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the common room. winter 2013 edition

the gsis school newspaper: by students for students


So here we are again! It’s the first issue of the Common Room 2013-14. Oh I can already hear the scepticism in your thoughts. So what’s new? This year we’re trying something different. I mean, last year we sent the newspaper out through email, but who are we kidding, no one ever reads the school spam. So our remedy? Printing! Hopefully you’ll see this piece of writing around the school and be all super interested in the (mundane-sounding) school newspaper. We’re also currently in the process of setting up our own website. As well as making it easier to track us down on the vast depths of the Internet, (right now you have to Google ‘the common room gsis’ and even that yields very few results), we’d be able to put all the issues in one place. That includes not only issues by Yunming and me, but by the previous editor, Samantha Chow as well. Not to brag or anything, but some of our stuff is actually worth reading. Hint, hint.

Yunming Yu co-editor

Francesca Mares co-editor

So yeah, that’s all from me! On to my fellow co-editor. . . . Here we stand, once again, in the morning dew. Or rather, we sit on a grassy riverbank, trying out our newly-bought set of watercolours. It’s getting to be quite chilly – winter is a hellish season for those who like warmth. Turning back to the painting, the pencilling was all done beforehand, so only the actual washes are left; the small details will be left for later. This one has a larger variety of colours, but the palette is darker overall, with fewer of the pleasant pastel shades of yesteryear. Colder, bolder shades are trending in, it seems. What did we learn? Oh– only of boredom, of old bones whitening under the earth, of active bodies and laughter and baked goods and soup; only about comics and privacy and others’ words, sketched stories and fools who cannot read the mood (there is a greater focus on science, you know). Why do we need to learn? Why do we need to know?

Gabrielle Li website

Yunyi Yu production

We don’t, do we? We could just enjoy ourselves, with no greater meaning than simply that. Let’s walk through the park, stopping to smell the roses when we want to, knowing they’ll turn black eventually. Slow down. “Life is what you make of it”, they say, “You’ll regret not doing it later.” I say, “There cannot be life unless it is lived.” Please take your time in reading, if you drive through at high speeds your “special scenery” will just be a blur. Your editors, Francesca Mares, Y13C Yunming Yu, Y13D


Our planet is dying. Global warming, acid rain, and the greenhouse effect. These are all warnings for us to stop our harmful activities such as cutting down trees and littering. Each of these activities is extremely harmful to the environment. In order to make a change, we have to work as a society. Here are some easy tips that will help us to protect the environment.

Conserve energy. Turn off devices when not using them. When not using devices, turn them off. This includes lights, computers, cars and anything that emits carbon dioxide. Carbon emissions are harmful to our environment. It traps the heat on Earth and prevents them from escaping to space. Although this may not seem much, it is in fact very harmful to the environment. Not only does it affect the air quality, it also affects the weather greatly. The temperature all over the globe increases. In addition, ecosystems are becoming endangered and may even be completely destroyed as some animals and plants are unable to adapt to the changes in temperature. By turning devices off when you are not using them, you can reduce the carbon dioxide emitted and save the planet.

Don’t litter. reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce, reuse and recycle things you might throw away. This may seem easy, but statistics have shown it is not as easy for us as we think. In the past five years, 75% of people have admitted to littering, but this does not mean that the other 25% do not litter. Every year, 9 billion tons of litter ends up in the ocean. In order to clean up the environment from our rubbish, $11.5 billion is spent yearly. In the U.S alone, 250 million tons of trash is generated each year. Among the 1.5 tons of solid waste, 75% is deemed recyclable, yet we only recycle 30%. Littering is extremely damaging to our world. It kills our ecosystem as animals such as turtles may mistake the litter for food. Once they eat the litter, they suffocate and die. With all the deaths occurring, and a low birth rate, these animals will soon be extinct, which will cause the ecosystem to collapse. Besides, littering pollutes the environment. It acts as a hindrance to tourism. This is an act that endangers our world. The 3 Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) are the great and simple solutions to this problem. We will be able to minimize the amount of litter found on Earth including those that are in landfills and use the litter for another purpose. This in turn will decrease the pollution as the production of new items will decrease. Moreover, there will also be a reduction in energy consumption. Extraction of non-renewable resources would also decrease.

protecting t world, just in the f way; (it’s familiar

save water. don’t use chemicals. Water is one of the most precious resources on Earth. We need it to live. However, we continuously pollute our water, making it undrinkable without processing first. Although water is the most abundant compound found on Earth, but that does not mean we should waste or pollute it. Water pollution is becoming a huge problem. 14,000 people die each day due to contaminated water and 500 million people lack access to safe drinking water. The problem continues to grow by the day. To stop further water pollution, we should conserve water. This includes turning off the taps when not using them. Growing trees would also help with the water pollution. This is because trees have the ability to prevent silt. Most importantly of all, avoid using harmful chemicals if possible.


former ground)

Victor Khong

use renewable resource or energy saving devices. Solar panels, wind turbines, LED, hybrid cars. These are some solutions to reduce the damage done to our environment. Years of research were spent in the development of the products. Yet, only 10.65% of the electric produced comes from renewable energy even though a statistic of 100% is achievable. Nature provides us with the free renewable resources, we should take advantage of it. The reason for this small percentage is because people are not using much of these inventions. Some may believe that they are expensive while some others think that they are too complicated to use. However, contrary to popular belief, these inventions not only save money in the long run but are also simple to use after they are set up. Current and future environmental problems may be avoided if we use these inventions.

We only have one Earth. Let us protect the environment we live in and make it a better place.

Palaeontology. For the sake of this article, I will

originated in the 5th century B.C. This article, however, will be focused on two discoveries; in fact, two rather recent discoveries which fit into the subcategory of marine palaeontology.

We were wrong?

deduced that it was a tail much like one of a modern day shark; this fact massively contradicts the theory of mosasaurs being slow sea creatures that could only lunge at their prey in short bursts. Aside from that, another breaking discovery was made from this fossil alone. Researchers compared the tail of a shark’s to the fossil mosasaur’s tail, which led to the conclusion that reptiles had lobed tails, contradicting the stick-straight tail previously believed in. Bruce Young – who studies how reptiles move at Kirksville College – says that a mosasaur fossil with soft tissue is an extremely rare find and that “it’s an amazing confirmation”, as researchers have previously assumed that mosasaurs sported paddle-shaped tails instead of tails alike one of a modern day sharks. The ‘facts’ about this magnificent creature can only be estimated by palaeontologists, and so can change whenever new evidence is be presented. We can only hope that more fossils are to be uncovered!

