Amazing Contribution to Change the World: The Urgent Run

Written by: June Park

It might be quite embarrassing to say but since we are humans, we go to toilet everyday. (If you don’t, that might be problematic?) It’s natural physiological phenomenon, and it’s also natural to go to toilet which is a bathroom fixture consisting of a bowl, usually with a detachable,

hinged seat and lid, and a device for flushing with water. But have you ever imagined a life without a toilet? I know it sounds awkward, but ‘life without a toilet’ is unimaginable and sounds so inconvenient, doesn’t it?

And you might consider that toilet is clean without doubt. But according to World Toilet Organization (WTO), about a ⅓ of the world’s population, 2.4 billion people in the world do not have access to proper sanitation.

From 8 am to 12 noon, several ISS students gave their time to run the Urgent Run on Saturday, 05 November 2016.

At East Coast Park, participants gathered to draw attention to the urgent call for action to end the sanitary crisis, and support clean and working toilets worldwide for the third of the world’s population who do not have accessibility to clean, safe toilets. Celebrating the World Toilet Day which was on 19th of November, the ‘Urgent Run 2016’ has been held at East Coast Park. The Urgent Run 2016 is a global mobilization event to draw attention to the urgent calls for action to end the sanitation crisis, held annually by the World Toilet Organization. WTO is a global non-profit organization that was founded on 19 November 2001 to bring together communities around the world for a run or walk for sanitation. And the aim of WTO was to make the world with more clean and safe toilet at and sanitation for everyone, everywhere, at all times.

There are people who might be wondering what’s the connection between a ‘toilet’ and the a healthy, safe world. Somebody might think it’s silly. However, there is a direct relationship between them.

Sanitation is a basic human right. (Quotes from the Urgent Run 2016 site). According to WHO, 2.4 million people live their life without any improved sanitation at all. One out of ten people has no option other than defecate in the open location because they don’t have any proper toilets that they can use. So it relates to prolonged exposure to unhygienic conditions weakens a child’s immune system, stunts growth, and can cause malnutrition and diarrhoea-related diseases.

Facts from the United Nations:

  • One in ten people has no choice but to defecate in the open (WHO/UNICEF 2015).

  • Diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water kills 315,000 children every year (WAS-Hwatch 2016).

  • Disease transmission at work mostly caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices, causes 17% of all workplace deaths (International Labour Organization (ILO) 2003).

  • Loss of productivity due to illnesses caused by lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices is estimated to cost many countries up to 5% of GDP (Hutton 2012)

  • Diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water kills 315,000 children every year (WAS-Hwatch 2016).

  • Disease transmission at work mostly caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices, causes 17% of all workplace deaths (International Labour Organization (ILO) 2003).

  • Loss of productivity due to illnesses caused by lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices is estimated to cost many countries up to 5% of GDP (Hutton 2012)

    Questions for Ms. Jeyaram

    1. Why do you think the Urgent Run is important?  Why did you be the coordinator of Urgent Run?

    Mr Ballinger was the initiator for the school and my son, Josh, decided to run last year with other Middle Schoolers. Both of my children participated this year and 59 students, parents and teachers signed up.

    I have read a lot in the news and on NGO websites over the last few years about the lack of proper sanitation worldwide, how it impacts people’s safety and how many children don’t attend school because of having no toilet facilities. It’s horrifying. Females and males are at risk of being sexually abused when they have to openly defecate. I am in a discussion with a Grade 10 student currently about schools in Indonesia that need toilets and how we can work with the WTO in Singapore in learning about the practical ways we can change the situation for one community there.

    1. Do you think the influence really can be spread for people? Do you think Urgent Run would really bring practical effect to people?

    I do. We have to try. The WTO has developed expertise in managing the problem by coming up with solutions for communities to build and then manage a toilet. We raise money, we raise awareness and we talk more openly about a very private, usually embarrassing issue. We have to ‘give a crap’.

