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February 5, 2010

The Eye

An Eye Staff Editorial

Students too often sign onto interim for familiar faces over exotic places

Where’s your money going? Making a charitable donation today is a little more complicated than dropping money off in a box. Students and administrators were quick to roll out a relief fund after the recent, devastating Haitian earthquakes. The high school’s Service Council headed the effort with the best intentions, and did not anticipate the criticism that followed. An event was created on Facebook for the fundraiser, open for everyone to join and make comment on. The first comment urged the Service Council not to donate to the Red Cross, claiming that they are currently $600,000,000 in debt because of high administrative fees, and that “100% of donations made to the Red Cross right now will not end up in Haiti.” A response to the post noted that the American Red Cross is not actually in debt; they merely have some. A distinction between the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and the American Red Cross, an affiliate of the IFRC, was also established. Naturally, others were concerned that the Service Council began collecting money before they had decided on a charity. One post on the event page brought up the idea of donating online, to get the money to the effected areas more immediately, as opposed to waiting for two weeks before sending it out. But it turns out credit card donations are taxed, while textmessage donations are subject to similar fees and can take up to three months for the money to be passed on to an actual charity. Students often feel proud seconds after taking money out of their branded leather wallets and sticking it inside a box labeled “for charity.” Not that they should not; a donation is a donation, money is money, and giving it to people that need it, considering we have more than we need, is a good thing to do. But most times, students lack an understanding of what they’re actually doing, nor do they even attempt to gain one. At the same time of the fundraiser, some varsity athletes went around with jars collecting money for their “Food Fund,” intentionally ambiguous in an attempt to trick students into donating to a legitimate cause. The money however, was going towards food and shirts for themselves. But the worst part was that students actually fell for the trick, donating blindly. Making a donation cannot just be about putting money into the box. It has to come with a good understanding of where the money is going, how it will help, and why the money is needed. Too frequently, money goes to places that don’t need it, or is used in a different way than what people think, just because they do not take the time to research the cause. If one doesn’t understand the need, how sincere can the gesture be? Do not think that your responsibility to humanity is over the second you make a donation. Be an activist, or at least take time to do some research, to make sure it is done the right way. Because understanding can have a big impact, not just for the donor, but more importantly, for the victims.

Before donating, read the fine print . . . by Katharine Tinker

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Singapore American High School 40 Woodlands Street 41 Republic of Singapore 738547 Phone: (65) 6363-3404 Fax: (65) 6363-6443

opinion & editorial

Anbita Siregar

Stepping out of one’s comfort zone best advice from sage veteran

Too many students’ goals for Interim are to make friends, not to learn about the history and culture of an area, build a house or teach a child. When signing up for Interim Semester in November, there are a number of factors that help us decide which trip to go on. Of course, there’s seniority, then the first letter of your last name, then picking a number from the hat which determines your place in the queue. But one of the most important factors in choosing a trip is our friends. Teachers and principals boast about Interim’s academic focus and its opportunities for community service, but many students see Interim Semester as an excuse to spend concentrated time with friends. Comfortable in limited cliques, students do not want to experience anything new. Generally, students want the 19 others on their trip to be familiar faces. It would be better only knowing one or two other students on a trip. The comfort of knowing someone is still there, but there are still possibilities of exploring strange countries and meeting new people.

Last year, I wanted to go on a trip with all my friends. I figured I was going to be in an unfamiliar land, so I would feel more comfortable if I knew the people on my trip. Where I might go was secondary consideration as long as I knew everyone on my trip. As a freshman, I thought the best trip I could hope for was Thailand or the Philippines. I got my wish. Of the 18 other students who went on my France Immersion trip, I knew 14 of them by name and hung out with nine of them regularly. I thought I had signed onto the best trip ever, but because I knew so many people, I ran into a lot of problems. The first problem came when we had to pick roommates. I was good friends with three other girls on that trip, and I didn’t mind which one I roomed with. We had trouble choosing who would room with who, and it became an awkward situation. The second problem was the distraction of having my friends on the trip. When we went sightseeing, we did not pay attention to our guide and joked around. I could not soak

Airport security measures irritating, inconvenient but might save lives Ann Lee

As would-be terrorists innovate, passengers likely to sacrifice privacy, time for safety

I was sitting in the media lab, listening to a very agitated Jamie Lim. Now, I can tell you, Jamie is a guy who keeps his cool- he’s always calm and serene. Except for this time. He was gesturing wildly, telling me the tragic story of how he had to throw out a brand new jar of peanut butter. The security guard informed him that he couldn’t bring it on the flight because it was a paste. “It doesn’t say anywhere that you can’t bring a paste! I mean, it’s not like I’m going to bomb the airplane with a jar of peanut butter. Seriously!” Sadly, the security guard didn’t acknowledge this, and Jamie had to throw it away. I’ve had a similar experience with airport security. Once, I almost had to throw out a brand new bottle of makeup I bought at the duty free shop. Already approved at Incheon International Airport and sealed in a plastic bag, it was innocently peeking out of my knapsack. To the officer at JFK, it didn’t matter whether I had cleared it in Korea. If I wanted to go to Boston from JFK on a domestic flight, I simply had to send it as luggage, or throw it away.

