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Written by Funn Lim



"I realised after watching this series, Kenix Kwok is one actress I can't quite place her in a specific category, that is whether she is a good actress but became predictable, or a bad actress pretending to be a good actress that became predictable."




SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!





Cast
As I did not follow this series closely and I could not find a review with the full cast list, I will write my review using the names of the actors that I do know.

Patrick Tam - Ah Lik (Nick)
Kenix Kwok - Min
Anne Heung - Ally Kau
Ellesmere Choi
Kingdom Yuen
Wayne Lai
Gregory Lee
Mark Kwok
Cheung Chi Kwong
Kok Fung


No. of Episodes
30

Released In
2003

Summary
Lik is a high flying successful financial wiz who is sentenced to 240 hours of social work after being arrested for substance abuse where he began a life changing process as he met and helped children from difficult families.


Plot
Basically like the summary with some additions.

Patrick wasn't a very happy man as his demanding father demanded that his only son be more like him in business; ruthless, cunning, unforgiving. So Lik languished away in his father's financial institution until one day he was arrested and sentenced to 240 hours of community service. There he met Kenix, a very positive and loving social worker from the Children's Home who view each child as a gift and each assignment as something akin to sacred task. But Kenix's demanding boyfriend, Ellesmere (a social worker himself who is looking over Patrick's record) isn't too happy with the growing closeness between these two individuals and did many bad things that ended up with Kenix breaking off her relationship with this useless bastard. Then of course it was Anne's turn to be very unhappy with this turn of events since as Patrick's high flying career woman legal advisor cum girlfriend, she felt neglected. And when he friend Mark was arrested for molesting one of the troubled teenager at Children's Home, she went all out to win the case to prove it to Patrick that Kenix and Children's Home were all fake, were all unreal, that she was the real one, the one who cared about him the most. She ended up making Patrick feel nothing but disgust and he left her. Unrelenting like the way she handled her cases, she drove Kenix into an accident and caused Kenix to suffer from temporary blindness which in a way helped Patrick and Kenix to feel more for each other. In the end, Anne chose to assist her father, Kok Fung and his sleazy partner in crime Wayne Lai to fleece Patrick's father off some major cash but ended losing big. Patrick's father who was no longer on talking terms with Patrick, his (father) brother Cheung Chi Kwong (a struggling but sincere artist teaching the children from the home to paint) and his girlfriend, Rebecca but what they all didn't know as the father was suffering from major heart ailment. Wayne and Kok knew and they ended up causing the father to suffer a major life threatening stroke. Whilst the father was in coma, Wayne and Kok took this opportunity to take over the company and Patrick was kicked out of the board because he had a criminal record. To cut the long story short, the old man woke up, the bad guys didn't get the company, Cheung Chi Kwong ended up as the chairman of the board and Patrick got kidnapped instead. Kenix went to save him and was almost raped that she became so traumatised (she herself was sexually molested as a child) that she withdrew into her own world. Patrick tried to help and felt guilty but to no avail as she withdrew further into her own reality.

So what happens then?

No need to go hunting for the ending. I shall reveal it all.

Questions Asked And Answered
The ending please?
Oh yes, the kids drew some paintings that jolted Kenix from her inability to connect with the real world, she saw one painting of a frog she couldn't recognise was done by who and suddenly the frog came to life, hop, hop, hop and stopped right before her Prince Charming that is Patrick, he smiled, she smiled, they hugged, credits rolled and next day we have Armed Reaction IV!


That's it?
Oh yes. So what happens to Wayne and Kok you asked? I think they will be jailed of course. It's just interesting that after so many hiccups to their magnificent plan to cheat, lie and commit fraud, these guys (Wayne, Kok and in a way Anne) could sitll be planning more evil deeds. Maybe they should just stop and work hard but these people just go on and on and on...


What happened to Anne?
She may have been unscrupulous in white collar crimes but this woman refuses to do the heavy duty ones like kidnapping. So I give her credit for that. Anyway, she saw Patrick and told him she was going to China (I think, can't remember) to start anew, and her expressions were like almost pleading for some response from Patrick but Patrick at this point felt totally zero for this woman just said, in a bland expressionless "I don't give a damn" voice, "Oh, ok, bon voyage". Something like that. So Anne left, maybe regretting becoming a total heartless bitch. If anything I learn that there is a difference between white collar crime and so called blue collar crime. Even criminals have a code of ethics!


