September 2017 archive

Peacebuilding…..what is it?

Today in our IFP meeting we discussed what peace building was and how it connects to what we do at IFP. We discussed that peace building can be anywhere, it is not only with stopping wars, it also deals with standing up for someone who is being bullied, or standing up for a minority group in a local community.

We were then asked to look at Galtung’s ABC triangle of conflict, Galtung believes that there is visible conflict and invisible conflict. Visible conflict is usually the behaviour exhibited such as punching somebody, or bombing a country. It is the action taken due to the invisible conflict. The invisible conflict is the Attitude and the Context of the conflict, this aims to look at the feelings and perspectives of the people involved which led them to take that action. Whereas context mainly looks at the historical background, economical and political stances of the parties involved.

Using this ABC Triangle we were asked to look at the Syrian conflict and then categorise the different events that took place into Attitude, Behaviour, or Context. We looked at how this entire conflict started and the possible reasons behind this horrible tragedy still taking place.

I believe that through doing this activity, we, as people who have no direct attachment or direct involvement in this conflict were able to get a better understanding of what is truly going on and the underlying issues which have led to this horrific war going on in Syria. This activity really helped me understand the reasons for this conflict and the very unethical decisions that were made in order for certain countries/ people to maintain power. I hope through many activities such as this I will be able to get a better understanding of many of the current events and their underlying issues and not just look at the actions (behaviour) being taken.

How can Social Identity Theory reduce conflict?

How can reduce conflict and unite peace amongst people using our knowledge of Social Identity Theory?

Social Identity Theory explores the idea of people favouring people who are similar to them (in group favouritism). There are many aspects of our identity that contribute to who we relate to and which groups we consider our own. We learnt about Sherif’s experiment in class, this was a field experiment conducted on 22 boys, all were part of the same religion, same age, and very similar backgrounds and intelligence. Even with pretty much everything about them being the similar there were still characteristics of in-group favouritism and out-group discrimination exhibited. In-group favouritism refers to favouring those who belong to the same group as you. Whereas out-group discrimination refers to the absence of favouritism and sometimes even purposely highlighting the flaws of the other group. This again relating to social comparison which refers to how groups tend to compare themselves sometimes in order to project themselves as better than another.

This theory can be applied to real life situations, for example the Rohingya minority group in Myanmar, they are considered the out group for many of the citizens in Myanmar. This leads to severe cases of out group discrimination, they aren’t offered housing, clothing, food and many of the necessary needs of humans. This also relates to social comparison in terms of the fact that the non-muslims in Myanmar believe they are of more importance and believe they deserve more than the Rohingya (Muslim) people. In Social Identity Theory we also learned that if both groups work together for the same goal it often leads to them diminishing out group discrimination. This was shown when the two boy groups were forced to move a bus after it had broken down, they both had the same goal and this lead to them realising there really is no difference between them.

The way to possibly join these two opposing groups is by possibly putting them in a situation that causes them to have the same goal, this will in theory cause them to realise that they aren’t really that different, in an effort to diminish discrimination based on the group they are in.


What is Tampines MINDS

What community do they support?

They empower people with intellectual disabilities and their families, to help them unlock their potential and fulfil their aspiration.

Why is there a need for this support?

There is a need for this support because these people deserve to be empowered no matter what disabilities they have, and their aspirations shouldn’t be hindered because they are disabled people. This also helps them gain exposure to the outside world enabling them to grow as people.

How are they providing support?

They provide education, social, vocational and psychological needs for both children and adults. There are different programs for different age groups. Such as: Arts & Crafts, Domestic Science, Mathematics, Health Education, Music & Movement, Social competence, Social Studies, and General Science.

How does this align with sustainable development?

This group allows these people to access their full potential, this in turn reducing inequality for the disabled, they also allow them to receive education, also giving them the ability to have good health and well-being.

What do you think you can learn from this partner and community?

I will learn how to interact and see beyond their physical and mental disabilities and treat them with respect. Hopefully by the end of this service I will be a more open-minded person.

First Chemistry Test

For me, when I think of an upcoming test I can know for sure I will be anxious the day of the test and the day I get the test back. My first Chemistry test was surely a beacon for stress and anxiety, being the first HL test I take this IB year it sure put a lot of pressure on me to perform well. Before the test all I could think of is the questions that could be on the test and the possibilities of questions I wouldn’t know how to answer, which obviously caused me to start getting more and more anxious.

