"All in all, an amazing 125 episodes of experience, laughter, frustration, wonder, fun, joy. For it to maintain the momentum episode after episode, except for the last few ones, the producers, directors, writers and actors should be applauded."
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
It is my humble recommendation that :-
1. If you plan to watch this series without me spoiling it for you, please do not read this review because the spoilers are everywhere though I can't fit all 125 episodes into one single review;
2. If you still want to read this review but wants to read just the comments, do skip Cast-Character-Summary; and
3. If you want to read everything, it is my humble opinion that you should download this review, print it or go offline when reading because this review is long, very very long.
What's In The Title
This Singaporean series, produced by Mediacorp is not the fifth instalment to a series entitled Holland but rather it is Holland Village or in Mandarin, He Lan Chun. Why is it shortened to Holland V I do not know since this series is so so so so long, where a longer title wouldn't change anything. This place actually exists and do check out the wonderful promo of the various food and lovely locations. Imagine it like a really long travelogue/promo of everything nice about Singapore. Just don't expect to see some decent action from the civil service.
No. of Episodes
A staggering 125 episodes, each episode about an hour or so.
Super duper mega hit in Singapore, won so many Star Awards, the notable ones are Xie Shaoguang and Chen Li Ping winning Most Favourite (I think) Male & Female Performance (respectively), Patricia Mok and Huang Yiliang winning Most Favourite Supporting Male & Female Performance (respectively), Best Drama, Jeannette Aw was in Top 10 Most Favourite Artist ... what else? Oh so many awards. But then Star Awards is given out by Mediacorp themselves. Hmmmm...
Chen Liping as Mo Wanwan
Patricia Mok as Mo Lingling
Cynthia Koh as Mo Yanyan & Sammi
Jeanette Aw as Mo Jingjing
Vivian Lai as Mo Rourou
Pierre Png as Mo Yangyang
Huang Yiliang as Tian Dahua
Xie Shaoguang as Yang Xiong
Edmund Tay Zheng Geping as Dr Fang Nuowen
Xiang Yun as Su Yueping
Huang Wenyong as Lin Jingcai
Jamie Yeo as Lin Siting
Mark Lee as Su Hao
San Yow as Wu Ah Ming
Chen Tianwen as Gao Tianxiang
Chen Guohua as Liang Ah Huo
Hu Wensui as Yang Zhe
Le Yao as Yang Lin
Jeff Wang as Ying Tiancheng
Zhang Yaodong as Ying Tianyang
Wendy Tseng as Dr He Yujie
Shaun Chen as Richard Yu Hongzhi aka Xiao Xin
Chen Shucheng as Steven
Sun Ho as Angel
Zoe as Wang Yu
Maggie as Margaret Lee
Zhang Wenxiang as Tian Yang's oldest brother
Angela Ang as Tian Yang's big sister in law
(thanks to Convoy for the names)
Harlow Russell as Austin
Li Da Mu as Ba Gu
Unknown as Xiao Hui
Unknown as Situ Liang
A personal fansite's discussion forum on this series at SPCNET Forums.
It's all at Mediacorp site, so do CLICK HERE.
Character Description & Summary
You have to bear with me on this one.
For such a long series, surprisingly the characters aren't a lot. All these are well known actors in Singapore, I only know one or two actually but the beauty of not knowing is discovering how many great talents are there in Singapore, or the illusion of it because some are Malaysians, some Taiwanese, some American.
All info below taken from Mediacorp's website with slight modification by me because the summary is not 100% accurate (in fact not accurate at all) or complete.
Basically, the story set in present day Singapore is about the Mo family.
Chen Liping as Mo Wanwan
"Big Sister" Mo Wanwan is known not only for her famous nasi lemak, but her Herculean strength and big-as-cow appetite. But she didn't use to look like that. The hefty-sized one used to be a pretty, svelte gal who had a daughter (Lin Siting played by Jamie Yeo) with Lin Jingcai (played by Huang Wenyong) at the age of 18. Jingcai then brought the baby back home after Wan Wan, in a bout of depression left her by the stairs to be taken care of by his wife Su Yueping (played by Xiang Yun), who is unable to conceive. Ever since Jingcai was put behind bars for a murder he committed, Yueping (who by now was living in with her boyfriend, Liang Ah Huo[played by Chen Guohua])forbids Wanwan to see Siting, and Wan Wan blamed Yueping for her lack of closeness to her own daughter. In fact, the 2 women are always squabbling, they are known as 'the most quarrelsome duo in Holland Village'. When Siting found out Wan Wan was her mother, she hated the sight of her own mother whom she thought never cared for her. Siting them became embroiled in a prostitution ring led by the despicable Edison Ying Tiancheng (played by Jeff Wang) who happens to be Wan Wan's step brother. Later Siting became the mistress of a more richer man, Steven who runs a bank (played by Chen Shucheng). Anyway, Wan Wan's mother years before left her uncaring father who met and married a domineering rich woman who already had 2 children and gave birth to Wan Wan's half brother, Ying Tianyang (played by Zhang Yaodong). Wan Wan could not forgive her own father. Anyway, upset when banned from seeing her daughter, Wanwan turns her misery into eating sprees. Within a decade, she has turned into a boorish 'Iron Lady' whom everyone fears. She is however, forced to look into her weighty issues when she finds herself falling for her SMS pal, a doctor named Fang Nuowen (played by Zheng Ge Ping aka Edmund Tay) who had a doctor girlfriend, He Yujie (played by Wendy Tseng) and at the same time she was being aggressively wooed by former business rival, the conniving but really in love with her, Yang Xiong (played by Xie Shaoguang). Who would she choose?
Patricia Mok as Mo Lingling
Do not be deceived by limby Mo Lingling, the Mo's 2nd sister, for in that chopsticks-thin legs lie a formidable kick when she's provoked. Otherwise, Lingling is all demure and kind but sadly, she is often bullied by her colleagues and even her own foul-tempered husband Tian Dahua (played by Huang Yiliang) who once almost caused her to commit suicide. She also had to endure a brief prison term for kicking her bank manager when he insulted her. However, she was often consoled and later wooed by her own childhood friend, Su Hao (played by Mark Lee) who was Yueping's little brother. But she found herself unable to accept a new romance after divorcing the useless Dahua who went away to find greener pastures elsewhere. When Wan Wan left to study fashion in Korea, she had to take care of the entire family for 2 years but to disastrous results. At the same time she adopted a street wise girl, Zoe (played by Wang Yu) whose mother, Maggie (played by Margaret Lee) neglected her and eventually went to jail for trying to set Su Hao's apartment on fire. When years later Maggie came back to reclaim Zoe, Lingling found herself unable to let go and yet could not find a way to keep Zoe. What will she do?
Cynthia Koh as Mo Yanyan
Third sister Mo Yanyan is a lazybone who holds a record of sleeping continuously for 3 days and nights. A beauty with brains but who's so lazy, she could give up a Varsity exam for sleep! She soon begins to see the harsh reality of the working world but yet dreams of amassing $ 100m by the age of 30. Because of her greedy ambition, she became very ruthless and grades all men where men with money earn the A grade. Secretly admired afar by childhood friend, Gao Tianxiang (played by Chen Tianwen) an honest and hardworking taxi driver, she simply used his love to her own advantage. When she found out her twin sister, Jing Jing's boyfriend, Richard Yu (played by Shaun Chen) was very rich, she tried to manipulate her own sister to break off the relationship, but she was not successful. She later became embroiled in cheating her own employer, a bank together with partner in crime, Situ Liang who was from China and had as much of ambition as she did to the point of committing serious hurt to a top manager, Sammi (also played by Cynthia Koh) who bears a striking likeness to Yan Yan. So Yan Yan took Sammi's identity but was found out by her own little brother, Yang Yang, a policeman and was later arrested and served 2 years in jail. She came out bitter and angry but as ambitious as ever. After falling out with her own family, she tried to start all over again but became heavily in debt after dabbling in shares. So she agreed to marry Tianxiang who was willing to pay off her debt but had second thoughts when she saw Richard again, whom she tbought was still very rich.