What happened to Ellesmere?
I don't know. Useless boyfriend probably went away? He lost his career anyway for punching Patrick out of nonsensical jealousy.


What happened to all the children at Children's Home?
Happy, jolly, without parents? I don't know. What is truly unbelievable is how happy these children are. Of course they're miserable at first, but after a few days and some heart to heart talk with Kenix, they all became happy, despite the fact that mommy and daddy were no where to be seen.


What happened to Gregory Lee?
He was the son of the couple who managed the Children's Home. Attitue problems caused him his job at Patrick's company and then he worked for a loan shark, became a tai kor himself and then I think took the fall for Wayne Lai and was imprisoned. No news of him towards the end, so maybe he was still languishing in jail.


Really, Funn, what is Patrick's occupation?
Well Anne is his lawyer, her father owns the law firm handling all matters of Patrick's father's company. Wayne Lai is Patrick's assistant. Gregory Lee works for a loan shark who works for Wayne Lai. The company gives out loan. So you can say Patrick is a loan shark, in the legitimate sense. Definitely not a bank, maybe you can say it's a financial investment/loan company. Ok, loan shark, minus the teeth in the more brutal sense.


Really, Funn, is all social worker like Kenix, so much energy in such a tiny teensy frame?
The energy she has is really very admirable, if I were her weight, I probably be blown away by the typhoon or something. Anyway, who knows? Low paying job often requires dedication and passion for the job itself. Except for teaching in Malaysia of course, so maybe low paying job doesn't always equal passion and dedication. What you expect Kenix to do? Complain, cry, kick and be bitchy? Oh no, that is Anne's job in here, the lawyer. How typical.


But Funn Funn Funn, why they always show a kind hearted person so too kind hearted? Like why Kenix advised Patrick to just forgive those darn white collar ciminals?
I wonder too myself as I am sure you wonder too. Bad woman like Anne is uncompromising, do many bad things without battling an eyelid, unable to forgive, whilst Kenix is so kind hearted until she advises dear Patrick to think in the shoes of those bad guys when right next to her lies the old father of Patrick who just suffered a major stroke no thanks in part to Wayne and Kok who refused to save him. Of course you might argue old man was too uncompromising, giving these two guys unfair deals (which was brought about by the oldman discovering that these two guys time and time again tried to defraud him and his company) so they were forced. Nobody can force anybody unless they wanted too. I find it utterly ridiculous to hear Kenix say "Maybe they didn't meant to ...". I thought Patrick was right to give these two a hard time, because then he wouldn't be called his father's son and I wouldn't see him as a man. Sometimes forgiveness is great, very good but sometimes, just sometimes I would wish in a TVB world that one character would not utter such wholesome and wholly unrealistic advice. "Forgive them my dear? I will, when they end up in hell for what they did to my father ...". These guys will never stop, even if you stop chasing them because they will always come back and haunt you with more bad deeds. They needed a lesson and the great scene was Patrick being uncompromising but alas, only half an episode.


Comments
I didn't feel like watching this series at first, because I thought it was like Reaching Out. I saw Kenix Kwok as the social worker and my mind immediately shut off. Of course I also missed one week's worth of this series due to my Penang trip so basically I missed quite a number of episodes. I started to watch this series seriously maybe a week before it ended its run on Wah Lai Toi. Maybe it is because I missed too many episodes that when I started watching it was 100% drama. I seriously dislike sugary moments, I dislike love stories despite my propensity towards watching Taiwanese series and I do not like to watch a series that is like a public service announcement.

In a way this series is a public service announcement. Do charity work, do community service, love the kids, you'll definitely be more happy. But is that really true? My main concern about this series is the depiction of the troubled children or rather children from troubled homes. In the end despite the parents leaving the children at the Children's Home, etc there isn't really one really neglectful parent, or if there is one I must have missed it. The series tries to emphasise, rather heavily on one point; children are abandoned because of various serious problems and parents always try to take their children back.

