"If there is one series that you ask me to name that draws until the contents of the intestine, I will name this series"
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
Yau Ching Yau Yi which is used when a person adopts an attitude of gratefulness and loyalty to another person. Or you may say righteousness. I believe this series should be called Mou Ching Mou Yi which is the opposite because there are so many ungrateful gits in this series. Mandarin title is of course You Qing You Yi.
Modern day drama set in Hong Kong, China and Singapore. Nope, no Malaysia or Europe. The budget for this series is only so much.
Mediacorp of Singapore. I think formerly TCS.
Jordan Chan - He Fan
- youngest son of He Jun, younger twin brother of He Ping
Christopher Lee - He Ping/He Jun
- eldest twin of He Jun / father of He Ping and He Fan
Fann Wong - Li Ting
- adopted daughter of Li Nian
Huang Yi - Zhou Ying
- relative of the Chens, eldest sister of Zhou Qian
Hao Lei - Zhou Qian
- younger sister of Zhou Ying
Lin Meijiao - Chen Yi (Auntie Yi)
- helper in He family, adopted the He twins
Tracer Wong - Zhong Qing
- mother of Zhong Mei, daughter of Zhong Ji, lover of He Jun, Hes enemy
May Phua - Zhong Mei
- daughter of Zhong Qing, ex-lover of Li Li, later lover of He Ping
Zhu Houren - Li Nian
- Father of Li Li, very rich Singaporean businessman, enemy of Zhongs
Edmund Chen - Li Li
- only son of Li Nian
Liu Qianyi - Zhong Ji
- father of Zhong Qing, rival and enemy of Li Nian in business
Qi Yuwu - Fan Wen
- former student of Ruan Hui, a reporter, mentor of Li Ting
Ivy Lee - Zhang Li
- mother of He Ping and He Fan, wife of He Jun
Unknown - Sun Fang
- investor in the instant mee noodle business
Unknown - Ruan Hui
- wife of Li Li, sis in law of Li Ting, mom of Heng Chang
- Heng Chang - 10 year old son of Li Li and Ruan Hui, nephew of Li Ting
Unknown - Coach Hu
- national coach of China Ping Pong team, investor of Fan's energy drink business
Unknown - Liu Hua
- owner of famous Beijing roast duck reastaurant, partner in business with He Fan
Unknown - Fat doctor
- doctor, researcher and inspiration for He Fan's famous Fatty Chef's instant noodle
Unknown - Sun Xing
- father of Sun Fang
Unknown - Yang Gang
- famous director who gave Zhou Ying her big break in films
Unknown - Chen Rong (Auntie Rong)
- surrogate mother of He twins, younger sister of Chen Yi
For More Info
For character description, episode summaries, interviews and some pictures, check out the official site at http://ch8.mediacorptv.com/shows/drama/view/19/1/.html . However do not believe every word written in the episode summaries or even the character description. The accuracy of the description and the storyline is like only 60% at best. Whilst mine did not reveal any minute detail of the plot, safe to say mine is perhaps 100% accurate but 75% revealed. Sometimes it is a good thing to write summaries AFTER you have watched the entire series.
Twin brothers sworn to avenge the unfortunate death of their parents grew into two very different individuals, one a patient and gifted businessman and the other a reckless impatient jerk and their paths were destined to cross with their enemy and with their inner conscience. Well, something like that. Spanning from 1980 to 2002.
Is there one? Of course! This series has so much plot it sometimes lost its focus for a while and then realised they do have a plot to end. I would say the plot is narrow but branches into so many sub plots that I find it difficult to keep up because the series itself is like a maze, so many stories, so many people, so little focus, so many irrelevant stuff.
Ok, the plot.
Some 22 years ago from year 2002 (in 1980), the He family was poor but happy. Comprising of Mr He, a handsome young man (played by Christopher Lee who will play He Ping), a young attractive mother Mrs He and twin sons, He Ping (the handsome one) and He Fan (the ugly one), both were ten at that time. There was also a live in maid named Auntie Yi who favoured He Ping because she was secretly in love with Mr He whilst she thinks very little of teh teary eyed He Fan, the generally referred to as the dumb one. They were happy but their misfortune began when Mr He was facing financial ruins and he saved the live of a woman named Zhong Qing who was the only child of Zhong Ji, a very rich but ruthless man. Zhong Qing has a young daughter Zhong Mei and both were deserted by Zhong Qing abusive husband. But in her twisted way, Zhong Qing was so much in love with her husband she jumped into the sea to end her life. Mr He had the misfortune of saving her and when she set eyes on the handsome Mr He, she clung to him for emotional support, to the detriment of Mrs He and the sons. Mrs He cried in silent and after some time of torrid affair between Zhong Qing and Mr He, Mr He realised he loved his wife more and so he left the mad Zhong Qing. Zhong Qing equated that the only reason he left her was because of his wife threw acid on Mrs He's face, and whilst she was crying in agony, Mr He who was incensed with anger ran amok, trying to kill Zhong Qing with a butcher's knife. He was subsequently shot by a police, and his death was witnessed by his two young sons. Mrs He was so depressed and feeling very hopeless as business was gone, money was gone, husband gone as well killed herself. But before her death she told the more innocent and naive He Fan to forget about revenge and live by their given names, Ping Ping Fan Fan (a life of ordinariness without much problems) instead of seeking revenge because the Zhongs were filthy rich. And thus half an orphan days before, now they were 100% orphans. But Auntie Yi adopted them and sent them to China to live with her sister, Auntie Rong whom He Ping disliked from day 1 because she ate all his chocolates. Auntie Rong took an instant liking to He Fan whilst still loved He Ping like her own.
As they settled in Shanghai, He Ping was determined to avenge the death of his parents and thought the best way was to excel at something. But everything he tried, He Fan who was supposedly the slow one could do better. And as they grew up, He Ping wanted an university exam but being oh so noble, he decided he would switch places with He Fan so that He Fan could get to university first and he later since he is smarter. But the joke was He Fan sitting as He Ping passed with flying colours and got a place in university whilst He Ping sitting as He Fan flunked. So He Ping went to university but Auntie Yi thought He Ping got in by his own merit.
At university, He Ping was impatient and couldn't cope. Whilst He Fan sought a job as a hawker. They were joined by their cousins, two young girls named Zhou Ying, the more stubborn and traditional one and Zhou Qian, the spoilt little sister determined to make it as an actress and thus enrolled in a drama school. Zhou Ying secretly harbours a love for acting and later proved to be a better actress than her little sister.
Meanwhile, Zhou Qian fell in love with He Ping and thus they began a relationship. But all of a sudden we are told He Fan fancied Zhou Qian as well but only in secret. Zhou Qian because of love could not concentrate in her studied whilst He Ping decided to drop out, asked Auntie Yi for money and opened a roasted duck shop. The problem was the name and style was exactly the same as another famous shop in Beijing and the location was horrible. When the customers were dissatisfied and the restaurant almost in financial ruins as the owner of the Beijing shop threatened to sue, He Ping took the easy way out and ran away whilst He Fan didn't want to quit so easily and through sheer determination and sincerity, convinced the Beijing duck shop owner to be his business partner. He Fan was a natural in business because of his never say die attitude.
At the meantime, He Fan meets a very lonely young woman named Li Ting whose father was the rich Li Nian from Singapore. She was banished to Shanghai because her father told her she was not his child though her mother, before her last breath told Li Ting that wasn't true. Li Ting took an instant liking to He Fan who became her punching bag when she was unhappy and slowly she began to fall for him and this time for real though she had a habit of falling in love very easily because of the lack of fatherly love. He Fan encouraged Li Ting to return home to confront her father and so she did. But once at home, though loved by her big brother Li Li, sis in law Ruan Hui and adored by her only nephew, Heng Chang, her father was cold and cruel towards her. But because she worked hard, and encouraged by Heng Chang, her father began to be less critical of her and began to accept her as a Li. Li Ting at last found a place in the Li household.
