How would you advise a girl like Tess?

In Our Time talked about Tess of D’Urbervilles. I read the book when I was in my Hardy phase a long time ago. At the end of the show, there was a bit of discussion about the rape of Tess. I got really curious and pulled out the book from the shelve and started my re-reading.

Alec’s behaviour is very creepy and very much manipulative and grooming. I can completely appreciate why she would have felt repulsed, confused and even resigned but maybe attracted to Alec. Here was a well off person whom she did not love who was pursuing her relentlessly. The attention is strange but exciting. Unlike Fantine who knew a time when men were kind and their words inviting. Tess did not know kindness and invitation. She knew there was something strange about this Alec but she didn’t listen to her gut feel that this guy is bad. Young girls make mistakes in trusting the wrong people. She was young and she was raped in her sleep. That’s terrible. She had to suffer the death of her rape baby. She suffered society’s prejudice that the woman is the seductress.  Did she realise Alec’s manipulation and groom? Yes, at the end. She doubted his conversion. He proved her right. She was at the last of her rope, so to speak, when she was propositioned again. When under extreme stress, it is understandable she exercised bad judgement again. Under stress, we all try to achieve short term goals then long term goals. However, I do personally think that she should have not engaged Alec both times. If she had kept quiet, he couldn’t goad her into being his mistress. Alec is a total asshole – he just does whatever fancies that enters his head. Angel is also an asshole who cares about what is in his head than the real world. He can’t even see that Tess loves him deeply. He doesn’t know and care what happens when he abandons Tess. He may think he has discharged his responsibilities by making sure she is materially taken care off. He doesn’t know Tess won’t approach his parents. He doesn’t know Tess will follow his orders to the exact. Even Alec knows it!

How would I advise Tess? Don’t engage the men until you observed they are good in behaviour. I would also advise her to trust her gut and think about her desire to be a selfless martyr. I would advise her engage in her thinking side than her feeling side. Initially I thought she was too passive. However,  I saw Les Miserables recently and Fantine was both assertive and attractive and she ended up being a prostitute, being sick and dead.

I felt Hardy’s presence very strong in the story. Hardy wants Tess needs to pay for it (to illustrate his points and themes). He  refers to God, Fate, angels who are suppose to protect Tess and innocent – I don’t know. Is it a Christian thing to expect the innocent to be protected? It’s the bad side of human to want to exploit the innocent. To refrain from exploiting is to practice good morals. Does protection come from God, Fate and angels? Well, in my opinion, God can only protect if everyone does as they are told. There are some people who just didn’t follow or misunderstand the religious text. There is not much God, Fate and angels can do to protect lambs living amongst wolves.

Perhaps Hardy hasn’t been around kids. A 16 year old who has been basically in charge of the family since she was young becomes a lot sharper due to her burdens and responsibilities. She was the parent. She may not know how to parent but she won’t be naive in the extreme. I felt that she exercised poor judgement in continually engaging Alec. I thought that even if Marian was miraculously transported to the start and reminded her that Alec is evil in the shape of a friend, Tess may not pay heed. She wanted to be compassionate and selfless. She wanted to feel the extra guilt that nobody heaped on her. She wanted to be the martyr. (Or maybe Hardy wanted her to be the martyr. She had no choice but be scarificed.) While I believe and understand that in those times, she would have no means of escape because the society gives lower class woman very little rights and considers them the seductress. I felt extremely distressed by the circumstances she was placed in. At the last, I felt Angel wronged her as much as Alec did – she was innocent but she wordlessly accepted their guilt and blame.

She realised the mistake and went on with her life. Alec is really bad. He manipulates an innocent girl to achieve his desires.

 

 

 

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On Weddings

You’ve got the gown. You’ve got the ring.
You’re ready for the wedding.
How about the marriage?

I saw this interesting advertisement right in the Registry of Marriages today. At first I thought, well, isn’t it too late to back out? Then later, I figured out, it’s never to late to recognise you’re not ready for marriage – it may not be a wrong partner.

edmund_blair_leighton_-_signing_the_register

I had a blast at my aunt’s wedding!  We were at the Registry in our fineries before the appointed time of my aunt’s solemnisation. The solemnisation was completed in 15 mins. Family portraits were taken at picturesque spots near the main building. Then there was some lazing about at my aunt’s home before going out to a delicious lunch. We occupied ourselves with nothing more strenuous than sleep and television until thirst set in. My aunt roused herself to make tea. The pound cake (that I made) was sliced to go with tea.