Children's Home is not an orphanage, it is like a shelter, a half way house for parents who can't afford to take care of the children or couldn't. So naturally it is quite fine to show parents loving their children naturally but forced by circumstances to place them there, for a while.

We have stories about children being physically abused by their parents (in this case a violent young boy who was always being beaten by his father that he himself became very violent) but actually the father really loved the son. Beating the child was his only way of expressing his love and concern for his son. A nice touch though that this series showed the son turning very violent, pushing other kids as a result of thinking violence or being a bully can empower oneself. Which is not true of course.

There are also stories about a dedicated young son who pretended to be on good terms with his remorseful father when his mother was dying of cancer, which was very touching and real because the father had spent almost half his life disappointing his wife and his own son. There was also the story about an abandoned rich kid who was anti social and couldn't cope with the reality that maybe, just maybe his mom didn't want him, which was not true.

But the most memorable storyline had to be this teenage girl who was trouble from the word go who got Patrick into serious problem and then herself faces her biggest dilemma; she was sexually molested and couldn't tell anyone. She ended up falsely accusing the caretaker of Children's Home of doing the bad deed (or rather she didn't deny it wasn't him) and in the end had to face the sexual predator in court in several emotional encounters. Her parents who were divorcing one another ended up reconciling due to their mutual love and concern for their only child. I find this story the purest and the truest of all stories; it could happen and it had happened before. My only concern is sometimes such issues are so sensitive, that the writer never really specify whether she was sexually molested, assaulted or raped and one had to infer from what was said and done. In this case it was concluded she wasn't raped.

The entire basis of this series is meant to preach, so I don't mind the preaching. I quite like the stories actually but I find them missing certain realism. The stories are reality based I am sure but there are more heart wrenching and more important aspects that could have been told. Perhaps an even more real story would have been parents who didn't care nothing for their children, abandoning them with neighbours who can't afford to take care of them. Everyday I open the newspaper and I will read how parents left the children with the nanny and ran away, how a young boy was abandoned at a bus stop at Johor Bahru and the mother no where to be seen. The worst was of course how relatives found out the father had been sexually abusing the young children and the mother did nothing. Oh no, the worst had to be the one where the father killing all three of his children then killing himself after his wife demanded for a divorce. I myself encountered one where both parents professed their undying love for their children and yet each refused to take care of the children or even pay for their upbringing. All these children, if they survived would have come under the welfare department or sent to shelter homes. I even read one where a young boy was so fillial that he stopped schooling to work at restaurants to take care of his ailing grandmother. I am sure HK must be full of these stories, as every other day I would read how a mother would throw herself and her children down the building when she found out her husband has a mistress in China. Surely the writer could have written more serious issues, more serious than the ones depicted.

That I feel is the inadequacy of this series. I am not complaining on the content, I am just wondering why stop at a certain limit, why not give it more by going beyond the accepted norm and show us the real, more wider type of problems? I am sure not all parents love their children unconditionally, not all children after being so loved by their social worker would not yearn to go home or even cry their hearts out every night before sleeping or even hate their parents and love a stranger more.

I have been through such personal incidences that I feel a special connection to the children depicted in this series, but I do know TVB romanticised some of the problems. Maybe reality is too harsh but sometimes I am a bit bored with the watered down version. Which was I I enjoyed the story about that teenage girl who was molested when shoplifting. Because it's real, it's happening almost every day, it shows real trauma, really ugly stuff and the ending may be a bit frustrating when the girl went beserk but it's all real and I accept that. I want ugliness, because the society we live in today is ugly. Maybe TVB is afraid of scaring the viewer but change to CNN or read Malaysian papers and guess what? Not even TV could show such ugly truths. The world today we live in is no longer save for children and adults alike and I am not talking about war or terrorism but your uncle, that old kind looking grandpa ... they're are the scariest.

Maybe I should narrate a bit about my own personal experience. I didn't suffer or anything but I went through a similar experience like perhaps that rich boy left behind by his mom or the children placed in a stranger's home because the mother or father couldn't take care of that child. It was real but really, it wasn't that bad.