Back in China, He Fan's restaurant was a roaring success. And then came another bad news; He Ping started a business with a rich young girl Sun Quan to produce China's first locally manufactured instant noodle. Again as expected, he couldn't get pass producing the first noodle for tasting by the investors. Zhou Qian at the moment also suffered some setbacks when a famous director, Yang Gang chose Zhou Ying as the lead actress of his new film rather than Zhou Qian. Zhou Qian full of jealousy and blaming her sister for everything, decided to run away and this time He Ping ran with her. Again the business was in ruin and He Fan had to again set things right. Through sheer determination and foolishness (by being a test guinea pig himself) and meeting a very knowledgeable doctor who helped him, He Fan successfully created the first locally produced instant noodle called Fatty Chef. The business was again a success and at last He Fan was able to salvage everything.
At the meantime, Li Ting was in serious trouble. She took Heng Chang to visit her mother's grave and it was raining. She became very sick but worse was Heng Chang was sick too. He was rushed to the hospital but died at the hospital of heart failure, something that would have happened with or without the fever or the rain. But Li Nian blamed Li Ting and Li Ting blamed herself. She left the Li household but Li Nian could not help but rub more salt to an already big wound. He told her he did a DNA test with her and she was little, and indeed she wasn't his child. She was the gardener's love child with her mom. Li Ting could not believe her father's cruelty and she left, her brother not daring to say a word though they didn't blame her at all. But Ruan Hui was in a tough time. She couldn't have children anymore and when Li Nian found out about this, he pressured Li Li to divorce her and marry another. He even tried to persuade Ruan Hui but she refused. Li Li was too weak to fight his father and Ruan Hui was so disappointed with Li Li but tried to hang on to the marriage.
Meanwhile Li Ting banished from her home ran to Shanghai and straight into He Fan's arms. But when she found out He Fan was in love with Zhou Qian, Zhou Ying too was in love with him and he felt only friendship with Li Ting, Li Ting tearfully ran back home (well not really ran back to Singapore on foot but you get my meaning) and worked to support herself. Her sis in law recommended that she worked as a reporter as she was once a very famous reporter before she married Li Li and Li Ting worked very hard. And then one day she saw the first pictures of the biggest news; she stared into the pictures of her sis in law, after her jump from a building. She was so pressured to divorce Li Li she killed herself refusing to do as Li Nian asked. Li Ting couldn't bring herself to go on but her superior, Fan Wen encouraged her and Li Ting was so angry, scolded her father over the phone, scolded her distraught brother who was too weak to utter a word at the hospital and beat up the woman she blamed; Zhong Mei, the daughter of Zhong Qing. Zhong Mei grew up to be a very ugly person in her heart, screaming, rude, demanding, possessive, obsessive. The Zhongs and the Lis were very good friends until the Zhongs betrayed the Lis in business. Zhong Mei was Li Li's girlfriend a decade ago but because of the breakup of the family, Li Li encouraged by Li Ting married another. But Zhong Mei laid waiting and when she found out Heng Chang was dead, she ran to Li Li and tormented Ruan Hui until Ruan Hui's suicide who was actually tormented not by Zhong Mei but by Li Nian. Li Li was so angry with his father decided to strike up an affair with the woman his father hated; Zhong Mei but Li Ting didn't know.
Back in China, He Fan was quite happy as he was and confused in love when Zhou Qian came running to him for help; He Ping had once again started a business with some sportsmen to produce some health drink but because their star ping pong player too was in love with Zhou Qian, He Ping broke the man's hand and poor man could not play Ping Pong anymore. With impending lawsuits and ruined business, He Ping again ran away with Zhou Qian and He Fan was left with an angry mob of sportsmen. But He Fan's kindness and gentle nature won the hearts of the sportsmen whose future was almost destroyed by He Ping went into partnership and again the business was a success. But Auntie Yi thought He Ping was always right and He Fan the greedy one though Auntie Rong knew otherwise.
And so 5 years has passed, life went on. He Fan was now a successful businessman and very rich. Meeting Zhou Ying and Zhou Qian again, he realised he was actually in love with Zhou Ying who was now a very famous actress rumoured to be having an affair with Yang Gang. Zhou Qian was still by He Ping side until He Ping couldn't be bothered to look for her when she was lost in the train station and so she left him and became a night club singer. There she met Li Ting whom by now was quite a success as a reporter whose job is to track news in China. She did not see He Fan for many years and though wooed by Fan Wen, when she saw He Fan again she realised she was still very much in love with He Fan. When she thought He Fan was still in love with Zhou Qian and seeing how lonely and alone Zhou Qian was, she encouraged Zhou Qian to give He Fan a call. And so she did, and Zhou Qian wanted a comfortable life and so she wormed her way into He Fan's life, waiting for him to propose which he did. But then he had second thoughts and when he broke off the engagement, He Ping naturally blamed He Fan and Zhou Qian was devastated.
Then tragedy struck.
Auntie Yi who was broke by now saw how successful He Fan was and how much a dud He Ping was. She was angry at He Ping's uselessness and even despised He Fan as she thought He Ping was faultless. She broke into a huge argument with her sister, Auntie Rong, demanding He Fan give He Ping back the businesses which He Fan agreed. But Auntie Rong who was then suffering from heart attack begged He Fan not to give in to their demands and then she died. Zhou Qian meanwhile tried to commit suicide but was rescued by He Ping who was also at the same hospital. Zhou Qian survived but was weal. At the same time Auntie Yi was very devastated by her sister's death, which she played a part in it but He Ping as usual blamed everybody else. It was in that hospital He Ping as he was devastated over the death of Auntie Rong and depressed over the attempted suicide of Zhou Qian who was calling He Fan's name non stop when he met Zhong Mei, who was also at the hospital because at the same time Li Li, who actually be with Zhong Mei to spite his father was struck by a van which many believes to be the work of Zhong Ji who found out Li Li was spying on him. Li Li died, Li Ting was devastated, Zhong Mei was speechless but set her sights on He Ping whom she liked when she laid eyes on him.
Everybody was saddened by the tripple bad news but none as devastated as Li Nian who promptly paid someone to drive their car at Zhong Mei. Zhong Mei survived but Li Li's unborn child didn't. Li Nian was arrested and felt the irony of it all. During his incarceration on the Chinese prison, Li Ting visited him all the time and at last after some frosty greetings found that her adopted father was becoming more used to her. And when he was finally released from prison, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer disease and with that knowledge began to accept Li Ting as his daughter.
Meanwhile Zhou Ying could not find her sister as He Ping hid her somewhere. To He Ping Zhou Ying and He Fan were the reasons for Zhou Qian's depression. At the same time meetings were held between the investors, He Fan, He Ping and Auntie Yi. But for the first time Auntie Yi saw real contempt for He Ping and hearing from so many people who would rather lose money than to do business with He Ping, Auntie Yi realised her prejudice against He Fan was unfounded. She was blinded by her love for Mr He and He Ping's resemblance to Mr He. So she voluntarily gave all her shared to He Fan and thus He Ping was very angry but could he do?
Some more time passed, and Zhou Ying and He Fan tried to suppress their true feelings. Suddenly He Ping proposed to Zhou Qian and Zhou Qian who has matured by that time agreed to marry He Ping, so that He Fan could openly be with her sister. After some time of marriage, He Ping met with the pesky mad woman, Zhong Mei and began a torrid affair with her. He began to come home less and less. Everybody knew he was seeing a woman called Mei but they didn't know she was Zhong Mei. Even the Zhongs didn't know he was a He. At the same time, when He Ping realised he loved Zhou Qian more, he wanted to go back to Zhou Qian as Zhou Qian was pregnant. Zhong Mei at the same time said she was pregnant as well. Faced with 2 pregnant women, He Ping went back to Zhong Mei, because she had more money and she could help him destroy his most hated enemy, not the Zhongs but He Fan himself whom He Ping blamed for everything. Zhou Qian was devastated but refused to grant him a divorce, hoping he would come back to her and be a good person.
