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

Written by Claire

This review was posted many years ago, exactly when I am not sure but it should be within months from the original broadcast of this series. I am posting it as I have posted it originally.


Number of Episodes: First 50 episodes.

Gallen Lo - Yip Wing Tim
Sunny Chan - Hui Man Biu (Michael)
Roger Kwok - Ma Chi Keung
Nicky Wu - Yip Wing Hang (Joe)
Louis Koo - Cheung Chi Lik
Michael Wong - Barry
Chun Pui - Yip Hau Lai (Howard) Kenix Kwok - Sum Wing Yan (Ivy)
Flora Chan - Fok Hei Yin (Helen)
Maggie Siu - Pang Chi Wai (Tina)
Ada Choi - Ting Ling
Lisa Wong - Fong Kin Ping
Grace Ip - Yip Nga Man
Florence Kwok - Ho Pui Kei(Sandy)

Setting: Expanding two decades, starting with the 1990s and ending in the
late years of the first decade of the 2000s, this serial's main focus is in
the Hong Kong real estate business with a huge emphasis of relational drama
among its principle characters.

Story line: Like it was described in the setting, this serial uses the real
estate business as its backdrop to its purpose, and that is to explore the
interconnecting relationships that defines this serial. Here's a brief

Yip Wing Tim (Gallen Lo), lived all life wanting to avenge his father, who
spent a few years in jail due to an architectural misdeed that he and his
brother, Yip Hau Lai (Chun Pui) had done during the 70s. Tim believed that
it is his uncle that caused the demise and torture of his family. Tim's
ambitious personality allowed him to step on other people to reach to the
top, but he was fortunate to have two best friends, Ma Chi Keung (Roger
Kwok) and Hui Man Biu (Sunny Chan) to tolerate his immoral deeds and help
him form a real estate company. But, along the way, due to his selfish
personality, he indirectly caused many unfortunate events and incidents that
caused the destruction of his best friend, Hui Man Biu, character and the
deaths of the parents of his other best friend, Ma Chi Keung.

Hui Man Biu, a straight, honest, and moral person, he chose not to
participate in the corrupt dealings of the real estate business, but
somehow, fate forced him into a small corner and repelled with a murder and
from then on, his view of life and the people around changed. He not only
used people to become powerful in the real estate business, but he also, in
some cases, unnecessarily killed them. He even betrayed his best friends
and did all sorts of evil deeds, but in the end, he tried to redeem himself,
but is it too late?

Ma Chi Keung, although innocent and very gullible, is a decent and generous
man, who always cherishes his friendship with Tim and Biu. Only when he
discovered the truth behind the deaths of his parents did he questioned his
friendship with them, but in the end he found it in his heart to forgive
both Tim and Biu, but it was already too late.

And what about the ladies? There were basically three women who were
involved with Tim romantically and they are Wing Yan (Kenix Kwok), Helen
(Flora Chan), and Ting Ling (Ada Choi). Tim somehow hurt these three ladies
when they all whole-heartedly loved them. He had a brief affair with Ting
Ling, but left her in Taiwan and never contacted her again, of course, she
was forgiving and wasn't angry with him. With Wing Yan, Tim actually loved
her, but he chose his work over her and believed that he wouldn't be a good
boyfriend. Helen loved him deeply and even though she was married, she
still loved him, which led to her divorce. She doesn't mind him using her
all the time and still stood by his side, even though she knew that Tim only
loved Wing Yan, who was married to Biu.

Besides the characters above, there were also Yip Wing Hang (Nicky Wu) and
Pang Chi Wai (Maggie Siu), who early on was Biu's girlfriend. Joe had
always been after Tina, but she denied him many times because she was still
in love with Biu. However, after being used by Biu, she realized that Joe
was the one who cared for her and didn't mind her using him and she accepted
his love. However, their happy times were not long when they were kidnapped
on their boat. This was a plot to get rid of Joe and was directed by his
second brother and Biu. Would the two of them survive and continue their
short-lived romance? Watch part 2 and you'll find out!

Fong Kin Ping (Lisa Wong) was Helen's mother, but she divorced her husband
due to his many extra marital affairs and married Yip Hau Lai. She is
clear-minded and sharp in business and usually aids her husband in his
business. She is also a caring and loving mother to her daughter.

