Blog Introduction (Psychology)

During the summer I went to the gay pride walk in London with my friends. It had a vibrant energy with it being obvious that there were many people coming from different countries, backgrounds and cultures. The atmosphere at the parade was amazing, people wearing bright colours, so many smiles and laughter and lots of dancing. Due to this being my first proper immersion into gay culture, this experience is one that has left a very strong and positive place in my memory. As this event is so firmly planted in my mind is has defiantly influenced my opinions of gay culture and the hardships that homosexuals have to go through. This leads me to believe that this would be more of a sociocultural approach to psychology. As it was through my interactions and observation during the gay pride walk that lead me to have a modified set of values. 

Hong Kong’s Teens Fight with Society

Hong Kong’s Teens Fight with Society

By Annie Sweeney

In this Dec. 9, 2013 photo, students attend an English grammar lesson by Tony Chow in a classroom of Modern Education in Hong Kong. The 30-year-old teaches English grammar to thousands of secondary school pupils, who attend his after-school lessons or watch video replays of them at Modern Education’s 14 branches. Chow is a celebrity tutor in Hong Kong, where there’s big money to be made offering extracurricular lessons to parents desperately seeking an edge for their children preparing for the city’s intense public entrance exam for university. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

As children get older fears change and get replaced, for the teenagers of Hong Kong that fear of the dark or of a clown has been exchanged for the fear of failure, a fear that is now life-threatening. In a  city that according to the world population review is 1,000 km² city, and carrying a population of 7 million progressing forward at lightning speed, competition is fierce. With teenagers taking the force of it, as reported by the South China Morning Post there being over 27 teenager suicides in 2017, therefore this is a drastic issue that needs to come to light. As the similarities between Hong Kong and Singapore are too obvious that we have to be aware of the issue in our city.


“Starting middle school, was definitely when I started to feel a huge pressure to succeed academically and the idea that if I didn’t get the best I wouldn’t be able to succeed further in life was very prominent. It scared me a lot,” said  Michael Tas, a student at an international school in Hong Kong.


With the pressure and bar so high to achieve the best, depression and even suicide has become an enormous issue in children as young as 11. The constant focus on academic achievement allows Hong Kong to be have one of the highest academic standards in the world.  However also come with drastic consequences, with a study from the South China Morning Post showing that 51% of students showed signs of having major depression. So why? Why is teen depression and mental health issues on the rise in Hong Kong?


   Of course, the constant pressure that is forced onto children to achieve highly academically is a huge factor. Additionally, what comes with that is the continuous tutoring and homework, but also by being a teenager many still want to socialise and do activities. Leading many do not have much time to relax.


“Depending on the time of year, if there’s a lot of tests, I will go to around four different tutors, for maths, science, French and Chinese.  I also do tennis 3-4 times a week… yes, sometimes [ I go] before or after tutor” said Tomas Choukroun, a student studying at the Canadian International school.


This lack of downtime means that many don’t have time to mentally repose themselves which leads to a lot of tennagers  constantly being physically and mentally worn out. A feature that many teenagers in Singapore also suffer with. This lack of rest and the mental exhaustion contributes profoundly to the stress of the pupils in Hong Kong. As shown in a report from the American Psychological Association, sleep and rest directly affect memory mood and judgment, which without correct adjustment and rest contributes to this cycle of depression and stress.


This is feature that many teenagers in Singapore also suffer with. T

Depression and other mental illnesses are treated as a taboo in Hong Kong with many finding it hard to talk about emotions and feelings openly.

“ Towards the grade nine, I went through a very difficult phase of feeling very consumed by everything that was going on around me. It ended with me having issues with self-harm.”  a student reported.


They went on to say that they ended up self-harming for four months before seeking help, and confession toward their parents. The student said this was out of fear of being looked at as weak. When  teenagers are left feeling secluded from their support groups, it results in the manifestation of their depression and feelings of isolation. Leading many unable to carry on.


   With mental illness and suicide on the rise in Hong Kong.  It needs to be seen that in living in Singapore, a small, busy metropolitan, sharing the similar features and values as Hong Kong.  It can very easy for a teenagers to fall into the same problems as those in Hong Kong.


