Saffy says that if she had her life all over again, she’d never listen to her parents on the subject of studying.
“I mean, what was the point?” she said recently at breakfast, holding up her phone at us. “I mean, look at this! Just look!”
From across the table, Amanda squinted. “Seriously, even when I had perfect vision, which I don’t now, I wouldn’t have been able to see that.”
Saffy’s enormous bosom expanded. “It’s Kylie Jenner!”
“Love her!” Amanda replied unexpectedly. Saffy paused.
“You do?”Amanda arched an eyebrow.
“What’s not to love? She’s young and pretty and rich. I should hate her, but that just leads down a slippery slope of having to hate the other sisters, and I really don’t have the energy for that. Anyway, why, what’s she done?”
Saffy sucked in her breath. “Well, according to Forbes, she’s about to become the world’s youngest self-made billionaire!”
Even Amanda was impressed. “From what?!”“Her make-up line! Her company is worth a billion dollars! How did that happen?”
“I can’t decide if you’re happy or upset by this news,” I piped up as I went onto the Internet on my phone.
“A little bit of both,” Saffy admitted. “I mean, she’s barely 20 and she’s running a billion dollar company. When I was that age, I was dating inappropriate boys and trying to get through my stupid commerce degree.”
“It says here she runs the company mainly through her phone and a handful of staff,” I read, speed-scrolling through the article.
“My point exactly!” Saffy huffed, turning pink.
“How come some people are so smart?”
I remember when I was growing up, my mother seemed to spend her whole life telling us we had to study hard because that was the only way to avoid the fate of our drunken Uncle Lee Siong, who dropped out of school when he was 15 and washed dishes for most of his life.
“What’s wrong with washing dishes?” My little brother Jack once asked.
I remember how the room suddenly went still. My mother’s head rotated around to stare at her youngest offspring. “Whuh….”Jack shrugged.
“No stress, and it’s a steady living,” he said, demonstrating, not for the first time in his life, his ability to find a silver lining even when confronted by a stack of dirty pots.
“He had a point though, your brother,” Saffy said, years later. “I mean, we spent a million hours trying to get to grips with algebra and trigonometry and valence tables and crap like that. For what?”
“Well…” Amanda began.“When was the last time you had to know the co-sine of 90 degrees?” Saffy interrupted. “And how has knowing the capital of Algeria ever helped anyone in their life?”
Amanda suggested perhaps the pilot of the plane flying to Algeria.
Saffy rolled her eyes. “That’s like one kid in a class of 35. It sure hasn’t helped the rest of us! And certainly not Kylie Jenner! I bet she’s never opened a grammar book in her life!”
Even Amanda was unable to disagree with that kind of brutal assessment of our collective education.
“I’m telling you, going to school was a complete waste of time!” Saffy went on, warming up to her theme of total educational anarchy. Meanwhile, Kylie Jenner’s impending billionaire-hood has obsessed us. It’s all we’ve been able to talk about.
“Can you imagine how wealthy Kris Kardashian is?” Amanda said recently. “Even if she gets 10 per cent commission as agent’s fee from each of her daughters, she’d never be able to spend it all for the rest of her life!”
“I don’t think Kourtney is making much money though,” Saffy observed, putting to good use the intel she’d gathered from all the National Enquirer magazines she’d read in her life.
“Or Khloe. It’s those other three daughters who are minting it.”
“That’s probably enough,” Amanda sighed with aspirational greed as she imagined how, if she had as much money as Kris Kardashian, she’d probably just move into Gucci.
Not for the first time, Sharyn wondered what a billion dollars would even look like. “I think hor, the box in my Internet bank statement got not enough space for all those zero ah, I tell you!”
“And she didn’t do her O-Levels either, Shazz!” Saffy said, still very much on a mission to sabotage the very foundation of Singapore’s education system. “Or study Chinese!”
“Yah lor,” Sharyn said. You could tell she was thinking of all the money she was now spending on her kids’ Chinese tuition. “A billionaire,” Saffy repeated, shaking her head.
This story first appeared in 8 DAYS issue #1449 (July 26, 2018).
Photo: TPG News/Click Photos