And so using Zhongs money, He Ping was confident of hitting He Fan where it hurts. This time the Zhongs wanted Li Nian's company and Li Ting enlisted the help of He Fan. He Fan was confident the Zhongs didn't have enough money to buy Li Nian's company and in fact he wanted to buy back Dong Xin, Li Nian's former company which was stolen by the Zhongs (and thus began their rivalry years before). He Fan was confident and they were all involved in the game of shares, buying and selling where everything was at stake. He Ping was particularly confident.
And then of course Zhou Qian accidentally overheard Zhong Mei's surname and confronted He Ping about her true identity in China (don't ask me how they all got to China, I lost track). He confessed and this time Zhou Qian was so angry with He Ping she never forgave him. To leave her pregnant with another woman and treating her like she didn't matter was one matter but to sleep with and work with your enemy, that's a different thing. The Zhongs of course didn't know He Ping was He Ping, he was Wesley Lam to them. Zhong Mei knew. He Ping was afraid Zhou Qian will tell Auntie Yi who was also suffering from heart attack and so he went to her house but saw Auntie Yi. Auntie Yi was very angry with He Ping when He Ping said he loved Zhong Mei, the daughter of Zhong Ji and yet he loved also Zhou Qian. Dying from heart attack, He Ping rushed to get her some water so that she can swallow some pills and then Zhong Mei appeared and stopped him. They both stared at Auntie Yi as she laid there gasping for air. In the stormy night they buried her, but only much later did we know she was still alive then and she was buried alive, a fact He Ping may or may not know.
Back to Singapore, He Fan was informed by Zhou Ying Auntie Yi was missing and they saw He Ping in town. The police found Auntie Yi's body and everybody knew He Ping had something to do with her death. In Singapore, Li Nian had to win the battle on his own and after some fear and confusion, he won back his old company and retained his present company. The Zhongs suffered severe losses and they blamed He Ping. As they were screaming at He Ping, Zhong Mei who had a sudden attack of madness took a knife and stabbed her grandfather and then her mother. Her mother died on the spot but Zhong Ji survived and ran for help. He spent the rest of his days in Tanjung Rambutan whilst his company, gone.
Anyway, back to the story proper.
Zhong Mei knew they were in deep trouble and romanticising everything, she decided that He Ping and her should commit suicide. They took poison but He Ping suddenly didn't want to die and he vomited the contents, thus survived it all. Zhong Mei died on the spot.
Meanwhile, Li Ting was struck by her family illness (gardener father's side) that is brain cancer (tumour). She refused operations until He Fan promised her when she opened her eyes, he will have with him en engagement ring. She was happy and thought He Fan loved her. Zhou Ying was depressed but accepted the fact. But Li Ting saw how He Fan was holding on to Zhou Ying and she tearfully realised He Fan appreciated her as a best friend but not as a lover and a wife. She wrote He Fan a letter telling him to open it if she died or if she lost her memory after the surgery. She went into the surgery and came out comatose.
Some years passed, He Fan was mega successful. Zhou Ying became a best actress and had a very fulfilling career but her love life was in shambles. He Ping was in Singapore jail but was to be transferred back to China for the death of Auntie Yi. He begged He Fan for help but He Fan could do nothing and refused to do anything. He Ping wished he could turn back time but that was too late. Seconds before his execution in China, he begged to God for one last chance that he would be a good person but BANG! Died.
Zhou Qian who gave birth to a son she named He Shan (Shan being kind hearted, a quality his father never had) was crying for He Ping whilst He Fan felt saddened by the death of his twin brother but He Ping got what he deserved.
At the same time, Li Ting woke up claiming loss of memory. He Fan read her letter and was touched to know Li Ting made him promise to forget about her and marry Zhou Ying. And so Li Ting left hospital and left He Fan. But she did not forget and she went home to her father who was worse and worse in his memory with Fan Wen by her side.
He Fan could finally be with Zhou Ying and he called her and Zhou Ying wanted to see him now. They drove fast to a restaurant, Zhou Ying was there first. But He Fan could not wait to see her and as he drove faster and faster, clutching the ring he bought years before, the ring suddenly fell from his hand. He was picking up the ring whilst driving when his car struck a lorry. Zhou Ying was waiting for hours and hours, fearful and could not contact He Fan. Then her worst fears was somewhat confirmed, when she saw a police car with its sirens on driving towards the restaurant. A police officer walked out and by this time Zhou Ying was silently crying ...
SPOILERS ALERT! SPOILERS ALERT!
And then her eyes shifted to the right and there he was, He Fan heavily bandaged but very much alive. They hugged each other, promising never to waste one another's time and with that promise, he proposed to her and she tearfully but happily agreed. THE END.
If there is one series that you ask me to name that draws until the contents of the intestine, I will name this series.
It has been a long long time I have seen a series that tells you everything and what happened to everybody without a single pause or anti-climax ending. A TVB series would end with the sirens approaching. Not this series. It will spell out the fate of the characters, whether you like it or not. Ordinarily, I would not like such definite endings but after being served with so many of such anti-climax for endings by TVB series, I welcome this series' format. I welcome the definite ending and frankly I quite like it though I hope Li Ting would end up happy, not depressingly alone.
If there's one theme that ran throughout this series, it is not brotherhood. It has very little about brotherhood but more about two distinct individuals who took two very distinct roads not because of circumstances but because of personalities. Both faced the same set of facts but each took to different reasoning. Which makes this series very interesting in its study of the main characters, for one He Ping.
Most Hated Character
He Ping is the worst brother, worst son, worst boyfriend, worst father and worse human being I have ever seen depicted on TV. Unreasonableness is expected but there is a limit to someone who tests ones patience in human decency. This man may not kill, maim, rape, murder (well, technically he did) but the way he spoke, the way he carried himself, he makes me think of something very offensive, something very ugly. Which is why He Ping is handsome because the real him is ugly. Looks can be deceiving. I absolutely hated this offensive foul person from 1st scene to the last. I may feel a bit sorry for him since he realised his mistakes but man, so many people has given him so many chances and still he never learn. I feel in the end he got what he deserves.
Most Impossible Character
Whilst He Fan may be ugly but the real him is beautiful. He Fan himself is the nicest person. He didn't know Li Ting but he helped her unconditionally. He often makes promises which he will keep and sometimes this man is so fond of making promises I do wonder how he keeps track of all his promises. And his promises are always detrimental to himself; he gives selflessly and asks nothing in return. He is at first naive, much too nice but as years go by he matures and began to have his own opinion. He succeeds in business because he never gives up. He fails in love because he makes far too many promises to far too many people for the worst reasons. And yet these highlight his greatness as a friend, son, brother and generally human being. And that in a way is very impossible because no one is that nice. Probably the most unbelievable scene was when He Fan first met Li Ting and not knowing her but still he stood there and let her hit him with her bicycle and even let her bite his hand. If there is such a person, many may say this my friend is the true example of an idiot. But I like He Fan, though I may dislike his wishy washy ways when it comes to love. I find it very believable to have 2 beautiful women loving this man, because his most beautiful feature is his kind heart. Impossible character but I wish such person is living somewhere in Malaysia.