So what's my verdict? Going into this serial, I pretty much knew what the
plot and ending was about, so I didn't like it at first. When I finally
watched the first 10 episodes of the serial, it pretty much lived to my
expectations - dragging, nonsense, and unmeaningful. Despite some strong
performances by some of the actors, of which I'll talk about later, I find
this serial to be weak in the conformity of true life. Okay, we know that
it's set in 1990 when we see the big talking phones, but is it necessary to
show them all the time. Also, if you're going to attempt to be true to
reality, why don't you be true not only in the phone department, but also
the cars, clothing, manner of speech, etc.Why was Nicky's character driving
a 1999 model of a Mercedes Benz? Isn't it set in 1990? A failing grade for
the props department for failing to be consistent.

But, what's important is the plot and of course, I will dive into that
subject now. I didn't like the way the characters are justified when they
do something bad or just plain evil. When Biu killed that robber in the
alley and he later found out that the robber was an indecent human being who
hit his wife and children all the time, it seems the writers are justifying
his killing of the man - "Since he was not a good human being when he lived,
he deserved to die and I am the hero for killing him." Come on! It is not
justifiable - you kill a person by stabbing him multiple times and his
character does not mean you are right in killing a person. I was outright
furious with the way this incident was portrayed, it only reinforces and
supports more killings because they would realize that their actions are
justified if they kill an immoral human being. Another point is how Biu's
character literally changed overnight. He has been living an honest,
although, struggling life, and after one unfortunate event, he made a 180
degrees turn and stand on the opposite end of his former character. Having
studied psychology, I know that an individual's personality doesn't change
overnight and it's rare to see any change at all. The way humans view life
and act is solely based on the many years of experience they have nurtured
due to family, work, school events that may or may not affect them. You
learn how to read, write, talk, walk, act, and basically socialize over a
long extended period of time, in fact, you're actually learning all your
life. So, when you suddenly done something out of your character, you'll be
shocked at first, but you don't change suddenly, it takes many more learning
experiences to compel you to change the things you have believed and learned
all your life. Like the old saying goes, "you can't change a man
overnight." Thus, Biu's characterization is weak and is one negative of
this serial.

I certainly don't like the characterization of Wing Yan either. She is just
too good to be true. Maybe it's only me, but I screamed at the TV screen
whenever I see her do an impossible good deed. It makes me want to strangle
her because she is doing women an injustice by catering to the men she
loves. I am not a feminist, but I hate to be stereotyped and Wing Yan's
character definitely fits the ideal woman that males prefer - docile, nice,
understanding, controllable, never angry. I did not like this character,
but I can see why the men in this serial loved her so much, why not? She's
a fairy queen.

I also don't like Flora's character, Helen. She too is catering to men's
needs and in the process hurt others who loved her dearly, especially her
husband, Barry. It seems the writer's intention is to make her character
serve one purpose and that is to bring out the real character of Tim. She
seems to be the only one who understands him and when he needs someone to
talk to, she is there. In this process, we get to see the kind of person
Tim really is and this in some way a positive in the serial, but still, I
had hoped she would be more important to the serial other than being a
therapist for Tim. That's wasted talent there.

The character I like best was Tina. Again, I don't think I'm a feminist,
but the portrayal of Tina in the serial is very accurate and true to
reality. She is an independent and working woman, typical of the women
today. Although she might seem cold or unfriendly on the exterior, but she
also needs someone to hold onto and love. She is direct and honest (i.e.
when she and Joe had a one nightstand, she immediately clarified to him that
it was just that and nothing more). I've never been a fan of Maggie Siu,
but she did a superb performance and should be noticed more than Wing Yan,
Helen, or Biu.

Contrary to popular opinion, I slightly enjoyed Tim's characterization. My
favorite part is when Tim realized that what he had done in the past is
wrong and causing his best friend to lose his parents made him feel so
guilty that he turned himself in. It was Biu who made Tim rethink his
actions and in the process it gave him more reason to value his friendship
with Chi Keung. He believed that by going to jail, he is making a new life
for himself. The only fault I find in him is his stubbornness and
irrationality when others hurt his family and friends, especially at the end
when he tried to save Wing Yan.