    1. Are you going to promote this Urgent Run next year too?

    The Urgent Run will be promoted every year. Everybody has to play their part and persevere otherwise we are all responsible for the abuses that take place. I was so impressed with how many students signed up and came along. As a school we are working with a local organisation and are being innovative leaders as an international school in our participation. It shall become a tradition in our school.

http://urgentrun.com/city/singapore/

BIG SQUAT

https://sites.google.com/a/iss.edu.sg/iss-ms-community-service/action-as-service/thebigsquat-worldtoiletday-november19th

Urgent Run 2015

https://sites.google.com/a/iss.edu.sg/iss-ms-community-service/action-as-service/urgentrun2015-worldtoiletorganization

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太极 Taiji ECA Is In The School!

Written by:  Scott Liu

“Feel your Qi in your stomach, and concentrate it on your fist.” From our coach, Zhu Xiangqian.

There is a new Taiji ECA at school this year, mainly focus on teaching basic Taiji sets of movements

taiji eca cover photo
taiji eca cover photo

and some real life applications of self-defending. The class was taught in the main hall in every Thursday. It is a rewarding experience increasing both our strength and flexibility. We will keep holding this ECA next year if we have enough members.

A Misunderstood Legacy

“So, what exactly is Taiji?” A common question always been asked by others. Well, for the majority of Chinese people, Taiji is mostly seen as a martial art focused on self-relaxing or performing. However, Taiji was never intended to be that way.

In fact, when Taiji was invented thousands of years ago, it was a combat technique for the leaders of the ancient tribes teach their followers. Until now, the ideas in those skills are still very similar to modern CQC.

The reason of the misunderstanding being all the moves in Taiji are shown as slow and fluent. This is for practising the stability and accuracy of the movements. Taiji is fast only when engaging with enemies.

The Taiji we learn is a simplified version of the original 72 Chen-Shi Taiji. The move set has been reduced to 13, but each of them has their unique applications for different situations we might come across in real life.

Our Coach

taiji eca photo 2
taiji eca photo 2

Of course, learning a new skill needs hard works, but more importantly, a good coach. Thanks to Peihang, we were able to invite the 12th successor of Chen-Shi Taiji, Zhu Xiangqian. He was born in Henan 1972 and has been coaching Taiji oversea, especially in south-east Asia, since 1997.

With a bit of dialect, having his Taiji class was always fun and rewarding. Each Thursday we have class in the hall. Firstly we do a short stretching warm-up with him. Then go on to daily high kicking exercise. After that, our coach will recap the movement we learnt last time and teach us some new. Meanwhile, he also explains the uses of those moves and sometimes tells us some lore of Taiji.

Learning Taiji was never easy, we usually feel our muscles and hamstrings aching both during and after each lesson. But after all, it is always worth doing. We can visually see the increase of our strength and flexibility by being able to squat longer and touch the ground while standing. If you are looking for this type of exercise and don’t want to run a marathon per week, Taiji is perfect for you.

Open for new members

We keep the ECA and welcome new member in the continuing year. Don’t worry if you are completely new to Taiji! In fact, most of us are new to Taiji as well. Our class will spend time for newcomers to catch up. So feel free to come at any time!

Dance ECA – New at ISS !

Contributed By : Risako Tsugaru and Chloe Kim

New dance ECA was established a couple of weeks ago and started to practice from last week. In ISS, there was already existing another dance ECA but new dance ECA will especially focus on K-POP dance. Nine members joined this ECA and practice for recital that will be held before winter vacation. Actually, both of us (writers of this article) are members of this ECA and joined practice last week. It was almost first time to dance for some members but other experienced members were teaching dance and tried to make it the nice one. We practiced for about an hour and we were all sweating.

We are going to perform ‘’TT’’ by Twice that is really popular especially among Asia because of its cute dance.

We interviewed to Risa Yamazaki (G10) who co-founded this ECA with June Park (G10).

Interview (Risa Yamazaki, June Park)

  1. Why did you establish this ECA?
  • Risa : I established dance ECA last year but I quit it because of my busy schedule. But I still loved dancing, K-POP and also perform something in front of people so I actually didn’t want to quit it.

