"Love/Hate Wong Hei?...Love Wong Hei...Hating Wong Hei...Love Wong Hei again...Hating him...Loving finally again."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
Wong Hei- Cheng Ban Kiu
Mok Kar Yiu
Akina Hong Wah
Tsang Wah Kin
Lo Hoi Pang
A sometimes tragic drama about the life of Cheng Ban Kiu, a gifted scholar who is an expert in drawing bamboo trees apparently with so much feeling that when people stare at his paintings they seem to get lost in them. Starring Wong Hei as the main lead, we see him mature from an innocent naïve artist to a generous court official in the Ching dynasty. We also see his love affair with Gigi Lai’s Wong Nhut Jie but fortunately the two were separated and Ban Kiu is forced to marry Nnadia Chan’s Chun Xiang, who at first he despised but grew to love.
Wong Hei lives in a small village with his dad, little brother and an old maid. He has this thing for drawing bamboo trees but his father seriously opposes to it because he thinks all artists never get what they deserve unless they’re dead…kind of true. Anyways, Wong Hei feels his talent is being wasted at home so he decides to travel to another town in hopes of someday he’ll be recognized for his work.
Chun Pui is the 2nd king of the Ching dynasty, I think Hong Hei, correct me if I’m wrong. He’s a decent king but his spared time is used observing paintings that Gilbert Lam, one of his officials that gets paid going around the country finding exquisite paintings, presents him. He has at least 14 sons, and the 14th and 4th are constantly at each other’s throats for the throne all the time.
At his new home a prosperous place where all the artist congregate, Wong Hei befriends Mak Bao, and Mok Kar Yiu, who also are fellow artists. Mak Bao has a mind to solely make money while Mok Kar Yiu is another artist who has potential but can never seem to get famous. Together with Wong Hei they become best buds and face troubles to come.
Gigi and Wong Hei
Gigi comes into the story as a very rich girl but dressed as a man. She and Wong Hei meet and she asked him to draw for her a painting but later mysteriously disappears. Wong Hei feels responsible for her disappearance and is determined to search for her. He found her in one of those “prostitute” houses and decides to find money so he can help buy her out of there. And here we begin their love story, Wong Hei fell for Gigi and vice versa shortly after. Gigi however, has this memory problem so she doesn’t remember who she is and so forth. Wong Hei then is determined to help her regain her memory and find her family. Now Nnadia comes into play. Turns out that she’s Gigi’s maid who also traveled to this prosperous town in search for her master. They reunite and Nnadia calls for Gigi’s mother to come pick Gigi up. Gigi’s mom arrives to find her daughter falling for a poor artist and gets outraged. She does everything she can to separate the two and she succeeds in the end which kind of ends Gigi and Wong Hei’s affair.
Nnadia and Wong Hei
They first met when Nnadia was selling this special kind of wonton soup, but the wonton is in shape of a fish, I really don’t know how to explain it. Anyways, Wong Hei was forced to marry Nnadia because on the wedding day Gigi’s mom switched Gigi with Nnadia. Wong Hei gets furious and in the beginning couldn’t stand to face Nnadia. But surely enough he gradually fell for her because of all the sacrifices and devotion she gave to his family. Unfortunately, Nnadia had a terrible ending and passed away.
Myolie and Wong Hei
Myolie is a street girl who steals for a living. She bumps into Wong Hei one day and decides to steal from him therefore not leaving a good impression on him. Nnadia feels that Myolie is truly a good person but just needs a little guidance so she takes her into the family. Before Nnadia died, she made Wong Hei and Myolie get married first and Myolie promise that she’ll take care of Wong Hei. Knowing Wong Hei, he also treated this wife badly saying that he only loved Nnadia and no one can replace her. Myolie though, keeping her promise to Nnadia stayed by Wong Hei’s side and helped him through thick and thin.
So why doesn’t Gigi’s mom let her marry Wong Hei?
