CHAPTER 10: Powerful career woman and Petite Mother

While Christopher struggled through those compulsory piano lessons, Mandarin and English tuition, adapting to our cosmopolitan Parisian surroundings was easier for Christine, a bookworm who immersed herself in detective novels, an escapism she brought with her from Hong Kong. Happily for her, Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes and his Dr Watson transcended all boundaries of language, nationality and culture. As for my son, he found his release in buying imitation guns from the toy shop beside his school. The kindly proprietor explained that he could acquire pretty well anything he wanted with my credit card. No, not every mother would consent to such carte blanche, but my almost invariable question to him: "My son, what can I do for you? "Since Christopher is the heir of the family, it would make sense for me to ask such a question.

Invited by Chinese state concil in 1985 to the Great Hall of People for the National Day Celebration Beijing  
Air show exploration in Helicopter, Singapore   Air show le Bourget, Paris
Christine, to inspire more mystery, wearing her carnival mask    Agatha Christie, the detective novel


Christopher enjoyed himself with his power Rangers mask as well

Indulged as my son was with imitation guns with which to act out boyish fantasies, his was an empty, unfulfilled existence. He wanted to do something which would give him a sense of satisfaction and achievement without being overly contriving.

Christopher kept buying swatches to complete his enending collection
David offered 1000 golf pegs to Christopher for his birthday


Already at that time Christopher knew he wanted, desired, craved for a sense of meaning in his life, something that would make it worthwhile.

looking for a sense of meaning in his life

If anyone had sat him down in 1990 and tried to convince him that his life would change beyond all recognition through my purchase of a string of racehorses in nearby Chantilly, he would merely have looked into the lenses of his glasses, instead of through them. And there he would have seen reflected his eyes, blinking in downright disbelief. But so it was to prove.

landscape and horses

Nor did it help that I was frequently away from home on business trips as well. However, my absences did afford my son the opportunity to invite schoolmates back to our apartment for unlimited Coca-Cola, crisps, bubblegum, TV games and so on. The household staff gleefully anticipated a maternal backlash. Instead, I embarked on cooking sprees for Christopher’s new-found friends. 

Christopher and his petite mother Ling Tsui
Ling Tsui, playing Tea Time with her daughter
Little Mother
Christine also surrounded by all the blondes

I forgot to mention that I have a passion for cooking. I enjoy the process of cooking, from turning some raw ingredients into a masterful piece of delicatessen and in doing that it unifies each member of the family through my cooking. For me my paradise is when I get to stay home with my family. To their consternation the staff became busied prepping traditional Chinese dishes to feed hordes of ravenous little boys.

Fried noodles
Peking Duck dish

Throughout these invasions Christine remained aloof and alone, content to practice her piano playing and reading detective novels in the privacy of her room. She remained a mystery, an enigma to Christopher’s companions, audible through 'Ave Maria' and Chopin's Nocturnes but always invisible. When, eventually, Christine did appear, my son’s hooligan friends were instantly captivated, hailing her as their fairy princess

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