Eleanor attends Bible study at Carol Tai's house. Carol has worked tirelessly to restore her family's name after her husband made their fortune "the dirty way" (1.2.1). We don't think that means doing laundry.
Carol lives in the "Star Trek House" (which sounds amazing), but her bedroom is in the pool pavilion to keep her secure (1.2.2). This pool pavilion, by the way, is equated to the Taj Mahal for all its white travertine glory.
Because Eleanor is Carol's oldest friend, she feels entitled to bypass the common way of entering the home and instead walks through the kitchen so she can listen to the young maids gush over how young she looks.
The other Bible study members are there: Daisy Foo, Lorena Lim, and Nadine Shaw. They sprawl about the room while Eleanor gets a seat on the Qing dynasty bed. (It might look a little like this: https://goo.gl/images/KQZA5X).
Carol has always deferred to Eleanor because Eleanor grew up speaking English first. The other women defer to her because she married up the best.
We learn a bit more about Eleanor's friends:
Daisy Foo married a rubber magnate, is the oldest of the group, and insists on using her King James Bible.
Nadine Shaw flips through the pages of Singapore Tattle, a social tabloid for pictures of her and her daughter Francesca, the "Shaw Food's heiress" (1.2.6).
Nadine celebrates Carol's presence in the tabloid, though Carol is embarrassed.
Nadine and Lorena gossip about a young woman who is getting fat, but also inherited a "small fortune" of 700 million. Small? Do they mean 700 million pennies?!
Eleanor reveals her sister-in-law made a deal with all the magazine editors not to publish photos of Astrid because "they'd rather die than appear in print" (1.2.13)
Nadine doesn't seem to know the different between being a snob and wanting privacy.
Carol mentions Astrid donated to her fundraiser. Even though it was anonymous, Carol knows it was hers…and it was the biggest check of all.
A pretty maid brings out a fancy chest containing Carol's latest travel souvenir: jewels from Burma.
Lorena warns that rubies from Burma could be synthetically altered (her husband knows his jewels).
Daisy corrects everyone for calling it Burma instead of Myanmar.
Eleanor's son Nick comes up in convo and Daisy asks what "Old Lady" will think about Nick's "guest" (1.2.29).
Clueless is Eleanor. Everyone else is not.
Lorena can't imagine why Eleanor has a hard time believing Nick has a girlfriend since he is the dreamiest of dreamy (plus rich rich rich) and rues her "good-for-nothing daughter" for not attracting him (1.2.35).
With relish, Daisy shares that the girl is from New York.
Eleanor and her friends speculate about her heritage, tossing out the horrid possibility that she could be from Mainland China or Taiwan. Gasp!
Nadine cackles about "Taiwanese tornadoes," women who swoop in, make men fall for them, then disappear with all their money.
"Looking every portly inch the caricature of an Asian tycoon," Carol's husband, Dato Tai Toh Lui walks in and warns the women about a company that is going to collapse.
The women spring to action, calling their brokers to sell their stock.
Carol, the devout Christian, prays to Jesus to watch over her friends as they sell their stock.
Eleanor prays that her son is not bringing home a Taiwanese girl.