Again, the post inspired by LP who merge story telling with explanation. LOL, too bad I have no advertisement fees, otherwise, I will offer some to LP as royalties. But my pen is weak, anyway, here goes:
Mrs Teo threw her stack of pupils' work on the desk, and grumbled:" I had enough of Vincent's excuses! His results is getting from bad to worse, when I confronted him, he always say he will do better next time, and that he was busy at home! As if everyone else has a easy time" Mrs Teo's colleague, Mr Ng, came over to Mrs Teo's desk, and said:" The economy is doing so badly, and unemployment is so high, heard his dad lost his job. I think he really had it tough." Mrs Teo:" I know! This has been going on for 4-5 years! After the GFC, the economy never really recovered! Look, Peter and Benson face the same problem. I understand their studies will take a hit! But life has to go on! Their results have improved. What about Vincent? Excuses and excuses!"
Mr Ng sighed. He left the staffroom. He saw Vincent reading a book as he walked. He went over, gave Vincent a pat. Vincent looked up. Mr Ng saw how tired Vincent looked. "How are things?" Vincent wanted to say something, but he hold back, and muttered:" I don't know." Mr Ng tried to be more upbeat, "Hey, come on, show some fighting spirit! I believed you will overcome your problems, just like Peter and Benson!" Vincent seem irritated suddenly. "Peter and Benson again! I know, they are poster boys! I... Nevermind" Vincent walked off to the bus stop. Mr Ng was a bit taken aback by Vincent's reaction. He was thinking what had happened to the well-mannered and high achieving boy he taught a few years ago. Just then, Mrs Teo came by, "what happened?" she asked.
"I think something is bothering Vincent. Maybe I should find out more." replied Mr Ng.
"I know what is bothering him, his parents lost their jobs. He has problems coming to terms with that. He also need to cope with higher demand of the curriculum, and he realized he is not that achieving boy anymore, and he is giving up on himself! I encouraged him, he sound confident of doing better initially, but ... " Mrs Teo sighed loudly, "he does not even dare to assure me that he will try anymore!"
"I am going to find out more." Mr Ng said.
"Good luck to you, I would think working on other pupils would be more rewarding, he is a has been, there is opportunity cost to our effort, you know" Mrs Teo said as a matter of fact.
Mr Ng pondered what Mrs Teo said. "No, I will need to find out more."
Mr Ng decided to make a trip to Vincent's house. When he was at the corridor, he heard his dad's voice. "Vincent, when I get that customer, I will be able to earn enough to stop worrying about making ends meet, we are rushing for time, can you hurry up." Mr Ng knocked on the door and Vincent's dad came to the door. He recognized Mr Ng and was shocked to see him. "Vincent, did you get into trouble in school?" Vincent's father yelled.
"No, no, nothing of that sort, I just thought I dropped by to see how is he coping? His results is deteriorating." Mr Ng said.
"Oh, come on in" said his dad softly.
Mr Ng saw items that looked like big pieces of white sponge on the floor, and many plastic tubes and some material that he could not make out of.
"The company I worked for was bought over and I was retrenched, I couldn't find a job, and decided to try my hand on business. I still know many of my ex-boss clients, I am trying to customized these filters so that their production can be smooth and cheaper. But I do not get many orders until recently, and since every order is rather different and small, we can only used our hands to make them"
"Er... I can help for a while, if I may be of help."
Mr Ng chatted with the family as they showed him the steps in making the filter. He realized while it was not actually hard work, Vincent had to take care of his younger brother too. Feeling embarrassed, his dad told Vincent to go for his studies. Vincent told his dad not to worried, he never missed a homework.
Mr Ng looked at Vincent totally differently, "how silly am I to compare him with Peter and Benson? Vincent had so little time in for his homework and studies, yet he had not failed a single subject! What an achievement!"
Mr Ng gave Vincent a tight squeeze on his hand. "You are a survivor, the external circumstances have not been kind to you. I believed when your dad makes a proper living, you will bloom! I do not know when that will be, but I no longer doubt that day will come." Under the fatigue eyes of Vincent, Mr Ng saw a spark.
My story ends. I did not really like it. But It was a fun try. Not sure if anyone can see the financial side behind the story, or find it too glaringly obvious.
Well, but I enjoyed the process. Cheers!