assume that you, the reader, have no prior knowledge of this fascinating branch of science. Palaeontologists dedicate their lives to studying prehistoric life and its many mysteries. The first paleontological studies As a child, you must have heard of sea monsters swimming around in the deep ocean, waiting for the first chance to attack you. 72 million years ago, these ‘mythical creatures’, which you mocked from the safe proximity of your bed, patrolled the ocean; hunting for their prey. An example of one of these aquatic nightmares can be found in the genus Prognathodon. Once upon a time, mosasaurs patrolled oceans and freshwater streams, and in 2008, a rare fossil – a specimen of the genus Prognathodon – was uncovered in a Jordanian quarry. This particular mosasaur fossil was extremely valuable as it corrected the 200 year-old mistake that scientists have made. Previously, it was assumed that mosasaurs sported paddle-shaped tails, similar to those of sea snakes. However, upon witnessing the soft-tissue fin-shaped outline along the mosasaur’s tail, scholars

Angie Liu

marine paleontology: the art of discovering ancient sea monsters

Fish Face

Scientists have recently found a ‘fish face’. A 419 million year fossil of a fish, the Entelognathus primordialis, could possibly be the key to unlocking how vertebrates – including humans – acquired our faces. A study co-authored by Min Zhu of the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing said that the “fossil fish has the same jawbones as modern bony fish and land vertebrates including ourselves.” He further stated that the “human jaw is quite directly connected to the jaw of this fish, and that’s what makes it so interesting.” He further stated that “the human jaw is quite directly connected to the jaw of this fish” – the bones which make up the fish’s cheek and jawbones appear essentially identical to those of a modern vertebrate – and “that’s what makes it so interesting.” This prehistoric fossil may be considered as the ‘earliest known creature with what we’d recognise as a face.’ In vertebrate evolution, one of the major parts is the development of the faces and jaw. Much is unknown in this field, however, University of Oxford palaeobiologist Matt Friedman added that the jaw and face structure of the fossil is nothing similar to those who belong in the same genus – Entelognathus. The

other fish from the same genus had simple jaws and faces composed of a few large bones, instead of the intricate arrangement of the smaller bones found in modern bony fish. The arrangement of this fossil consists of a distinctive three-bone system which is still present in modern day vertebrates. It has a larger jawbone – the dentary, two upper jaw bones – premaxilla (holds the front teeth) and maxilla (holds canine and cheek teeth). Friedman commented, “The exciting thing about this fossil is that when you look at the top of it, it looks like a placoderm, but when you look at the side of the fish and the structure of the jaw, it doesn’t look like any placoderm that we know of.” Understanding our origins is much more complicated than we think. Friedman stated, “Basically, as terrestrial vertebrates, we are a kind of very specialized, very bizarre fish that about 370 million years ago went on land and lost its fins. Understanding the origin of bony fishes is inextricably linked to understanding our own origins because we’re bony fishes.” If this case proves to be correct, we could trace our ancestry back to even before the existence of bony fish split from that of the cartilaginous fish.


In an experiment conducted by the McGill University psychologist D. O. Hebb and his partners, several male college students were invited to stay in separate cubicles for 24 hours a day. They were confined to their rooms for as long as they cared to stay. The aim of this project was to find out how humans would behave and react in a completely static environment. These subjects wore translucent plastic visors which prevented pattern vision and cotton gloves and cardboard cuffs to hinder their sense of touch. They were provided with U-shaped foam rubber pillows that limited their auditory perception. The air-conditioners emitted a hum. This white noise that was generated masked small sounds.

m do re of b logy

We all know what it is, but what exactly is the cause of it? Well, according to an article that appeared in the Scientific American in 1957, boredom is caused by “the monotonously repeated stimulation of an unchanging environment”. In other words, if the various forms of stimulation present in the subject’s surroundings are prosaic and pedestrian, he/she will eventually get seriously bored.

o th

Boredom is, I think, a phenomenon that is fairly relevant to us all. Some of us experience it almost every day, while some of us only have an occasional taste of it. It could occur virtually anywhere, at anytime: whilst immersed in the soporific atmosphere created by the ponderous monotone of a teacher in the classroom, during the tedious 16-hour plane ride from Hong Kong to New York, while waiting for Mummy as she shops for things you wouldn’t be caught dead buying in a department store…the situations are countless.


One of the more interesting observations made over the course of this experiment was the fact that nearly all of the subjects found it profoundly hard to concentrate. Most of them had planned to use work as a distraction: some intended to review their studies, others wanted to plan term papers. One of them even thought that he would organize a lecture he had to deliver. This was all very well, but during their stay, most of the subjects were surprisingly unproductive. They later claimed that their thought processes never seemed to last more than a moment and that their concentration was constantly disrupted. The experimenters then proceeded to test the effects such an environment had on mental performance. First, they prepared a series of oral tests that mainly focused on arithmetic, anagrams, word association, etc. After that, they distributed a set of written assessments to the subjects two days before and immediately after the isolation period. It involved copying a design with blocks, copying a prose paragraph, spotting the differences in various pictures and recognizing patterns woven into complex backgrounds. The third test consisted of a recording of a debate about the existence of supernatural phenomena such as poltergeists and ghosts. It was played to each of the subjects during their periods of isolation. The experimenters observed and compared the individuals’ respective attitudes before and after isolation and discovered that on almost every test, the subjects’ abilities were impaired by the static environment.

Rachel Ann

The subjects’ daily activities included trying to recall the events that had occurred during a journey on a familiar route, counting numbers up to the thousands and remembering certain details in films they had previously seen. Their concentration slowly deteriorated until some of them found it too difficult to even think. Several experienced “blank periods” during which they didn’t think at all. They later explained that they “couldn’t think of anything to think about” or that they “ran out of things to think of”. As expected, their irritability increased significantly throughout. Some of them began to behave in a rather childish and juvenile way. Another effect was that many of them began to hallucinate. One of them saw a rock under a tree; another kept envisioning babies. These images that appeared before them during their waking hours were slightly similar to the dreams one has while asleep. These hallucinations became progressively more complex and distorted. The subjects responded quite positively to these pictures, though. As time passed and their initial shock had subsided, they began to look forward to having such visions as they found that these images mitigated their boredom. After a while, however, these amusing pictures became more and more disturbing until it came to a point where it affected their sleep. Some of them sensed a strange presence in their room: they felt as if they were lying next to a body. One of them even felt like something was sucking their brains out through their eyes! Through this experiment, they concluded that prolonged exposure to a monotonous environment filled with homogenous and repetitive stimuli has deleterious effects on people. The individual’s thinking ability is debilitated; he begins to exhibit sophomoric behaviour; his visual perception becomes warped; hallucinations plague his mind. Such happenings are usually prevented by the reticular formation located in the centre part of the brain. It regulates the brain’s activity by generating a continuous arousal reaction that is fueled by constant sensory bombardment. If the individual is confined to a static environment over a long period of time, the reticular formation will eventually lose this ability. It seems that a dynamic sensory environment is essential to humans. Without it, we cannot survive. The hallucinations which the subjects experienced during the experiment can probably be attributed to the fact that the brain was desperately trying to generate some form of stimuli to distract itself. This is, however, the result of extreme boredom, which I don’t think you’ll be experiencing anytime soon. Always remember, though, that your senses are your keys to the world around you. They help you perceive and experience your surroundings and it is these experiences that define the quality of your life. Utilize your senses whenever you can. Visit the museum when you have time. Take up cooking as a hobby. Or simply go for a walk outside. Enrich your life; add some colour to your daily routine. Don’t just feel the world around you, live it. As Christopher Burney once said, “Variety is not the spice of life; it is the very stuff of it.”

