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the common room. summer 2013 edition

the gsis school newspaper: by students for students


editors Francesca Mares

Yunming Yu

sub-editors Nicole Chong Hilaire Wong Rebakah Brasher

pr team Vanessa Wong

Josephine Zschiesche Anjali Bery Michelle Lam

production Yunyi Yu

editorial

Hey, it’s good to see you again. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? It’s nearly summer now. …Ah, I seem to see some new readers over there. (Or do I?) You’re looking a bit baffled. ‘What, this is an editorial?’ your faces seem to say. Well, hello, hello. Always space for more, we’re not the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. Bags over there, sit next to the man you don’t really like, and compliment the husband on his boots, please. The tea is ready. Ah, the moon is beautiful tonight. You probably don’t care about that, though, so shall we turn our thoughts to this evening’s fare? It seems we have a glorious three-course banquet awaiting us. A distinctly modern appetiser and a stern soup, followed by a main course of summertime dreams, and ending on a crisp dessert of sporting flavour. Unfortunately, alcohol is prohibited and we have no drawing-room to accommodate guests, so perhaps a quiet walk afterwards would be in order – but we digress. So, what do you think of summer? (A student who has been caught revising for one subject during another lesson.) Mm? You want to hear my answer? What, even though I asked you first – well, it doesn’t matter. For me, it’s probably a living-room lit by the afternoon sun. There’s a glass of cold tea on the table and a burning loop of green insect-repelling incense, and somebody’s sitting there playing a video game. Not very spectacular, is it? I never said it would be. Why don’t you ask the girl who’s coming down the street over there? I’m sure she’s got a better answer for you. ... Ah, summer. What beautiful imagery this conjures up. Warm sunny afternoons, cloudless skies and mindless daydreaming. Such soothing thoughts that betray the reality of Hong Kong weather: pouring rain and cold, cold days. But still, the weather is changing. And so we move on. Yet again the newspaper has gained new members. Oh, yes! Can you believe it? An explosion of new people left and right. A PR Team and sub-editors join the mix as the cast expands. Hopefully you’ve seen the facebook page and the posters. If not, feel free to look at them [hint, hint]. So you may be asking, ‘why is this change of members thing so important?’. Well, you see, new members bring different ideas to the table. Adding to the films, food and fashion articles, we have holidaying ideas, an article on refugees and much more. Plus we decided to have actual ‘news’ this time with reporters writing about school events such as Aura and HKMUN. (It’s actually kind of embarrassing that we didn’t do that last issue considering it’s a school newspaper.) If you’re feeling confused by all this change, don’t be. All you need to know is that there are some things that have remained the same - like the editors - me and my lovely friend who wrote the wonderful story above. So flip the page and enjoy! Your editors, Francesca Mares, Y12C Yunming Yu, Y12D


rise of the bloodsuckers how mosquitoes are now immune Summer. A glorious time filled with sunshine, freedom from school… and mosquitoes. Well, that’s okay, isn’t it? After all, we can always keep ourselves safe and our blood un-snacked on by simply spraying ourselves with mosquito repellent!

Wrong. New studies have shown that the active in-

gredient in many mosquito repellents, DEET (chemical name N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) is not as effective as previously thought. In fact, an experiment carried out at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine showed that after the initial exposure to DEET, the mosquitoes appeared to have become resistant and were no longer deterred from their bloodsucking. Further investigation by attaching electrodes to the mosquitoes’ antennae revealed that several hours after the initial exposure, the response of the mosquitoes

BoYee Lee

to DEET was greatly reduced, indicating that exposure to the chemical had actually altered the olfactory system (the sensory system for the sense of smell) of the mosquitoes in some way to make them less sensitive to the smell of DEET, reducing the effectiveness of the chemical as a result. However, authorities have stated that mosquito repellents containing DEET are still effective to some degree and should continue to be used in areas with high mosquito populations. However, for those who aren’t reassured, what other ways of dealing with pesky mosquitoes are there? A quick Googling spree revealed that mosquito repellents containing at least 25% lemon eucalyptus oil are a trusty alternative; not only are they just as effective as chemical repellents, but they are also more natural and have a lower toxicity level than DEET, which has been known to cause symptoms such as headaches, tremors and even in some cases, seizures.