          More than anything, I had regret that I left the dance ECA at that time.   

          Thankfully, June asked me to establish new dance ECA many times so we

           decided to make it together!

2. Have you ever performed before?

  • Risa : I have danced since I was a G6 student! When I was a middle school student, I performed in UN night and hair spray. In high school I performed in talent show that was held during WWW! I never have taken a dance lesson so I just dance in my style. Every time I’m quite nervous but I am motivated by everyone’s applause! In other words,  I’m addicted to dancing?

3. Do you like dancing?

  • Risa : Of course!

4. Why do you like dancing?

  • Risa : I love dancing because it doesn’t have any rules. It can be a performance  whatever I express in it. Dancing is so amazing because everyone can enjoy it without limitation(like rules). I always cannot stop expressing something so dancing is a tool of that. It’s like a language for me. I’m especially good at robot dancing and pantomiming and they both are quite weird dancing style. But I like to see everyone’s reaction when I make something that is an unique one.

 

The new dance ECA practice every Wednesday. If you want more information about this ECA or want to join it, please feel free to contact Risa, June and other members! All members are waiting for your participation!

Calling all delegates…

Written by:  Tarish Kadam

Have you ever looked at a politician and just thought… Wow he/she is really unintelligent. And it makes you wonder how they even got to where they are now in the first place, with all the unintelligent

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img 2929

decisions they make and all the offensive stuff they say? Have you ever wondered how different it would be if YOU were in power? well, look no further! MUN is the right place for you! The Model United Nations is a… Well… its pretty self explanatory from the title itself. But, nonetheless holds tremendous potential in letting YOU be that politician! MUN gives you the opportunity to be the the decision maker in those situations without all the paparazzi and controversy!

Model United Nations, however, is an annual event held by several schools and universities across the world, with a similar gist and pattern. To promote the development of world leaders by allowing students to take initiative, in finding and debating viable and feasible solutions for real world problems today and still have extensive enjoyment while doing so. The Model United nations that we as a school go to are conferences held by other fellow international schools (those that have the infrastructure to do so).

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img 20161106 085725 2

With the main body of participants are familiar faces and people no younger or older than you by more that 3 years. MUN is an experience truly enlightening about how the united nations itself works and also a new way to learn about problem solving and peer review. So, what is MUN? How does it work?

The traditional model united nations, for students commonly mocks the regulations of the real united nations and follows the logistics of how it works and how it’s set up, of course with the only difference being that in MUN you’re judged by your peers, and not carrying the burden of having all the decisions you take for your country actually matter in real life. The structure to how an MUN conference is held is very simple, you join a committee (Environment,

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img 20161106 091211 1 4

Security Council, GA, Ecosoc etc.) and choose a country you wish to represent (one of the choices that is given to your school) and each committee is given a set of issues that the committee will be specifically dealing with. You choose an issue you wish to address that has certain relevance to the country you have chosen and (Here comes the fun part) you work with other delegates from other countries from other schools to come together to create a “resolution” basically a set of acknowledgements and actions that the UN should take to resolve the pending issue.

MUN should just be renamed to “The peer review event” because that is the essence of the conference. After your team of delegates has created and submitted your finalised resolution to the chairs of the

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img 20161106 084533 1

committee, your resolution is finally ready to be debated upon in the committee by other delegates. The other delegates from other resolutions will try to bash and try to give your resolution a bad image, while your job is to put your effort into protecting your resolution at all costs to get it passed by actively taking part in decisions speaking for the resolution and questioning anyone who goes against it. At the same time you should also try to perfect and fail other resolutions for the sake of debate. And who knows? By the end of the day, they may send your passed resolution to the actual UN!

P.S. – You get to wear a really cool smart outfit! 🙂

CHAIR-ity – Rainbow Center Fundraising Event Video

Contributed by Apoorva Chugh

The grade 9 students from ISS recently participated in the Chair-ity project and collaborated with kids from the rainbow centre to create chairs. Both- the students from rainbow centre and ISS Students,  got to experience each other’s world by working on these chairs together.

