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

Written by Black Eyed Susan

"Although it is a light-hearted series, there is a deeper meaning behind it. It will make you reflect on your own life and not only the women, but the men as well."


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Chinese Title (Cantonese)
Nui Yan Mm Yee Tsow aka It’s Hard Being a Woman

Released in

Sheren Tang – Hoi Kiu aka Hilda
Melissa Ng – Ko Chi Ling aka Ko Ling
Michael Tse – Man King Loong aka ah Man
Raymond Lam – Chai Fun aka Siu Chai
Kenneth Ma – Ko Chi Lik aka ah Lik
Kate Tsui – Hoi Suen aka Ida
Leung Ka Yan – Ko Wing Tim aka Tim Sok
Cindy Au – Kong Ching Ching aka Crystal
Jacqueline Law – Huen Bo Ting aka Venus
Savio Tsang – Ma Sai Hing aka Pluto
Lee Ka Sing – Ko Chi Lan
Nathalie Wong – Kwan Ka Jung
Mary Hon – Tong Lai Chu aka Chu Jie
Ching Ho Wai – Lau Wai Sin

It isn’t easy being a woman in modern society. Some women live for their career, other for their family. In the end, they all want to combine both in their life. Let’s introduce Ko Chi Ling. She is a woman who grew up in a traditional, chauvinistic and patriarchal family. Since she was little, she has been taught to never disobey her father (or her husband), that a woman’s place in the family is lower than that of a man and that every woman should find herself a safe haven. However, when Ko Ling discovered that her haven wasn’t really that idyllic and her husband was cheating on her, she summoned all her courage and stood up against a man for the first time. In the meantime, enter Hilda. She is totally the opposite of Ko Ling. An independent, strong and successful career woman as well as Ko Ling’s new boss. Despite their contrasting personalities, they became close friends and even ‘sister’. Ko Ling is the only person who knows that under the hard business woman image, Hilda is actually longing for her own family. More specifically, she wants to have her own child without having to deal with the father as she has lost faith in all men. Soon Ko Ling is pursued by Siu Chan, who is 7 years her junior, her subordinate as well as her former tutoring pupil. And after a one-night-stand with Ko Ling’s ex-husband, Hilda got pregnant. Can Ko Ling accept a toyboy and work out the many problems that such an age difference brings? Will Hilda ever tell ah Man that he is actually the father and involve him in his daughter’s life?

Sheren Tang
Throughout the entire series Sheren gave a very strong performance. She was solid and consistent. I don’t think I have detected a weak spot in her acting. Her feelings were conveyed very realistically and at the right time. One of the few actresses who knows how to use her eyes to subtly express her emotions. She really nailed down this portrayal of a modern and independent woman who lives for her career. This character reminds me of ‘Yu Fei’ in “War and Beauty”.

Melissa Ng
Melissa’s portrayals have always been consistent. Her character resembles closely to Yung Ka Man in “Fantasy Hotel”. I actually had a feeling of déjà-vu. Even though it is a similar character, you can’t deny that she did deliver a good performance. I especially like her in emotional scenes where she manages to convey the right emotions. There’s nothing more to add, but I am still waiting for her breakthrough role.

Michael Tse
His portrayal of Man King Loong was on par with that of Sheren Tang’s Hilda. Only the fact that everyone hated his character at the beginning, yet loved him by the end of the series shows how realistic and true his performance was. His facial expressions range from tenderness when he is holding Hayley to shrewdness like in the beginning. He really stood out and grabbed my attention. Great performance!

Raymond Lam
What a difference with Fung Hang Lit in “Lethal Weapons of Love and Passion”! His current character is totally the opposite from the mature, calm and intelligent Fung Hang Lit. He knows how to use his facial expressions to bring out Chai Fun’s immaturity and impatience. Examples are widening the eyes, a bright childish smile, but at times also a quite exaggerated display of enthusiasm and excitement. Raymond has shown with this character that he is more than able to handle various roles.