The Message Of This Series
The series depicts the contrast between these two men related by blood but driven apart by personality. Which was funny because He Ping never realises that everything He Fan did was for He Ping, He Fan was always on his side. He has this twisted way of hating the wrong person for the wrong reasons. He should have hated the Zhongs but instead he hated He Fan. He blames everybody for everything that went wrong but praises himself for everything that went just right. At the end minutes before his death, he finally realise what went wrong in his life; he did not take personal responsibility for everything that happened, something He Fan always do. Even at the end when he blames Zhong Mei for Auntie Yi's death, He Fan looked straight at him and told him to stop blaming everybody; Auntie Yi was buried alive. Only then He Ping realised what a prick he has been. And he didn't even know how lucky he was, Zhou Qian didn't stop loving him but like everyone else, she was very disappointed by He Ping. Disappointment made them stop trying to persuade and to help him but they still care for him, in their own way.
I believe the scene when He Ping was about to be executed kind of sum up the message of the entire series; there is no turning back the time; no time to regret; don't waste your life away.
Which was what He Fan told Zhou Ying, when he confessed he has wasted her time and their time which could have been spent being together, not apart. Zhou Ying was a good woman, waiting patiently when He Fan was ready and free from his obligations. If Li Ting was to play mean, she would have clung to He Fan. But she didn't and she released him. So He Fan was very lucky to be loved by these two woman, who grew up as the years went by and matured into selfless beings. Li Ting knew He Fan loved Zhou Ying and so she woke up pretending to forget everything. In a way I feel He Fan knew but decided to let it be and respect her wishes. It was also a chance to right the wrong. In a way Li Ting is such a giving person and is certainly one of my favourite characters in this series.
Most Favourite Character
Li Ting was very spoiled at first but she had quite a pitiful existence. Considering how unloved she was I was very surprised at how spoiled she was. She was also dependant and pretty useless. But she worked hard and He Fan was her inspiration. I pitied her when she blamed herself for Heng Chang's death and I applauded when she took the broom and hit Zhong Mei. I admire her determination to give He Fan his happiness and thus denying hers. In a way this woman, as giving as she may be is also a woman who understands the true meaning of love, like Zhou Ying, who grew from stubborn in life to stubborn in love. These two woman never gave up and in a way Li Ting didn't give up on loving He Fan. In the first place He Fan never really loved her, there was always Zhou Ying. Li Ting was his best friend. I also love the interaction between Li Ting and her father, from contempt to love. Although I may wish for Li Ting to be with He Fan rather than Zhou Ying, but I feel by letting He Fan go, Li Ting demonstrated that it is possible to love someone without having them next to you.
Least Favourite Character
Zhou Qian is one character I never liked. I may pity her, I may think she loving He Ping unconditionally is something quite admirable and yet sickening, I feel two birds of a feather always flock together. She and He Ping at the beginning are so alike, they're like twins. The way she emotionally threatened Zhou Ying when Zhou Ying was offered the lead role or when she knew He Fan loved her at first, she made him promise never to love her sister, this woman uses people's love and concern for her to bind them to her when it isn't necessary to do so because love in Zhou Ying and He Fan for Zhou Qian is unconditional. At last when she made Zhou Ying promise not to do something, Zhou Ying curtly told her this was not the past, where everybody listens to her. But glad to note Zhou Qian matured at the end and became rather boring and stale but nice.
Most Misunderstood Character
Zhong Mei is one character that is often blamed for so many things when really, she's not 100% at fault.
For example, Ruan Hui's death. Li Ting blamed her for pushing her sis in law to suicide but the truth was it was Li Nian who pestered Ruan Hui to her death. All Zhong Mei did was implying Li Li was still seeing her when Ruan Hui knew Li Nian will never permit Li Li to marry Zhong Mei, whether she is fertile or infertile.
Then there's He Ping's affair with Zhong Mei. If the bull doesn't want to drink from the river, you can never force it to drink from the river. Blame He Ping instead.
Of course there's Auntie Yi's death. So she stopped He Ping from saving her but hey, He Ping could have said "YOU LISTEN YOU B****H! SHE'S MY AUNTIE SO YOU BUGGER OFF!!". He didn't and so 70% of the blame should be He Ping's. 30% of the blame is Zhong Mei simply because this woman is mad.
But of course she is also ...
The Scariest Character
Her mother may be obsessive with Mr He but this Zhong Mei stabbed her family for ...WHAT?! Scary woman. So independent looking and yet too dependent on men, like her mom only that frankly she is so like He Ping. Whilst Zhou Qian was like He Ping in terms of selfishness, Zhong Mei is like He Ping in terms of unreasonableness and their inability to understand the true meaning of love. Li Ting and Zhou Ying could but these two people, He Ping and Zhong Mei, especially He Ping are so full of themselves, so egoistical they can't see past their imperfection. Anything wrong is other people's fault, He Ping thinks he is faultless because he is perfect. What a jerk!
The Best Moments
There are many good scenes in this series, many towards the end of the series when everything settled down and what you get is pure drama. This series does not apologise for it's over the top tragedy-ish kind of content, in fact they take themselves so seriously, the actors performing so well that often I thought I could actually believe this story could be real. Never mind there are many flaws or how simple it was for He Fan to rise up to the challenge each and every time or that such a person exists, but because this series is filmed in such seriously earnest way, I tend to take it seriously.
Many scenes worth mentioning are as follows;
The relationship between He Ping and He Fan
This series is called Brotherhood and thus these two must have many scenes together. In the beginning the series started out very lighthearted, at times insulting the viewers' intelligence. He Fan is the uglier one, often comical one and often branded as stupid. He believed himself as such. His more handsome brother, He Ping is thought to be the serious one, the brainy one and therefore more likely to succeed because he is more determined. But that's only the surface. As the series continued on, we will realise everything He Ping said he represented is not him. He Ping is NATO (No Action Talk Only) and all the action he took were disastrous to say the least not because he didn't try. Quite the contrary. As He Fan later admitted that He Ping thought of all the ideas that gave He Fan money and influence, all the ideas for great business. No doubt He Ping is good at starting something, like his relationship with Zhou Qian. Problem was he never attempted to finish what he started because he was too busy giving in to his ego he can't understand a bit of politeness will get him a long way. And I do feel He Ping is a stupid idiot disguised as a smart looking man. As for He Fan, he won at the end of the day because he was determined, and that without much talk. Much like a bull, he did his work without complaints and without regrets, making decisions that will not benefit him but benefit others and in benefiting others to the detriment of his ownself, he gained respect, trust and many friends. This is the mark of a very generous leader and the potential of being a good business. Which is illogical in one sense because great businessmen are shrewd but He Fan was never shrewd. What this series' trying to illustrate perhaps is that when one does something with sincerity and face all challenges with a positive attitude, success is only a step away. He Ping's way of facing problems is to run, start again and then run. But for how long? Like a virus, sooner or later the virus will lose his host. Where then will the virus go to? In one very good scene, Auntie Yi called He Fan to scold He Fan when He Ping ran away, he cry-babying to Auntie Yi that it was all He Fan's faults. Auntie Yi scolded He Fan non stop. He Fan would have just listened on if this was the old He Fan but this new He Fan was very frustrated that he had to pick up his brother's garbage and recycle them into something useful. It was a huge responsibility and He Fan simply replied;
"If it is my fault, I will stay and correct it. Even if it isn't my fault, I will still stay and face the problems, I will not run away".
That's He Fan, the decisive and determined He Fan. But he was doing all that for his brother. And what did his brother said? He Fan is my number one enemy, and talking about getting your priorities right. He can't even hate the right person.