Jeanette Aw as Mo Jingjing
Mo Jingjing is the exact opposite of her twin sister, Yan Yan. She is dim-witted, has a low IQ (in fact very stupid) but works very hard at Wanwan's nasi lemak stall. An innocent and kind girl who often gets cheated of her money and love. She was also often mocked by Yang Zhe, Yang Xiong's brother (played by Hu Wensui). Nevertheless, the ever-optimistic Jingjing never bears grudges against those who do her wrong, and that includes her own despicable sister, Yan Yan. Although her family often berates her for being stupid, Lady Luck is always by her side - she strikes lottery frequently and even manages to meet her Prince Charming in the form of the amnesiac Richard Yu who fell for her innocence and her kindness. When Yan Yan manipulated her way into their relationship, Jing Jing didn't hate her sister but in fact encouraged them to be together because she always felt she was no good enough for Richard whom she called Xiao Xin. When Richard regained his memory after meeting his fiancee, Angel (played by Sun Ho), he had to choose between staying back at Singapore or going back to America. His company was facing a veru difficult time as he was betrayed by his best friend and company partner but he could not leave Jing Jing. When Jing Jing kept asking him to give Yan Yan a choice, he went away leaving Yan Yan cursing and Jing Jing crying. He also left Jing Jing a $1 million cheque but Jing Jing returned the money. At the meantime, Wan Wan wanted Jing Jing to get married fast because she was worried no one will take care of Jing Jing so Wan Wan decided on chicken rice seller, Wu Ah Ming(played by San Yow)who married and divorced a conniving China girl, Xiao Hui. Ah Ming's mother, Ba Gu (played by Li Da Mu) shared a very close and friendly relationship with Wan Wan and family. When Jing Jing refused, Wan Wan pressured Jing Jing to accept this marriage to the point of Jing Jing becoming too sick to get out of bed. Actually she missed Xiao Xin and she fell into a deep coma as he life hangs in the balance. Having no choice, Wan Wan called Richard to come back and when Richard returned, Jing Jing not only became better, she was happier. Richard realised he really loved her and he proposed. Jing Jing was afraid to accept his proposal as she felt obliged to marry Ah Ming but Wan Wan told Jing Jing Ah Ming backed out of the marriage, Jing Jing agreed. But as Jing Jing prepared for the wedding and meeting Richard's parents, she began to have second thoughts. She felt she was not good enough for Richard and when she found out Ah Ming became paralyzed from the waist down when he met with an accident, she felt guilty. At last she chose Ah Ming over Richard whom she felt could do better without her and sadly, Richard respected her decision and left. But marriage life for Jing Jing was horrible as Ah Ming was crippled, he was depressed, he was also impotent and got very jealous when his wife spoke to men. So he physically and emotionally abused Jing Jing but Jing Jing took it all in stride, often blaming herself. Then one day, Richard returned ...
Vivian Lai as Mo Rourou
As a dedicated botanist, Mo Rourou's life revolves around nothing but plants. Though blessed with good looks, suitors are often put off by her highly scientific talks and unromantic soul. Honestly speaking, she is plain boring. Then she met Ying Tianyang and started a love affair with him, and almost married him until she found out he was her half brother. Life goes on for her and then tragedy strikes; when out collecting specimens in the forest on one occasion, Rourou was raped by Edison who did it to spite his own brother, Tianyang. She was found naked and unconscious by her own family. 2 years later, Rourou who was still emotionally unable to cope what had happened became crippled and could not speak. Again Edison stalked her when he found out Yang Yang was involved with one of his models. Yang Yang tried to get Rourou to lodge a police report but Rourou refused. As Edison terrorised her day and night, Rourou became worse and worse. Can she escape from this mental torture?
Pierre Png as Mo Yangyang
The only son and baby of the family, Yangyang is the other half of yet another pair of twins with Rourou. Agile and alert, Yangyang is quickly promoted in the Police Force. Although wooed by Yang Xiong's beautiful sister, Yang Ling (played by Le Yao), he fell for a much older and much wiser Xiao Hui who was so touched by his sincerity, she changed into a better person. Then she found out she was pregnant (by Situ Liang who was busy running after Yan Yan) but the Mo family accepted her when Yangyang declared he will love her no matter what. Sadly on their wedding day whilst trying to push Yangyang away, Xiao Hui was struck by Situ Liang's car who was trying to escape from Yangyang. Xiao Hui died on the spot. 2 years down the road, Yangyang was still living in the shadows of his love for Xiao Hui and was angry that Yan Yan refused to talk to him no matter what he did. He also partly blamed Yan Yan for Xiao Hui;s death but decided to forgive her because they're family. When Yan Yan was released, the cold war began and during his worst times, he met a model whose name I can't remember. He almost started a relationship with her when he found out she was a part time prostitute and girlfriend of Edison. Thinking she was a spy, Yangyang walked away. When he foun out she wasn't, he wanted to pursue the relationship further but the girl told him she was leaving Singapore.
The time has come where all good things degenerating into repetitive things must end without a satisfactory ending. After 125 episodes, night after night, watching the Mo family and then despising some of them, it has come to an end. I missed the first 13 episodes but no problem; you have the rest of the episodes to catch up on the storyline. There is one thing I must point out.
I am not a big fan of Singaporean series, though I am a big fan of Fann Wong and movies by Jack Neo. I feel after watching (not many) some Singaporean series (all by SBC/TCS/Mediacorp) and some just an episode or two, this Holland V has got to be the most engaging of them all and definitely one of the best series I have seen thus far. Look at the logistics of it. It's not easy to maintain a viewers' attention for 125 episodes, more so the characters aren't many. Kindred Spirit was at most times boring except for the story of Lee Chi Hou but Holland V basically maintained the momentum, right up until the last 20 episodes or so. It should have ended at episode 100 or the most 105 but it went on far too long because by then it was very popular, viewers demand more episodes to quench their thirst for the adventures of the Mo family. And thus the quality of the story slipped.
If you ask me, the quality of the story has always been debatable. Is the story that great? Nope. Seen it, done it to death. Because there are 6 members of the family each with their own personalities, what you have is a gold mine of possibilities; you have rape, you have stalkers, you have undying love, unreasonable sister, stupid sister, incest, more love, friendships, more more more. The list goes on and on. The success of this series is it moves from one story to the next, from one character to the next without much pause, that is until it got too long. Does the story makes sense? Most of the time the answer is negative. This series fails not because it was too ambitious (in length), too detailed (in characterisation), too reality based (in terms of dialogues and dress sense), too monotonous (at times, especially with some characters) or even too repetitive (there will bound to be some repetition) but rather, it fails because the story losses it sight towards the end. Most of the time the story itself is pretty consistent, until it got too long that more has to be injected and the story ended up looking rather silly and defamatory, especially towards women, rape victims, siblings, models, convicts and yes, the Singapore civil service, inclusive of doctors and police. After a while the entire series depended on cliches. But that is not the only problem. The biggest problem is the ending.
Each fan has their own idea who Wan Wan should end up with. Some will shout, Nuo Wen, some will argue Yang Xiong. It's not who she chooses at the end which is the problem of this series, it's how she chooses. There was never a single doubt in my mind Wan Wan has always loved Nuo Wen, and Nuo Wen clearly loved her. But because she felt indebted to Yang Xiong who was always there for her and her family, she decided to let go of Nuo Wen and here I assume marry Yang Xiong. Do you see the problem in this ending?
