SW's signature pandan chiffon cake and my last kueh lapis attempt
Before I move on to my favourite topic (i.e. food), let me announce that the Babies have passed their Chinese exams.
What's the big deal, you'll say, since they've only obtained 69% and CAL is not as important as English or Maths. Well, for me this was an achievement of some sort since they arrived in Shanghai 4 months ago with zero Chinese, spent the first 2.5 months with no access to a CD player (and therefore couldn't listen to their Chinese CD-roms) and while most of the other kids had special Chinese tutors, they only had me.
I remember one of their Chinese teachers coming to me a few weeks after school started to inform me that she expected them to repeat CAL-1 the next year. The school policy being that students who arrive after Christmas would have missed too much to be able to catch up.
Then yesterday morning their other Chinese teacher phoned to ask if Baby Girl had a special Chinese tutor because the girl has been doing quite well in the past few months. Only problem is that she doesn't participate much in class - but that is true across all subjects and not just in Chinese. The child is ferocious at home but very shy at school.
She was surprised to know that I have been tutoring the children myself in Chinese, that we have not listened to the CD-roms (I try to put on my best Beijing accent) and that I never forced them to work if they didn't feel up to it. She then told me that if the kids obtain more then 60 in their Chinese exams they would normally be allowed to advance to CAL-2.
I have put them in this school for its good Chinese-learning reputation so I am quite pleased to see that it's bearing fruit. I realise that I will have to make sure that they repeat what they have missed out in CAL-1 with me, and at the same time I have to think about starting them on French privately (always with me, I'm too stingy to hire tutors) next year too. Most of their classmates are Maths whizzes so I should worry about that too, but I think I'll play cool for the moment since childhood is short and I want them to have as much fun as they can while it lasts.
SW's Ayam Bakar
Meanwhile I was invited to lunch at SW's this afternoon. Since she's Indonesian she cooked us Indonesian and I made sure I did justice to her excellent cooking by eating as much as I could. Life is sometimes unfair : SW's born with a silver spoon in the mouth, she's very pretty, has great taste in clothes and jewellery, can paint like a dream (I am trying to make her draw me something as a keepsake), bakes a mean Pandan chiffon cake and now I see that she can also cook. Sigh...
Our pretty hostess and cook
She lives not too far from where I am and has been my massage kaki when I still had time a few weeks back to go to the spa regularly. Lives in Yanlord Town which is quite an impressive condominium with blocks and blocks of flats, pools, tennis courts, mini-golf, travel agency, supermarkets etc. Not too sure I would have the courage to visit her without my driver to lead the way - the place is a maze.
This afternoon she invited a few other ladies among them an American-Filipina, another Indonesian Chinese and 2 other Singaporeans. It was nice meeting new faces and being able to speak Singlish most of the time. We have made a date for next week - to buy designer shoes at factory prices - if we manage to find them before the police did.
Thanks SW for the lovely lunch, the Pandan chiffon was indeed a success and I will always remember you for it!