Trying to Making Sense Today’s E-Things World

I once read a mind-blowing article about an attempt by Chinese smartphone vendor Huawei of making advanced artificial intelligence that will take machine-human interactions much more intimate than command-pattern like nowadays.

The top executives of the company admit they wish people will talk to machine as if they were with human beings. On top of that, they expect making people having real friends in lives, someone who can understand their moods, have real conversations unlike today’s setup ones.

Later, they confess they get the idea of making the ‘next level of AI’ after they watch the movie “Her” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson. I haven’t watched the movie but I once read it is about a lonely man who falls in love with a virtual woman on the internet.

Long, long before the story I come across another interesting, well, shocking in my opinion, wonderfully written by Anita Rani from BBC in 2013. The link is here. If you haven’t had any time reading the article I will sum it up for you. But please find time to read it later on because it conveys a very sad picture, in my humble opinion.

Let us meet with otaku.

The term otaku refers to “a generation of geeks who have grown up through 20 years of economic stagnation and have chosen to tune out and immerse themselves in their own fantasy worlds.”

Anita meets two otaku, one is Nurikan, a married man, and Yuge, a singleton. The two believe they are in relationships with virtual girlfriends, Rinko and Ne-ne. Their girlfriends are actually virtual figures in a Nintendo computer game called Love Plus, which comes as a small tablet. The men take the girlfriends on actual dates to the park and buy them cakes to celebrate their birthdays.

Silly, isn’t it?

I think today’s technology gradually erodes our very fundamental human beings as His creatures who are vulnerable of loneliness, heartbreaking, disappointment, rejection, abandonment.

As day by day I write and cover stories on newest gadgets, smartphones, applications or laptops, I have come to realize all technology that provides easiness in handle day-to-day tasks doesn’t carry that noble mission anymore. A traditionalist as I still am today, I realize some of them test our sanity. What makes it sounds dangerous is that the technology, as more and more technology updates provide, are working putting what humans’ needs into a smartphone, emotional necessities are included.

That means you will love taking it to bed with you. You will grab it at first the moment you wake up in the morning. And as the first paragraph here suggests, you will feel as if you won’t need real human beings at your side because hey, there is a virtual assistant that make you feel like you have a spouse.

As a person growing up when internet is such a luxury back in the 1990s, mingling with youngsters in free-of-charge chatting applications has put me in mixed kind of feelings.

I am struck by how people can read emojis too much into their hearts. Or the other way around, people’s confidence can be harmed by silence in a group after they show up and say some things, which I don’t think because some things are wrong with their statements. Sometimes quarrels happen because of misunderstanding in virtual group chat. Subhanalloh.. It’s hard to believe how virtual dialogue has taken us that serious..

And now I get it when I, again, once read an article saying for some people, social media is their actual world. This trend is captured very well through Beautification artificial intelligence/AI features by today’s smartphones. My friend once jokes you don’t need make up to hide your pimples, wrinkles in your face. With the Beautification AI you can be your ‘best version of yourself’, show ‘the real you’, or whatever that is!

If you really read current gadget trends, you will see how camera department is one of the biggest challenges for any smartphone producers out there because people keep getting looking validation through screens, from people whom they don’t even meet yet. They wish they can look younger, more beautiful, happier, living life to the fullest, yes with the help of machines.

I don’t say I am against advanced technology. Mind you, my current job is writing about technology. Saying I detest this job means I am ungrateful over the money from Alloh swt through this profession.

I write this piece of story to actually remind myself who have been carried away by technology too far. I used to take a public transportation to go to certain places but now I choose online ojek.

I used to drink water the first time I wake up in the morning but now checking Instagram and Facebook is the first activity that I do. And the last thing that I do before going to sleep is opening media social accounts. Subhanalloh.. I have to constantly tell myself doing such things mean taking the busyness of daily life into the most tranquil moment I should enjoy the most; sleeping.

When technicians, IT experts or whatever we call them, create gadgets, especially smartphones and social media, they try the hardest to help us, but don’t be too naïve as competition gets juicier, some firms put another mission on progress, not wholly intend to help us sincerely. Man, of course, at the end of the day they want money and more money.