Tiffany Leung


Hain Yoon

photography by Nigel Pak German Swiss International School is renowned for its high quality fashion shows, such as Verve 2010, 2012 and Momentum. This year, our CIG Heads created Aura, a charity fashion and talent show on the 16th of March at the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.

aura Ranging from student designers and models to bands and dance crews, Aura showcased a variety of remarkable performances. With a lucky draw at the end of the event, German Swiss International School was able to host another outstanding show, and raised a considerable amount of money for our four main charities: St. James’ Settlement, Table for Two, Kids4Kids, and Benji’s Centre.


Emma Keoy

hkayp

Mildred Cheng

photography by Nigel Pak

The Hong Kong Award for Young People is an award that not only tests your physical endurance and cooking expertise, but also encourages you to take on a new skill and contribute to your community, and all while keeping yourself fit.

Interview with Donald Man (Y11D) on his final HKAYP expedition:

What happened? I snapped my ligament on the way to Sai Wan Ho Beach, our campsite for the night. I couldn’t walk to where an ambulance could get to me, as that would have risked my ability to ever walk again. We heard you had to be airlifted. What was that experience like? Like a typical Hong Kong action movie complete with the exciting helicopter ride across the harbour.

What did you like the most about the AYP expedition and why? The worst bit was obviously the hiking, but when you get to the campsite, despite the sweat and exhaustion, watching Nigel adjust his camera to take artsy photos was definitely entertaining. As was Desmond and his wannabe Batman flashing of his torch. Would you recommend the HKAYP to the younger students? Yes, just break your leg and you get a nice helicopter ride back to civilization!

All of you potential HKAYP-ers fear not! (Despite Donald’s unfortunate injury), HKAYP is the best experience you will ever have. You are required to demonstrate your abilities and and to learn new ones. Although the expeditions will challenge you physically and mentally, you will make it through, however unfit you may think you are! When you get to the campsite and watch the beautiful setting sun while cooking dinner (sandy or not) with your friends, the sense of achievement you feel will make the exhausting trek worthwhile.


Oliver Kilpatrick

hong Kong MODEL

united nations

Imagine delegates representing many of the world’s nations sitting at tiers of desks, a feeling of duty and responsibility permeating the atmosphere. Together, these people hold the power to change the world through the drafting of resolutions - orders which could be used to start a vicious conflict lasting decades or help pave the way to a new era of peace and harmony. This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the pinnacle of diplomacy, the United Nations! Now…Remove all the people with the scowling faces and the huge sense of dread and responsibility, and replace them with secondary school students who enjoy discussion, debate and the occasional dispute. Add a feeling of wellbeing and excitement and you will more or less be able to envision what HKMUN is like.

I signed up. I figured that something that was able to fill one person with such inspiration, must be worth a try. Little did I know that it was to become one of my greatest sources of enjoyment in the school year. HKMUN is divided into four main events, with three caucuses, held roughly every 3-4 weeks, leading up to the Final Conference, which lasts for two entire days. Caucuses act as a “meet and greet” event where delegates are free to move around as they wish and interact. Most take this opportunity to find friends, old or new, though some of the more resolute people already locating their allies and drafting resolutions at this stage. Within HKMUN, people are divided into different committees and sub-committees. The two main bodies are the General Assembly and the Security Council, with the various committees –UNODA, SOCHUM, and ECOFIN, to name a few – within them. Delegates are divided into sub-committees based on the topics