Rou Rou, the soft spoken one was brutally raped. We did not see the aftermath because the director chose to immediately cut to 2 years later, so all we see is a severely traumatised Rou Rou. She was stalked by Edison, her CID brother, Yang Yang could do nothing. In fact he felt helpless that each time he wanted to punch Edison, Edison threatened to report Yang Yang. Tian Yang was imprisoned for beating Edison who went scot free. When she finally had the courage to make a police report, Edison got his just end not by going to prison but by being struck by lightning (I missed this past, but apparently he was supposed to drown like how was described in Mediacorp site but the series showed he was struck by lightning, I would have loved to see that scene), Rou Rou was then able to move on. Do you see the problem with this? Where is the justice? It's perverse justice.
Jing Jing fell in love with a super rich handsome man, Xiao Xin. She chose to marry the poorer and uglier looking Ah Ming who was wheelchair bound. He not only could not perform sexually, he took out his frustration by abusing her physically and verbally. He showed little respect for her family and even less respect for Jing Jing whom he would always scold and even insult her lack of intelligence. When he could have sex (finally), most of the time he forced himself on her. When Xiao Xin came back, he insulted Jing Jing by claiming she had an affair with Xiao Xin. When she struck it rich as some old rich man wanted to jointly mass produce her famous chill sauce with her, Ah Ming was the first to say discouraging words. She worked tirelessly to run his chicken rice shop, took care of his mother and never once complained. She stood by him. Then he had an affair and Jing Jing saw them on her own bed (the mistress was the masseur), that was when she got so angry at last she demanded for a divorce never once forgiving him. Do you see the problem with this?
Ling Ling was pursued by her best friend Su Hao when she finally divorced her useless husband, Tian Da Hua. But she refused him repeatedly, because she just got divorced. When they finally began dating, she wanted to keep it secret. But when she saw Su Hao with another girl called Ting Feng, she became jealous and accused Su Hao of being wishy washy. There is a problem with this.
When Yan Yan was imprisoned for embezzlement and caused serious bodily harm to her superior, Sammi, Yan Yan was unrepentant. She hated Yang Yang for arresting her. She didn't realise that Yang Yang's wife who was pregnant died thanks to her. She even blamed her sister. Predictably, she didn't blame herself. Her sisters repeatedly begged her to forgive Yang Yang. Yang Yang felt guilty but angry as well. There is an even more serious problem with this.
When Jing Jing became very sick because she was pining for Xiao Xin earlier on, it took her sisters days to take the troubled Jing Jing to hospital.
There are many many more. In each of the illustrations above, I am sure you must have spotted the illogical side of it. The frustrating aspect of this series is the individual actions and the reasons why it was the way it was. This series does not promote the civil service, in fact it defamed it. Yang Yang as a CID could do nothing, nothing at all to help his traumatised sister. Never once had any of them considered taking Rou Rou away from Singapore or to a psychiatrist. Yang Yang was asked to seek forgiveness from Yan Yan for something he did which was legally and morally correct. When they're so sick, they wait until the last dying minute before going to the doctor. When a legal document is being questioned, they never go to a lawyer, they went to a doctor to read the document. Business decisions were made after consulting a doctor but never the savvy businessman like Xiao Xin or Yang Xiong. All 3 siblings were imprisoned for many reasons, some justified, some plain stupid. A battered wife stayed with her husband throughout until one affair and she left him to return to her former lover (and I applaud this actually but she should have left him when he hit her). Models being prostitutes, half siblings being in love and tragically torn apart by their own DNA, a husband professing to love his dead wife so much, there was never a single scene of him laying a rose on her tombstone or even holding her picture and staring into blank space though one might argue 2 years has passed since her death. The abuse of a little girl (Zoe) by her heartless mother (Maggie) was not reported to the welfare dept, the mother coming back to grab her when applications for her custody could have been made, reports to the police could have been done instead of simply hiding her in a briefcase whilst her mother searched for her.
It is the factors of such helplessness and stupidity of such actions and non-actions which really made me at times feel so frustrated when watching this series. I am not too bothered by the repetitions, but I am bothered by the sheer illogical silliness of the actions and the plots.
That all being said, I must give credit where credit is due.
The storyline aspect may have slipped halfway through this series but one thing maintained throughout; the performances which basically maintained its momentum and excellence. More on this later.
This series is also amazing for perhaps 2 reasons, the very local dialogue (I am a Malaysian and yet our own local producers have never produced or written such real dialogues, the way they spoke, the way they talked) and the settings. When in the middle of the night the sister got very sick, unlike TVB, we don't see the characters arriving at the hospital dressed smartly as if they had time to change. Sick with worry, you don't have time for that. So we see the characters clad in their pajamas, night gowns or dressed simply and rather in a hurry. In fact they're all still wearing slippers, sans make up. When going to the market, we don't see high heels but bermuda pants, jeans, simple t-shirts. Ba Gu, Ah Ming's mom usually dressed simple but when she went to Courts Mammoth to buy furniture, she dressed a bit nicer and there's red lipstick on her lips. Jing Jing when meeting Xiao Xin's parents wore skirt, when usually she wore pants. I love the realistic approach when it comes to the dressing and settings. My only complain is Xiao Xin aka Richard Yu, super duper rich could have afford to buy a more decent T-shirt and jeans instead of the awful psychedelic pants and shirts. His dress sense towards the end improved a bit. You don't see fancy dress parties or people just walked out from a billboard. The only ones who gave some fancy dressing was the characters of Si Ting and Yan Yan. In fact it's either simple dress or super sexy dress for the women in this series, courtesy of Si Ting.
I guess I enjoyed the simplicity of the presentation of this series and because I got to know the characters after so many episodes, whatever my complaints may be about the plotting, I could overlook it all because this series definitely cast the right people in the right role. All performances were beyond just mere satisfactory, some were better than others, one or two were absolutely clueless as actors but overall the general performance of the entire cast (save for a few) was beyond very good. I have never seen such good and competent actors assembled into one series before and this is the main selling point of this series. Whether that actor's mandarin was good enough is besides the point. Singapore is generally divided into English speaking and Mandarin speaking. Sometimes there are cross overs, and I think I can stomach the bad mandarin because however bad they may have been, I have heard worse.
Without a doubt, I loved the story of Jing Jing and Xiao Xin. When the series first introduced Xiao Xin cycling, I knew he was rich. I was happy for Jing Jing, because such a sweet girl deserves her prince charming. He encouraged her, never called her stupid or even think of her as one (except for perhaps on 2 occasions he almost lose his temper), made her wait outside the TV studio to get an audition. I was very saddened by the fact when Xiao Xin had to remember who he was or Yan Yan's despicable intervention into this budding romance. When he came back smarter, richer and more serious, I love the story even more as Jing Jing grappled with the fact that she is not good enough for him, or so she thinks. Xiao Xin being my favourite character stood out for his singlemindedness. He is not wishy washy. When Jing Jing took up the courage and stupidly rejected him, he coolly respected her decision and went away. I cried. I didn't want him to leave. I blamed Jing Jing for throwing away such a good man and such a good match. When he came back, I rejoiced. He was gentleman enough to again respect Jing Jing's decision. He took it coolly that he was a bankrupt though one scene showed that he wasn't all that cool about it when he said; "I am Yu Hong Tzi, the Yu Hong Tzi who lost everything and have nothing". Jing Jing of course consoled him by saying, "If you don't have anything, then you won't lose anything". Good logic but empty words in my opinion. It's the subtlety of this relationship which I loved. And the kissing scene was nicely done. I also like the fact that Angel was cool about being dumped in favour for a girl quarter her intelligence and how she returned Xiao Xin's money to help him in rebuilding his business. In fact when Jing Jing returned the $1m cheque to Xiao Xin, it was very touching. You know what, I just love this part of the story and was very happy to see such a good ending for this pair though I still blamed Jing Jing for being so stupid and when in one episode I thought he died, my heart crashed. Jing Jing didn't shed a single tear but when she finally saw him, she clung to him and cried her heart out. You'd knew she was actually too numb with pain to cry and when she saw him, it was a relief. I felt relief myself.