Daniel, Robert S. Contemporary Readings in General Psychology; 2nd ed. Boston, USA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1965.

just that. A lot more. Certainly, I could tell you about all the programs and methods used by hackers to gain access to accounts - phishing, session hijacking, keylogging - but I’m going to focus on the one that is perhaps the most unnerving: social engineering. See, it doesn’t require any programming skills at all. Anyone can do it.

Data privacy: just how safe are you? Gabrielle Li

If your password is less than 10 letters long, it could be hacked by brute force* in 22 minutes by a run-ofthe-mill desktop computer. Up that letter count to 20 - and throw in some numbers, you know, just for good measure - and it could take up to 1000 years for your average desktop PC to crack it. So you’re safe, right? Wrong. If hackers were using run-of-the-mill desktop computers to brute force your password, then maybe you’d be safe. But the thing is - they’re doing more than

When the internet entered the age of Web 2.0* - the term was bounced around in the early 2000’s, but it wasn’t until 2004 that it rose in popularity - web applications became providers of services and goods. And as web applications became providers - like Amazon is a ‘provider’ of goods - these services made sure to offer customers over-the-phone and email support. This led to the rise of social engineering. One of the most recent high-profile social engineering jobs started, quite simply, with a phone call. It ended with the target’s gmail, apple and twitter accounts hacked - and his Macbook and iPhone, along with hundreds of photos of his young daughter, completely wiped. The irony? The wiped iPhone and Macbook were triggered by the hacker using Apple’s own security features: found in their ‘Find my iPhone’ and ‘Find my Mac’ software. The victim was Mat Honan, a tech writer whose digital life was ruined in a few short hours for this reason alone: he had a coveted three letter twitter username - @mat. Moreover, the hack didn’t, in fact, rely on scripts or programming at all. It relied on the manipulation of people and the disparity between two services’ distinctions on what could be considered ‘secure’. The hacker could call up Amazon support with basic information - the kind you can find in the public domain: name, address and email – and use it to add a bogus credit card number to an account. He could then call them up again, claim to have lost access to said account, and use the bogus credit card number to verify the account was his. Instant access.

From here, Amazon displays the last four digits of any credit cards saved on the account. Where most companies - including many credit card companies and, yes, Amazon - believe the last four digits of your credit card to be safe enough to divulge, Apple found it secure enough to be used to help identify a user and grant them access to an account. (They have since rectified this, thank goodness.) The hacker had figured out that Honan’s Apple @ email was set as his account recovery email for his Google accounts and email. So with one short call to AppleCare, relaying basic information and the last four numbers of Honan’s credit card, the hacker had access to Honan’s account. And from there, it was a trail leading from one account to the other, interlinking them like a fuse, ready to detonate an explosive chain of events. He hadn’t even used the same passwords for all of his accounts on the web, but that didn’t matter. As long as any other accounts’ password recovery systems pointed back towards either of his emails - or - the hacker could reset them with ease. You can read more about the hack here - http://www.wired. com/gadgetlab/2012/08/ apple-amazon-mat-honan-hacking/all/ - along with a conversation Honan has with the hacker himself. Ultimately, this is a cautionary tale to remind us that, no matter what, we are always susceptible – and it may not be entirely our own fault.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF There is no foolproof way to protect yourself from being hacked. There are few guarantees in life, and ‘not being hacked’ is not one of them. However, there are a number of ways you can help decreases the chances.

GENERATED PASSWORDS It’s not really any surprise that using the same password over and over again on all your accounts is a one-way ticket to trouble if a hacker gets a hold of it. And they can, if they hacked one website’s servers and retrieved all the account details - including emails and passwords - well, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine what they’ll do with it from there. Using randomly generated passwords means that if one account is hacked, it’s not game over. Password managers can help to not only generate, but also remember the randomly generated passwords you use. The catch? All your randomly generated passwords are all kept in place, guarded by a single master password. Better make that master password a good one! You can do that by adding symbols, such as !@%&*, numbers and letters. password managers Lastpass | 1Password | Keypass

TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION Taking it one step further, two-factor authentication is exactly what it sounds like: another layer of authentication on top of passwords. Two-factor authentication relies on the continuous generation of six-digit codes at timed intervals, to be received on your smartphone. Since the code submitted to the webpage must match the one showing on your smartphone, the continuous generation of codes at timed intervals means hackers can’t just write down the code and enter it later. They would have to have access to both your phone and your password - let’s just hope that never happens. However, only a handful of services offer two-factor authentication. Also, it’s kind of a pain to pull out your phone every time you want to access an account. On the plus side, you can ask the website to remember your device, so it won’t keep asking you to log back in. Regardless, here are a few well-known examples: Google | Evernote | Dropbox | Facebook | Twitter

Yunming Yu

So you thought that I’d agree with undervaluing arts subjects? You probably don’t want to hear this but too bad, it’s me

This article is for those who think, ‘Ah, I’m so annoyed! Why are the arts always so undervalued compared to the sciences?!’ (i.e. me) and also for those who believe that the current state of affairs is as it should be. Well, I’ll try to make it readable for both sides, though. So, first off: I’m a student of English Literature, and would be doing Art too if not for a series of unfortunate circumstances. That being said, I decided to take the Eng. Lit. A-Level for rather impure motives, that being that I wanted to become a lawyer and it was one of the recommended subjects. I had considered pursuing it out of personal interest at first, but as said interest was too mild and was at any rate quickly washed away by the information the exams were not open-book, I could only follow through when bolstered by the steel of reality. Not very admirable, right? But I think that a lot of people think the same way – that arts subjects are generally a bother to do unless linked with a specific, more accepted subject, like Eng. Lit. with Law and Art with Architecture. You have to do a lot of writing, there’s not necessarily a “right way” to answer so it’s difficult to get full marks, and they (not including Eng. Lit.) are even blacklisted by a lot of universities to boot. Not academic enough, not core enough, it’s no surprise that the three minority subjects are in fact all arts, with Music falling off the radar completely, while over 90% of my year takes Maths. At AS level, I was even told that if I chose not to

take Maths, I would be allowed to take only four subjects. This is, of course, because mathematics and the sciences are eminently useful in contrast, helping one develop a logical and methodical way of thinking, a rational mind, and the ability to solve all sorts of (certain) problems. That’s why the most popular subject combination is invariably Maths plus the three sciences. Yeah, yeah. I’ve heard it all before. I’m not disputing those positive consequences, just their sufficiency. So, pray tell, what do they actually teach you? ‘Didn’t you just say all that stuff at the beginning of the paragraph? There’s no need to repeat it again if you already understand!’ you might declare, irritated. Or perhaps not, I just have a tendency to talk to myself. All right, then. Simply put, they teach you to think, right? But what’s most important to you? Money? Success? Looks? Surely you wouldn’t answer “yes” to any of those, or else people are more honest than I thought. Happiness? Maybe, but I think that what is most important is to be human. Not in the technical sense, but in the way we identify ourselves – through reasonable thought, but also through supposedly characteristic kindness, consideration, perseverance in the face of difficulties, sympathy. Perhaps apart from being able to think, a key part of being human is to be able to feel.