Kenneth Ma
I was actually quite surprised that they have cast Kenneth in the role of the chauvinistic ah Lik. Her certainly doesn’t look like one, but he pulled it off nicely. Although he is still a bit stiff in some scenes, his voice does lack some authority and his face is often pulled in a big frown, but he does exude some chauvinism through his positioning and big gestures-attitude. His performance was OK, but like I have said before I don’t think he is leading material.

Kate Tsui
It was rather a pleasant surprise to discover that her performance wasn’t too bad as I believe this is her first series. There is something natural about her, although her facial expressions seems to be lacking. She tends to crumple her face a lot in emotional scenes without conveying a particular emotion. She also often talks in a shouting manner as well as regularly overacts her feelings. However, her overall performance is tolerable and I am looking forward to her future roles.

My favourite scenes
• Hilda wanted to test Chai Fun to see if he was really the perfect guy to conceive a baby with. As they know, he was very loyal to the girl of his dreams, so Hilda ordered Ko Ling to seduce Chai Fun and thus test his loyalty. Ko Ling was extremely nice and flirty to Chai Fun, she even wore a sexy dress to seduce him. However, both women didn’t know that Chai Fun’s dream girl was actually Ko Ling, so he was really trying his best to resist her which lead to quite some funny scenes.

• When ah Man found out that Hilda was pregnant, he offered her to be the ‘father’ of her unborn child. He continued to tell Hilda how he has became the man he was now and why he longed to have his own child. Very touching and emotional scene with a great performance from Michael Tse.

• After Hilda quit her job, she took her belongings and left the building. On her way out, she saw ah Man and Ko Ling having an argument. There she discovered that it was actually Ko Ling who has betrayed her. Her facial expression was priceless as ah Man told her almost triumphantly that it really wasn’t him who has betrayed him. He then said: “It is even more horrifying when good people do bad things compared to bad people.” This quote really depicts reality.

• When ah Man and Hilda found out that ah Lik had a crush on Hilda’s sister, Ida, ah Lik told them that he didn’t know how he should pursue her. Hilda and ah Man showed ah Lik how he should act when he goes out with a girl to a restaurant. The contrast between how ah Lik behaved and how Hilda and ah Man did, was just so funny. And I was thinking by myself how come I never have had such a date the way ah Man and Hilda showed it.

• I have always been quit wary about relationships between older women and younger men. Knowing that this series will have such a relationship initially turned me off. However, curiosity and Raymond Lam convinced me to give this series a chance. Although it hasn’t changed my opinion about these kind of relationships, but I have enjoyed this series a lot. Besides Melissa Ng and Raymond Lam pulled it off really well as the chemistry between them was really sweet.

• Frankly, from the three female characters I disliked Ko Ling the most as the series progressed. I wouldn’t like to have a friend like her. The reasons for betraying Hilda were only mere excuses, especially when she claims that they are ‘sisters’. I know that gullibleness is part of someone’s personality and you can’t really change that, but she should have had more faith and trust in her ‘sister’.

• This is one of the rare series where the TVB scriptwriters did their best to create three-dimensional characters. Every character is flawed and like in reality, their personality will undergo changes in reaction of certain events that will occur in their lives. For example, Chai Fun was a carefree person in the beginning, but since his marriage he felt pressure for the first time. Or Hilda, who is a straightforward and cunning career woman, but mellowed down considerably by motherhood. Very real and true to the life that we all know.

• I thought the second version of the ending was a bit unnecessary. Is it really that important for Ko Ling and Chai Fun to get married again? Does ah Man really need to know that Hayley is in fact his real daughter? In my eyes, life can be even more blissful when one is a bit ignorant. The fact that in the second version Ko Ling and Chai Fun are getting married again gives me the impression of too perfect and too happy. It gives me the feeling that all women crave for marriage. Seems to be a bit too traditional for my liking.

The verdict
With a quite refreshing and good flowing plot as well as a great cast, I can’t not recommend this series. Although it’s a light-hearted series, there is a deeper meaning behind it. It will make you reflect on your own life and not only the women, but the men as well.



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