My parents divorced when I was very little, they did not love one another, my father hardly knew I existed, I hardly realised I have siblings, my mother who was uneducated and had no working experience took me alone and placed me with nannies. If in today's world, I would have no doubt these homes would be akin to shelter homes or even like this Children's Home. I wasn't that lucky or maybe I was lucky in some sense. I was lucky the adults genuinely cared about me, but frankly every time I see my mom, tired from working whole day I would drag out all my clothes and begged her to take me home. She couldn't of course. I got shifted from one house to another, I could have been like that girl who was sexually molested but I was lucky that I was then living in a world that children still have their innocence without adults taking it all away. Of course I met the occasional bully.

Then finally I stayed with this well to do family, and come to think of it, I don't think they needed my mom's money to take care of me, so maybe they were doing charity work. I still remember the kind old lady, she prepared my breakfasts, and of course I remember her son who took it onto himself to provide me with tuition, like a Nazi would in caring for the Jews in a concentration camp. I remember having to kneel in front of his room the whole night when I couldn't do some maths and the floor I remember was tiles and his room was outside the balcony. It was only after some time that I remembered I had siblings much much older than I was and after a year or so my mother finally realised I wasn't much happier like this and I went home to stay with my father. Truth be told, I was skipping that day, turning my back away from these people. I think the old lady had died since. I remembered she was a devout Christian and till this day I still remember that man's face. Was what I went through with that man considered child abuse? I still don't quite realise it then, maybe it was. Looking back now, I feel nothing really but my sisters would shed a tear, calling these lost years the times when my level of intelligence dropped from genius to smart. Oh yes, I was supposed to be darn smart and chatty when I was a kid. In a way I do think perhaps I may have lost a little, but these little experiences I went through made my childhood rather memorable.

Back to this series, like I said emphatised with the children and their stories but I wished for more serious depiction, to show not just bad parents by circumstances but bad parents by nature or by choice. That would have made this series even more challenging to act in and more interesting to watch.

Which is why the depiction between Patrick and Anne's relationship was more interesting to watch because Anne's character was very unpredictable and Patrick's character not as simple as he looks.

Anne's character, Ally is a contradiction. I hated her, and yet symphatised with her. Her entire career is ruined not really because of her jealousy of Kenix and love for Patrick (I doubt she really knew how to love at all but rather the need to feel in control) but because of her father's greed. I feel this character could have been a direct opposite to the children's story. I always wondered, whether Ally's father realised what he was doing was ruining his daughter's career and life? One can argue she ruined her own life. But as a father, one must not encourage a crime but her father was perpertrating one and expected his daughter to get involved as well. They're always planning some deception together with Wayne Lai who is a caricature of a failed criminal that after some time I just had to laugh at their predicament. Like Patrick's father said to Wayne, "If you want to be a dog, try to be a loyal dog!" when their plans to cheat the old man of some money failed big time. Luck wasn't on their side.

Back to Anne's character. I don't quite understand her, but I do know she thought she was right when she was fighting for her friend's case (that molestation case). She was very hard on that little girl because she thought the little girl was lying. And yet when she lost and she found out the truth, she didn't seem too bothered with the fact that her friend was a sexual predator, and that kinda threw out my entire analysis that she did all she did because she thought she was right. She has no conscience. The only time she had some was when Patrick was kidnapped but that was to redeem her character. That was done in such a forced manner, I didn't quite believe it. No doubt she was a bitch. A major one.

Now we have Patrick's character, Ah Lik or Ah Nick, I didn't quite catch the L or N. I didn't watch the first few episodes so I missed out how a calm man like him could have been destroying himself with drugs. Anyway, I like this Ah Lik. Even in the worst circumstances he is still cool and calm. Some may say no expressions but I do not agree. I would say this is one cool man even if under fire. I also liked the way he talked to Ally, the indifference althout Ally was hoping perhaps some words of recognition, that she still matters. I would have been like Ah Lik, I would stare at her and say a friendly bon voyage and move on. A good ending.

