Tiger cubs earn their stripes in publishing

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 March, 2011, 12:00am

Twin prodigies Estephe and Perrine Corlin have notched up another success by writing a book in less than two months on how to be super-smart students.

Roar of the Tiger Cubs, which is on sale in local bookstores from today, details the hectic childhood of the Hong Kong-based 10-year-olds, who are swimming champions, judo brown belts, sailing veterans and chess maestros.

It follows Yale law professor Amy Chua's controversial bestseller, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which introduced the tiger nickname into worldwide usage.

The twins' tiger mum, Rosalind Corlin, encouraged them to write the book to inspire other children.

'After the media wrote about us [in mid-January], we got so many questions from other people,' Corlin said. 'Our friend suggested we wrote a book to share our experience.'

She said it was an intimate and entertaining book that was illustrated by the children themselves.

'They talk about their early childhood in Boston and their experiences joining in sports competitions,' said Corlin, who settled in Hong Kong with her family in 2005.

The half-Malaysian and half-French twins wrote most of the 104-page book, in which they described struggling to wake up at 5.30am every day, except Sunday, for swimming practice, and how they scored top marks in the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) offered by the University of Cambridge for 16-year-olds. They scored As for maths in the public exams. The twins were proteges of Hong Kong maths whizz Horatio Boedihardo, who, at 17, was one of Oxford's youngest PhD students.

Estephe devoted a chapter to his grandfather, crediting him with nurturing his interest in maths and science. 'He loves puzzles and is a walking encyclopedia,' he said.

Perrine gave an account of her gruelling training regime for judo, over the past three years.

Corlin also shared some parenting tips in two chapters of the book. With her tailor-made regimen of revision and sports training for her children, Corlin has been cited as the local answer to Amy Chua.

Chua rose to instant fame by making an impassioned argument in favour of a heavily disciplined, demanding approach to motherhood that she characterised as typically Chinese.

'It's not easy to keep up with the twins. They have more energy than me,' Corlin said. 'But they motivate me.'The need to complete the book within such a short period of time further squeezed the family's jam-packed schedules.

'They were extremely busy months for us,' Corlin said.

The challenge of getting all the text, pictures and illustrations ready in less than two months was welcomed by the twins.

Estephe said it was fun to write.

The family self-financed the printing of 1,000 books which will cost HK$99 each. Proceeds from the sales will be donated to Bring Me A Book, a charity which promotes reading in needy communities.