo Photo assistants ........................................................................................................................................Gabriella Tam Hannah Passamonte Amy Griffin Kira Bauman

DECEMBER 2011

DECEMBER ISSUE


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DECEMBER 2011

JUNTO

Loud and Proud - Thousands March at Hong Kong Pride Parade 2011

BARTON LIANG&KIRA BAUMAN/JUNTO

Continued from front page Dr. Jennifer Raymond, a visiting lecturer at Bridgewater State University, said that it is good “any time an organization is willing to put their reputation on the line and say that [LGBT rights] are important.” She noted the lack of legal protection from discrimination in Hong Kong for the LGBT community, and pointed out that it is technically legal for a company to dismiss an employee because of their sexuality. Mr. Daniel Roberts, who works at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, pointed out the same thing, adding that there “needs to be legislation to protect the rights of LGBT in Hong Kong.” Several student groups were also present at the parade. A group of at

least 20 students from the Li Po Chun United World College attended the event, dressing up and wearing rainbow face paint. “We’re here because we care, and we want to show support for the LGBT community,” said one student from the school. “We want to raise awareness around Hong Kong,” said another. Members of Chinese International School’s Human Rights Group also attended the parade. “It’s really important that we show our support,” one CIS student said. “At [our] school, students generally support the principle [of LGBT rights], but sometimes may feel uncomfortable expressing it, especially among the guys,” said Nina Stender, a CIS student. “Students don’t feel comfortable enough to be out, and LGBT issues

EARCOS Conference Cancelled BY BEATRICE YEUNG

The annual East Asia Regional Council Of Schools (EARCOS) Leadership Conference, which was supposed to take place from October 29 to November 1, was cancelled due WRÁRRGLQJLQ%DQJNRN EARCOS is an organization of 120 member schools in East Asia, including Hong Kong International School. Its mission is to inspire adult and student learning through its leadership and service, as well as fostering intercultural understanding, global citizenship, and exceptional educational practices within its learning community. EARCOS organizes three major conferences annually. Administrators of Hong Kong International School were supposed to take part in the Leadership Conference earlier this month, which was aimed to facilitate communication and cooperative action between and

among all associated schools, among many other objectives. Although this conference has been cancelled, there will be another upcoming EARCOS conference of similar nature. The next upcoming EARCOS Conference will be an EARCOS Teachers’ Conference, which will be held in Bangkok next March. Mrs. Mulligan, a leader of EARCOS HKIS, described the conference as ‘professionally stimulating,’ as educational professionals who are OHDGHUVLQWKHLUUHVSHFWLYHÀHOGVVKDUH ideas with other teachers, as well as introduce new technology tools and discuss all aspects of being a teacher. Mrs. Mulligan also said that the conference provides an opportunity for networking and building camaraderie. ‘It is a great place to connect with other teachers, and share ideas as well as strategies. Teachers from the region come, meet together, and collaborate.’

aren’t taken seriously,” she added. There were no HKIS groups present at the parade and related events. Several participants pointed out that Hong Kong’s pride parades are more political in nature than other pride parades. Richard, an expat from the UK, said that “Here, it feels more like a protest for acceptance and acknowledgement. In the western countries [pride parades] are less political and more of a celebration.” ´3DUDGHVDUHGHÀQLWHO\PXFKELJger in the United States, sometimes LQYROYLQJWKUHHWRÀYHKXQGUHGWKRXsand people,” said Dr. Raymond. Thomas from Belgium pointed out that “it feels much more like activism here.” “In Belgium, it is just like one big party,” he added. Maria, a tourist from Germany, said, “In

Germany, there is more loud music and dancing. It is more like a festival [there] than a demonstration.” Some groups participating in the parade held banners demanding legal protection of LGBT people from discrimination, but the closing ceremony performances and speeches did not explicitly mention equal legal protection for the LGBT community. Last year’s Hong Kong Pride Parade was canceled due to lack of funding. This year, the organizers’ request to use Victoria Park as the gathering point for the parade was denied by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, citing concerns that Victoria Park would become “known as the gathering point for protests and parades.”

Are Sparknotes ruining English class? BY BRONWYN LLOYD

Sparknotes is one of many websites available to students looking for a summary of their assigned reading. 6RPHVWXGHQWVÀQGWKHVHVLWHVXVHIXO as a back up or reinforcement to assigned reading and some use them to forgo the reading all together. “Sparknotes is my life,” says junior Christie To. “Sometimes I don’t understand the chapters, but Sparknotes always has information that really helps me in class.” This is a common feeling among Humanities students, who are often required to read books they don’t completely understand. The use of summary sites such as Sparknotes makes this process easier by identifying themes and simplifying analysis of the text. The novels assigned for literature classes are chosen for their merit, which implies that they should be a good read. Through these books humanities teachers hope to foster a love of reading and literature. Mr. Ewing, a humanities teacher, KROGVWKHÀUPFRQYLFWLRQWKDWRYHUXVH of Sparknotes is liable to destroy that love. According to Mr. Ewing, Sparknotes is a ‘big mistake’ and will work against the teacher’s aim in the class by teaching students to ‘hate literature.’ The summaries students ÀQGRQOLQHFDQEHERULQJDQGODERULous; they include none of the details and language that makes the novel exciting or interesting and are the reason they were selected as part of the reading list in these classes. “Do you want to read a summary of the concert or go the concert?” Mr. Ewing asks. Some students consider Sparknotes and similar sites a way to gain understanding for class without spending extra time on homework. However, as Junior Alice Yang notes, there is a draw back. “Students should still read the actual book because Sparknotes leaves out details that may be included in a quiz by the teachers.” Mr. Ewing agrees that Sparknotes leaves out details, details that create the depth of interest in the novel. “Its unfair to the author” says Mr. Ewing “Sparknotes was made for people who don’t like reading.”

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST REPORTS ON CHAI WAN MOVE BY MARTIN MAN

Department of Defense Schools Pull Out of Holiday Basketball Tournament Continued from front page Teammate Daniel Law said that “it’s the experience that’s affected. I personally feel that [the tournament] won’t be as eventful, exciting or competitive.” In addition, the chance of forming good relationships with homestays from opposing teams will diminish with the implementation of DODDS’ new rule. Many players with “different backgrounds go on to become good friends on Facebook,” according to Coach Evans. As this year is a rebuilding year for the school basketball team, the withdrawal of the DODDS teams

might be seen as beneficial; the loss of highly competitive teams from the tournament means less competition for HKIS. However, members of the HKIS varsity team disagree and believe a rebuilding year does not prevent a team from winning. Lawrence Lee, co-captain of the varsity team said, “This team is every bit as good as last year and we will win just as much if not more than last year.” When asked about the chances of the DODDS teams returning to this competition, Coach Evans said, “It will take a lot of work to overturn this policy and make the decision makers see wisdom.”