Dealing with loneliness, rejection and other emotional pains is frightening but very essential to make us realize we live as a creature meant to live with scars that won’t downgrade our value unless we let them to do so.

Take time to cope with this. Don’t immediately take spiritual approach to solve the situations as ustadz Nouman Ali Khan says don’t get confused with emotional and spiritual needs. Spirituality will help recovery but emotional assistance is the first and foremost, and please, avoid escaping from reality through gadgets, drugs, alcohols, shopping or whatever that is.

Keep using technology but with mindfulness, that at the end of the day we decide what will we do with them not what they will do for us.

Picture source: http://www.tasbulak.gov.tr/program-mobil-uygulama-indirme-cok-kolay.html

 

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Welcoming myself back here, at this ‘home’

Every time I make a comeback I will write this sort of note. I don’t know for how many times I compose this piece of writing for never mind about that, because yep.. here I am again after months of hiatus.

The last time I put traces here are in January. Things happen a lot after that. Personally, professionally..

My father was badly sick at the end of January. Alhamdulillahirobbil’alamiiin he is improving very well now. Thank you to Alloh swt for making him recovering again. My father’s illness is so far the most devastating thing occurring in my life. I was spending about two weeks at the hospital in Semarang, taking care of him, well to be precise, helping my mother and sister taking a good care of him because I am so bad at taking care sick people. Also, I had to work at his side at that time.

I can say that those moments were the hardest ones to have coped with. Not only I was so sad witnessing my father lamenting and complaining about his sickness, but also at the same time I had to work harder than usual. My health was a little bit declining given physiological stress that I had to endure given my father’s condition.

Alhamdulillahirobbil’alamin.. I can also say that the two-weeks time was also the sweetest chances for me to have got together again with my mother, my sister and my relatives. Alloh swt had the best kind of way to have put us together into one room, 24 hours a day without having too much to do other than talking and laughing and taking good care of each other. It was incredible to remind myself how the challenging times were actually His best way of making the bond of the four of us much stronger than already is.

Early March, I came back to Jakarta again for working and being active again in Ketimbang Ngemis Jakarta. On the way back to Palmerah, I was smiling at myself as I felt so glad coming back to the capital. By that time, I promised to myself that if my dad’s health restored again, I would consider another problem as small, unworthy of tears rolling down my cheeks.

But you know what happened?

For around two months I often cried because of bullying. The story is my former employer offered a freelance copywriting job for his client, a state agency. I was excited at that time because I needed the type of job that he offered. The payment was good, I believed the monthly money would be transferred at agreed time. I was thinking the job would be easy as I had only to compose one caption per day for some social media platforms plus photo caption.

From the very beginning of the job, the clients were demanding, if the word “annoying” was too negative. At first I was still patient until their overly critics were making my patience running very thin. For instance, they gave critics over the grammar that I applied. Although I defended my choice, they kept complaining. Sometimes, they made me changing the captions that I had written for reasons I didn’t understand. That meant I had to work twice but with the same payment.

Sometimes they behaved like school kids. When they were busy, they didn’t care about my writing, they just agreed on it. But when they were having spare time, they gave critics, a lot of them, most of them were nonsense! Like, changing “Republic of Indonesia” to “Indonesia”, zzzz…

Or “Thomas Lembong” to “Tom Lembong” as if everyone in the country knows him that friendly! The thing that made me realizing they were bullying me was when they said my caption on the use of artificial intelligence in smartphones was pointless. Oh I wish I could slap their faces at that time! I am serious!

That was the moment I cried the hardest (I previously cried but not that painful). That was the time I realized I was underestimated, that I was almost at the verge of doubting myself, my capability. Then I reminded myself the times when I was bullied at The Jakarta Post and The Jakarta Globe. I was at the lowest points of my life in terms of career paths.

So, I made up my mind I didn’t let anyone again doing the similar thing to me. Not long after the ‘bullshit remark they made on the smartphone caption’, I resigned, just two months from the agreed 10 month-contract.

