Math – My Grade 9 Overview

To be honest, this year was quite difficult for me. Being my first year at UWCSEA, it was hard to transition from a school with a whole different curriculum. I have never been good at math, but maybe with the stress of the transition, I was not able to understand lessons as well as my peers. Being introduced to a new style of classroom time was a factor in it too, in my old school it was just sitting and staring at the teacher teach the same formula over and over until it was engraved in our heads while in UWCSEA, it is totally different – with classroom discussions and several investigations.

Overall, I think this year was quite difficult for me because I was not brave enough to ask questions- fearing that it would be too simple of a question. I should have gone to teachers or friends for help in mathematics when I needed it. I should also improve my study techniques. For the exam, I mainly took notes and tried so hard to understand the topics that I didn’t focus a lot on past paper questions which could have helped me in the exam.


Do rules for social media change as you age?

After looking through the articles regarding the youth and social media, I was able to gather some quotes that helped me try and elaborate my thinking regarding the rules of social media.

Firstly, I took the quote, “After all, my kids are digital natives: They’ve never known life without connectivity.”

This quote shares the idea of social media being a popular platform being relatively new. With it being new, it may mean that there are not even a concrete set of rules yet but several recommended attitudes people are expected to have on social media. Obviously, some people do not live up to such expectations because users technically do not have to follow it. So it may be that rules are not changing as we grow but more like being created as we grow. So a question we can also ask ourselves beside the title of this post is, “are rules for social media being made as the digital natives grow?”

The second quote I took away from the same article was, “I let him use Instagram because I wanted him to connect with other kids like him”
This quote shows that maybe certain views of social media by older generations have changed, which then results in a change of the “rules” parents set for their kids when they start using social media. Growing up, my parents had always told me not to talk to strangers online. Fearing that the person I could potentially be in contact with would be a whole different person from what they were online. However, this quote shows how parents become less and less worried about who their kids talk to on the internet. The author of the article is basically just allowing her son to be put out there on the internet and be able to connect with children who share similarities with him, fully knowing that there are chances of people lying about their relation to her child online. I feel that parents become less strict on this because they have started to trust their child’s judgment on whether they can trust someone on the internet. With their children being digital natives, if anything, their kids would know better about the ropes of social media and the internet than they would.


To conclude, I would just like to summarise-in a few words, my response to the question of whether rules are being changed as you age. Rules are not being changed, they are being made as you grow.


Personal Statement

After scrambling all over the internet to find a template to fit this essay into, I realise that doing so would totally just eradicate the “personal” part of a personal statement. I figured that if I really wanted my personal statement to have a striking difference from others, I should write what you have not seen before.

Growing up, I always wanted to be someone that everyone knew. I remember seeing actors and actresses on the television and aspiring to be them. I wanted to be someone that people could look up to and I wanted to be able to be an inspiration for others. Obviously, this varied throughout the years as it usually does for most kids. I went from wanting to be an actress to a vet, a zookeeper to a hairdresser – this one specifically did not meet resounding positive reviews from my parents. That’s not even all of it. I wanted to be so many things. All the way from a teacher to an architect. As of right now, I honestly do not really know what I want to be anymore. It just seems so much easier to know what you want when you’re a child because you tend to believe that everything is possible after having fairytale after fairytale having indoctrinated into your head. As I write this essay, it is evident that growing up there was one thing that stayed the same about my aspirations. All I wanted was to help, whether that be helping people or animals through various career paths.

With such aspirations in life, you need certain strengths. Some of which I believe I honestly feel as though I have and others in which I know I could improve on. For as long as I can remember, I have always been rather open-minded when it comes to ideas from others. I believe that good cooperation and communication with peers is a surefire way to succeed in something. I believe I am also generous, sometimes too generous for my own good. In my younger years, I remember I sacrificed a lot for my friends in not only physical terms but emotional terms too. I also work well under pressure. There is just something about long periods of time of doing something where my mind could change at any moment and I would have to completely restart whatever it is I am doing, I would much rather just go straight for it.

