Page 1

PERSPECTIVES

Attendance and Laptops ART

Jean-Michel Basquiat SPECIALREPORT

Civic Education Forum: Faith and Politics

!

sleep

DEPRIVED The defin

IB students itive guide to sleep for

Bimonthly Newsletter

ISSUE FOUR

NOV13 DIOCESAN

BOYS'

SCHOOL

INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE


To our readers:

27

11

09

SLEEP DEPRIVED!

If you are thinking of taking the Diploma Programme, or if you are in IB already, learning about sleep deprivation is definitely important. KRISTOPHER WONG, ALEX YEUNG

02 TECHNOLOGYFALL OF THE TITANS

KELVIN LEE

This year’s first edition of the IB Herald is the product of dedicated students who have all been working diligently to create a newsletter that we hope our readers will find engaging and informative. With the beginning of a new school year also marks new changes such as the addition of new writers from IB students in grade 11. We have also decided to include two new sections to our newsletter: a section on technology, and a section on humor. The IB Herald’s goal is to “inspire brilliance” by doing our best to provide students and teachers with a fresh perspective in our writing regarding the general news of the school as well as IB news. In the future, we hope to expand our writing to include an even broader range of topics to promote intellectual discussion and stimulation. Suggestions as well as constructive criticism from students and teachers regarding topics of interest are appreciated and encouraged. In addition to this we are also accepting suggestions for topics which students want our writers to write about in our opinion section. Questions concerning the IB Herald are also respected and welcome as well. In order to give suggestions, criticisms, praise, or questions please email us at dbsibnews@gmail.com. Sincerely,

04 FILMA PASSAGE TO INDIA JASON YUEN

07 LITERATUREPHYSICS OF THE FUTURE NICHOLAS WONG

11 FAITH AND POLITICS

YANSHUN MUNG

JONATHAN LIU

15 PERSPECTIVESATTENDANCE AND LAPTOPS

JONATHAN LIU, NICHOLAS WONG AND JOHNATHAN FUNG, ALASTAIR PIKE, KRISTOPHER WONG

21 INTERVIEWSNEW IB TEACHERS

YANSHUN MUNG, FRANKIE FUNG, ALASTAIR PIKE

27 ARTJEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT FELEX LAU

29 A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AN IB STUDENT YANSHUN MUNG

30 PUZZLESUDOKU/CROSSWORD

NICHOLAS WONG, FRANKIE FUNG Cover: Wikimedia Photos (Clockwise from Benny Tai): DBS Photographic Team, IAPTE, Wikimedia


A Brief History of the Demise of BlackBerry and Nokia KELVIN LEE Photos: IMDB, CNN, TechnoBuffalo

It is hard to believe that just a few years ago there was no iOS or Android and Symbian and BlackBerry OS were the gold standard. In those days Nokias and BlackBerries occupied people’s pockets as worthy of the name smartphone. Last month marks the official end of that era. After a 4-year decline of market share for the two former tech giants, Blackberry and Nokia will no longer produce smartphones because Nokia’s devices and services business are sold to Microsoft and Blackberry by its largest shareholder. It was just five or six years ago that Nokia and BlackBerry were still in their heyday. When Nokia announced N95 back in 2006, it was jam-packed with amazing hardware, making it arguably the best smartphone circa 2007, or as PC Magazine put it, “one of the best smartphones in history on any platform”. But its software was never on par with the excellence of its hardware. Yes, it’s jam-packed with features, and although people back in 2006 didn’t really care, the user interface was nothing compared to now. They didn’t care because they didn’t know. They didn’t know what a beautiful UI is, what a great user experience is. They didn’t know of the iPhone.

It was a glorious day in Cupertino when Apple launched the iPhone, with Steve Jobs introducing the phone with his usual dramatic flair, declaring the iPhone a “revolutionary product...that changes everything”. The first iPhone wasn’t perfect; it was expensive (very expensive actually, $499 USD on a 2-year contract), slow (think GPRS) and limited in terms of functionality (video recording, custom ringtones and lack of 3G, to name a few). But does it have a great user experience? And as the Gizmodo review wrote, “What [the competing platforms] generally have over the iPhone, all these critical but technically minor functions, the iPhone could theoretically fix with a patch or two. Meanwhile, those companies in turn will never be able to make as great a UI and platform as the iPhone has the potential to be.” Yes, they never built a piece of software with spectacular UI (until it was too late). And yes, the fortunes had been quietly reversed: Nokia and BlackBerry are no longer the leaders of the industry - they are no longer the future of the smartphone industry. The phone that was in Steve Jobs’ hands held the future of the industry. Nokia and BlackBerry didn’t take the threat seriously in fact the whole industry didn't. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer laughed at its price, Blackberry “dismissed it

FALL OF THE TITANS

2


as one of the supposed BlackBerry killers” as The Verge put it, Nokia on the other hand, surprisingly called it “interesting”, but critiqued it for its lack of 3G. And it was until 2008, when Apple released iPhone 3G, and doubled its market share, that BlackBerry responded with an all-touch BlackBerry Storm. Dubbed the "iPhone killer", it did not perform well commercially. Critics panned the device for its lagginess and the exclusion of Wi-Fi. Nokia also embarked a comeback as its marketshare continued to fall, releasing the N97, which was also a flop. And of course throughout the years, they continued to release these supposed “iPhone killers” - Nokia N8, 5800, BlackBerry Bolds, Storms and Torches, nearly all of which turned out to be flops. BlackBerry even tried to take out iPad with the BlackBerry Playbook, which of course, failed miserably. And to make things worse, Android entered the game, and the profit of the both companies peaked at around 2009 and started to fall, big time.

Their failures weren’t entirely unpredictable —both operating systems have less than healthy app ecosystems and both of them did not invest enough on promotion.

3

Upset by their declining share in the market both companies abandoned their operating systems: Nokia went for Windows Phone in 2011, while BlackBerry worked in-house to develop BlackBerry 10, though the development was much delayed. But the new operating systems didn't help them and in fact, accelerated their declines. Their operating systems were still not ready for mainstream, their app ecosystem was still immature. The truth was that even if their phones gained momentum, it was already too late to compete against Apple. Their failures weren’t entirely unpredictable —both operating systems have less than healthy app ecosystems and both of them did not invest enough on promotion. What’s worse for BlackBerry is that they alienated their base, the corporate users, with the exclusion

IB HERALD・NOVEMBER 2013

of a QWERTY device at the launch of the BB10 OS. The failures were predictable because Nokia was too comfortable with its success and BlackBerry was trapped by its success, and when they realized they needed to move forward, they chose the wrong strategy. They both chose to embrace fledgling operating systems that entered the market way too late, and that key strategic missteps ended up costing these two companies devices business. With less than 7 years after the launch of the original iPhone, the titans have fallen. And although we have moved beyond the age of feature phones and email phones, we will never forget the keyboards and the unbreakables that Nokia and BlackBerry brought us. IB


