It was now the middle of summer, and with the beginning of typhoon season, disasters came without fail. However, when Typhoon Olga hit Korea, the torrential rains failed to cool down the stock market. In my previous life, the Korean stock market went just as crazy as the New York stock market during the dotcom boom. After the Russian financial war ended last year, the 10 billion dollars I had placed in Jeonil Group used to buy Korean property, indirectly bolstered the Korean stock market by increasing the amount of capital held in Korean hands, and things changed for the better there.
There were major fluctuations in the market, and at the peak, the KOSPI rose 1000 points in a single day, so the changes were significant in this era. (EN: The Korea Composite Stock Price Index or KOSPI is the index of all common stocks traded on the Stock Market Division—previously, Korea Stock Exchange—of the Korea Exchange. It is the representative stock market index of South Korea, like the S&P 500 in the United States. )
Daehyun Securities rushed to create a ‘Buy Korean Stocks,’ which exploited the Korean people’s patriotism. That fund asked Koreans to buy domestic stocks at a reduced price before foreigners “bought up Korea”. That was the first time the Korean public became interested in stocks. Another factor was the ‘Cyber Korea 21’ initiative by the government. That was the plan that made Korean IT what it was in the future and also caused massive activity in the KOSDAQ. With the KOSPI increase, the KOSDAQ market was spinning out of control. Now, it was no longer just the New York dotcom boom starting the speculative gambling on dotcom startups. In this country’s case, Koreans did it all on their own. (EN: KOSDAQ (acronym of Korean Securities Dealers Automated Quotations) is a trading board of Korea Exchange (KRX) in South Korea established in 1996. Initially set up by Korea Financial Investment Association as an independent stock market from the Korean Stock Exchange, it was benchmarked from the American counterpart, NASDAQ. KOSDAQ is an electronic stock market, just like NASDAQ. ) (EN: Cyber Korea 21 is the Korean Government’s blueprint for building an Information Society by 2002.)
I wanted to finish high school, as I wanted my parents to at least see me graduate like others since I was not growing up normally. However, I realized that middle school was my limit. I managed to increase my Agility to the next rank the day I reinforced the Fool’s Dagger. However, someone had reinforced a weapon and raised their Agility rank before I had. That meant that my lead ahead of all the other pre-Awakened was smaller than I had expected. I couldn’t afford to waste time by going to high school, but I wanted them to be able to trust I had done something for my future rather than display my “immaturity”.
“Father, I need to talk to you about something.”
My skin felt clammy late at night as I waited for my father to change into pajamas first. He had not asked about the million won he had given me but seemed to realize that I was going to talk to him about that. He sat on my bed and looked at the HTS site on my monitor. However, he was not near enough to see the numbers yet, so he pretended he was indifferent. (EN: HTS is the Home Trading System)
“You started stocks? I hope you didn’t go into KOSDAQ…let’s see.”
Father came to sit in front of the computer, and I looked in with him.
[Account Name: Sunhoo Na]
[Account Value: 143,500,000 won]
[Evaluated Profit: 142,500,000 won]
[Profit Rate: +14250%]
My million won had grown to that amount, and Father quickly moved the mouse after that. I only heard the clicks as he checked my transaction details over the six months. (EN: $210,000.00 approximately, in today’s dollars)
“How did you manage school?”
“I reserved the transactions.”
Father would know about Silver Bank, as the firm was well known for stock manipulation and started the KOSDAQ boom. The transactions spread over tens of pages, and Father looked at those in April. Silver Bank’s stock prices had fluctuated then, which made it possible to make a profit. The mouse clicked over to May, and I had only made one transaction in May compared to hundreds in April. I had sold everything when Silver Bank hit the highest price.
Silver Bank would have given me a 5500% profit if I simply stood by and did nothing, but I traded with intermediaries to increase the profit nearly three times.
Today, Silver Bank’s stock price had gone down by nearly half.
“…Why did you stop dealing?”
Father’s voice was confused.
“I am waiting to invest into other firms and I am observing.”
A computer firm whose stocks would increase by 14700% in a year, a tech firm that would increase by 15000% in six months, and a communication firm that would increase by 1700% in twenty-five days…
I recited those names, as companies I had my eye on, but my real focus was on a different target. Balgeum Tech had been the biggest documented increase during the dotcom bubble, and it actually happened in Korea. While cryptocurrency would show a record increase in the long term in the future, the KOSDAQ boom beat bit-coins in short-term increase in value.
Everyone was crazy about stocks now. Housewives sat all day in front of the computer, taxi drivers talked about stocks amongst themselves, rather than about their customers, and university students looked at the stock prices rather than studying. However, when the bubble burst, the public would have to face the consequences. Look at Silver Bank after the boom ended.
“I have to show you something.”
I managed to get the words out and changed places with Father to open an email from Jonathan Investments.
[Subject: Welcome, Mr. Na]
[We are deeply intrigued in your research, especially your estimates regarding the NASDAQ market and details about Googol and APE. Do you know that Will Conseb, the famous hedge fund manager, worked as an analyst starting from his teens? While you insist on working as a freelancer due to being an underage foreigner, we wish to invite you into our firm.
We are delighted to let you know that you are being offered a position as a beginner analyst for our group. We wait for your reply and congratulations.]
Father looked even more shocked and looked at me with eyes full of questions. I showed him the research the mail had mentioned, and I was tenser than when I had first entered the dungeon.
I have not even graduated middle school yet.
“You gave me that stock account a year ago.”
“…I did. You wrote this?”
Father could not take his eyes off the research paper written in fluent, idiomatic English.
“I studied from then.”
It would sound like an excuse, and Father turned around to look at the room. His expression turned dark, and he took out a book from one of many from the shelf. He sighed as he looked at a finance book written in English.
“You read this in a year?”
“My English was good from the start…If you remember, I had excellent grades…”
Father would think me even stranger, and I could not meet his eyes. I saw the gray flooring as I waited for his answer nervously.
“Why are you so sad?”
Father’s voice came down at me.
“Sorry for what? You…had been like that from when you were a baby. We lived with you all these years, you know. Your mother and I always knew that you were special.”
Father had tears in his eyes, but his eyes were warm.
“I feel sad for not being there when you did all these things. You could have told me before.”
He sat on the bed and tapped the space next to him. I sat there.
“I have been a very busy father.”
“Don’t say that.”
“Let’s think of something brighter. What do you want to do now?”
“I want to take the high school GED test after graduating.”
“You’ve planned well.”
Father’s answer was immediate, and he placed an arm around me.
“Don’t be so sensitive to what your parents will think of you.”
“Go traveling, go to America. Do what you want now.”
I fell silent as the situation was completely different from what I had thought. Maybe I had been too focused on myself and did not realize how my parents thought of me.
“I can only support you…what more can I do for you as a parent…?”
I could see tears falling, but not mine. They were my father’s.
Edited by Userunfriendly