As its website says: “The young delegates are aspiring future leaders of our society, they will learn to break away from narrow, national self-interest and understand the key to all problems is true international cooperation.” While people might not actively be looking to pursue a career in diplomacy or international politics, many have discovered this path through participation in Model United Nations all over the world. MUN is a way for people to express their own personal ideologies as well as being able to interact with interesting people. I’m pretty much a newcomer to HKMUN having only signed up last year after hearing a passionate endorsement from Alison Wong. I hadn’t really been too keen on such things before, but after hearing her talk,

they are working on. The HKMUN Conference is the summit of the whole process. Delegates retire to their topic committees and spend the two-day period engaged in intense debate and negotiations with the other member nations. Resolutions are introduced, clauses dissected, and amendments made where deemed necessary. At the end the final verdict is received and resolutions are either adopted or scrapped. Finally, at the end of all the turmoil and excitement, a grand banquet is held where delegates can sit back, relax, and enjoy good food while laughing at anything funny that happened during the conference (North Korea usually comes up a lot in these discussions). At the end, awards are given to the Best Delegates from each committee and a final video is presented by the Press Corps, the journalists of MUN. All in all, it’s an amazing experience and I sincerely encourage others to try it out for themselves.


the abdication of pope benedict xvii

Melanie Schmeelke For the first time in over 600 years, the leader of the Catholic Church, the Bishop of Rome – more commonly known as the Pope – has resigned. Pope Benedict XVII stepped down from his post on February 28th this year, stunning the Catholic community of over 1.2 billion people worldwide. Over the previous eight years, Benedict has had to lead the church at a time of crisis. With accusations of pedophilia against some clergy, toubling Church finances as well as a butler who leaked various confidential files, Benedict had much to deal with during his short time as Pope. Some people regard his abdication as sign of courage as well as personal strength. Others however, see his abdication as an act of cowardice and do not have much sympathy. Officially, Benedict resigned on the grounds of his advanced age (85 in 2013) and deteriorating mental and physical health.

After two weeks of deliberation, in the rather elaborate process described in Dan Brown’s book “Angels and Demons”, a new head of the Catholic Church was elected. After two ballots, Pope Francis was chosen to succeed Benedict. He is said to be the ‘Pope of the People’, being the first Latin American Pope, and is well liked for his humility. On exiting the Vatican, he declined the Papal limousine, and asked the crowd to bless him before he blessed them. Pope Francis is deeply concerned with the social inequalities of his home nation, Argentina (as well those of other parts of Latin America) and is said to be willing to challenge powerful interests. One particularly controversial point[,] which Francis has spoken of[,] is his strong opposition to gay marriage. The stage is set for Pope Francis to play his role in jousting with the numerous issues and challenges the Catholic Church faces today. I assure you, the world will be watching.


Rebekah Brasher

ethnic Minorities Walking into the H.O.P.E. Centre in Wanchai, one immediately notices the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Walking into the H.O.P.E. Centre in Wanchai, one immediately notices the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. The vision of the centre is to ”support and enhance the integration of ethnic minorities in Hong Kong” and to “create an inclusive community with cultural diversity, racial harmony and equality for all.” This aim is particularly important when considering the prevalence of ethnic minorities in the Hong Kong community. About 5% percent of SAR’s population is made up of expats and ethnic minorities, most of which come from Asian countries. Roughly 26% come from Indonesia, 33% from the Philippines, 6% from India and 3% from Pakistan, although there are also minorities from Nepal and Thailand, according to a 2006 census. Some 11% of these are born in Hong Kong, and 44% have lived in Hong Kong for more than 7 years.

Although these ethnic minorities have a substantial amount to offer in terms of cultural diversity and skills, discrimination is a problem many face. This is prominent in the workplace, the Hong Kong government census in 2006 stating that almost 70% of ethnic minority workers earn less than HK$4,000 a month. According to the census, ethnic minority workers also tend to work longer hours and for less pay than their Chinese counterparts. Roughly three quarters engage in ‘elementary occupations’, according to the government’s website. Only 16% work as managers, professionals, or have similar titles, and 6% work as service workers or sales assistants. This inequality can be especially trying for many children of ethnic minorities and refugees who speak English at home, yet cannot attend internationals schools, as fees are too high. Because of this, the majority of these children are sent to local schools across Hong Kong where