A Passage To India A REVIEW OF

JASON YUEN Photos: EMI Films

“What is the best film you have ever seen?” Photos : The Blue Bookcacase, Anobii around in the Orient. However, Lean captured the grandeur of the great Arabian Desert and the solitude This is a question that I always feel reluctant to answer. of Lawrence, who found himself trapped in a political I have, fortunately, seen a lot of good movies; naming game and an existential crisis, in perfect balance one of them ‘the best’ is almost disrespectful to the and harmony. The desolation of the desert and the others, which are all in some ways excellent. However, loneliness of the warrior are not forcibly juxtaposed; I must admit that the question became harder to they cohere and reinforce one another. And how can ignore after I watched David Lean’s A Passage to India I forget the transition? Here is Lawrence blowing out (1984). Even if it is not the best film ever, it is still a film the tiny orange flame on a match and suddenly the that outshines many great movies in the history of shot changes to a breathtaking image of the orange cinema. colored sky in Arabia at sunrise. That is the cleverest and the most beautiful scene transition I have ever I have always been a fan of Lean. The first Lean picture seen. I watched is The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). For some reasons I did not finish it, but it was certainly not A Passage to India may not at first appear to be ‘the because it was bad. The scene in which the British war best’ when compared to other great films and even prisoners whistled the Colonel Bogey March when other works by Lean like the two I mentioned. I read they were marching into a Japanese prison camp is in an article that Lean’s films generally possess two already unforgettable. The first Lean film that I finished qualities: Grand images as seen in Doctor Zhivago watching is Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Many critics (1965) and exciting plots such as the adventure of consider this film as one of the best ever made and I Lawrence. A Passage to India does possess these totally understand why. An epic about a British officer two qualities, but they are not as vivid as they are wandering in Arabia could have easily become a in his other works. Based on E. M. Forster’s novel of documentary about desert or a collection of bland, the same title, the film is about the journey of Adela pseudo-romantic snapshots of a warrior who moves Quested, a British woman, to the colonial India. She

A PASSAGE TO INDIA 4


Lean effectively and at different levels of perception conveys Forster’s and his own insight into the reality of Anglo-Indian relation in the 20s, without sacrificing aesthetics.

attempts to make friends and later develop a romantic relationship with Aziz, an Indian doctor, but ultimately she finds herself under the tremendous pressure of her engagement to and reliance on her British fiancé, as well as that of the deep-rooted conflict between Britain and India. This film has beautiful images of India, but it does not covey the sense of grandness or ‘epic-ness’ as you might think a great film would possess: It does not show images of a thousandmile-wide desert, nor does it tell the story of a historical figure facing great moral struggles. How is the film one of the best then? The reason is that Lean showed strong awareness of the artistic media—sight and sound—in this film. A lot of filmmakers overlooked the importance of the media themselves and treated them merely as vessels of thoughts and ideas. Lean did not make that mistake: Instead of depending solely on conventional literary elements like plot and characters to tell a story, he is actively utilizing the media to create and convey meanings. As promoted in the trailer of this film, it presents India as a land of painful paradox. Note the use of the word ‘paradox’. The film does not treat the Anglo-Indian relation as a simple dichotomy; it shows that both races are constantly struggling and choosing between hostility and conformity. While this could be demonstrated in classical approaches such as speech, acting, plot and other conventional dramatic elements, Lean makes use of cinematic language to create paradoxes. When the viceroy arrives in Bombay, a traditional British parade is organized in front an old Indian city gate and Indians are there to cheer. While an apparent friendship between the Indians and the British is established through the cheering and the unified waving of the Indians, a stark contrast between the two races is presented through the juxtaposition of the

5

IB HERALD・NOVEMBER 2013

British traditions and the Indian monument. Lean also makes use of shots of varying sizes to differentiate the two races: he captures a profile shot the stern-looking viceroy (think of the embossment of the Her Majesty’s head on a coin—this is what he looks like) and contrasts it with a wide shot comprising a large group of Indians who are waving and shouting. Lean is giving a truthful account of the British Raj cinematically. Hitchcock said a film should contain both ‘soft notes’ and ‘loud notes’, conveying ideas in different intensity, just like a symphony. If Hitchcock were to evaluate this movie based on this criterion, he would certainly be pleased. The shots in the arrival sequence are the ‘soft notes’; they come together and form a structure which subtly creates the paradox between the British and the Indians. Where are the ‘loud notes’ then? One of the elements that shocked me the most is the emphatic shots of different Indians wearing British uniforms and acting like Westerners. In a scene Lean repeatedly shows a shot of an Indian band playing the song Tea for Two. On another occasion, Lean included an insert of a road sign which follows Indian architectural style. However, the names of the roads, which are inscribed on the sign, are very British, such as ‘Trafalgar Road’ and ‘Wellington Road’. Such shots—the ‘loud notes’ —struck me immediately as intense paradoxes illustrating how Western culture is forcibly applied to the Indians. On the surface the two races seem to blend, but in essence the two are mutually exclusive and inevitably hostile. Lean’s use of symbolic shots further demonstrates this inconvenient truth: A closeup of Aziz’s tanned hand grabbing Adela’s white hand which symbolizes the connection and contrast between the two races, an insert of Aziz


trying to catch the reflection of the moon on a pond which implies the impossibility of reaching harmony and peace. Through combining intricate sequences and accented shots, Lean effectively and at different levels of perception conveys Forster’s and his own insight into the reality of Anglo-Indian relation in the 20s, without sacrificing aesthetics. So far I have been focusing on the visual aspect of the film, but the mise en scène is equally excellent. In the party scene, God Save the King is suddenly played when Mrs. Moore, another British visitor, is criticizing his son for showing no respect to the Indians. As you all know the first line of God Save the King is “God save our gracious king”; instead of singing this line, Mrs. Moore utters a grammatically similar line, “God has put us on earth to love and help our fellow men.” By creating a direct conflict between Mrs. Moore’s speech and the anthem in the background, we know more about her character: She is open-minded and courageous enough to challenge the conventions. This is yet another clever arrangement of cinematic elements in this film. Sound design must also not be overlooked. Before Aziz’s first encounter with Mrs. Moore in the mosque, there is constant, eerie rumbling produced by the leaves in the background and Aziz thoughts are disrupted by it several times. Does it symbolize the uncertainty of the relationship between the British and the Indians? Does it foreshadow a crisis? These possibilities are certainly arguable, but undeniably the sound makes the setting more believable and adds a new dimension to Aziz’s emotions. They are like fine, subtle brushstrokes which activate a painting.

sitting in front my computer, slamming my fist on the table out of excitement and joy— I hope none of neighbors saw me doing that. Lean’s attention to tiny things and brilliant use of cinematic language are what I, an enthusiast of film, have been searching for years. Although Lean sacrifices some of his signature ‘grandness’ in this film, the details that he gains certainly contributes in conveying the complex, intricate emotions of the British and the Indians. It was definitely worth it. Which movie is the best? I cannot answer, but A Passage to India is certainly a good candidate. IB

I still vividly remember how I reacted when I was watching this film. It was 2 am and I was

A PASSAGE TO INDIA

6


BOOK REVIEW:

PHYSICS OF THE FUTURE NICHOLAS WONG Photo: readMedia

While Physics of the Impossible discusses breakthroughs in the theoretical side of science and how it predicts the possibility of new technological products, Physics of the Future is grounded on solid understanding of science of today. As a reader of science, I admired how Michio Kaku puts predictions of the future of mankind in a way that never loses readers in complicated scientific theories, or leaves them finding any of the predictions lofty and unsound. This book is all about predictions for the future. To predict the future, Kaku believes that we need to know the current progress of science and technology. In the writing of this book, Kaku interviewed over three hunderd scientists and engineers in different realms to gain a complete understanding of our current pace of technological development, and included various possibilities for future development. He divides the book into chapters, each featuring a separate aspect of technology, including computers, AI (artificial intelligence), medicine etc. In each chapter, he further divides each trend he observes into three different periods in the 21st century: Near term, Mid-century and Far future. In each period, we see technology exponentially flourishing, and our dreams and