Simple, because he’s poor. Actually, there was a time that she approved of Wong Hei and Gigi together. You see (here we get some of the theme of the movie-drawing), Chun Pui, figures out that Wong Hei has this special talent to draw and wanted him to take Gilbert’s place and work as an official. Gigi’s mom in hearing this is in bliss because Wong Hei will inevitably become rich. Unfortunately, Chun Pui died (I think Tsang Wah Kin, his 4th son killed him) and there was no hope now for Wong Hei to become anything, therefore, the mom ditched him like a smelly sock.
How does Nnadia die?
Because of Wong Hei. She was saving him from a falling light thing that probably weighed a ton, and the huge thing collapsed on her. She was supposed to be fine but at the very same time, she was pregnant which harmed her health if she continued to carry the baby. She made up her mind to keep the baby, which went against doctor’s orders, and ended up getting weaker and weaker as the baby grew. She refused to tell Wong Hei that she was dying and carrying his baby, so he’s all blissfully thinking that he’ll be a dad soon.
Why did Wong Hei finally accept Myolie?
It was this roller coaster ride that we witnessed with Nnadia, only faster. So he resented Myolie and treated her like dirt because he couldn’t accept her. Then one day Gigi came back and made Wong Hei’s life hell again. Myolie warned him that Gigi was here to cause trouble but he wouldn’t listen. But in the end, Wong Hei almost lost his head and realized that Myolie truly cares for him and became touched.
How did Gigi make Wong Hei’s life Hell?
Well, there were two times. The first time, she begged him to paint this painting for her that was important to Mark, which could have caused Wong Hei and his family their lives.
Then the second time, she tried to kill him because she came back for revenge. Long story. Anyways, Gigi begged Wong Hei to paint this painting that he and Chun Pui painted together many moons ago that Mark accidentally ruined. Wong Hei does it and when Mark presented the painting, he got beheaded and his whole family also got punished by sending them to one of those desert things that people can’t live in. So Gigi thinks it’s because of Wong Hei that her husband died. She at first befriends him and makes him think that she has forgiven him for the past, then she backstabs him which almost cost him his head.
Gigi realized that Wong Hei had no part in her husband’s death and in the end confessed to free Wong Hei and became a nun. Myolie thought she accomplished her duty to Nnadia and thought that Wong Hei will never love her so she left him. Wong Hei after learning that Myolie left realized that he really does love her, so he ran after her and the two left together, very sweet!
The Hate Factor
Nnadia’s death!! I am so mad that she died! She was so loving and giving and did not deserve her tragic ending. You know what else ticked me off? How Wong Hei was so oblivious to everything. I mean dude, she was fainting and looking very pale right in front of his eyes and he didn’t think that there was something wrong with her! He to me did not love her enough or was just really blind. I mean yeah, she said oh it’s nothing, but he should have a) asked Myolie what it is and I’m sure after a few cold stares and mean looks Wong Hei can spill something out of her, or b) make her go see a doctor and find out himself. Jeez…I don’t’ know what to say but because of his negligence that’s why she’s dead.
Gigi Lai. I just don’t like her character. I mean, yeah she was nice and everything in the beginning but she just annoyed me. Then she became bad and that was it, officially hate her. Sorry Gigi fans, but I have to say it here. I don’t like Gigi as an actress. I think she’s so arrogant in all of her characters. The first time I saw her was in HSDS and my I couldn’t stand her. Again, she was just too arrogant for my liking and that ruined the character. In here she was nice yes, but I still sense the arrogance and especially when she turned evil, something about this actress really irks me.
Gigi’s mother. What was up with this woman? I mean, she just was there to cause trouble for everyone. But because of her, we get to see Wong Hei and Nnadia together.
Gigi and Wong Hei as a couple. I just don’t like them together.
The Cute factor
Nnadia and Wong Hei. They were just really cute, although you don’t see him really show any love to her until she’s sick and dying but they were just so cute. I love the part when she would do little things for him like wait for him at night and stuff. My favorite part would have to be when she was caught doing chores for the whole town just so he can teach the town kids and he found out. He was really grateful and you can tell he’s slowly changing to accept her.
