During different stages of life, different issues emerge – this of course applies to middle-aged women as well.
Four women who have reached the ‘middle-age’ mark – Maggie Cheung, Joyce Tang, Elena Kong, and Michelle Yim – got together recently to refute the ‘myths’ that many people have of middle-aged women. Maggie talks candidly about society’s use of the phrase “敗犬” [TN: literally translated “defeated dog”] to refer to unmarried middle-age women; Michelle cleverly discusses the concept of “中年雙失”[TN: “middle-age double loss”]; and Joyce agrees with Elena’s opinion that being the 3rd party in a relationship is ‘asking for trouble’.
J = Joyce
E = Elena
Y = Michelle
M = Maggie
Question 1: One myth regarding middle-aged women – plastic surgery! No matter how pretty a woman is, she is no match for the ‘passing of time’ and eventual old age. Therefore, it seems that plastic surgery has become the ‘life-saver’ for women who do not want to lose their beauty with age. So how do these 4 beauties (Joyce, Elena, Maggie, Michelle) view plastic surgery?
J: If one is ugly, it does become a bit of a hindrance psychologically. I feel that there is nothing wrong with plastic surgery, as long as one is careful not to become obsessed about it – since it is very easy to continue having surgery after surgery once started. Of course, it’s best to not alter one’s appearance if at all possible. Actually, as long as a woman possesses confidence, she is already a beauty. It’s more important for women to have ‘inner beauty’ – if a woman speaks in a way that is tasteless and insipid, with no meaning to her words, it doesn’t matter how pretty she is on the outside – it’s pointless.
Y: But I feel that if a woman doesn’t have enough confidence and doing a little bit of plastic surgery will give her that remaining boost, I would support it.
E: Actually, I did alter….(the Ladies: What???)…..my teeth! I’m grateful to my family who took me to get braces when I was 13 years old. My teeth used to have a lot of gaps, to the point where I wasn’t able to close my mouth – after I got braces, not only did my teeth become straight and orderly again, my nose also became straighter and I became prettier! However, I had to pay a heavy price for the beauty – at the time, I had 4 teeth pulled in order to accommodate the braces and I was in pain for 3 years!
J: When I was little, I had also wanted to get braces, but after having 4 teeth pulled, the dentist said that my teeth are ‘too thin’ so I couldn’t get them.
M: Elena looks very different now than she did previously? I’m interested in seeing the pictures! In terms of plastic surgery, if it can make one’s physical appearance more pleasing to the eye, I’m not opposed to it, however, absolutely cannot go overboard – one needs to know when to be satisfied and stop.
Question 2: Many young women in Hong Kong have their own careers and are financially independent, but if they reach middle-age and are still single, it’s hard to avoid society’s ‘criticisms’ and gossip – in Japan, they use the words “敗犬” [“defeated dog”] to describe unmarried women….
Y: No one is immune from having enemies – if someone doesn’t like you, they will have a lot of different gossips and ‘nicknames’ for you…there is no need to take what they say to heart.
M: Since there is no way to control what people say, just ignore it!
Y: “敗犬” is just a ‘nickname’ after all.
E: I feel that if I’ve reached middle-age and I’m still single, it’s no one else’s business but mine! As long as I’m happy with my life, that’s all that matters! Again, whether a woman is physically beautiful or not isn’t the most important, as long as she has confidence in herself – if she has confidence, she will automatically have radiance and splendor – this is something that comes from within, no one can ‘give’ it to another.
M: The words “敗犬” – is this actually a phrase that some arrogant man with an inferiority complex came up with??
The Ladies: Yeah!!
E: Yes, it was created so the guy with the low self-esteem could feel better! Haha!
Y: Exactly…why can’t they use a ‘prettier’ nickname?!
J: For instance, the phrase “女優” [TN: literally translated “female superior”] isn’t bad at all!
E: “優女” [TN: literally translated “excellent/superior female”] actually sounds better!