Charlotte Chan

in

hong kong From left: ethnic minorities participate in the HOPE orientation seminar; volunteers help teach children; graph depicting the distribution of races in the ethnic minority

they face the challenge of mastering Cantonese as a second or third language, in addition to fitting into a new environment. The inequality for ethnic minorities in terms of wealth is sometimes further exacerbated by the fact that many find it difficult to afford the uniforms, textbooks and school supplies required for schooling at local schools. According to a recent study the proportion of ethnic minorities with no schooling at all was 2.7% in 2006. H.O.P.E centre offers support to combat these difficulties. The centre offers many services and activities for children and adults alike, such as counselling, language classes in both Cantonese and English and computing classes, all of which are offered at three different levels. In the classroom, we interviewed three children: Arshu, Trisha and Ningaa. They come from Nepal and the

Philippines and attend the centre twice a month. All of them attend public schools in Hong Kong, and find the language barrier quite problematic. However, they enjoy attending the centre and engaging in the activities, and agreethat it has benefited them a great deal. Their teacher explained that through cross-cultural activities and integration, the centre “allows people to be part of Hong Kong which is already their second home”. Volunteer work helps the centre substantially, and a program is offered in which students can tutor the children on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Charlotte volunteers at the centre on Thursdays. “I really like what the centre does because it’s good for the children, and I love interacting with the kids and knowing that they are having an easier time at school because of our efforts.” Volunteer work is organised via various charities at GSIS, such as Give Them Hope (more information can found at ethnic_centre@isshk.org).


summer [hvar] Justin Wei

Fortica Fortress This was built above the old island city in the mid-16th century. Its architecture and military history will thrill you as much as the view of the city and its surrounding islands.

Hvar’s theatre This theatre was one of the first in Europe, founded in 1612. The exterior is, surprisingly, mostly preserved in its original form whereas the interior architecture was inspired and created in the 19th century.

Feature Hotel - Hotel Adriana Hvar Spa Hotel: The pristine coastline of Croatia is among the most beautiful in the world – and one of the most unspoilt in Europe. It’s also good value compared to other Mediterranean countries. Located on the promenade and facing the ancient city centre, Adriana Hvar’s most stylish boutique hotel boasts the most breathtaking panoramic views of the town and the marina. Its facilities are as diverse as its view - making it a perfect place to relax, rejuvenate, and rejoice. Adriana offers over fifty deluxe guest rooms, nine suites and spa facilities. A year-round rooftop seawater swimming pool, the exquisite Val Marina restaurant, top bar, lounge and multi-level garden terraces with stunning views over the sea and marina are also part of the invigorating experience.

Hvar Benedictine Convent The convent also dates back to the 16th century. In 1534, the Commune of Hvar, encouraged by some of its resident benefactors, requested the establishment of a convent. Along with the development of spiritual character (its major goal for the centuries of its existence in this area), the convent has also become world-reknowned for its agava lace. The skill of lace-making has been passed on from generation to generation within the convent for over a century.


travelS [turkey] Annette Wong

Open Air Museum One of Turkey’s World Heritage sites, this museum is essential on any Cappadocian itinerary. The 2km wide area is a cluster of churches, chapels and Turkey’s finest surviving monasteries, all hand carved from natural rock formations. The pristine artworks displayed are true masterpieces.

Hot Air Ballooning For the more adventurous, there is no better way to experience the natural side Göreme than drifting in a hot air balloon through this magical landscape. Every night before sunset, spectators all over the city witness countless vibrant balloons soaring through the skies. Flying services are available along all edges of the city.

Kaymakli Underground City This man-made wonder is the most well-known underground city in Cappadocia. Carved under the Citadel hill, it is a historic settlement containing many houses and nearly one hundred tunnels. The city consists of eight floors below ground level, four of which are open to the public. Visitors can explore carefully sculpted passages, rooms, wineries and churches, all carved by villagers during the passing centuries.

