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features

The Eye

Easy rider

February 5, 2010

5

Senior, one of few to drive, in love with rhythm of road, freedom of her wheels

by Renee Hyde While students residing Singapore may be able to enjoy their first (legal) drink three years earlier than their stateside counterparts, driving, another right of passage, is reserved for a select few 18-yearolds. “I love driving” said senior Hannah Koh. Koh is one of the few current SAS students who has her Singapore’s driver’s license. She owns her own car, a Volvo C30, and drives to and from school daily.

Becoming “legal”

Behind the wheel: senior Hannah Koh sits behind her steering wheel alomost everyday driving to and from school. Photo by Danielle Courtenay

“I signed up for [an account with a driving center] on the weekend of my 18th birthday, which was the earliest I could sign up “ Koh said. According to Koh, it took her a month to get her learner’s permit, but six months to obtain her license. Driving students can either attend classes or they can study the driver’s manual at home. Koh studied at home. Koh said that studying the manuel isn’t difficult. “It’s pretty straight-forward and easy.” Aditiya Chowdhry, who is currently studying for his driver’s licence, said there are three tests that a prospective driver must pass: the basic theory test, the final theory, where a prospective driver must answer 45 of the 50 multiple questions correctly, and the practical theory, where a prospective driver must display their driving ability to an examiner. Once passing all three exams, one can obtain their license. How does is feel once they pass their driver’s test? “It [is] the best feeling in the world” Koh said.

Accidents and tickets Koh is still worried about the aspects of a car crash but has gained confidence over the few months. The Singapore Police Force reports that in the year 2007 and 2008 was a drop in fatal accidents from 4.66 per 100,000 people to 4.59 per 100,000 people. “The first month is the riskiest time [for young drivers]. When you’re learning to drive in Singapore, you practice in safe areas and you’re not exposed to aggressive drivers” said Koh, who has luckily only been involved in a single minor accident on Alexander Road. “I wanted to make a right turn [at the green light]. I was a bit distracted at trying to find where I was, and a car came towards me while turning right” Koh said. No one received a ticket nor was anyone hurt. “[Driving is] just about gaining experience” said senior Chris Kuan, a California driver’s license holder. Unlike the United States, Singapore uses a demerit point system. Points carry three, four, six, eight, nine, twelve and twenty-four demerits based on the severity of the offense. For example, failing to stop at a zebra crossing will cost drivers three points while a more serious offense, such as using a mobile phone whilst driving, will cost drivers 12 points. If you accumulate more than 24 points within 24 months, your drivers license will be suspended.

Drinking before driving? Or driving before drinking? Unlike most of the United States, whose driving age is 16 in most states and drinking age is 21, both

Singapore’s drinking and driving age is 18. Singapore’s legal age has caused many raised their eyebrows. Is it smart to offer 18-year-olds alcohol and a car at the same time? “ I think that the driving age should be lower compared to the drinking age” said junior Hayes Kimball, “I believe it is not smart idea for the first day you can have a legal drink can also, theoretically, be the first day you can drive. The few months in between driver’s ed and actually having a license isn’t enough time for you to be able to make the right choices under the influence of alcohol.” However, unlike the most places in the United States, Singapore provides a multitude of transportation options for those who have had a bit too much to drink. Health and Physical Education teachers Jill Friend and Ursula Pong both believe that drinking and driving, especially in Singapore, is inexcusable. “[Drinking and driving] is no excuse, said Friend, since your car is safe and it is so easy and affordable to take other rides home.” “At the age of 18, if they don’t know that they shouldn’t be drinking and driving, there is something seriously wrong; that’s a given” Pong said. Most Singapore located teenagers will never put their hands on a steering wheel; however, students shouldn’t take it for granted. Once stateside, students may finally grasp a steering wheel but will have to give up their ability to put their hands on a beer bottle for a least 3 years. hyde.eye@gmail.com

All in the family: JIS principal takes up SAS post in July much of being a successful student comes from by Eleanor Barz If he were stranded on a tropical island, being equipped to make positive contributions he might be found reading Dan Brown to the world.” Dr. Stuart said schools should not simply books, singing along to an iPod or immersing himself in the local language and culture. But focus on preparing students for college. Dr. Timothy Stuart wouldn’t be stranded on Equipping them to use their education the island for long. Kayaking is one of his positively is just as important. “Getting into Harvard alone doesn’t make favorite hobbies. you successful. It’s how you use your degree “Yeah, that’s a big one,” he said. When Dr. Stuart arrives in Singapore later to make the world a better place.” Like his own children and many SAS this year to become the high school principal of SAS, he won’t need his kayak. He has been students, Dr Stuart is the product of an international education. He was born in considering this move for close to a decade. “Approximately 10 years ago my wife and the United States but spent the better part I made a list of what we believed to be the top of his childhood in France. He attended an international schools in the world. SAS and international school in Germany from grades 9 JIS [Jakarta International School] were two. I to 12. He said that while modern international see moving to SAS as an opportunity for my schools are fundamentally the same as they were when he was at kids to learn in a different school, today’s schools context,” Dr. Stuart said. I tend to define success not celebrate cultural Dr. Stuart’s three enrichment more than children attend JIS, where in terms of acquiring but in they have in the past. he is currently the high terms of contributing. “I think the biggest school principal. His eldest son Tyler will be a change I’ve seen since - Future SAS principal, Dr. Timothy Stuart I was at school about sophomore next year, while twenty years ago is that international schools twins Moriah and Ian will be in grade 8. were intended to help [kids] keep a sense of “They’re really excited,” he said. Once a third culture kid himself, Dr. their own culture and their own identity, where Stuart said exposure to other cultures and as today international schools embrace global customs, and the ability to understand cultural citizenship. There’s been a philosophical differences, are key to being successful in shift.” Growing up overseas influenced his choice life. “Some say [success is about] getting all to teach internationally. “I was a typical kid. I knew I wanted to As or getting into top universities or a varsity team. I tend to define success not in terms work with people, and work internationally, of acquiring but in terms of contributing. So but I didn’t think of teaching until I was in

university,” he said. “Then it seemed only that relationships could be as much about natural that I would work with international sharing and contributing as they are about kids since those are the kids I relate to best.” competing. His first overseas teaching post was at Tarsus “I’d like to organize common service International School in Turkey, where he taught activities, maybe IASAS schools could physical education. He also taught French adopt an orphanage. Or we could be and physical education at Leysin American involved in Special Olympics. There’s a lot School, Switzerland, where he directed the of room for that to happen,” he said. barz.eye@gmail.com summer school. He has been at JIS since July 2007. He said that while schools take on the flavor of their surroundings, most hold the same international school mentality. “At core, international schools are similar in their mission statements and what they want for their kids. They share a common thread,” Dr. Stuart said. Dr. Stuart thinks his family’s transition will be smooth. “One of the biggest things is that we will be able to be involved in the IASAS family, even though there is a big rivalry between JIS and SAS.” In the future, Dr. Stuart said he would like to see IASAS schools Future SAS high school principal, Dr. Timothy Stuart with work together wife Mona who is a certified English teacher. on projects, so

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

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