The ‘South China Morning Post’ reported on the Lower Primary’s move to Chai Wan on 11 November. The article—published on the front page of the newspaper’s ‘City’ section—comes roughly one and a KDOIPRQWKVDIWHUWKHÀUVWPDVVHPDLO from ‘concernedhkisparents@gmail. com’ was sent, and one month after the story ran in Junto. The article cites concerns of Repulse Bay residents, as well as submissions to the Town Planning Board by citizens. It also quotes from the initial mass email and Director of Facilities Management Pat Hall’s explanation of the move. However, no HKIS parents, faculty, or students were quoted in the article. The parents’ emails previously suggested ‘getting some good press coverage’ on the move to put ‘pressure on the Education Bureau.’ They urged for ‘articles or letters’ to be published ‘about why the government is continuing to give HKIS the building when so many of the parents hate the idea and don’t want to move.’


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Leadership Inflation at HKIS

GABRIELLA TAM/JUNTO BY KATYA DAJANI

Hong Kong International School boasts a wide variety of clubs and activities, yet students question the method for obtaining leadership and the number of leaders involved in these groups. Almost all Hong Kong International students participate in clubs, many with the intent of one day becoming leader. Daisy Cheng, sophomore, said “I’m in Habitat for Humanity, and although I love the service parts and the club itself, I still do hope that I can be a leader at some point.� Leadership positions can be found in every club, and are highly sought after. According to Senator of Athletics, Jordan Lem, “a club leader should be passionate about the goals that his or her club is trying to achieve.� He later added, “passion for their work should be the primary motivation for leading a club, not get-

Students Split on the Utility of Homeroom BY ARCHIT BATLAW

“Homeroom is unnecessary and pointless,â€? said junior Jade Chan. Based on her opinion, as well as those of multiple other students and faculty, it appears that homeroom is a different experience for many students. Some students, such as Jade, speak of homeroom with discontent. Junior Cathy Ng stated, “homeroom is only useful for broadcasts and birthdays.â€? She went on to describe it DV´LQHIĂ€FLHQWÂľ Others are more appreciative of it. Senior Hunter Purvis said that homeroom is “kind of like a social experiment.â€? This is because there is no curriculum and you “get to meet people outside of your social circle.â€? He went on to say that it provides a “different medium for communication.â€? According to Purvis, the “goal of homeroom is to get people together on a consistent basis and socialize.â€? Mr. Ferrin, however, sees that the purpose of homeroom as building “a relationship with students in a different manner than a student-teacher relationship, which can hinder some discussions. It let’s us [teachers] get to know them as humans, be their advocates.â€? Mr. Ferrin went on to say “these VSHFLĂ€FGD\VKHOSWHDFKHUVJHWWR know students in a different context and makes a support system available. It is important not to presume that one is needed, but if needed it is available.â€? Mr. Harris-Lowe reiterated this and added that homeroom “allows teachers and students to develop a deeper relationship and have meaningful conversations.â€? He also stated that homeroom “let’s students see the ‘human’ side of teachers, which they may not have the opportunity to see in class.â€?

DECEMBER 2011

JUNTO

ting into college.â€? Despite Lem’s description of the ideal leader, many clubs at Hong Kong International experience what Interact leader Sauman Cheng called WKH´LQĂ DWLRQRIOHDGHUVKLSÂľ,QRWKHU words, clubs have leadership teams that are larger than necessary. 0DQ\ZRUU\WKDWXQTXDOLĂ€HG students are chosen in an attempt VLPSO\WRĂ€OORSHQSRVLWLRQV6HQDWRU of Student Life, Barton Liang, stated, “Clubs need to evaluate their need for a leader before they pick them. Instead of using leadership positions as way to reward a particular committed member of a club, they should come up with an alternative way to recognize this dedication.â€? While some clubs can function with a small leadership team, organizations such as Z Club and Interact Ă€QGDODUJHUOHDGHUVKLSWHDPWREHHVsential. Liang went on to say, “Some clubs need more leaders because the

way the club is set up or the scope of what they are doing requires a bigger group of leaders such as Interact with their huge fashion show.� There is no school-wide control over how leaders are chosen. Clubs such as Forensics Public Speaking hold elections, while others like Habitat For Humanity and Heal Africa send out applications. For some other clubs, the process of selecting leaders can be very unclear. Some students still express concern over the process. “I don’t think it’s completely fair when leaders are chosen in clubs because there are clubs where the leaders choose their friends or people they’re close with,� said Cheng. “They do seem to get an unfair advantage over people who don’t have as many connections.� Sonia Min, a senior, suggested that, “Maybe there should be an annual peer leadership evaluation.�

HKIS SENIOR PROJECTS BY GABRIELLA TAM

With college applications, SATs, and homework, the year of a senior is undoubtedly the busiest of all high school years. Not only do seniors have to balance their work time, but they also have to take part in the mandatory Senior Project. Every year, seniors take part in a project in which they independently pursue an interest or passion. Throughout this senior project, seniors go on a learning experience by exploring their interests and taking risks in order to gain something valuable before the end of their high school career. The topic of the project depends on a student’s interests. The projects earn a grade of fail, pass, or distinction, so seniors have to show their growth through journals as a VHOIUHĂ HFWLRQRIWKHLUSURFHVV6HQLRU English teachers then have to review and assess the students’ projects, and it is incorporated into the students’ Ă€QDO6HQLRU(QJOLVKJUDGH Senior English teacher Mrs. Moreno believes the senior project “gives students a chance to explore something outside the classroom that they are interested in, but haven’t had time or opportunity to pursue.â€? Mrs. Moreno also says senior projects “teach students about time management, the challenge of working with others to reach a common goal, and how to take all one learned from an experience and put it into a presentation that’s engaging for an unfamiliar audience.â€? The project has many steps: creating an idea, deciding whether to work alone or in a group, turning the LGHDLQWRDSURSRVDOĂ€QGLQJDPHQWRU