Right now, I rely on my job as a freelance journalist for Gizmologi.id/com. You can say I took high risk letting the copywriting job go without replacements yet but I am fine because at least I don’t have to cry over that stupid people’ responses. I am going to write my returning to journalism with Gizmologi.id in another story for it’s a very wonderful one to share.

Between March and early May, I was very hectic, especially with the copywriting part. And now, I have more time to think, read and of course come back here again. I miss filling up this blog because I have mostly written in Bahasa Indonesia since February. I miss expressing feelings, taking out whatever inside my chest in this platform.

I will also share what I have with Nouman Ali Khan, my favorite Islamic speaker some other time. I hope I have time for that.

And oh, reading novels?

Don’t worry. I keep on reading, and since I have more time now, I will get back at the current title, which is “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, hehehe..

It feels good to be back here, at the place where I can feel at peace and let things out without having the need of gaining many views or clicks..

Alhamdulillahirobbil’alamiin..

Darkest Hour’ bringing my movie taste back at its place

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It had probably been years I hadn’t felt very satisfied watching an actor’s performance in commercial movies before I watched Gary Oldman in ‘Darkest Hour’ last week. The after feeling that was very worthy of waiting. I had anticipated the release of the film since last December and was afraid the film wouldn’t be screened here. Alhamdulilah (Thanks God) the movie was screened in Indonesia last Friday and I had a chance to secure one of the movie’s tickets on the first day of its screening.
I had high expectations entering the cinema room on that very day. On the back of my mind, I was thinking I would learn history a lot, not just about Winston Churchill. For a history junkie like I am this is more than a sufficient reason to watch history movies. What I didn’t expect to see was Oldman’s performance that exceeded what I thought I would watch. I only knew Churchill was one of the rare politicians in the world with his contributions to the UK at that time. But I never thought he was that very complicated until I watched ‘Darkest Hour’.
At the very beginning of the movie, you will see chaotic scenes since the UK was in very critical position at that time. It was 1940s when Nazis and Adolf Hitler were ruling the world, almost capable of toppling the UK. The country’s prime minister at that time, Neville Chamberlain, resigned because he was deemed unable to have dealt with the crisis.
Churchill’s first appearance made me think that he was worthy of pity. Like what his wife said, he was old enough to have replaced Chamberlain at the time when the country was in a very dangerous situation. Churchill knew that but he took the job anyway. Honestly, I pitied him. His previous bad records that sent the country losing in some battles was sufficient reason to yes, put him in the toughest position at that time plus audiences knew that he was chosen because he was the only person in the ruling party that was liked by the opposition party.
What happened after that was a series of disbeliefs from people around him, only very few who trusted his strategy. He was called dumb, overly-optimistic (well, suicidal to be precise). And you know what? I got carried away with the major opinion since this was proven by how Churchill acted. He was often doubtful even if when he was furious. Man! I can’t imagine how Oldman was capable of doing that kind of acting.
Up till the middle of the movie I was deeply engaged in Churchill’s confusion and doubt. He was taking risky decisions to save millions of Britons, and there had to be parties that needed to be sacrificed. Political tensions were clearly felt in the movie. All of his negotiation skills, military strategies seemed useless when he was firstly allowing Hallifax to hold a diplomatic talk with Italy as Hitler’s ally at that time. That was the moment I thought Churchill was gone, nationality theme was mere theory, that Churchill wasn’t special figure I need to admire until there was a scene when he was in an empty room looking so exhausted.
That was when I realized no matter how brilliant you were at whatever kind of knowledge you are interested at, if you don’t involve feelings then there is nothing extraordinary about you. So was Churchill.
There I finally saw the leader the world has saluted for decades was truly the one who deserves that. I finally came to believe his sacrifice, his unquestionable love for his country that made him unable to sleep, drank glasses of alcohol and smoke cigarettes.
That smooth, silent peak moment of the movie was the scene that brought him back at his principle of resuming the fight. It was surprising for me to have seen that Churchill’s confidence was back again not because of his cleverness but more of his bravery to take all that it cost to defeat the Nazis. The courage that arose because of his deep love for the UK. And that was more important than skills and knowledge that he had.
At crisis time, taking guts then inviting others to share the same spirit as you is everything that you need to do. That sounds so simple but that takes bumpy roads to be that much confident, inspiring as what happens to Churchill unbelievably played by Gary Oldman.

