ma, pa, i want to be an economist

parent: "got any homework today?"
boy states blankly at his "gao zhi", little square boxes that are begging to be filled by eager chinese characters.
boy then takes out little blue notebook, to prove that there is indeed only one piece of homework
in the little corner scrawled april 19 2006, there's a little sentence:

1. My Ambition (Wo De Zhi Yuan)

pa: "ok... you look like you really need some help. are you stuck? or are you just really bad in chinese? coz if you are you know i can't help. you can go ask buxilaoshi when she comes next week."
son: "it's not that. i'm not really sure what i want to be when i grow up."
ma: "it's ok... most boys don't. but you like to play with fire trucks don't you. what about being a firefighter? they save lots of people everyday."
pa: "why doesn't he become a doctor? then he can save people and earn loads of money at the same time. don't be like pa."

son thinks.
son replies with mock bravado.

"pa, ma, i've been giving it some thought. i want to be an economist."
parents are stunned by the child's precocity
ma: "isn't economist the magazine daddy always reads. is it a proper job?"
pa: "hmm, ya. why can't you be normal like other kids?"

son: "i worry about it too. i mean, to me, normal is just a distribution."

pa: "why not banker or something. they do roughly the same things right? there's plenty of time to make up your mind, no need to rush you know. ok... go call your best friend, find out what he wants to be."

son dutifully calls. he finds out his best friend wants to be a teacher.

ma: "teacher. such a good idea. you can be like buxilaoshi. you like buxilaoshi don't you?"

son: "but i see jesse kor-kor and he is training to be an economist. people who like to shoot will take gun and go join the army. people who like plans want to be pilot. i like doing nothing with my life like jesse does and i've always been good at math. he solves first order linear differential equations in his head and inverts matrices for fun. whenever i tell him i like something, he tells me to draw my indifference map for it. and whenever there are troubles in life, he always tells me "assume the troubles are not there. we then draw 2 axes x and y...." i want to be like him pa, i want to be a beacon of solace and hope to man. when i grow up, i want to be just like jesse. i want to solve prisoner's dilemnas and draw imaginary edgeworth boxes to solve robinson crusoe economies. aren't you proud? i remember you brought me to watch a beautiful mind and i was amazed how he got the girl by pointing out constellations to her in the sky and asking her straight for sex when he wanted it. game theory helped him get the girl and the big nobel too."

pa, distressed: "it also helped him see imaginary characters in everyday life and go crazy. i brought you to watch initial d, why don't you want to become a racer, or something more manly. do nothing! why don't you be a lawyer. at least lawyer's learn how to talk and get away with doing nothing. and they earn so much! you cannot be an economist. otherwise you will end up sweeping the road. and i cannot show my face to my friends"

so son, aged 7 and a half, never gets to grow up to be like jesse.

good thing, bad? how many of us knew what the fuck we were doing in primary school anyway.


ZL said...

10 yrs ago, in a middle-class Singaporean family...

pa: "what do you want to be when you grow up?"

son: "I don't know pa pa."

At this moment the tv screen shows a courtroom scene from Yi Hao Huang Ting, a HK legal drama shown on SBC (former TCS) channel 8 eons ago.

son (pointing to the screen): "I want to be like him!"

Dad looks to the screen. The protagonist lawyer in the show had just won his case. Super cool music plays in the background. The camera closed up on him. Dad thought the production crew was trying to depict a Victorian-era superhero.

Dad: "That's a lawyer son. Lawyers are bery hard to become one you know. They earn a lot of money just by talking. They have to tok very fast and tok very well. They have to make frens with bad people."

Ma: "Yah...Sometimes if they lose case for the bad people the bad guys then go and kill him. Dont be crazy la son. Just study hard, next time become engineer like your brother."

son: "But I want to be like him! I don't want to do anything! I want to make money just by scolding people!"

Dad: "Aiya, you want also don't have. You think it's so easy ah? Go do your homework now, go."

10 years later...

The son put the book aside. He had just spent 3 hrs reading one chapter. 7 more chapters to go. He looked at the clock---12.30 am.

He stared at the title. "Lloyd's Introduction to Jurisprudence". As he walked towards the kitchen for his 5th coffee mix that day, he couldn't help but wonder, "Make money just by scolding people? Right!"

(The above was adapted from a true story...)


Jesse said...


LAWYER WAS ALWAYS MORE KICKASS THAN ECONOMIST. and yeah i remember yi hao huang ting.

"i want to make money just by scolding people." hahahah

i love profession jokes. good luck with your jurisprudence! lawyers work so hard! they don't just scold people they read books thicker than my thigh!