Obviously, at this stage in life, I do not completely know myself as well as I did 4 years ago. Many things have changed about me. I went from being completely unaware of political issues in the world today to having a loud opinion about it. I remember driving my father off the wall as I went off on a tangent about gun control laws in America. I have also realised how important it is to find real friends. In previous schools, I made many fun friends who I liked so much that I practically idolised at one point. A lot of the time, I idolised them so much I would let them step all over me and use me. That was what I thought friendship was. In hindsight, it’s clear that is a sign of an extremely toxic relationship. Friendship is supposed to be about mutual respect and support for each other and I had never known that until recently.

I feel it is the environment that I grew up in that made me so enthusiastic about politics and helping people who faced injustices because of certain laws. Like mentioned earlier, I am very open-minded. I believe this stems from my parents never being very religious, hence I did not have to abide by certain rules most Christian households have. Not just that, being half-British and half-Filipino, I am able to see the world from both sides. One is a lot more of a developed country than the other. Another factor is also the popularity and accessibility of social media. Through social media, you can see the opinion of someone from the other side of the world in seconds. Social media is full of diverse people with a variety of different opinions that could very well affect your own. With the number of political discussions on numerous social media platforms, it is impossible to stay consistently neutral about politics as someone my age.

It is through these influences that I realised my aspiration in life. To help people and to be known for helping them. I always tell people that I want to be significant in this world and that I do not want to die with nobody knowing who I was and what I stood for. I want to specifically be known for helping people. It does not have to be physical but it can be emotional too. All I want to do is to be able to put a smile on someone’s face no matter what job I have. I still remember what started my journey in terms of this aspiration. It was back in primary school, in which my school started this activity every Thursday called, “Gratitude Thursday” It was basically a day where you take a few minutes to write a letter to anyone and tell them what you are grateful for about them. I loved seeing people have a smile spread across their face as they read their individual letters and it was when I realised, at the end of the day, I just want to be able to at least make one person smile.

Being quite a broad aspiration, I can achieve it in many ways. One instance being participating in charity and other organisations. I always tell my friends that once I am older I am eventually going to go broke with how much money I will spend to help others. There are many charities I support (The Trevor Project, the Brady campaign, etc) and if I were given a million dollars, I would not know where to start. I can also achieve it through being more involved in the arts scene. I always hear about people claiming a certain film, show or piece of literature has helped them through tough times and I want to be able to be that artist, actress or writer that supported them through my art form.

I have not done a lot so far to reach for aspirations, due to lack of opportunity which lead to a lack of motivation. However, after moving to UWCSEA, I realise the large array of opportunity before me. The reach for aspirations can start as early as joining a service and maybe let it lead up to something even bigger than just a service. Though I have not done a lot, I have at least done a couple things to cater to my future goals. One being an event my mum and I have started back in the Philippines. My grandmother lives in the province of Philippines in which many people are known to be less fortunate. So, every Christmas, my mum and I make small goody bags with food, toys, and amenities and give them to the children of my Grandmother’s village. Even when my mother and I are not home for Christmas, my Grandmother helps organise it in my name, this way, it stays sustainable. Maybe this could lead to something bigger one day.

I am definitely still unaware of a lot of things about myself. That being a given when you are in your teenage years, full of growth and confusion about said growth. It is so bad that I don’t even know my favorite color. However, there is one thing that I unquestionably know. All I want to do and will do is to make people smile no matter what.

