This week has been a hectic one- I’ve gone from 0 to 20 hours of teaching (3 lectures and 7 tutorials) in the blink of an eye. Let me just say that it has been exhausting. I’ve never said so much to so many people that I’ve only met for the first time and I think it’s an incredible experience.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect at the beginning. Well, other than the physical strain at least. And no matter how much people tell you to drink lots of water, take spoons of honey or whatever herbal remedies, the fact is that there will be a strain on the throat and it isn’t pleasant. A colleague has already fallen ill; And another’s giving up coffee for the moment to see if it helps his throat. For myself, I’m going to abstain from alcohol for a while- at least till the term is over. Then I’ll reward myself with a beer.

I thought about a few stories that I should tell my students and eventually I told them about my own experience with economics and I guess that would have helped a little. At least, it would help demystify the fact that Economics is this impenetrable subject (it certainly isn’t) or that it’s a subject with little practical use (it isn’t, at least not for me). At least, it helps one see a clearer picture.

For example, with all the hoo-ha about COEs hitting new highs, the arguments we always hear from disgruntled people is how the government favours the rich with a system like the COE bidding process but they forget that without the COE, yes, more people (especially middle and lower income folk) would be able to purchase a car (social status becomes more equitable in the short-term) but given that we can only build so many new roads (even that would take some time) their driving experience will be a shitty one. Then, as with the nature of most human beings, the issue of discontent will switch from being that of ‘can I afford a car?’ to ‘what kind of car can I afford’? That being said, the public transport system has to improve in order for reasonable people to say, “Hey, it’s not so bad without a car. I can be content without one.”

Economics may not provide all the answers but at least if we can see the bigger picture, the solutions we will be looking for won’t be one that provides answers only for the short-term or worse still, lead to worse outcomes in future. If Economics is all about decision-making, about making the best use of what we have, then may my students learn to think through the various options that they’re presented. There are few useful skills to learn in life but being able to think for oneself should rank up there among the best of them.

I have been heartened though- many of my students have come up after lectures to clarify the doubts that they have. Some have asked questions that show they they have been thinking about the subject matter. Some of them are also without a doubt, more intelligent than me which is a challenge but one that is probably good for me. I won’t always have the answers but hopefully, I’ll be able to point them in the right direction to search for those answers themselves.

I think this ride is going to be exhausting but enjoyable; and I think this is one ride that’s not going to end anytime soon.

 

 

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