Thank you Rotten Tomatoes for the picture..

It looks like I, Agatha Christie ‘are not meant for each other’

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Back in last December, I asked for my best friend, Erwida, to lend me any titles by Agatha Christie because I know Wida is the big fan of Christies’ books. When we met early this year she asked for my intention reading her books because, this time around, she knows I don’t really into any detective stories.
I told her I wanted to read Christie’s stories because I have planned creating my own fiction about mystery so I wish I will learn how Christie develops her plots. In addition, I once planned to watch “Murder on Orient Express” movie version after I saw its ads in one of the cinemas in Tangerang last year. It looked like the movie was good. I then realized the title was from Christie’s best-selling fiction of the same title.
Since I have planned to write the fiction of my own then why don’t I read books about detective stories? For how many years I barely remember most fans of detective stories have applauded Christie as the queen of mysterious or crime stories. So my mind quickly shifted to her books as, you may say, ‘source of inspiration’ in writing technique.
That very day, in a busy shopping mall in the heart of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, I and Wida had a very nice time to chat and laugh, as usual. She brought me “Murder in Mesopotamia”, one of her most favorites from the author. I had a chance to have read the book a month later after I had completed reading “The Moonstone”. While The Moonstone was mind blowing as you read from some number of posts in this blog, reading “Murder in Mesopotamia” was a disastrous for me (I’m sorry Wida, we just have different taste)
Let alone I was able to obtain something about Christie’s technique, I felt like I was in a speedy ride for the story that wasn’t supposed to be told in such a rush. I was actually curious with the name of the lady who becomes the subject of ‘being taken care of’ in the novel but how was I supposed to get to know her if the way of getting there was so forceful?
Sentences are relatively short. Descriptions about people and places are very clear. Christie doesn’t invite me to imagine the characters’ souls in the book. The movement from one scene to another is clearly directed. It goes like “after this, she does that then goes from here to there… “ Something like that.
No rooms for imaginations. No chance to create suspense atmosphere within my body and my mind. How was I supposed to enjoy that kind of story? Again, I find it very hard to read fictions that apply ‘telling’ instead of ‘showing’ kind of method.
This is completely different with Wilkie Collins when he writes “The Moonstone”. Taking the same genre about detective stories, Collins puts a lot of descriptions about places, characters, histories. With his very smooth plot, the scenes leading up to the novel’s climaxes are fruitful thus leaving me with very impressive marks until now.
I don’t mean to insult Christie though. She is the best-selling author in terms of mysterious and crime books until now, and who am I by the way? I think it is all about a matter of reading and writing style preference. So for all Christie fans who happen reading this forgive me if this post sounds harsh to you all.
Anyway, I gave up reading “Murder in Mesopotamia” when I was at the page of 39 0ut of 351. Still a very long way to go but sometimes quitting a journey that bores you to death is the best thing you can do.

In case you need a writer, translator and editor for Bahasa Indonesia to English Language and vice versa..

Hello every one!
If you need a person who can translate, edit, copywrite, proofread from Bahasa Indonesia to English Language and the other way around, you can contact me. I hope I can meet your expectations of producing good stories, proper translations, engaging marketing articles or clean-cut editing. At least, I will strive for the best I can possibly do. If you have books to be reviewed you can call me, too. Rates will be available upon requests and that depend on the materials that you have and targeted deadlines.
You can contact me via this blog, I mean just drop comments in one of my posts, or email at delperista10@gmail.com. I will answer your inquiries right away, Insha Alloh.

 

Thanking you in advance, my friends. Hope I can be your professional partner in the future.