Macbeth Act 2

Shakespeare successfully evokes contradictory feelings towards his characters. For Macbeth, he shows us through Macbeth’s regret of killing Duncan when he claims that he is, “afraid to think of what [he] has done; Look on’t again, I dare not” this shows that he still has some good in his heart which makes the audience respect him. However, the fact that actually killed Duncan shows that he is a weak-minded character as he was only persuaded to do so by Lady Macbeth (In Act 1) . Macbeth’s weak-mindedness causes the audience to feel frustrated at how easily swayed he can be, and shows how easy it would be for Macbeth to fall into the dark side. Another character who causes audience to have contradictory feelings is Lady Macbeth. While it is admirable that she is so strong and very decisive, evidence of this can be seen when she poisons the guards herself soMacbeth can kill Duncan, which can be seen in Act 2 Scene 2 when she claims, “That which hath made them drunk, hath made me bold” However, feelings of praise from the audience are inconsistent because there is also a sense of fear and injustice after Shakespeare showcasing how evil Lady Macbeth is and how lacking in humanity she can be. Evidence of such characteristics can be seen in Act 2 Scene 2 when she tells Macbeth that, “My hands are of your colour, but I shame to wear a heart so white”

The significance of of dialogue and ensemble scenes impact the mood of the audience greatly. In Act 2 Scene 3, when the Porter speaks to the audience it causes the audience to feel uneasy. This is done with the language he uses, language that is related to hell and sin. Evidence of such language can be seen through, “Who’s there i’th’name of Beezlebub?” and “Never at quiet: what are you? But this place is too cold of hell.”.

Macbeth: Act 1

Differentiate between the direct and indirect characterisation Shakespeare uses in order to construct his characters

In the first couple of scenes, Macbeth is described by Duncan as “valour’s minion” and is generally expressed as a strong and fearless person who does not show any hesitation when it comes to killing. However, one we are introduced to Macbeth later on. From a direct characterisation, We can see his hesitation in killing Duncan to become king when Lady Macbeth proposes her maniacal plan to make her husband king. It shows that Macbeth’s attitude may just be a facade and that he is a doubtful person. Not only that, he is very feeble minded. This can be seen through how quickly he is pulled into the idea of murdering the king by Lady Macbeth doing little persuading. Clearly there is a major contrast between the direct and indirect characterisation of Macbeth.

Where I stand

My quote for the against argument from the debate on video games from Intelligence Squared was, “They are not doing the other things that could potentially benefit them more”

I found this argument the most persuasive as I felt it was very true. In the debate, the debaters were very focused on the fact that video games help with ADHD and ADD. However, they do not seem to mention the fact that there have been a variety of things besides video games that positively affect those with ADHD and ADD. Such as exercise (which not only helps with mind-boosting but with health too) as well as horseback riding, dance and many others.

My quote for the for argument was, “True learning is about the complexity in choices and learning games can help you decipher between those in video games”

I found this argument the most compelling because in textbooks it is very linear and we always are taught everything is black and white. Just a binary. However, in real life, it is much more than that. There are never really just two choices to choose between.

Overall, I still stand in the middle but leaning more towards against the motion. This is because I feel as though there are things that we learn in video games that we can learn in real life in a more healthy way as playing too many video games and becoming addicted can affect your physical health.

Debate from ‘Intelligence Squared’ :


Term 2: Update

Being a new student coming to UWCSEA, I did not think I was going to be able to fit into the school. But now, in term 2, I can definitely say that I feel very welcome. I have been able to make a diverse group of friends these past 2 terms and have started to become more participative in school activities. I have joined the G.E.P service group which I have found to be something I am very passionate about. I also am in Sonos Ladies, which is a choir based activity. I was able to make friends through these activities and am very happy with my progress. I also had the opportunity to meet possible incoming grade 9 students. It was quite an experience as I was able to see what I pretty much was a year ago today. Overall I am very happy with how grade 9 life is treating me and feel as though I fit in pretty well. Even though I have not been in this school long it feels as though I have been here for ages.