One may argue that we can feel instinctively and so only reason has to be cultivated, in order to restrain irrational acts based on emotional urges. The ego is required in order to rule the id. Yet feelings are crucial to connecting with people, and that is important because no man (or woman!) is an island. How does one communicate while so many barriers exist and grow? Everybody lives in a maze of sorts, and words are a poor tool to convey our thoughts, drills with bits too dull to break through. Why then, we can only try to disassemble those walls block by block, by attempting to better understand each other and fight our respective ways to meet in the middle. What is required is a “heart”, and that is perhaps the one thing that science cannot provide. We need to say what we mean, and know what others mean too. We need to step into each other’s shoes. We need to see things from different angles. We must not be limited by narrow ways of thinking. Let’s try to tackle the issue from an arts perspective, then. What can English Literature do for you? Well, if you’re anywhere near serious about it, you have to have some sort of personal response to the text, which means that at the very least, you must pay attention to what is being said and really think, really feel something about it. It can’t just be memorised and be left like that. Wonderful! You have just learnt to be attentive and to think about others’ words. Next, the text must be broken down and analysed in the context of the novel. What is so-and-so really saying? Are they feeling like this or expressing themselves in such a way because of something that happened? Finally, one must look at things in the light of the creator’s intentions. You must figure out why they feel this way. And this, in my opinion, is really the key to human interaction – the willingness to understand others and accept them. I’m doing Art and Drama an injustice because they’re only getting a sentence or so each, but

they also develop extremely important personal qualities. Art forces one to think independently, like Eng. Lit. but to a much greater extent; it’s something a science student can rarely experience at this low level. There is no accepted way of thinking, there is no exact answer, there is no easy path to follow. You actually – the horror – have to think for yourself. And doing Drama, obviously, hones your ability to think from another’s point of view, even when it may contradict your own. Now, I know that a great many people deter, saying that they “aren’t good” at those subjects. That may be a valid reason for Art, Drama and Music, which rely greatly on talent. But for Eng. Lit. – oh, my dear, if you would only try! You ought to understand the surface meaning, since you are capable of reading this anyway. All that’s left is to realise that the author is not just churning out rubbish – note that one studies classics in the course and not just any book– or vomiting every thought which passes through their heads onto the paper. That was my problem when I was just a little younger; I thought that authors would not write things to be analysed, that there was no real depth to those texts. I did not realise that it does not matter whether they thought the work would be analysed or not, they would be using certain techniques and manipulating language anyway, even if they were writing only for themselves based on what “felt right”. Nearly everything will mean something. See, it’s easy. All you have to do is think a little bit, and feel a little more. This might read like a condemnation of the sciences and as if I’m putting the arts on a pedestal, but all I want to advocate is a more balanced education than this no-arts business. We’ve been told how great and important the sciences are, so I thought it might do some good to have somebody argue on the underdog’s side. We undervalue sentiment, after all, so is it not reasonable to try promoting it instead?

Francesca Mares

issues with comics For some people, reading comics is a simple affair of just opening up the newspaper in the morning and finding the daily comic strip. For others, it’s more complicated. Like video games and sports, the love affair with comic books often begins in childhood or teenage years. What thus forms is a loyal readership, whereby comic book fans invest heavily in their favourite titles and characters. When things don’t go according to their expectations, they make themselves heard. One of the main criticisms of the comic book industry is the lack of strong, independent women. When comics first began in their modern form, women were the typical damsels-in-distress. Take for example, Invisible Girl - or as she’s now known, Invisible Woman - from the Fantastic Four. When the Fantastic Four first burst onto the comic scene, there were four members: three men and one woman. The men were: the super-strong Thing, the Human Torch, who could surround his body with flames and shoot fire, and lastly,

Mr. Fantastic, who could wrap his body around enemies and use his great intellect to outmanoeuvre his opponents. The only woman was Susan Storm and much to everyone’s surprise, she was the only character with non-offensive powers. Whenever heroes were needed, she turned invisible and was often kidnapped by villains who found her attractive. If you don’t believe me, check out the examples below: 1 3 4 5 8 14

Held captive by the Mole Man’s monster Kidnapped by Miracle Man Kidnapped by Namor the Sub-mariner Kidnapped by Doctor Doom Kidnapped by the Puppet Master Kidnapped by Namor the Sub-Mariner

The mistreatment of women in comics became so widespread in comics that that by 1999, a prominent writer from DC Comics, Gail Simone and others like her, felt that they needed to create a new term for the phenomenon: Women in Refrigerators. These women were subject to mindless brutality for the mere sake of plot progression in a male led title. The most famous example was the shooting of Barbara Gordon, Batgirl, in the ‘The Killing Joke’, so that Batman could find a reason to kill the Joker. Naturally, she was left a paraplegic for the rest of her life. Now why, you ask, am I bringing this up? After all, this was years ago. Well, while the situation has improved, nothing much has changed. In 2011, DC Comics reset comic book history. All prior character history was erased and 52 new titles were going to introduce the new characters of the future. Its characters were blank slates; creators could do anything with them give them a new origin story, new powers or revamp outdate costumes. So what did creators at DC actually do? They created these characters:

The majority of them wear very little and are hyper-sexualised in their portrayal. DC even produced one title focused solely on dancing strippers. Despite all the progress in the real world, women in comics are still being depicted as if they were a male fantasy. Not surprising given the fact that there is a serious lack of female creators in DC offices, with the already minority number falling from 12% one year to a miniscule 1% the next. Despite all this, comics are still very much worth reading for a myriad of reasons.

why you should read comics 1) There’s something out there for everyone

If you love clever repartee, why not read X-Factor (1991)? The government-sponsored team of X-Men struggles, not with fighting crime and saving the day, but with opening mayonnaise jars, disastrous press conferences and unwanted sessions at the therapist’s. What were C-list characters at best became some of the most beloved characters of the 90s with their good humour and wit. This book is definitely a mustread for those who love great characterization and continuity; this book is all about friends and family. For those who wish to forgo the 90s era of comics, don’t worry! Even after the original X-Factor series ended, it was revamped in the form of a modern detective comic, X-Factor (2005). Multiple Man, the new leader of X-Factor uses his clones to win (cheat) the

lottery and re-establish the team using the money. Much of the same humour remains, but the tone of the book is darker. In fact, the first issue begins with a suicide attempt and a murder. What could possibly go wrong after that? Babies, aliens, gods, and more babies. All in a day’s work for X-Factor. What if you favour something slightly more unconventional? In Sweet Tooth, Earth is no longer as we know it – it’s filled with hybrid animal children mutated by a pandemic virus. The story starts with Gus, a naive child, losing his father. This series follows his journey as he leaves the only place he knows, the forest where his home lies. Be prepared for a heart warming story as Gus finds a new father figure in a world that hates people like him.