Cheers,

Eny

Thank you thebalance.com for the picture

Fly me to the UK for a literary adventure I’ve always dreamt of

Quoting famous speech from Martin Luther King Jr, ‘I Have a Dream’, well, I have a dream, too, which is to launch what I call as a literary adventure to say hello, take inspiration for writing then say thank you for these literary genius whose works not only entertain my soul but their imaginations and voices have helped me finding my own place in this hectic cum wonderful modern life.
Thomas Hardy
I have been longing for paying a visit to the places that play significant roles in the works of Thomas Hardy, one of my most-beloved authors. If you have bumped to this messy blog then you realize how much I admire his works as his name becomes the most-tagged word in this place, hehe..
If you ask me why do I love Hardy so much, one of my answers is because he knows how to appreciate nature then put them into beautiful words. Reading his novels soothe my heart because his words are indeed pieces of arts, beautifully-crafted.
I would really love to go to the house he was born in a house in Stinsford, a village and civil parish in southwest Dorset, one mile east of Dorchester. Stinsford is the original ‘Mellstock’ in his ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ and ‘Jude the Obscure’. I haven’t read ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ but I have enjoyed ‘Jude’.
The first site I wish I can visit is Hardy’s cottage as you can see from the below picture. This is where the poet was born in 1840 then writing ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ in 1872 and ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ in 1874. I can fancy how peaceful it was when he was working by looking at the cottage and its surroundings. No wonder he was able to produce very fascinating words as its neighborhood was providing him a lot of inspirations to write. Hardy was staying in the cottage until he was 34 years old.

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He once moved to London but never felt at home in the big city. As such, he built a house namely Max Gate, which is just a few miles from the cottage where he was living before. He and his first and second wife inhabited the house, which I think is quite large and exquisite, from 1885 until his death in 1928. This is the house where he was creating his best fictions; ‘Tess of the d’Urbervilles’, ‘Jude the Obscure’ and ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’ as well as most of his poems. While general fans mostly applaud ‘Tess’, ‘Far’ or ‘Jude’, my most favorite fiction is yes, ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’. I really really admire the book. Anyway, this is Max Gate.

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George Eliot
Mary Anne Evans or mostly popular as George Eliot (12 November 1819 to 22 December 1880) is my second most-adored Victorian novelist. Until now, I don’t know how Eliot produces such an extensive, rich in terms of issues, imaginations and characterizations as in Middlemarch. By the way, my personal favorite is ‘The Mill on the Floss’ as it becomes my first ‘real’ experience reading her works. I read ‘Silas Marner’ back when I was a university student but I don’t consider it as a ‘concrete’ experience because the book that I was savoring was its simplified version. I don’t want to read the unabridged version of ‘Silas Marner’ though because the story is really sad.
So this is Arbury Hall estate. In its South Farm, the very smart baby girl namely Mary Anne Evans was born in 12 November 1819. The estate was belonging to the Newdigate family where which her father was working as a land manager there.

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In early 1820, the author family moved to Griff House where Mary Anne was living for 20 years. After that, she was travelling and moving to some places. Here is the Griff House:

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Elizabeth Gaskell
For any Victorian enthusiasts, you should try Gaskell’s books, which move very soft and smooth. ‘Mary Barton’ is my favorite book from her. No wonder she is able to produce elegantly-made words. Gaskell is described as a lady-like person, tidy, well-mannered one. Oh, I can totally associate with her writings, in terms of word choice and placement, characters (esp in ‘Wives and Daughters’) and issue selections. If I have a chance, it will be delightful to stop by in this house, where the author and her family were living for some years. Let me put the address here: 84 Plymouth Grove, Manchester. Oh I love the building. What a lovely sight!images (3).jpeg

The Bronte sisters
Of course, the Bronte Parsonage Museum must be in the list! This is the house where the Bronte family was staying which is in Haworth, West Yorkshire. Looking at the building, I think the family is quite wealthy. My favorite Bronte is Anne because her traits much like mine, hehe. Who is your beloved Bronte, my friend?

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Charles Dickens
So far, I have read ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’. I honestly say I’m not really into his works which is a matter of writing style reason. But if I were in UK, this Charles Dickens museum as you can see below is a temptation I can’t resist, hehe.. The address is on 48 Doughty street, Holborn, London. It became the home for the author from 25 March 1837 until December 1839. Though it was relatively short, the house saw him producing best fictions, ‘The Pickwick Paper’ in 1836, ‘Oliver Twist’ in 1838, ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ between 1838 and 1839 and Barnaby Rudge in 1840 and 1841. How prolific Dickens was!

