Friday, December 12, 2003

Neva and I went to her younger stepbrother's concert last night at IS. That's International School. He's in the advanced band. Plays the trombone. It was more fun than I expected it to be, honestly. The kids are more talented than I thought, and the selection of pieces was also surprising, from the themes of Ghostbusters and The Addams Family to requisites like Ode to Joy and Carmen Suite.

Going to IS is like going to another country. When you're inside almost everyone you see is Caucasian. The Filipinos are the janitors and security guards, with a few students here and there. Everyone speaks with an American accent, or in a foreign tongue like when groups of Japanese students pass by speaking fast Japanese with their tousled hair. The school really looks like those American high schools you see on TV, with the lockers in walls and all that. IS is also home to some of the richest students in the country. Ambassadors, politicians, diplomats, businessmen, etc. send their kids here. There's an Olympic-looking track, an Olympic-looking pool, most of their hallways are airconditioned and carpeted, their library is gorgeous (3 floors, with a great selection), their Fine Arts Theater would rival most legit theaters, and their cafeteria have stalls from places like Delifrance, Café Mediterranean, and more.

I think I would have loved being a student there, if only for the amenities.

I can't help but wonder, though, if the students remain sheltered. I mean, the school's purpose seems to be, to me at least, to allow families who are stationed here the opportunity to send their kids to an institution that follows the educational systems of their respective countries (The Japenese School and The British School are across the street). But shouldn't part of the experience be allowing them to integrate with their host country? Angus, Neva's stepbrother, tells us that some of his fellow students aren't allowed in most malls, aren't allowed out of the house all that much, for that matter, for fear of kidnapping. So much so that Angus had to buy a stuffed toy for his friend to give to his crush, because he couldn't go to a mall. I wonder, when these kids go back to their respective countries, and get asked "How was the Philippines?", will they be able to give an answer? The school seems adamant in making sure it replicates the US as much as possible. I just wonder if the kids get the cultural exposure they should, actually living in the third world.


Always good for a laugh, these particular annual lists: Film Threat's Frigid 50, and The Onion's Least Essential Albums of 2003. In the case of The Onion, often I don't know the artists they're talking about, but man, no one comes up with better put-downs than the staff of The Onion. If you've been ignoring the numerous links to The Onion that I've put on this blog through the years, you might not know that while it's essentially a humor paper, their arts coverage (The Onion AV Club) is top-notch.

Oh, and the new Fruit Basket yogurt of Nestle is deelish.

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