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A must read, if you don't already know ...








Written by Funn Lim


"I have seen this actress (Jessica) from the very start, seen her through her tomboy image, dark skin and sketchy acting to her blossoming into a very photogenic beautiful strong career type woman, fairer skin and even sketchier acting. What went wrong?"




SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!





Genre
Modern day drama set in Hong Kong

Cantonese Title
Choi Sik Sai Kai, which is more like "Colourful World" or "A World Of Colours".

Released In
2002

Cast-Character
Jessica Hsuan as Lam Lok Yee
Bowie Lam as Cheung Ka Fat aka Fai Jai
Joyce Tang as Ching Si Man aka Tina
Michael Tong as Cheng Wing Ho aka Steven
Halina Tam as Ha Gwai Fun aka Fanny
Anthony Tang as Jung Wing Nien
Kwok Fung as Fung Lap Yan aka James
Patricia Liu as Au Ji San aka Josie
Raymond Cho as Chen Wai Sing aka Sam


Summary
The journey in life of one young blind woman in work, life and love.

The Plot
Rather simple if you ask me and not altogether entertaining due to its single-mindedness.

We have Lok Yee, a girl with a sight impairment (read: blind) since young who grew up to be a sensitive, gentle, caring, over optimistic, really nice, very friendly, well loved, well respected ... do me a favour, just open your thesaurus and look for anything nice, sugar and minus the spice and that is basically your Lok Yee.

Well that being said, she meets the love of her life, Fai Jai and with his encouragement, attention and love, she agreed to a life altering decision; she's going to get her sight back, which in her case is possible. But alas, cue thunder, lightning and violin please ... when she got her sight back, and hoping to see Fai Jai first, our hero, Fai Jai met with an accident which changed his life forever; he lost his job, his confidence and above all else, his precious voice, the only thing that Lok Yee could possibly recognise.

And whilst Lok Yee wondered what happened to Fai Jai and was led to believe by Tina, the ex girlfriend of Fai Jai who so happened to want him back all to herself, that he never really loved Lok Yee, he pitied her, she became a nurse to the eye doctor, Steven who cured her and she was wooed by this gentle, good looking and kind doctor, Steven.

But she then met him, in the same building and he was working as a waiter. She thought he sounded familiar but that couldn't be him, she reasoned. After a while, the truth came out. He got his voice back, they were in love and then, cue thunder lightning and violin ... she was going blind, AGAIN.

Poor thing, this time she was the one running away from him, thinking he was in good hands with his career minded ex-girlfriend but he won't have it that way. She was going through the same surgery again to save her eye sight and there he was, promising he will never EVER leave her, AGAIN.

Last scene, well, spoilers spoilers spoilers ....


Ending Revealed
SPOILERS ALERT! SPOILERS ALERT!

The final scene, Lok Yee sat with Fai Jai next to her, holding each other and facing the beautiful sunset (or was it sunrise?) and alas, the surgery was a failure but she got her man next to her. Quite sad actually.

A Reminder & A Plea
You know it took me a long time to add this review into my website for many reasons, one laziness but above all else, my fear of Jessica's overzealous fans who could you know make me feel so darn guilty for even saying like her hair is out of place. I guess in the Internet you will meet some really fervent supporters of some actors, mostly female actors and one offensive word (which could be some benign remarks) and boom! You're the most hated person on the planet. I have of course observed some non-fans going into shrines (as in forums) of such stars and start blasting away. Sometimes I do think people such as these non-fans deserved to be blasted. I have the unfortunate luck of offending some fans of Jess with my A Step Into The Past review. I am quoting and relieving the nightmare again and again because frankly I am pretty proud of such blasting of my good name, it means people actually read what I have to say. The truth is I rarely make personal comments about a star but always towards their works, and somehow I manage to offend somebody for an evaluation of the character these actors play and of course the way these actors play these characters. I guess it's a good thing to know there are such blind devotion such as these fans and blind critique such as I. But if there is a lesson to be learned from this series, it is always, see with your heart as your eyes sometimes betray you. I hope when reading my really "offensive" reviews you will "see" my point of view and I of course would like to "see" your point of view.

Why am I making this observation here?

Well basically, I have nothing nice to say about Jess' performance in this series.


Comments
The Story Evaluated
Was it good? Was it a tear jerker?

I am very very sure fans of Jessica Hester Hsuan will praise her performance, cry for her Lok Yee's ending and rejoice that at least there is some sort of a happy ending.

But was it good? Was it a tear jerker, fans who are immune to Jessica Hester Hsuan and those who only want to watch a good series?