Feature Hotel – Kelebek Cave Hotel: The magnificent Kelebek Cave Hotel is Goreme’s most popular sanctuary. Located in the heart of its old village, it overlooks majestic valleys, rock formations and the historic city. Constructed from the remains of Mt. Erciyes’ eruption, the Kelebek has 36 rooms formed from natural caves, fairy chimneys and carved stone-arched rooms. Classic Turkish furnishings and locally-made fabrics decorate the accommodation, along with marble-walled bathrooms, traditional hamam basins and modern facilities. A fragrant flower garden, refreshing swimming pool and traditional Turkish bath makes your stay more worthwhile! Delicious meals are served in an open dining area, overlooking the grand valleys below and hot air balloons soaring above.


d.i.y. sum

fashion

It’s summer time! With beaches, sunglasses, bikinis and more, summer 2013 is going to be a blast with these three easy summer DIYs which create an adorable outfit you can wear to the beach, pool, anywhere! See below to check out our skull patterned cutout shirt and dip-dyed bleached shorts!

skull-patterned

cutout shirt What you need: 1. 1 old top (slightly oversized, preferably cotton) 2. Scissors 3. Washable markers or fabric chalk

Instructions: 1. Place the old t-shirt on the floor, the back of the shirt facing up. 2. Using a washable marker, draw out a skull on the back of your shirt, like this: 3. Carefully cut out the excess fabric with a sharp pair of scissors Tips: 1. Use a washable maker because it is difficult to cut out the shape of the skull accurately and you don’t want permanent stains on the shirt 2. Draw the image as large as possible to make it easier to cut out


mmer

accessories

Adeline Kwan

Hain Yoon

dip-dyed bleached

shorts What you need: 1. Shorts or trousers 2. Bleach 3. Rubber gloves 4. Large bucket 5. Water 6. Laundry soap

Instructions: 1. If you have trousers instead of shorts, cut the trousers slightly longer than the desired length. 2. Pour 2-3 cups of bleach and 1 cup of warm water into a large bucket 3. Wear the rubber gloves and mix the solution together 4. Soak half of the shorts in the bleach 5. Leave them in the bleach for around 30 minutes. 6. The longer you leave it in the bleach, the lighter colour your shorts are! 7. Rinse out the bleach using tap water and laundry soap 8. Optional: add slits on pockets and fray edges. Tips: 1. If you are going to cut long trousers, it is better to cut them longer than the desired length for your shorts. You can change the length after you finish the bleaching process. 2. If you want a distressed look, you can use sandpaper to fray the edges of your shorts.


fashion Lauren Ng

summer

Floral patterns have become synonymous with spring fashion and this year has been no different with famous fashion houses such as Holly Fulton, Prada, Erdem, Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, Christian Dior and Rochas exhibiting flowers galore.

This spring, bold and geometric patterns have dominated the runways of Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Vivienne Westwood, Jonathan Saunders, Dolce and Gabbana and Acne (to name a few). This striking print will definitely stand out no matter what colour you choose.

floral stripes

Holly Fulton spring 2013 collection

Forever 21 sweetheart floral dress

Topshop moto stripe denim bodycon dress

Tommy Hilfiger spring 2013 collection


trends:

season

Sophia Sung

A definite statement maker, neon has been the choice for many designers such as Matthew Williamson, Antonio Berardi, David Koma and Hussein Chalayan. These bright hues will suit the summer ahead and inject some vibrant colour into your lives.

The beautiful embroidered soft bralette, one-足piece dress and denim shorts have always been the iconic perfect casual look in the hot summer air. These casual, yet elegant fits can be found in Hollister Co, Zara and H&M, the famous brands for young and fashionable teens, like you.

neon

lace

Helmut Lang spring 2013 collection

Mango back vent top

Hollister Co. spring 2013

Abercrombie & Fitch spring/summer 2013 collection


QUIZ which summer film is for you?

Samantha Lee

Sonja Traubeck

what do you think of when you hear the word ‘summer’?

the last day of school with a bunch of good friends

up for a musical?

a huge white beach with a clear sky

it’s a beautiful summer’s day, you would...

always

not right now

modern or classic?

modern

you like to...

just relax

beach please!

disney movies are... not my thing

classic

GREASE [1978]

keep it fun

be daring

always a must

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2 [2007]

JAWS [1975]

LILO AND STITCH [2002]


grease 1978

Before you cringe and hurriedly redo the quiz, give Troy and Gabriella a chance - it’s not all that it seems. This fun musical sequel comes back with developed character maturity and a more emotional storyline that will have you singing along in no time flat. It’s light and fluffy fun, perfect for a summertime movie choice.

jaws 1975

Though it may seem like another fairytale Disney film, Lilo & Stitch adds a sci-fi edge to the tradition, with a storyline that’s funny, sad, and action-packed, and quirky characters and settings which illustrate the beauty of Hawaii. Though it touches on topics such as loneliness and broken families, it is a funny and refreshing film that all ages will enjoy.

