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Tampines MINDS Session 1

Two weeks ago we had our first session with the MINDS group, they work with mentally disabled people and help them integrate within society. Prior to our first session there were a lot guidelines we were given in relation to how we treat the people who are coming. Our aim is to connect with them and build a relationship without intentionally offending them or making them feel as though they are different.

These people go through enough as it is trying to integrate within society, it is our job as their service partners to make them feel welcome without making them feel vulnerable. It would be ethically wrong to treat them any different but, we do need to keep in mind that they are different in some ways and there are some things we need to do to ensure both their safety and comfortability and our own. Our behaviour with them must be welcoming but also shouldn’t give them the impression that the way they treat us is the way they can treat everyone they meet.

It is very enlightening to be a part of this service as we are able to open our minds as to how everybody is different but, we can all dance and listen to music and that something all of us in that room have in common.

NAFA

For the past 5 years every weekend from 9am to 12am I have a little escape from my busy everyday life. I am able to just sit down and enter my creative world where I am allowed to paint, draw, sculpt anything I wish to. Each month we are given a specific medium and theme we are meant to work with, these themes are usually very broad and allow us to dive into our own interpretations of these themes. Our latest theme was “Wonders” it could be with nature, technology, animals, pretty much anything you’d wish for it to be. ┬áMy topic for this was the wonders of nature, I find it very fascinating that flowers grow in such symmetrical beautiful ways and I planned to demonstrate the beauty of a flower through sculpting it.

I originally planned to create a bouquet of flowers to show the different beauties but, I realised that creating so many flowers wouldn’t be wise as I wouldn’t be able to show accurately the beauty of each so I settled for just doing one. Just last lesson as I was doing the hand and flower to signify the coexistence between humans and nature the attachment between the hand and flower faltered and left the hand broken off from the flower. After a long time looking for a solution I asked my teacher what I should do, she told me I should assemble it again with the same plaster but this time I should leave it for about 15-20 minutes to ensure its stability. I am glad I didn’t give up because if I did there would really be no point in doing art. Art is a form of expression that allows for a lot of mistakes but also allows for a lot of critical thinking which forces the artist to come up with solutions.

It is now successfully attached together !

Boxing and Muay Thai

In an effort to increase my self defence skills and fitness levels, I joined Boxing and Muay Thai. Much to my surprise the sessions have been very productive and I already feel as though I have learnt a lot. Of course, I am not at the level at which I can defend myself extremely well but, if I continue at this level of productivity I can get to the point where I am confident.

It has been quite tough and often I feel as though it is too much and I often feel like giving up however, in my head I know I must continue and I shouldn’t let the difficulty get to me and I should persevere. I also know in my head that working at it is what will get me to my desired fitness level, and working hard is what will help me get more confident. If I give up when I start feeling as though it is difficult it will not help me in any way, and I might as well not go.

I hope that through countless sessions and perseverance I will achieve my goal of staying fit and active whilst still focusing on my education and also balancing that with my service participation and creative outlets. I look forward to seeing the person I am after the year of boxing and muay thai.

Culturama 2017

CultuRama is an event held every year in honor of the many cultures and nationalities present in our school. It’s purpose it to show a panorama of cultures, hence the name CultuRama. It launched the year I entered UWC and I have aspired to take part in it ever since. I think CultuRama is a great opportunity for people to form new friendships whilst enjoying themselves and expressing themselves through dance.

This year, I am lucky enough to be taking part in not one but two CultuRama dances. I feel as though dancing is something that is not only enjoyable for the people watching but also, incredibly enjoyable for the people actually doing it. For this edition of CultuRama, I am representing India and USA. So far, my CultuRama experience has been very fruitful, every rehearsal has furthered my knowledge of the dances and made me more excited for the final day. However, I am quite nervous for the real day because, as committed as I am during the preparation stage I fear that on the real day my stage fright may come in the way. A huge disadvantage for me would be forgetting the steps on the actual day which could hinder my experience and also those in my dance.

I hope that through the countless practices we have, even if I do forget muscle memory will help me and prevent any onstage embarrassment. It helps a lot to be organised and committed during the preparation stages, which is conveniently one of my strengths. I am definitely looking forward to the actual performance.

My IFP Public Speaking experience

Recently, during one of our sessions we were asked to put ourselves outside our comfort zone and speak in front of a group of 30 people, in an effort to enhance our public speaking skills. I found this particular activity/exercise incredible impactful. Our topic of conversation was “what we are passionate about” this was a question that meant different things to different people. I believe that our passions are very varied and it was very interesting to hear about what the people in my particular group were passionate about.

These topics  varied from speeches about gender equality, to speeches about making speeches itself. Through this exercise I believe we as potential peace makers got a feel of what it will actually be like on the day, we were able to practice and strengthen our confidence in front of groups of people. In this case we were quite lucky because we were asked to speak in front of people we already know however, during the IFP conferences we will not be given that luxury of speaking confidently in front of people we know.

When I first started speaking I was quite nervous and very much looking forward to finishing the task off but, as I spoke more and more I got more and more confident in myself and what I was saying. My voice slowly started to stop shaking. This was the case for a lot of the people who came up to speak, upon starting off they were nervous and unsure of what they were saying but, as time went on they started to find their train of thought and were able to get the message they intended to get across, across. For further improvement of this very challenging yet rewarding activity I hope to have more time to present as I noticed that a minute was too little time for many of us to deliver the message we intended to deliver.

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.

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