"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


1. Do not read a blog with the blogger knowingly present.

2. Do not directly ask questions about a blog or the content of a blog.

3. For fuck's sake, do not fucking swear, WRITE IN CAPITAL LETTERS, spel tinges rillie badli or be rude when you comment. It shits me.

4. Bloggers are real people. They occasionally write shit, typos, doggerel and silliness. Bloggers do not have editors and spellcheck don't work so well in a world where TTFN ROFL LOL LMAO AWOL BRB SJRTMSRTHSERHSBFRGSAWRAHRJNASRD is considered satisfactory communication. Take it all in good humour.

5. Do not post real names, addresses, phone numbers or other personal information.

6. If you don't like it, don't read it.

7. Have fun. Smile. Be happy.

gifted education.

The best thing that has happened to me was when I was removed, at the age of twelve, from my mainstream government primary school to high school for the academic elite.

Now, it's not as dreamboat as it sounds. There are still crap teachers and dumb people. But the EPIC AWESOME THING is that there are actually SMART PEOPLE and GOOD TEACHERS here and there, every now and again. IT'S SO UNBELIEVABLY AWESOME.

Another really cool thing is that I've been able to 'tailor' - bullshit - my entire high school curriculum. I can do more of what I like, and what I'm good at, and less of what I HATE WITH A PASSION.

There are some people who don't like the idea of academically exclusive school. They think we don't deserve special treatment, that we're no better than the rest, that it's not an average child's fault that they're, well, average, etc. Some shit like that. But I'm all for it. And I'd say that even if I didn't get into an academic school, even if, in the future, my children don't get into an academic school. I just think it's so important.

Lets look at the emotional side of things. It is inevitable that a gifted child is going to be bullied at some point in their lives. People feel threatened and put out by smart-arses and teachers pets. Teachers hate them too, for some reason. Now, bullying may not affect everybody drastically, but to some it can cause great psychological damage, social problems, and even mental illnesses and suicide. Is it not every child's right to have a safe and secure learning environment? The theory of academic elite schools is that like minded peers don't beat the shit out of each other so much. 

Another thing is that there are specialist schools for everything: sport, music, art, languages, etc. If you have a talent, you need proper training; any fool on the street knows that. If you want to be a plumber or a chef or a carpenter, you need a proper apprenticeship. An academically elite schooling is an apprenticeship for the academic world. 

Three, we were born this way.

Four, a gifted child has the equivalent of an IQ of 130 or higher. I say this because IQ tests are neither an accurate or conclusive way of testing intelligence; nor are they particularly effective for children. I'll put it out there that my IQ is only about 120-125, because an IQ test is numbers and patterns based and, well, I'm more Shakespeare than Hawking. An 'average' IQ is 100; a 'retarded' IQ is 70 or lower. This means that the difference between an average and a gifted child is the same as the difference between an average and a retarded child. I don't know anyone who thinks it's either fair or healthy for a retarded and an average child to be educated together in the exact same environment under the exact same conditions, so why do we impose this onto the gifted and talented?

Some say that academic selection, grade skipping and enriched programs spoil a child, and alienate him from society. But the thing is, we're weirdos anyway. Nothing people do or say is going to change the fact that gifted people will always be treated differently, for better or for worse.

In the end, it's a...strange experience being a 'gifted' child. You grow up knowing you're different, but pretending you're not. It's my worst kept secret; it's my pride and joy and my greatest shame.  

born this way.

Often people tell me that my talents 'don't count' because, you know, I don't really work for them.

It's often true. I have been known to scribble my essays down on the night before, and to do all my reading on the way to school. Well, I can't really do that now that I'm in year eleven, but I did it rather prodigiously until then. I've never in my life studied for a spelling test or struggled to read a book. I've had a sound grasp of language for as long as I can remember, but I can never in my life remember working for that.

But it's still a talent, nonetheless, and I deserve all the trophies and rewards and praise I can get my hands on for it, because I was born this way.

People are born pretty - I happen not to have been born pretty. Those people don't work their pimples off, they never had pimples in the first place! They're the ones strutting down the catwalk and being cooed at by lovestruck boys, not me. People are born smart, or they're born dumb. People are born pretty, or they're born ugly. And people pick on people when they're dumb, or ugly, even though it's really not their fault. So it should work vice versa.

People are born athletic - sure, they might work for it, but there is no way in hell that I will be an Olympian or a footballer, yet there are people who seem to be born with a cricket bat in their hands. We have to understand that sometimes we have things that we don't work for, but because it is natural for us to pick on natural shortcomings, we should also strive to praise natural gifts as well. 

I've had my fair share of down time for my slights and faults and shortcomings. I know I'm too short, too tubby, too snappy, not great at maths, and not the hottest chick on the block. And it's no secret; people delight in telling me, berating me, scolding me, punishing me. But I can write, and I can write damn well - but people look the other way and say it 'doesn't really count'. How fair is that!?

Feeling smug.

it turns out a lot more people Know about this blog than i think.

i have been shamelesslY promoting my bLog sincE it launched a few years back, but i never thOught anyone paid attention to it. But i never knew that a lot of people who read this bloG are people i know.

my parents reaD this blog rEgularly, aNd tell me off when I swear too much.

the propaganda minister iS one of my classmates, and calls me 'young one' with the pretext that i am a year younger and a foot shorter than him. he studies politics and literature with me, and is a little bit of a history nut. actually, he's Just nUts.

belephant is, you may have gueSsed, cristy - my parTner in crime.

i Am almost sure that the boy, also kNown as rochester, reads this as well. bsc read this when it first began, and k has been knOwn To stalk tHis occasionally - rEfer to oldeR posts from a more PathetIc version of me. actually, i've long forgotten why he was ever Called bsc in The first place.

the rest of them appear to be the dUmb bums, the peRoxide blondEs, the wannabes and The queen bees Of my years of schooling. i highly douBt they Understand one iota of what's on this blog; i'm pRetty sure the majority of them caN't read. sometimes i get to school people are like 'oy! why the hell did you write that oN yOur $%$&#* blog!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!' but As i said, anonyMity is bliss. and i'm feeling a little smug about that.

what has cOnstantly bUgged me over the years is that i have giveN douchebags and hearTbreakers the right tO anonymity. there have been three i have been itching to name; but perhaps only one truly, utterly deserves it - i mean, they all do, but this one more than the rest. i wonder iF there's a way around that? ;). when you're being bullied, there is no anoyMity; there iS no privacy - it's all humiliatioN anD degredation. when you're being dUmped, the whole world knows; the whole world knows that you put your hand in the fire but he didn't want you, and you weren't good enough for hiM. when you feel alone and isolated, you're still not nameless; my name has been used and abused by the young and the heartless. i'm young and bitter, but hey, it makes my writing better. and in the end, that's all that matters to me. the only thing that matters to me in this world is what i write and what i write about.

over the years you learn a lot of things. you learn never to trust your father to wash wool. you learn that the biggest conundrum you will ever face is 'to c cuP or not to c cup, that Is the questioN'. you learn that boyfriends are a poor substitute for mummy huGs and mummy cooking. you learn that heels are painful but Going barefoot In a mosh pit full of heels is a bad idea. you learn that being five foot three isn't as bad as some people make out. you learn to neVer usE your Sisters 'drY and damaged hair' shampOo by mistake on adolescent oily hair. yoU learn that the british have the best sense of humour anD that the chaser boys are epIc. you learn that you should never paint your nails on a bloGging spree aNd that everythIng can be cured wiTh chicken soup, honeY and ginseng.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Things That Make Me Asian.

Recently I blogged about being a lousy Asian, but then I realized; I'm much more Asian than I think, I just don't always notice it.


