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Written by Funn Lim


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.


SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS



How Long
I can't remember

Who's In It
Yue Ling as Ru Fang (the suffering new then ex- GF)
Xiao Qiang as Xiao Lan (the suffering ex-wife)
Lin Rui Yang as Zhi Ming(the suffering man,object of their affection)
Shi Yu as Yu Guo Qing(the not so suffering and not so mean ex-lover of Ru Fang)
Yu Fang as *unknown* (the suffering ex-mistress of Guo Qing)

What & Where
Modern 90's Taiwanese drama about one man caught between two women he loved,set in Taipei.But the way I see it,it is a suffering love story between one woman who thought she got a good catch but ended up being hurt,another woman who thought that by sacrificing she thought it was the most beautiful gift and one man who thought that by going back to the wife he would have healed some wounds but actually hurt another woman's heart.Yes,yes it is all about LOVE,that four letter word and giving.

Remember
This is a typical Taiwanese love story,plenty of tears courtesy of Xiao Qiang,plenty of angst courtesy of Yue Ling and plenty of confused puppy dog looks courtesy of Lin Rui Yang.

Verdict
Before I venture any further to tell you the whole story and nothing but the story,I would like to put this first.Though I may have many criticsms of the characters,personally and frankly,this is the only modern Taiwanese serial that I enjoyed and loved to watch again(so far).So for what it is worth,I like this one mainly because of Yue Ling and Lin Rui Yang.If weepy Taiwanese drama is not your cup of tea,then avoid this at all cost and don't even read the whole review.If you're a fan of Xiao Qiang,avoid this review but watch the serial then because she is in almost every scene.If you like a sentimental love story that would leave you cursing all the main characters,this is the one for you.Now,let us start with Round One,the fight of their lifetime.The prize?A man.

The storyline
Nothing special and nothing great if you ask me.Anyway,Lin a young and successful surgeon in USA (I think) was very happily married to his very beautiful and feminine wife,Xiao Qiang,until one day he discovered that his wife was having an affair with a friend and was pregnant.With a broken heart,he went back to Taipei,and met with a very pretty and nice Psychiatrist ,Yue Ling who became his friend,confidant and later into the serials,his fiancee .They were both very much in love with each other,and was almost married but alas!On their wedding day,a doctor friend,by the character name of Yu Quo Qing(who coincidentally was Yue Ling's character's ex-fiancee),walked into the church and told them what they already knew,that the wife did not cheat on him but was actually sufferring from breast cancer,but to avoid confronting her husband about this painful news and having to abort her baby(that is with her husband's) to undergo treatment,she lied about the whole thing and made up the story about the affair.Lin quickly rushed out of the church leaving his fiancee standing at the end of the aisle ,back to his wife who gave him a son.And you would think that the story would end here but no,it still has some more to say.The wife had mastectomy(removal of one breast,sometimes both) and as a result of that,she suffered from low confidence,or in fact,no confidence in herself but the husband stood by her.At the meantime,Yue Ling had to suffer by wanting a man she could never have,until almost at the end,the wife discovered that her illness will never be cured,and so she had to make a choice.To die in her husband's arms or to find a wife for her husband and a good mother for her baby son.And to save you the pain of suspense,she chose the latter.she just left one day with a letter to her husband and to Yue Ling telling her to take care of her husband and her son and that she would want to die in the arms of her parents.

So What About The Others?Just Ke-Le-Fe? : There are plenty of other important characters to further illustrate to us viewers how giving these three people can be in their love affair.I do not know their real names but there is the selfish top surgeon Yu Guo Qing who fell for Yue Ling,almost married her but he threw it all away by sleeping with his ocassional mistress,a nurse who is more into the money than love only to realise that she loved that selfish doctor but she never had his heart,not even until the end,and this Yu was the one who did a lot of bad things to Lin to further illustrate to us viewers how good a man is Lin.Then there is the father of Yue Ling,a kindly old man who is a friend of Lin.Then there is the ex-bf of Xiao Qiang who became the wronged man for an affair that never and could never have taken place because he is impotent and who died after being knocked down by a car when he , very senselessly chasing after Xiao Qiang's van in USA and urging her to find her husband before he really died.And who else?Oh yes,the brother of that impotent man,who told the real reasons for his wife's supposed adultery to Lin on the wedding day to Yue Ling.

How Come ...
Plenty of how comes here.I'll answer it one by one.