Another good scene was when the interviewer asked He Fan, "Why do you think you succeed and your brother failed?". He Ping was in prison swearing at He Fan waiting for his answer. It took He Fan a whole long time to answer "Perhaps, it was because of personalities". He Ping was shocked. He thought about what He Fan said and in one moment he suddenly realised he was the one who landed himself in hot soup, not He Fan. When he saw He Fan in prison, he told He Fan "I didn't kill Auntie Yi, she suffered from heart attack! It was Zhong Mei's fault, not mine!" which was usual for He Ping to say so. Though He Fan still loved He Ping as a brother, it was quite obvious everybody was very disappointed with He Ping. He Fan simply said, "You will be sentenced to death in China, I can't help you. Don't push the blame to Zhong Mei. Auntie Yi died because you stood there, doing nothing. The police said she wasn't dead yet when you buried her, alive!". He Ping said "I don't want to die...", and simply He Fan answered "Neither did Auntie Yi".
I feel this last exchange between the brothers was pivotal to the entire series. We see He Fan following He Ping when he was young but at last he came to realise this life is for him to live, not for He Ping to lead. At last he walked away from the shadow of his own brother without guilt.
The relationship between Zhou Qian and Zhou Ying
Quite a nice aspect to watch in the sense how thin the line between a jealous sister and a supportive sister. Zhou Ying was the more aggressive and independent one as she is the eldest and thus entrusted with taking care of the whole family (who were living in the village). She is very protective of Zhou Qian and thus Zhou Qian is very pampered. But all hell broke loose when Zhou Ying was cast as the lead in the role of a lifetime and Zhou Qian as always used emotional threats, something like He Ping usually does. But this time under the encouragement of He Fan, Zhou Ying did not let go of her dreams and so that was the end of sisterhood. If you ask me, Zhou Qian is a very selfish woman, worse than the mad Zhong Mei who is desperate and mad at worst. Ok, maybe sinister, evil, and everything bad but Zhou Qian is not an angel. Of course the tension still runs high 5 years later when Zhou Qian came home a poor and unsuccessful would be actress singing in a nightclub whilst Zhou Ying is rich, famous and beautifully dressed. Jealousy is still there and this time Zhou Ying does not wish to pamper Zhou Qian anymore, though she cared. But there is a change in Zhou Qian, from the materialistic and unreasonable to mature but not quite understanding yet. I do not believe Zhou Ying owed Zhou Qian any apology, having a talent is not something you should ever feel ashamed of. But when Zhou Qian wormed her way into He Fan's side, rejected, tried to kill herself, again her "me me me" attitude nearly destroyed Zhou Ying and He Fan, until Zhou Qian finally grew up, got married to He Ping and left He Ping for good to take care of their on. By that time I assume sisterhood has become stronger and closer. Of course Zhou Ying is more famous than she was before. But it's the jealousy and the way this relationship evolved which made it such an interesting albeit frustrating watch.
The Relationship between He Fan, He Ping and Auntie Yi
Preferring one over the other is expected but Auntie Yi was blindly devoted to He Ping because she loved Mr He and He Ping looked like Mr He. She invested all her money in all his failed businesses and when He Fan made it big and He Ping cried that He Fan took over his business, without question she believed him. Her appearance is not frequent but every time he voice appeared, she is screaming an Auntie Rong and He Fan over He Ping's matter. When she herself came to see He Ping in China, she saw how successful He Fan was and though Auntie Rong said love them both equally, privately she urged He Ping to do better than He Fan. She really thought He Ping had what it takes to be great. And then one good scene was when she sat down with the investors and they had nothing nice to say about He Ping. She began to question her devotion to He Ping. When Auntie Rong died, she changed dramatically. She may be unreasonable at times, and very "pin-sum" but you must understand, she never really knew He Ping that much. Auntie Rong fed them, clothed them and grew old with these two whilst Auntie Yi was busy working in Singapore. When she finally saw the "light", in a very good scene she gave all her shared to He Fan and later apologised to He Fan for being so blinded. He Fan of course was very forgiving, didn't even blame her and then He Ping blamed her. Later throughout the years Auntie Yi mellowed down and had heart attack also. She stood by Zhou Qian side but unfortunately, suffered a very tragic death. It was a very emotional scene to see her dying, gasping for air begging the "son" she had loved so much for help and all he did was standing there, looking rather shocked and crying a bit but not helping. Over the years Auntie grew to see the real He Ping and was very disappointed by him and in the end, well ... really bad luck for this woman .
The Relationship between Li Ting and Li Nian
Another interesting watch and an emotional roller coaster, she knew her father hated her. But she was convinced she was his daughter, not some illegitimate child from some sordid affair. And the fact that she is always so careless, prone to falling for everybody that made Li Nian disgusted with her. But Li Ting had her brother, Li Li, her very supportive sis in law Ruan Hui and the trump card, her young nephew, Heng Chang. All three conspired to make Li Nian accept Li Ting and for a moment they seemed like a family. And the Heng Chang died and that was not just the end for Li Ting, but for the whole Li family. I particularly enjoy the tension between these two people and welcome the positive ending though old Mr Li Nian suffered from Alzheimer disease later in the series. He may still be unreasonable but when he realised he lost everything, he began to accept Li Ting as his own. Very touching actually.
The Li Family
A very interesting watch, at times better than the He family. Li Nian is very traditional, and his business must be handed to a son, his son Li Li. But when Heng Chang died, and Ruan Hui revealed she cannot have any children anymore, that was when Li Nian changed. He had always liked Ruan Hui, treated her like his own, even better than Li Ting and yet when he found out the truth, he shunned her, pushed her away and ultimately discarded her so that Li Li could marry another who can give him a grandson. It didn't matter than Li Li said he loved only Ruan Hui, it didn't matter Ruan Hui kept crying in disbelief in front of him, he must have his grandson. But for all his demands, he had only one exception. Li Li can never marry Zhong Mei which Li Li never intended to. Ruan Hui begged Li Li to leave with him and in the end he said nothing.
In one of the very good scenes in this series, Ruan Hui looked at Li Nian in disbelief and whilst crying she said "I finally understood how Li Ting felt ... you could be so cruel to us". She did say "I was the mother of Heng Chang, your most beloved grandchild, I am still his mother, why are you treating me like this? What have I done wrong?". Not even adopting a child could appease him. But the crucial point in Ruan Hui's end is actually Li Li, he refused to leave Li Nian. In that way, Li Ting is more independent than Li Li who is too scared of his father. And so Ruan Hui, in a scene that can reduce anybody to tears jumped to her death. She died of disappointment, having lost her youth, her child, her love and he status. Li Nian must be blamed but Li Li is to be blamed to. But of course Li Ting also blamed Zhong Mei whom I feel was not at fault in this sordid end of Ruan Hui. She didn't do anything. And then Li Ting bravely called her father and called him a murderer. I admire Li Ting for her total devotion to her sense of right and wrong.
And of course Li Li was so angry with his father (and I supposed with himself) that he deliberately dated and slept with Zhong Mei. Years later we found out he did so also to find out the Zhongs' dirty linens and was killed because he knew too much. Zhong Mei saw him dying and stood there looking rather ... blank. Li Nian was the one who "witnessed" his death through the phone and the last thing his only son said to him was "Why do you insist on breaking Ah Hui and I?" and then he died. Another tears inducing scene.
In fact if I was to give my vote, I would say Ruan Hui's and Li Li's death were very dramatic and tragic. I admit, I cried buckets.
The End Of He Ping
A very good ending. I feel a very morally good ending though legally a bit shaky. You see he stood there whilst Auntie Yi was dying of heart attack, induced by He Ping and Zhong Mei. The same way he stood there looking as Zhong Mei stabbed her family to death. Thinking she was dead, he buried her. We found out later she was buried alive and died in that shallow grave in that rainy night.
So was it murder?