7

IB HERALD・NOVEMBER 2013

myths of “having the power of gods” become closer and closer to reality, and even being outrun by some of the most daring predictions. Predicting the future is never an easy task. Back in 1949, the classic popular technolgy magazine Popular Mechanics predicted that computers in the future would “weigh only 1 ½ tons”. Everyone thought that computers were useless lifeless machines whose only effect on humanity was to dehumanize people and destroy social relationships. Nobody expected Moore’s Law, which states that the power of computers doubles every eighteen months. We see now that our smartphones outperform computers that NASA used to pilot trips to the moon. Thus, Kaku highlights our inability to estimate exponential growth and how it leads to false underestimations of future developments. However, our predictions often overshoot as well, making false overestimations about the starkness of changes to human nature. Kaku coins the term “Cave Man Principle” to describe this phenomenon, that new inventions tend not to replace but to coexist with previous gadgets, and that we maintain an instinctive preference of physical interactions over virtual interactions. Hence we see that the Internet did not phase


out radios and televisions, and that online courses don’t warrant as much trust to an employer as real life classes do. While speeding forward in time in the book, Kaku makes down-to-earth relations of future products with our current knowledge. Most laymen’s ostensible knowledge of robotics is probably derived from science fiction novels or movies. We often develop a mentality of robots being conscious and eventually cleverer than human beings, hence dominating the world and destroying the human population. We envision a sudden moment when robots suddenly “wake up” and become aggressive. While Kaku doesn’t reject this hypothesis completely, he is more inclined to a prediction that humans will find methods to “hard code” rules into robots that make them switch themselves off when attempting to harm humans. Even if technology one day outruns humans, the “revolution” will be gradual, spread over tens if not hundreds of years, and humans will have ample time to prepare in robots a “benign” nature, and to develop ways to counter this “revolution”. Rather than avoid development because of such fears, we should embrace possibilities while creating an environment that

allows robots and humans to coexist. The understanding of the four fundamental forces of nature, namely the electromagnetic force, the weak force, the strong force, and the gravitational force, has been developed in an unprecedented pace in the past century. What remains now, apart from finding an even more elegant description of these forces, is to find out new ways to use them. Quantum mechanics has brought us transistors, reducing the weight of computers from the scale of tons to grams. It is up to us students, then, to find out what the newest theory in science has for human beings, to explore in the fascinating world of physics of the future. IB

Title: Physics of the Future Author: Michio Kaku Publisher: Doubleday ISBN: 978-0-385-53080-4 Pages: 416

PHYSICS OF THE FUTURE

8


If you are thinking of taking the Diploma Program, or if you are in IB already, learning about sleep deprivation and how to avoid it is essential.

! DEPRIVED

KRISTOPHER WONG, ALEX YEUNG Photos: Wikimedia

sleep


Chronic sleep deprivation refers to the type of sleep deprivation that has persistent effects, while acute sleep deprivation is a type of sleep deprivation with a shorter course. Chronic sleep deprivation is far deadlier. Insufficient sleep for three months (or more) will result in fatigue and, predictably, a negative effect on academic performance and responsiveness in class. A large number of studies show that the adverse effects of sleep deprivation affect cognitive abilities of all humans including students. There have been extreme cases, some in our very own school, in which students fell asleep in classes despite trying their best not to or suddenly faint from lack of rest. Additionally, physiological harm can follow because sleep deprivation inhibits growth, which is catastrophic for teenagers’ physical development. Body mass may also fluctuate and headaches may start occurring, gradually developing into migraines However, unless you have a rare disease called fatal familial insomnia which kills the patient after an average of eighteen months, eventually your body will be unable to stay awake any longer and you will fall alseep. Microsleeps, or blackouts, cause the sleep deprived to suddenly ‘microsleep’ for about a minute without warning. In fact, sleep deprivation has caused death in laboratory subject animals and has been used as a form of torture in order to interrogate prisoners. To avoid torturing oneself, the first step to take is to improve one’s time management. Start by re-evaluating priorities and acknowledge that sleep is important. What banal and timewasting activities can be removed for more shut-eye? Sometimes the sheer workload from school and from life in general can be too much, and there is no choice but to sacrifice sleep; but when there is a choice, be sure to choose sleep over everything else. Timetables can help distribute tasks over a manageable period of time, but are not for everyone. Try to find a method that suits you and stick to it, but don’t spend too much time doing so: the key is not to read about managing time, but to actually go about managing your own time (don’t think, do!). We recommend that you set a

firm deadline for sleep (also known as bedtime). So start right away, with whichever method you see fit, instead of waiting for your body to force you to sleep. Although quantity of sleep is important, quality of sleep may be even more important. If you keep sleeping next to Metallica and Iron Maiden, you will probably end up closing your eyes for eight hours without actually sleeping. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the noise level in an ideal sleeping environment should not exceed 40 decibels, or the loudness of a humming refrigerator. The room should also be dark, as our circadian cycle is regulated by the amount of light we are exposed to. In fact, light exposure can also change our sleeping time. By exposing yourselves to enough bright light in the day (with the vast amount of outdoor area in DBS, this really should not be a problem), you will have a better night sleep because the difference between light and dark is more extreme. You can also try using light-blocking curtains or Roman blinds at night. Other factors like a poorly constructed mattress or living with people who snore will also negatively affect your sleep. If you maintain a good sleeping environment, your body will secrete more melatonin, the sleep hormone, which makes you sleep more and sleep better. Start pulling off your earphones at night, so fiends like Justin Bieber won’t steal your sleep!

To avoid torturing oneself, the first step to take is to improve time management.

A good sleep is rejuvenating. By monitoring the quantity and quality of your sleep, you will become a better student, a better friend (you don’t want a friend that falls asleep when you’re talking to him or her), and a better person as a whole. Try the methods we have mentioned above. These are some suggestions but they are not rules. If you have better ways, try yours, because ultimately, it is your sleep that matters and not ours. IB

SLEEP DEPRIVED!

10


SPECIAL REPORT

CIVIC EDUCATION FORUM:

FAITHANDPOLITICS A BRAVE ATTEMPT AT CONNECTING ADOLESCENTS WITH POLITICS

JONATHAN LIU Photos: DBS Photographic Team, Lost and Taken


Note: The views expressed in this article are based on an individual interpretation among the audience in the talk. They do not necessarily represent any parties related to the host, DBS, or any of the speakers.

core value of power separation in Hong Kong, as in how legislation and judiciary systems do not intervene with each other at all, in this case justifying the cogency of Mr. Jat being the ‘host’ of the forum.

On the 19th of September 2013, the school had the privilege of hosting three old boys, now prominent figures in the political field in Hong Kong, including Dr. Benny Mr. Tai (’81), Mr. Michael Tien (’67) and Mr. Mr. Jat Sew-tong (’82), in a live discussion on the general topic of “Christianity and political development in Hong Kong”. Mr. Mr. Jat was the host and Dr. Mr. Tai and Mr. Mr. Tien, with politically polar stances, expressed their differing views with regard to recent political affairs in Hong Kong.

The trio definitely formed a superstar cast. However, attention from the public was less substantial than previous appearances involving Mr. Mr. Tai in secondary school talks since the forum did not directly refer to OCLPHK but instead subtly fit in well with civic and moral education that secondary school students should receive, including religion and social issues.

Mr. Tai is a faculty member at the Law School at the University of Hong Kong. He rose to public attention following his start-up of the “Occupy Central with Love and Peace” (OCLPHK) campaign, which intended to gather a sufficient crowd to occupy the Central District, disrupting the functions of Hong Kong as a global financial hub, as a form of a protest against the Hong Kong Government’s reluctance to enact their promised political reforms which included the right of universal suffrage for all its citizens. Mr. Tien is a famous businessman who specializes in the field of fashion. His brand G2000 has always been regarded as the alternative uniform supplier for numerous senior secondary school students in Hong Kong. He was elected to be a legislator at the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, and is deputy chairman of the New People’s Party, a political party headed by Ms. Regina Ip, which generally has a pro-government stance. On the other hand, Mr. Jat is head of the Independent Police Complaints Council as well as a judge at the High Court. The school carefully invited this trio, resonating with the importance of diversity in terms of perspectives since the forum was meant to stimulate critical thinking in students, and to a further extent celebrate the