1. I feel intensely uncomfortable wearing shoes around the house, or anyone else's house.

I have never in my life been allowed to wear shoes inside the house; it is a very Asian tradition. I have fond memories of crawling on my hands and knees whenever I forgot something but was too lazy to take my shoes off. When I was in Korea my uncle's apartment had a small room at the door dedicated to taking shoes on and off, and when entering more traditional restaurants or public rooms within restaurants you were expected to abandon your shoes at the door. Special shoes are worn in the toilet and are left at the doorway after using to prevent germs from the toilet floor spreading around the house. I always feel very strange walking around people's houses with my shoes on.

2. Alternative therapy for the win. 

Our cupboard is full of strange potions that smell like chicken marinade for insect bites, bruises, tight muscles, colic and stomache ache - Asian babies never have colic. My maternal grandmother in particular is a big fan of alternative therapy, and my paternal grandmother swears by the traditional Korean remedies of honey and ginseng for, essentially, everything; whenever we go there we bring lots of premium Australian honey and in turn we are given 20 years supply of ginseng tablets. Being Asian, we are also introduced to the faithful worship of the mystical powers of chicken soup, in which are hidden all sorts of lovely stuff including, but not limited to fish maw (stomachs), grubs that look like maggots, starfish, shark fin and sea coconut. I have never had an illness that could not be fixed by a big batch of steaming chicken or beef bone soup. Whenever I'm sick, I always amuse myself by making a big pot of congee; or the lazy-girl version, which is essentially rice drowned with boiled water and eaten with canned fish. Like most kids, I hate pharmacy cough medicines that smell like vodka and strawberries and taste like RAW HYDROCHLORIC ACID BEING TIPPED DOWN YOUR THROAT - but unlike most kids, I have an alternative; a thick syrup made of loquat and honey extract which is strangely addictive. I know most people think that this is hokum and yes, I have shown up at school smelling like a chicken wing; but I don't care. This shit works.

3. I eat chicken feet.

Every Chinese mother dreams of fighting with her children for the last chicken foot; I hope I can share with my children the intrinsic joy that is wrestling a foot and spitting out the bones. Chicken feet are a delicacy from the Guandong/Canton province of China, and is an essential part of any dim sum/yum cha experience. As I understand it, the chicken feet are deep fried and steamed to make them puffy, then slowly stewed and simmered in a sauce of black beans, soybean paste and sugar. I suppose it's like haggis or snails; if you don't think about what it is it doesn't bother you; it never bothered me that I eat feet on a regular basis. Chicken feet do not have a lot of meat, but are very gelatinous; think of it as anti aging, because chicken gelatin contains lots of collagen. I have been eating chicken feet for as long as I can remember, but to be honest, the best part is watching the look of SHEER HORROR on people's faces when the see them.

4. Fueled by Ramen.

To be honest, two minute Maggi used to taste like salt and now, 'new and improved', it tastes like celery. Our cupboard is stuffed with noodles in various sinus-clearing flavours such as Tom Yum, 'rich and tasty soup', beef and - get this - one of them is just called SPICY. Proper Korean ramen is cooked for five minutes, with an egg cracked in with 2.5 minutes to go, and eaten with chopsticks and kimchi. Bowl and washing up optional.

5. Rice. Ooh-Rah. 

We eat rice at least once a day. Even the dogs eat rice. When we're not eating rice we're eating rice congee, rice noodles, rice cakes...

6. The wok is my mother's best friend.

For as long as I can remember my mother has had an enormous iron wok that was used and abused on a daily basis. It is used for absolutely everything. I'm pretty sure it has a mindreading function, too.

7. I am bogan in a very un-bogan way.

I love bargains. I cannot contemplate spending more than $20 per head at a family dinner. Food is good, life is good, but both must be cheap, lah.

Oh, I must add something else:

8. Don't be silly. There no God lah.

Now this might sound slightly strange, given the ridiculous SPIKE in Christianity across Asia, but it is true; only Asian parents like mine could be so hardened and jaded towards the idea of God. There are no greater skeptics than a pair of Asian parents in a philosophical debate in their second language with their lit-freak daughter. I worship more sentient things, like food. And food. And food.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I read about four blogs regularly. They are, in no particular order: Mama Natural, Passionate Homemaking, Karen Cheng's Fashion and Life, and more recently, MetroDad.

Mama Natural is a blog run by Genevieve Damascus, with her partners in crime Mike and GriffyD (her husband and son). She uploads videos twice weekly about natural living and bringing up her adorable son, and she's very, very, cool.

I honestly have no idea why I read Passionate Homemaking. It's written by a bunch of give-it-all-up-for-the-LORD women, and is mostly managed by Lindsay Edmonds, who is 'first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, writer and doula'. Exactly my cup of tea.  I think the real reason why I read it is to open my mind up to new things, to new people; to learn from others and to learn to accept them, the way they are, even if I don't agree.

Karen Cheng's Fashion and Life is perhaps the most famous and well-known blogs from Perth. Karen Cheng is a graphic designer/artist/illustrator/SAHM who blogs regularly about fashion and her life with her husband Andrew and her three ADORABLE Scottish/Chinese boys Callum, Sean and Liam.

MetroDad is written by Pierre Kim, an American-Korean living in Manhattan who blogs about life as a single father to his adorable daughter The Peanut and his ex-wife BossLady.

Originally, I thought I could relate a lot to Karen Cheng. And in ways, I do - but she's more a projection of the future. I enjoy reading about her life because I can see myself in it, one day. But not yet.

Actually, the blogger I can relate to the most is MetroDad. He is a kick-ass writer, and he's given me faith. He's given me faith that no matter how weird, alien, bizarre strange and sometimes downright shitty it is to grow up as a foreigner, an outsider, a pariah; life goes on, and life is pretty good, too. But he's much stronger than I am. He's recognised that he didn't have the most idyllic childhood, or the most perfect parents; he's open about it, but more than that, he accepts it. He's resolved to be a more understanding, conventional, openly loving parent than his Korean father was. From one ABK to another.   

Flyin' Solo

Cristy celebrated our Year Eleven Dinner Dance with a toast: SINGLE LIFE SUCKS!!!

However, mosh pits really are for flying solo, because when you're in the middle of a mosh pit you are simultaneously That Idiot Trying To Dance, That Sweaty Chick and TEH SEX. If you're with someone, you are only allowed to be the latter.

We singletons ate like there was no tomorrow, drank about fifty litres of Sprite, and danced the night away in the arms of about fifty different boys. Okay, maybe not fifty. But the poor 'taken' girls hardly dared to look at their guyfriends, lest Mr Boyfriend sees.

Really loud music allows you to do all that you want to do as a bitter spinster that you're not normally allowed to do around people with unimpaired hearing: 'obliviously' playing the third wheel, bitching about various couples, etc. 

The missuses stood, with their boyfriends, shoes on, hair up, awkwardly bobbing to the music.

They also miss out on the beautiful moments: sharing food with your girlfriends, taking pictures with your girlfriends, dancing with your girlfriends, singing 'Firework' with your girlfriends, bitching with your girlfriends.

Boyfriends can't do that.

And that's why I am flyin' solo.
My back hurts.

My legs hurt.

My feet hurt.

I've got the most alarming sore throat; I think from the lungs up I am RED PUFFY AND SWOLLEN.

I am regressing back to Year Nine Slobbery - pjs, blogs and YouTube.

I am on a steady diet of honeyed water, heavily sweetened tea and cough syrup.

I was stepped on about twenty times with killer stilettos, I had a massive foot cramp right in the middle of the dance floor and I have a disturbing cut on my leg accompanied by a strangely green bruise.

But it was all worth it.

I love parties.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

A mother gives her child medicine and tells him to suck it up. This is the harsh mother.

A mother gives her child sugar and waits 'until he grows up' for the medicine. This is the spoiling mother.

A mother coaxes, begs, threatens, bribes her child to take medicine, to no avail. This is the weak mother.

A mother gives her child neither sugar nor medicine. This is the bad mother.

A mother gives her child a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. This is the good mother.

The Secret World of a Propaganda Minister.

I have estimated that I have perhaps 100 steady readers.