Gender Imbalance in Under-Developed Countries

Gender Imbalance In Under-Developed Countries

Kirsty Bell


I have always been a feminist and I have always been open about how much I support what it stands for. Many huge advancements have been made for women, that does not mean our fight is over. Women (including myself) face difficulties in this world, I never really thought about how much harder it may be in less developed countries with more traditional mentalities as compared to places like Singapore and the United Kingdom. This brings me to the topic of what is known as “White Feminism.” White feminism is a form of feminism that does focus on the struggles of white women. However, it fails to address forms of oppression faced by women of color and women lacking other privileges. Someone who has acknowledged how they’re unconsciously a White Feminist is Emma Watson. Emma Watson once wrote in a letter acknowledging her white privilege, “It would have been more useful to spend the time asking myself questions like: What are the ways I have benefited from being white? In what ways do I support and uphold a system that is structurally racist? How do my race, class, and gender affect my perspective? There seemed to be many types of feminists and feminism. But instead of seeing these differences as divisive, I could have asked whether defining them was actually empowering and bringing about better understanding. But I didn’t know to ask these questions.” She went on to speak about how she was holding herself responsible in her mission to be a more intersectional feminist. I felt it was very courageous and admirable for her to speak out about her mistakes, especially after being looked at as an unproblematic icon by all kinds of people. Through Watson’s powerful statement, I have been inspired to write about the Gender Imbalance in underdeveloped countries. Not only would I like to spread some awareness on the current situation for girls in underdeveloped countries, but I would also like to use this editorial as an opportunity to learn to become more of an intersectional feminist myself.


At school, fellow peers and I spent two weeks listening to speakers talk about several topics. The speaker that left a lasting impression on me was Robyne Hayes. Robyne Hayes is a researcher and a photographer who had a lot to say about her opinions on child marriage and the power balance between male and female in third-world countries. She spoke about her experiences as a researcher and photographer as well as how passionate she was about fighting to abolish child marriage. She uses photography to spread her message and it most definitely works effectively as she is able to gain empathy and understanding by capturing the raw emotion of many different people through her pictures. After hearing her talk, I was very shocked at the struggle so many girls were going through in countries like Ethiopia, Nepal, and Bangladesh. When girls get the indication that they are going through puberty through getting their period, they are already considered eligible for marriage.  Some girls as young as 8 years old can get married. In fact, ⅓ of girls are married before the age of 18. I believe this dreadful statistic just shows how these girls are only valued for their ability to be a mother and a wife. What’s even worse is that a majority of these girls’ bodies are not physically or mentally ready to have children. It could result in several mental and physical health issues. To know what life is like for the girls forced into child marriage, girls are made to stay at home, live with their in-laws, practically be made slaves to their husbands and have pretty much no social life. This is due to the power imbalance between the girl and the man in the marriage. Since they have to stay at home and do housework, about 130 million girls in underdeveloped countries are out of school. Not just that, but due to how young the girls usually are, they are more vulnerable and more prone to abuse.


While I cannot directly relate to this, I most definitely have a strong opinion about how much I disagree with child marriage and the gender imbalance in countries like Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Nepal. I understand that in places like these, it is a cultural norm to do things that seem politically incorrect to people like us. The only way and best way to justify changing a cultural norm is that it is a basic human right being exploited and that it crosses a line of being wrong rather than traditional. Girls are being practically held captive and made slaves to their husbands and I would like to be part of the voice that helps fight for girls to be able to live their life without having to fear for when they get their period.


At UWCSEA, we have several services that fight exactly for this cause. I recently joined one called “GEP” (Generation. Education. Period). GEP mainly focuses on putting an end to the stigma on periods in third-world countries. In places like these, girls skip school whenever they get their period. Within 3 years, they have already skipped about an average of 130 days of school. Due to missing so many days, girls tend to drop out of school and due to lack of education, it’s harder for them to get jobs and earn money. Then, as last resort, they turn to exploiting themselves for money. GEP helps by sewing sustainable and reusable pads that can be used for up to 3 years (which makes up for those 130 days missed) Not only that, but they also help educate girls on how to deal with their periods and other things that guide them through their growing years.  Through this, girls can learn that they have strength since they can go about their day while on their period and will most likely realize they have a voice that deserves to be respected and heard. This can help lower the number of girls married once they have their period. I mentioned Robyne Hayes earlier, she has done a multitude of projects in these countries and one that relates to what I am talking about is called the “Tipping Point” project. In which it also helped make periods less of a taboo in such countries. Not only that but it stopped 50-70 child marriages, girls got the freedom to move, to do what they wanted, girls even got to re-enroll in school and thanks to that, girls were allowed to get proper jobs and get income. This shows that if we give the opportunities for the community to learn, they can decide what they need and be able to learn and change their ways. Change is all about access.