working towards the goal, and producing a presentation that showcases their learning experience. There are also many deadlines, which help prevent seniors from falling behind. The most recent deadlines were December 5th, when seniors submitted their Ă€QDOSURSRVDODQG'HFHPEHUWK when the senior projects online signup system was locked. Class of 2011 graduate Sarah Szweda described her senior project as “the most inspiring and challenging assignmentâ€? she have ever done in High School, and advises the this year’s senior class to “choose something you are truly interested in or passionate about. Alums always give the advice that you should manage your time and to not leave the project until the last minute. Also think of the senior project as an opportunity to do some good for other people.â€? Another class of 2011 graduate, Victoria Chen advises this year’s senior class to “make a timeline for yourself, and to make weekly meetings via Skype or at school with your group—even for ten minutes—to talk about what should be done for your SURMHFW,W¡VĂ€QHLI\RXGRQ¡WDFFRPplish your goals,â€? she said. “It’s the process and journey your group went through that really counts.â€? This year’s projects include a wide variety of endeavors. Caleb Hayhoe and Tara Lorimer plan to start a rowing club; Lindsay Chow and Natalie Guzikowski plan to raise awareness of the issues facing Filipina domestic helpers living in Hong Kong; Janet Liu, Lina Yue, and Elizabeth Mok plan to visit an orphanage at Pattaya.; and Jennifer Wong and JJ Kim plan to write a book.

CONTROVERSY OVER CHURCHSCHOOL RELATIONSHIP Continued from front page Students who have taken religion courses at the school share Mr Kersten’s opinion. Archit Batlaw, a Hindu student who took HKIS’ Biblical Traditions class said that “the class aims to explore questions we all have about life and its purpose,� and is “focused on Christianity and the bible from a historical perspective rather than a purely religious one.� At the same time, the controversy has raised some substantial issues about lack of clarity in the LCMS’ role in governing the school. In their 2010 accreditation report, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), urged HKIS to “clarify� the church’s role in the school “as soon as humanly possible.� In the “WASC/CDE Criteria Indicators and Prompts,� a tool used by WASC to help in their analysis, schools are judged on the degree to which “the school community understands the governing board’s role.� In their accreditation report, WASC

urged HKIS to clarify this role. According to the WASC, “the governing authority of the Board of Managers in relation to that of the LCMS is unknown.â€? The HKIS-LCMS Operating Agreement states that the Head of School is appointed by the LCMS “in consultationâ€? with the Board of Managers, while not stating DQ\RWKHUVSHFLĂ€FV The agreement also states that “the Head of School shall be directly responsible to the Board of Managers,â€? while maintaining an “ultimate responsibilityâ€? to the LCMS. According to WASC’s report, the lack of “proper accordsâ€? about criteria in the Operating Agreement “undermines the leadership of the school and sets a poor example for the rest of the community.â€? In her interview with the South China Morning Post, Abbi DeLessio said that the WASC’s recommendations would be carried out by the 2012-13 school year.

New Teacher Payment Structure “Controversialâ€? Continued from front page On the other hand, a 2009 study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that incentives for teachers improved student performance and learning in a large sample of Indian schools. Dr. Stefan Klein, a scientist who visited Hong Kong International in September, said, “I would be very skeptical whether it’s a good idea to introduce such schemes in schools.â€? He explained, “incentive schemes work better if you can measure the performance of an individual. How can you do that with a teacher?â€? When asked to respond to Dr. Klein’s opinion, Perry said, “I would question that research.â€? She said that Klein assumed teaching could not be assessed. “We spent about 8 years Ă€JXULQJRXWKRZWRGRWKDW:HNQRZ our methods are not perfect, but we do feel our work is based on research, thinking and discussion.â€? Commenting on the fact that assessment is tied to a payscale, Perry said, “I think it’s a healthy thing to do.â€? It is effective because, “when you get down to it, people want to be UHZDUGHGĂ€QDQFLDOO\Âľ Matt Lucas, a Lower Primary PE teacher, asked, “What then would be the alternative? If CS was not linked to salary, the effort and meaningfulness of CS may deteriorate over time.â€? Some teachers who have already reached the top of the ‘historical’ payscale may not have their salary changed by going through Career Structure. This has led some faculty members to feel that the program is, as one teacher called it, “an attempt to remove long-standing staff.â€? As Kent Ewing, a Humanities teacher who has many years of experience at Hong Kong International, put it, Career Structure is “an institutional way to persuade senior staff to leave.â€? One teacher pointed to the departures of Alan James and Craig Butler last year as evidence of Career Structure’s unpopularity. While the new pay scheme was not the main reason the WZROHIW´LWGHĂ€QLWHO\ZDVQ¡WSRVLWLYH enough to keep them.â€? Another concern that has been raised has to do with the amount of time put into teacher assessment. 0DQ\WHDFKHUVJDYHDĂ€JXUHRI around 200 hours of extra work over the year. This commitment is considered unreasonable by some teachers.

2ND]DNLVDLGWKDWWKHĂ€JXUHRI KRXUV´VRXQGVUHDOO\LQĂ DWHGÂľ “Your family life suffers, your teaching suffers. I’d rather not do it,â€? said Richard Fredericks. He has not done Career Structure yet. One teacher said, “What am I doing afterschool today? Am I writing an innovative lesson plan? No, I’m eating Lays potato chips and listening to someone read me a rubric.â€? For band teacher Tim Gavlik, there is an added dimension of “emotional energyâ€? added to the time commitment. “I feel like I expend a lot of that already.â€? He said, “Knowing at any time an admin can walk in and critique me is an added pressure.â€? Another teacher likened this pressure to being “constantly being on job interview.â€? However, Gavlik commented that “the pay-back for the extra emotional energy spent would be growth as a teacher.â€? Mekala Harford, a Lower Primary teacher, views the time commitment as simply something to that must be done. She wrote in an email, “My view is that if I want to stay at this school, it is something I need to do. I want to stay here for several reasons therefore I am doing it. If it takes 200 hours, so be it.â€? Although there has been controversy over the program, some are FRQĂ€GHQWWKDWLW¡VUHVXOWVKDYHEHHQ for the better. Beverly Nagao, from the Lower Primary, thought that CaUHHU6WUXFWXUHZDVXOWLPDWHO\EHQHĂ€cial for her teaching. She said, “This year I am using a lot of the things I developed in Career Structure.â€? McCaughey said that he thought KLVIXWXUHVWXGHQWVZRXOGEHQHĂ€WIURP his have gone through the program. “It can be very positive. That was my experience,â€? he said. A teacher who trial tested Career Structure said that he believes that it will get better as more teachers go through it. He pointed out that the rubric does not factor in homeroom time, or student opinions. But, he hopes these would be included in future versions. “I am hopeful that it’s changing into something better.â€? While Junto ordinarily does not withhold names of interviewees, the editors have permitted anonymous quotes due to the sensitivity of this issue. A few teachers who were approached for an interview declined to provide even an anonymous quote.


