This is the end of the first week and we have been tasked to reflect. At the beginning I was excited to see my friends and since it was the first day we were off time table which meant that it was more about adjusting to the new environment rather than academics. The first few days of class were easy and hard at the same time as I was surprised to see that I had remembered as much as I had but I was also thinking that I should’ve prepared more to advance the understanding. Today we were also off time table and we talked about service and activities and what is available to us at school. This was interesting because we talked about specific topics and how one would help with that “problem”, for example, one was how could we help Singapore integrate people with Cerebral Palsy. Then at the end, we were asked to talk about what service meant to us, why we did it, what are good attributes for a person who does service etc. After that, we talked about activities and it made me wonder what I could try this year as there is no required reflection or a certain amount of activities I have to do.
Throughout these past few years I have studied in many schools that have taught me different things. This has influenced me to be the person I am today. This year though I would say that I have grown the most. The transition from middle school to high school was easier for me than others as I knew a few high schoolers due to out of school activities and in the beginning the workload was made heavier throughout the year. Also throughout the year work and activities became easier to handle. Through continuing my sports and making SEASAC to going on a new type of school trip it has truly made me grow. Over the October break I went to Borneo where I learnt more about the environment and the life in it but also made new friends that went to Dover. After the October break I found out that I made u19A team for basketball, there was a group of 4 grade 9’s on the team making me one of the youngest. Through that experience, it has made me not only a better player but has made me life-long friends which I never would have met if it weren’t for this experience. Over the next few years I would like to continue to play on the team and grow my role. With my service AMK Minds and being logistics officer it has forced me to be more organised and through the service time with the partners I have made new connections with the service partners.
- That because it’s on the right side it should be thinner.
- What does a ventricle do? How would this affect thickness?
- That an ion is not the same as an atom.
- How many atoms would Flouride need to have a full valence shell? Does Flouride gain or lose an electon?
In English class we were given the task of commenting on this question; “Our student-writers rose to the challenge, producing authentic, responsible and powerful pieces.”
I believe that Writer’s Fortnight really changed a lot of people’s insights into issues that might not affect us. Lots of people came in with one mindset and left with another. In some cases, students came out so emotional as they felt like the stories that they had just heard really affected them. With the pressure of trying to tell someone else’s story, I think that it helped us realise that this was important. This also made us act more responsibly with as we had to be careful how we word our piece as it is not our story to tell. Overall I think that we did rise to the challenge and produced an authentic, powerful piece that represented our guest’s speeches to us.
In this video, we talked about the 16-year-old environmentalist that has shaken the world. We discussed the statement: “Greta Thunberg is an inspiration for young people everywhere on how best to harness the power of the internet.” Even though lots of people knew about climate change, and knew that it would change our world if we didn’t do something, the way she speaks has really given a new light to the topic, making people think more about how they live their lives and how they want their government to act. This group video is where we share our opinions about how she has not only changed the view for many young people on climate change but also how her attitude towards it gains people’s attention.
Here is the link to the video.
During Writer’s Fortnight, I attended multiple talks and one of those was Joy Haugen’s refugee story. She migrated from South Sudan, across Africa and ended her journey in America. She said that when she moved to the USA she was always seen as the “refugee girl”. This lead me to wonder if the term ‘refugee’ is truly needed.
The word refugee, according to the Oxford Dictionary is “A person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.” This doesn’t say anything about race and ethnicity which is what refugees are usually associated with. A refugee could be from any country and have often gone through rough and heartbreaking journeys to get a new country that most likely they have never been to before. So why is it that when people call someone a refugee, does it have a negative connotation? Why doesn’t it receive empathy, like it should, but rather puts someone down? Does this mean it would be better to stop labelling people as refugees and when they integrate into a new society that they should just be someone who moved, also disregarding their heritage and journey?
Reasons Why to Ditch the Term ‘Refugee’
More Culturally Acceptable
Being a refugee means that you have been let onto land that isn’t of your home country. This means that although they have a right to live there, they’re not coming with employment and in lots of cases, they don’t have anyone (family or friends) to look after them. Some conservatives associate this with the thought that a refugee hasn’t earned their right to be in the country, and that they have only been taken in as an obligation, not on merit. This angers many people and is the backbone of racial and status discrimination. Without the term refugee being used more people will accept them into society as there won’t be as many differences anymore to discriminate against. Especially if they’re giving back to society and helping the community that they now call home.
More People to Identify With
Transitioning to a new country can be tough, but as a refugee, in the United States, you are part of a minority group. Minority groups in the past and present have been discriminated against and seen as lesser than the majority countries. This can be seen in cases of white supremacy and cultural segregation. If refugees used the term ‘immigrant’ (A person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country). Immigrants are more socially accepted and they are similar to refugees but have better connotations to it. When someone is an immigrant, they are thought to bring something to the country that they would eventually call ‘home’. As lots of the U.S is made up of immigrants and they play an important role in society it is less likely for them to be discriminated against, making it easier to integrate into society.