Y: “優女” sounds too much like “憂女” [TN: literally translated “worried female”]. “女優” is actually better, since it means “outstanding woman” according to the traditional Chinese language.
Question 3: Some women persevere with their careers when they are young, but then when they reach a certain age, they’ll discover that they are in a somewhat awkward situation: the single men around them are not worth their time and the ‘good’ men are all already married. If at that point in time, they feel that they are ready to let go of their careers in favor of romance, there is a possibility that they may fall in love with a married man and become the ‘3rd party’ in a relationship without realizing it. If these 4 found themselves in this situation, how would they handle it?
E: If you like someone, there’s nothing that says you have to make it known – there is such a thing as a ‘crush’. Making it known would only break up the marriage – it’s better to just admire from far away! As the saying goes, the most unobtainable things are the best – the moment you try to get closer to ‘obtain’ it, devastation occurs – being a ‘3rd party’ in a relationship is definitely ‘asking for trouble’!
M: I’m the type of person who dislikes troublesome matters; I prefer a simple life where I don’t have to worry about how to handle these types of complicated matters! If I were in a situation where I fall in love with a married man, I would only silently admire him from afar and wouldn’t take any action because if I take action, I don’t know what types of problems will arise – it’s not worth it. If I was truly fated to be with that person, he wouldn’t be married – so there’s no point in forcing things!
J: I completely agree with Elena and Maggie – it’s impossible for a person to possess everything that is the prettiest and the best!
Question 4: Once women reach middle-age, what is the thing they fear the most? Michelle’s character in <
E: In life, it’s important not to be completely reliant on someone else – not even on your parents, since one day they may no longer be with you. Therefore, the most important thing is to be able to take care of yourself so that even if you lose both career and marriage in middle-age, you can still face it bravely.
M: Having a career means having financial security, having financial security means having independence, having independence means having freedom. There will always be ups and downs in life, so it’s necessary to plan ahead and be prepared – this way, there’s no need to be afraid of change.
E: Also, for those who are currently in a ‘high position’ in their careers, they must be prepared to ‘start over’ so that even if they lose everything, they are not afraid to take jobs such as a bank teller, waitress, etc. – don’t let the grandness of the past become a burden – nothing in this world lasts forever.
J: Even if you are married, don’t lose touch with the world. Don’t become entirely dependent on one person because if that person leaves you, it will be like the end of the world. A married woman still needs to maintain her own circle of friends. Since a long time ago, Maggie has been telling me: “Love yourself and be strong!”
Encourage women to stand tall and be strong
Y: To be honest, one purpose of this interview is to give some encouragement to women who have encountered these types of difficult situations and show them how to stand strong. The first thing is to put their lives back in order mentally and emotionally and to remember that it’s not the end of the world – continue to get to know more people, read the news so that they are on the same page with the rest of the world, work hard to save money, and prepare for the unexpected. Good things don’t last forever, so it’s necessary to learn to have an optimistic attitude and turn negative situations into positive ones. This way, nothing can stop them.
J: That’s right! For instance, if you break up with someone, you can think of it as having more freedom now – it may sound silly, but thinking positively will only do you good, not harm.
There’s a saying in Chinese that ‘three women make a crowd and four women make gossip’…but these 4 actresses who came together for the series <
Out of the 4 women, Michelle has had the most life experiences and so has developed a unique perspective on many situations. Therefore, oftentimes, when her friends encounter difficult situations, they like to seek her advice. She feels that through television and movies, one can learn a lot about the realities of human life, so when some of her girlfriends encounter marriage issues, she would tell them to watch Stephen Chow and Sandra Ng’s film <
Asked what she thought about the young models coming out with sexy picture books, Michelle smiled again and said that young people are interested in that kind of stuff because they most likely want to capture the beauty that they have via photos while young so they can reminisce when they get older. Unfortunately though, the picture books that have been released in recent years have gone more and more in the wrong direction, to the point where it has created an unhealthy atmosphere in society.
Source: Oriental Daily / Translation: llwy12@ asianfanatics