To see the chairs and find out more information, there is currently a public exhibition going on (1-15th December) at level 3, Ion from 10am to 10pm.

Link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCATr2NF-II&feature=youtu.be

Acts of Random Kindness: Operation Kindness 2016

Submitted by: Halima Ansar

The Acts of Random Kindness group is a CAS activity independently led by a grade 12 student,

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screen shot 2016 12 08 at 2 35 52 pm

Ashmitha Nair. The main aim of this CAS activity is to create awareness and provide altruistic acts to students and have concerns for the welfare of others by doing different kindness acts, hence the name Acts of Random Kindness.

Around three weeks ago, this team of young girls decided to do an act of kindness around school and hence started ‘Operation Kindness’. This was the very first initiative this group had taken and was conducted successfully around school. This activity involved getting other students to write kind things about their friends, students, teachers, staffs and others involved in their lives or to thank them for their helpfulness even by being anonymous. The main aim of this was to get students to open up about how they feel about one another and convey their messages through the cards provided. This was a good way to get people who were insecure to open up and become a part of this social activity as well. The responses of this activity showed that many people enjoyed it and found it successful,

“I felt good once I received notes from my friends and it made my day special.” However there were

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screen shot 2016 12 08 at 2 35 34 pm

some other responses, “Certain messages that were submitted to me by my friends were never delivered because they were deemed inappropriate. In my case, my friends were sending me inside jokes that I would not have considered offensive, but the fact that I did not receive my friends’ messages ruined my day. I love the idea behind this project but I believe that nobody should have the authority to decide what kindness means.”

This activity was carried out from Monday to Wednesday during lunch times and was distributed around school during Wednesday lunchtime. Right now, the ‘ARKians’ are brainstorming ideas for their new upcoming project and now we all have something new to expect from them.

To join this CAS activity, contact Ashmitha in grade 12 or talk to Mrs.Contreras to join in. Everyone is invited to join this group, even if you don’t want to you could always share your ideas to us.

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screen shot 2016 12 08 at 2 36 25 pm

Newage Hackathon 2.0

By Tarish Kadam

The Newage Hackathon 2.0, ironic in its name, was more of a youth app development competition to which there was more focus on the ideal aspect of the finished product. Although I wasn’t too amused as an IT fanatic, mostly because I wanted to expand my knowledge in the field of actual “hacking”. I still felt an ambience of technological genius surrounding me.

Prior to the event, a weekend before, all applicants were provided with a detailed information booklet regarding the social issue we were addressing when creating our applications to research further and prepare to combat the issue with the powers of technology. The primary issue that we were tackling were ‘Elderly Mental Health or ‘Personal Mental Health’ with information expressing concerns of increase in suicide rates, depression, panic attacks, social anxiety and overall mental health issues. From this viewpoint, us as programmers were put to the test with our skills of programming in innovative ways and bring out our inner creative skills to come together and build and produce a successful application that can create a vast impact in the majority of the people who suffer from mental health issues.

Well, weren’t completely on our own. At the event we were assisted by experts on assisting seniors with mental health issues and expert developers working with Dell and Alienware Laptops. Inclusive of the use of these mentors, we developed more intrinsic knowledge based on these mental health issues and how we can use this kind of information to create innovative solutions for the community and our peers. The event was a ‘sleepover’ where we were tasked with brainstorming, idealising developing, bug fixing AND presenting our finished applications created through the school famous “MIT app inventor” software for a beginner even or using actual coding using Swift or Java to a set of judges that critically analyse each product based on criteria regarding how effective the product is and what programming went into the product.

The winners (sadly not from ISS) in the advanced category, created an application that would simulate a personal diary, and analyse entered text and based on keywords picked up, place the user based on a computerised diagnostic of their mental health issue into a chat anonymously with another person of a similar range of the issue and exchange experiences to help them receive a feeling of comfort and relief that they are not the only one going through this struggle communicate their feelings.

Overall, a painstaking experience as it may be, it is a must try even if you don’t code and I look forward to ISS participating in such events in the future.