Dare I say it? Dare I commit the biggest sin of all? Dare I speak badly about the Goddess, Jessica Hester Hsuan?

I feel in part the failure of this series is the character of Lok Yee, or more precise to the point, Jessica's lack of acting (or is it too much acting?).Of course she should not be faulted, because acting is an ensemble effort, not just one person. And the most basic of all is a good story.

Is the story good you may ask? To me I have seen the brilliant Colour of Paradise (Iranian film), and I have cried buckets over it. I have seen The Eye and the brilliant performance of Malaysian (and proudly so) Lee Sin Jie and I was amazed at how well she handled her character.

So frankly, no, I do not think the story was any good because seen it, done it, watched it, no need to recycle it.

But then recycling is good if there is something that is not only original left in it, but something exciting. There could be one, that is the dilemma of Lok Yee and her beau.

The writer was really cruel, first she was blind, then she got her eyesight back and he lost his voice, when he got his voice back, she lost her eyesight. It's like a Yo-Yo tragedy. It could be tragic but I find it funny, because it's so melodramatic, it's just funny.

Of course at this point you will say Winter Sonata, Autumn In My Heart, All About Eve, all these Korean soap dramas. Why should we laugh at HK's attempt at a full blown tragedy when nobody laughed at Korean dramas? Or even most of Taiwanese dramas whose tears shed could drown Kuala Lumpur in an hour?

And I would agree with you, it's just so unfair and of course because I have not seen any of the listed Korean dramas, except Hotelier and I laughed at the story of Winter Sonata. I never cried watching Taiwanese series, except for maybe one or two because it was really sad.

But this series, I would feel an attempt to attack the viewers' sensitive side, their fragile hearts and overflowing eye ducts was at best lame, at worst corny. The tragedy thing it's just so tragic, it's really really too funny.

Sometimes I can't blame the actors since the story itself was really that bad. But there must be something good right?

The Good Stuff
One scene, towards the end as Lok Yee and her beau, Fai Jai sat together, with the impending blindness Lok Yee gently and quietly shed tears whilst her beau sat there, peacefully but still a bit worried. I find that scene gentle and not too imposing. If only the entire series could be that way.

The Bad Stuff
The character of Lok Yee for one is too optimistic to the point of annoying. And surprisingly, as one friend noted to me, for someone who can't see, she certainly has loads of different types of sunglasses. But I won't argue with her choice of sunglasses, even in blindness a person would want to look nice. But it's the way she talks, smiling widely, it's the way she could walk the entire Hong Kong better than those who can see and the way Jessica played her. I find it's a combination of these factors which frustrates me as a viewer because I disliked her Lok Yee. No sense of reality, devoid of any sense of truthfulness and honesty. I know even if you have a physical problem, you should be allowed to live as normal as possible. Everybody treats Lok Yee no different from those so called perfect beings, which is really nice but the way Lok Yee go about her daily life is simply amazing. Then of course she got her eyesight back and that's when the real problem starts which I shall elaborate further below.

The Worst Stuff
Joyce Tang, in again the obligatory career minded ex girlfriend bent on getting her man back and in the end used all means and reduced herself to being a baby when she was crying which could make you cringe.

And the character of Wing Nin, the wimp. And as usual, he falls for the hot chili Gwai Fun who coincidentally shares the same name as I which is so scary. Talk about new stuff and here we go again, play girl meets decent wimpish guy, realises he is a great guy and goes all out to woo him (again) and ends up as wimpish former play girl. BORING.

The Ultimate Worst Stuff
Why do tell me does a good looking doctor like Steven and being one so nice never end up with someone like the lead? Because first come first serve?

The Performances
First thing first, I do not hate Jessica Hester Hsuan, Joyce Tang, Bowie Lam or am I against the positive portrayal of handicapped people who could meet all challenges and better themselves in the process.

Jessica Hester Hsuan
Is this her worst performance in her entire illustrious career?

I would say so far, yes, except maybe for A Step Into The Past.

I have seen this actress from the very start, seen her through her tomboy image, dark skin and sketchy acting to her blossoming into a very photogenic strong career woman, fairer skin and even sketchier acting. What went wrong?

Her Lok Yee was such a disaster.

First of all, she was blinded since young. I can buy the fact that she could roam freely in her own home, not bumping into things since she knew it by heart. But in Hong Kong, even with that stick as her guide, she didn't use the stick in a convincing manner and she could walk so easily she did not bump into one single thing. She was simply like a blind pretending to be blind. Or rather an actress who can see pretending to be blind but acting like she is not blind. I find that such an unconvincing portrayal.