The forum kicked off with both Mr. Tai and Mr. Tien revealing their stories on how they came to share a common faith in Christ. Although slightly digressive, their anecdotes resonated well with the student audience because they shared the same religion with our school and their experiences also involved bits of their secondary school life. Afterwards, Mr. Tai insisted that it was God’s intention to place him in his role of leading the OCLPHK campaign, which immediately led the conversation into this specific political theme. Many of the audience felt the tension escalate and were prepared to absorb as much as possible on what they anticipated the most to hear from the discussion. One of the greatest controversies with regard to the OCLPHK campaign is its legality. Clearly, the Occupy Wall Street campaign in New York City has proven ‘occupation’ as an unlawful and in this case, a socially disruptive act; the inclusion of ‘Faith’ as part of the discussion successfully prompted ongoing connections between ethics and Mr. Tai’s intentions. Interestingly, while the audience expected Mr. Tien to hold a morally conservative approach towards the discussed topics (which he eventually did with regard to OCLPHK), he provided some radically insightful and individual FAITH AND POLITICS

12


views on various social issues. To the floor’s applause, he successfully distinguished between condemnation and the deeming of sin. Using his support for the homosexual rights campaign as an example, he disagreed with numerous religious authorities that homosexual behavior was a ‘sin’; the reason being that under the justification of Christian belief, people that condemned homosexuals were sinners themselves too, since “we are all sinners”. Mr. Jat holistically supplemented Mr. Tien’s claim by indicating that Sun Yat-Sen, founder of the Republic of China, would have also been a sinner too judging by the acts that he did against the government when he organized the 1911 revolution.

It was a rare opportunity to be able to see three great old boys conversing on such controversially important matters in front of current students of their alma mater in order to inspire them for the sake of inspiring them to a further extent

13

This immediately prompted Mr. Tai into justifying himself as part of the OCLPHK campaign hosts. Using various examples to support Mr. Jat’s claim, including Martin Luther King as example, he reasserted that at times it is necessary to break conventions when needed, and his “bottom line” as a Christian was to be non-violent and responsible. This was the part of the forum that evidently connected faith and religion well with politics or issues in the society. The focus shifted to economic issues afterwards, with Mr. Tien mentioning the need for a leader selectively elected in order to make sure that he/she would be able to mainMr. Tain the economic environment and stability of Hong Kong effectively, implying that universal suffrage may lead to a less capable Chief Executive of Hong Kong being elected. However, Mr. Tai immediately refuted the claim, explaining that what Mr. Tien claims as a vital core value, social stability, depends on a cumulative accreditation

IB HERALD・NOVEMBER 2013

of different elements, with a bright political leader and a healthy economy both equally important but yet both dependent on other elements including fair justice. The forum succeeded in its aim of enabling students to hear and evaluated different viewpoints on the spot. However, it was felt not only by the writer, but also various members of the audience and also in subsequent press reports the day after that unfortunately as the forum drew towards its conclusion, parts of it failed to satisfy. Mr. Tien concluded by asking members of the audience to be judgmental at all times: to view events and issues from different perspectives, and using newspaper reports as a metaphorical example, he mentioned that we should peruse the content instead of merely glancing at the abstract and accepting the title immediately. On the other hand, Mr. Tai maintained his stance and asked us to consider carefully to on what stance we should adapt, but yet he will insist on fearlessly going forward towards what we think is right. Yet Mr. Tien could have elaborated more on what should be explored from different perspectives – perhaps he was implying the pros and cons of the OCLPHK movement. But his conservative implications may not have effectively struck understanding among every member of the audience. While Mr. Tai disappointingly could not respond to a student’s question regarding whether the Bible had mentioned that universal suffrage was necessary or whether the Bible or his religion convincingly justified his actions of striving for political reform, Mr. Tai did ask the student to refer to his publications and articles for an explanation, which was less than persuasive for


the rest of the audience. While Mr. Tai disappointingly could not respond to a student’s question regarding whether the Bible had mentioned that universal suffrage was necessary or whether the Bible or his religion convincingly justified his actions of striving for political reform, Mr. Tai did ask the student to refer to his publications and articles for an explanation, which was less than persuasive for the rest of the audience. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of the talk was far beyond providing a hypnotizing platform for lethargic students to just occasionally eavesdrop into the trio’s conversation. This was proven when Mr. Jat asked for a show of hands to see how many in the audience “had a stance on the OCLPHK movement” – without asking for support or opposition but just merely a stance, and that successfully instigated a large reaction among the crowd, which was probably much to the hosts and the speakers’ delight that at least the discussion had given some insights to students on whether to support the OCLPHK movement or not. It was a rare opportunity to be able to see three great old boys conversing on such controversially important matters in front of current students of their alma mater in order to inspire them for the sake of inspiring them to a further extent, and it seemed that the discussion achieved its intended effect on students. Students definitely would agree that they enjoyed a wonderful morning carefully listening to the insights provided by each member of the speaking trio. One hopes that it was of help to educating the future generation of Hong Kong and that we can apply new knowledge from this discussion to better the society of Hong Kong. IB

Top (from left to right): Benny Tai (‘81), Jat Sew-Tong (‘82), Headmaster Ronnie Cheng, Michael Tien (‘67) 2nd row (from left to right): Benny Tai, Michael Tien

FAITH AND POLITICS

14


PROS/CONS:

Attendance JONATHAN LIU, NICHOLAS WONG Photos: LACOE, cnet, twitter, Gentside

PROS JONATHAN LIU

An issue frequently debated among IB students is whether IB attendance policies are too harsh. Currently, the school policy is that students must have at least 90% attendance in every single class throughout the year, however the International Baccalaureate Organization section imposes an extra requirement of satisfying 85 % minimum attendance in every single class. It is essential that students adhere strictly to the policy because this policy was set up for the benefit of both students and teachers. Students who miss classes and fall behind may divert teachers’ attention to their catch-up efforts, perhaps from the needs of students who have not missed class; and this is detrimental to all concerned. Frequent absence inevitably leads to cramming, which prevents attention being given to regular homework and other duties. Under the establishment of the policy, teachers are protected from stress and unwanted disruption of teaching schedules, which is beneficial to them, permitting the provision of a more effective education for students throughout the year.

15

IB HERALDăƒťNOVEMBER 2013

A competent student may claim that they can catch up at their own expense and hence can technically skip as many lessons as they want. Two difficulties result from this thinking: such students do not satisfy the requirement of in-class instruction set by the IBO, and they miss the chance to extend their understanding or amplify their skill that classes provide. If a student does not follow so, does he or she even qualify to be a student at school? This reasoning is also disrespectful to the teacher because teachers spend lots of time in preparing material for class just for the sole benefit of his/her students. Therefore, students should refrain from intentionally skipping classes, thereby maintaining a good reputation as a student. Moreover, the number of days that students are required to be at school each academic year is set by the government of Hong Kong and not a school in particular. Since DBS operates on behalf of the Education Bureau, receiving subsidies to support its operation, it is essential that students adhere to the policies established


by the Government, in order to be consistent with other students in Hong Kong. The ratio of school days to nonschool days is established so that every student can manage it, and therefore students are expected to achieve full attendance apart from extenuating circumstances. The negative effects of missing classes are already being acknowledged by panels of various departments with a move towards the goal of eliminating activities which interfere with class time. The importance of proper school attendance is paramount to a student’s academics and future, and therefore to provide a proper education and

The attendance policy of the IB section of this school is quite different from the attendance policies in the local section of the school. Starting from this year, more regulations have been imposed regarding the attendance of IB students not only for school, but also for individual classes and lessons. This is to ensure that students meet the requirements set by the IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization) to ensure a pass for the IB diploma for IB students (if they are registered by the coordinator in the first place). However, this attendance policy also requires a great deal of inefficient operations that need to be conducted by both teachers and students, and cause inconveniences and in some cases unfair treatment of students. Firstly, the attendance policy requires students to complete a form, and then to present this form to all concerned teachers for signature and remarks for make-

ensure success for students the school attendance policy should be strictly adhered to by all students. Ultimately, this compliance will allow students and teachers alike to benefit, and this win-win situation will allow the school to foster a better environment for students to fully utilize their time for efficient and valuable acquisition of knowledge.