A musical about 50’s teens fallen in love... it’s an everlasting classic that you will never grow tired of. Full of old-fashioned humour, dance numbers that will have you on your own two feet, and an incredible soundtrack, this uplifting film provides a fun-loving view of life and is definitely not one to miss.

high school musical 2 2007 A groundbreaking film and benchmark in the history of thrillers, Jaws is a perfect choice if you want to take a break from the heat of summer holiday chick-flicks and dive into this summertime blockbuster classic. Be warned, there’s a fair amount of frightening, suspenseful, and downright horrific scenes, so refrain from watching this before heading to the beach!

lilo & stitch 2002


top 10 songs to have on your Sara Hui

SUMMER PLAYLIST

Rachel Sin

Whether you believe it or not, summer holidays will start in less than three months. Imagine that! In just three months you’ll probably be lying on a beach somewhere far, far away. So while you imagine yourself on the beach, listening to the waves crashing and digging your toes into the soft sand, why not listen to a few of our favourite summer songs?

Here is a list of our top songs from 2000 onwards: Upbeat: Simple Plan - Summer paradise The Kooks - Sofa Song Chill and Beachy Vibe/slight RnB: Justin Timberlake - Summer Love Of Monsters and Men - Lakehouse Frank Ocean - Swim Good Vampire Weekend - Walcott Weezers - Island in the Sun Romance: Lana Del Rey - Summertime Sadness Ed Sheeran - Kiss Me Pop: Imagine Dragons - It’s Time Marina and the Diamonds - Prima Donna

But of course, we haven’t forgotten about people who still love the old songs! Here’s our list: Upbeat: ABBA - Waterloo Grease - Summer Nights Mamma Mia Movie Cast - Lay All Your Love on Me Rock: The Undertones - Here Comes the Summer Bryan Adams - Summer of 69 The Ramones - California Sun Sex Pistols - Holidays in the Sun Beachy: The Beach Boys - California Girls Mamma Mia Movie Cast - Honey, Honey Summer Romance: Chad & Jeremy - A Summer Song Mama Mia Movie Cast - Our Last Summer Hope you guys enjoy our list as much as we do!


The Best Brownies In The WORLD whipped up in a less than an hour. Too good to be true? Think again.

You will need… 1 box of cookie mix, 1 box of brownie mix, 2 Eggs 2 packs of Oreos Oil Your favourite ice cream (see below for our healthy alternative!) -Preheat your oven to 350°F, 180°C, gas mark 4. -Line a baking tray with grease proof paper or oil. -Follow the instructions on the cookie mix box but add an extra teaspoon of oil and water! Mix until you have an gooey cookie dough. -Squish the cookie dough into a lined baking tray, until the bottom is all covered. (Don’t be afraid to use your fingers, you can lick them off later!) -Cover this layer with your Oreos. Don’t use the broken ones; these brownies are far too magnificent to use second-rate Oreos. -Mix up your brownie batter according to the recipe on the box, then pour that delicious molten chocolate mess all over the Oreos and cookie dough. -Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave to cool. -Then, using a sharp knife, cut the brownies into pieces depending on how many calories you think you can handle in one sitting. Enjoy!

summer snacks

...for you to snack on

Easy Peasy Guilt Free Ice Cream! That’s right. Creamy, soft, delicious ice-cream with just one healthy ingredient – Bananas! Possibly the easiest recipe ever, 100% fool proof. You will need… Bananas (super ripe) -Cut up and freeze a few bananas for at least 12 hours -Once frozen solid, just pop them in a blender or food processer and blend until smooth and creamy. If your bananas are being really stubborn and they don’t want to turn creamy on you, just add a splash or two of milk to get things moving along. Yep! That’s all folks. These recipes have been tried and tested by us (look at the photos), and are 100% guaranteed to tantalize your taste buds.