Through Robyne Hayes’ talk and my own personal research. I can definitely say I have learned a lot about the struggles of women in less developed countries. Yes, women in developed countries do face difficulties too but even they take certain things for granted. I am grateful that I am able to use a platform to shed light on an issue that some feminists do not know about or unfortunately ignore. I will not stop learning to become a more intersectional feminist nor will I stop spreading awareness about the issue of the gender imbalance in these places as well as white feminism. Every woman deserves a voice just as much as any man does and I want to be part of the change that makes everyone equal. To end off, I want to quote from Robyne Hayes that I feel perfectly summarises how to know if you want to be an activist for something, “If it moves you, you have to something about it”



White Feminism.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Mar. 2018,

Muller, Marissa G. “Emma Watson Addresses Her White Privilege and ‘White Feminism’ in Letter to Her Book Club.” W Magazine, 9 Jan. 2018,

Building a Logo

The Design Basics


  • It is all about using visual space to show relationships in your content
  • You have to make sure related items are grouped together
  • Groups that are not related are separated
  • For visual emphasis on their lack of relationship
  • To improve my proximity, I could have used fewer shapes and icons to make my logo look less messy.

White Space:

  • An important part of every composition
  • Negative Spaces
    • Space between content, lines and outer margins
  • Helps define and separate different sections
  • I think I did okay in terms of White Space, My logo had more than enough room to “breathe” (as they said in the video)


  • Making sure text in aligned and consistently so
  • My icons, shapes, and text were equally aligned


  • Means that one item is different from the other
  • I could have used more contrasts in my shape and their colors to make my logo look less boring
  • However, I did try to have a contrast between my nature-based icon and the cityscape background.


  • To have a consistent look and feel
  • Reinforce your design by echoing certain elements
  • I think my logo did not really need repetition, otherwise, it would look quite messy
  • But I did repeat my use of icons to make my logo look neater


Rough Draft Writing

Link to my ‘Design In Pages’ Document

Things that I did do in the ‘Done Manifesto’:

  • I treated everything as a draft, there is always room for improvement
  • I did not procrastinate on my work, I did it as soon as I was told and finished it pretty briefly

Things that I did not do in the ‘Done Manifesto’:

  • I treated mistakes as though they shouldn’t happen
    • Mistakes are made when trying out new things
    • As the website said, “People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.”
  • I did not “throw it away” once I was done
  • I did not realize that the point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.


Thinking About My Client

Steve Dawson:

Steve Dawson’s talk was very interesting, it was all about good interview techniques to make sure there could be a productive and worth-while conversation between interviewer and interviewee.It made me question how to make better connections with my learning by asking open-ended questions for better responses in such situations like an oral speaking exam or interviewing fellow peers in an activity. The talk actually taught me there is so much more to journalism and interviewing than just mindlessly asking questions. What I am still unsure about in terms of interviewing, does body language significantly affect the course of the interview? If the interviewer is slouching, does that make the conversation more boring?

Chetan Bhagat:

I had originally thought that Mr. Chetan Bhagat would just talk about being an author and what it means to be one. I kind of expected him to have just a mundane talk about ways to write and things like that.
However, after the talk wrapped it was actually much different than I had anticipated, which was a pleasant surprise. After the talk, I had to rethink my mindset that all authors can do is just write, write, write.As it actually turns out, they could have a huge power. They can influence and change the opinions of their audience with their very own literature. This ties in with what Mr. Bhagat said during his talk, “Literature is communication through the written word” With enough readers following the ideas of the book, you are more than an author, you are an influencer. With Bhagat’s huge audience in India, he is able to gain the attention of politic officials, this is a perfect example of using your platform for a positive cause and not just for earning money. What Chetan Bhagat is doing is very admirable and I think it is clever of him to use his platform to influence Indians rather than do it all for fame or money.