Myolie. Her character was very cute and just fun to watch. To me she had more personality than Nnadia did. At least Myolie had the guts to yell at Wong Hei a few times, unlike Nnadia who didn’t dare to defy him.
Myolie and Wong Hei. At first, I just didn’t think I could tolerate Wong Hei with her because I just loved Nnadia and felt really sorry for her. But they also proved to be a very cute couple. It was nice to see him soften up to her as he realized who really cares and sacrifices for him.
Mak Bao and Mak Kar Yiu. I didn’t talk about them much because besides being Wong Hei’s best friends and having some screen time, they didn’t have a sub plot centering around them. But nevertheless, these two were cute as supporting actors, and sometimes serves as a comedy factor.
Gilbert Lam. His first performance with TVB was in WTLB, which I missed, then in BFII he was gay, and the first time I saw him since ATV. Yeah, in here he was bad but because I’ve seen him so much in ATV productions that he is always just cute to me. (Especially in Heroine of the Yang family where he and Annie Man made one of the cutest couples to date!) Anyways, he and Akina Hong Wah in here supposedly have a “thing”. His character was a bad guy and had a pretty bad ending but I still like him. Just wish TVB will promote him more and pair him up with Annie!
Raymond Cho. You probably wondering what he was doing in here. He’s actually Tsang Wai Kin’s son/Chun Pui’s grandson, and a very noble king. He’s the king that every other Ching’s dynasty movie’s about. But anyways, he wanted to correct his father’s way of ruling the country because he was kind of a tyrant, and stumbled upon Wong Hei who he grew to admire. His performance was not bad but he for some reason was just cute in here. I don’t think he gets recognized enough by TVB though. Sometimes, he’ll get huge roles, and sometimes it’s like he’s an extra.
Love/Hate Wong Hei?
Wong Hei’s character, Cheng Ban Kiu sometimes made me want to hug him and then sometimes made me want to hit where it hurts.
Love Wong Hei
The beginning when we just get to meet him. He was so honorable and loving that you really want to hug him, then ask yourself, where did the funny childish Wong Hei go?
Hating Wong Hei
When he just got married to Nnadia and still head over heals in love with Gigi. Oh my God, I really wanted to punch him. He was just so mean. You know Wong Hei and his slit like eyes, I’m not trying to be mean, I think they’re adorable, but man, his looks can kill. Every time he gave Nnadia the evil look you can just feel the hatred and “I wish you were dead” vibe he was giving her. This is one guy that I just didn’t want to get near.
Love Wong Hei again
When he grew the mustache and became this mature man. You can tell he really cared about Nnadia and forgotten about Gigi, temporarily. Then when Nnadia died he did constantly think about her and everything, which was very sweet. You just wanted to hug him again.
When he met Gigi again. After Gigi miraculously came back from the dead, this was after Nnadia death, he just went googoo gaga again for her. Again he was oblivious, hey title Doomed to Oblivion, totally true! She tried to be sweet like before but you can tell there was something weird and different about her. She was out to get him! But he couldn’t see that because he was too blind. Anyways, he did things like arrest Myolie and listen to Gigi, which made me really want to punch him again.
Loving finally again
When he found out the truth and realized that Myolie was always there for him. It was so sweet when he ran after Myolie and he tied her hand to his so she wouldn’t leave him. Very touching and sweet, just made me want to hug both of them.
So should you bother with this series?
YES!! Although, Nnadia and Gigi didn’t have great endings, but it was a touching and truly great series. The background music was awesome with bamboo flutes and everything that made me get the chills every time I listened to it. Especially the song when Wong Hei starts to draw and you’re suppose to get this feeling that you are lost in a bamboo forest. Even though, I don’t think the bamboo paintings are unbelievably magnificent and I don’t see how a painting of just black paint markings can resemble a real forest, the music just gets to me. The supporting casts did really well. Wong Hei gave a superb performance who falls for every sing woman in the series, except for Akina. Basically, go watch the series, you won’t be disappointed.