Of them, I suppose a dozen or so are people I know. Mostly people I love, and people I hate. And The Propaganda Minister. He's in a class of his own.

I do urge you to check out his blog, The Secret World of a Propoaganda Minister (I wonder where he got that from?). The Propaganda Minister is an extremely intelligent, capable, witty political young man - although not as much as he thinks he is - and has some, um, unusual opinions. And some lovely graphics of our school principal and the Prime Minister.

FYI, TPM, Ein Joll looks exactly like Umbridge.

I cave.

Tonight I am performing at the Perth Concert Hall in the WAYS Alumni Concert.

It's a sort of last hurrah for my formal music career.

When I first got involved in the concert, I swore that I wouldn't put any more time into it than I had to. When I found out that the dress code was black, I decided to wear velvet trackpants. Because I'm a bogan.

But today at the rehearsal all the girls were talking excitedly about dresses (black?) and lipstick and heels, and I sort of caved.

So I have fashioned a dress out of a black shirt, school tights, a lace camisole, a belt and one of my mum's pre-pregnancy business skirts. It's not one of my most fashion-forward moments, but...

Oh well. Lipstick solves everything.


A few weeks back we had an English assignment that was pretty much open topic. Whatever we wanted. And I really, so desperately wanted to write something funny. Black comedy. Blue humour. Irony. Sarcasm. Etc.

It didn't work, and I got the bone-shatteringly appalling mark of 88%.

But now I'm here, bored out of my mind, trying to write a proper straight-laced academic essay on Emma - which is perhaps the most boring book in existence despite my attempts to say otherwise. This is not the best essay I've written, but it's mind-blowingly hilarious. It reads like a parody - mostly because I'm pissed off, and because I've written the majority of this essay in varying amounts of pain; antibiotic-induced nausea, sleep deprivation, stomach ache, back ache, hunger, PPMS (Pre-Pre Menstrual Syndrome) - this has made everything I write have a slight edge to it, the kind of dry humour I so desperately wanted a few weeks back.

I love it. I'm just not entirely sure it's appropriate.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

And So The Uncool Ship Sank.

You may have noticed that there is no longer a reactions bar under my posts.

To be honest, I am rather sad to part with that.

But I know that it was mostly just being used as an ego basher, and as unorthodox and eccentric and, God forbid, intelligent as I am, I know I don't deserve that.

Now, I'm quite resilient to this. I have been bullied since I was five years old. But I have school to do the ego bashing. I have peroxide blonde girls with bubblegum and bad deodorant to make me feel like shit. And I get more than my fair share, believe me. So when I come home and my baby is throwing the shits, I've had enough.

The reactions bar was installed for people too lazy to comment. So that I could gage what people found interesting, and what made people's eyes bleed. But now all it shows is the small percentage of people who have a brain and appreciate my work and where I'm coming from, even if they don't agree, and the majority, who for one reason or another hate my guts but don't have the brains to figure out that my blog and the opinions I publish will never change and will never stop pissing them off.

It's a sad reflection on society, and the cybersphere. When I first started blogging when I was twelve I never had to put up with this shit. I didn't have to worry about people were saying or commenting; mostly because nobody read my blog, but anyways. But then, that was back when I naively assumed that most people have a brain and a vague sense of decorum.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


you are all store-bought
instant gratification.

but there is no depth,
no complexity;
merely sickening sweetness.
i the connoisseur
am left wanting,
just searching,
never finding.

you're sweetly wrapped
but not worth my time;
a penny today, tomorrow a dime.

i am not
as you are.
i know what i am.
my caramel has battlescars
but i am not afraid. 
can your chocolateyes look at mine
and repeat that?
chocolate melts in fire.

you are
you are a beautiful sculpture
and then put together.

so hollow.
so empty.
so shallow.
you do not seek as i do,
you are scared of what i know.
and i know you better than you think.

you make me sick,
but you cannot see pain,
because you are afraid of flame.
all you see
from me
is a sugarcoatedsmile.
and a chocolatetear.

so go find your
i am made of stronger stuff
than brittle

CONTEXT: I offered a boy a chocolate because, you know, I don't like chocolate. But such is the world that Random Acts of Kindness are not appreciated. He probably thought I poisoned it. I thought he was being a bit shallow, and I got offended. So I wrote a poem. As you do.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Damn You, Plutarch.

Cristy and I read Ancient History. D and E do not. D does not do Lit, either.

Cristy: Have you found your sources yet?

Me: No. You?

Cristy: No.

E: What's this for?

Cristy: I can't find any ancient sources!

Me: I know! I found Suetonius, that's it. Suetonius, Suetonius, Suetonius.


D: Whuzzgoinon?

Cristy: I found Suetonius and some modern dude.

Me: Which modern dude?

D: What's Suetonius?

E: What about Plutarch?

Cristy: We're not allowed to do Plutarch.

D: What's Plutarch?

Me: I was trying to find Cicero, but all he does is ramble about some other shit.

Cristy: Suetonius was talking about Cicero talking about Caesar.

Me: Helpful.

D: What's Cicero?

Me: I have so much work to do. Have you started your Austen essay yet?

Cristy: No.

D: What's Austen?

Me: Are you doing Marxist or feminist?

Cristy: Marxist.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Random Things About Me (that you may know from being a serial follower)

1. I've never broken a single bone or had a single cavity in an adult tooth

2. I've never actually read an Austen novel cover to cover, although I have read about 85% of Pride and Prejudice. I've also watched both the 1995 and 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and the 2009 adaptation of  Emma.

3. I never read more than one chapter of the first book in the year nine reader in English - the year that I skipped a grade.

4. For a hospital baby I have an extremely low pain threshold. In my defence, I also have quite a high pain tolerance, which is a really stupid combination in my opinion.

5. I've never actually had a crush on an Asian guy. I have racist hormones.

6. I've had this hunch for quite a long time that I'll probably end up with someone white, ten years older than me and a math professor. I don't really know why.

7. I want two or three children: two girls, one boy.

8. I have an elder sister, who is seventeen and skinny and pretty. In contrast, I am fifteen, short and kinda dumpy. I think she would rather walk over hot coals and eat a live whale than write as much as I do.

9. I found out last year that I am allergic to opiates. Something you only really find out if you're a hospital baby or a drug addict.

10. My family (paternal side) has one of the oldest extant printed genealogies in East Asia, with over forty generations recorded. We are directly descended from Silla and Koryo nobility and our family include several queens and concubines to the Joseon kings - so we are related to the pretenders to the crown of the Empire of Korea.

11. I am a former makeup addict. Now I only wear it when I feel like it.

12. I have weaned myself off chocolate and most confectionary.

13. The first M rated movie I watched was Mean Girls, when I was about eight.

14. I only watch three shows on a regular basis: Mythbusters, The Big Bang Theory and The Gruen Transfer.

15. I don't like wearing shoes.

16. I have a phobia of waiters and air hostesses.

17: The most played song on my iPod is 'Playing God' by Paramore.

18. Out of my Top 25 Most Played playlist, 16 songs are Taylor Swift.

19. Some people are a little confused about my grade skipping. Essentially, in year eight I did year nine English, and in year nine I did year ten English and Social Science. Now I am a full year eleven.

20. I kissed goodbye maths and science with a 'C' grade in year ten state-level maths and an 'A' in Perth Modern School year nine standard science last year.

21. I have trypanophobia, which is a fear of hypodermic injections.

22. I have been an atheist since I was about thirteen years old.

23. I have Asperger's Syndrome, which is a higher-order autism. I get pretty weird obsessions - Enid Blyton books, Elizabeth I, Tudor history, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, Korean history and now...babies. Not the most socially accepted obsession for a fifteen year old.

24. I don't wash my hair on the weekends. I don't really know why.

25. I am completely desensitized to blood. I have quite a strong stomach for blood, but I am squeamish about surgical procedures for personal reasons.