interschool fencing Yu Yu Chan

The Inter-school Fencing Competition (2012) took place on 10 and 11 November 2012. It was the first time GSIS ever participated in a fencing competition and got sterling results! I interviewed a fencing participant in my year called Jamie Ren. It was a very close win for him, and he narrowly beat his opponent. It was a tie at 14-14 and both fencers had to concentrate hard otherwise they would lose. In the end, Jamie beat his opponent by one point (15 to 14). The Competition took place at the Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Sports Center. Imagine trying to win a tournament with a statue of one of China’s greatest leaders staring at you when you compete. I wonder what Sun Yat Sen would have thought of this event? Currently, GSIS doesn’t have an official school team, but there are lots of students who participate in fencing training every week. However, only Jamie and Janae (a year 10 fencer) participated in the competition - and both won medals.

Jamie tells me that it would be appreciated if more students were willing to take part in fencing competitions because that would help GSIS win more medals. If you are interested in joining, let me warn you that you will need to be extremely quick and you must keep your full attention on the match at all times, no matter what. That is the most important factor: To concentrate and keep focused at all times. You also need to think fast in order to take on opponents with different fighting styles, such as defensive opponents and offensive opponents. There are three different types of fencing: épée, foil and saber. Both Janae and Jamie are saber fencers, because this is the most intense and exciting of the three fencing styles.

Finally Jamie has this advice for those who want to become fencers and win a few gold medals for GSIS: “You have to be extremely quick, because just a fraction of a second in your speed and timing means a huge difference.” “If you are not concentrating, then you will most definitely lose the match.” “Usually, during the school semester, I train twice a week, 2 hours per training session. However, during the holidays, I put in a great amount of effort, so I follow an intense schedule. I train 6 times per week, and each training session is 3 hours.”


For this issue’s teacher interview, we decided to peek into the life of popular Chemistry teacher Mr. Bing Kai Wong. What do you find most enjoyable about teaching? I like the students. They’re all very different – they’re never the same! What do you do in your free time? I like to hike, in particular, long hikes in the mountains. I like playing Starcraft when I have the time for it, or I just do things with my son and wife. Family is very important to me. Are you fond of any sports? I play basketball and beach volleyball. I also enjoy cycling. What made you move to HK? Staying in Hong Kong was never my original plan. I decided to go travelling first and when I came to Hong Kong, I found a job and just ended up staying here. Have you ever wanted to be something else other than a teacher? Like being an astronaut? Well realistically, I actually thought of being a police officer, but instead I became a teacher because it’s less dangerous. Believe it or not, being a police officer is much more dangerous. A couple of my friends became police officers and when we traded stories, I realised I made the right choice. Were you always good at chemistry? I was always one of the better students at chemistry, but not the best. I chose chemistry because I thought it was the most interesting subject in school, and I then continued it at university. What’s your favourite and least favourite aspect of your job? When you see students 5 years later and see that they’re turning out very well. I have to say that all the students I have seen 5 years after they graduate all turn out really well-

that’s the best thing. My least favourite is of course the marking; there’s too much marking! Do you regret becoming a teacher? Not at all! If I chose something business related, I’d have to spend less time with my family. Teaching gives me a better balance of spending time with family and work, so it works out well. Do you treat students like your own children? Well, I try to. That’s why I give you guys a hard time when you don’t work, just like how I give my son a hard time if he doesn’t! If I don’t think you’re working as hard as you can, I will say something about it. Where did you get your humour from? I think I’m just born with it. It’s a natural talent. Why do drink Coke Zero? Because there isn’t Coke. I don’t actually like Coke Zero, but there’s no more Coke. Do you have favourite students? No. I try to be as impartial as I can, though I do have a

favourite year. Some years are definitely better than others.

teacher interview:

mr. Bing Kai wong Matthew Zhang Peter Au Rahul Mittal


The Common Room: Summer 2013 Issue