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HKIS Carbon Footprint Grows BY ARSHIA BHATIA

With its recent ban on plastic bottles and the installation of water fountains, it may seem that HKIS is trying to be as green as possible. However, the school’s electricity use and carbon footprint have both increased this year. This year the use of plastic bottles on campus was banned in addition to the starting of a new environmentalist club called Greenpeace. Recycling Bins have been placed all around the school and because of the laptops; the use of digital copies for assignments is increasing. And new water fountains were installed that encourage the use of reusable water bottles. Despite these environmental initiatives, because of the size of HKIS’ facilities, our electricity usage is increasing. Recently students have noticed an increase in the air -con use at school, especially the Cafeteria. Hong Kong is starting to get cold and the temperatures inside classrooms and common areas should be made higher not cooler. Many have been wondering why it makes sense to lower the temperatures. -DQLFH6KLDR¡VD\V´LWGHÀnitely gets cold in the cafeteria, and the ac is always on so high.� While some students complain of freezing temperatures, others say that they have barely noticed. Sopho-

more Rika Fujita ’10 said, “I haven’t noticed a change but that maybe be because the weather outside is starting to get cooler.â€? One common explanation for the persistent air-conditioning is that the large amount and proximity of students can hamper the ventilation of the air and make the area stuffy. In addition to the cafeteria, many times teachers leave the air-con on in the classroom even when they are not there. Mr. Hall, the director of facilities for HKIS, said that energy usage has increased this year and the electricity consumption in the month of September/October was the highest it has been in the past 3 years. Mr. Hall attributed the increase in electricity use to the increase in the use of HKIS’s facilities after school hours. “Our use of electricity has continued to rise. Part of that is due to expanded use of the facilities after school hours (which has grown by about 10% per year), and also an expansion of the campus, when we DGGHGWKHWKĂ RRUDQGWKH0XVLF Center in 2007,â€? said Mr. Hall. The school’s carbon footprint so far this year has been 968 tons. Between the years 2010-2011 and 2009-2010 the CO2 emissions had come down by about 7%. However between last year and this year, the school’s carbon footprint increased by 5%.

New Water Packaged In Carton Containers Not Popular Among Students BY GIGI W CHOY

With the new policy at Hong Kong International School that encourages students to bring their own bottles as well as the ban on selling plastic water on school premises, Chartwells has resorted to selling water that is packaged in cartons. A majority of students who were interviewed are against carton water being sold at the school, while a minority either have no preference, or simply don’t know about it. Many students believe that selling water at school is redundant because of the many water fountains that are situated around the school. Daisy Cheung, a sophomore, said “it’s kind of pointless because it’s so expensive and I can just go to a water fountain.â€? The Rustad brand of Pure Norwegian Spring Water is sold at the price of $12.00 HK, which is the same price as the Crystal Geyser water previously sold at CafĂŠ Liscio, but more expensive than the Vita water ($8.00 HK) sold at the cafeteria in the past. Mira Naseer, the presiding ofĂ€FHURIWKH6HQDWHVDLG´LW¡VDFWXDOO\ not more environmentally friendly,

because the carton itself is made out of paper material while the nozzle is made out of plastic, which can’t be recycled because they are half plastic. The paper and plastic can’t be separated from each other.� Eleventh grade student Danielle Park expressed her approval of the school trying to be more environmentally friendly, but believes the approach that the school is currently taking is not the most ideal way of going green. “I think selling water discourages people from bringing their own water bottles,� she said. Arshia Bhatia and Jamie Au, both sophomores did not regard the issue as something of great importance. “I really don’t care,� Arshia commented. “I just bring my own water.� Jamie agreed, stating that the carton water was “kind of weird.� Even though many who were interviewed expressed their disapproval of selling water at school, a few students liked the new packaging. Brendan Mallery, a sophomore, said that carton water was “pretty neat� and thinks that the idea of water being sold in milk carton lookalikes is very fascinating.

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DECEMBER 2011

HANNAH PASSAMONTE/JUNTO

Independent Fitness in its Second Year BY STEPHANIE TANG

Last year, the Physical Education department introduced the Independent Fitness program. The program allows students to exercise under teacher supervision in order to gain credit to boost their PE grade. It was advertised as an opportunity for students to come and use the school’s facilities, such as the weights room, Ă€HOGDQGVZLPPLQJSRRO “Before, there was really no one using the facilities,â€? said Mr. MacDonald, the head of the PE department. “One of our main goals is to get kids to develop a healthy lifestyle, and that aim wasn’t being realized. We were asking ourselves, ‘How do we get the kids to exercise RQDGDLO\EDVLV"¡:HĂ€JXUHGWKDWWKH way to motivate such grade-conscious students was to tie exercising into the grading system. But it didn’t start like DĂ RRGLWVWDUWHGZLWKDWULFNOHMXVWD few students coming in each period, but now it’s a huge thing.â€? According to a survey taken at the end of last year, the Independent Fitness program received overwhelming support from students. The PE teachers even noticed that WKHLUVWXGHQWVZHUHORRNLQJPRUHĂ€W and believe that their attitudes and abilities were different as a result of Independent Fitness. Alice Lew, a freshman, said that ,QGHSHQGHQW)LWQHVVLV´GHĂ€QLWHO\ good.â€? She said that it gave people chances to improve their grades, and might give students the initiative to

EHFRPHPRUHĂ€WWKRXJKVKHWKLQNV that most people who do those sessions are doing it because of their grades. However, she adds that she herself hasn’t done that many, citing the hassle of joining after school as her reason why. Another freshman, Evelyn Liu, agrees; however, she thinks that even though a lot of people are athletes, for some people who aren’t athletes and choose the swimming opinion for Independent Fitness then it is going to be very hard for them. She also says, “By having Independent Fitness, it encourages people to do sports outside of school,â€? and also gives people a chance to improve their grades as well. Many athletes also expressed their discontent because doing sports did not count towards Independent Fitness. The PE department agreed that some schedules were prohibiting students from participating in the program and decided to take Independent Fitness a step further this year. “We were really thinking hard and trying WRĂ€JXUHRXWDV\VWHPWKDWZRUNHG for everyone, where every student is acknowledged,â€? Mr. MacDonald said. In order to recognize athletes and allow more opportunities, especially for those who do not have free periods to do exercise, the PE department started loaning out watches and heart rate monitors this year. This allows students to log time on their own outside of school.

