John Lu, organiser of the ‘I’m Finished with Fins’ campaign in Asia and head of special projects at Singapore’s largest environmental non-governmental organisation Avelife, talks to JIS students yesterday. Picture: BT/ Rabiatul Kamit

John Lu, organiser of the ‘I’m Finished with Fins’ campaign in Asia and head of special projects at Singapore’s largest environmental non-governmental organisation Avelife, talks to JIS students yesterday. Picture: BT/ Rabiatul Kamit

A MARINE conservationist is calling on consumers to shun away from consuming shark fin soup in a bid to topple the multi-billion dollar industry.

Jason Lu, organiser of the ‘I’m Finished with Fins’ campaign across Asia, said that the public must end their demand for the popular delicacy in order to cripple the profit incentive fuelling the global hunt for the endangered animal.

“We need to understand that it is our demand on a very limited supply that’s creating this problem,” he said yesterday in his talk at Jerudong International School (JIS).

As apex predators sharks play an important role in maintaining a balanced ecosystem. However, shark populations have vastly declined worldwide due to decades of over-fishing driven by high demand for shark fin soup, he said.

“We are emptying our oceans,” said Lu, who is also head of special projects at Singapore’s largest environmental NGO Avelife.

He advised consumers to “vote” with their dollar by choosing to not eat or consume any shark products, as well as challenging the restaurants and stores which sell shark products.

“Consumption is the lowest common denominator. The industry can collapse by promoting awareness and responsible consumerism,” he said.

He also encouraged the students to take up campaigning in an effort to help educate the public about the devastating impact of the shark fin trade.

Lu reiterated that awareness is imperative to influencing consumers to reject shark products.

“More people need to be aware about why sharks are necessary... We hope to see change happening, so that’s our ambition,” he said.

Yvonne Follows-Smith, geography teacher and JIS-Eco coordinator, said Lu was invited to the school to give a talk to the Year 12 students who are currently learning about the oceans as part of their International Baccalaureate programme.

She hoped the students will also be inspired to do community service after listening to the speaker’s campaign experience.

“We need to raise more awareness and if anybody can do it, it’s the students,” she said.

“They are concerned about the fact that, although Brunei has banned shark fins, you can still see it happening around the country,” she added.

The Brunei Times | RABIATUL KAMIT | Saturday, June 18, 2016 | BRUNEI-MUARA

John Lu speaks to JIS students on conservation, dedication

JERUDONG International School (JIS) yesterday invited John Lu of Shark Savers – an international organisation aimed at protecting sharks – to speak to the school’s Year 12 IB Diploma Geographers on the importance of shark conservation as well as the importance of dedication in trying to achieve difficult goals.

Speaking on his campaign to stop the killing of sharks for its fins, John Lu said that the most important thing is to stay dedicated. “If you want to campaign for something that you think is right, hold on to it like a pit bull.”

Shark Fin was a very popular delicacy, especially in the Chinese community, so his campaign was going against all odds. But with strong will and dedication, as well as a bit of love, he managed to bring the campaign into an epidemic success on a global proportion.

Since he began his campaign, trade and consumption on shark fins has gone down about 50 per cent in Hong Kong and 70 per cent in China and in other countries there were also decreased amount of consumption

His believed in educating people, in particular on the importance of keeping the circle of life in good shape, rather than through displaying or showing bloodied images or making harsh rallies or public demonstrations. “Not knowing why, people will not be motivated to do something,”

He said his campaign is successful and far-reaching because it is centred on making people understand the impact on the world and on them if shark numbers continue to diminish. He places emphasis on the important role sharks have in the food chain cycle in the ocean.

John Lu of Shark Savers in a group photo with some of the students. – AZARAIMY HH

John Lu of Shark Savers in a group photo with some of the students. – AZARAIMY HH

From bringing the interest of conservation powerhouses WWF and WildAid to getting airtime on National Geographic and high-profile celebrity endorsements – the campaign has grown to the point where “no one would refuse us”, says Lu. The best part is, he said, everything about this grassroots movement is done on a pro bono basis.

According to John Lu, this was his second time in Brunei; the first was when Brunei declared the banning of shark fins.

Yvonne Follows-Smith, a Geography teacher at JIS, said the Year 12 IB students just started a unit on oceans and they also are involved in some Community Action Service (CAS). Thus, as part of their IB requirements, the students need to be able to go out to do action work within the community.

She said the talk by John Lu was important not just for its academic content, but also for its motivation.

She said a lot of what John Lu was saying relates closely with the ECO JIS philosophy at JIS, because the students were very involved in the environmental matters.

In regards to shark fins, even though Brunei is amongst the first countries to ban shark fins, there are still shark fins being sold here illegally. She believed more awareness is needed to address the matter.

“If there is anyone who could do it, it is the students, because they are the ones who go out to the community and raise awareness,” she said.

Borneo Bulletin | Azaraimy HH | June 18, 2016


JIS honours 80 outstanding students

JERUDONG International School (JIS) held a ceremony yesterday to celebrate the academic achievements of its students and graduating Year 13 class.

Around 80 outstanding students in Year 10 to Year 13 were presented with awards at the JIS Arts Centre including Jasmin Thien, who received the Sixth Form Creative Writing Award and the Year 13 Subject Prize for History.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, the visually impaired student hoped her academic achievements will inspire others to overcome challenges.

“You can do anything you want even if you think you can’t, even if people say you can’t. You have to take the first step... Even if it’s hard at first and you want to give up, just keep putting one foot in front of another. You’ll eventually get there,” said Thien.