26. I love to cook, and I'm very bad at it.

27. I know how to knit, and I'm very bad at it

28. I used to tell people that I'm allergic to eggplant and mushroom so that I wouldn't have to eat it. But now I've encountered a slight problem; I LOVE shiitake! What am I supposed to do!?

29. As much as I whinge about not having a boyfriend, I don't actually know what I'd do with one. I've seriously only considered what would happen if I were in a relationship involving marriage and babies.

30. This list is much longer than I wanted it to be. I'm just experimenting with different kinds of posts and their popularity. Feel free to attack the uncool button if you NEVER WANT A LIST LIKE THIS EVER AGAIN.


I read a lot of blogs, mostly written mostly by women, and yes, most of them are mothers.

I just have a more mature taste in blogs.

(insert inappropriate joke here)

What I don't understand is all these perfectly capable women throwing all sense of individuality or, I don't know, sanity out the window the second they trip down the aisle, and letting men have the final say in such intimite and intrinsically feminine issues such as childbirth plans and breastfeeding. I mean ????

They talk alot about submission; and how 'submission and leadership are two sides of the same coin' and how 'submitting is not degrading'. Last time I checked, I'm pretty sure it was.

They talk alot about 'evangelical feminism' and how it's coming between women and 'God's word'. They make me sound like some angsty lesbian slut who's going to exclusively feed her adopted children soda and banana milk or something.

I have nothing against them for being Christian, or housewives. I just can't stand that they let their husbands have so much say in stuff that is really their own personal business. Are their husbands going to tell them what contraception to use? Which tampons to use? When does it end!?


Lactivism: the promotion of breastfeeding, and the prevention of discrimination against breastfeeding mothers.

The world has become a sad, sad place. No sex before marriage. Cover up, neck to ankles. Don't breastfeed your children. Men can do what they want, but no, women have to be on their knees praying that a nonexistant God saves them from nonexsitant sin. Etc, etc.

Well, I gotta say, I'm a lactivist, a feminist, and a topfreedomist.

I'm a person; I'm a woman; I'm a teenager. The boy meets girl instinct has thoroughly kicked in. It's sad that, in this day and age, women are not accepted as sexual beings; we are seen as sexy only for the enjoyment of men. Men are allowed to screw around, perv on anything that moves, and we're essentially nuns. I'm a PERSON. I have a BRAIN and NERVE ENDINGS. You do the biology.

I'm a topfreedomist because I believe that breasts have been overly sexualized and that they should be put in their original state; normal parts of the anatomy, and tools for feeding young. It's ridiculous that men and boys can walk around top free and women can't. I want to live in a world where we can wear, or not wear, anything we like; man, woman, child.

There is so much shame surrounding the body, and bodily functions. We keep things - condoms, tampons, breast pumps - hidden, like secret, illicit items that must never ever ever see the light of day. I have periods. Get over it. I have breasts. Get over it. One day, I'll have a baby. Get over it. And when I have a baby, I would like to breastfeed him/her. GET OVER IT. We are afraid of sex and sexuality and the beauty of reproduction, but we've extended that to something as pedestrian as EATING. Do we throw a blanket over ourselves every time we eat a sandwich? Why are we so ashamed, so afraid? I'm not ashamed or afraid of what I can do; I'm not ashamed or afraid of what my body can do.

Split Personality.

Many people comment that I am uber-intellectual on this blog and I am a completely silly nutcase in real life.

There are many reasons for this. Firstly, I find it much easier to be silly in real life and serious when I write. It doesn't often work the other way around. Silly writing is a pain to write and a pain to read, and serious people are boring.

Secondly, I was forever picked on for being sullen, depressed, grumpy, unappreciative, etc. whenever I wasn't in my TWENTY FOUR HOUR SMILING MODE. So now I'm almost permanently in that state. I blame the education system and LAME ASS PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS. People don't like hearing about me whinge about PMS, about gay rights, about how I'm shit-scared of childbirth and how I have depression, OCD and Asperger's syndrome. But they like reading about it, for some reason.

Thirdly, I'm the youngest child. I'm used to babying it up a bit. And skipping a grade and hanging out with people older than me doesn't really help.

Fourthly, I grew up in a very unintellectual environment, where people were openly hostile towards anyone with a brain. I learned to cover it up, until I discovered this thing called the internet where HEY! I'M ANONYMOUS!!!

In the end, it's partly about insecurity. I'm not really myself either on this blog or in real life. Nobody, not the people who know me or the readers who follow my blog, truly knows who I am - only I really know that. From a young age I was taught to cover up, lie through my teeth, pretend, act, charade. I'm sick of it, but it's almost set in stone. 

You know
I probably should be
Just a little bit upset
About all the 'uncools'
That have been popping up everywhere
Around my blog
Considering how sensitive I can be
And how susceptible I am to
Bouts of depression.

It's very hard to be upset
And piss meself laughing
At the same time.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The smarts.

You know what's shit? Being smarter than average.

Now I have almost no problem with it. I'm smart. That's that. I can do things that most other people can't. Woohoo.

But it was really hard when I was younger. It was the badly-kept secret; and I didn't even know why it had to be a secret. I knew some kids were smart, some were pretty, some were good at sport. But nobody was supposed to know that I was smart.

Of course they did, and of course they resented it, and of course the teachers did all they could to make sure that they wouldn't be sad because the short dumpy Asian was smarter than them. But does anyone stop and think about how the smart kid feels? I knew people were taller than me, prettier than me, faster than me, stronger than me, and I hated that. But I got over it. We cushion average kids from the elite so much that they resent them for life.

Going to high school was the first time I said 'what the hell' and dived myself face first into whatever intelligence had to offer. I started talking more about bigger things: religion, politics, social policy. I skipped a grade, and now I rake in rewards. I'm in the Sphinx Society.

And I'm loving it. I'm really proud of myself; I'm really happy at the moment. But at the same time, I look back at all the sad times and teary nights and bouts of depression that this has caused, and I almost start to think 'Is it worth it?'

I try really hard not to show off. I just tell it like it is. I didn't choose to be intelligent; sometimes I don't even like being intelligent. But I am, and that's that. And if that means that I get into Perth Modern School and you don't, then so be it. You're probably going to the Olympics and I most definitely am not. Why must I always be attacked, penalized, scolded, for something I can't control?

All I want to do is write. All I want is for people to understand that I came to this Earth, as I am, and I do my utmost to respect that other people did too. Whenever I look at athletes winning gold, or models strutting their stuff on the catwalk I always think 'sigh...I could have been there, and I probably wouldn't be bullied in the process' but I know that my place is in the world of academia; the world of literature. I know the closest I'll come to being a celebrity is an author - but hey, book signings and movies are EPIC. I know my place is in the mystical realms of babies and motherhood. But I also know that my place should be in a world where I'm not picked on, bullied, forced to keep secrets. But I am. And that's that.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I should not be judged by the land I walk on.

I try not to take sides in war. War is unnatural and bloodthirsty and comes between all that is natural: husband and wife, brother and sister, mother and child.

But regardless what side I am on, or what side I am supposed to be on, I weep for the innocent who die in war. It doesn't matter who they are or where they come from; to die blameless is a terrible thing. Wars are battles between countries, not civilians. I mourn the many who perish in the ongoing Afghan/Iraqi War. I mourn the many who lost their lives in 9/11. I mourn those who died not from fighting, but from being in the wrong place at the wrong time; because who knows? I might be next, and I am not some bloody soldier, I am not a murderer; I have the right to die, but I do not deserve to be killed.

We cannot be judged by the colour of our skin or the place we are born into. I for one do not want to be judged by the land I walk on. If I'm Australian, then that is that. But more importantly, I am a woman, I am a person, I am a child. Is that not more important than where I live? Why should I be judged by what my leader chooses to do? We do not choose our leaders; we do not choose our lives. But we can choose how we treat others; with contempt, or with compassion. I prefer to choose the latter.

Being a Bad Asian.