After failing to find a small box to put it in, I resorted to sending my knapsack as luggage to Logan airport. It seems that personal experiences with airport security almost always turn out badly. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security prohibits even snow globes from traveling on planes. According to the Transportation Security Administration website “snow globes and like decorations regardless of size or amount of liquid inside, even with documentation” are prohibited. Security measures like this sometimes seem outrageous. But the Christmas Day Bombing attempt on the Northwest Airlines flight 253 proved that the threat of terrorism is still present. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the “Underwear Bomber,” was able to get a bomb onto a plane that was carrying 278 passengers. The situation didn’t elevate to a serious terrorist attack, but it exposed a gap in airport security. A TIME magazine quoted experts as saying the bomb would have shown up on the new whole-body imaging scanners. These machines use X-rays that show an image that is so detailed that the security officers

Print editors-in-chief: Melissa Huston, Ann Lee Web editors-in-chief: Caroline Hui, Jamie Lim News editors: Natalie Muller, Gretchen Connick Op-Ed editors: Sophia Cheng, Nihal Krishan Features editors: Gretchen Connick, Lauren Felice, Aarti Sreenivas A&E editors: Stanton Yuwono, Anbita Siregar Sports editor: Evan Petty, Sasha Jassem Copy editors: Jamie Lim, Natalie Muller Photo editors: Kenny Evans (Web), Danielle Courtenay (Print) Layout editors: Kathryn Tinker, Renee Hyde Reporters: Eleanor Barz, Sophia Cheng, Ryan Chan, Gretchen Connick, Kenny Evans, Lauren Felice, Caroline Hui, Melissa Huston, Renee Hyde, Sasha Jassem, Nihal Krishan, Ann Lee, Jamie Lim, Natalie Muller, Evan Petty, Danica Pizzi, Anbita Siregar, Aarti Sreenivas, Kathryn Tinker, Alli Verdoscia Stanton Yuwono Adviser: Mark Clemens

up the culture because I was too distracted entertaining my friends. If I knew 14 other kids on my trip already, that meant I only got to meet four new students. This was my third problem. My older sister told me one of the best things about Interim was meeting new people. You might become great friends with someone on your trip you would not have gotten to know in school. Not only did I not get to meet new people, I did not get any closer with the friends I had on that trip. I did not spend more of my time with one particular person. Instead, I split it between my nine good friends. Some teachers do not want friends going on the same trips. A few years ago, a teacher even proposed a system that would preclude students from traveling with friends. This year, I learned my lesson. I am going on a trip with only three friends, one girl and two boys. It was easy picking a roommate, and I get to meet 16 new people while bonding with the three friends I know. Interim is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we are lucky to go to foreign lands without our parents. We shouldn’t waste these trips spending time with friends we see every day. Seize this opportunity to bond with students you would not usually reach out to. You might surprise yourself and get to know an unexpectedly cool person.

can see every nook and cranny. They review the technologically undressed images in a separate room. Agents are prohibited from bringing in any recording device. Many people are against installing this instrument. Apart from it’s cost of 180,000 USD - the issue of invasion of privacy comes into question. In June, the House of Representatives voted on an amendment to a transportation bill to ban the use of scanners for routine screenings. “You don’t need to look at my wife and 8-year-old daughter naked in order to secure that airplane,” said Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah, in a TIME magazine article. I disagree. Which do you fear more - a body scan or a terrorist attack? We can no longer insist that the possibility of a terrorist attack is low. The concern over privacy is understandable, especially in a country where privacy is guarded most anxiously, but we need to prioritize our concerns. As much as I hate the hassle over airport security, I acknowledge that the whole process is for my safety. So this interim, go through the process with an understanding mind. After all, it is our safety they’re concerned about. And remember, no peanut butter on the airplane.

The Eye is the student newspaper of the Singapore American School. All opinions stated within these pages are those of their respective writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Singapore American School, its board of governors, PTA, faculty or administration.Comments and suggestions can be sent to the Eye via the Internet at eye.letters@ At the authorʼs request, names can be withheld from publication. Letters will be printed as completely as possible. The Eye reserves the right to edit letters for reasons of taste and space.


SAS community raises almost 100,000 dollars (story, page 3) February 5, 2010 / Vol. 29 No. 4 Singapore American School FFFFFFFFFFeFFFFFFbrua...


SAS community raises almost 100,000 dollars (story, page 3) February 5, 2010 / Vol. 29 No. 4 Singapore American School FFFFFFFFFFeFFFFFFbrua...