up work. This is an ok arrangement for students and teachers to communicate and decide on the arrangements for the student to catch up on his missed work during his leave, and make sure that the teacher is informed about the leave. However, this is an inefficient method of achieving this goal. There is a lot of paperwork involved in this process, which could be replaced by an electronic communication system. Good examples of such systems are emails and Managebac, which, as mentioned by the IB coordinator, is the “Facebook for IB”. Doing so achieves this goal in a much simpler (and environmentally friendly) manner. Another weakness of this form can be found in the “Make-up work” section. It is not uncommon for school events and even unexpected arrangements (e.g. bad weather conditions) to affect the teaching schedule of classes. The material covered for each class may diverge from the plan

CONS NICHOLAS WONG

ATTENDANCE

16


of the teacher, and these divergences could lead to a change in the work expected from students. Thus, it could be difficult for teachers to assign work in the future, if they cannot predict what their teaching schedule will be precisely. Inflexibility and inefficiency therefore ensue on the requirement of makeup work. In addition to this, lateness is treated as “absent” by teachers in each class. This is enforced regardless of the reason for lateness. While this ensures that the student gets enough hours to pass the IB diploma and also encourages students to focus on their academic work, allowing teachers to more easily allocate work and teaching, more often than not students are stuck in an embarrassing situation resulting from miscommunications between the local and IB activities and classes. Since a lot of activities and meetings which can cause a student to be late are based on organizations in the local school, some of which have great significance in terms of school traditions and service, a better system of communication should be built between the local and IB sections of the school to fully understand the reason behind a student’s lateness before judging him with no regard for his reason behind his lateness. Surely, an IB student should and can refrain from activities requiring a large number of absences to secure his place for the diploma; Nonetheless, it is also important for a student to pay attention to his extra-curricular activities. To avoid the clash between school activites and classes, good communication is crucial to the solution. On one hand, activities should be allocated to recess, lunch or afterschool which should prevent students from being late in the first place. On the other hand, teachers should be aware of the student’s reason for lateness, and give suitable advice or make-up work to catch up to the schudule, instead of marking absents inflexibly, as outlined by the attendance policy. Last term, a great number of students were plunged into panic simply because of the inflexibly defined absence policies, which should have resulted in warning letters issued

17

IB HERALD・NOVEMBER 2013

to parents. According to these rules, at least half of the G11 IB students should not have been promoted. This shows the absurdity derived from some of the improperly stringent rules. Last but not least, the roll call system of the IB section is also flawed for various reasons. Firstly, it requires the supervision of a teacher, who has the key to the computers to turn them on for roll call. Secondly, students must swipe their cards on the card sensors in the allotted time. Lastly, staff from the IB admin office will manually check the attendance data. This has derived yet again some unreasonable situations. The “on-duty” eacher may have other duties to attend to, or he/she is simply unavailable at that time. This results in students crowding inside the lecture theatre, unable to record their attendance. Usually, studetns resort to writing down their names on a sheet, and more often than not, this causes chaos when students are fighting over one pen to write their name down, and confusion when the teacher finally arrives, leaving only minutes for students to swipe their cards. Moreover, the computers used to record attendance are not employed at their full efficiency. A system to send the attendance data over a network using computr programs is not at all a difficult task. Yet, this has still not been implemented yet. Moreover, the lack of a unified “class period” makes the IB students at least 5 minutes ahead of schedule for the assembly. This actually inverts the schedule of the arrangements before assembly, and makes IB students arrive at school 5 minutes earlier than local students, only to sit in the hall to wait for local students to finish their roll call. Thus, we can see how this arrangement also brings a great deal of inefficiency. In conclusion, though the IB attendance policy will ensure that the attendance requirement for IB diploma is met by IB students, it needs to include some important improvements and adjustments to its mechanism in order to achieve its purpose without obstructing the well-being and rights of IB students.


PROS/CONS:

Laptops JONATHAN FUNG, ALASTAIR PIKE, KRISTOPHER WONG

Since the start of the IB Diploma Programme in 2011 at DBS, laptops have been introduced to the classroom to assist students in learning efficiently and effectively. This can be reflected by the percentage of students achieving 40 points or above which has increased from 33.3% in 2012 to 53.3% in 2013. Obviously laptops are not the only factor contributing to these results however it is undeniable that laptops can and do provide benefits students in many ways. The laptop with its attendant technological advances has made learning easier and more efficient. A great example is Managebac, which is an online platform that records students’ grades in each subject and allows students to update their CAS portfolio. Managebac has transformed the idea of completing and turning in physical pieces of homework into turning in soft copies instead. Apart from saving trees and being environmentally friendly, students can avoid the clumsiness of organizing all their hard copies of assignments as well as CAS

activities and instead have it recorded online. Another example is the use of Google Docs, which is a document that can be edited and shared in real time with others. This application can be used during group discussion work and this can maximize efficiency because it allows all students to contribute equally. It also allows students to work collaboratively with each other and promote the sharing of ideas.

PROS

Yet another application used frequently is Edmodo. Edmodo is very similar to Managebac because both of these types of software encourage the digitalization of homework. The defining characteristic Edmodo possesses is the fact that students can actually post questions on the platform and evoke discussion among the class. This function allows students to bring their inquiries outside the classroom where the teacher and students may respond and discuss academically. As mentioned these applications can be used inside and outside of the

LAPTOPS

18


classroom by students and they increase the efficiency of learning. Apart from applications that aid students, laptops can also help students in specific subject areas. For example in humanities class such as Economics and History, instead of conducting research in the library, which is both time-consuming and inconvenient students can now conduct research at the press of a button. In science classes such as Biology and Physics students can now record lab data electronically by connecting their laptop to recording devices such as motion sensors. Doing so not only increases efficiency but also reduces the amount of error involved in calculations. In music classes students can now make use of

cons

multimedia utilities to listen to soundtracks and producing analysis on pieces of music in class. Finally, laptops can reduce the burden of the backpack of the students because textbooks can now be digitalized. E-books reduce weight and are also a more effective way for students to learn since they can easily look up for particular sections of the book and highlight key terms easily using different utilities. To conclude, the inclusion of technology in the classroom not only enhances the students’ learning experience but also saves time and promotes a greener environment.

As part of a pilot scheme on bringing technology into the classroom, the DBS IB Programme has embraced laptops and digital tools to enhance the learning process, bringing to students and teachers alike ease and efficiency. Students can now work on labs, conduct research, and more in class and during study periods, while teachers have more freedom in lesson planning compared to traditional pen and paper. However, each policy comes with its own set of drawbacks, and the use of laptops and tablets in school certainly has its own. The primary concern regarding the use of laptops at school is how they are used, leading the IB Section to have drawn up the ICT Acceptable Use Policy, in which is detailed the conditions governing students’ use of their laptops and portable electronic

