Can you buy academic excellence?

My heaven on earth…
It’s exam time and prizegiving time in Samoa. Another opportunity to demonstrate how different me and HRH are. HRH believes in rewarding academic excellence with cash and other material assets. Which is a foreign concept for me. I always thought you had to strive constantly to come first in class, or else you were a total loser and didn’t deserve to breathe the same air as the rest of your overachieving family…sigh. Anyway, some years back, HRH told JB that he could have an Xbox if he came first in class. JB then proceeded to come first in class. ( Surprise, surprise.)

Then my daughter asked, what would she get if she came first in class? Of course equal-opportunity father HRH told her she would have an Xbox too! But, daughter announced, she didn’t want an Xbox. Instead, could she use the money to buy books? Ahhhh, a child after my own heart! I was ecstatic. Daughter came first in class. And during our annual trip to NZ, her and I went to heaven. Translation – supersized Borders Books in Sylvia Park Mall. A thousand dollars can buy a lot of books. And choosing that many books can take a very long time. That was one of the bestest days of MY life. (Never mind about my daughter’s….) It was MY childhood wish come true. I watched while she perused the shelves. I made suggestions. I helped her lug piles of books to the counter. And when we were finally done, we needed assistance to carry all those books to the car. But of course the best was yet to come. Reading them all. (Yes, I read themm all too. But only after asking her permission…)

This year, daughter placed first again in Mid Terms. I was gleeful, anticipating another delightful afternoon buying books. ( Did I mention that i was starved of good reading material as a child? Living in Samoa was like a desert for decent books. I literally stalked the Public library. Pick up just about any book on the shelf and you will find my borrower number in it. Most of them more than once.)

I said to the brilliant daughter – Looking forward to buying more books this Xmas?! She shook her head, ‘umm, I dont know. I kind of changed my mind. This year, if i come first, can i buy an iPod instead?’


But she would not be moved. She doesnt want books. She wants an iPod with a limiltess playlist. Preferrably one that plays music videos at the same time.

Yup its true. The brilliant daughter has been abducted by 21st century aliens and replaced with a music loving, hip and cool teenager. She has sold her book-loving soul for a piece of singing gadgetry. (So it can sing and dance and comes in 20 different colors! SO!) I am despondent. And wondering how I can justify spending shocking amounts of money on books at Borders this year. Because i was REEEAALLLY looking forward to some new reading material…

Sade’s new heaven on earth…

2 thoughts on “Can you buy academic excellence?”

  1. Why dont you suggest to her a 'KINDLE' instead?? Then you can download all the books you want for cheaper prices!!! Its way cool and costs less than $1000 tala…..and then when shes totally in love with the idea, tell her it was her frugal Aunty living in thailand's idea.

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