When the change was announced, students who had previously displayed concerns were appeased. “By having Independent Fitness, it encourages people to do sports outside of schoolâ€?, and also gives people a chance to improve their grades as well,â€? said sophomore Gillian Wei. “I like this system a lot better because it makes it easier to complete Independent Fitness sessions,â€? said sophomore Hannah Turley. “I do a lot of sports, and now that those practices count for credit I can spend more time studying or doing homework during frees and at home.â€? The department also encourages students to buy their own heart rate monitors so that they can log time whenever they want without having to depend on the limited number of ZDWFKHVDYDLODEOHDWWKH3(RIĂ€FH The PE teachers believe that this will help students gain long-term momenWXPWRZDUGDGRSWLQJDĂ€WDQGKHDOWK\ lifestyle. They also hope that this will encourage students to make exercising a daily habit. At the moment, the PE department is waiting for the next round RIĂ€WQHVVWHVWLQJWKDWZLOOWDNHSODFH during exam week in January. Mr. 0DF'RQDOGLVKRSHIXOWKDWWKHĂ€WQHVV tests will prove that the Independent Fitness program is making positive changes among HKIS students. With additional reporting from Samantha Fong

Controversial Development Project Proposed on Lamma Island

Broken Glass at CafĂŠ Liscio BY AMY GRIFFIN

In late October, CafĂŠ Liscio shut down due to a broken glass panel in its canopy. Students at HKIS were surprised when they discovered the cafĂŠ was no longer open for business. The source of the cafÊ’s closure was the glass canopy that hangs over the cafĂŠs kitchen. According to Mr. Sam Ku, Unit manager of HKIS’s catering service “the source of the trouble came from a cracked glass over Liscio. We believe that it shattered during the typhoon we experienced.â€? The glass above the shop was cracked, causing unsafe working

conditions, resulting in the relocation of the cafĂŠ. Although the cafĂŠ moved down to the cafeteria, they could not provide the hot beverage service that they normally do. The cafĂŠ was repaired during the October break. Mr. Ku did not give the exact cost of the repair. Mr. Ku said that it was unlikely the cafĂŠ would have to close down again. ‘Since we replaced the glass, there should be an extremely low chance of this happening again. If it does though, we will do what we did before – try our best to continue providing our services to the students.â€?

BY SAMANTHA KLEIN

On December 2nd the Lamma Island town planning board reviewed the application for the development plans of south Lamma Island’s Tung O beach area. This development application, also called The Baroque, proposes to build a hotel, a harbor with space for 500 boats, a shopping mall, 900 apartments, and a car park. This complex will be built in the vicinity of Tung O beach. This land is currently zoned by the government for agricultural and coastal conservation. 7KLVSURMHFWZDVÀUVWSUHVHQWHG to the town planning board during May of this year, but it was quickly rejected when 93% of the 1107 letters sent in response were negative. The developers have recently returned with suggested solutions to prob-

lems, but many villagers are still not impressed. The local environmental activists have said that this development would be extremely detrimental to the unspoiled environment of south Lamma. Tung O beach is situated directly adjacent to Sham Wan beach, which is the last green turtle nesting site in Hong Kong. Many villagers have complained that the lights DQGERDWWUDIÀFIURP7KH%DURTXH development will harm the sea turtle hatchlings. In addition, this land is a vital habitat for the endangered Romer’s tree frog. Despite these claims of environmental damage and overdevelopment, some residents see this as an opportunity for growth. The shopping center could provide much needed business to the area. Also, the proposed

yacht club may entice water sports enthusiasts to visit Lamma Island more often. Local politicians are also getting involved in this issue. Wong Chun Pong, who ran for town council representative of Lamma Island in the November 6th elections, opposes the plan. “Firstly, the scale of development is incompatible with the land use in South Lamma and the natural environment,� he said. “Visitors now come to Lamma because of the natural beauty not for a yacht club and hotel, which can be found everywhere. Also, the consultation process is not democratic as residents were not fully informed.� In the November elections, Wong Chun Pong came in second to Yu Lai Fan, the incumbent Town Council Representative for Lamma Island.


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DECEMBER 2011

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SEMESTER EXAM SCHEDULE EXPLAINED BY VICTORIA MONTECILLO

GABRIELLA TAM/JUNTO

ONGOING FIELD SPACE CONTROVERSY BY HANNAH PASSAMONTE

Most of those who play, coach, or are trying to establish a sport at Hong Kong International School are disappointed with the distribution of Ă€HOGWLPHDQGVSDFHDPRQJVWGLIIHUHQW teams. $YDLODELOLW\RIWKHĂ€HOGLV extremely limited with the exception of certain months. Between November and December, as well as during PLG0D\DQG-XQHWKĂ€HOGLVQRW completely occupied due to the end of sport seasons. Controversies between sports teams over what is fair and unfair, how much time is needed for practice, DQGKRZPXFKĂ€HOGVSDFHLVDYDLOable have been an ongoing source of controversy. According to HS Athletic Director, Sharon Leung, “There are only so PDQ\ZD\V\RXFDQĂ€[WKHVFKHGXOH of things based on coaches’ availabilLW\,W¡VDOVRHVSHFLDOO\GLIĂ€FXOWVLQFH WKH0LGGOH6FKRROLVVKDULQJWKHĂ€HOG with us.â€? Leung explained that each team is allotted at least two practices a week. The times these practices take place vary according to each coach’s schedule. Although coaches have some say in which days they can and cannot commit to practice, there is no “sign upâ€? for the available time blocks. “There are time blocks available from 3:20 to 4:45 and 4:45 to 6:15. If coaches want a third practice slot RQWKHĂ€HOGVRPHRIWKHPWDNHWKH later time slots [on top of their other two time slots during the week]â€?, said Leung. If the later time slots are unavailable, some teams may travel to RWKHUĂ€HOGVORFDWHGDURXQGWKHFLW\ to practice. Others prefer to use the