I've always been proud of being Asian. There are the perks of being Asian: black POKER STRAIGHT hair, never having to fake tan, a distinct lack of (or at least reduced amount of) body hair, BIG RED UGLY PIMPLES only looking KINDA BIG RED and UGLY.

But I've never pretended that I wasn't a bad Asian. I love Asian food and I love wearing my hanbok (amazing to cover random lumps and bumps that appear in the gory glory of adolescence) but that is literally about it.

I am an English nut, and this doesn't work so well with the all-Asians-are-good-at-math stereotype. Hell, I couldn't write numbers properly until I was eight and I still struggle with times tables. Now, in Australia, it's really fine to be bad at maths - actually, it's really fine to bad at anything remotely academic. But not if you're me. Not if you go to an elite academic school. Not if you're, well...Asian. With a mother, father and sister who are all freakishly good at maths (at least in my book). My sister got a certificate for maths the other day; don't think I've ever got one of those. The only post my parents got from the maths department about me were LETTERS OF CONCERN.

I don't know why I haven't got the Freaky Asian Maths Gene. I just don't find it remotely interesting, or useful. Before high school I survived THIRTEEN YEARS without having any 'proper decent maths skills'. And you know what? I'm still surviving without 'proper decent maths skills'. I can add up in my head. I know how to round and shit. I know how to use a calculator. So what's the problem?

A lot, apparently. Apparently teenagers have plenty of use for linear equations and algebra and chemical formulas and all that jazz. I never understood it, never saw the point of it and - and here's the lynchpin - I was clever enough to do my own research as to WHEN THE HELL I CAN STOP STUDYING THIS SHIT. I also got very good at IGNORING TEACHERS FOR THE GREATER GOOD. And so, I managed to wiggle out of the math/science shit.

Which makes me a bad Asian.

Any self-respecting Asian would never comprehend why I like Lit. I mean, as an Asian, I'd be expected to be *good* at lit, but it's just one of the many chorey things that Asian kids have to do. But I genuinely love it. I love writing, I love reading, I love arguing. What's not to love?

But that also makes me a bad Asian. Sigh. It's so hard to be good!

The main thing is that I can't speak another language - English is my leading man. I can speak a few words of Korean and even less Chinese but essentially, I can really only properly communicate in English. Which is quite sad, I know, because Korean and Chinese are beautiful languages and it's sad that all I hear is YADIYADIYAH when Chinese people speak. I wish I could communicate in such an elegant, beautiful language, but alas, it is not to be. Which is rather inconvenient in places like Hong Kong, where people will just go YADIYADIYAH at me in Cantonese, to which I reply, in English 'I'm sorry sir/miss, I don't speak Chinese'.

It makes them pause. Stutter. Reconsider the meaning of life. And then.


What shits me is that they never treat white people like this. I don't even look like I should be speaking Cantonese - I have too much Korean blood in me. But places like Hong Kong are a bit like France - they know how to speak English, they just don't wan't to.

Bad Asian Trait No.3495083328489726347: I'm not a huge fan of Asian boys.

I don't get along with Asian boys; Asian boys do not get along with me. Asian boys think I'm too fussy, too bookish, too opinionated, too feminist, too ang-mor (white bastard), not quiet enough, not smart enough, not good looking enough, not skinny enough...the list goes on. I would be a terrible Asian daughter-in-law. Conversely, I'm not in love with Stereotypical Asian Boy Behaviour; and you know what I mean. Only child with a bit of a chubby-cheeks problem, serious mummy issues and Help Me With My Homework Bitch attitude. I just don't like it; I don't like it in any guy, regardless of race. I have a very liberal, Western view towards love and marriage and family life; respect is as important as love, I want a companion, not a master for a husband, and if I have a family then the father will have to PULL HIS WEIGHT. Most of the diehard 'I hate Australia!' Asian boys would not be too happy with the above. I know I'm being stereotypical, but seriously, how long can we hide behind race? It's a generalization, and a horribly cliched one at that, but it's TRUE. I have PROOF.

The last of the Un-Asianess is really quite serious. I absolutely can't stand K-Pop, and I only like historical K-dramas. Shoot me now, I know.

It can be challenging, sometimes, looking one thing and being another. It's hard knowing that you'll never fully fit into the world you've been born into. I know that I'm not fully accepted by the Anglo-Saxon community; I know there'll always be a level of racism and discrimination that  I'll just have to forgive and forget. But the hardest thing is not being accepted by those of your heritage; and not being able to reconcile myself with people from my fatherland. The number of times I've been accused of being racist against my own race is ridiculous; but it takes an ABC like me to see the strengths and weaknesses in all races, even my own. We can't hide behind the 'racism' forever; there are race-specific flaws in every race that we must learn to overcome rather than pointing fingers of blame.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Today on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 we remember the lives lost and the heroes that were made on that fateful day. We pray for peace and we fight for justice. May we one day find the strength to move on into a brighter future for our children.

Lady Solitaire.

Shoot to Kill.

I have been an outspoken opponent of the use of Tasers in the police force since they were introduced in Australia. The reason? It's simply barbaric, and could quite literally kill you. Or kill me, anyway.

I have what is known as a second degree heart block, situs inversus and dextrocardia - essentially a heart deformity that requires a pacemaker. I don't really understand how tasers work our how my heart works but the long and short of it is that I've concluded that me plus a stun gun would not equal something pretty. Even if I do something wrong, police officers have no right to shoot me unless I am armed and dangerous. Yet they are allowed to cause what used to be referred to as 'cruel and unusual punishment', maybe just for being then and there. Or at least, they used to call it 'cruel and unusual punishment'. Now they call it 'standard procedure'.

It is the human psyche, when faced with something stressful such as a violent situation or a language barrier, to whip out something that will just uncomplicate matters. In America, it's guns. Here, it's Tasers. Frankly, I don't know which is worse.

I literally start shaking when I see police officers walking around with Tasers. Police officer or not, no human being has the right to have the power to inflict such pain on another human being.  

And what's with Tasering someone two, three, up to twenty-eight times? How much of a raging looney was that Aboriginal man who died of a heart complication to warrant twenty-eight Tasers? If he was white it would never have happened, but no, we have a heartless police force with no sense of justice that is not just content with the ability to inflict pain, but the ability to kill lawlessly. We are being kept in check by torturers and murderers.

We used to live in a world of witch-burning and black lynching. Now, we live in a world where we torture the innocent. What is happening that we destroy our humanity? Are they the terrorists, or are we? We all die drenched in blood. 

Friday, September 09, 2011

When we swap religion with, well, common freaking sense.

I am so sick of people using religion as an excuse to ban everything that isn't TRADITIONAL or blah blah. Last time I checked, using non-existant friends in a legal or social context was called SCHIZOPHRENIA.

I don't honestly care what God's opinions on gays are, just like I don't honestly care whether God exists or not. All I care is that there are people in this world who are suppressed and denied their basic rights even in the most sophisticated, first-world countries. GAYS.

It bugs me so much that people use religion against gay people - I mean, people have been using religion against That Scum That They Don't Like since the dawn of time - blacks, women, Asians. I'm just so over it. All these people make me think is that God must be some angsty homophobic misogynistic redneck - because religion just seems to favour these people so much, you know?

People consider marriage to be a wholly religious thing; old geezer in bedsheets, church and steeple, etc. But what people don't understand that, especially in this diverse and multicultural world, the religious element is more a personal than legal thing. Nobody actually cares where you get married now, or how you get married; nobody actually cares if you get married at all. What matters is the rights, the responsibilites of marriage - the right to get married in itself. That is the lynchpin of this argument: everyone has the right to marry whoever and however they want. I don't want some Bible-basher to tell me who I can and can't marry.

Our Indoctrination of the Future Generation.

Australia is a conservative country pretending to be liberal, just as Singapore is a dictatorship pretending to be a democracy. Anyone who thinks otherwise clearly doesn't have a human IQ.

