TBOT Worksheet Answer Key.indd



TBOT Worksheet Answer Key.indd
Answer Key
Level 6
The Best of Times? Alan Maley
Chee Seng Yeo lives at home with his businessman
father and housewife mother. They are apparently a
happy family. This all changes when his father starts an
affair with his mother’s friend, Veena, and leaves them.
For financial reasons, Chee Seng’s mother decides to
get a job, but the job becomes increasingly stressful.
Chee Seng becomes more introverted, especially after
his dog Raj is run over and killed, ignoring his friends,
neglecting his schoolwork and having endless rows with
his mother. The family Filipina maid, Puri, returns
home to look after her sick family, and the only person
who offers any comfort or understanding to Chee Seng
is his elderly relative, Auntie Swee Eng, who tells him
stories about her own life as a young woman.
As his world breaks down, Chee Seng gets into the
company of a wealthy school friend, Ka Ting, who
constantly has parties at which alcohol and drugs are
on offer. One of his classmates, Jessica, is one of Ka
Ting’s set, and she and Chee Seng begin an intense
romantic relationship.
When Jessica’s parents decide to send her away to
Australia to sever her connections with Ka Ting and
his crowd, however, the couple are devastated. Chee
Seng learns that Jessica had had an affair with an
older married man called Suresh, one of Ka Ting’s
acquaintances. Jessica and Chee Seng cannot bear
to be parted and so work out a plan to run away to
Thailand to be together. On the night of their planned
escape, Chee Seng meets Jessica at a party at Ka
Ting’s, but she behaves strangely and makes him feel
jealous by dancing closely with Suresh. She has clearly
taken drugs and drunk too much and is no longer
thinking clearly. Things get out of control when all the
other guests start jumping in the pool, and Chee Seng
is horrified when he sees Suresh drop Jessica into the
water. When she doesn’t resurface, Chee Seng dives in
to save her and gives mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
However, the ambulance and police are called, and
everyone is rounded up and taken to the police station.
Cambridge English Readers
© Cambridge University Press 2009
Auntie Swee Eng manages to get Chee Seng out
because she knows the police inspector. It is then that
he learns the awful news that his mother has taken
an overdose of sleeping pills, partly because of Chee
Seng, and partly because she had been dismissed from
her job.
Jessica and Chee Seng’s mother recover. His father
leaves Veena and wants to come back to live with
them as a family. Chee Seng and his mother aren’t
sure how they feel about it and want to wait. Jessica
leaves for Australia and the couple agree that it’s for
the best. On his seventeenth birthday, Chee Seng
makes up with his old school friends. Auntie Swee
Eng gives him a photo album, containing photos
of his grandparents and other relatives but also of
himself and his parents, to help him to understand his
connections to the past but also to look to the future.
His father brings him a puppy, and the story ends on
an optimistic note.
Before reading
1. It could mean that someone is doing very well in
life and business. It could also be ironic.
2. In the background is a city with apartment blocks
and other tall buildings [in fact the Petronas
Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, opened in 1998,
and for some years the tallest building in the
world]; in the foreground is a young oriental
man. Student’s own answer.
3. No, because Chee Seng’s parents’ marriage
has broken up. Chee Seng seems to be the
protagonist; he’s a sixteen-year-old Malaysian
4. One group is connected to Chee Seng’s family,
the other to his school friends.
5. The new state of Malaysia was founded in 1963
and is a beautiful and culturally rich country
with a mixed population consisting in the main
of the Orang Asli, Malays, Chinese, Indians and
Perankans, all with their own languages and
Answer Key
Level 6
The Best of Times? Alan Maley
Check your reading
1. a: 3 / 4; b: 1 / 6; c: 2 / 5
Chapter 1
hospitals; prisons; museums; the zoo…
Chee Seng.
Chee Seng’s mother.
Very frightened.
The fact that his Auntie Swee Eng is with him.
At the police station.
Student’s own answer.
Chapter 2
1. a true; b true; c false; d true; e false; f false
2. a) He notices his mother looks at her strangely.
b) He sees his father touching her and they seem
3. Bodies moving on his parents’ bed.
Chapter 8
It’s her seventeenth birthday.
By midnight.
They have a coffee and he gives her a necklace.
Ka Ting manages to do it.
False. Jessica kisses him.
A drug such as Ecstasy.
Because it’s already 12.30.
Her older sister, Jane.
Because she’s gone away to visit his sick aunt.
Because she lets him stay out all night.
Chapter 9
1. a – 3; b – 6; c – 1; d – 5; e – 2; f – 4
2. His mother is very angry with him.
Chapter 3
1. a)
He comes home late all the time.
She is unhappy and cries every day.
She is quieter and doesn’t smile as much.
It has become quiet.
The family don’t do anything together any
2. Because his father hit her.
3. Auntie Veena.
4. His father is having an affair with Auntie Veena;
his mother is very upset about it.
Chapter 4
1. a Chee Seng; b Puri; c Chee Seng’s mother;
d Chee Seng’s father; e Auntie Swee Eng;
f Chee Seng’s mother
Chapter 5
1. a / d / e
2. His mother took the phone and told his father to
leave Chee Seng alone.
Chapter 10
1. slaps/hits; 2 allowance/pocket money; 3 text
message; 4 Australia; 5 married man; 6 school
term; 7 lends/gives
Chapter 11
1. He plans to run away with to Thailand her.
2. Some problems at work; she can’t sleep and is
taking pills.
3. To Melaka, because Aunt Mei Ling is still in
4. To Auntie Swee Eng’s house.
5. He looks at some old photographs and talks
about her life when she was young.
6. He was the assistant manager of a rubber estate in
Perak; Swee Eng was obviously in love with him.
Chapter 12
1. a – 3; b – 4; c – 1; d – 2
2. That she ran away to be with her lover, Gana, just
as Chee Seng is running away to be with Jessica.
Chapter 6
1. b – e – c – a – d
Cambridge English Readers
Chapter 7
© Cambridge University Press 2009
Answer Key
Level 6
The Best of Times? Alan Maley
Chapter 13
1. f – c – a – e – b – d
2. She is lifted and dropped into the water by the
man she was dancing with.
3. He dives in and pulls her out of the pool.
4. She isn’t breathing.
Chapter 14
1. a)
The ambulance men did.
Ka Ting did.
A senior policeman did.
A guard did.
An inspector did. (Inspector Sunderam did.)
Auntie Swee Eng did.
Cambridge English Readers
© Cambridge University Press 2009
2. To the hospital to see his mother (thought not
Chapter 15
1. She took some sleeping tablets to kill herself.
2. Because she phoned Auntie Swee Eng and told
her what she’d done.
3. She had been dismissed from her job.
4. e
Chapter 16
a – 3; b – 5; c – 1; d – 2; e – 4

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