facilities available to the HKIS community such as the workout gym, for Ă€WQHVVVHVVLRQV´,DSSODXGWHDPVWKDW have initiated things like [that],â€? said Leung. According to Varsity boys’ baseball coach, Jeremy Seehafer, “there’s QRWQHDUO\HQRXJKWLPHZLWKWZRĂ€HOG days a week with both JV and Varsity baseball needing to practice. In addition we do Fridays and Saturday nights because we need that extra time to practice.â€? Seehafer said that though this might make it seem as if his team has PRUHKRXUVRIWKHĂ€HOGGXULQJWKH week, “no one wants those time slots because it’s inconvenient.â€? Seehafer added that the baseball team is fortunate because they are able to use the batting cages when the Ă€HOGLVFRPSOHWHO\ERRNHGEXWZHQW on to say, “You don’t accomplish as much as you want in that limited space.â€? In contrast to Seehafer, Jose Moreno, a boys’ soccer coach, said that he is content with the time his WHDPJHWVWKHĂ€HOG´,WKLQNLWLVIDLU and it is working very well. We have an hour and a half to practice 3 days a week, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. )RUWKHĂ€UVWIHZPRQWKVRIWKLV\HDU though, we go to Lei Yu Man on Mondays to practice. Since baseball season is over, I think we will have WKHĂ€HOGDJDLQRQ0RQGD\VOLNHZH did last year.â€? Moreno said that even though his team has to practice late sometimes “for me it’s perfect because I live here. I understand why it could inconvenient some people though.â€? Coco Chen, captain of the girls’ rugby team this year, felt that the GLVWULEXWLRQRIĂ€HOGWLPHLVXQIDLU “It seems like during our season the

athletic department is overbooking baseball and there has been a ton of FRQIXVLRQDQGGLVSXWHRQWKHĂ€HOG during practice between teams about ZKRJHWVWKHĂ€HOGDWWKDWWLPHÂľ Confusion as to who has what SDUWRIWKH+.,6Ă€HOGDWZKDWWLPHLV not uncommon, but Leung insisted that organization has improved. “It has been disorganized previous years, I will admit, but we’ve been able to change some things around and [the GLVWULEXWLRQ@LVGHĂ€QLWHO\PRUHEDOanced this year.â€? Chen, who is also a member of WKHĂ€HOGKRFNH\WHDPDW+.,6DGGHG “I completely disagree with the ‘fact’ WKDWHDFKVSRUWKDVHTXDOĂ€HOGWLPH 1RWRQFHKDYHZH>WKHĂ€HOGKRFNH\ team] been able to practice or play on RXUĂ€HOG:HKDYHWRWUDYHODGLVWDQFH to get to practice. What’s the point of even having it if it’s not going to be equally supported? It’s still a sports team that’s available for students at school, yet it doesn’t get the same privileges. I think that’s unfair, and it’s obvious that some sports are given priority.â€? When asked if certain sports get priority over others in regards to the amount of time teams are assigned to WKHĂ€HOGDQGVSDFHWKH\DUHDOORFDWHG Leung denied any favoritism. “The perception is that the distribution is unfair because different leagues have different requirements based on what WKH\QHHGWRĂ€WLQGXULQJSUDFWLFH time. But in actuality it is fair when you take a closer look.â€? “Of course there is favoritism,â€? said Seehafer. “Yes it’s a multi sports Ă€HOGDQGDOOVSRUWVQHHGWKHLUSUDFWLFH time, I understand that. But sports in season at a certain time need to practice and should have priority on the Ă€HOGRYHUVSRUWVWKDWDUHQRWLQVHDVRQ

yet.â€? Seehafer gave the example of the boys’ soccer teams which, according to Moreno, doesn’t start its season XQWLO2FWREHUEXWKDYHWKHĂ€HOGIURP August to April. “All sports should have equal access. If one sport has it all year round, that’s unfair. Nothing against soccerâ€?, said Seehafer. Alyssa Parks, a senior who has played on the varsity soccer team through out high school, agreed. “I think its pretty unequal. The boys’ WHDPJHWVWKHĂ€HOGDOO\HDUORQJZKLOH the girls only a couple months,â€? said Parks. According to Parks the girls’ soccer season didn’t start until March last year, a month later than previous years, and several months later than the boys’. “I know it’s unfair, like comparing to the girls team and stuff, but LW¡VQRWWKHDWKOHWLFRIĂ€FH¡VIDXOWÂľ Kenneth Lee, captain of the varsity boys’ soccer team said. He said that the varsity boys’ soccer team is involved with more competitions than any other sport at HKIS including, the HKSSF, ISSFHK, China Cup, and APAC. “We are competing all year and, I’ll admit, we’re very fortunate.â€? Many complaints regarding the ´XQHTXDOÂľGLVWULEXWLRQRIWKHĂ€HOG throughout the year have been addressed to Leung. “Sure boys soccer might get a little more time than girls soccer and so forth, if one were to add up the hours exactly, but in general it’s around the same,â€? Leung concluded. “There are these expectations that are unrealistic DVZHPXVWDOOVKDUHWKHĂ€HOGDQG realize that people have different schedules they can and cannot work with.â€?

9th Graders Develop Compassion in Foshan BY IVY TSE

Humanities in Action students engaged in their annual trip to Foshan, China on Oct. 13-16, Nov. 10-13, and Nov. 24-27. During these four-day outings, freshmen spend most of their time working at a local RUSKDQDJH(YHQLQJVLQYROYHUHà HFtions, discussions, and journal-writing assignments about the day’s events. Students also view the Gwaan Yin statue atop Foshan. Most students who take part in

the Foshan trips describe the trips’ emotional impact. “I had several experiences that not only brought me closer to my faith but encouraged me to continue searching for stronger ties to God. I realized just how insanely fortunate I am,� said Hannah Kraebel. Upperclassmen who have previously been on the Foshan trip describe the lasting impact of the experience. Christopher Huie, a senior, said, “For me, Foshan was not only the peak of the year but also served

as a catalyst that sparked interest in developing a more sustainable form of service work.� As a part of the ninth grade Humanities in Action curriculum, this trip aims at social conscience education. According to Mr. Schmidt, it provides an environment outside the pressures of school in which students are given a chance to gain a sense of child abandonment and conditions in other areas of the world. Caring IRUWKHEDELHVÀUVWKDQGQRWRQO\

expresses care for the community but also prompts emotional engagement in the issue at hand. “The trip is quite simple actually,â€? said Mr. Schmidt, “we take care of babies, visit Gwaan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion for China, and WKHUH¡VVRPHZULWLQJDQGGHEULHĂ€QJ We’re really trying to just create a positive vibe around students, taking a retreat to really explore compassion.â€?