Most Hated Character
Very difficult to choose. At first it was Tian Da Hua, because he's always complaining about the government, never work but in the 2nd last episode there he was again, but this time he is running a business with a friend and seem to move on from the past. I do like his ending.
Then maybe Edison but this guy is pure evil, pure caricature, pure silly evil fool. So what is there to hate about this cartoon guy?
I thought Maggie because really is TV's worst mother, with so little finesse and so much foul things going on. But then I don't really hate her.
For a moment I hated Jing Jing for being so stupid but that was just angry feelings.
Then I thought Rou Rou because she really annoyed me but then she is the Most Annoying Character, especially when she goes berserk again and again. Whilst we all should pity her, but the way she refused to make police reports, hiding, running away, crying again and again and again, screaming, eyes bulging and scream some more, after 3 episodes of this utter helplessness, I believe you too will be sick of her no matter what she went through. Woman, move on. I hate how this series portray rape victims. Never once have I seen a drama series portray rape victims stronger than men perceive them to be. Why can't they just show Rou Rou move on on her own, come face to face with her accuser and make sure he rot in prison? Why can't she with the support of her family find the strength in herself to find evidence and put him in jail?
After a while I thought I hated the civil servants of Singapore, specifically the police for being so darn useless.
But after 125 episodes and much thought, there is one character that I was wrong about. I thought he was creepy but still a good guy, but I was wrong. I am talking about Ah Ming, my most hated character in this series. I hate the sight of him. Later on I hate the sound of him. Already he is not exceedingly well to do, he doesn't look handsome, he is losing his hair, he is not abled body, he can't walk, he can't even perform sexually, he verbally abuses his wife, is a jerk through and through, he even had an affair. What more can't this guy do? I am of course talking about the character, not the actor. I find this character disgusting, not even a gentleman. When he forced himself on Jing Jing (maybe Jing Jing herself didn't feel forced since she just said no no no feebly), I almost (yes, graphically) puked. The idea that she is sleeping with this disgusting man is disgusting to me, the fact that she slept with him and will have to do so continuously is pure tragedy. Of course after the sex, he was a bit nicer. But not gentle at all. He still gives those ugly looks to his wife, he still talks down to his wife with little respect ... put it this way, with or without Xiao Xin as a comparison, Ah Ming still has no class. I hate him. Maybe some may argue that he was that way because Jing Jing had little tact; no one runs to ex-boyfriend bearing popiahs in plain sight of her husband. He was justifiably angry and jealous. But we are talking about Jing Jing here, a girl who could never lie, a sweet natured and honest girl, how can he disbelieve her? Like what Xiao Xin angrily said to Ah Ming, "You should have a little more faith in your wife". How true.
Most Ridiculous Character
Other than Mrs Taugeh and her fellow "Pat pohs" and "pat gongs", I must say Jing Jing herself. Why ridiculous? There is a difference being really nice, naive, gullible and being totally and utterly stupid. Not only is she clueless half the time, she doesn't even know what's good and what's bad for her. It's not really her choice of husband, or even what she said but rather it's she herself. She has very little self esteem and she calls herself stupid all the time. Even her family thinks so, until she met Xiao Xin who told her she is not stupid, she is better than most people. No doubt she is pure, she is really the nicest and most decent girl around. Even when her own evil twin, Yan Yan separated she and Xiao Xin, she didn't blame Yan Yan and even told Xiao Xin to accept Yan Yan. When she felt guilty for leaving a crippled Ah Ming, she ran back to him, not because she actually wanted to, but because she thought she was not good enough for Xiao Xin. I remembered posting something about carrot cake in my updates page on 11.05.2004. I want to reproduce it here because I find her analogy disturbing...
I want to talk about this episode because I almost felt like throwing the TV out of the window.
The entire episode talks about carrot cake and kuih lobak. That is Hong Zhi is carrot cake that you will find in a posh restaurant and Jing Jing is the kuih lobak where you'll find in any pasar malam. What Jing Jing was saying of course the two don't mix at all, and so she is not in Hong Zhi's league. I find that insulting and offensive. Why can't a nice girl like Jing Jing not be compatible with a nice guy like Hong Zhi? She kept saying Hong Zhi is no longer Xiao Xin. Ok so his mom is a bit bitchy but can you blame the mother for complaining about his son's choice for his wife? Jing Jing is undeniably stupid and in this episode, undeniably low self esteem. Hong Zhi is like this inspiring motivation speaker, trying to talk some senses into her and she go blab about inappropriate things and in the end ended the engagement because she is kuih lobak. In the end she will marry the chicken rice seller.
There is nothing wrong about Ah Ming the chicken rice seller. A decent man with a decent business. There is absolutely nothing excellent about Hong Zhi, except he is rich, young, handsome and very inspiring. What I find offensive is Jing Jing. She herself created her own destiny and she go and say things like Xiao Xin is not Xiao Xin but Yu Hong Tzi. I was like, so? Even when he was Xiao Xin, he was very smart, very resourceful and someone you might expect to be a very successful man, even when he thought he was an illegal immigrant from China. For me Yu Hong Tzi is Xiao Xin.
So when she said that kuih lobak and carrot cake thingy, I was thinking we are Asians. An expensive carrot cake can be placed on the same table as kuih lobak to be enjoyed by all. Put in a lobster, tiramisu, roti canai, dim sum, nasi lemak ... whatever suits you fancy, just enjoy. So for me there is no distinction."
His bitchy mother didn't really help things either.
If you look carefully, the problem with this Jing Jing is Jing Jing herself. She has such low confidence in herself, if I were Xiao Xin I would have just dumped this useless woman. How can someone as clueless as she was could survive for so long? Of course the moral of the story is nice people finish first (some times) but who cares about moral of the story anyway when she is plain ridiculous? Who will tell her jealous husband what her ex-BF told her about loving her?? One good thing though, she finally left that creep and goes back to who she belongs. I was hoping though Xiao Xin would move on, so that she regrets leaving him.
The Best Man There Is
Who? This series boasts some really great guys. The ratio of great guys against bad guys is like 3 to 1, so we have great great guys. For example;
Ying Tian Yang
Great guy and was so happy Rou Rou (nice girl before she went berserk) found this gem until horror! He's actually the half younger brother of Rou Rou! Tragedy! Travesty! What if like all modern couples they have slept with one another? Rest assured, they didn't even kiss.
Not handsome but very hardworking, resourceful and very decent guy.
Yu Hong Tzi aka Xiao Xin
A true contender for the best man there is. Super rich, cool, calm, collected, even when he failed big time, he still finds it in him to cycle around the world! He will rise again, no doubt. It helps that he is one of the 2 handsome men in this series. Ying Tian Yang isn't handsome, he looks perpetually shocked. Anyway Xiao Xin reminds me of this motivation seminar speaker whenever he speaks to Jing Jing. Of course he wasn't perfect; he lost his temper TWICE but just twice.
Mo Yang Yang
Useless as a CID, very faithful as a BF/husband (until you die that is) and very good brother. He practically blossomed into this responsible young man, thanks to at first Xiao Hui then to the tragedy which befell the Mo family. Also one of the 2 handsome men in this series.
