I had an interesting conversation with JJ recently when I fetched her from maths tuition. She is in form 5 this year and will be sitting for her SPM exams in a couple of months' time. Up to now she is still unsure what studies she'd like to pursue beyond form 5, and she asked me what I wanted her to do.
I told her quite frankly that as much as I'd like to, I can't decide for her. At best, I can only give some suggestions. I said she has a flair for English, and maybe it's worth exploring a career in something to do with English. By the way, I have recently discovered from JJ that our schools in Malaysia do teach grammar after all. Just that there is no emphasis on it in assignments and exams. So although JJ can speak and write grammatically well, she doesn't know what are adjectives and gerunds, for example. Thankfully, she knows quite a bit about tenses. I was thinking maybe she has some potential in journalism; maybe she can also have a future as a novelist, y'know, something along those lines.
JJ was rather surprised that I wasn't even suggesting anything in the order of doctors, engineers, dentists or any other professions coming from the science stream. Somehow she had the impression that I wanted her to pursue one of those, because those are "respectable professions" and for "smarter people".
I told JJ that she should choose something that she loves doing as a profession, because in the end it's her life, not mine. I won't think any less of her if she's not a doctor or engineer or dentist. She is what she is, and she has strengths and weaknesses just like anybody else, including doctors, engineers and dentists. If she's happy doing what she's doing, then I guess that's already a big achievement. For I know of many, many people feeling miserable in their professions. It would be a big tragedy if JJ chooses something that she doesn't like, just to make me and Mia happy, but she herself is miserable.
There are only two important things she needs to bear in mind. Whatever she chooses to do, she should try to be among the best at it. The other thing is that she can't expect to get everything in life. Sometimes doing something that you like doing won't translate into big money, and you may have to be poor till you retire. So maybe compromises will have to be made.
Mia doesn't always think at the same wavelength as mine. I bet there will be some tendency to influence JJ to pursue something that mommy likes, but not necessarily something that JJ likes. However, I want JJ to know that daddy will be there to the rescue if there is any element of force. I very rarely get involved in this sort of things, but this would be one of the very few exceptions, and I would step in to intervene if there is a need.
Truth be told, I'm getting a little anxious about JJ. She said many of her classmates have more or less decided what they want to do after SPM, but she is still clueless. Well, there's still a few more months. Hopefully she will think of something after SPM.