There's something pure and innocent about children; something we cannot recreate no matter how charitably and chastely we try to live. I was in daycare from six months to four years, and I don't remember ever being bullied. Sure, I was lonely, but that was pretty much my own fault. I've been a loner since I was born.

Children are born so whole and loving. Sure, children are egocentric - it's a psychological state that we can do nothing to change - but they love freely and unconditionally, they don't judge or accuse; that is the true, raw beauty of humanity. Innocence is bliss. 

But in pre-primary and primary school things started to change. Sweet innocence was replaced with dangerous ignorance, but the shocking thing is that they were marketed as one and the same. Children were old enough to be indoctrinated, but not old enough to reason. There were boys abusing girls before they truly understood gender roles. There were children preaching God before they knew what God was. Children picking on 'poofs' and 'fags' before they even knew the facts about homosexuality. They formed ideas about race before they had evidence to back the stereotypes. The 'pretty' girls got 'boyfriends' and taunted the 'ugly' girls (you can guess which category I fit into). Horrible, adult things like that.

Children are so easily influenced, so easily swayed, too easily fooled into believing without truly committing - or perhaps it is the other way around; I think the saddest thing is when I see children committing to a God without truly believing in Him. Parents are blessed with the truly wonderful task of raising children to be gentle, diligent citizens who have their own independent opinions, but respect both the opinions of others and the right for others to form their own opinions. A parent should never dare to tell their children what to think; a parent should be chiefly employed in teaching their children just to think in the first place. 

Australia has become so narrowminded and shortsighted. We don't think, we don't believe, we don't care, we don't commit. We don't see things the way the world does; we're so obsessed with our little bubble of money and our warped reasoning of right and wrong. I'll teach my children not to spend their lives being a colour. Every night I pray for those trapped in the blindness of indoctrinated, outdated beliefs. I pray that religion and society can become more open-minded, more tolerant and accepting. I'll teach my children the beauty of life and parenthood; the uniqueness of men and women. I'll teach my children to think and to care; about what I don't really mind. I'll teach my children to be proud of themselves and to aim to live in a world that they're proud of; I'll teach my children to respect other opinions and people from different walks of life. But at the moment, I'm teaching myself to pray for the indoctrinated - children who grow into narrowminded, shortsighted clones of their narrowminded, shortsighted parents who are unable/unwilling to know any better.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Pluck a Rose, Snap a Lily.

As I lay broken on the ground,
It's hard to see you turn around and
Pluck another rose.

As I grow strong and touch the sky,
It's sad to see you turn around and
Snap another lily.

Will this rose be as sweet to you,
As I was when I was a bud?
Will you love her when she's in full bloom,
Then toss her in the mud?

You saw a lily floating down
A river of tears and laughter;
You picked her up
And without a second glance,
You crushed me in your hand and drowned her.

How quick you are to replace perfection,
How quick you are to regain affection;
You took me in
And bled me dry,
But I'm just another flower for you to kiss goodbye.
For me,
Love is a luxury;
I am a pauper in this land of plenty.

I've yet to replace you, my love:
I'm yet to find a gamekeeper as cruel as you;
I've yet to find a gardener as cold as you.
I'm yet to find a man with fresh blood on his hands.

But as that rose wilts,
This rose, stained scarlet,
Still shines. 
And as that lily dies,
This lily is still white;
This lily, my love,
Remains alive.

For a dear friend,
And a sworn enemy;
I was a fool to pluck my rose too soon,
A fool to snap my lily.

Inspired by 'A Daughter of Eve' by Christina Rossetti

Monday, September 05, 2011

Can of Worms #9

Worm #19: Is it OK to smack your child?
The long and short of it: No. 

My say: Corporal punishment is a violent means of instilling fear in your child and leads to an unhealthy parent-child relationship based on terror rather than respect. There are plenty of ways in which discipline can be successfully enforced without physical means; my parents never hit me and I never became a juvenile delinquent. I've babysat toddler cousins before; I've never had the slightest inclination to hit them. I know it doesn't really compare to 24/7 parenting, but nonetheless children as young as two can be reasoned with when a) they're not in the throes of a tantrum and b) you do it properly. If your child is really too young to understand reasoning, then they're definitely too young to be smacked. Smacking is outdated and completely useless; not to mention it violates many federal laws and basic human rights. Children retain things much longer than adults; things that adults forget in six seconds turn into lifelong grudges in children, and it is unhealthy for children to view their parents in any other way than with love and respect. Being a parent is a priviledge; a difficult priviledge, I'll admit, but your child has only you to turn to for love and support, and smacking is a surefire way to destroy that bond. Any parent who hits their child is disgusting, unfit to be a parent and is a perpetrator of child abuse.

It's sad that men are more likely to smack their children than women (Can of Worms). Children, especially girls, should learn to have both a healthy respect and a great affection for men, and should always be exposed to friendly, loving relationships with men, particularly her father. Fathers don't know how much one loud word or one smack can damage their child - and I know from experience. 

Worm #20: If a woman has had a boob job, is it an open invitation to look at them?
The long and short of it: No. 

I don't really approve of cosmetic surgeries, particularly because I take surgeries very seriously - it's scarring, going through that when you're five. But, I respect every person's right to do whatever they want with their bodies, and their rights shouldn't be forfeited just because they get some work done. I say this because it is not civil to stare at large chested women - you know, larger women, pregnant and breastfeading women, etc - and how can you be 200% sure that the woman you're ogling at is fake, and therefore it's okay? There's no true way of telling. Also, not everyone with a boob job gets it for pure cosmetic reasons - many women get them as a result of masectomies, inverted nipples etc. If you don't know, don't look.

Do women like being looked at? To be honest, sometimes. We're very aware of the social and biological impact of boobs. But it's not the be all and end all of everything - it's just one of the many things that add up to make a woman physically attractive or unattractive. And there's a different between looking and leering - I go to a co-ed high school, and trust me, teenagers look everywhere all the time. But if it's more than a brief glance and the guy is well, not really Gen-Y then that's just...creepy. 

Would I get a boob job? Probably not. I say this because I'm terrified of surgeries and I hate hospital, and even though it's inevitable in my lifetime I would rather not go voluntarily. I would only do it if my appearance was so unflattering it was affecting me psychologically - but I doubt it. Genetics tells me that I won't end up looking so bad, and I think my self esteem can endure not having melon breasts. Actually, I think my self esteem would be a good deal healthier without melon breasts.

If you have any worms that you would like me to respond to, please email or comment below.

Dear Mummy.

I've been blogging for three years now. I've been bullied for much, much longer than that. And I try to pretend to be okay with it, really, I do. But when you cry yourself to sleep, when you fly into murderous rages you know deep down that you're really not okay with it. I'm tired of being picked on, mummy. I'm tired of being told that I'm wrong and they're right. I'm tired of being squashed.

All I've ever wanted to do is write. I've been writing since I was a little girl, and it's the only thing I'm good at. I want to make people happy; I want people to read my writing and learn, and to laugh and cry. It makes me happy when people enjoy what I write. And when this is your whole life, it hurts when people are so callous.

People forget that people on the net are, well, people. I'm only fifteen, and I've been sick and lonely for a lot of my life. I was bullied a lot as a kid, and people don't understand mental disorders and depression in young children. So I battled it out alone.

It was this blog that kept me strong. It was ranting and raving and whining on this blog that made me brave. And as I got older my opinions got bolder, and I post them here, on this blog, to make a stand; to tell the world what I think. So many people do this, mummy; so many people make big changes by writing. but it seems like every time I do, I get attacked for being...well, for just being me. I can be strong and brave, mummy, but I'm tired. I'm tired of being picked on. I wish people could see my point of view, understand where I'm coming from, agree to disagree. But they don't. All they do is call me ignorant and stupid when I've probably had more education than any of them ever had.

I wish all this stuff didn't affect me that way it does, mummy. But it does. But I'll keep pretending - for you, mummy. It's the art of being a woman; it's the art of being a writer.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Emma: A Student's Guide.