19

IB HERALD・NOVEMBER 2013

devices. With the great freedom laptops bestow upon their users, it is difficult for the School to monitor the use of each and every student, and to ensure that everyone is abiding by the Acceptable Use Policy is a hopeless task. Although the school tries to prevent misuse of computers by many means such as blocking Facebook on the school internet and restricting use of laptops to classrooms and the library, students will find ways around such roadblocks. Ultimately, the system depends on trust. More than three years of trial have generally shown the system to work, but the occasional lapse or failing stands out. One episode often quoted by our coordinator was the Pre-IB laptop ban of 2011, due to flagrant misuse and open flaunting of the rules, which caused the entire cohort to


have their computer privileges taken away for three months. Although such behavior has died down since, this event still is a stark reminder that this potentially useful tool can be misused. When laptops are used appropriately, students (and teachers) are assisted in their work, allowing for a better learning environment. For example, by using electronic versions of some textbooks, we can cut down on the weight of our backpacks and the number of books we bring to school every day. However, this has yet to be the case for a number of subjects and the result being having to bring a laptop, or tablet, already hefty in itself, on top of the typical load. Use of laptops in IB has become so common that it is now more or less taken for granted even though no formal requirement has come out. Such a requirement, although not stipulated in black and white, would cause disadvantage students who are not as well off, who would need to buy a laptop of their own, being an additional financial burden to their families. Unlike some international schools where the school provides laptops to their students or subsidizes their purchase, there would also be comparison between students of laptop brands and models, causing a repeat of the ‘uniform versus casual wear’ argument: casual wear allowing students to demonstrate their wealth and affluence, while uniforms nullifying such a possibility. To crown it all, the prevalence of laptops in an educational environment might not be as beneficial to students and teachers after all. With the Internet as if a maze, students, and teachers too, can spend hours

on end aimlessly browsing the web, being continually entertained yet steadily driven off course. How rare is it to see a(n) (IB) student procrastinating by means of memes or cat videos? With the web already such a distraction from studies as it is out of school, to allow students the use of computers at school may not increase their productivity but instead exacerbate their addiction. Additionally, over time, students become increasingly reliant and dependent on the ease technology brings us is illusory and progressively detached from the traditional assessment methods of pen and paper, which still account for a vast majority of our final IB marks. Given the relatively effortless task of typing compared with writing out essays or notes, such a dependence on electronics may accelerate deterioration in penmanship as time progresses. Finally, with laptops in classes being a trial program limited to the IB section for these past few years has caused some tension between the two coexisting curricula. The use of laptops is a ‘major difference’ between the NSS and the IB sections and such division within the student body may be detrimental to the harmony of the school, and cause unwarranted conflict. Hence, the policy of technology in the classroom, though having many benefits, also comes with its dangers as well. The School will have to implement such a program with care and caution and with understanding of the disadvantages it brings, to ensure that students as well as teachers benefit from the additional privileges computers bring to the learning environment. IB

LAPTOPS

20


interviews with

NEW IB TEACHERS YANSHUN MUNG, FRANKIE FUNG, ALASTAIR PIKE Photos: Michael Cheung

DR. RICHARD LEE Interviewed by Yanshun Mung, Alastair Pike, Frankie Fung

Herald: What specific area of history did you base your study in? Dr. Lee: My first degree was in history and archeology. Medieval and modern history, my master’s degree was in modern history looking at the first and second world wars, as well as the Holocaust. I specialized in the Holocaust in Europe, and my PhD was in Archeology, and the specialization was the use of tin in the Roman Empire in Britain. Herald: What other schools have you taught at? And which school did you like the best? Dr. Lee: That is a very difficult question because I have taught at a lot of different schools. They are all pleasant in different ways. I have taught a lot at ESF, and also KGV, Renaissance, and Island School. International schools have a very diverse environment which is invigorating, with different students from all over the world with different perspectives. It is very interesting because it opens your mind to things that you have never thought before, based on people’s different

21

IB HERALD・NOVEMBER 2013

experiences. I have also taught at AIS, which is the American system, which has a very different academic ethos. I think the system that I am most familiar with is the ESF, which has a great sense of international community. Herald: Which museums have you worked in and which one did you like the best? And why? Dr. Lee: I have worked a little in the museum of London, but the museums I like the best are the small museums. I have worked in the Bath museum, and that is my favorite museum because Bath is a UNESCO world city, and doesn’t have much room. The archive is hidden among the old Roman ruins, which makes it difficult to get into. It is also in the unexcavated Roman bath, and has huge Roman roads around it. The front of the old temple complex is spectacular and there are many different empty underground Roman streets that are just empty that run up to the archive. The archive, the collection of material there is phenomenal and very high quality with some internationally renowned


pieces such as the Cursed Tablets. It is a really fantastic opportunity to look at how the wealthier Romans lived in Britain in the first century AD. Herald: How did you become interested in History? Dr. Lee: That is an interesting question, and I can’t exactly remember the answer to that question. I first started out studying political philosophy and then switched to archeology and history. I suspect that it was my grandmother, who was a keen local historian and had written books on the history of where we lived. She had also visited many of the Greek excavations. I found that extremely interesting and I read a lot about history and mythology when I was young, which may have given me an interest in the subject and so I pursued that in university. Herald: What is your favorite museum exhibit? Dr. Lee: I have seen so many, which makes it hard to answer. What interests me is seeing a story in an object. And you can look at fantastic and beautiful material, but it doesn’t tell a story. The objects that I like the most are the ones that you can see that someone has attached some importance to. My favorite objects are the Cursed Tablets, and on these tablets you find moments of anger written down on a table. One tablet says someone has stolen my bath towel and all of my clothing, and may the gods strike him down and curse his family. This is a moment in anger where the person has lost everything in the bath, and the only thing he can do is to is to complain to the gods. I get to understand a moment in the past in a very clear way. There are also Vidolanda Tablets which are provides laptops to their students or subsidizes their purchase, for things like can you send me more salt and a fishing line. Things like: here is a party invitation. These interactions are very human and real. Herald: What are the real-life applications of History? Dr. Lee: It is true to a point that history is a mirror of the present and the future. We tend to have the same needs and live in the same way, our lives are not really different to the lives of people in the last 2000 years. We gain an education and then we get a job which allows us to gain money to further our lives. We all seek shelter, and food and companionship. These are eternal through history. I tend to think that our minds haven’t really changed at all in the last 2000

years. Our understanding and interest in the world hasn’t changed so the ideas that have been explored over this period, are often as valid today as they have been in the past. We tend to forget how much of the ancient Greek philosophy was ahead of its time. They knew that the earth was round, and roughly calculated how big the earth was before the birth of Christ. Then this knowledge comes back and I think that if we don’t explore everything that everyone has done before we miss the opportunity to learn from extremely capable people. That removes the opportunity for us to ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’ as they say. I think it is important to understand what has happened before so that we can move further. Herald: If you could teach one history lesson, on any topic of your choosing what would it be? Dr. Lee: It would almost certainly be deconstruction of social behavior using Roman material. How can we tell how someone acted in the past using the objects that they left behind? Bit like a detective story. Herald: Is there anything at DBS that struck you as surprising or special? Dr. Lee: I think that it’s surprising how good the students are at DBS. Out of all the systems I’ve taught at the DBS students are the best. I was surprised that there was an IB block when I first came, here because I didn’t realize that there was an IB section at DBS. I also didn’t realize what a lovely building it is, and I didn’t realize there was so much on the hill, when I walked past it every day to KGV and saw the entrance but never realized what a fantastic infrastructure you have here. Herald: Advice for history students? Dr. Lee: Content, always know your information and have the skills to use it. The overarching piece of advice for students in general is to try always to strive to fully develop skills that aid your understanding. Because if you just have content and you don’t know how to use it, it will not help you. It is important to develop critical thinking skills first. Herald: Describe yourself in 3 words? Dr. Lee: Academic, Idealistic (maybe a bit too idealistic), and the last one would be optimistic. I think that generally in life things will work out well. INTERVIEWS WITH NEW IB TEACHERS

22


Herald: Describe IB History in 3 words? Dr. Lee: Skills, Content, and Application. You needs skills and content and then learn how to apply them.

impacts another subsequent event. How one small event can shape an entire period of history.

Herald: What is the biggest challenge of teaching history? Dr. Lee: The biggest challenge is probably the sheer amount of information you need to remember: the names, the dates, and understanding how something

MS. QUAZANNE VAN DER BIJL Interviewed by Yanshun Mung, Alastair Pike, Frankie Fung

Herald: Where did you teach before coming here to Hong Kong? Ms. Van der Bijl: I was a teacher in Khartoum, Sudan. Herald: When you first arrived in Hong Kong, did you experience a big ‘culture shock’? Ms. Van der Bijl: From Sudan, yes, definitely. Herald: What are some differences between Sudan and Hong Kong? Ms. Van der Bijl: Sudan is under sanction, so there is very little shopping and not many foreigners. Khartoum is also very hot; it’s the hottest city in the world. Hong Kong on the other hand has a wider range of shops and more foreigners. Sudan is also a Muslim country, so coming to a Christian school is really great. Coming to a country where the default meat product is pork is also fantastic. Herald: I heard that you say Sudan is a Muslim country and that now you are in Christian school, so do you have any religious background yourself? Ms. Van der Bijl: Yes, I am a Christian. Herald: What is the most interesting place you have taught in?