Annoying at first (but always dramatically funny in a very good way), but soon became the dependable and persistent Yang Xiong. What I don't like is the way he carries himself when Wan Wan wanted to marry Nuo Wen by begging her not to marry him. Why can't we have this ideal ending where he comes to terms that this woman will never love him the way he wants her to and just go to their wedding, hold their hands together and bless them forever happiness? Why must they show the woman abandon Nuo Wen, her one true love because of perhaps a sense of duty? Why?
Ling Ling's boss. You have to watch this series to know why. I can't describe it.
Jing Cai's best friend who disappeared half way through the series. A great guy because he always stood by Jing Cai.
And in my opinion the best man of them all (Xiao Xin comes a close second)...
Dr Fang Nuo Wen
At first he stutters, annoyingly so but always the nice dependable encouraging Nuo Wen. Never lost his temper, not even once and he is so devoted to Wan Wan and all his patients. Some small voice inside of me hoped he ended up with Si Ting actually, because Wan Wan didn't deserve him. He's too great a guy.
The Best Woman There Is
So many! So many! Wan Wan is not one of them because she is bossy, abusive, indecisive ... she annoys me actually.
Mo Jing Jing
The nicest girl there is and the stupidest. But she being naive, gullible and humble was the reason why she is one of the best woman there is. I like the fact that she walked out of her husband but returned to take care of her aging mother in law, Ba Gu but still demanded a divorce. But I hate the fact that she gave up on Xiao Xin so many times, that she never really tried at all in that relationship, that she walked away from it because she thought she was the lesser mortal whilst Xiao Xin was up there on the pedestal. I have an issue with her low self esteem. But still a really nice girl.
Mo Ling Ling
Very nice girl but totally clueless when it comes to her love life and her sisters. Because she is so weak, most tragedy happened and she did little to ease the pain. But still nice.
At first she was greedy and very materialistic but unlike Yan Yan she was actually driven by poverty and because she never knew real love. The only person she was nice to other than Sito Liang was Yang Yang. When they ended up together that was a great moment because she is intelligent and she will protect her man and his family. Then she died tragically and I could have mourned her death but somehow and strangely so, the writer or the director decided to just skip her funeral and zoom to 2 years later. Why don't just let me cry a little? I do like her. She's feisty.
A little girl but like the oldest little girl there is. She knows the most facts about everyone. Fiercely protective of her useless mother, when her mom went to jail Ling Ling took care of her like her own daughter. When her mom came back, she at last realised her mother is useless. But nice girl, always the first to open doors, politely call auntie and uncle...such a polite child.
Su Yue Ping
Screams a lot but still a loving sister and a loving mother even when she knew the daughter wasn't hers but was the result of an illicit affair between her husband Lin Jing Cai and Wan Wan. She even let Jing Cai stay with her after divorce and encouraged Si Ting to forgive and accept Wan Wan.
Bad acting but overall a super cool woman. She took it lightly when Xiao Xin dumped her for a woman haldf her intelligence. She gave back all the money Xiao Xin gave her willingly. Where can you find such ex-girlfriend?
Dr He Yujie
Great woman, because she encouraged Nuo Wen to go back to Singapore and seek out Wan Wan.
Wow, so many good women!
Lin Si Ting
Mean to her natural mom, but is essentially a very loving daughter to her own adopted mom and her absent father (Jing Cai was in jail for many years since she was a little girl). In fact her story was quite tragic because of greed, she was coerced into becoming a model/prostitute by Edison and then became the mistress of a very very old man (about 70-ish but the actor is obviously much much younger and very seedy looking old man) who so happens to be very very rich. In the end she actually learned to like that old man whilst still harbouring feelings for Nuo Wen, that she actually walked away from that old man to live a decent life. She is probably the only girl that Edison could not manipulate.
Mo Rou Rou
Except for the times where she went berserk, she really is a very nice sweet girl.
And the best woman of them all ...
Can't decide. Maybe Jing Jing because she really looked after her mom in law, stood by her useless sister and husband, loved her family with her entire heart, spleen and gut, took care of Xiao Xin when he could not remember who he was and even bought him food when he had no money ... yes, Jing Jing. Best woman of them all however stupid she might have been.
The Scariest Character Of Them All
So many ...
Lin Jing Cai
This guy always thought 2 women in his life loved him still. Very scary and yet so funny.
Tian Da Hua
Annoying, complaining but at least unlike Ah Ming, he knew when to shut up.
Ah Ming's mom, by using her tears to manipulate Jing Jing's affection. But she is actually very fond of Jing Jing and I am very fond of Ba Gu, one of my favourite character and performance in this series.
The winner ...
Lin Jing Cai, he never know when to give up, not until the last episode.
Most repetitive Storyline
3 people from the Mo family went to jail. Mo Ling Ling for causing hurt (I think 2 months jail), Mo Yan Yan for embezzlement (2 years) and Ying Tian Yang (also a Mo technically) for causing hurt. Yan Yan kept harping on the fact that she went to jail, her future is ruined, not because of why she went to jail but because of the fact that she went to jail. Strange because after a while nobody seems to remember Ling Ling herself went to jail and look, she became Court's Mammoth Manager!
Yan Yan never changes, only that she became less greedy but still as demanding. But Tian Xiang deserves her because he is so weak, so useless as a man (but is a nice guy) he needs some control freak in his life, and I mean it in a bad way.
2 rich men become bankrupt, companies wound up that is Xiao Xin and Yang Xiong. Only that Xiao Xin took it lightly and Yang Xiong took it hard. Both lost the woman they love to other lesser men but Fang Nuo Wen is a great guy.
3 women falling for the same guy, that is Wan Wan, Yu Jie and Si Ting falling for Nuo Wen. Understandable but a bit overcrowded.
As in why I finally could actually may want to watch it again? I like the fact that Tian Da Hua became a good person again, that Yan Yan and her husband has a happy relationship, Rou Rou finds herself a decent boyfriend, Zoe lives with Ling Ling and family and her mom nowhere to be seen, Ling Ling accepts Su Hao, Yue Ping is pregnant, Si Ting accepts Wan Wan as her mom, Yang Yang appeared for 1 second in the final episode and Lin Jing Cai mellowed down and actually gave some very good advice to Yang Xiong and Wan Wan.
But the best of all is the ending for Jing Jing who told her husband she will get a divorce when her mom in law recovers from her sickness, that Ba Gu refused to talk gently to Ah Ming anymore, Jing Jing actually finds a career she is good at and will make a filthy amount of money and at last, at the very last, Xiao Xin reappears and as they cycled towards the sunset, there is a hint that these two people will finally get together again. If not, that will be a travesty because they parted like 3 times under various circumstances. I was hoping to see them get married but well, this is good enough.
Potentially some factors which may cause severe headache, nausea and confusion because all these do not make sense, mostly from the last episode.
For one, Yan Yan who was still bickering with her mom in law and causing much pain to Tian Xiang just a few episodes ago was now a loving and happy wife. That was quite a surprise. Maybe she accepted her fate. I mean Tian Xiang is not bad.
Ah Ming who was a wife abuser never once smashed Jing Jing's face when she demanded a divorce. I was surprise he so easily let go. But then what could he have done?
Yang Yang and his supermodel girlfriend's story was left hanging. So what happened? And where was Yang Yang for 2 episodes or so? Australia?
Zoe's mom, Maggie appeared in just a few episodes away demanding to find Zoe and then she just disappeared. Did she give up so easily or was she simply forgotten? So how does Zoe go to school undetected by her mom who wanted her back? In fact what happened to Maggie?
What happened to Xie Ting Fung? Though she can't be lovers with Su Hao, it can't be that they can't be friends right? And what is her job anyway? She spends her days playing futsal. What about work, study?