2) Comics are not superficial

You, the reader, may have come to realise by this point, that comics are not the simplistic pictures and stories most adults believe them to be. Comics are simply another medium for storytellers to tell their stories, whether they be fiction or non-fiction, and, which, more often than not, are a reflection of the times.

V for Vendetta, a comic book classic recommended to every fan, is said to have “Panel backgrounds often crammed with clues and red herrings; literary allusions and wordplay prominent in the chapter titles and in V’s speech (which almost always takes the form of iambic pentameter).” In other words, I understand very little. A little Cold War knowledge might also be useful in helping readers to understand the writer’s intentions as well, since he wrote it during that time period. So for those who have not been scared away by the riddle-of-a-quote above and other recommended readings, good luck indeed.

Contemporary issues are often brought up in comics including the first gay marriage in comics with the milestone issue in Astonishing X-Men #51 (2012, left). The issue of diversity has also taken precedence with DC Comics introducing a new Arab-American Green Lantern in Green Lantern #0 (2012) and Marvel introducing a Muslim character to be the new Ms. Marvel in 2014 (right).

Another common theme is that of mental illness. Why, you ask? Superheroes are essentially those in high-risk, high-stress jobs. Their role in society is like that of policemen or soldiers. It’s only natural that some heroes can’t cope with overwhelming amount of violence. As a reader, it’s hard not to feel emotionally connected to the characters, especially if it’s written sensitively. You’ll definitely find yourself more informed, or at least more aware, of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

3) The chances of your favourite characters disappearing are slim

Many of the characters in modern comics were conceived decades ago. Take the X-Men. The first issue came out in 1963. Think that’s an anomaly? Well, guess again. Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman were all created even with impressive runs beginning in 1939, 1941 and 1933 respectively. Certain flagship characters never disappear, even if the titles which they appear in do. The long period over which these characters develop has the added advantage of great character development. So if you enjoy delving into rich histories, go for it. You’ll be trawling through character biographies endlessly.

This recipe is one of my personal favourites. It all started before the summer. As I neared the end of my school term, the future seemed bright: I imagined the long, idle days ahead that were sure to be filled with golden sunshine and languorous hours. It seemed almost inevitable that I would spend at least half of my summer vacation in front of the television, for that has always been my weakness. At that point, I realized that if I were to indulge in such a temptation, it was certain that my holiday would be squandered away and before I knew it, school would be rolling around the corner. And so I was determined to make the most out of the few weeks of freedom I’d been given. One fine day, I started sifting through old cookbooks and chanced upon this recipe. It seemed too glorious not to try, and before long, I found myself making a very chocolatey mess in the kitchen. My mother, who bore witness to this horrific scheme of mine, disapproved. She complained of how the kitchen was in complete disarray, and how it was inevitable that she would be the one to clean it up. Although, I daresay that her dismay was greatly diminished after having tasted the fruits of my labour. This delightful dessert is nothing less than a showstopper, and I assure you, dear reader, that after trying it, you will not be disappointed.

chocolate silk pie Ingredients Chocolate Crust 1 1/2 cups/130 g chocola te wafer crumbs 2 tbsp/25 g sugar A pnch of salt 5 tbsp melted unsalted butter Filling 12 tbsp/170 g/1 1/2 sticks butter at room temp. 1 cup/200g sugar 3 oz/85 g unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled 3 large eggs 1 tsp vanilla essence Garnish 1 cup/235 ml heavy or wh ipping cream 1 tbsp sugar Chocolate curls shaved from a bittersweet bar with a peele r (optional)

recipes Rachel Ann

Instructions 1. Preheat o ven to 350 d egrees F. In together co a me okie crumbs , sugar and sa dium bowl , stir butter until lt. Stir in me evenly dispe lted rsed. 2. Press crum bs evenly ac ross bottom standard 9-i and up side nch pie pan s of a . Bake in pre minutes, the h eated oven n let cool co fo r 10 mpletely be 3. To make th fore using. e filling, wh ip butter an a large bow d sugar toge l until pale a ther nd fluffy. W drizzle in m h il e beater is ru in elted choco late. Add eg nning, beating mix gs one at a ti ture at med m e, ium speed fo each additio r 5 minutes n. Rememb a ft e er r to scrape do the bowl re gularly. wn the side s of 4. Add vanil la essence a n d blend well 5. Spread ch . ocolate fillin g in prepare the top. Set d crust and pie in fridge smooth until fully ch hours. illed, at leas t6 6. To finish, beat cream with sugar u to form. Do ntil soft pea llop onto pie ks begin and garnish shavings. Do with chocola this just befo te re serving. Perelman, Deb . The Smitten Kitchen Cookbo York, USA: Alfr ok. New ed A. Knopf, Pu blisher, 2012

Not long after I’d embarked on my little culinary adventure, I came across another recipe. This is rather more traditional than the one above, but it is nonetheless, terribly delicious. You can rely on it to be a real crowd-pleaser. My sister and I made these heavenly cinnamon squares together. They were originally intended for a party my mother was going to hold the following week, but we just couldn’t resist the enticing aroma of these wonderful gooey desserts. By the time the day arrived, we had wolfed down almost half of the entire batch, and my mother was more than a little miffed. But she soon understood after she had experienced the golden buttery crust and the soft insides. I’m sure you will too, soon enough.


o gooey cinnam squares

Soft cookie base butter, g/1 stick unsalted 15 /1 sp tb 8 e pan , plus more for th room temperature se flour 1 1/2 cups all-purpo ar 1 tsp cream of tart 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp table salt r 3/4 cup/150g suga 1 large egg 1/4 cup/60 ml milk