After the test I did have a sense of relief as it was done and there really wasn’t anything i could do to change the outcome now. However, after every test there are always people in your class who come up to and inevitably discuss if you did something or not which could or could not determine where you were right or wrong. This, causing a bit more stress for what the outcome is and the helplessness you feel to increase as there really is nothing you can do to change the score you get.

Either way no matter the result I shouldn’t let it affect how hard I work and the amount I care about the subject. I hope for many more successful tests that allow me to “fail well”

IFP One Day Peace Conference

Last Sunday (10th September 2017) I went to my first IFP conference. In the beginning I was quite apprehensive as I didn’t know what to expect and what we would be doing. However as the day went on I started to like the whole idea of an IFP Conference. We are not there to come up with resolutions for world issues, we are there to make a live and actually visible difference to people’s understandings of words and phrases that correspond to everyday life.

The activity that got to me most was the activity we did in the “Violence” committee where we closed our eyes and stood in a circle and voiced our personal experiences with violence, and because everybody was blindfolded there was no chance for a feeling of judgement. It was a truly safe space which made me quite hopeful for the future of IFP, the fact that it can make someone who is quite closed off into someone who is comfortable enough to talk about personal experiences with serious issues like violence.

I was also impacted greatly by the “Discrimination” committee as it shed light on the fact that many stereotypes that were formed ages ago are still at work today. Stereotypes like woman are weaker, men can’t cry, woman can only be angry if it is “their time of the month”. It sparked something in me that made so aware of the fact that woman and men are still treated unequally to this day. We had an interesting conversation in my group about the media’s role in stereotypes and discrimination. I voiced my knowledge on the fact that most “women’s” magazines tend to have more articles on how to look better, how to clear skin, how to get a flat stomach. Whereas “men’s” magazines consisted of more interesting articles on how to build a boat, or how to make an app. I found this quite upsetting that woman’s magazines focused more on the looks, the exterior whereas, men’s magazines focused on furthering knowledge and learning new things. Woman are obviously more than just their looks.

This conference made a lasting impact on me and sparked an interest in me that is making me proud to be a part of this “Initiative For Peace” movement. I want to make a change to people’s lives and their views on certain issues in order to make them more open-minded to help build amore accepting and safer environment for all.

Why do our identities sometimes become salient?

In class we have been discussing social identity theory, which explores the idea that everybody has many social identities that relate to our personal identity.  I believe  that certain social identities become more salient depending on the situation we are in , for example; last week during an IFP conference we were discussing women’s rights and the fact that we are still not completely treated as equals. I started to realise that when somebody said something against woman and about how maybe there is only so much we can do to treat them as equals I started to get offended. I believe this happens because when someone says something against the group we identify with (our in-groups) we start to feel like what they are saying is against us so we step up defend ourselves.

Another similar but, less serious example would be if someone said something against a tv franchise I like, such as FRIENDS , I feel personally criticised by them even though they are not actually criticising me. This often happens because we believe that our social groups are part of who we are so when somebody says anything against any of our social groups we feel that they are saying something about who we are which for no fault of ours offends us. I completely understand when somebody gets offended if another says something criticising their “in-groups”, it is part of our identity and when we have pride to be apart of that group and someone says something against it we feel as though a bit of our pride is diminished.


If we cannot conceive of a concept or thing, then do we need a word for it?

I believe that a concept or thing that is not tangible is hard to describe through words. For example: Love, love is intangible therefore to describe love there is nothing to look at, there is nothing to compare it to. Many feelings are good examples of concepts or things that really have to correct description for their given word. Feelings are very subjective therefore not allowing for a correct description.

The other side of this is that if you are unable to conceive of a concept or thing why should there be a word for it? For example if somebody isn’t able to conceive the idea of separation, they may not feel it is necessary for there to be a word for it.  However, to explain a concept or thing that is unconceivable for some but, conceivable for others there should be a word for it, this is because if the actual concept is one that is growing to not have a word for it would confuse people more.

I believe that many people choose to neglect the concepts they don’t understand because they don’t believe they should give importance to the things they don’t understand but, if there was a word for it and people started using it, it would perhaps encourage others to figure out what it means. This making the concept that was previously unconceivable by some,  develop into something everyone understands or has an idea of what it is.

In the earlier days if people didn’t make a word for concepts they didn’t believe or didn’t understand there wouldn’t be any languages or complex conversation between humans because we wouldn’t have almost all of the words in the dictionary. Every language has ideas and concepts that many previously weren’t able to conceive but through complex thinking and learning (something humans are very good at), the languages were further  developed and widened. Therefore, I believe that even if you don’t understand a concept you should still start developing words for it to better explain the concept.