But the worst was after she could see. Am I happy for her Lok Yee? Of course, she could see the face of the love of her life. That is a joyous thing. But Jessica's lack of acting fare even worse when Lok Yee could see.

She was blinded since young, maybe she could remember certain items as the names they're given but never once in this series I see any doubt in her as to certain things. Never has she asked; "What is this?" or "This feels so familiar". It was as if she knew or the script writer simply forgot about this practical point. Wouldn't it create more drama with her uncertainty? For someone who hasn't written or read in Chinese for so long, she could certainly type a decent email. It is this lack of realism that makes me dislike Jessica's portrayal of Lok Yee or she simply forgot about that part? Maybe the writer did not remind her?

I am sure an actress in Jessica's calibre must realise, Lok Yee is a special character, not just of her optimism. Her optimism was created because she lacked the gift of sight, and therefore she compensated this physical lack of sight with the over powering gift of her compassionate and giving heart. But I see none of those in Jessica's portrayal.

If you ask me, Jessica was wrongly cast. She doesn't look nor behave like the timid Lok Yee who was bent on finding her independence; if she was a better actress perhaps, but she is mostly average nowadays and I do wonder what went wrong exactly?


Bowie Lam
A very capable actor, whether as a good guy or bad guy, villain or otherwise. In this series, he is a really nice guy who can't say no to his ex-girlfriend. That is not weakness but really boring storyline. He gave quite a good performance but had the usual run of the mill character that didn't really help him in any way as an actor.

Joyce Tang
She is very pretty in here, looks lethal (as in ine stare could kill you off) and cold. And then she melted when she realised she loved our hero in this series and became in one really embarrassing scene, literally a crying baby. The way she cried on Bowie's shoulder was cringe worthy, and what a shock. I would say again she is given the run of the mill character. Wouldn't it be nice she plays Lok Yee, someone warm, sunshine, optimistic, smiling and yet vulnerable at the same time?

Michael Tong
This actor shall be crowned as "Nice Guy Always Finishes Last When Competing With Other Nice Guy Who Is Always The More Famous One". Consistently in all the series he has acted in, whether as lead, secondary actors or guest starring, he is always the really nice guy (sometimes with a past at most times just an ordinary bloke) who is good looking, smart, intelligent, successful (except maybe for Return of the Cuckoo but he was still a nice guy in that series) and above all else, secretly in love with the lead female character and always, and I mean always never wins. It's getting really tiresome and I pity this actor because he is manly you know, maybe not that popular. Give him a woman next time, just let him win or make him so despicable he doesn't deserve to get the girl. Overall, a very good performance.

Halina Tam
Painfully thin and doesn't look like her old self. Anyway, what to say about the obligatory bad girl role? Nothing much. I really have no comment.

Anthony Tang
He was ATV's no. 1 actor of some sort, very fair, beefy and tall. At TVB he is tall, dark, a bit thin but much much more muscle. But is he any better at acting? I never thought he was great and in this series, clearly my observation is proved right because he was downright really bad. The acting doesn't match his looks, his character of an innocent, beefy nice guy just seems so out of place and frustratingly stupid, any innocence in him doesn't seem very well portrayed at all. Watch An Herbalist Affair to know the innocence I am talking about and sadly, Anthony Wong was such a pain to watch. He could be much better, much much better but definitely this role is not his from the start.


Other Observations
The Themesong
Sung by who else but Bowie Lam, a very uplifting song that does not in any way reflect the ending but still ... I like the song you know. Though Bowie sang it badly.

The Cinematography
The ending scene was poignantly beautiful, full of meaning and promises of a better tomorrow though the ending may not be what most fans like. I like the ending, because that just shows you don't have to be physically perfect to find lasting happiness.

My Verdict
What then is lasting happiness? As this series depicted, having the man you love at your side and seeing the beauty of the world and in human beings without having the gift of sight. This series promises a very touching story but it succumbs to cheesiness. Everything seems so unreal that I could not feel for Lok Yee. I don't bother. Sometimes I do wonder why must TV always show a girl with physical handicap always be so darn optimistic and so well liked? Can she be mean and hateful and yet realised at last we are who we make to be? I find the premise of this series though interesting but the story, the execution, the directing and the performances lacking in what I would term as tugging my heart aspect. Because the entire series sought to do just that and frankly, I am sure many fans of Jess would have shed a tear or two, I for one was glad it was over and done with. Don't waste your money on this and go but Colour of Paradise. That is what I call supreme storytelling skills and one hell of a sad story.

Rating



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