Now I want to concentrate a big chunk of my discussion not really on the character played by Kenix, as I am rather speechless as to this character but on second thought, if I were to criticise this character as eternal sunshine, too positive, too nice, too unreal to the point of so not human, I would be criticised for criticising an angel. I don't want that. Let's just say this woman had been through a traumatic childhood but she lived through it, and became stronger because she had so much passion in her for life. She is as passionate about her work as she is passion for living a good and meaningful life. The fact that she retreated to her own world when she was almost raped when saving Ah Lik is understandable. What is not believable is how she recovered from it, and that I think is the problem not just with the writing but with the actress herself.

Before I move on, I want to comment a bit about basically two annoying factors in this series, apart from some performances which I shall discuss later.

The themesong for one. Sung by Mr Beautiful Voice, Patrick Tam, he sang like he was dying or perhaps lifeless. I haven't heard such a depressing sounding song since forever. Not only no beat, no tone and no rhythm, the worst was no joy. When I heard the song, again and again, I felt like I'm Harry Potter facing a bunch of Dementors, all joy sucked out from me and then I recovered when the song ended. The song is like so tone deaf, so dead.

The ending had to be the crux of this series, as in dropping from the sky with a heavy thud. The scene prior to that was dramatic, as Kenix was fighting that rapist to guard her own innocence, how Lik was fighting to save her and how Ai Wai was trying to decide what to do, whether to save himself or to save Kenix. Then she was saved and she was so traumatised that she couldn't bear to talk, she went into self induced coma (as in don't want to wake up, don't want to face reality whilst still wearing a nice shade of lip gloss and perfectly permed hair) and then of course how she finally woke up, saw some paintings and memories coming back to her as she remembered the children. At this point I thought she was suffering from amnesia, maybe amnesia induced by severe trauma. Then she saw one painting she couldn't recognise, wondering who drew it and then, something magical happened, the frog came to life. At this point I thought perhaps she was suffering from post traumatic delusions. And then the frog hopped, hopped, hopped then disappear and then reappear and hopped, hopped, hopped and there it stopped at Patrick's feet. So he must have drew the painting and well they hugged. Ending. Just like that, no rhyme, no reason, hug and end, before that a magical frog. There must be some meaning to this but I am lost as to this. Because just 1 minute earlier she was like so traumatised she can't bear to open her eyes. 1 minute later after some paintings and a frog, she's a-ok again. I find it too fast, too unbelievable. No doubt the children healed her, but they have always been there for her. It would have been better IF she withdrew into her world even more and the children came to her, crying, begging for her to be better and Lik hugging her in a very protective manner making her feel safe again and then she finally really opens her eyes and slowly smile in a gradual manner. Not like suddenly. The ending was inadequate, but not the worst I have seen.


Performances Evaluated
I find the performances by the children very interesting but not all very satisfying. Notable ones are that violent boy (I recognise him, but I do know his name), the rich kid, that sissy looking boy with the cancer stricken mother and the best of the lot, that sexually molested girl with a moustache. I am sorry to say I have to label them as such because I do not know their names. I find that teenage girl to be the best of the lot, her arrogance and defiance at first and then her fear, her anger, her pain, all very well acted out.

Mark Kwok deserves a mention. For once he is not the jealous creepy bastard boyfriend (Ellesmere Choi has that honour in here, and he did very well if you ask me) but he is the supposedly nice gay guy on the surface but deep down a sexual predator, a paedophile disguising himself as a jolly gay guy. That scene where he touched that girl and slowly opened her blouse was so effective, I felt so disgusted with this man. Very brave actor to take on such a role and he looked the part in a way.

Ai Wai definitely deserves a mention as well as the no good father who turned over a new leaf. The dilemma he felt when he saw Kenix about to be raped and yet afraid to blow his cover (he thought he was helping his friends transport some stolen cars when actually the guys were planning to kidnap Ah Lik). The dilemma was there in his eyes, one very fine acting moment. One nice thing though is his character wasn't imprisoned at last. He was not at fault, he didn't know any way so it was nice to see that for once a good guy wasn't sentenced to jail simply because he participated in a crime.