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Jane Austen
And here is the queen of all romantic women out there, I included, is the one and only Jane Austen. The picture shows Jane Austen house museum in the village of Chawton, near Alton in Hampshire. She and her family were occupying the house for the last eight years of her life. It is assumed she was revising the drafts of ‘Sense and Sensibility’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Northanger Abbey’ here. Austen also wrote ‘Mansfield Park’, ‘Emma’ (I love Emma!) and ‘Persuasion’ here.
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Wilkie Collins
And the last author who recently spurs my adrenaline is Wilkie Collins. He is chubby anyway by looking at his picture. Collins and his wife, Caroline Graves, were occupying Harley Street 12, Marylebone, in the central of London, from 1860 to 1864. I’m not really sure whether he owned the entire building or just rented some rooms of it. Collins is said to have written most parts of one of his best mysterious novels, ‘The Woman in White’, here. I currently look for reading the title after I am so immersed with ‘The Moonstone’. images (5)
So, those are a number of sites that completely attract my desires to go there. I think my bucket-list is already full even before I have enough money to make it, hehe.. Well, never mind. Hopefully the bucket will be filled. Till then, let’s dream again!
Thank you very much for Wikipedia, Wikimedia and Wilkie-Collins.info for providing all the lovely shots.

‘The Moonstone’ Madness: the Disturbing Miss Clack

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A sense of horror struck me when I was reading the last sentences of the narration of Miss Drusilla Clack. The character that I firstly think as honest, modest and innocent starts becoming so aggressive when she was trying to persuade Rachel Verrinder staying with her after the teen’s mother passed away.
The scene was Rachel decided to go with her lawyer, Mr. Bruff, after she cancelled a planned wedding with Mr. Godfrey Abblewhite. Prior to the moment when she was about to leave with the lawyer, the father of Mr. Godfrey Abblewhite confronted her. He was absolutely disappointed with Rachel’s decision then recalled memories concerning him and Rachel’s aunt.
As the confrontation was becoming weary, Miss Clack was trying to calm the situation down by citing religious verses from the Bible. Instead of cooling this down, Mr. Abblewhite got angrier. I had felt something strange about Miss Clack and my assumption was affirmed when she was attempting to force Rachel staying with her. Miss Clack wished she could make Rachel ‘a Christian’. But her way of making Rachel closer to God was a little bit forceful and improper.
Her narration ended when Miss Clack was saying she forgave Rachel for insulting her while as a matter of fact it was actually Rachel who was afraid of Miss Clack’s method of approaching her.
Days before that, Miss Clack had actually been acting a bit too much in relation to Lady Verrinder. When the Lady was severely ill, Miss Clack, again, wished she could ‘escort’ her relative resting in peace. As such, she was attempting to put some amounts of religious books to her. I think her effort aimed at making Lady Verrinder closer to God and be purified from her sins.
Miss Clack put books in several spots in the Lady’s house in hope that she would find then read them but until the day she was dead the books remained unread. They were returned to Miss Clack instead.
Throughout The Moonstone, this particular person completely confuses me. First, it is quite strange that Wilkie Collins selects her as one of the narratives in the book since she wasn’t present in the birthday dinner of the Rachel Verrinder which later saw the Moonstone went missing.
Miss Clack is, by the way, the niece of Sir John Verrinder, Rachel’s father. Her narration becomes sort of ‘entrapment’ for me after I resume reading the book. I can feel her strong admiration to Mr. Godfrey Abblewhite. She was spying his conversation with Rachel Verrinder on the day he proposed her. Following Miss Clack’s narration of the tale makes me despise Rachel even more (since she is a stubborn girl since the beginning of the book) and put sympathy to Mr. Godfrey Abblewhite. I think the reason why Collins places Miss Clack is to ‘deceive’ readers, at least that happens to me, LOL. You know that I get my guess completely wrong for Mr. Godfrey Abblewhite is the villain of them all because of his huge debts.
Thank God Miss Clack emerges briefly in the book if not, I can’t imagine how ambiguous the novel would be.