What happened to Yang Ling and her brother? I mean where is Yang Xiong's family? Shanghai? I thought there was going to be romance between Yang Xiong's brother and Jing Jing but it was never developed.
So Rou Rou is dating that ultra cool guy issit? The romance was quite sudden.
What about Ying Tian Yang? Where is he? And where is his father? Did Wan Wan forgave him at all?
Kumar, Jing Cai's best friend suddenly disappeared from the face of this earth halfway through the series. He's still there since he was invited to Wan Wan's wedding but where is he?
And Austin as well. Where is he?
In fact where is everybody? The series should have ended with episode 126 because one more episode to close the stories of everybody nicely.
Wan Wan came back from Korea as a children's fashion designer. Except for one scene, I have never seen her design anything. It was more like fashion merchandising and yet I see so little of her doing any actual work than say in the beginning when she was selling nasi lemak. And what was so wrong about selling nasi lemak? She was designing anything, she was just selling clothes. So what was so great big a deal with her new career which is from selling nasi lemak to selling clothes?
When Xiao Xin claimed he was a bankrupt, and company all gone, I thought his family owned a vineyard and also very rich. How come his parents never helped him or he goes back to family business? And for someone so poor who can't afford a decent meal, how can he go cycling over the world? Doesn't he need like money to do so? Then he claimed, after Angel gave him back his $20 million that he paid off all his debts. And he still has $20 million with him. So how does he exactly paid off all his debts?
The most perplexing of all, how come Xiao Xin suddenly appeared in the last episode? I mean seriously he came back due to popular demand but logically, he's into computers and there he was managing the big company dealing with foods stuff. He himself asked Jing Jing, "Why Taukeh Qian asked me to work for him?" Jing Jing shook her head and he mysteriously said; "I didn't know then but now I understand" and he smiled sweetly at Jing Jing. Now hold on, I DON'T UNDERSTAND. Did Qian knew Jing Jing was in love with this man or that what Xiao Xin meant was it was destiny and fate? And earlier Jing Jing arrived at the secluded factory with Ling Ling, later Ling Ling disappeared. How she went home if Xiao Xin had to cycle home with Jing Jing in tow? But never mind this. I just love this ending. My only complain is, this man has $20 million in his account, can't he just get a decent suit?
Earlier, Xiao Xin started this project called "Heart" that will make him richer. Everybody seemed to understand what this project was about and until now I still don't see what's the project about.
By the way, what happened to Situ Liang? Hanged? What about Sammi? Died?
Nothing beats this one single worst factor, not in any series I have seen thus far maybe except for the ridiculous Mandarin Qiang Yao series, Tattooed Flower starring Ma Jing Tao and Chen De Rong. I fell off my chair watching that stupid ending. Now this series comes close to second.
Episode 124 had Yang Xiong falling into a coma when he was stabbed whilst trying to shield Wan Wan from harm. Wan Wan was understandably upset. Episode 125 (last episode) she was thinking of postponing her wedding because she felt too guilty to marry Nuo Wen when she finally knew how much Yang Xiong loved her. Fast forward to the end, Yang Xiong finally accepted the fact she was going to marry Nuo Wen though he said; "Don't make a mistake you will regret for the rest of your life, marry me". He was going to the airport. Nuo Wen was waiting at the church with many many guests. Wan Wan was on her way in a very nice car when she stopped the car and saw in her mind Yang Xiong and Nuo Wen standing in front of her, thinking of the past. Then she flipped a coin, who should she choose? After the end of the credits, we see the car driving towards the airport (those who knew zero about Singapore may be confused where she was heading but I doubt the church had towers as tall as that). So the ending is she flipped the coin, destiny said choose Yang Xiong, so she ran after Yang Xiong.
My question is, when did she ever start loving Yang Xiong? When the flashback was shown, I could only see a one sided love from Yang Xiong and I could see her loving and hugging Nuo Wen. Never a doubt in my mind she loved Nuo Wen from day 1. Yang Xiong was perhaps a feeling of indebtedness, guilt. Can guilt or indebtedness be a sign of true love and happiness forever? Can your future happiness depend on the flipping of a coin, something as nonsensical as that? What went through her mind when the coin finally settled on the palm of her hand? Who was she hoping it would be? If that was what she was thinking, perhaps the man that featured prominently in her mind should be the one she marries.
She would have had a difficult time choosing if she had loved them both equally.
I mean Yang Xiong is a great guy, he will be a devoted and loving husband, caring brother in law, a great father. Nuo Wen will be all of that and perhaps even more, because he is so understanding. Whilst Yang Xiong kept pushing Wan Wan to choose and all, Nuo Wen never once pushed her at all. He kept telling her, "I will respect your decision". She never had to choose because Yang Xiong was never in the race. Whilst it breaks my heart to hear him say "Wan Wan, did you hear my heart smashing into pieces? How can you do this to me?", I do think Yang Xiong is a very selfish man. Why can't the ending be as such, where Yang Xiong suddenly appeared at the church, whilst crying still gave Wan Wan away wishing them forever happiness? Love doesn't mean owning someone, it can be about giving them away to their desired happiness. I find this ending the worst factor because it was too sudden. Fans may argue till the end of this world who she actually loved and who deserved her. Frankly she deserved neither. She was exceedingly rude to Yang Xiong, at one time when she thought Nuo Wen seduced Si Ting she was particularly rude and mean to Nuo Wen, who is throughout a gentle soul. She never appreciated what Yang Xiong did for her and her family. But that doesn't mean this is how you repay kindness. There are so many ways to do so.
Yang Xiong himself is a scary character, though a very good man. He can't look beyond his own needs, he can't stand in Wan Wan's shoes and think, who she actually loved. This is selfish love. He was always rude to Nuo Wen, who was always too much of a gentleman to say anything back. It's true I would have wished the ending where she marries Nuo Wen and Yang Xiong simply accepts that fact. I don't like the fact that he kept telling her she will regret her decision, she should choose carefully when what is there to choose when she had already decided? To think of the humiliation Nuo Wen will go through when she never appeared at the church.
One consolation though. If there is a Holland V 2, I want this to happen. Si Ting is still very much available and perhaps she is the most consistent character in this series in the sense she has always loved Nuo Wen. So I would love to see Si Ting and Nuo Wen get together. Wan Wan can go fly kite with Yang Xiong if she so prefers.
I can safely say, almost everybody gave solid performances. Since the list will be so long, I might as well do an impromptu Star Awards in this very review.
I have three nominees.
Vivian Lai who plays Rou Rou. She was particularly bad when her character went berserk. I could almost hear the Psycho soundtrack, "Ching Ching Ching Ching Chingggggg" whenever she sees something which triggered her condition. Her condition was pitiful and the acting was even more pitiful. That is a sad excuse for a performance. She was plain bland.
The girl who plays the supermodel in love with Yangyang. Very very bad performance. After looking at her I finally understood what is meant by plain face. She has such a plain face, the only reason she is remotely attractive is because she has a body to die for.
Zhang Yao Dong who plays Ying Tian Yang. Bland performance, fails totally in dramatic moments but has good chemistry with Vivian Lai.
Harlow Russell who plays Austin. Emotionally he's no there. He's not the worst, he had little to do and I do find his Austin cute. But performance wise, really not very good.
The botanist who fell for Rourou. One word to describe his performance. Sulky.
Sun Ho who plays Angel. Apparently a pastor, a very successful recording artist and an inspirational figure in Singapore. But she should leave acting alone. She was particularly bad when she found out Xiao Xin died and she was crying, with zero tears. At other times when she was talking she sounded like she was reciting her lines with little emotion. But then she is first and foremost a singer.
