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Read the passage carefully. Then choose the correct answer.

The camping holiday was Aunt Gek Kim's idea. Or perhaps it was Uncle Tan's, although as usual it was Aunt Gek Kim who did all the talking while he sat beaming at them all through his little gold-rimmed glasses.

Aunt Gek Kim considered that her city-bred niece and nephew would benefit from a week out in the open breathing the fresh country air and studying the world of nature. 'Their environment,' she called it, and, 'the heritage they have a right to explore.' Meili didn't want to explore her heritage, which seemed to mean her father's hometown in Malaysia, which as far as she remembers is bleak and muddy and inhabited only by cows and goats, and country bumpkins. As for the world of nature, she could just imagine it creeping into her tent in the form of caterpillars, ants and spiders and all other crawling things that were no doubt lying in wait.

But she kept quiet until they had gone and she sat with her father and mother on the balcony, watching Zilong play at camping with an old blanket slung over the clothes line.

"They can take Zilong," she offered and thought with pleasure of one week free from the noise and silly jokes of a nine-year-old boy. "Kids like that kind of thing," she added. "They can take him and I'll stay at home with you," she said. That, as far as Meili was concerned, settled the family's holiday plans very nicely. But her father and mother had other ideas.

"My sister and Uncle Tan have gone to a lot of trouble planning this holiday," said Mrs Zhu. "You know your father can't get off work in the school holidays this year and they've put themselves out so that you can still get away and enjoy yourselves."

"That's all right then. I'll enjoy myself a lot better at home."

"You can't know that, Meili," her father put in. "You can't say you don't enjoy something you've never tried."

"I haven't tried sleeping on a bed of nails, but I know I wouldn't enjoy it," said Meili, and heard an outburst of giggles from Zilong's make shift tent. She had thought the remark rather witty of herself.

But Mrs Zhu was not amused. "It isn't just that," she said. "I'm sure you'll enjoy the trip as much as anyone once you're out in the open with all the freedom and all the things Gek Kim was telling us about; but dear, I'll be so much happier if you're there to help take care of boy-boy. You are six years his senior and can be so helpful and responsible when you want to be, and your uncle and aunt will be very busy with the tents and cooking and everything."

Meili pouted. That was always the way of it, because she was older and a girl. It was unfair and she told them so, at some length.

"That's enough, Meili," said her mother. "Nobody's being forced to go on a holiday. If that's the way you feel, you can stay at home, but so will Zilong. If his big sister's too selfish to help keep an eye on him."

There was a shriek of anguish from the makeshift tent and Zilong hurtled out backwards, wailing, "Meili, you've got to come. Make her, Dad. Please, Mum, make her, so we can all go camping with Aunt Gek Kim and Uncle Tan."

"She'll go, Zilong," said Mr Zhu, smiling at Meili, "and she'll love every minute of it."

That was what they all said in the two weeks that followed. Her father, her mother, Aunt Gek Kim, Uncle Tan, and even Zilong, catching the idea from the grown-ups. Whether she shrieked and stamped and slammed doors or just sat looking rebellious, they all said, "But you'll love it when you get there," as if she was the only person who did not know what Meili liked and disliked.

Meili kept on arguing until the last day, but nobody listened. She could do nothing but scowled and thought her own private thoughts about brothers, uncles, aunts and healthy camping holidays. Finally, the morning came and Meili's last battle was lost as Uncle Tan stowed her unwillingly packed suitcase in the station wagon.


From the first paragraph, we learn that ______.

    (A) Uncle Tan is afraid of his wife
    (B) Aunt Gek Kim is more talkative
    (C) Uncle Tan is unhappy his wife is explaining
    (D) Aunt Gek Kim would rather her husband spoke
  2. Who is Aunt Gek Kim ?
    (A) She is Mrs Zhu's sister.
    (B) She is Mr Zhu's sister.
    (C) She is the wife of Mrs Zhu's brother.
    (D) She is the wife of Mr Zhu's brother.

The children were going away with relatives because their parents ______.

    (A) could not go
    (B) were not invited
    (C) wanted to be left at home alone
    (D) asked them to take the children
  4. Zilong played at camping. This shows he was ______.
    (A) childish
    (B) enthusiastic
    (C) obedient
    (D) confused
  5. Meili is ______ years old.
    (A) 6
    (B) 9
    (C) 15
    (D) 16
  6. Which of the following words describes Meili's feelings about the world of nature ?
    (A) disgusted
    (B) terrified
    (C) troubled
    (D) oppressed
  7. "Meili pouted." This shows us that she was ______.
    (A) secretly happy
    (B) very displeased
    (C) disobedient
    (D) selfish
  8. Which of the following is not a reason they gave for wanting Meili to go for the trip ?
    (A) She should be grateful to her uncle and aunt.
    (B) She should go along to help the adults.
    (C) She'll love it once she was there.
    (D) She needed a holiday badly.
  9. "She could do nothing but scowled and thought her own private thoughts about ..." What kind of thoughts do you think they were ?
    (A) amusing
    (B) mischievous
    (C) unkind
    (D) unhappy
  10 The last sentence tells us that Meili ______.
    (A) was quite happy to go
    (B) would continue fighting
    (C) lost her interest in fighting
    (D) went grudgingly for the holidays
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  Answers : 1B   2A   3A   4B   5C   6A   7B   8D   9C   10D

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