Gooey layer honey rup/golden syrup/ sy rn co ht lig p cu 1/4 m nd-half/heavy crea 1/4 cup milk/half-a nce 1 tbsp vanilla esse om temp. sticks butter at ro 12 tbsp/170 g/1 1/2 25 g sugar 1 cup plus 2 tbsp/2 1/4 tsp table salt 1 large egg l-purpose flour 1 1/4 cups/155 g al Topping 2 tbsp/25g sugar nnamon 1 1/2 tsp ground ci

at least 2-inch ch cake pan with in 3 -1 by 9a of with Instructions pan, or coat them F. Line the bottom e s th ee gr of s de de 0 si 35 d to an r en the pape 1. Preheat your ov u can either butter Yo r. pe pa t en hm wl. sides with parc a medium-sized bo e. in id lt as t sa d Se an y. ra da ffy. sp so k a non-stic of tartar, baking er until light and flu m ix ea m cr ic , tr ur ec flo el e an th sugar with 10 seconds 2. Whisk together tbsp of butter with bowl and beat for 8 e e th th n at w be do l, w pe ra bo bined. Sc 3. In a large and beat until com ilk m e th d an g eg tter knife d. Add the it evenly with a bu until just combine s ad nt re ie sp ed d gr an in n y pa dr prepared more. Beat in the bottom of the er ov se ba ie ok in a small co 4. Dollop essence together e. id lla as ni n va pa d t an Se ilk a. m ul eetener, or an offset spat yer. Whisk liquid sw la y oe go e th e in ar 5. Next, prep ht and fluffy. Beat lig til un er ix m ic tr e. with an elec bowl and set asid er, sugar and salt tt e. bu m ea cr l, w all of for 10 seconds mor ix M l. 6. In a large bo w bo e t this process until th ea of ep s R . de ix si m e d th an n w lly with nilla mixture egg and scrape do and spread carefu mix, then 1/2 of va se d ba an t ie en ok nt co co er ur lla. Dollop ov 7. Add 1/3 of flo ated with the vani or rp co in en be layer. s the flour ha re over the gooey tu . ix ife m kn e kl er tt rin bu Sp a g. or e the toppin on a rack to an offset spatula a tiny dish to mak it out and place it in ke on Ta p. am to nn ci on d d an s have bronze 8. Mix sugar es until the cookie ut in m 0 -3 25 r fo 9. Bake cool. squares and serve. 10. Cut into 1-inch ,2012. Perelman, Deb. Th

e Smitt

ok. New York, en Kitchen Cookbo

opf, Publisher

USA: Alfred A. Kn

You’ve probably heard people gush about so-called legendary dishes that have been in their family for years. “My mother’s apple pie is incredible. Trust me, once you try it, you won’t want be able to stop.” Or “your grandma’s potato salad? Oh, please. My grandma’s is the real deal.” Usually, you might dismiss these claims as being products of exaggeration, but in this case, I’m telling the truth when I say that my grandmother’s vegetable soup is like no other. One unique feature about her soup is that the vegetables are diced into tiny half-inch cubes. You won’t find these in other vegetable soups. The vegetables are generally left as they are; at best, they are coarsely chopped. This soup, however, is entirely different. I might even say that this is one of her best dishes: I have never known anyone to make a vegetable soup that can rival hers.

Hom e

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oup (serves 1 0 )

Ingredients 1 whole onion 2 medium-sized carrots 3 celery stalks 1 leek 2-3 medium-sized potatoes/1 large potato 2 pints of chicken stock 2 tbsp olive oil Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional) Instructions 1. Dice onion, celery, potato, leek and carrots into 1.5 by 1.5 cm cubes. 2. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil. Place the onion and the leek in first, and then toss in the carrots and the celery. Finally, add the potato cubes into the pan. Stir-fry for about 1 minute after each addition. 3. Pour the chicken stock into the pan. Cover it with a lid and cook under low heat for about 45 minutes. 4. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.


(se rv e


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Ingredients 320 g of Riso Gallo Organic Arborio Risotto rice I L chicken/vegetable stock 1 medium-sized chopped onion 40 g of butter 1 glass of dry white wine Freshly grated Parmesan cheese Instructions 1. In a heavy bottom saucepan, sort the onion in the butter until soft. Add the rice and coat well until transparent. 2. Add the white wine and the stir until it has evaporated. 3. Add a ladle full of the hot stock and simmer. Add more stock if necessary. 4. Cook for about 18 minutes until the rice is soft and creamy. Ensure that the grains of rice are still firm in the centre. 5. Stir in the Parmesan. Sample and season accordingly. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let simmer on a low flame. 6. Serve.

This next one is one of my grandmother’s signature dishes. It’s irresistibly smooth, rich with creaminess and simply bursting with flavour. It’s delicious with a leg of mutton, or piece of steak, or even just by itself. This dish is suitable for all occasions, and you may rest assured that it will never fail to impress.


interviewing...sofia Sofia Hong is a new student in GSIS. She is 11, loves singing, the color purple, making cupcakes and being on stage. Why did you take up playing the guzheng? Because I wanted to express the culture and music of the Chinese. Did your family members encourage you to do it, or did you decide yourself? I decided myself. How long have you been playing? For almost 6 years. Do you practise every day? Yes, but only if I don’t have a lot of homework. Well then, how long do you practise for? For maybe one hour and/or 30 minutes. What is the most important skill you need when playing the guzheng? Your fingers will have to be very agile, as playing the guzheng involves a lot of plucking with your fingers. What is the main theme of the music you play on the guzheng? Mostly music about nature, with notes sounding like bird calls, the rustling of leaves etc.


Jonathan Chen & Cyrus Fung

How would you best describe the music of the guzheng? It would be best described as “elegant”. Where did you get the guzheng? I bought it at a music store. Most music stores in Hong Kong sell them now. Is the guzheng commonly known around the world? Not really. It is only common in China, where it is from. Thank you for the interview!

christmas Santa is the main clause. His wife is the relative clause. Their children are the dependent clauses. His elves are the subordinate clauses. What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus? A: Claustrophobic! Who is never hungry at Christmas? A: The turkey, he is always stuffed. Judge: What are you charged with? Prisoner: Doing my Christmas shopping early. Judge: That’s not an offence. How early were you doing this shopping? Prisoner: Before the shops opened. What do snowmen eat for breakfast? A: Snow Flakes! What do elves learn in school? A: The Elf – abet! Why are Christmas trees so bad at sewing? A: Because they always drop their needles! Why did Santa spell Christmas N-O-E? A: Because the angel had said, “No L!”

chemistry What do you do with a dead chemist? A: If you can’t Helium or Curium, you Barium. Oxygen went on a date with Potassium. It went OK. We would like to apologize for not adding more jokes... but we only update them.... periodically!

riddle When a man goes to work every day, he takes the lift to the 25th floor, and then takes the stairs all the way up to his office on the 40th floor. On rainy days, he takes the lift directly up to his office. Why is this?

jokes Honor Siu

So far, GSIS has been quite successful in inter-school sporting events. The most notable competitions and their results are published below: Swimming The GSIS swim team achieved amazing results in the HKSSF inter-school swimming championships of 2013/2014, which were held on the 4th October 2013. The Boys A Grade team came third, after Island School and Kings College. The total points our school won on Day 2 of the competition can be seen in the table below, next to other schools for comparison. School name GSIS IS KC FIS CIS

