Brian started Chinese tuition in K2, with Xu Lao Shi, a wonderfully patient teacher recommended by an old uni friend of mine, Elyn. Elyn's niece, under Xu Lao Shi, had gone from hating Chinese and refusing to speak it to winning Hokkien Huay Kuan schools' essay-writing competitions within a year or so.
Xu Lao Shi taught Brian till the middle of P1 (once a week, 1.5 hours each lesson), and by then, he was doing P2/P3 work, nothing that I understood at all. After we left Singapore, he had tuition teachers in Frankfurt, London and Moscow, on and off, but none of them were ever as good as Xu Lao Shi, not even close. His Chinese is probably stuck at P4 level at best...and if there's one regret I have about going overseas, this would be it.
I've not seen Xu Lao Shi since we left Singapore in 2004. She continues to tutor the children I recommended her to, including Monica's kids...so through Monica, I got in touch with her, and she kindly came to give tuition to both Brian and Sean, despite her SUPER BUSY schedule. It started with thrice weekly at the start, then twice weekly and now once a week.
Xu Lao Shi was so happy to see Brian again. She even showed him a photo of them together that I had taken in 2004. She said she keeps the picture in her purse :)...so sweet.
2004: Brian and Xu Lao Shi.
2009: Brian and Xu Lao Shi.
She colours her hair now, and drives to classes; in 2004, she cycled to the train station from her house and took buses and trains everywhere. She is really doing very well for herself.
2009: Brian, Sean and Xu Lao Shi
For Brian, it's more of a refresher, not for PSLE, as he is exempt from Chinese; I was half-afraid he was gonna resist tuition since he wasn't taking Chinese for PSLE, but he was cooperative. Sean went from knowing Zero chinese to speaking a little now (very little but still), reading well in HYPY and writing without tears.
Really grateful to Xu Lao Shi, she didn't need to do this so I'm very thankful.