For years students have complained that because of the scheduling of semester exams, they spend their Christmas break studying rather than relaxing. The administration and the Senator of Academic Life say that the exam schedule is the best schedule available within the school’s overall calendar. Most schools with an American curriculum hold their exams before the Christmas break in order to allow their students a restful holiday. According to Tara Lorimer, the Senator of Academic Life, “The main reason HKIS doesn’t have exams [before the break] is because in order to do so, we would have to shift the whole school year back two weeks, meaning we would start school at the beginning of August and finish at the end of May. This would create a lot of conflict in scheduling, especially as it means the Lower Primary, Upper Primary, and Middle School would have to follow the same changes in schedule.� According to Ms. Sue Harvey, the school did try to hold exams before Christmas many years ago, but it didn’t go well. “Teachers had no opportunity to review in their classes because they were trying to fit in all of their units to get onto the semester exam, and everything was crammed up against Christmas vacation.� “One of the big problems is we have to do the same things as the other divisions, so our semester still ended in January anyway. It’s not the best to have exams and then have the semester end two weeks later; students were not interested in doing anything,� Harvey explained. Ms. Harvey also said that not only were the teachers and parents displeased with this arrangement, but the students as well. The majority of the students found that it wasn’t worth all of the trouble and sacrifice just to have exams before the Christmas break. The schedule for this semester’s exams, meanwhile, has been finalized, and, according to Lorimer, the administration tried its best to cater to the student body’s needs without making any extreme changes. “We come back to school on a Tuesday, and classes will meet regularly on Tuesday and Wednesday, providing students with review time in all of their classes,� said Lorimer. Originally, the exam schedule had the high school starting exams on Thursday, but Lorimer explained that the administration decided that that would be too much added pressure for the students. “Instead, Thursday will be a time for individual music assessments or exam conflicts, providing most students with an extra day to study or to come into school and get help from their teachers. The exam schedule will begin on Friday, with three exam slots per day.� Because the administration doesn’t want students having three content-heavy exams in one day, students that have such days scheduled can arrange for a change in exam schedule if needed. Lorimer recommends students do some studying over the Christmas break. “It’s tough to try and balance study with relaxation during the holidays. Ultimately it is up to each student how to apportion their time, but my advice would be to try and strike a balance between the two.�


PAGE 7

BY MARTIN MAN

With the recent Hong Kong Pride Parade in Causeway Bay, increasing debate on the issue of gay marriage and civil unions, and the library setting up ‘LGBT month’-themed books, sexual orientation is increasingly a topic at school. Student and faculty members see LGBT issues in school as something that exists and deserves discussion, but remains—as one closeted student put it—“hush-hush and taboo; a topic not to be mentioned and never to be mentioned.â€? There are “more people who are gay than people think,â€? stated junior Lotus Ye, leader of the Diversity Club. Student sexuality remains an issue that “is largely not talked about,â€? said a closeted gay student. “I think that it should be something people discuss more,â€? he added. The subject is “too often just ignoredâ€? and “people pretend it doesn’t exist.â€? Interviewed closeted students all felt that though sexuality is not often discussed, the general atmosphere of the school is “liberalâ€? and “tolerant.â€? Ye believes LGBT students who come out at HKIS would be “physically safeâ€? and “wouldn’t come into harm.â€? However, she predicts it would generate “a lot of rumoursâ€? if closeted students come out. She adds that such students do not wish to risk EHLQJ´GHĂ€QHGE\WKHLUVH[XDOLW\Âľ Another gay student agreed, pointing to the school’s “zerotolerance policy against bullying.â€? He went on to say, however, that HKIS “is a Lutheran schoolâ€? and that “the fact that it is explicitly stated in the mission statementâ€? the school is “grounded in the Christian faithâ€? gives him pause. Another closeted student felt that at HKIS, it is “impossible for anyone to openly identify as being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgenderâ€? “for fear

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of being shunned or harassed.� This is due to the “stigma� he believes the community has placed against LGBT topics. Drawing from his contact with LGBT students, Mr. Bishop stated that “kids from this school who are gay feel like they have to stay in the closet.� He explains that closeted students fear “losing friends� or bringing shame to their families and would rather “wait until college� to come out completely. “There are some kids who are hurting inside, because they can’t express themselves,� Mr. Bishop said. He hoped that the school could “teach life lessons� on “different lifestyles� so that students can learn to “respect others� and feel comfortable about “expressing themselves.� One issue raised by closeted students is the frequent use of homosexual slurs in students’ conversations. Students often use words such as “gay� or “faggot� in derogatory expressions. They attach negative connotations to homosexuality in phrases like “that’s so gay�—used to express disapproval. One closeted student strongly opposed such use, saying, “I hate it. Every time I hear a friend say that, I ask them not to.� He added, “We exist, damn it.� Teachers also object to such slurs. Mr. Fornes, the current faculty advisor to Diversity Club, said, “to me that’s unacceptable.� He indicated that aside from gay slurs, he also stops his students using other slang words such as “retarded,� which is offensive to the mentally handicapped. Mr. Bishop pointed out that students would never use racial slurs against African Americans, so gay slurs are “not to be tolerated� either. Even so, students and teachers agree that the overall school attitudes towards sexuality are tolerant and supportive. HKIS is “much safer than

public schoolsâ€? in the United States, Mr. Seehafer—a former faculty advisor for the Diversity Club—stated. He cites examples of “big responsesâ€? when gay speakers were brought in to talk on stereotypes, gay marriage, and other issues. He also mentioned that the subject is “addressed in coursesâ€? such as in JRP debates and is “slipped in where it’s applicable.â€? Though some students feel more awareness is needed, Mr. Bishop said that “until students decide to do something about it—speak out and educate with more venues like the Diversity Club—the situation will probably remain the same.â€? Dr. Johnson also felt that “we don’t seem to speak a lot about sexuality within the larger and deeper conversationsâ€? and in a “school-wide forum,â€? but that he hadn’t “heard students pressing this conversation either.â€? Nonetheless, Dr. Johnson said that he has “found this community to be remarkably open.â€? He feels that school should be “a place where its safe to take risksâ€? and that “it is the role of the communityâ€? to provide a context where “students feel safe to discuss matters the larger society avoids.â€? He does not perceive that discussion about sexuality is “being silencedâ€? at all in school. A.P. psychology teacher Dr. Diehl explained that it is “pretty clearâ€? sexuality “is not a choice.â€? According to Dr. Diehl, various factors involving hormones and “prenatal developmentâ€? affect sexual orientation in the womb, and treatments that try to change sexual orientation “don’t work.â€? Dr. Diehl went on to add that LWLVGLIĂ€FXOWWRGHĂ€QHDKRPRVH[XDO as there is “a range of homosexual behaviourâ€? in different people. Moreover, in “every human culture— and lots of animal cultures—there are examples of gay behaviour.â€?