The United World College counselor Marie Anne stated “By 2020 it will be the leading illness in the world WHO of the UN – adolescents and depression worldwide – increasing all around the world”


This shows that it is important to ask what can we do to prevent this tragic situation happening in our schools. How can we balance and support our teenagers knowing the importance of academics but also the importance of mental health?

Ethical Dilemma

The siege of Leningrad lasted over two and half years, with almost no supplies being brought in, the little food that was there needed to be rationed out carefully. Dmitri Pavlov was the person in charge of distributing the rations, it was his job to decided who got more than others, a job that holds many ethical dilemmas. What would you do if you were in his situation?

Personally, I feel like its needed to take into consideration many things before deciding how much food to give them. For example, how much they are/can contribute to the society, the labours of the society deserve to have the most food as they are constantly contributing and using up energy, however children who don’t contribute as much or not at all aren’t using up as much energy thus don’t need much food. Furthermore, a woman who has children should receive are a fair amount of food, because if a child’s parents would die from starvation the child will not be able to cope the harsh weather without guidance and help meaning it would likely for that child to die too. Dmitri Pavlov’s job was very hard not only because of the ethical dilemmas we would have to face but also calculating the number of people to feed in Leningrad was very hard. A reason for this was because the population was constantly fluctuating as a result of the numerous deaths, around one million people died in Leningrad mostly from Starvation.

Christina Lau

Today we were able to see Christina Lau. She explained how a dramatic life-changing car accident affected her and her life. She talked about how the accident ending up changing her relationships with not only her husband but also her family, as she was so consumed in her work before but after the accident, she was able to take life at a slower pace and knowledge the joys of spending time with her loved ones. This really stuck out to me as I can personally connect to that feeling of being consumed by something and leaving time out for the people you love and who love you. As many times during stressful periods at school, I bury myself in my work as I get so focused on getting a good grade this sometimes end up with me coming home very late after studying in coffee shops etc. However, after listening to Christina Lau I realize the importance of that time that ignoring with my family and friends. Christina Lau also talked about how being disabled has restricted her is many ways. One of which being getting a job, a connection I made here was I used to work with a group called EpicArts in my old school, which is an organization which helps disabled kids in Cambodia because in Cambodia the stigma behind disability is huge as they think that they have done wrong in their previous life and that is why they are disabled now. Thus I found that even in a highly developed country like Singapore, peoples views on disabilities still restrict the disabled and their opportunities.

The Fake Wars

Movies are made to entertain, made to show the audience what they cannot experience themselves, whether it is movies about love, crime or war. However, with that poses the question To what extent can a movie show us what it is like to experience war?. 

I believe it is hard to depict what war is really like through a movie, this is because when people want to go to a movie they want to escape reality and a movie that portrays the extremities of war, in most cases will not appeal to the audience as it would seem to real to them. Thus, the directors will glamorise aspects of war, which in turn will incorrectly represent what it is like to participate in them. This is commonly be done through small details, for example, the actors in many war movies are famously known for being attractive (For example using Harry Styles in Dunkirk).A consequence of this is many peoples perceptions of war significantly changed

However, in contrast, there are some movies that get close to what a representation of war should look like. This allows for many positive implications as it does not glamorise war and violence so allowing for veterans to be praised  and reconsigned for their hardships and efforts in the war. Some of these movies include: saving private Ryan,Glory,  The Hurt Locker.


The role of trade

Personally I think my group and I represented a country that was not particularly developed however was rich in natural resources and that was their main source of trade , this could have included countries like India with coal, Iraq with oil etc. To start of the game, my group received a package that had 6 sheets of paper, 1 sheet of grid paper and $300. As a result of what we got in our package this leads me to believe our country was one of which is developing as we were rich in resources (having an abundance of paper)however did not have the machinery to process these resources into something that was worth money (such as scissors, pencil etc). Of Course being at an obvious disadvantage compared to other groups made our group feel that it was impossible to win the game, this reflects how LEDC often are trapped inside the poverty cycle because of the same mindset. Adding on having no way to process our paper into the shapes we found ourselves offering a lot of our paper in order to get one pencil and one pair of scissors, this reflects how more often than not MEDC take advantage of LEDCS and don’t pay a lot of money for unprocessed natural resources. The game itself is not fair as teams have an obvious advantage over others and all the team has the same objective, however, of course, this is a portrayal of how the world works.  In terms of being ‘fairer’ to less economically developed countries ie to improve their lot, a policy you could put impose would be to require any acquisition of natural resources to be coupled with a further investment in refining capability, this would result in the developing country moving its economy further up the value chain. 