23

IB HERALD・NOVEMBER 2013

Ms. Van der Bijl: I supposed the most interesting place I have taught in would be… It is difficult to say because every place has its own of merits and demerits. Herald: Which one would be your favorite then? Ms. Van der Bijl: So far, Hong Kong. Herald: What do you think of Hong Kong food? Ms. Van der Bijl: It is fantastic. The only problem I find is that everything on the menu is written in Chinese, so I have a hard time ordering. But other than that, it is great: there is fresh produce, fresh vegetables and fruits, I love it. Herald: What are your thoughts on the IB physics curriculum? Ms. Van der Bijl: Honestly, I don’t have a lot of experience with the IB physics curriculum because I am teaching the Pre-IB curriculum. However, I know it focuses a lot on mechanics, which is very good. I know that mechanics is one of the topics that students really struggle with at University, if they didn’t cover it well enough in high school. The practical aspects of the curriculum seem to be sufficient, but for now I can’t really comment on the IB.


Herald: What are you more interested in, Chemistry or Physics? And why? Ms. Van der Bijl: I honestly quite like both. It’s such a difficult question. I like physics because there is a lot of math and there are a lot of practical applications, but what I love about chemistry is that it is such a deep subject. You might have a hard time understanding it but when you understand it, it is just like this bell goes off and suddenly the world makes sense. Herald: Does this career choice in science have anything to do with your upbringing? Ms. Van der Bijl: I have always been kind of a nerd so physics, chemistry and math have been my subjects. Teaching was not actually my original career choice, it is something I came to later in life. I followed another career path before this but I started teaching and I absolutely love it, it is what I am meant to do. Herald: What is the biggest challenge of teaching science? Ms. Van der Bijl: I think the biggest challenge in teaching science would be the practical aspects of it, making sure I am teaching 100% using the correct method, because both (chemistry and physics) are such accurate subjects. If you are off by a milliliter or millimeter for example: wiping the pipette in the wrong way or using the wrong method of plating, this can cause your results to be very inaccurate. Teaching that mistakes are good is important too, as great scientific discoveries were made through mistakes. Herald: Who is your favorite scientist? And why? Ms. Van der Bijl: I think my scientist would be, although a cliché, Albert Einstein. Because he was kicked out of school when he was 10 and they told him he couldn’t become anything, he would be a loser in life. He didn’t let adversity overcome him at all. He did his own things and achieved great success. Herald: So there are some students in this school who complains that learning science is quite impractical. They might think why would we need to know the laws of relativity and molecule theory. What would you say to these students? Ms. Van der Bijl: Depending on what career you go into, it is going to be relevant. Secondly, even if it is

not relevant, it is way of thinking about life. If you learn history, you learn to view the world from a historical perspective; physics help you view the world from a futuristic perspective: what can be done? What can be changed? Herald: What qualities do you think a successful IB science student should have? Ms. Van der Bijl: Open minded, Inquiring and willing to ask. An IB science student needs to be hard working, and review regularly. But I think the most important thing is to be open, not to get stuck in a specific point of view , being willing to listen. Listen to what the teacher has to say, but listen to it objectively, don’t always believe what the teacher says. Question and be inquisitive. Study a lot and work on past papers. Herald: If there is one most important thing that you want the student to learn, what would it be? Ms. Van der Bijl: In general, that is to enjoy studying. If I can teach them that the process of actually learning can be fantastic. Be a lifelong learner. Herald: How do you ensure that your classes are interesting to the students and that they stay focused and engaged throughout the 35-60 minutes? Ms. Van der Bijl: Well I try to keep the part where I do the talking short, so my explanations are limited to maybe 5 to 10 minutes, and then have the students try what I have taught them. Physics and chemistry are great because you can have the students doing activities, which are very engaging. Mathematics is a little bit more difficult. It is important to engage in activities and group work. Herald: Last question, if you could teach a physics or chemistry lesson on any topic of your choosing, what would it be? And why? Ms. Van der Bijl: The chemistry lesson on molecular bonding, I don’t know why but I really like that topic. The physics would be on forces, because it is a lot of fun and there are many experiments that can be done on it.

INTERVIEWS WITH NEW IB TEACHERS

24


MS. JEAN LEE Interviewed by Yanshun Mung

Herald: How did you first become interested in English/TOK? Ms. Lee: I became interested in TOK because there is a lot of inquiry-based thinking involved in the subject. I also taught the humanities and I find that history and literature are both beautiful subjects. It is amazing to learn about new cultures, and also interesting to explore how history complements literature. Herald: Did you experience a cultural shock when you moved to Hong Kong? Ms. Lee: No, because I had already lived in Asia for a few years before this, and I find Hong Kong to be very comfortable because I like urban environments. Herald: What is the most interesting place you have taught it? Ms. Lee: The most interesting place I have taught in would be New York City in a school which was set up very similarly to DBS because both schools have a small student community. This is interesting because it allows the school to have a sense of community, and eases communications between students and teachers. Herald: What is the biggest challenge of teaching English/TOK? Ms. Lee: The biggest challenge of teaching TOK is to help students understand the real-life applications of what they are learning. The biggest challenge of teaching literature is

25

IB HERALDăƒťNOVEMBER 2013

conveying that it is significant and the knowledge from literature can be applied. Herald: What are your thoughts on Hong Kong cuisine? Ms. Lee: Hong Kong cuisine is perfect because the food is great since there is a fusion of both eastern and western traditions in one place. Hong Kong is also great because there are many opportunities to try new foods and explore different cuisines. Herald: What qualities should a successful English/TOK student have? Ms. Lee: A successful TOK/English student should be passionate and care about their work, and also keep in mind that there is a real-life application to what they are learning in class. Herald: Who is your favorite author? Why? Ms. Lee: My favorite contemporary author is Haruki Murakami because he blends magical realism with reality and also creates conflict between characters who are out of touch with reality. My favorite classic author would be Lewis Carroll who wrote Alice in Wonderland also because he writes about both fantasy and reality in his books. Herald: If you could teach any book you wanted to in English, what would it be and why? Ms. Lee: I would teach Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, because it is a story


about what we create and humanism. It also involves the theme of control vs. lack of control which is an important topic. Also because Mary Shelley is a female author, I think it would be beneficial to students at an all-boys school to learn about female authors to expand their reading to a greater variety of literature. IB Herald: Coming into a whole new school district, did you have any expectations and if yes, have we fulfilled those expectations? Ms. Lee: My expectations were that the students at DBS would be intelligent, diligent, and that there would be a diversity of student views on different subjects. Students at DBS are fantastic and have fulfilled my expectations. IB Herald: Do you have any general education/ teaching philosophies and if yes, do they run in line with the values that DBS endorses? Ms. Lee: DBS values the individual as well as tradition and the school’s past history which I believe is important and is coherent with my teaching philosophy. IB Herald: What made you become an IB teacher instead of being a “normal” high school teacher? What is so special about the IB program? Ms. Lee: The IB program is rigorous and examines depth and breadth which I think is extremely important and is one of the reasons why I decided to become an IB teacher as opposed to a “normal” high school teacher. The IB program also stresses critical thinking, which I find highly important and much better than stressing memorization. IB

INTERVIEWS WITH NEW IB TEACHERS

26


JEAN-MICHEL

BASQUIAT AN EXHIBITION REVIEW FELEX LAU

For the first time ever, Jean-Michel Basquiat’s works have been exhibited in Hong Kong. It was a fascinating exhibition because the exhibition showcased his unique works with his very special style of working and art making, making this visit very worthwhile and inspirational.