DECEMBER 2011

BY RADHIKA JHUNJHNUWALA Being a vegetarian in Hong Kong can be frustrating. $VRQHP\VHOILWKDVDOZD\VEHHQKDUGIRUPHWRĂ€QGUHVtaurants with the perfect combination of quality, variety, and ambiance. However, Pure Veggie House has just that. Located in Coda Plaza, Midlevels, it is a paradise for WKRVHZKRDUHRQWKHTXHVWWRĂ€QGDĂ DZOHVVYHJHWDULDQ restaurant. As a Buddhist Chinese restaurant, the food that this UHVWDXUDQWVHUYHVUHWDLQVLWV%XGGKLVWĂ DYRUVDQGXVHV sauces, broths, and organic ingredients that mix well with each dish. The dishes consist of steamed dim sum, soup, rice, noodles, deep fried pastries, and desserts. Although it may seem as if ordering one dish from each category may be too much, the servings can be easily shared between two to three people. The price is also low, with an average meal between three people costing $153. The restaurant has gone for a natural look, with green tablecloths enveloping wooden tables and statues covering the walls. There are also traditional low tables, where diners take off their shoes and sit on cushions on WKHĂ RRU)HOORZYHJHWDULDQ)HOLFLD7VDRFRPPHQWHG “as soon as I set foot in the restaurant, it seemed as if I had entered an area of relaxation and serenity.â€? Although the food and atmosphere is good, the service can sometimes be slow, which hinders the overall worth of the restaurant. A dish worth ordering is the fried rice with vegetarian mince, for $68. It may not look like much, but the taste trumps the plainness of the appearance. Filled with tiny mock-meat-bean-curd-slices, carrots, and beans, WKHIULHGULFHLVIUHVKDQGĂ XII\7KLVJRHVZHOOZLWKWKH noodles in soup ($19), the broth being the ideal fusion of peanut and sesame — something you can also solely drink. The pan-fried bean curd sheet is tangy and peppery, with a crispy outside and chewy inside. Overall, Pure Veggie House is a must-go for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. It is the ultimate destination to taste authentic Buddhist Chinese cuisine. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a delicious meal with peaceful surroundings in the midst of the chaos of Hong Kong?

Pure Veggie House 3/F, Coda Plaza, 51 Garden Road, Central 852-2525-0552


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JUNTO

BY EDMUND HO While Career Structure may look good on paper, the reality is that teaching cannot be measured in quantitative data and money is not the appropriate reward to offer teachers. )LUVWRIDOOLWLVGLIĂ€FXOWWRTXDQWLI\WHDFKLQJDQGOHDUQLQJ1RPDWWHU how many categories you try to distill teaching into, like “Knowledge of Contentâ€? and “Instructional Strategiesâ€?, there are yet more categories outside of these arbitrary guidelines. And, indeed, there are additional and important factors that aren’t in the Career Structure rubric, like extracurricular sports coaching and attendance at school events. Not only that, even if teachers’ passion and ability to inspire further curiosity in students were on the rubric, it is not clear how attributes like this could be measured. Second, Career Structure is trying to persuade teachers with someWKLQJWKDWSUREDEO\ZDVQ¡WWKHLUĂ€UVWDLPIRUWHDFKLQJPRQH\,ISHRSOH really wanted to make money, they would have gone into a different profession. However, they chose teaching for the sake of enlightening minds DQGLQVSLULQJDQRWKHUJHQHUDWLRQRIWKLQNHUVPD\EHHYHQWXDOO\GHĂ€QLQJ the next generation’s world. The claim by one teacher that “people want WREHUHZDUGHGĂ€QDQFLDOO\ÂľLVDJURVVPLVXQGHUVWDQGLQJRIPRVWWHDFKHUV¡ motivations. Finally, the above quote demonstrates just how distorted the perceptions of the administrators who put Career Structure in place are. In their “ivory tower,â€? the administrators seem to be unaware of, or at least unconcerned about, the widespread discontent amongst teachers, the people who are actually being affected by Career Structure. And, after all, isn’t this kind of system impotent without the consent of the governed? Career Structure not only attempts to do the impossible by quantifying DQGPRQHWL]LQJWHDFKLQJDQGOHDUQLQJEXWDOVRUHĂ HFWVWKHQDUURZYLHZ of its architects. Let us hope that the incentives of money will not distract from what HKIS actually stands for: learning.

DECEMBER 2011

BY NICHOLAS LIU The moment the clock struck 10:45, a familiar bell rang. Within the space of a few seconds, the empty hallways of HKIS were alive with crowds of students walking in different directions, but all for a common purpose: to get to their respective homerooms on time. Indeed, our attitude towards homeroom seems rather worrying. Is the risk of an absence our only incentive to attend? It seems so. While there is a place for self-motivation in this school, there is certainly none when it comes to homeroom. Students go to homeroom out of fear and not our of VHOIPRWLYDWLRQ+RPHURRPLVDULWXDODWWHQGVLWWKHUHIRUÀIWHHQPLQXWHV and leave assured that you have an attendance tick mark for the day. According to the school, homeroom is a time to get caught up with recent news through News & Views, and to spend time socializing and relaxing with a new group of people. 6RZK\GRVWXGHQWVQRWDSSUHFLDWHWKHÀIWHHQPLQXWHVZKHUHWKH\FDQ socialize, relax, and have a brief reprise in a day of tests, lectures, and othHUDFDGHPLFZKDWQRW"2QHRIWKHIDWDOà DZVRIKRPHURRPLVWKDWWKHUHLV nothing to learn. When not watching News & Views, you are supposed to socialize with your homeroom classmates. This is a pure example of idealism that will never come true. Most of the time, students who have been separated from their friends refuse to socialize and end up doing nothing productive, especially in homerooms where computers are not allowed. It is easier for many humans to make friendships naturally, not when it is forced on you. While making a variety of friends is a good thing, this can be done more easily outside of homeroom, in a more natural setting. It’s good to have breathing space in the school schedule, but many either can’t afford it, or would much rather be spending their breathing space talking with their actual friends or eating lunch. Students can socialize and choose to relax on their own. They don’t need homeroom as an incentive. +RPHURRPPDNHVLWPRUHLQHIÀFLHQWDQGDZNZDUGWKDQLWVKRXOGEH Talk about the school advocating time management; it would be much quicker to go to the nearest sitting area to study or socialize rather than WUDYHOGRZQHLJKWà RRUVIRUKRPHURRPDQGWKHQZDONXSDQRWKHUÀYHIRU lunch. Let’s face it, students are never going to develop a good attitude WRZDUGVKRPHURRP+.,6VKRXOGH[HPSWVWXGHQWVIURPZDVWLQJÀIWHHQ minutes of their precious time every other day.


Junto Issue 3  

Issue 3 of Junto 2011-2012

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