Murder even in the laws of Singapore (I don't know about China) is killing with intention. When she laid dying of a heart attack, he had the mens rea (the intention) but he lacked the Actus Reus (the act of killing) and when he buried her he had the actus reus but lacked the mens rea (since he thought she's already dead so you can't have intention to kill a corpse). It's tricky but I feel he had the intention to end her life and did so, though both happened not simultaneously but was one connected sequence of events. But why he had to be transported back to China? Because in Singapore he wouldn't be liable for the deaths of the Zhongs (since he just stood there) but in China, that was for Auntie Yi's death.
The best scene in this entire series is the 1 minute before He Ping was executed. All he had done or had not done at last came to that one last scene; his end. The way he begged the Heavens "Please let me be alright, I swear if I can escape, I will be a good person" but that was just wishful thinking.
In a way that illustrates two points;
either he knows he is wrong and is truly repentant but thinking that he can escape miraculously, he is actually a very naive person. No one can save him then. No point in hoping not just the improbable or the impossible but he is actually hoping for the NEVER EVER thing. I could have pitied him but shall not do so. What is there to pity a man who brought this end on himself? A man who proclaimed his OWN BROTHER as the enemy and SLEPT WITH HIS REAL ENEMY AND EVEN CONFESSED TO LOVING HER? Does he know how to love at all?
he is just scared of death, saying what he said in a wishful thinking way which means in the end he is still the same idiot he was from the 1st episode. No point in saving him at all.
The End Of Zhong Mei
One last mention. The ending for Zhong Mei is quite apt. This woman was a goner already in her mental capacity. Poor girl and totally best revenge one He could have over the Zhongs is the Zhongs killing themselves over nothing.
The Worst Moments
The way the first few episodes went, I almost keeled over in shock. Not the first episode but right after Mr He and Mrs He died. The young boys were wonderful but the story was a joke. About how He Ping kept repeating his mantra "Revenge for the family" and "Must succeed to avenge for parents' death" was too funny to describe. It's not supposed to be funny. And then of course how they took up Ping Pong, the basketball, then swimming, mostly sports and the studies. Each and every time He Ping failed and decided to do something else and assumed He Fan couldn't do it as well. But He Fan was actually mastering each and every thing the tried but blindly followed He Ping to the next task. It's such a joke! I was losing my patience and luckily they cut to the next scene and they're grown up. Again I was losing my patience as He Fan washed toilets, sold bras, or how He Ping wooed Zhou Qian. All these were complete waste of my precious time until of course He Ping started his 1st business, the roasted duck business. Again so many episodes dedicated to how He Ping was ruining the business with his ego. The pace only quickened when He Ping ran away and took over. And really slowed down in the last episode with Li Ting going into coma and Zhou Ying delivering a whole lot of lines to confess her love to He Fan, stating how unfair God is to all 3 of them. The ending, though quite suspense a bit also ended with a whole lot of speech, as if the writers were killing time or rather more accurately filling time. I was getting too impatient at the last scene but I didn't know what more to expect since the whole series has shown even the insides of the intestine. Really silly in the beginning to the point of disbelief and really draggy at the end to the point of boredom, otherwise there aren't many bad moments.
One person who provided most of the bad moments is He Ping for his time and time again for refusing to accept responsibility, running away when business failed. I was wondering the way He Ping is self destructing, He Fan should be a billionaire by the 15th episode and the director of at least 30 companies. But luckily this repetitive thing stopped half way through and ALL OF A SUDDEN 5 years has passed. How fast time flies.
And then there's He Fan and Zhou Qian, again and again and again one promise after another, one jealous tinge after another. Very repetitive and He Fan is so indecisive.
Then there's He Ping and Zhou Qian, on off on off on off on and finally off. Boring to the max.
Finally, last but not least, a few mistakes I like to point out;
- 5 years has passed and Zhong Mei has the same hairstyle, same lip gloss. When she appeared, she was bitchy but trendy looking. And then suddenly she is stuck in her 5 years ago trend??
- Again Zhong Mei. I believe He Ping and Zhong could be about the same age, and they're really young? He Ping was in university, so give and take 20 years old. Let's say a few years has passed, so max 25 perhaps when he met Zhong Mei? I don't know. Anyway, Li Li knew Zhong Mei about more than a decade ago, they dated since Heng Zhang is about 10. Plus 5 years has passed so 15 years. So when Heng Chang was 10, give and take Zhong Mei is about what? 25? More than a decade ago that would mean Zhong Mei was about what? 15 or lesser when she was dating the much mature Li Li whom I suppose is in his early or mid 30s? The timelime seems wrong in anyway I look at it.
- Again Zhong Mei and Li Li. Li Li ran away from home 5 years ago, they had affairs for FIVE years and Zhong Mei, so crazy about Li Li NEVER ONCE ask Li Li to marry her? NOT ONCE? Zhong Mei the obsessive compulsive aggressive uncompromising egoistical sadistic evil malicious Zhong Mei? How nice of her!
- 5 years has passed and every drama seemed to happen during winter in China because consistently the actors wear so many clothing I thought they're in Alaska whole year round! And what kind winter clothing man?! Look so cheap, considering He Fan is a rich man, Zhou Ying has an image to take care of since she is a famous actress. Everybody is so covered, not even one sight of cleavage on men or women.
- Li Ting on her return to Singapore still dressed in her winter clothing. If you have ever been in Singapore and you wear like that, believe me, you will suffer from heat stroke even before you leave the airport.
- Alzheimer Disease is a cruel disease that rob one of the ability to even cherish the memories one stores in ones brain, more so taking care of themselves. But Mr Li Nian looks more like suffering from Parkinson's Disease with his constant shaking.
- That kid Heng Chang, way too perky and he's a boy.
- When Li Ting lost her contact lenses and glasses in the beginning and then successfully persuaded He Fan to stand there and let her hit him with a bicycle, repeatedly. How dumb can this series go? For a moment I was so embarassed to watch this series, and I almost thought this series was a dud with such idiotic scenes.
- After a few years in coma, Li Ting woke up with coloured hair (same hairstyle, same length, same cut but remember, she had her head shaved for the brain surgery) and lipgloss on her lips. Interesting.
- So many characters, one after the other, so many locations, I almost got lost. I was waiting for the dramatic appearance of Zhong Mei, and it was dramatic but much too late. I expected Romeo and Juliet love story but every women that appeared weren't Zhong Mei. The website of Brotherhood said Zhong Mei is like her mom, ugly in and out. Frankly I thought the actress looked stylish and that's not ugliness to me in appearance. After a while I stopped anticipating or guessing who is Zhong Mei and suddenly she appeared. I thought:-
1. Li Ting was Zhong Mei until she said she's Li Ting and I thought she was mischievous Zhong Mei pretending to be Li Ting until I saw she is really Li Ting
2. the lady who went into business with He Ping producing instant maggie mee and nope, she's not Zhong Mei either.
3. I really really thought Zhong Mei's character would be a nice girl, thus throwing the Hes into confusion that such a nice girl with such bad genes, so they will reconsider revenge but alas, no such TVB twists in here. Zhong Mei grew up with her lusty mom and so she shall be like her mom. Quite real though.
4. I expect a more ordinary dramatic death for Zhong Ji and gang but well, the way Zhong Qing died was a bit anti-climax but still no less shocking and Zhong Ji's end is so cliche.
5. I expected Li Ting falling at first for He Ping (since I thought she was Zhong Mei and because in real life Fann Wong is dating Christopher Lee) and then end up with He Fan who grew to love her over the years. Nope.
6. Last but not least, I expect Zhou Ying to die at the hands of He Ping. Nope, no such things.
I Don't Get It, I Will Never Get It
So many I don't get it scenes and many more I will never get it. The best ones (or worst) are ...
1. He Fan wanted to make the cheapest and yet most delicious instant mee noodle. So what did he do? He tests it on himself. That's ok. And then a doctor explained the chemical composition of the soup base for the instant mee noodle and even helped him did research on how to produce the best Ajinomoto laced soup.