27

IB HERALD・NOVEMBER 2013


Stepping into the gallery, I was immediately stunned by Basquiat’s impressive works. Some people define art as something that is perfectly beautiful and flawless but Basquiat clearly makes his statement: no, art does not have to be perfect. His work, Pattaya, made this statement crystal clear to me. Pattaya features a huge canvas reaching 204 x 270cm, but only the center part of the canvas is filled – and it is filled incompletely, leaving white marks and color dripping off. It portrays a boat at dawn, and above the colored area spells “Pattya”, apparently a spelling mistake. Basquiat decided to leave his mistake there. The work inspires the viewer with its display of beauty in imperfection.

another evident that Basquiat sees the Chinese New Year very differently – in misunderstanding and fear, which is a very different perspective from what the Chinese would even come close to expect. Overall, this unique exhibition of Jean-Michel Basquiat is definitely thought-provoking and inspirational, as it gave me new perspectives on art making and our very own culture. IB

Another thought-provoking work is For B.A.M. At a first glance it seems very simple, something that a kindergartener could manage which is often the criticism modern art faces because of its superficial simplicity. But after careful analysis, I realized that despite its seemingly simple composition, Basquiat still took into consideration the design principles we learned in our Visual Arts lessons. The seemingly simple composition repays sustained attention, revealing subtle ideas about topics such as racism. A third that I found very impressive is Year of the Bear. It depicts Chinese New Year. This work is split into three, and is a very exceptional work, no matter its style and message. The style is apparently different: a split canvas with pitch black. The colors used are also “revolutionizing” for a Chinese person: black is seldom, if not never, associated with Chinese New Year because it symbolizes bad luck – definitely not something one wants for a new year. Against the black background, the red appears to be very fierce. The color, together with its massive size (243.3 x 190.5 cm) make the work overwhelming, especially to a Chinese viewer and the way Basquiat portrays the festival shows fear, which gives this festival another layer of meaning and thought for a Chinese person. This work is entitled Year of the Bear, but typical translations have it to be the year of the “Ox”. Perhaps this is

Clockwise from top: Pattaya, B.A.M., Year of the Bear

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT

28


A DAY IN THE liƒe OF AN IB STUDENT YANSHUN MUNG

The first thing I do in the morning is wake up. Just kidding: who needs to wake up when you don’t even sleep at all? In fact IB students are the only type of documented Homo sapiens that don’t sleep. And by don’t sleep, I mean that we are unable to sleep due to the insanely ridiculous workload given to us by our loving teachers. I’m not being sarcastic at all when I say that our teachers are really lovely and indeed fabulous. So the question is how do IB students function without sleep? Well, let me enlighten you to our mystical and mysterious methods. Are you ready for it? We stay awake through sheer determination and our passionate love of learning for its own sake. Actually, the recipe for beating down sleep is a mixture of Monster, Red Bull, coffee, sugar —anything that provides a whole lot of caffeine. Granted that this mixture is potentially dangerous, we usually like to sprinkle the day with naps to counteract potentially harmful effects. But hey, anything for a 45 right? After all we all need to get into Oxford, and Cambridge and umm Oxford again just for good measure. Oh, and Harvard would be ok too. Even if we are dead. So then once we get to school, the typical schedule consists of classes and, if we’re lucky, TOK class, a truly fascinating class that has definitely done some funny things to IB students. For example, never ask an IB student a question. You will be more confused than if you hadn’t asked. Why? This is because TOK has in essence transformed normal teenagers into questioning, examining beings who have a tendency to over-analyze and complicate. We won’t be able to give you a straight answer; what will come out of our mouth is a string of convoluted and esoteric vocabulary which will befuddle and bamboozle you and leave you scratching your head. A simple question like, “Should I buy this apple?” will not turn out well for you. Firstly, how do we even know if that fruit is an apple?, it could be just a picture of an apple. We can be deceived by our sense perception: what if the apple is plastic? When we think about the apple, have you considered the implications of buying that apple? I mean from one point of view you need to really consider why you are buying that apple. I mean are you buying it just to 29

IB HERALD・NOVEMBER 2013

eat it or is it because everyone else has an apple? Which pros and cons? And the list goes on, so I’m just going to stop now because I’ve reached 1600 words. After classes, after-school activities mainly consist of homework, and more homework, and studying. Oh that is, when they are not struggling with procrastination. This is a highly infectious disease that is spread around and takes down its victims with unrelenting ruthlessness. Although this has honed our skills of doing things at the last moment, it has also made us blatantly aware of our lack of time-management skills. But, then again who needs time management when you don’t sleep? Now, notice the subtle italicized word life in the title. This is to emphasize the fact that we live but don’t exactly have “lives” per se and our every moment is spent doing something productive. Including productive procrastination? Well, what am I doing right now? Don’t answer that. In fact if you do see an IB student outside eating or socializing chances are they are not simply eating or socializing. Really, that student is frantically researching and writing a 4000 word biology EE on how the food travels through our organs, how different enzymes break down food, and what each organ does with detailed analysis on the molecular workings of the body. The student you think is socializing is actually completing a psychology IA on how different hormones affect attraction, and emotion, as well as analyzing the effects of age on social behavior. So that is generally the typical day of IB students. Wait. The last step is to repeat these series of events until finished with the IB diploma. Or until you suffer a nervous breakdown and break out in tears while laughing maniacally. After which you will need to see a shrink for the rest of your life, while you wake up at night in a cold sweat from a nightmare screaming about how you failed your IB diploma because you didn’t fulfill your CAS requirement. IB *Just a warning for parents considering putting their child or children through the IB program, the above events are totally true and completely honest and are definitely an accurate reflection of a typical IB student’s day. Would I kid you?


2 4 8

3 5

7 9

2

7 9 1 9 4 1 2 7 2 9 8 6 1 5 2 6 9 2 1 9 8 8 9 5 3 2 5

CROSSWORD PREPARED BY FRANKIE FUNG

ACROSS 4. Country with the most vending machines per capita. 5. Country with the highest consumption of tobacco per capita. 8. Largest wool producer 9. The capital of this country is Budapest. 10. Country with the highest energy consumption per capita.

DOWN 1. The country which generates 96% of its energy using renewable energy sources, especially hydrodams. 2. This country is the largest oil producer in the world. 3. Least densely populated country 6. Largest producer of maple syrup 7. The most nuclear power-reliant country in the world (measured by nuclear share of electricity production)

SUDOKU

DIFFICULTY: MEDIUM PREPARED BY NICHOLAS WONG


STAFF EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

YANSHUN MUNG, G12L TEACHER ADVISERS

MR .GREGORY VANDERHEIDEN DR. RICHARD LEE SECRETARIES

FRANKIE FUNG, G12G KRISTOPHER WONG, G12L ACTING TREASURER

FELEX LAU, G12G ART

JASON YUEN, G12L FELEX LAU, G12L BRYAN LO, G12L PHOTOGRAPHY

MICHAEL CHEUNG, G12L EDITORS AND CONTRIBUTORS

YASHUN MUNG, FRANKIE FUNG, NICHOLAS WONG, KRISTOPHER WONG, JASON YUEN, FELEX LAU, JONATHAN LIU, ALEX YEUNG, FERGUS CHAN, ALASTAIR PIKE, FRANKIE CHENG, ZACK WAHAB, JOANTHAN FUNG, KELVIN LEE

CONTACT US EMAIL

dbsibnews@gmail.com ADDRESS

131 ARGYLE STREET, MONGKOK KOWLOON, HONG KONG Material in this publication does not necessarily reflect the policies of Diocesan Boys' School Efforts have been made to trace the sources of all images. Apologies to any uncredited owners.

IB Herald NOV 2013  
IB Herald NOV 2013  

Diocesan Boys' School IB Newsletter

Advertisement