Ever since the first syndicated examinations were held to torture recalcitrant folks in ancient China ( those lousy sadistic buggers!! ), education has always - and probably always will be - paramount in a conservative Chinese household. Since learning their ABCs or their equivalent in Chinese, every small child has been literally drilled on the importance of attaining the all-important paper qualifications, preferably in the more seemingly prestigious fields.
Not sure exactly what pushes me to study. Certainly not a relentless thirst for knowledge since I'd rather not know half the things I do know. Certainly not from some compulsion to better myself. Would say that it was subtle, almost subliminal pressure from my stern parents but my mother would probably issue a vociferous rebuttal the minute I made mention of it.
A quick study
Admittedly I never had that much obvious pressure from my parents when it came to my schooling career. Apart from the odd, exceedingly rare reminder to mug for the coming exams, I have never gotten a stern lecture from my parents on this particular subject. Perhaps it was because I already looked stressed enough about the idea of exams without them adding to it - anymore and possibly I'd run crazily amuck through village wielding a heavy textbook while tearing out the pages to festoon the electrical lines.
Or perhaps it was because there was no one else to be held in comparison since we were the eldest in our generation - while the previous generation had just stepped off the proverbial boat from China. My elder brother thankfully wasn't that far ahead in years from me so our academic feats were hardly worth the critical analysis.
But since then of course, we've had dozens of top-scoring younger cousins who have performed shockingly well in exams and it would be nigh impossible to top the whole lot of us, short of winning a Nobel Prize at eighteen. Anything else would have been done before - and possibly better - by someone else in the family. In my really really large tribe, it's easy enough to get lost in a crowd.
Honestly I'd love to say that above average academic results don't mean much in the long run, that sheer hard work and determination will see you through - but astonishingly enough, I can't. Such platitudes wouldn't ring all that true ( sure everyone knows academic excellence doesn't mean much but it does smoothen the path a little! ) since I can easily imagine the sheer consternation if my own daughter were to return with less than satisfactory results.
Poor Carmen. :) Not only would she get flak from her dad, she'd get a sadly uncompromising uncle too.