The question that now remains is : Is it possible to create an equally fair global trade market?

English Language Summative


   Language is a significant part of anyone, it shapes how you are viewed, how you act etc. Personally I rarely consciously think about my language use in different scenarios, it is all a subconscious habit formed over years of taking in my scenarios and being able to react to be able to fit in or show respect. When you are able to finally analyze your language use, you are finally able to unfold your true personality and how you have come to act in the way you do at times. This is what makes your language so personal and intricate.


How I speak with my extended family


   I find that when I change my language around my extended family it is often as a result of wanting to show politeness and/or status. I find that when I am around my paternal grandparents I am less formal and speak in a much more relaxed fashion, however, whenever I am around my maternal grandparents I speak much more covertly prestigiously. For example, with my paternal grandparents,  I feel free to use slang, even though they may not be able to understand it, however, with my maternal grandparents I feel as if I have to use the standard English. I think this is firstly because I see my paternal grandparents much more often so I feel comfortable to speak in a more relaxed fashion, however, I also believe it goes deeper than that. I think that since my maternal grandparents both come from a very high class rather than my paternal grandparents who are more working class I believe that I feel like I have to rise to their level of standard as they are of a high class, thus I have to show respect by using the more overtly prestigious standard English. In my family, when we have large family dinners, it often ends with debating over very controversial topics because my extended family comes from many different generations which of course have different opinions than others. I find that in these debates, I significantly change my language use to use very advance overtly prestigious words such as words normally found in MUN debates, words that are defiantly not in my idiolect. I think I do this because with me being much younger than many of my cousins, aunts, and uncles, I feel as if I am not taken as seriously and they will look down on me and my views because I am not of the same status as them. Thus I believe that if I use very complex prestigious words. I  am and what I’m  saying is being taken seriously.


Cultural influences on my language

   In Scotland, especially in Glasgow, swearing isn’t as seen as much a taboo at all. Swearing rather than having a negative and rude connotation, it is seen more as words to exaggerate a point. For example, the word ‘fucking’ is a standard synonym for many for the word ‘very’. This has definitely influenced my views on swearing and in turn has made me swear quite a lot, especially when I am with my extended family as they are all Glaswegian. As a result, swearing has defiantly become one of my main idiolects and has resulted in some conflicts, as many cultures view swearing as a taboo and very aggressive. Furthermore, another cultural influence on my language is London and regional slang that is used there. Personally, I am very attached to my London roots I think this is because I don’t get to go home as often as my other family members and friends. This results in me tending to use London slang quite a lot such as using ‘peng’ as pretty or using the phrase ‘oh my days’ etc.  I believe I do this because I feel as this is my personal way to keep connected to London even though I am halfway across the world. This example how closely connected language relates to culture and Identity. What I believe as a significant part of my identity (being British) has been shaped by my languages as result of my culture.


How my gender influences my language

   I believe that my gender has an influence on my language in the way my language changes when I talk to my other girl-friends rather than when I talk to boys I am close to. When I talk to other girls, I am much more outgoing, loud etc and this is seen through not only my language but also my para-language. However, when I am around only boys my language and para-language are normally toned down. When I am around girls, I swear much more and my language I use is much more infantile and I won’t use much thought, for example instead of trying to think of the name of something I will say, ’that thingy’. My para-language is also much more hyper and rough, for example, I will jump and sometimes ‘play fight’ with my girl-friends. However, when I am around boys, my language is slightly more sophisticated however I still use covertly prestigious words. However the biggest change is definitely my para-language, my para-language changes to be much calmer and will be more ‘touchy’. For example, I am more likely to purposely stand close to a boy than I am with a girl.  I think this is a direct result of being a teenage girl, I am more likely to show my ‘true self’ to girls because I am more likely to be closer to them than other boys, which is why I am more open and outgoing around them.Furthermore,  being a teenage girl I want to try to impress boys, which is why I am less extravagant and calmer and intelligent.