Cheung Chi Kwong was quite alright as the stuttering artist and I love the scene where in the board room whilst stuttering, he scolded Anne, Kok and Wayne for cheating his brother and doing bad deeds. Not a very eloquent man but he got the message across. But his stuttering annoyed me because I was impatient for him to just finish his lines (nothing wrong with his performance though) and I dislike the pretentiousness of his wardrobe. Why must an artictically inclined person wear a hat and scarf (or bandana) around his neck?? But the worst has to be his character's ending, as he inherited his brother's shares in the company and due to Ah Lik having a criminal record and he can't sit as chairman (I find this ridiculous-there must be a statutory limitation as to perhaps imprisonment or something to disqualify someone from sitting as chairman) and this stuttering brother took over the company with Ah Lik and Rebecca assisting him. I mean as a shareholder I would protest because this man is unqualified.

The old man who played Ah Lik's father (always seen him, can't remember his name) played his part to perfection. He played a very hard and unrelenting and unforgiving man and I love the way his character always had an upper hand when it came to dealing with Kok and Wayne. His best line and the series' best line has got to be "If you want to be a dog, at least be a loyal dog" was really memorable. An excellent performance.

Patrick Tam is someone I must mention in here. I posted in blog some time ago praising him and I will not change a single word. I read this was his first series after returning to TVB and what a return. Any other actor would have screamed his lines in the more emotional scenes but this actor to his credit adopted a whole different approach; he doesn't scream, he doesn't shout, he just stare ahead or face somewhere else and calmly but with very angry eyes said what he had to say. of course he threw some punches but not in a very overly emotional way. What a calm and cool performance. I love how he looked, and how he delivered his lines. He has such a soothing beautiful voice and he doesn't rush things, he lets his eyes do most of the talking. One problem though. Like I wrote in my blog, my sister complained and asked "How come ah this guy when he is talking ah he is like then waiting for someone to finish talking and then pause for a while before he talks ah? He is acting like he's deaf or something". Which is true. He suffers from hereditery gradual loss of hearing and it shows but who cares? I still love him and I hope he could recover soon by the wonders of modern technology. And Patrick looks good too.

Anne Heung looks exceeding pretty in here, she no longer suffers from eyebag problem. She has this problem where as the series goes further and further towards the ending, the dark circles underneath her eyes goes darker and darker. But not in here. Her hair looks gorgeous, her make up perfect, her costumes all very elegant and poised. This woman must be congratulated for taking on such bitchy roles, and for trying all types of roles. If she had been a better actress, this would have been her breakthrough role, something like Love Is Beautiful which I will argue is her best performance todate. But she is not. I mean from the first series until now, she has improved leaps and bounds, but slowly and gradually. I don't dare proclaim as most improved or best actress ever but I see positive changes. But to any other person who has just been following her career and this is also my opinion, I feel she is still rather raw. It's her inconsistency in her performance and more towards not knowing where to put her hands. Her body language is all off, but frankly he cold icy stare could really kill. Her way of delivering her lines is still annoyingly squeeky but yet very feminine, so in a way quite ok but not very good. She can be wooden at times, or she can be indifferent at most times. I would still say her acting is getting better and if I were to compare Anne Heung now with Anne Heung before, I can say I think I do like her performance in here, especially the last part where he said good bye to Patrick, the hope in her eyes. But comparing oneself with one own self is no real competition unless you're so darn good. So comparing her with others, more accomplished actresses or to my standard of expectation, I would say her performance is borderline mediocre. Doesn't suck, but not great. She can do better, I know she can but something is holding her back. Maybe her body language, maybe her passionless delivery of her lines, maybe her retricted expressions, maybe just maybe she isn't really a very good actress. But comparing her with the new ones nowadays, having just watched a horrendously bad one in Not Just A Pretty Face, watching that robot winning Most Improved Actress, watching the automaton in every series there is next to her best friend whose acting skills is still a moot point, maybe comparing her even with Kenix Kwok who has stopped improving since her debut, I would say Anne is on the right track, but ever so slowly. Give me Anne Heung any time over Sonija Kwok and Shirley Yeung, any time.