So my vote for the worst performance?
Best Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role
I have a few nominees.
Jamie Yeo who plays Si Ting. Decent performance, bad mandarin but she actually improves.
Le Yao who plays Yang Ling. Very gorgeous hair, the prettiest in this series and decent performance. Had little to do though.
Margaret Lee who plays Maggie. Excellent performance, absolutely no finesse, loud, crude, rude, mean and so convincing.
Wang Yu who plays Zoe. Excellent performance by this young actress, I am tempted to name her the best supporting actress. But I think she won best newcomer in the real Star Awards.
Xiang Yun who plays Su Yue Ping. A veteran here, who gave a solid performance but her constant shouting and emotional outbursts was very difficult to watch.
Li Da Mu who plays Ba Gu. In my opinion the best performance by a veteran in this series, I find her performance natural, effective and when she cried, I could understand why Jing Jing couldn't just abandon her.
The girl who plays Xiao Hui. Very good performance, one of my favourite.
My choice for the best supporting actress?
I like Li Da Mu who has since became my favourite veteran actress for whatever little scene she was in. I like to stress, it's not how much you do but how you do each scene given.
Best Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role
The actor who plays Kumar. He's so funny and so real.
Shaun Chen who plays Xiao Xin. Not the best actor but in my personal opinion very effective. He is my favourite character in here and so do allow me some bytes to talk more about him. He was shaky in the beginning but one scene showed his potential brilliance was when Jing Jing just dumped him, he looked at his laptop screen and saw Jing Jing's email, something like I Love You. He stared at the screen for the longest of time, his expression unreadable (which what makes him a good businessman) and then reluctantly he pushed the delete button. I like this one scene because it shows he is not a wishy washy person. I like the fact that he has this rather believable aura of a successful person, and yes, he does look intelligent but is he really that intelligent in real life is a moot point. An actor is chameleon like, so in here he is a decent tough positive thinking successful businessman and from the pictures I saw from his new series, Power of Love with that God awful hair, he looked like a lothario. It's all about image and presentation and this actor has this many facets that is moldable. Shaun does get better towards the end, I like the intimacy he has with Jeanette Aw (which I guess that was how the lecher tag stuck on) because his Xiao Xin is affectionate, and Jing Jing lets this one man hold her, touch her gently. I don't care what the media said about him or whether he did it or he didn't suggest some indecent proposal to the female co-stars (I am disputing this myself), all I could say is he has potential to be a very good actor, in fact a heartthrob but he must clean up his past if he is a lecher. He should just change direction and become a lothario.
Huang Yiliang who plays Tian Da Hua. I hated this character with his non stop yabbering but this actor is so good. In fact he won this award in the real Star Awards, and deservingly so.
Huang Wenyong who plays Lin Jing Cai. Scary character but amazing performance. He was really the highlight of this series when he first appeared, with his singing, his comparison with Adam Cheng, his crazy ideas that he could have both women, his sparring with Ah Huo, his friendship with Kumar. I thought his performance definitely deserved an award. Towards the end though his character became a bit too repetitive but still a solid performance.
San Yow who plays Ah Ming. Disgusting character, I hated this character. But I saw some preview of his other series, Viva La Famillie and My God, I am convinced, an actor is always an actor. He looked so decent in that preview! Looking at this series alone, I pity this actor for taking such a disgusting role. But you know, he did very very well. A very solid performance. I also like the details to his appearance, or the lack of it. He does look oily, lusty and angry.
Jeff Wang who plays Edison Ying Tian Cheng. I remember seeing him in Lobang King and I think it's a comedy? I had to rub my eyes to see if I saw the right actor because he looked totally different in this series. In here he plays a very mean, evil but still silly character, silly in the sense that he's too manic for me to even take him seriously. He has got to be the best dressed in here and definitely the best style, perfect hair, perfect fashion sense, I almost liked Edison for his dress sense! Such style! Acting wise, he was pitch perfect. Excellent performance.
Chen Tianwen as Tian Xiang. Very good performance of a very ordinary looking man. I suspect he works out though because he looks great physically.
Chen Guohua who plays Ah Huo. Cartoon character but a very good performance. His chemistry with Xiang Yun was magnificent.
My choice for the best supporting actor?
I am tempted to name Shaun Chen but I would not be very honest. I love him but he's not the best. I will name three, Jeff Wang, Mark Lee and Huang Yiliang. I can't decide who, but if I had to choose only one, I would say Huang Yiliang.
Best Performance By An Actor In A Lead Role
Edmund Tay who plays Fang Nuo Wen. I was told this actor was always the supporting actor. I love his performance, he really makes Nuo Wen such a gentle kind soul, so understanding, almost perfect. Whilst his stuttering at the beginning was ultra slow and very annoying, but that's why Nuo Wen had little friends. Look beyond that and he's a great guy. This actor looks honest and decent. I can understand why 3 women loved him, I loved him to if not for my lust for Xiao Xin. And then I saw the preview of Viva La Famillie and my God, I am still reeling from the shock. He was so bad in that series, is that Nuo Wen?? Amazing actor.
Pierre Png who plays Yang Yang. Not the best, not the worst but effective as a supporting character, though he is one of the leads in here. Also very handsome. He is believably the baby of the Mo family.
Mark Lee who plays Su Hao. A very good performance. Nothing much to say because nothing I could ever say could adequately describe how natural his performance was.
Xie Shaogguang who plays Yang Xiong.
My choice? Also the choice of the real Star Awards, without a doubt Xie Shaogguang. I never thought he could be so funny. He was always in very serious roles, as far as I can remember because he has this naturally tortured looks. His performance was perfect though his character wasn't. I laughed myself silly watching him running, walking, talking in an effeminate way, even towards the end, he was still such a funny actor. And yet in dramatic scenes, he was effective as well. The entire series was held together by this one actor who made every single episode he appears in a joy to watch. I may dislike the ending or the peskiness of his character, but there is no denying, this actor truly shone the most in this series. This is what I call a faultless and perfect performance. My only problem with him is he sweats too much. As his tears rolled own his scarred face, I could see sweat rolling down the sides of his face as well. Not very nice looking but that's reality right? People do sweat.
Best Performance By An Actress In A Lead Role
I realise some names in here should be in the supporting category but for the sake of this review, well I am going to name them as leads.
Cynthia Koh who plays the evil Yan Yan. She was wonderful. What a great performance. Her only problem is her character itself is pretty unrepentant and that takes away any niceness in her. Also quite repetitive. And I don't like her Yan Yan. But her performance amongst all young female performance was solid and entertaining.
Jeanette Aw who plays Jing Jing. Touted to be the next Queen of Caldecott Hill replacing Zoe Tay (in my opinion only when Fann Wong dies or retires), she garnered the most praises and fan base after playing the dumb and clueless Jing Jing. She played Jing Jing's innocence and gullibility to the extreme and in real life she is a very smart lady. But it kept me wondering, was her Jing Jing plain stupid, has low IQ or has some arrested mental development type of problem? I never knew. But her performance is not consistent. Sometimes she slips from stupid Jing Jing to even voiced Jeannette. Anybody could notice that. I find her performance satisfactory but definitely not good enough to take over Zoe Tay, not yet anyway. By the way it was reported she was first offered the role of Yan Yan whilst Cynthia was offered the role of Jing Jing but they switched roles. Interesting possibility but I doubt Jeanette has that natural bitchiness to play Yan Yan whilst Cynthia is reportedly very sweet in real life.
Patricia Mok who plays Ling Ling. Perhaps her breakthrough role because I never thought of her so docile, so sweet, so nice. An amazing performance.