What don't I get
They never read the ingredients on the packet is it? All the research, well, Maggie Mee or Indomee or Cintan Mee never do research is it? An ordinary doctor (emergency room type) and some researchers of diseases in a hospital is entrusted with the research, where then is the Food expect or nutritional experts?? How dumb can this be?
2. Zhong Mei clinging on to He Ping like she will die without him.
What I will never get
Why women are always depicted as such clinging creature and that she will die without him? Especially those of the psycho type?
3. Why Zhao Ying and Li Ting falls for He Fan is not a mystery but how the story began with He Fan loving Zhou Qian is something I do not get.
What don't I get?
I mean suddenly it is revealed he is in love with Zhou Qian. Devoid of rhyme nor reason. I do know how He Fan falls for Zhou Ying, because he admires her in a way.
4. Only He Ping and Zhou Qian kissed. What about He Fan?
What I will never get?
Already they dressed like Eskimos and there's not even one decent kiss. The only kiss we have here is forced kisses which is so demeaning of women. Don't women love to be kissed like really kissed without being forced and ended up giving up fighting and kissed back? How come He Fan never kisses any girl in here? What's wrong with kissing these days? We see more on the street than on screen. Kissing is not porno, it could be a form of expression of love, of tenderness, of acceptance, of passion. None in here.
Generally, I find the performances in here very good, though all speak with a different accent. We have Singaporeans, Chinese and of course, Jordan Chan, dubbed, and the person's voice quite suit his He Fan.
This series proves 2 points about Jordan Chan;
1. He's really ugly but he's the lead, and he gets not one, not two (but actually somewhere in the middle) 3 girls.
2. He's a very talented actor who deserves as much of accolades as funny jokes about his looks.
Granted, he's not good looking but this man has got screen presence and style. He commands the stage with his presence and he engages your utmost attention with his excellent performance of He Fan who could have been such a wuss when it comes to love. I remember some years ago he came to Malaysia as a guest of honour for the Astro Talent Show and that year, my favourite new singer, the excellent Zhang Dong Liang won the top honours. Anyway, everybody else can sing or dance way better than him and can even dress more decently than him but no one can fight his showmanship. When he was on stage, he commands it and really, the up and rising singers had quite a good fortune to witness this man and observe how is one a bona fide star. That year if I remembered correctly Terry Lin was there also, so the contestants get to learn singing technique as well. How fortunate!
Anyway, his He Fan is very likeable though at time infuriating for his duh-ness. He's not stupid and Jordan Chan is a very intelligent albeit not that educated man but somehow He Fan's reluctance to just let nature flow with the circumstances get to me big time. He must meddle, in the sense he makes promises that is against his heart, hurts someone else and in the end benefits nobody. A very good performance.
I am so confused. Is he Li Nan Xing or Li Ming Shun? I always thought Christopher Lee is Lee Nan Xing but it turns out he is Li Ming Shun. Is he the Malaysian who won Star Search? If yes, why can't local TV get such tall good looking guys?
He is good looking, albeit very sulky good looking. I don't see him as a comedian nor do I think he is a great drama actor. However I find him quite ok, especially scenes where he was screaming, denying. His He Ping is too seriously dumb and in a way Lee brought that out quite nicely. Some scenes he's a bit shaky but I think it's more to do with the bad editing than his acting. I do think his best acting moment was the scene where he was about to be executed. The tears, the regret, the fear all looked too real for me. He is a very good crier, a very rare quality in men. He could cry and yet still look manly. The only reason why anyone sees him as a wuss is because his character He Ping is such a wuss. And I feel if he can play against type or appears to be doing so and did it so convincingly, that to me a very good performance. His mandarin could get some improvement though, more like Singaporean/Malaysian than China chinese.
I first and last saw her in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and thought of her as pretty but acting wise not there yet. Then I read reports she was taking over Vicki Zhao in the role that made Vicki Zhao an instant star, that is Little Swallow of Huan Zhu Ge Ge and I was horrified. She looked nothing like Vicki Zhao but all her fans said she did the role of a matured Little Swallow so well, cried so beautifully, perhaps she may even surpass Vicki Zhao. But the ratings speak for itself. Of course it is unfair to blame it on her after all she is one of the many actors, not the only one. Though Huan Zhu Ge Ge is all about Little Swallow, a lead role that Vicki Zhao could carry very well and would have been a very nice memory to store in my brains if not for the disastrous HZGG 2 which Vicki Zhao had to dumb down her talents to play. Apparently part 3 is better than 2 and perhaps better than even 1. We shall see.
Anyway, back to this series, how was Huang Yi?
I got the shock of my life when I heard her speak. She spoke with a very heavily accented Beijing accent (like Vicki only Vicki's accent is one of the few that manages to sound refined). I am still shocked and I now know why CTHD had to be dubbed, to give her a more mature and non-accented voice. She is pretty but frankly if there's one feature she should consider changing it's her nose, a bit too big for her small oval face. Her hair is gorgeous though. And why am I talking her hair and face?! What about her performance then? She started out young and stubborn and ended up matured, determined and sometimes angry. Cried a whole lot more too towards the end. I must admit, she cries beautifully. But her acting could have been better. She has since improved much from what I could remember of CTHD, but in CTHD she wasn't spectacular. So in here she is at best average. I find the scenes where she had to act very independently was very unconvincing and towards the end when she cried a whole lot more, I find her acting rather stale without much variety. Perhaps it's her lack of expression or rather angry, eyebrow arched up, sad eyebrow arched up and smile, well, nice smile. She has an ok chemistry with Jordan, and I can't see them as an item or as an overprotective sister for that matter. That doesn't mean she wasn't good. Considering the many bad actresses I see these days, Huang Yi is one of the few who is tolerable and could improve.
Now that she has taken the gamble of her life that is as Little Swallow, I wish her the best of luck. Nothing could convince me Vicki Zhao can be replaceable because admit it, I can Vicki Zhao as a movie STAR (who can act and who is gorgeous) though she lacked the Midas touch when choosing her script whilst I feel Huang Yi will be famous, on TV but doesn't look like she could be a bona fide star enough to cause a stir. Maybe it's the lack of charisma which I feel Huang Yi lacks. She can't keep my attention, not like this actress ....
A Hollywood star eh? Not quite, just one movie mah! But her appearance in Shanghai Knights certainly caused quite a stir because for ONCE a beautiful Asian is on screen, not Lucy Liu. Frankly I don't even think Zhang Ziyi as pretty. But Fann Wong is not your traditional pretty girl.
This actress has been around forever and those familiar with South East Asian TV Series will definitely know her along with Zoe Tay. Nowadays she is selling herself as polite, curteous, friendly, humble. It's funny because I can still remember her so called arrogance and cold war with the much more famous and friendlier Zoe Tay. Makes you wonder how publicity can help eh?
Now this is my favourite actress, alongside Yue Ling. She may make bad movies, she may make horrible series or even sub standard series, she may not be a great singer but this is one woman who is consistently good in all her performances. No denying that she is an amazingly gifted actress. And she is also very beautiful in the sense one can't stop looking at her. When she had a bit more flesh on her face, she was very photogenic and she had this glow, the camera loves her. Now much thinner (frankly physically, she is nothing fantastic and too thin) and a bit older (she can still pass off as 25 though she's in her 30s), with a lovely speaking voice and the glow a bit lacking but still there and also very beautiful flawless skin, Singapore should use her to promote the women in Singapore. She doesn't even look like Singaporean to me.
Now that I have passed that admiration for her looks, now back to her performance in here.