Everybody knew about that big secret : Funny you know but on the wedding day,everybody that is involved with that love triangle knew about the real reasons of Xiao Qiang's actions.Lin knew because the brother of the supposed dead adulterer told him and the evidence was a diary.The selfish doctor knew because he is the one treating the very pregnant wife.Yue Ling knew because her father told her.How her father knew,I forgot.So when they stood next to each other in the church,in front of the priest,they all kinda have conflicting feelings in themselves and didn't know what to do.

Lin just ran out of the church : Actually,he didn't just run out just like that.He stood before the priest trying to decide what to do and to save everybody from saying the inevitable,Yue Ling told the priest that there would be no wedding and then,he ran out,veins bulging from his neck,almost bursting.I have never seen so much expression in Lin than in that one scene.

Yue Ling just let him run to his wife : What more could she have done? Tie him up?All she could do was to cry.And avoid him after that.And then try to help him because she realised that love is about giving,whether you have that person next to you or not,it does not and should not really matter.

The wife just accepted Lin back: Because that was what she wanted initially.She thought that she would drive the husband away and then come back into his life 9 months later with her baby and they would be living happily ever after.What she didn't include in her equation was her husband falling in love so soon with another woman and almost marrying her and her illness coming back.Almost,you could have hated Lin for being involved with another so soon when he supposedly was so bloody hurt with his wife's adultery.

We don't hate Lin then : Because he learnt to let go at first,thinking that his wife was happily pregnant and with her lover,happily in the USa and he even happily paid for her maintenance fee.And with a good woman beside you,ever willing to listen to you,who ,won't fall in love again.Moreover,he almost had a nervous breakdown if not for this Yue Ling.

The wife didn't hate the 'other woman' : The other woman being Yue Ling,she did.In fact,she insulted her once on the rooftop of the hospital where she was going to jump and kill herself with the baby,thinking that her husband didn't want her anymore.The husband wanted her of course,and she blamed it all on Yue Ling who was just being kind hearted when she went and visited the baby and gave him a little hug when Xiao Qiang overheard some nurses gossiping about Yue Ling and her husband.So she wanted to kill herself together with the baby,and saying things like she isn't dead yet and buried in the coffin and there is another woman wanting to be Mrs Fung.You know,the usual hate words of a wife to a mistress.Frankly,I would've personally thrown her out of the building.

The wife left in the end then : Because she knew she was dying and that she realised that her husband would be all alone and her poor baby would be all alone.So she wanted a good step mom for her child,because she was afraid another woman might abuse her child and her husband would not care since he could have other children.Having realised that and having heard what Yue Ling said(which will be below),she realised that Yue Ling could be the great mom and wife to two persons that she loved most in her life.So she left and blessed their relationship.The end.

She was not afraid Yue Ling would abuse her child then :Because Yue Ling knowing the wife's worries and her husband wanted so much to ease her worries,consulted Yue Ling.And Yue Ling knowing that when the wife died,she could be the next Mrs Fung,told the husband to consider to undergo sterilisation,meaning he could never father another child though he could still be sexually active.This would mean that having only one child,the man and the next woman would have no choice but to give the utmost love to this child of the wife's.Hearing that,the wife realised that she have found a good candidate for her son and husband as a mother and a wife.By the way,he never went through that surgery.

The husband just let the wife go and never chase after her : The story ended with the husband knowing his wife left him to take care of the baby.There is no sequal so far so i would assume that he never went after his wife and later married Yue Ling.

The Most Hated Character
It could've been the third party,Yue Ling but I do not see her as such because the wife and man divorced before they fell for each other.I see the wife as the third party and frankly,I hated Xiao Qiang's Xiao Lan.She should've been the pity factor but I feel no pity for her.I mean,sure poor girl,dying and all.But why can't she have some confidence in her husband and just tell him that,"hey,I got cancer but don't force me to go for an abortion" instead of creating a lie that broke his heart to pieces?And it is amazing that after all the sufferings and torture she put her husband through,she thought she could still have him back.And when she had him,she would go through lengths to deny him physical love because she feel ashamed that she no longer have a left/right breast and thus is no longer a whole woman.Again,she should've more confidence in her husband's love for her.Because of that,I think if there is a man like Fung Zhi Ming in this world,he would have my vote as the most patient husband.And those hurtful and mean words she said to Yue Ling.I mean,sure as the wife I would say that too so I understand her anger and fear but as a viewer who knew that Yue Ling wanted nothing but to help the man she loved,I would still say,I hate this Xiao Lan.And she would have my vote as the Most Unreasonable Character.