Chen Li Ping who plays Mo Wan Wan. At first really frumpy looking, towards the end she was in her real size. What I like about this is it didn't show her suddenly with a supermodel figure, she is still big sized but healthier. Her hair is lovely but what I hate is the sudden pretentiousness of her character. She used to scream and shout but all of a sudden, she's whispering her lines and she has that silly scarf tied around her neck, even when she was cooking. Her later scenes were reduced to the dialogue "Oooiiiii...Yang Xiongggg". Nothing else. Performance wise, consistently delivers but frankly in my opinion not the best actress in here though she was one of the best.
My choice for the best lead actress as in my review is between Cynthia Koh and Chen Li Ping. Chen Li Ping faltered a bit towards the end so truth be told my choice would be Cynthia Koh.
The real winner in the Star Awards I think was Chen Li Ping whilst Patricia Mok won in the supporting category. Patricia won I guess simply because she was playing against type, frankly her performance deserved an award but in light of Cynthia Koh's brilliant performance, Cynthia Koh should have won for supporting role.
For some fun, let's have some MTV Awards moment.
A tie between Maggie, Ah Ming, Yan Yan, Sammi and Edison Ying. My final choice is Ah Ming. Disgusting man, failure as a husband, can't perform, can't work, constantly jealous, verbally and physically abusive and he had affairs. What more this guy can't do? Kill maybe.
Many kissing scenes but not too X-rated. I missed the first few episodes so I missed that kissing scene between Jeannette and some actor. My first view of a kissing scene in this series is between Shaun Chen and Jeannette Aw. Looks more like camera angle to me. There's Mark Lee and Patricia Mok in a chaste kiss on the lips. But the deepest kiss has to be between Chen Tianwen and Cynthia Koh. They kissed until they rolled down onto the grass! My choice? No choice. Because the kissing scenes looked rather forced/fake, nothing romantic.
Best Looking Beauty
Ahhh, who is the prettiest of them all? Jeannette Aw looks sweet, Cynthia Koh's face looks bloated (not fat, just very fleshy), Jamie Yeo looks westernised but she has big big eyes, the girl who plays Xiao Hui is pretty but my choice is Le Yao. Her hair alone makes her stand out.
All of these actresses have one common theme though; they all have beautiful bodies, all to die for.
Best Looking Hunk
So few! Overall only 2 actually qualifies as hunks but I will insert two more because they aren't bad looking.
Pierre Png, Shaun Chen, Zhang Yao Dong and Jeff Wang. The first three share a common theme; they all look tall but Pierre Png looks so well proportionate I thought he was very tall but he isn't.
Jeff Wang wins hands down for the most stylish though.
Pierre Png has the best features but because I saw him progress from a baby brother to a man, I felt rather maternal towards him. But he has a very healthy body. Anyway I had to do a double take when I saw him in this series. I was so used to seeing him in PCK looking so mature, I couldn't believe he looked so young! He looks at least 10 years younger than his actual age.
Zhang Yao Dong looks very tall and looks like he works out. But he has this perpetual shocked look, in fact he looks weird, definitely not handsome in the traditional sense.
My favourite guy Shaun Chen is admittedly not in Pierre Png's league as the good looking one but he has three great features; he has very high and prominent cheek bones, his hair is gorgeous (well when combed nicely) and he looks very tall. Unlike mosy HK actors who claim they're this and that tall, they look short. These guys in this series actually look tall. His only fault is his eyes, too small. Anyway he looks older than his actual age.
All of them has good healthy body.
My choice, after much deliberation between the left side of my brain and the right side of my brain, at the end of the day after the destruction of millions of my brain cells, I can only come to this conclusion; I want both Pierre Png (because he is traditionally good looking) and Shaun Chen (because he is not so great looking that he is intimidating and yet not so ordinary looking you can't even be bothered to look at him - moreover he looks super calm). I read once though women find Pierre Png very attractive because of his one feature; his scar on his I think abdomen. Me too. How romantic.
Worst Mandarin Speaker
Everybody speaks different languages in here, from Hokkien to Cantonese to Malay to English to well, the main language, Mandarin. It's a reality based of mish mash of many languages that you will hear in the ordinary real life interaction even in Malaysia. This is what I call real dialogue. It doesn't matter what was said was plain silly but how they said it, and the language they used. The main one is Mandarin, basically everybody had better mandarin than say Meteor Garden's cast. I had a great big shock watching that series. Their mandarin with their "le" was like butchering the beautiful language. Save for the supermodel and Shaun Chen, everybody's natural voices could be heard. Why they dubbed Shaun Chen I do not know. Maybe not a native mandarin speaker because I read that he speaks excellent Cantonese. He should go to HK and join TVB instead of Mediaworks. Or maybe he has chicken voice. Some said his voice is unrefined. So maybe that confirms he doesn't normally speak mandarin. I don't want to know. Let me live in my illusion a bit longer.
Anyway, Pierre Png, Cynthia Koh, and also Jamie Yeo are not mandarin speakers. Cynthia Koh surprised me when I found out she had to learn mandarin because she was very good. Pierre Png was shaky but got better. Jamie Yeo was shaky but improved. All in all all three of them and some more actors and actresses in here spoke well but sometimes slow. I suspect Jeannette Aw speaks more English than Mandarin. What I find funny is when these actors and actresses has to speak Mandarin, they did it slowly and carefully that they really sound like linguistic teachers. Perfect pronunciation, good tone, you will immediately know these are not mandarin speakers.
Anyway the worst? Pierre Png. But I admire the fact that he learned so fast.
I love the themesong! So catchy, so hummable. The end song was also very good. My choice is of course the themesong. Shall miss it since the series is very over.
Most Favourite Pair
Fang Nuo Wen and Yang Xiong? Kidding! Of course it's Jing Jing and Xiao Xin. Close second is Kumar and Lin Jing Cai! Pair need not be lovers. Definitely not Tian Yang and Rou Rou. They're half brother and sister!
Ok, verdict. Ignore the last episode and the stupid ending. In fact ignore the failure of the last 20 episodes or so. This series consistently delivers. It's funny, it's touching, it's entertaining. The best of course is it is really really funny. It boasts some very consistent and solid performances. You can love someone, hate someone, find your favourite hunk, choose your favourite beauty, find your favourite plot and pair. This series has everything, except maybe logic. Throw away logic, throw away everything, marvel at the very realness of the presentation, enjoy the dialogue. If this series is fully dubbed it will become like every other series. You have to watch it in its original format, because only then you'll learn about Singaporean culture, and in it some of Malaysian culture and way of living as well. The intro to the foods are amazing! I am so tempted to go to Holland Village and eat, eat, eat. Special mention must be given to the various locations. Never thought Singapore was so windy and beautiful, of course I expect it to be clean.
All in all, an amazing 125 episodes of experience, laughter, frustration, wonder, fun, joy. For it to maintain the momentum episode after episode, except for the last few ones, the producers, directors, writers and actors should be applauded.
A definite gem and a must watch.
I hate the ending/plot, but for the performances, the sheer consistency in quality in the first 100 episodes or so without being draggy and boring (in terms of performances, ignoring the repetitive storyline and complete waste of time for the last 20 episodes and the unimaginative and illogical ending) and more importantly because of the local flavour in the dialogue which is like everyday life in Malaysia, I am ready to give it a perfect .
I am amazed by the fact that Singapore has such amazing and good looking actors, some of them Malaysian. Very proud. I can safely say the quality of actors in Singapore is a cut above those at HK and Taiwan. In fact movie makers in Singapore churn out very good movies, I can think of Jack Neo. Not all actors are consistently good in all series and not all series has good actors. The beauty of Holland V is the casting and the fact that it has the best ensemble of actors I have ever seen for the sheer volume of it all. Right actors for the right role. Amazing.