My only criticism of her is that early in the series when she was trying to be cute, I thought it all backfired. Very bad performance at first but when she settled down, she can be funny when she wants to be and she can squeeze every ounce of sympathy from the viewers' when she wants to. I find her performance in here quite satisfying. Not her best work, but then since she is consistently good, even on her bad days, she still is better than most actresses out there. Her other bad moments in here are mostly her over glossed lip stick. Other than that, not much.
Of course I must justify why she's good. There's this one scene that sums it all. Towards the end she woke up from a coma, Jordan ran to her and she slowly turned back and asked "Who are you?". Of course we viewers' must be saying "Oh God! She really lost her memory!". But not when Fann Wong is in this role. From her very first glance at Jordan you'd knew she remembered everything, she was pretending. Because she couldn't look at Jordan in the eyes. When Jordan gave her the ring, she quickly retracted her hands. When she saw Jordan flying the kite (no pun intended), she looked at him longing but determined to continue pretending. When she walked away, went home and touched the very things Jordan had touched, her eyes brimming with tears and saying goodbye for the last time, you will be convinced too this woman did all this because she loved him. That to me is an amazing performance.
Her accent is quaint, she looked rather pretty though next to Huang Yi she looked rather plain and Huang Yi next to Fann Wong looked rather plain herself which makes Hao Lei looking very plain. Her performance is very satisfying as the jealous sister. Very real.
What's wrong with this actor? He looked so morose, so sad even in the first scene. Towards the end, the make up guy overdid his make up. He had puffy very red cheeks and very red lip stick. Was he sick when filming this series? I do think he did well in this role that requires the most depressed looking actor to play the most depressed looking character.
Unknown as Ruan Hui
This actress is so familiar, could she be the mother in I Not Stupid? Maybe not. She certainly looked like a very matured and gentle Ruan Hui. I do think her performance is very good, especially her confrontation with her father in law.
Not a very good performance, terrible mandarin and doesn't look distinguished enough to play such a rich overbearing father.
I first saw him in I Not Stupid in a very memorable role with the most memorable line "Wo si ni lau beh" ("I am your father" in Hokkien). He was very funny in that movie, playing a very rich Hokkien man. In here he plays a rich man in Singapore and doesn't look any inch like one. In fact his character is rather caricature and pointless. A very inadequate performance.
I can see why the description of Zhong Qing is ugly in and out. Her performance though is average, nothing spectacular when her role demanded more, more malicious, more venomous. I only see a mad woman.
She looks very familiar. Was she in that movie about some flat in Singapore whose brother lusts after her?
Anyway, her first scene quite sums up her character. She looked every inch the bitch Zhong Mei and she could scream and slap so many times I am sure the actress feels guilty for doing just that to Christopher Lee. I am sure she is a nice lady in real life but her Zhong Mei is pure madness. Was she good? Not quite. Bitchy scenes yes, very good but once settled into the maniac mode, her weaknesses shows as she is unable to grasp the finer details of a woman on the verge of madness. All I can see is possessive egoistical panicky woman. But then her Zhong Mei is very one dimensional. Can't blame her.
A good performance of a very blinded woman.
Unknown as Auntie Rong
A good performance too.
At best average, mostly very amateurish but they're only ke-le-fes.
I just realised that this series started out about the Zhongs but somehow the Zhongs didn't matter anymore. Something was either lost or ignored.
Anyway, a very dramatic series that is at first rather stupid but give it a chance, ignore the obviously badly scripted scenes and over the top success/failure stories and you will definitely enjoy the poor underdog making it great, ambitious fool making it nowhere. I admit, it's draggy at times but its been a norm for me to have watched a series that ends with "Did they or didn't they" type of anti-climax. So very boring and totally predictable. This series to an extent is predictable but at least the ending may give some fans a worry until of course ... I won't reveal it here. It is a series that is satisfying in the sense we see what happens to ALL main characters mentioned in this series, whether they die, go crazy, parted ways, etc. No second guessing in here which is why I ... like... it. I am too tired of guessing anymore. I want a straightforward series and this is one of those RARE ones. Characterisation wise this series is strong, storyline and performances wise, sometimes quite shaky. Watch it just to see how He Ping and He Fan go through this thing called life. I totally agree with He Ping's end and there is a lesson to be learned here... don't bury a woman who died of heart attack, run to get help, pretend you cared. And always check if she's really dead. You might just get away with murder.
The names in this series is not very inspiring and as if named by a writer who knows limited Chinese. But the actor's name that is interesting.
We have Fann Wong. Her real name is Fan Wen Fang, So where is the Fann and where is the Wong? Reported she coined the words together and for the last time, my name Funn Lim has nothing to with Fann Wong.
Then we have Tracer Wong. I thought maybe Tracy or Traycee Wong but that's her name, Tracer. Very unique name.
Of course no one can beat names like Myolie, Kenix, Evergreen, Ellesmere, etc etc etc. Must give them all A for ingenuity in choosing the perfect English name. Don't be like Tao Jing Ying who was Phoebe then Matilda and now I think she changed her English name yet again.
Why can't people just choose one name and stick with it?
Jordan Chan was invited to be the judge and guest of honour in the Astro Talent show I think in 2002 at Genting Highlands. He was dressed looking rather shabby but actually it was only loose fitting coat with a hat looking quite stylish. He can't dance, and frankly the contestants sing better than him a million times over. But he was popular. In one very memorable moment which I feel why I guessed the winner (I guessed it when he sang the first note) was when he complimented one of the contestant named Zhang Dong Liang who sang a song, Huang Hen (Sunset) written by a Malaysian songwriter. The song wasn't famous but somehow this young budding singer picked that song and made it into a big big hit, you can still hear the ringtone everywhere. The original singer's version was a bit of rock ballad but still very good and very sad song. But Zhang Dong Liang sang it like Terry Lin would have, softer, very angelic and very expressive. Which was why Jordan Chan said "When this man sang that song, my eyes were filling up with tears". His rendition of that song was so effective it did bring tears to my eyes. I just sat in front of the TV mesmerized by his voice. And he wasn't even the favourite to win that year! Anyway, Zhang Dong Liang was the obvious winner after that song, and first time in history, it is not a song which made an unknown well known but an unknown made a song very very famous and in the process making himself very very famous as well. Even he made an MTV and his song was sold in Pasar Malams. I bought one I confess. I bought the whole mixed CD just for his version of Huang Hen. Now this very talented young man just released his album. His first single from that album, which I am not familiar with the title, is an average song but the way he sang it, I believed every word he sung.
I feel Malaysia has many very talented budding singers. Astro proved it. And the old ones made it big in Taiwan not because of looks but because of their ability to write original songs. For one Ah Niu (who made Richie Ren more famous) could write the most romantic love songs incorporating Malaysian elements with such simple words. Michael and Victor even when separated were very formidable individually. I admit I could fall asleep listening to their albums or listening to them talk but when they sing live, you will be mesmerized by their voices. Then there's Penny Tai, whom I am not familiar with but was told very talented (she writes her own songs!), Lee Sin Jie (more successful as an actress than as a singer though), Nian Siau (a group of two very un-idol looking young men but could sing), Eric Moo (excellent singer, very good song writer and nope, not a Singaporean) and also Astro Talent show's ex participant now made it very big in Taiwan, Zhang Chi Chen (or something like that, also not very good looking but can really really sing even when he was sick as evidenced in this year's Astro talent show).
And now we have Zhang Dong Liang ready to take Taiwan and the Chinese music world by storm. Believe me, I predicted he could be famous by his sheer voice. The wonderful thing about this young man is, he may not have the looks (he doesn't look ugly though), he may not have the height (like that boy group Tension who really can't sing) and he may not behave like a star in the making. But listen to him sing, try Huang Hen and believe me, you too will become a fan.
Why am I saying all this? Jordan Chan complimented him personally during the competition and this is just to show Jordan Chan has taste.