Are they any errors or mistakes? Yes! There were a lot of them in this
serial! In fact, they were so noticeable, it made me think if the editors
were awake when they were handed the story and script. Here's a list:

Stock Market Tactics: Did you know that the way Biu and Tim manipulated the
stock marker (buying and selling their company stocks by raising and
lowering prices) is illegal? If this were the real world, they wouldn't be
allowed to do that because you got to have permission to sell some of your
company's stocks because what you do with them may have a profound effect on
the world economy and these actions are monitored closely. This is one
major flaw and I wonder if the writers ever did any research on this, oh

You've committed a crime and you're not being punished for it? Yes,
unfortunately it happened in this serial. Were any of you wondering why Tim
and Biu didn't go to jail after they confessed to masterminding the fire
that caused 5 people's death? I was scratching my head with that one.

The Taiwan Authorities: How annoying were they? Is this the legal system in
Taiwan? Geez, I hate to be a Taiwan citizen. I imagine there could be a
lot of innocent people who were wrongly convicted and or died. You're
guilty until proven innocent, that is the exact opposite of the legal system
here in the United States of America where you're innocent until proven
guilty. And what is it with all of the evidence tampering? The coroner's
report on Sunny's death was false because the guy doing it was corrupt and
he made the deal over the phone. Why don't the police authorities do an
investigation on the validity of the report rather than sit there and being
hassled by Tim. They seem useless to me. What about the witness who made a
false testimony claiming Wing Yan pushed Biu over the cliff when in fact he
saw both of them at different times and drove Kenix back to town. Shouldn't
the police question why it took this witness this long to speak up, uh, he
was probably hidden in a cave. Also, this witness was later found dead in
what seems a robbery. Another question this police should be address is why
would he be found dead just one day after his testimony? Do some
investigation please!

Corrupt Business: How obvious can you be when you hang out with this rich
real estate mogul by playing cards, pool, eating dinners, playing golf with
him when you're a government official holding valuable information. Um,
where are the ICAC when you need them, especially in a government agency.

Taiwan Authorities again? When they arrested for Yip Hau Lai for
corruption, they didn't even check if he had been in Taiwan at the time of
the alleged dealing. I was screaming my head off!

Any more flaws you guys have seen that's not listed here?

Is it worth renting? At 50 episodes, the first part is not worth renting at
all, unless you want to see all the stars that gave good, but not
spectacular performances. I only hope the second part is much better.

Is it better than.? Secret of the Heart, Cold Blood Warm Heart, Looking Back
in Anger, Greed of Man, and Flaming Brothers?

It's slightly better than Secret of the Heart because of its better
backdrop, real estate business. Other than that, it's basically the same.
I didn't like Secret of the Heart then and I still don't like it now. You
can add At the Threshold of an Era to my list of bad series. So, it's even

Cold Blood Warm Heart was 3 times better with many twists in the plot. Rent
CBWH if you haven't seen it or if you did, rent it again. So, it's worst
than CBWH.

Looking Back in Anger had a simple plot, but the characters were believable
and the relationships between the two brothers were heartwarming and
heartwrenching. I loved this serial and enjoyed both Felix Wong and Deric
Wan's performances as the two brothers. So, it's worst than Looking Back in

Greed of Man was more accurate in depicting the stock market and more tragic
in the sense that it cause many suicides - very true to real life. So, it's
worst than Greed of Man.

Flaming Brothers was another serial about revenge, but of a different kind.
I didn't like Flaming Brothers and thought the plot was too convoluted. I
also didn't like any of the characters in that serial. So, it's better than
Flaming Brothers.

Interesting Facts:

Did you know that many actors decline to be a part of this serial? Francis
Ng refused the role of Biu because he didn't like the script. Lawrence Ng
declined to play Biu because he doesn't want to play a villain, but I
believe he knew that this script isn't going anywhere. Maggie Cheung stated
that she was ill and dropped out of the serial, but she was found doing
Plain Love 2 at the same time ATE was shooting.

The ratings for the first part of this serial were not what the producers
and TVB expected. It rarely reached 30 pts.


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