Slang use in my Language

   Personally, I use a lot of slang in my personal language. However, since I have never lived in a country for more than five years and have been to international schools for half my life, a lot of my slang is a mixed from different countries and regions. As I said before I use London slang such as ‘peng’ etc, however throughout the years since I have had many different friend groups, with different cultures in them, I have been able to develop slang from many different countries and regions. For example, in Hong Kong, I had close Kenyan friend and have picked up some Swahili slang such as a substitute for saying a stupid person is “zuzu”. Even though when I say slang words from different parts of the world many people don’t understand what I mean, I still enjoy using them as they all remind me of my old friends and the memories that come with that.


Stereotypes and judgments

   Personally, I don’t believe an accent that you can pinpoint, as I’ve spent my life moving around I have developed a very international accent meaning there is not many stereotypes and judgments that are connected with the way I speak as you can not determine the culture I come from. However because I’ve been privileged enough to have a good education,  the language I use is that of one who has been well-educated, this comes with a good connotation and stereotype that I am intelligent, which is a stereotype I am proud of. Even though I don’t have a Glaswegian accent I do have a connection to it as my whole family has one, thus I know the stereotypes and judgments that come with that accent. Such as Speakers with a Glaswegian accent are often stereotyped and perceived as a “hard” predominantly white working class.This is because Glasgow was very prominent in the industrial revolution with having many factories and physical labor based jobs, compared to its more sophisticated and intellectual neighbor, Edinburgh. However, through the years they have also been able to achieve being perceived as very welcoming to tourist and each other.


Forces and changing values that gave shaped my language

   the English language is constantly changing due to significant people at the time, political climate, convenience etc. The example of this being the fact that England uses to speak French because of William the conquer. The fact that language changes over time as a result of convenience, for example, William Shakespeare making up words to suit his plays, has impacted me because personally, I use a lot of abbreviations in my day to day life when speaking. An example being I say “omg” instead of “oh my god” or “lol” to express if something is funny. The reason why abbreviations were developed was for the prime reason that they are more convenient, as you don’t need to say the full word. Abbreviations show how language has developed as 100 years ago, you would have never heard anyone saying “Omg”.



   In summary, my personal language has been influenced greatly by the opportunities and experiences that I have been able to have. However, despite these incredible opportunities, I have still been able to hold on to as much as I can to my family and their roots, through my language use. Language is a very important part of my identity and it is being shaped and molded every day in and by different social scenarios and social groups. My language will change as an I grow up, as it already has, and through that I will be able to learn a deeper understanding of my personality.


In this graph, it shows the relationship between a countries GDP per capita and the number of children per woman. The information gathered from this graph shows that as a countries GDPs per capita increases the number of babies per woman subsequently decreases. This is most likely because, in less economically developed countries, the average family will have more children because it means more money, as the children can help provide for the family. Thus meaning as a countries GDP per capita increases the average woman/family is getting wealthier thus meaning there is no need for that extra income.


In this graph, you can see that there is a correlation between a countries GDP per capita and the life expectancy. This is most probably because when a country GDP increases, more money and knowledge is put into the medical infrastructure thus increasing the life expectancy as they have the equipment and knowledge to prevent diseases etc.    However, of course, this isn’t the only reason life expectancy would rise in this graph.



Is Culture the Ultimate Goal In order for a Country to Develop ?


Today in humanities we watched Hans Rosling’s New Insight on Poverty Ted talk. Hans Roslings final point was that a strong, rich culture is the ultimate goal in order for a country to be strongly developed.  Personally I believe in Roslings point as a societies culture even if it is mixed with multiple different cultures,  is what shapes how the citizens interact, work etc. Thus meaning without a strong,supporting and happy culture the citizens in that society are held back thus being unable to progress and develop.  Adding on I believe that any country in the world is able and will achieve their goals. I think this because countries are always striving to develop in many different aspects in order to create a harmonious society as this simply makes  life much easier for everyone. However of course they will face obstacles such as economic, governance , geographical. These are all obstacles as they can hinder their progression and example being African countries. Africa because of its geographical and economic conditions, countries are struggling to develop at the same rate and as much as others, however if you take in to consideration where they were 50 years ago in proportion they have developed a lot.

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