200m Freestyle 10 7 4 X X

50m Freestyle 1 5 X X X

50m Backstroke 13 6 5 6 9

100m Backstroke 9 6 7 X X

50m Butterfly 4x50m Freestyle relay 11 18 8 14 6 8 3 X X X

Our B Grade Boys Swim Team came fourth after Hong Kong Tang King Po College (77 points), Victoria Shanghai Academy (60 points) and Chinese International School respectively (53). After gaining 18 points in the freestyle relay, more than any other school, GSIS ended with a score of 52, just one less than CIS! GSIS also came: 1st for Girls Overall 2nd for Boys C Grade 1st for Boys Overall 3rd for Girls C Grade 1st for Girls A Grade 13th for Girls B Grade

sports news Charlotte Chan

Match Singles Doubles Second Singles

Score (GSIS : Opponent) 5-21 11-21 19-21

Badminton The GSIS B Grade Badminton team lost three games against HKCWCC. They are also looking for players to join, so if you are interested, please contact Marcus Ho 10B (Trainings are Wednesday lunchtime)! Basketball Members (boys): Jeff Cheung, Terry Lam, Marcus Ho, Victor Cheung, Victor Khong, Roger Lau, Jordan Habib, Justin Law, Marc Zopfi, Henrik Brockmeyer, Max Pauli Members (girls): Kylie Cheung, Ellie Tse, Fontaine Tse, Alison Iu, Rachel Ann, Valerie Hung, Christy Wai, Shreya D’Souza The GSIS B Grade Girls and Boys Basketball teams participated in incredibly tough matches this year but still managed to score and played very well, considering the numerous difficulties they faced. The girls played a match against West Island School, and lost 4-36, but will play another match against Shatin College on Tuesday. The boys played two matches, one against Island School (they won 20-17!) and one against WIS (lost, 14-40).

Name Reiny Brown Arianna Chan Ingmar Gunn Xavier Leung Jack Ng Natalie Tao Charlotte Chan Jane Lui Matthew Ho Hugh Somerset Jerry Chang Arthur Wong Jenny Ko Tristan Hale Pierce Byrne Name Reiny (captain) Jack Charlotte Jenny Julius Hugh Natalie

Place 1st 2nd 4th 8th 18th 19th 23rd 29th 35th 40th 40th 45th 47th 49th 51st

Blacks Link 1st X 19th 29th 12th 21st 10th

Age Group U16 Boys U12 Girls U12 Boys U20 Boys U16 Boys U20 Girls U16 Girls U20 Girls U20 Boys U16 Boys U20 Boys U20 Boys U16 Girls U12 Boys U16 Boys Aberdeen 1st 8th 9th X X X X

Tai Tam 1st X 11th X X 15th 13th

Cross Country The Cross Country team participated in various competitions throughout this season. The most notable and important competition happened on Monday, 4th November 2013 – the ISSFHK Cross Country Championships! GSIS entered runners from three age groups: U12, U16 and U20. The places the runners finished are shown to the right: Alex Nehmzow placed last in his race, but was the ‘hero’ of the cross country team after he piggy backed a girl who sprained her ankle on the train for a couple hundred metres. He had, as Reiny put it, “committed an act of bravery and heroism”. Prior to the ISSFHK Championships, the cross country team also participated in other competitions – such as the ISSFHK races at Blacks Link (a 4.5km uphill course), Aberdeen Country Park and Tai Tam Country Park (a little over 5km for boys and 3km for girls). We achieved great results in each of these races!

Hockey Members: Elaina Cayrouse, Charlotte Chan, Robin Cheng, Ankie Elijandy, Alice Gunn, Vanessa Gunn, Kristen Lam, Yi Ting Liong, Sasha Lo, Eleanor Ng, Augusta Rodriguez, Sofia Rodriguez, Tanya Shah, Fontaine Tse, Hilaire Wong Despite having many new team members join the team this season, the B Grade Girls Hockey team had three very successful matches! We played Island School (victory for us! Won 5-0), West Island School (lost 2-0) and HKIS (1-1 tie). We will have another game on Thursday against South Island School. Girls 1. Clara Wiest 2. Sakuya Miesczalok 3. Tanja Lange 4. Charlotte Chan 5. Robin Cheng 6. Sophie von Torklus 7. Georgia O’Brien 8. Claudia Wrobel 9. Marianne Mayer 10. Caroline Thoma

Boys 1. Xavier Leung 2. Tobias Schmutzer 3. Max Pauli 4. Julius Mayer 5. Richard Riel 6. Jack Ng 7. Terence Huang 8. Reto Reiter 9. Jamie Ren 10. Florian Thoma

East Asian Games The East Asian Games is a sports competition for German Schools Abroad. This year, the competition took place at Yokohama in Japan. Ten boys and ten girls competed in this competition, which covered 6 sports: basketball, football, swimming, athletics, volleyball and gymnastics. The team managed to achieve bronze for the competition. Congratulations!

The heavens are your dress, the stars the embroidery on it. Blue night stretches out over the glittering city in the distance, a sea in which shoals of thought swim. I sit on the slope of a hill and look out onto the evening scene. The air is cold, crisp chill autumn air, but in my hands is cupped all the fire and bitterness of a heart. The heat seeps through the paper, and when I twist the plastic lid off the vapour dissipates in the air, a faint white in the darkness. The coffee is a pool of blackness deeper than even the outermost reaches of space. Softened by neither milk nor sugar, it’s nothing more than dirty unpleasant-tasting water – but then again, pure caffeine's the only thing which will get me through to the morning. It might be a little too hot, though. I guess I'll put off drinking it for a while. Pearl-petalled grass lilies around me dip and bow, curtseying ladies, and the wind picks up my hair and plays with it. The dancing strands remind me---Of cat's cradle. It was quite an obsession of mine before, that trying in vain to find that one beautiful pattern amongst the lines for month after month. I would let the threads go slack, then tease them out into another form; crossing, twining, twisting, straining, they all inevitably turned into a knotted mess from which I had to be cut free with scissors. I continued until the string in the drawer was used up and all that remained was a single strip of crimson satin, completely unsuited to my purpose. I'm good at wanting things I can't get, you see. I sit here every night, waiting. Some have asked me what for, and I cannot answer them. The dawn of despair, perhaps, or Death’s warm embrace. A man once joked that I was waiting for Godot. That might be true. Maybe this is just a simple wish to set foot in that garden of sparkling silver, to step into a world I cannot touch. But tonight the sky is filled with clouds, and no stars can be seen.

alone without you (DYING TO SEE YOUR FACE)

What do you find most enjoyable about teaching? Having coffee first thing. What would you have done if you hadn’t gone into teaching? That’s a really difficult question. If I hadn’t taught, I think at your age I would have wanted to do something quite dramatic and save the world but I never quite got to that point. What do you like most about English Literature? One of the things I like most is discussions. Being able to talk about things like ambiguity of text and writer’s intentions and methods. Being able to discuss that. Looking at text in a new light and I think everywhere that happens. What is your favourite book? Who is your favourite author? I like Hardy and Dickens very much. Those must be my favourites in terms of prose. In terms of drama I really like Shakespeare and I like the fact that he wrote his plays for performance but I also like modern writers like playwrights like Caryl Churchill. What do you do in your free time? What do I do in my free time? Mark and lots of stuff at school. I try and go swimming and I try and go jogging or walking quite a lot because I feel that I need to keep fit. Have any students at this school chosen to do English Literature at a higher level? Do you have any advice those who may consider such a path? Yes. Jonathan Siu is doing English at Edinburgh University, and we have had other students.

