Wednesday, April 7, 2010

15. How I was appointed a Godfather

The mum informed me that her daughter got top 2% in Murdoch University examinations. What does it mean? Top 2% of the cohort or top 2% of the veterinary faculty of 100 students? Well, I was happy for the single mother. How did she motivate her child to excel academically? There is no simple answer.

Academic excellence opens doors to top professional practices all over the world. But male classmates in general don't seem to care two hoots about being top dog in the veterinary faculty, from my survey. Straight As mean nothing to many of them. If vet professors want to be stringent and permit only one repeat re-examination, I suspect many males will need to repeat the year and that the graduates produced will be reduced by some 30%, assuming the male:female ratio is 50:50.

How to be a straight A student?
1. Hard work mainly as there is a lot to memorise. Time must be spent in the actual studies.
2. Hands-on experiences by seeing practice with vets during the spare time or live-in.
3. Sacrificing time with family and friends. You can't have the cake and eat it.

The mum was very worried when the daughter was offered a vet practice accommodation. She would save money on her accommodation which can be as much as A$700 as month in Australia. The practice would benefit its employees who need not be present overnight at the practice. The mum was so worried that she wanted to fly over to see the practice and Quantas Airways was offering cheap S$700 return fare for Easter.

"No," the daughter said. "I would be busy moving and besides, I needed to entertain my friends during this time." There seems to me to be not the right thing to do and I told the young girl accordingly. I found that the friends stayed in her place since they did not want to pay for hotel accommodation at A$90.00 a night. I mean, what is an additional person who loves you very much - the mum since you got to entertain friends for 3 days?

I guess the daughter was worried that the mum might embarass her. After all, she was an adult. But to mums, 20+ year girl is still a baby. So, she asked me to check out the vet practice. "What will I say about my relationship to this young girl if the principal ask me?" I said to the worrier. "Just tell him you are the Godfather."

That's how I became a Godfather although I am not Catholic. I have yet to meet the principal vet and have only 2 days left in Perth. I had seen the location of the vet practice some 3 days ago only at night. The impressive practice is a bungalow, located off the main road, at a corner of a side street. The street lights were bright and the road was clean. The neighbourhood of low rise houses and one apartment block appeared serene, with warm yellow lights in the apartment at 9 pm. It looked safe as there were no drug addicts or gangs roaming about. There was a brightly lit liquor shop across the road with no drunkards lurking about. I better not say anything about this store to the mum as it would cause her unnecessary worries. Maybe I should take a taxi and go and see the place in daylight myself. It is not as easy to take a cab as in Singapore. I should drive as most students have a car and I can borrow one. Time is short. The real Godfather with the actor Marlon Brando acting as the Godfather would just send in the lieutenants to check the place inside out. I need to be proactive.

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