The Most Pitiful Character
You may say,by just reading the storyline above,the wife but Yue Ling has my vote for the most pitiful character.She fell so much in love with this man ,almost had him and then lost him in the most humiliating way to any woman,and then having to see him almost everyday and with the man saying things like he still have feelings for her and looking at her with longing eyes,how can this woman just walk out of this non-existing relationship and love someone else?I feel for her,I feel her pain and frankly,because of this woman,I hate (and I am not ashamed to admit this) Xiao Lan.You know,if you ever want to be the other woman,you should be someone like Yue Ling,so successful in getting us on her side.

The Most Saddest Character
Also the Most Wimpish Character who would be Lin's Zhi Ming,the man between those two gorgeous women.Who to choose?Why wimpish you may ask?Because this man,gone back to his wife ,then stop looking like as if you wish the wife was Yue Ling.If love Yue Ling,then dump the wife.But of course if he did that,there would be no storyline and then all of us women will curse him as heartless,considering what her wife gave in return for his love.Her life,which is absolutely something you can't give back.The wife could also be the most giving woman if not for her very unreasonable actions in this serial.I almost pity him but hey,one left,there is still another waiting,ever so patiently.Lucky man is what I would say.

The Most Irritating Character
Xiao Qiang's Xiao Lan for the above reasons.

The Most Difficult Person To Be...
The viewers.Who should we support?The wife?The other woman?The man?The baby?The cancer?But so far,all those that I have talked to supported Yue Ling's Ru Fang and unanimously voted Xiao Qiang's Xiao Lan as the Hate Factor.She is one character you would love to hate and certainly,hate to love.

The Most Kindest Character
The father of Ru Fang for no obvious reasons other than from the fact that the actor looks like a very kind old man.By the way,he is the same ,kind old man from Love Of A Lifetime.

The Best Scenes
The rooftop scene,the wedding scene.But i would personally choose two scenes as the best.Two involves wedding.The first was when they were about to be married when Ru Fang's father told her the secret in the make up room.Of course,the woman refused to let go of the man and cried and screamed and said,"What am i supposed to do?Am I supposed to be sick to show that I am suffering?This is not like when you bought tickets and can ask for refunds",well,something like that.
Then the second wedding,this time between Xiao Lan and Zhi Ming,and with a cruel twist of fate,the wife insisted that Ru Fang be the bridesmaid so that she just let go of her husband and to tell her,in my opinion who is the real winner.What is the woman to do when the man so nicely asked her to do this?She became the bridesmaid and in front of everybody,she openly cried whilst she was holding his hands and openly,the man gave her this longing and apologetic stare.Classic.

The Worst Scene
None really noteworthy. But frankly,I fastforward all those scenes that has only Xiao Qiang in it.Because in those scenes,she is always crying and we then have this Shakepearean mode,that is the characters talking to themselves,always expressing their feeling into words,never actions,a typical method seen in ALL taiwanese serials,and very rarely in HK serial.

Most Favourite Pair
For this serial,I preferred Ru Fang and Zhi Ming.But in real life,Xiao Qiang and Lin Rui Yang makes for a very attractive couple,both tall and beautiful looking.And they were often paired in many serials,Love Of A Lifetime,Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,and many others.

Best Performances
Without a doubt,Yue Ling.Her Ru Fang is sensitive,feminine,kind,patient and overall,a good woman.I liked her after this serial and frankly,though I may not give favourable reviews to her serials,her performance is something I always looked forward to.For example,I hated Women's Romance(well maybe not THAT much because now that I think about it, I kinda liked it) but I watched it just for her.So it is possible to hate a serial and still like some performances.Yue Ling is without a doubt my favourite Taiwanese actress and Ru Fang my favourite female character.She may not be that pretty but the more I look at her,the more I could see what is all the fuss about her.Very gentle in reality I would think.

Lin Rui Yang,Taiwan's top actor.After this serial,I liked him.Again,it is also possible to like a performance though you hated the serial and the character that he portrayed.I find his Zhi Ming the second cause for Ru Fang's miseries but nevertheless,I could understand why two women would claw each other's eyes out for him,though they never did that of course.Tall,good looking,his only fault is his mouth,too small.A good actor.

Xiao Qiang,Taiwan's top sex symbol.People said she is gorgeous,frankly,I find nothing gorgoeus about her looks but admittedly,she is very feminine-looking for a woman and she has a figure to die for.I didn't like her character in all her serials,this included,and more often than not,she always plays character that people just love to hate when they were supposed to like her.But again,she is a good actress.Her only fault is that she puts on too much make up lately,and this criticsm does not even have any bearings on her performance so just ignore that comment.