I realised after watching this series, Kenix Kwok is one actress I can't quite place her in a specific category, that is whether she is a good actress but became predictable, or a bad actress pretending to be a good actress that became predictable. It is very interesting to analyse her every performance because for me it always comes down to one same conclusion. But first, let's look at the positive side of why Kenix is interesting. She is interesting as a person, very honest, very truthful, very opinionated although she started her career playing meek roles. She has the meek looks but this woman has an opinion and she isn't afraid to say it. I like her. But as an actress, the only performance of hers that I truly liked and wouldn't mind watching again is her Kan Kit in Take My Word For It, arguably Bobby Au Yeung's finest performance. She was subdue there, she was poised and she didn't stare, point and scream as much as she did in every series. Maybe it's her characters, always strong, always strong willed, always opinionated, always so positive and so energetic when she has shrinked over the years. This character in this series is slightly different; she plays a character that is flawed, in the sense that she suffered when she was little. There is a painful history to her character that she tries to bury but couldn't, but it is inconsistent. Sometimes it is there, sometimes it is not. I especially disliked HK's interpretation of traumatised victim, always in the victim mode, always say traumatised but acting more like a lunatic or amnesiac. There must be a difference to emotions. And it didn't help that when she was at her worst and unhappiest, her lip gloss is still intact, in avery nice pinkish sort of shade or that her hair is perfectly combed. Looks matter and not much attention was paid to that. So we pay attention to her acting and Kenix is a good actress, she can convey most emotions but problem is she conveys her emotion exactly like she did in all her previous series. Like Jessica Hester Hsuan and even Flora Chan or even Ada Choi, all their past performances can be super imposed to their present ones and you won't notice a single difference. They don't move beyond good acting to give one memorable terrific unforgettable acting that breaks down all barriers and making me see something new, something wonderful. I get very excited when I feel some rising star gives a really knock out performance, not just by acting really well but displaying a potential that is a many million possibilities. That I know I will never be tired of, that I can expect something charismatic, if not something different. But with Kenix, I am very bored with her predictability. She needs to go for a long vacation, maybe then she can come up with something different. The only slightly different one is her Kan Kit but on closer look, not much difference.



Verdict
An interesting series with a different emphasis that is social awareness but because of its own limitations and its inability to explore wider social issues, this series suffers from its lack of creativity. It would have been a better series if it takes on a wider perpective as discussed above. Inadequate ending. Performance wise, mostly brilliant so fans of Patrick Tam and even Anne Heung might want to have a look but fans of Kenix Kwok will love her anyway despite what I just wrote. Overall interesting but it had potential to be so much more than just what was presented. It could have been a social commentary, a series that flows with the times and with the tide, a series that many years to come, one might hail it as provocative, educational, a learning experience as well as highly addictive, uncompromising and yet positive in its outlook. But it wasn't. And that is the problem with this series. It had potential and it failed to go beyond just having potential. In the end it is only pure drama with some interesting stories, a little heart, a little personal touch but still feels manufactured and tired. A pity really but I do like it and I recommend it to anyone who wants to see something different than the usual norm but don't expect anything more than the "top of the surface" plot.

6 comments:

  1. Anonymous21.12.04

    I liked Patrick Tam in a Taiwanese serial with Ruby Lin - cant remember its english title, but the direct translation from chinese is "Half a Destiny" Its an adaptation from a novel and the movie version was called 12 Springs or something like that with Leon Lai, Wu Chien Lien and Anita Mui.

    Anyway, that was my first time watching him in a show and he looked damn good. Repressed yet emotive. However, i cant say the same about him here. He still looks good but i cant see anythg beneath the eyes. Actually, Seed of Hope is a rip-off of the American series, The Guardian. Patrick Tam's character (Nick or Lik) is Nick Fallin in the American series and the actor, Simon Baker, is utterly believable as the arrogrant upstart starting to grow a social conscience. Of coz, there's no equivalent of Kenix in the American series but Nick Fallin plays a high-flying corporate lawyer caught for possesing drugs (sounds familiar?) and is sentenced to community service to act for Children's Aid, essentially a legal service to defend childrenh's rights. Obviously, the American series is a lot more realistic and a lot less cheery but somehow, hope and soul shines though.

    Cant say the same about Seed Of Hope. Suffice to say, I stopped watching after the first4 or 5 episodes.

    By the way, I must say that I have only started reading your Blog and Fann, you do a marvelous critique. Of coz, you are also damn opinionated and judgemental but hey, that's the fun of reading other people's comments - to see someone else's point of view.