Reasons Why Not to Ditch the Term ‘Refugee’
The matter of the fact is refugees shouldn’t have to feel like they have to repress their heritage or their journey to where they are now, especially just to fit into a society that claims to be accepting. This is called cultural assimilation, cultural assimilation is when a minority group or culture is pressured to resemble ideologically and physically like a majority group. There are different types of cultural assimilation, for example, if you are of Cuban origin in the U.S, most Cubans will eventually use English as their first language and eventually start to adopt the main American culture into their everyday lives. As said by Melissa Lozada-Oliva “Assimilation won’t stop until you learn to stay silent and police yourself”, if this assimilation was pushed into the area of refugee status many would forget their journey and not feel the need to talk about not only what happened to them, but happened to their country. If no awareness is raised this could happen to any other country in the world, especially if people denied it happened. Take Syria as an example, before Syria had a bad reputation it was a country where civilised people lived, with their families and went to their jobs like anyone in the western world. Then after a series of catastrophic events, it became a place that people couldn’t even utter the name of without feeling bad. What happened in Syria could happen in any country and without awareness, it could happen again.
As well as cultural assimilation, the journeys that they have been through shouldn’t be silenced. This happens in many situations where people don’t feel like their feelings are recognised and so they don’t open up about what happened to them, leading them into states of depression, anxiety and even PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). PTSD is common in children and their parents. This feeling should not be suppressed by society but should also not have to be constantly brought up by the tormenting of the term “refugee girl/boy”. Everyone should have the right to live their lives stress-free or as happily as they can, containing those feelings inside is not healthy for anyone especially if you’re trying to integrate into a new society.
In conclusion, refugee’s should not have to ditch their status just to fit into society because even though they are a minority group they shouldn’t be treated as anything other than an equal. Cultural assimilation shouldn’t occur to make a person’s life better. This also means that they should not be tormented for their past with violent words. No one should feel like their only choice is to change their appearance and the way they represent themselves just to fit into a society that they don’t identify with.
Beiser, Morton, and Daphne Korczak. “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Caring for Kids New to Canada, 2018, www.kidsnewtocanada.ca/mental-health/ptsd.
Lozada-Oliva, Melissa. “Donald Trump’s Fear of Spanish Reveals the Power in Our Language – and Identity | Melissa Lozada-Oliva.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 10 Sept. 2015, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/10/donald-trumps-fear-spanish-power-language-identity.
During the writer’s fortnight, I attended 4 different stories from guest speakers. The criminal psychologist was the one as I have always been fascinated by the mind. Going in I thought that he would have told quite traumatic experiences and say that the criminals deserve to be punished in the way that they are but as a matter of fact he says that society doesn’t help former prisoners reform causing them to re-offend. The media has a lot to do with this as we see sex offenders as one of the worst types of criminals that will definitely re-offend but in reality, they have one of the lowest re-offending rates. This pushed me to believe that if given a fair shot that lots of reformed prisoners could integrate into society if they would be accepted.
During the writer’s fortnight, I attended 4 different stories from guest speakers. This one was about a rescue story in Myanmar. His friend was a Language student and was travelling the world trying to get people who spoke dead or dying languages to say a phrase in their language. That brought them to Myanmar. They went to this place were previously tourists were not allowed and they were the first tourists there in years. They went to talk to a pair of 80-year-olds that were the only people in the whole world that spoke this language. The only problem was that they were opium addicts. This surprised me that they would try and convince addicts to say a crude phrase. Whilst they were there, there was terrible rainfall but it soon got worse. Soon after it had been declared a national disaster area and that people needed to flee where they were. His wife was not with him and of course, was worried. They had to empty their wallets to leave the place and just came back with their life. This pushed me to wonder what would’ve happened with the footage of the two elders now dead language if it hadn’t been destroyed in the natural disaster.
During the writer’s fortnight, I attended 4 different stories from guest speakers. This one was about a cancer survivors story. Even though she knew that there was a history of cancer in her family, when she was 30 she fell ill. She didn’t believe that it could happen to her so early. Very few of the family members that got cancer survived. When she said that she wanted to wait 3 months for a surgery that affected me because I thought that she would’ve wanted to get it over with as this was a life-threatening issue. Once she no longer had cancer, her husband and her wanted to start a family. There were many complications in the multiple pregnancies (miscarriages and false positives), but eventually, she fell pregnant. Around 13 weeks in they found out that if she gave birth to her daughter that she would be born with many disabilities, the doctors insisted on her aborting the baby. She didn’t want to abort the baby though because they had waited so long for a baby. This surprised me as there was a high possibility that the baby wouldn’t live for very long and that her daughter might not even make it. Her positive attitude and faith helped her make the decision and that’s why her 6-month-old daughter is alive and healthy, almost as if she was a miracle baby.
During the writer’s fortnight, I attended 4 different stories from guest speakers. I went to a talk about a staff members refugee story. Her story was about how she had to migrate from her home in South Sudan to Khartoum at the mere age of 2. When she was 6 she felt like she was stripped of her identity as she has to move to a refugee camp in Northern Uganda to help her grandmother. She left with her 18-year-old aunt and this is when she started to take care of her family. She stayed in that refugee camp for 6 years, health care and education was very basic as she had to learn under a tree with only a blackboard in front of them. Although the amenities and life quality was basic, her grandmother made her feel like she had everything that she needed. When she was 12 her mother and her family moved to the USA there was always a distance between her and her peers as she was labelled “the refugee girl”. This pushed me to wonder is someone could ever leave their refugee status and become a “normal” person again.