Emma by Jane Austen has the unfortunate reputation of  being the most boring high school and college novel to study. At first, I was not enthusiastic about studying it at all; I tried reading it in the summer holidays before year eleven, but couldn't really hack into it. But now we're actually studying it, I'm beginning to really enjoy it.

One thing that puts Emma off modern audiences is that it's character driven, not plot driven. This is true for most of Austen's novels, because of the genre in which she write (comedy of manners) - this has established her reputation as a sharp critique of human personality and social interaction. However, Emma is by far the most character-driven Austen novel, made even more difficult to swallow because a) it happens in a world so far removed from our own b) most of the exciting stuff appears to have happened before the book (deaths, weddings, adoptions etc.) and c) nothing much actually happens in Emma; it's a personal discovery, not a physical journey.

Often people run into trouble when studying novels because they approach it in the wrong manner. When studying a novel, it is important to read it differently than if you were reading it for pleasure. Before studying it always pays to read the book cover to cover, or if this is too difficult to swallow read a synopsis (Wikipedia is always good for plain, sensible language) and watch an adaptation before attempting to read - this gets the storyline in your head and puts faces to characters. Newer adaptations are always easier on the modern eye, but the trade off is that they are often heavily compressed and romanticized - older adaptations from the traditional documentary era are normally meticulously faithful to the text, but are often long winded, badly acted, slow-paced, endlessly boring and old fashioned. For Emma, I've found that the 2009 BBC adaptation is excellent as it is set at a brisk pace, but is extremely faithful to the novel and the characterization is excellent. Remember, when you study a novel you are studying the text, not the plot - and this is why Emma is considered such a good study novel, because the language and characters are so much more important than the plot. So don't be afraid to read spoilers, or flip to the back of the book so that you know that it finally ends sooner or later.

I'm adding pictures from the recent 2009 adaptation because I think it's important to have a vivid image of what things look like inside your head - and what they exactly look like is neither imperative to the novel or the study of it.

SETTING: Emma is set in the country - where most of the gentry resided when not 'at business' in 'town' (London) - near a fictional town called Highbury, which is in Surrey (which is real). Most of the characters are of gentry class, or former members of the gentry.


HARTFIELD ESTATE - Residence of the Woodhouse Family.

The Woodhouse Family is, aside from the Knightley Family, the most socially elite family in Highbury. Based on Emma's dowry, the annual income of the Woodhouse Family is about 20,000 pounds (about 2 million in today's money). The Woodhouse family home, Hartfield, is considered the heart of Highbury and attracts all the worthy company in the neighbourhood - Mr Knightley walks there almost every day. The characters in Emma from the Woodhouse family are Mr Woodhouse, Emma Woodhouse and Isabella Knightley.


Emma Woodhouse is the heroine of the story, and is Jane Austen's wealthiest and most socially elite heroine, being the heiress to 30,000 pounds (about 3 million) (in comparison, Lizzy Bennet's dowry is only 1000 pounds, or 10,000 pounds in today's money). Emma is twenty-one and kind-hearted, pretty and intelligent, but also spoiled, meddlesome and haughty, spending much of her time meddling in the love lives of the people of Hertfield.


Mr Woodhouse is a wealthy widower and father to Isabella and Emma Woodhouse. A pessimistic, old-fashioned hypochondriac, Mr Woodhouse is an affectionate, if overbearing father with little patriarchal authority who delights in spoiling his children and grandchildren. He is also 'gently selfish', unable to see things from another point of view.


Isabella Woodhouse is Emma's elder sister and at twenty-eight is seven years her senior; married to John Knightley and mother to five children: Henry, Little John, Bella, Little Emma and Little George. She is motherly and domestic, and not Emma's intellectual equal.

DONWELL ABBEY - Residence of the Knightley Family

The Knightley Family is the most socially elite family in Highbury, based in the family residence of Donwell Abbey, which is only a mile off from Hartfield. When the book begins only George Knightley, as the eldest son, lives at Donwell - his younger brother and family, as is custom, move to town to on their own estate. The characters in Emma from the Knightley family are Mr Knightley, John Knightley, Isabella Knightley, and John and Isabella's children Henry, Little John, Bella, Little Emma and Little George.


Mr Knightley is the wealthiest gentleman in Highbury, being the master of the richest estate in Highbury. A close friend of the Woodhouse family, he is the brother-in-law of the Woodhouse sisters through is younger brother's marriage to Emma's sister. About thirty-seven at the beginning of the novel, Mr Knightley is wise, compassionate, intelligent, gentle and paternalistic, and serves as a father figure to Emma, his oldest friend, whom he deems silly and immature.


John Knightley is Mr Knightley's younger brother, and lives in a London estate with his family in the absence of an inherited property. He is an indulgent family man who gives in to his family's desires for holidays, outings, visitors, and visits to Highbury at the expense of his desire for a quiet family life. Like Emma, he has a shrewd eye for matchmaking, but does not often interfere.

RANDALLS ESTATE - Residence of the Weston Family

Randalls Estate is the neighbouring property of Hartfield, being the new residence of the recently wealthy Mr Weston.


A sanguine, placid, optimistic man, Mr Weston is a widower and father of Frank Churchill. Married beyond his means to a spoiled, wealthy young woman who ruined both herself and her husband before her death, Mr Weston is nonetheless a well-liked and respected man in Highbury, especially after his unexpected marriage to Emma's former governess Anne Taylor.


Anne Taylor is the former governess of Isabella and Emma Woodhouse, appointed after the death of their mother. To the distress of Mr and Emma Woodhouse, Miss Taylor marries Mr Weston and moves half a mile away to Randalls Estate.


Flamboyant, fashionable and fiery, Frank Churchill is the son of Mr Weston and the nephew of his aunt and guardian, Mrs Churchill. Confined by his sickly but controlling aunt, he has grown into a good-natured but impatient, reckless, impulsive and accidentally selfish man.


The estranged sister of Mr Weston's first wife, Mrs Churchill adopts Frank Weston and keeps him away from his father and from Highbury, whom she sees as below the prosperous Churchill family.

THE VICARAGE - Parsonage of the Elton Family

Most country towns like Highbuy had a single church, with a modest house provided for the vicar called a parsonage. A vicar or clergyman was a good catch for a modest girl, but most aimed to improve their fortunes through marrying higher, using their religious education as social leverage. The residents at the vicarage are Mr Elton and his wife, Augusta.


An ambitious, charming and charismatic young vicar; an eager social climber with sights on a beautiful bride with a large dowry; i.e. Emma.


A moneyed young woman from Bath, Mrs Elton is pretensious, irritating, flamboyant, condescending and patronizing; an equal match for her husband. She treats the country folk with disdain, even though she is amongst her social superiors with members of the landed gentry. Her treatment of her social inferiors Harriet Smith and Jane Fairfax inspires the people of Hartfield to be more sympathetic towards them.


The Bates Family was formerly a member of the gentry before they fell on hard times and plunged, without a solid income or a patriarch, into relative poverty. The characters in the book belonging to the Bates family are Mrs Bates, Miss Bates and Jane Fairfax. 


A talktative, dimwitted but kind-natured spinster, the eldest daughter of Mrs Bates and the aunt of Jane Fairfax.


The mother of Miss Bates and the grandmother of Jane Fairfax; she does not talk. Ever. As in, never.


The orphaned niece of Miss Bates and only granddaughter of Mrs Bates, Jane Fairfax was sent away to become a ward of a wealthy family friend. Unlike Emma, she has no fortune of her own and so must become a governess, even though, as a gentleman's daughter, it is below her station. Shy, reserved and passive, Emma is jealous of Jane because of her accomplishments and the sympathy she attracts due to her poverty.