The father of Ru Fang.Kindly old man,he cried for his daughter's pain.And I liked him too in Love Of A Lifetime.

That guy who played Yu Guo Ching,whom I shall call the square faced man.HE was the other half of Yue Ling In The Burning Sun,a very versatile actor.He could be a rapist,a murderer,a bad guy with a conscience,a good guy with a sad past,though he is not good looking,he is a fine actor to me,though I disliked most of the character's he have played.I just found out his name,it is Shi Yu.

Yu Fang was very good as that love sick nurse. My god, she was so young in here! I really do think she was prettier in Women's Romance.

Worst Peformances
Frankly,none.Everybody is very good.That of course doesn't mean that you'll love the storyline.

If I Were The Writers I would ...
This was one Taiwanese serial that I wished for a more definate ending.Maybe show us a wedding scene between Ru Fang and Zhi Ming.I really hate cliffhangers.And what is that ending with some people saying some thoughtful lessons before really ending the scene like love means giving and giving is the..blah blah blah.I watch it for entertainment purpose and they made it sound as if it is an educational series.There is nothing educational about this one.Though I agree that sacrificing is the most giving love of all,I still hate Xiao Lan.

Was the Husband as suffering as...
Well, I could only think of one TVB pair in recent TV serials release that has almost the same predicament as the love triangle of this one,that is Anne Heong-Louis Koo-Jesicca Hester Hsuan in DIF IV.I would say almost as suffering as this one.Anne is like Xiao Lan,only less irritating but as giving(she lost 3 years of her life,slept with an enemy and lost her leg),Jesicca is like Ru Fang(wanting a man she could never have and worse still,no sign of Anne's character dying at the end of DIF IV) and Louis(admittedly,he didn't leave Anne but Anne was kidnapped but still with as much confusion and angst here ).And the ending scene where Louis held Jesica close and hugged her and cried because he has to be responsible for a woman who did so much for him,reminds me of the scene where Yue Ling held Lin's hands and cried,and he had to take care of his wife for again,the notion of responsibilities.Two man as good,two man as good looking,4 women as nice and giving,it is very difficult to compare who is more suffering,so it is a tie to me.


Was it worth Renting/Buying
You want drama? You want love?You want to be so emotional watching serial that you could almost scream?GO NOW AND RENT THIS ONE.You might love it,or hate it but you have to admit,it's pretty good.And very enjoyable,though working professionals may not like this one because it is a bit childish in the plot but sentimental people will love it,unless of course you can't stand seeing tears in almost every scene. By the way. anybody know whether the VCDs for this series is for sale or not? Do E-Mail me on that if you're in Malaysia.

Was is BETTER than....
Name me any modern taiwanese serial dramas and all about love and I'll still maintain my verdict,I like this one the most.Interesting Facts : None but I would say this should be a hit though I am not sure.Any other facts I do not know,but Yue Ling is now 30,Lin Rui Yang definately older and Xiao Qiang iIthink is only in her late 20's.Anyway,not much news on Taiwan serials news and TV Actors,unless we are talking about those in HZGG.

Interesting Observation
There was one dream scene,where the night before the impending wedding with Ru Fang,Zhi Ming dreamt that he was in the church standing in front of the priest next to Xiao Lan when Ru Fang came barging in ,dressed in her wedding dress and both women crying and begging for him to leave the other,pulling him left and right.I find that a totally wrong arrangement.It should've been Zhi Ming about to marry Ru Fang and Xiao Lan barging him,begging him not to marry her,because then it makes much more sense.Anyway,just an observation.

Unimportant Stuff
The PINYIN title for this is Tian Ya Gong Ci Shi,and it is a very old serial.Thank you for the PINYIN title by LeeYian from the Yue Ling's Chinastar guestbook.


1 comments:

  1. Oh my...it's like long time ago..I still remember how hooked I was with this drama. Though I can't really remember the plot story, one thing for sure, I love Ru Fang the most..I just hate Xiao Lan, and I kept hoping for Zhi Ming to end up with Ru Fang...This may sounds cruel, but despite of Xiao Lan being sick and all, I just can't bring myself to sympathize her..Anyway, you really made me laugh with that comment of Guo Qing the square-head man, because I can still remember how my sister and I kind of make fun of him by giving him the nickname "square-head" =)) Anyway thank you for sharing the review. I enjoy reading it.. :) (I believe I sent a comment here before, but the comment kinda missing ummmmm)

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