Deborah Emmanuel:

Out of all the talks, her’s spoke to me the most. I was just incredibly moved by her passion for writing poetry,how honest she was and how she stayed true to herself and kept her own opinion despite so many people knocking it down. I think the way she views life is very admirable because she is not putting to shame that she has gone to jail and that rather, it is a part of her growth and needed to happen to her in order for her to be where she is at today. Something I can take from this is how much poetry can help. Ms. Emmanuel had said that poetry helps to “untangle the tangled mess of troubles in our heads, heart and body”

Robyne Hayes:

I thought Robyne Hayze was very interesting, I had never seen a photographer and a researcher at the same time. It was motivating to see how heartfelt she was about the issue of child marriage in developing countries. Even more motivating were her results after she worked with several communities. How the girls were given more of a voice, get income, were able to work on fields and even make friends. The men even started learning and starting changing positively. I think this shows that it is never too late to start changing for the better.

TWC2 Volunteer:

I think it’s incredibly admirable of such an organization to be helping out with what is seen to be such a difficult issue in Singapore today. In all honesty, I did not realize there were so many cases of the mistreatment of transient workers. After the talk, my eyes have definitely been opened. I found it especially eye-opening that workers are made to settle for a lower salary than promised in order to keep their job. I just thought it was insane, that these people traveled all the way to Singapore for a job with-not to mention, a huge debt, and some people cannot even give them their full pay? Like the volunteer said, organizations like TWC2 should be redundant. If there were more organizations like it today, it could eradicate the whole problem



What I want my logo to communicate

I want it to be able to communicate the diversity of the speakers and all the different things they can speak about to the students. I also want it to showcase the several passions students can realize throughout Writers’ Fortnight

The 3 Logos

Below are the logos that I feel best follow the Design Basics in my opinion.


We also have the sketches of the possible logo that my group and I narrowed down.

My Partner and I's Slideshow for our Logo

My Slides for My Final Logo

I have embedded my slides that showcase my final Writers’ Fortnight logo



Why is it seen as abnormal when one doesn’t have social media?

In the bracket, the original winner was the topic of, “We use social media so we won’t be forgotten”

I came up with the new question through conversations with my initial table partner, Isabel. The quote was actually the one quote I took from our discussion. I thought it was interesting because sometimes people do not realize the impact social media has on our reputation and an outsider’s view of us. After really thinking about it, I realized that it is, in fact, true, we do use social media so we won’t be lost in the sea of insignificant people when we are long gone. Maybe that is why so many people do crazy antics and post videos and pictures of them for the sake of gaining popularity online. I came up with my question from own personal experience, I only really got an Instagram account about 1-2 years ago, and before that, whenever someone found out I did not have this social media platform they would gasp and wonder why on earth I would not make an account. A popular question would be, “How can you survive without it?”.  They may have felt this way because it seems as though I did not care whether I was recognized on social media platforms and in such did not care if I was popular or seen as cool. Such an opinion seems abnormal in a day and age where social media plays such a big part in our society.

In order to fully consider the question, people do have to think about the initial question I was faced with, “Do we use social media so we won’t be forgotten?”

Some other questions that can be considered as well are, “Why does a person’s following on social media platforms matter so much?” and “How does having social media affect one’s reputation”

A logical fallacy we should avoid is personal incredulity, just because we may not understand why it is abnormal does not mean it does not happen. Another one to avoid is to keep things black-and-white, social media is very diverse and therefore full of different opinions, it is not just two possibilities.  There should also not be a middle-ground like I previously said, social media is full of different opinions, it would be difficult to reach a compromise of all of them.

I feel that this question is relevant for people in grade 9. This is because many of us may feel like we do not know where we stand in the social hierarchy, especially with us moving into high school. Most grade 9s have social media and it is seen as totally unusual when someone happens to not have various social media accounts so this would be a good question to ask as there would be a variety of answers.

Link a picture that highlights my thinking

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