english literature edition

Lauren Ng


MS. Crouch

Do you have any advice those who may consider such a path? If you really want to do it then do it. Because it’s like a lot of subjects that you do at university. They are a stepping stone to a career. I think that English is a very good subject for things like law that gives you a very firm foundation and I think that’s particularly important. You always take part in the Kota Kinabalu trips. What compels you to take part in this trip every time? It makes me get fit every year and that also links to your earlier question about the running and the swimming. I try and keep myself fit and that is one of the reasons why I go to KK. So you enjoy physical activities? Yeah I do actually. I find it really relaxing, I find it clears my head and find it a great stress reliever. What do you normally have for lunch? Is it a myth that you only eat salad? I eat a lot of salad, but it’s not the only food I eat. I don’t like cooked food very much and that sounds bizarre but I prefer cold food. Which do you prefer, plays, prose or poetry? Can’t really say I have a particular preference. I used to like plays a lot but I think as I have discovered more prose and poetry, I don’t think I can say that’s the case anymore. I think in life you build on things, you change and develop.

What would you have done if you didn’t teach? To be honest with you I never really thought of doing anything else although I must admit that during my teacher training I thought of giving up teaching after my first teaching practice not because it wasn’t good. It was. It went well. But I never really had much guidance as to what to do. I suspect if I hadn’t taught I’d have probably ended up getting a job at an office somewhere. Possibly might have followed my father into his trade as a printer. We never had any decent careers advice at school, I was never one of those who was a high-flyer at school. I kind of drifted into it. Thought I might be reasonably good at it. Still probably deluded in that sense as well. Where else have you taught and how do those schools compare to GSIS? My first school was in Norfolk. I had four good years there. I then moved to Dubai in 1990 where I taught in Dubai College for five years. Fantastic time teaching there, great kids. I moved then back to England for a year. Went up to Newcastle in 1995 to 1996 basically because I suppose at that point I was still looking for a promotion and I wasn’t going to get it in Dubai because the opportunities weren’t there. I taught English up there for a year and was quite shocked by the appalling cold weather especially after Dubai. Not a hugely bright group of students, but good fun kids. During that time I was still looking for promotion and ended up to the English Department at the British School of the Netherlands just outside the Hague where I taught for six years and had a really, really good time. Loved being in Holland. Had a little place of my own on

the coast which was great fun. Taught some very, very bright and very, very enthusiastic students. I think I left in the end because I realised I really didn’t want promotion. I just wanted to be happy with what I was doing and I wasn’t as happy as I had. The school was changing, and frankly I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the way it was being run. Not the department, the English Department was being run very well, by Ms. Crouch actually. I thought I’d leave and find somewhere else to go while I could, and saw of a job advertised in Hong Kong. Had an interview over the phone one morning with Mrs. Stevens, the previous head of English, and Mrs. Peart. I found I got the job so I was very pleased and came out here. I love it in Hong Kong. I quite like it occasionally in the school but I certainly love Hong Kong. What do you like most about English Literature? I’ve always read a lot. My father read a lot. Not necessarily anything particularly erudite but my father read a lot. Still does and he’s in his eighties now. My mother and my stepfather read a great deal and occasionally we share books and recommendations. My sister never read very much and I must admit still doesn’t. I like the plots, topics of books I read, I like the way the books I read for English Literature are written. I think fundamentally what I like about English Literature, is the experiences you have, the insights into being alive, and into a range of lives and experiences. Are there any books that you would recommend? I often recommend ‘Great Expectations’ as I said because it’s a challenge to the students in the lower school to read. I’d like to recommend some of the Jasper Fforde books but they require quite a lot of reading knowledge or a familiarity with literature. If I recommend anything I’d simply recommend people read a range of authors rather than any particular authors.


Mr. moore Lauren Ng

english literature edition

Try and read works which are challenging or read works other people have loved but other than individual recommendations it really is up to the student. I’ve been recommending books for one of my students in Year 10 to encourage her to read a good range of books, fiction, non-fiction, different writers from different periods from different topics and I think she enjoys reading those and I hope has benefited from them. What do you do in your free time? I read a lot. A fair amount of my free time goes for marking. One of the banes of being an English teacher is the amount of paper it generates, that you have to go through and what you have to do when you’re marking it and that takes me a long time. It seems to take even longer as I get older. I work constructively on my vast Macintosh computers collection and my iPads. Recently I’ve spent a lot of my free time putting an Apple Mac together. I call it Frank, because it’s kind of like a Franken-Mac. It’s been made up of all bits and pieces. I watch a lot of films. I do like films, especially when I watch them at home where I can put them on pause and go do something else. I can’t say I socialise a great deal, but those are some of my key interests. Have any students at this school chosen to do English Literature at a higher level? As far as students who have chosen to do English at a higher level, I have to say there aren’t that many. They tend to be taking English Literature and/or History so that it’s better for them if they are applying for Law because of the inherent skills, the analytical writing, composition and structuring. We’ve got one at the moment in particular I do know of, Jonathan Siu, who was here a few years ago. He’s studying Literature up in the wilds and wastes of Scotland and I believe doing very well. Do I have any advice those who may consider such a path? Love books, love literature. Read a great deal, talk about works, talk about Literature with people. I’m sure studying English Literature at a higher level can be very rewarding but unfortunately, in Hong Kong, we are

talking about parents who want their children to be lawyers and doctors. I’d love for more of them to do it, but more than anything else, I’d just like the students I teach English Literature to maintain an interest in Literature and a willingness and desire to read. Why do you support Apple so much? Interestingly enough, when I first came to this school, eleven odd years ago, I had a laptop - still got it at home basically – a Titanium Apple fifteen inch laptop which I bought just before I came out here. And I’m pretty sure that was the only Apple computer in this school. I was lucky enough to be able to use some of the earliest Macs back in 1986 when I started teaching and they were so easy to use. I just simply get the job done that I need to get done. I have been using them since 1986 and I have never had a virus, trojan, malware. They are just a tool I just use. I don’t have to worry about them. Much to Mr. Dear’s annoyance, I am going to say it: they just work. And they are well designed, very well built. You get what you pay for. I love them and I would advocate their use and still do. I think more people ought to use them because I think more people ought to appreciate that life is a lot easier using an Apple. Why do you hate pandas so much? Because they are useless, utterly, utterly useless. They serve no function whatsoever as far as I can see. They’re not cute, they’re not clever, they’re not pretty, they’re not even ugly enough to be interesting. They’re just stupid and pointless.

The Common Room: Winter 2013 Issue  

The third edition of the revamped German Swiss International School's newspaper.

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