    Stay strong - you are obviously a person who is strong in will judging from your childhood and stay entertaining.

    Cheers

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  2. Anonymous6.4.05

    Your review is very thorough! I've only watched the first 5 episodes so far, so I don't have a complete picture of the entire show. Being an amateur Chinese soap opera watcher, I can't agree with you on Kenix Wong's predictability. Her character is really likeable and genuine, without an artifice. And as for Patrick, I totally agree with you...he's awesome! It takes a strong lead to carry a t.v. show and he definitely has nailed it. In the first couple of episodes, I totally thought he would be some slick rich kid, arrogant and hoity-toity, but he turned out to have alot of integrity and character. Ya! He's a man!

    Vianne
    vianne_orr@hotmail.com

    Vancouver, BC

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  3. hey hey...
    Do you know where I can get download the opening theme song?? it's a very nice song.
    I like the actor patrick tam. But he's not very diverse in his characters.
    Anyways, if you know where the song is,name and artist e-mail me and let me know
    Thanks
    ~Cindy
    Ngcin@shaw.ca

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  4. Anonymous19.4.05

    Wow, I absolutely enjoyed reading your review because most of the things that you have touched on, I feel exactly the same way. I only started watching this series around the sixth episode and I wasn't planning to watch it. However, Patrick Tam caught my attention. I haven't seen him in a TVB series for the longest time. The last time I saw him on TV was Files of Justice, back in the good ol' 90's. He's still as good and handsome as I last remember. I also enjoy watching the business part of this series. Since I am studying commerce, I can relate to most of the things they are talking about. Anyway, I hope you will continue writing more entertaining reviews like this one!

    Oh, there is something that I have to disagree with you on. I like the theme song. Although I really think Patrick can sing it with more energy...it's still not too shabby. I can't believe he was a singer before he turned into acting. how shocking! =)

    I'm on the fourteenth episode at the moment..still have a long way to go. I'm gonna continue watching it even though I know the ending already. haha

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  5. Anonymous13.5.05

    I bet few people know the fact that Patrick Tam is actually half-Malaysian. Yes, his mother is a Malaysian and he inherited his good looks from her. Patrick has accompanied her mum on her home visit to the country. They still have relatives here and he has actually stated that he likes the place. Haha!!! One more reason for Malaysian fans of Patrick Tam to be proud of.

    Those who have had the luck and opportunity to see Patrick strut his stuff on stage are left yearning for more... This guy can sing and dance as well as he can act. And his song repertoire is as diverse as his acting roles. Give him a role and he can make it his own. Very versatile indeed. Fann should listen to the full version of the theme song for Seed Of Hope. The short and noisy version (with people fighting and car crashing...) on the TV serial does not do any justice to his singing. Many people love this song and for those who have never heard him sing before actually started looking for his old albums on the Internet. And they are all there if you look hard enough. After all, he won the New Talent Singing Competition in HK while Sammi Cheng came third in the same contest.

    Stay tuned to TV2 (7.00 p.m. - 8.00 p.m.) for those Malaysian fans who would like to see a rerun of Seed Of Hope. If I am not mistaken, it should come on after Aqua Heroes (provided the screening schedule follows that of Astro's). Also, don't miss Split Second when it's screened because he shone through and through again in this upcoming serial. In last year's TVB Anniversary, Patrick was shortlisted in the Top Ten Male Leads (he was nominated based on Split Second) and at one stage was leading in the votes poll from the Hong Kong public. But as we all know, Bowie won the final countdown because of the ratings for War and Beauty. Also, some TVB politics came into play but I won't delve into that. Just sit back and enjoy Patrick Tam's great performance as he strives to better himself day by day...Well, a new album is waiting in the wings, just pray. And Fann, I am looking forward to your review on Split Second.

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  6. Anonymous11.7.05

    I loved this show! It was awesome! I didn't start watching it until about the 20th episode. At first, the only thing that caught my eye was staring at Kenix Kwok! She is oh so very hot! I continued watching it (staring at Kenix) and got into the story and now that its finished, i want more! I think Patrick Tam did very well and hes pretty good looking... I hated the ending though, it was so short, stupid and corny... Kenix Kwok is so freaking sexy!

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