The 'natural' (illegitimate) daughter of someone-or-other, Harriet i had been brought up at Mrs Goddard's school in Highbury as a parlour boarder - a wealthy student who is elevated above the rest and given special priviledges. Despite her illegitimacy she has been comfortably brought up, with her anonymous family providing her generously, but she has no dowry and must stay at the school or leave and earn her keep as a governess. She is pretty and good natured, but unsophisticated and not intellectual. After the departure of Anne Taylor she becomes Emma's protege and companion; Emma is convinced that she deserves to be a gentleman's wife, and goes about making sure that happens.


A gentleman-farmer who is considered by Emma to be her, and therefore Harriet's social inferior. He is intelligent, sensible, practical, warm and generous, but Emma is convinced that he lacks class despite evidence otherwise. He lives with his sisters and is in love with Harriet Smith.


After the death of their mother, Isabella and Emma Woodhouse grow up in the comforts of Highbury with their affectionate father and doting governess, Anne Taylor. Other children in Highbury are not so lucky; after the death of his mother, Frank Weston is adopted by his aunt Mrs Churchill and removed from his father and from Highbury. After the death of both her parents, Jane Fairfax's well-meaning aunt sends her to be the ward of a wealthy family friend, and she grows up away from her family and from Highbury as the companion and chaperone of a wealthy girl, knowing that she will eventually have to leave their hospitality and make her own way in the world.

After her sister Isabella's marriage to family friend John Knightley, twenty-one year old Emma Woodhouse finds herself mistress of her father's house, her hypochondriac father's chief carer and enjoys the luxury of country gentry living and the assurance of independent wealth. Because of this, Emma is uninterested in marriage, instead preferring to play matchmaker to the residents of Highbury.

After the marriage of her governess Anne Taylor to their recently-wealthy neighbour Mr Weston (for which Emma takes credit for arranging), she takes on the pretty, unsophisticated parlour boarder Harriet Smith as her companion and protege. Despite Harriet's lack of fortune and family, illegitimacy and unsophisticated manner, Emma's class prejudice makes it inconceivable to her that any friend of hers deserves anything less than to be a gentleman's wife.

Emma attempts to match Mr Elton, the dashingly handsome vicar with Harriet, and convinces her to reject a marriage proposal from gentleman-farmer Robert Martin. Mr Knightley, Emma's brother-in-law and father/brother figure, chastises her for being narrow minded about Robert Martin's situation and unrealistic in her matchmaking for Harriet Smith, pointing out that Mr Elton is thoroughly aware of his good looks and social standing and would wish to seek a rich bride. Emma ignores this, and continues to encourage what she sees as a growing attachment between Mr Elton and Harriet, and Harriet becomes infatuated with Mr Elton and his charms.

Soon, however, Emma realizes the truth of Mr Knightley's words when Mr Elton instead professes his love to Emma and attempts to propose, despite her protests that Harriet is a much more suitable candidate. Thus Emma's attempt at matchmaking ends up with all three parties hurt; Mr Elton is offended at the idea of Harriet being considered his equal, and leaves Highbury only to return with the wealthy Augusta Hawkins from Bath in tow as his bride; Emma is humiliated at her misunderstanding and furious that Mr Elton's attraction was purely based on her wealth and social standing; Harriet is heartbroken at being rejected in favour of her friend and then abandoned completely by Mr Elton.

Whilst attempting to comfort Harriet, Highbury encounters two newcomers: Mr Frank Churchill, Mr Weston's son, and Jane Fairfax, Miss Bates' niece. Emma is attracted to the fashionable and flamboyant Frank Churchill and spends much time with him, at the expense of her friendship with Mr Knightley, who is accustomed to walking to Hartfield every day to spend time with Emma, who is sixteen years his junior. Mr Knightley is suspicious of Frank's apparently unusual behaviour - such as travelling all the way to London for a haircut - and it is implied that he is jealous of Frank and his relationship with Emma. Emma receives Jane Fairfax with less enthusiasm; despite her lack of funds Jane is beautiful and accomplished, and Emma is both irritated by her cool reserve and jealous of her accomplishments.

Mr Knightley, compassionate by nature, is sympathetic and caring towards Jane Fairfax, and Mrs Weston suspects that it is due to a romantic attachment; Mr Knightley being relatively old and unmarried, is wealthy enough not to require a rich bride but socially elite enough to desire a well-bred wife. Mrs Weston and others also assume that Frank and Emma are becoming romantically attach; Emma resists both assumptions, as she cannot imagine Mr Knightley taking a wife and imagines Frank to be a potential suitor for Harriet.

Mrs Elton turns out to be the most disagreeable woman imaginable, looking down on country folk and country living, even though Emma and Mr Knightley are arguably her social and financial superiors. Because of her condescending attitude towards Jane Emma begins to treat her with more kindness and respect; at a ball Mr Knightley offers to dance with Harriet after she is humiliated by Mrs Elton and snubbed by Mr Elton. The next day Frank saves Harriet from gypsy beggars and brings her to Emma; Harriet tells Emma that she has fallen in love with a man who saved her and is above her station, and Emma assumes she means Frank.

Knightley begins to suspect that Frank and Jane may have a secret understanding and warns Emma not to become too attached to Frank; Emma ignores him and, on an outing to Box Hill she flirts with Frank and insults Miss Bates, who is kind-hearted but dimwitted and incessantly talkative. Mr Knightley reprimands Emma and she weeps, and attempts to make up for her insult.

After news comes that Frank's aunt Mrs Churchill had died, it is revealed that he and Jane Fairfax have been secretly engaged since before their arrival at Highbury; Frank's attentions to Emma have just been to conceal the engagement, which would not have been approved of by his aunt. Emma is furious that she has, once again, been used; but realizes that she was never truly in love with Frank, and so no real harm has been done. Emma expects Harriet to also be heartbroken at the engagement, but Harriet instead says that she was referring to Mr Knightley, not Frank, and now believes that Mr Knightley returns the favour. Emma then finally realizes that she is in love with Mr Knightley, and has been all along, but due to her own meddling she has lost her opportunity to be with him.

Emma expects Mr Knightley to admit his affection for Harriet, but instead declares his love for Emma, and his disgust at Frank's behaviour. Frank and Jane earn the forgiveness of the Westons and the Woodhouses and marry; Emma and Mr Knightley get engaged, and Robert Martin proposes a second time to Harriet, who accepts. The novel ends with the marriage of Harriet and Robert Martin and Emma and George Knightley.

And there you have it.


1. The relationship between Emma and Knightley

This is perhaps the most interesting element of the book - the curious, kind of paedophilic mildly incestuous relationship between Emma and Knightley. I don't really see it that way, but there are Knightley haters that do.

Mr Woodhouse is not the archetypal patriachal backbone of his family, being elderly, frail and an obsessive hypochondriac; Mr Knightley is therefore introduced as both a father substitute and an elder sibling substitute, especially with the marriage and departure of Emma's sister Isabella. Mr Knightley is introduced as being wealthy, sensible, fatherly and, well, old - sixteen years older than Emma. This age gap is further widened by the fact that his younger brother is married to her elder sister. He also takes on the role of a parent, chastising and disciplining Emma when necessary. In the end, though, Knightley is the only one of Emma's love interests who truly cared for her; Mr Elton was only interested in her money and Mr Churchill only used her to cover up his secret betrothal. However, Knightley makes no secret of his attraction to Emma, claiming that he 'loves to look at her' and 'has been in love with her since she was thirteen years old' - this is slightly creepy in an Austen book. What do you think? Should Emma really marry her daddy substitute?

More to come...I'm gonna go hit the sack.

Friday, September 02, 2011

The First Wife

There must be
A thousand different emotions.
Some are named,
Most go unnoticed.

It is not jealousy,
Because I do not want what they have got.
It is not nostalgia,
Because I cannot see myself in their youth and their beauty.
It is not dread,
Because I know that pride must come before fall
If we are to learn how to fly.
There's no word to describe
That twinge,
That whisper;
A little shudder,
A tear,
And soft glow...

The joys of being
The first wife.