Everyone returned to their earlier activities. I interrupted my reading (Tess of D’Urbervilles) to gazed at the Koreans on television from time to time.

It’s the wedding I wish I had. I love it!

 

 

Noodles

IMG_20160514_185854I can’t stop myself from just testing the taste of all the carby things I make. I ate one and a half bowls of these noodles (made with bread flour) last weekend. The next day, I had one portion left, I made them for Mr TCM’s lunch. I taste tested a small bowl. And two more long strands.

I’m making these for my 40th birthday with the Tipo OO flour. And a carrot cake with 40 candles all lighted up.

What is a hobby?

A hobby was not for enjoyment but a performance of perfection. I must be perfect before I can engage in something. I carried this belief with me from when I was a child.

It is utterly stupid and illogical. I did not know how I arrived at this conclusion. If someone had described this ludicrous notion and ascribed it to me, I would politely reply, “How interesting.” The conversation would turn to some other topics. I couldn’t see this was my practice. When I was little, I enjoyed writing during English composition classes. I gained a reputation for being good at it. I started feeling that I could not publish something until I was good. It was impossible for me to write a story. I couldn’t get it perfected. If I wrote a story, nobody ever read it. I only manage to get one story published. The main character was also a person who managed to be perfect without effort. I enjoyed drawing but when I discovered that my drawing teacher didn’t think I was good, I lost interest. I write discovered as if it was a fact but it was more like an inkling of a suspicion. Overnight, heated by the suspicion of imperfection, my interest evaporated. This strange notion extended to activities I didn’t enjoy – piano practice and school work. It’s one thing to know I have this illogical quirk. It’s quite another to persuade myself away from this usual thought process that I have to produce something perfect out of the time spent. Is a hobby to produce a perfect product or is it a journey of attaining perfection?

Frugal but vain

I am not a naturally frugal person. One thing I have been very proud of my success is cheaper and better alternatives with regard to skin care and makeup.

Prior to learning DIY skincare, I was purchasing off the shelf drugstore brands. It was a difficult adjustment for me. I was still trying out if a certain cream work or did not work. DIY was amazing. I was using skin care products that was comparatively inexpensive and my skin no longer clogged. I manage to eliminate all spending on facials because I didn’t need it. I also decided during my learning, to stick to ingredients that were proven to be effective or possibly shown to be effective in some studies.  I’m not great at expanding my DIY repertoire. I stick to a couple of things I always use because experimenting is about buying another hope in jar.

There is an advantage to clear skin. I have lesser interest in the pursuit of perfection of my skin. I am no longer interested in whitening and ensure optimal hydration. If something is not quite right, it is obvious if it is diet, or poor health. It made my life simpler.

Another thing that made my life simpler was going back to my skin tone. When I was 16 I was analysed as a winter. Recently, I came across this colour analysis and ever since then, I no longer needed a myriad of eye and lip colour. I used the same colours daily. It was lovely being boring. It simplified my options. I no longer have to try out looks or eye colours for an occasion. I used the same colours – slightly darker and more dramatic – than my work make up.

 

 

 

Weird things post baby

The funny thing about after giving birth is the odd changes after delivery that doesn’t go away. Like my previously straight hair is now wavy. My nose stopped enjoying fresh citrusy scents and now seek comforting sandalwood smells.

I walked into Penhaligon’s. It was fun to talk to the sales people in the perfume line about different smells. I tried a few scents and they were mostly very floral and I was seeking a deeper smell. The lady gave me Elixer which was very pleasant Frankincense smell. It strikes me as very manly at first from the spicy note. It felt more feminine 2 hours into the wear. I think it’s the rose? They seem to love flowers there. CK Tangs carry Tam Dao. It smells of creamy sandalwood. Very feminine, soft scent. It doesn’t become something else – which some perfumes like to do. It’s just a simple sandalwood smell. I would buy if not for the $201 price tag. I tried to work on my own perfume of sandalwood, white amber and a rosy . It is too much synthetic rose – which I don’t quite enjoy. The sandalwood alone makes me think of a wooden cupboard. Perhaps for my birthday ‘edition’ I would mix sandalwood and white amber alone.