The 19-year-old also believed that love and appreciation for learning is the key to achieving academic success.

“If you genuinely love studying or learning new things, you’ll realise how important it is... Appreciate your education, because it’s such a huge gift. I think education is the most amazing gift you can give anybody in life,” she pointed out.

Following sixth form, Thien planned to take a gap year before pursuing a joint degree in Psychology and English Literature at a university in Canada or the United Kingdom.

Besides academic awards, the students were recognised for achieving excellence in areas such as arts, sports and service.

Among the recipients were scholars under the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Religious Affairs.

The ceremony also saw the presentation of certificates to about 140 students of the graduating Year 13 class.

JIS Principal Barnaby Sandow in his address commended the students for taking the lead in numerous school initiatives such as the TEDx Youth@Gadong Conference, house music concerts and various lunchtime lectures.

He added the students’ largest legacy was the Polio Points programme, where points earned for school achievements were used towards buying polio vaccinations in developing countries.

“It’s a very simple idea, but it’s massively powerful. It meant that all our students have bought into an idea where they are trying to be the very best they can be. This was a student-led initiative that has made that impact happen,” said Sandow.

Brunei Times | RABIATUL KAMIT | Tuesday, June 14, 2016 | BRUNEI-MUARA

JIS celebrates achievement, fetes outstanding students

VISUALLY impaired sixth form student Jasmin Thien won two awards in creative writing and history at the 2016 Year 10 to Year 13 Celebration of Achievement and Year 13 Graduation Ceremony, held yesterday at the Jerudong International School (JIS) Arts Centre.

Eighty other students from Years 10-12 received awards in numerous categories, namely the Arts, Sports, Service, Eco-JIS, Lifetime Eco-JIS, and Gold International Award.

A total of around 140 Year 13 students graduated, and a large majority of them will be continuing with higher education, according to the spokesperson of JIS.

The whole ceremony was presented by the students, commencing with opening remarks from the Principal of JIS Barnaby Sandow, followed by the Deputy Head Girl Nadiah Hamid, before the presentation of awards.

Students of Year 13 receiving their award. – PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Students of Year 13 receiving their award. – PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

Jasmine Thien (L) receiving the Outstanding Performances Award and Sixth Form Creative Writing Award

Jasmine Thien (L) receiving the Outstanding Performances Award and Sixth Form Creative Writing Award

Upper Years Academic Awards for Year 10 were received by 15 students; while 16 Year 11 students received awards; Sixth Form Academic Awards for Year 12 saw 15 recipients of AS prizes; and IB prizes were presented to 10 students.

A total of 29 Year 13 graduates who were nominated by teachers for outstanding perfor-mance in a particular subject received subject prizes. These students are from both A-Levels and IB Diploma Courses.Twelve students received JIS Outstanding Academic Achievement Award.

Borneo Bulletin | Nuri Sufri | June 14, 2016

Make full use of overseas studies

STUDENTS travelling to the US for further education were told yesterday to make full use of their opportunity for professional development during a pre-departure orientation hosted by EducationUSA, the US Embassy’s academic advising service.

“The benefits of an international education are incalculable. Students that benefit from that kind of experience grow and develop in exceptional ways. They become global citizens, more aware, more educated and more knowledgeable about how to navigate the world of the 21st century,” said US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Dr Edward Findlay.

The orientation was held at the Collective Makerspace, Gadong, and provided information on visa regulations and application.

There was also a panel discussion by Bruneian students and alumni from American universities regarding safety advices, travel tips and life experiences as well as an American university student and lecturer who talked about how best to make use of the study abroad opportunity.

An alumnus from University of California Farah Nabilah Mohammad Zaidi Davis said that students should not only focus on achieving academic excellence but also to make use of the connection and opportunities to develop themselves professionally.

“Take advantage of all the opportunities there like internship, you can actually go out and be involved in research. I’ve been in two internships and have gained a lot of experience and that helped with my resume for my future,” she added.

Norzaidah Mardani, an alumnus who graduated from Georgetown University, Washington DC, with a Masters in Security Studies advised students to make full use of the different learning environment to learn and develop different ideas for their personal development.

“What I think is more important (than getting good grades) is to participate in classes, engage in opinions with people around you. The (American universities) provide a safe learning environment which emphasises expression and to stand your ground with your beliefs (that helps you grow),” she said.

She pointed out one of the challenges that will be faced by Muslim students was finding halal food.

She said that when she was in the US, she approached the Muslim communities and students in the university which was more familiar with the area. She also mentioned a helpful website called that contains a database of halal restaurants in various countries.

According to EducationUSA Advisor Mayra Robles, the embassy has registered 15 students that will be travelling to the US to further their education in universities such as Cornell University, The University of Rochester, New York University, Pepperdine University, Purdue University, The Culinary Institute of America and Berklee College of Music among others.

She said many students are currently awaiting their confirmation letters and that this year’s total number of students travelling to the US for education will most likely exceed last year’s figure of 35 students.

During an interview with the students, many expressed excitement at the opportunity.

Gayatri Raj who will be studying at Purdue University said that she was interested in experiencing the “liberal” culture of America and to travel and meet different people.

Honn Wee Son who will be studying at University of California, San Diego, said that he hopes to make many new friends during his study in America.

“For the first time, we’re going to be fully independent. In Brunei, we are quite taken care of so being able to be away from that is something new to experience,” said Hjh 'Azemah Hanim Pehin Orang Kaya Laila Setia Hj Abd Rahman who will be studying at the University of California, Los Angeles

The Brunei Times | JULIUS HONG | Saturday, June 4, 2016 | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN