VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE

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








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



Which Is
Actually,the most confusing element of this serial would not be the content but the title itself.In Malaysia,it is Return Of The Cuckoo (or in Chinese,Oh Moon Kai meaning The Streets Of Macau),in Hong Kong it is called Moonlight(or in cantonese,The Moon on the 15th day of the 8th month).Either one I am still talking about the one that talks about Macau and the people that lives in this place.This drama(NOT A COMEDY) is basically about relationships,familial and love relationships and how much one man(any man) is willing to go for the things that they really want but they thought they could not get.

Most Interesting Aspect
I guess before I even begin to trash this highly rated serial,I should just compliment the writers and the directors for their originality and ingenuity in figuring out a way for a dumb man to communicate with us the viewers as to his feelings,his pain,his thoughts and his joy.Noooooo!I am not saying Julian is stupid but dumb also means someone who can't speak,not because they do not want to but because of some defect,they couldn't.So I was thinking,well maybe they'll use subtitles ,so then I might as well just switch off the TV but Nope!I thought maybe there'll be an interpreter somewhere that will tell us what he is saying with his hands.Nope!You have Julian telling you every single word,with a very wonderfully interwoven into the scenes his narration of his own signings and also his private thoughts.So this serial is basically a drama about other people through this one man's eyes,a man that could not speak but has a world of his own in his evaluation of the people he cares,loves and people he dislikes.

And I was again thinking,what about the others?Everybody knows sign language?Nope!Those closest to him will know sign language but those that didn't,could always tell by his expressions and his BODY LANGUAGE!

Does that answer your curious mind?Ok,I know I am wasting your time here with nonsense so lets move on to the real thing.

How Long
20 epsiodes/10 tapes

Who
Julian Cheung - Man Chor
Nancy Sit - Chu Sa Kiu (Auntie Q)
Charmaine Sheh - Chuk Kwan Hoe
Steven Ma - Sze Tou Lai Soon
Tang Ho Kwong - Man Pui Kin
Kok Fung - Chuk Chin Fai
Yew Lok Yee- Yee Man
Lau Dan - Man Sai Kwong
Tong Man Lung - Kam Seng
Other characters' names - Man Chu Sa Wah,Man Pui Kei,Wong Hoi Lam,Uncle Hoi Keng,etc

Remember
I do not believe in the nonsense that if a serial is highly rated it must be good.And also I do not believe in the nonsense that if what I say if contrary to what you think,mine must be followed.Nope.It differs in taste,of your own expectations and more importantly,whether you really enjoyed it THAT much so as to say you love it.Someone wrote that I am too serious and that watching TV should be something like relaxation and I should just loosen up and just enjoy the show.99% of the time I did enjoy the shows but I feel my role here is not to tell you how much I hate this show(though I still do that sometimes) and forcing my opinion down your throat.I feel I am here to give you a fair evaluation,though sometimes I tend to be cranky and emphasise on the bad points rather than the good points or just tell you the bloody story.

So,at the end of this really long nonsensical paragraph and even before you could proceed to the next heading of this review,my whole point is......ahhhh.....is....let's see........what was I saying before I....ahhhh....oh ya....It's really up to you.So next heading now!

NOOOOOO!Wait!Some more,some more...what was I.......

Ok ok,I was kidding.You can always skip my ramblings and nonsense headings of my review and go straight for the real thing.BUT if you're still reading this really long paragragh,I guess I should say this...LOVE YA!MAN...I AM SO TOUCHED BY YOUR SUPPORT!I LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!Still reading????

The Plot
Great first few episodes but slowly it disentegrates into really bad storytelling,and this one criticsm would be directed towards the love relationship of Julian-Charmaine-Steven.The rest are quite good actually.

Where was I?Oh yes,the plot.Frankly,no plot.No like I kill your father then I must build a company to bankrupt you and I met this wonderful girl but I married spoilt rich girl for money and for my big plans of revenge and at last an avalanche or something much more dramatic to almost end my life and only then do I wake up and realise "hey!I love that nice girl,money aint's important" but actually I still become rich but happily rich.Nope!No such plot thing.

This serial is a family drama about relationships,not about events.No dramatic things like the above though still as shocking and probably much more touching.

Julian is your typically well adjusted 25 year old guy,smart,good looking,intelligent,responsible and bloody cute.But he has a flaw,he can't speak not because he didn't want to but because he is dumb.He's not deaf and dumb like in the normal disability cases but his dumbness is brought about by his very own mother,who when he was just 4 years old,his father left the mother and him,the mother dragged the kid along to beg for the husband's return but to no avail.Out of sheer desperation and utmost selfishness,and thinking that she is still beautiful and could still nab a rich man for a husband,she attempted to murder her own child by forcing a four year old crying kid into the bathroom,locked the door and force-fed him detergent(poison).Luckilly he was saved in time by his mother's sister(Nancy Sit) who took the boy to the hospital,and later took care of him until he was grown up like her own son,when his own mother just left,smiling.He didn't die but he grew up to be Julian,a happy and carefree guy but his throat was damaged by his own mother's selfishness and he could not do the one thing he wished he could do,talk back at people who hurt his feelings.

Nevertheless,he is probably the most popular kid in the streets of Macau and just as loved.He has an adoring sister,Kwan Hou(Charmaine),a loving mother(Nancy Sit),a nice Uncle,great friends as in Kam Seng(Tong Man Lung) and a burning hope to see his real mother again.I guess that was what kept him going.

And then the appearance of Steven's Sze Toh Lai Soon changes everything.This is the man that he could've been,smart,intelligent,handsome,with a bright future ahead and who has seen the world and experienced life in a much more worldly way.He liked this Steven,and they even became like brothers because in Julian ,Steven saw a little brother that he once had but lost when he was about 10(or somewhere around that).In Steven,Julian saw a chance to learn from this experienced young man and also a great friend.But things get too complicated when Steven fell for and got Charmaine as a GF and that's when we know that Julian all along has this deep feelings for this so called sister of his,and that this Charmaine might have the same feelings for her so called brother.And it was also then he realised that in the eyes of Auntie Q(Nancy Sit),tha woman who had loved and nurtured him ,has all along felt that he is not good enough for her own beloved daughter.And seeing Steven made him feel he is not good enough even for himself.Meaning,he has a self confidence problem because of this disability of his.But Steven went ahead and helped him in curing his disability and the question in Charmaine's heart,in Steven's heart and even in Julian's own heart is that when he could speak again,what would he say to the woman he loves,the man he respects and the image he will see when he stands before the mirror?


How About..
I know I know,what about the others?I mean is this serial ALL about these three people?Actually nope!Many more characters,that are also very interesting and in a way as desperate and as sad as our own Julian,the main protagonist who saw others' pain but could not comfort them with words.So I'll say it one by one.The above is just a short introduction or a short overview of the main point of this serial.

Auntie Q (Nancy Sit) ? : She used to be quite a popular night club singer in her younger days,who in her professions met and became sisters with 2 other women who will shape her future,one was the mother of Julian and the other the wife of a casino tycoon,Lau Dan.She took care of the abandoned Julian and loved him like her own though later we will see that how she actually felt about Julian's Man Chor.And she then met and fell for a poor student,spent a romantic summer with him(Kok Fung) and advised him to further his study and then secretly gave birth to a baby girl,Charmaine's Chuk Kwan Hoe.When the man found out about this,he supported the girl's education as a father but never fulfilled his obligation as a husband to Auntie Q,because he met and fell for another woman,an educated woman who is much more up to his standard that bore him a son.

All her life,Auntie Q never demanded anything from this man she is still very much in love with,she never hope for any riches nor wealth but for the best for her daughter.Having Steven as a potential son in law was like her dreams come true,the best man for her daughter but when she found out Julian loved Charmaine too,she drew the line between loving Julian as a son and accepting him as a son in law.In that respect,she belittled him by making him know that she does not wish for her daughter to marry him,a man who has no future simply because he could not speak.But of course as in the real serial itself,she didn't do like I said she did,in a clear cut way.She did it in a subtle way but in my opinion,she was as cruel as any other people who called him dumb boy.The routine like "I love you as a son because you're a good son but as a man,you're not good enough for my daughter" is a bit too crushing on this man's vulnerable self-esteem.In a way,she caused his self doubts when she should have been the one to encourage him to pursue her daughter because frankly,Julian's Man Chor is the nicest boy in Macau,the perfect son in law,the perfect husband,the perfect son,the perfect friend but just isn't perfect in terms of physical aspect.

Chuk Kwan Hoe (Charmaine Sheh) : Your typical spoilt 20 year old girl,spoilt by an adoring "brother" and mother(Nancy Sit) and sometimes but a though absent but still there in the more important occasions father(Kok Fung).She used to be carefree and happy until she discovered love.She didn't like Steven at first due to some misunderstanding which was her fault by the way,but slowly she saw in this man a sophisticated and educated man and she gladly became his GF.BUT things got a bit confusing for her when she found out her "brother's" true feelings for her and she began to question her true feelings for these two men,and thinking that all could be solved by Julian's first spoen words in 21 years,she waited only to have an answer she did not want.It is clear she loves Julian,but is it as a brother or as a lover is very difficult to tell,for reasons I shall explain below.But overall,this is the weakest character of this serial because her character has no direction and I shall call this problem the "All Of A Sudden" problem,which shall be elaborated below.

Sze Toh Lai Soon (Steven Ma) : A young man who has been around the world,seen the world,given the finest of education money could buy him and a promising future as a serious reporter,he met and fell for Charmaine (not on first sight)( and became great friends with Julian.Hie desire to want to help Julian is probably derived from the fact that in Julian he saw his dead brother and out of regret for his own past actions,he probably had this guilt as a driving force,and also the curiosity as to what Julian will say to Charmaine if he ever could speak.

When he was about 10,he and his younger brother went swimming and his brother drowned before his eyes and he could not save him.His parents blamed him for the death of his brother and he spent his entire life after that in boarding schools,and travelling around the world with kok Fung,father of Charmaine because he's the son of Kok Fung's wife's friend.This was where he received his education as to life.

This I personally feel is a very strong character,and a very likable character, adirect contrast to Julian's Man Chor but yet they have so much similairities,at least they share the same sorry past,unloved by their real parents,having their sad pasts as a driving force for their future and also loving the same woman.

The rest of the cast : Ridiculous main plot but excellent sub plots regarding various characters as described below.

Tong Man Lung plays Kam Seng,the illegitimate son of casino tycoon,Lau Dan.Same background with Julian only sadder.Mother killed herself,father never even privately ackowledge him as a son,no education,no omney,no class,no nothing except for loyalty to and from his friends,he fell for Charmaine but could not bring himself to tell her that probably because of the same problem like Julian,that he feels he is not good enough for her.

He was with an equally uneducated and no class girl,who is a cousin to Charmaine's best friend,and also is Charmaine's best friend Yee Man (Yew Lok Yee),who for money,and probably for revenge,became a whore for Lau Dan's useless second son,Pui Kei (the blonde haired one).For revenge probably because she wanted to hurt Kam Seng when she knew he fell for Charmaine,and in the process she lost her dignity,self worth and friends.

And talking about Lau Dan,he has an oldest son named. Pui Kin(Tang Ho Kwong),a good and fillial son who unfortunatley fell for and even eloped with Charmaine's best friend,the daughter of a soya selling family called Hoi Lam,and he was later tricked into marrying a rich girl he does not care about and this woman he abandoned on the day of their wedding realised she is still in love with the most useless man in the world for his inability to withstand the strong influence of his fatherand to defy his orders for love.

Uncle Hoi Keng who all his life pursued Auntie Q but became her best friend instead,he suffered a terrible end(in my opinion) and before his death has to see his very own son being imprisoned for a crime the son committed for money and for pride.

Man Chu Sa Wah,mother of Pui Kin and Pui Kei and wife of mega rich and mega arrogant Man Sai Kowng,who all her life has deliberately cursed her own family so as to get out of some troubles that she has created and at last suffered a fate that no parents in her age would want to go through,losing two sons at one go.It just shows that in life,never ever think you're above Heaven and God.Her arrogance killed herself,deservedly.

So you see,in this serial everybody has a problem,a problem that is seen basically through the eyes of our observer,Julian's Man Chor.

Best Scenes
I love this one scene that I thought was so touching and yet so disturbing.Nancy Sit realised that Julian is in love with Charmaine,and not wanting him to be in between the blossoming relationship between her beloved daughter and the perfect guy,Steven,she took Julian to China and intended to introduce him to a job in a restaurant.Julian facing his back to her suddenly turned and looked straight into her eyes,crying and signing that "Don't you want me anymore?I swear that I do not love her,but I love her as a sister,please do not leave me here alone ",or something like that.I tell you,at that moment I felt like strangling that woman and hugging Julian.Excellent scene.

The almost ending scene where Man Chu Sa Wah was walking in the hospital towards the mourge after getting the news that her two sons have died in the freak car accident and along the long corridor,she could see painting sof the Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary and she remembered her own curses when she was trying to explain her own evil deeds and denying responsibilities towards the death of Kam Seng's mom and Kam Sneg's injuries and then she screamed and screamed.Classic scene.

That scene where Julian saw his mom again after many years and that woman,who not only poisoned him as a child,now refusing to acknowledge him for fear that her rich Malaysian husband to be will not like the fact that she had a child,slapped Julian whilst daring him to speak when he could not.

That scene where I thought for a moment that this woman could be saved from her own selfishness,where Julian gave his life savings to his mom as a parting gift and as a gift by a loyal son and the mother cried and hugged him and said she could not take the money and yet could not call him her son,but gave him her Malaysian address so that he could visit.Wau!So touching ,happy reunion and then,2 seconds later,the friend of Julian's mom asked the woman,"Aren't you afraid your son will come and visit you?" and she replied "Are you crazy?I gave him the fake address".And she smiled,like she did when she left her 4 year old son years ago as a dumb boy.

Any scene between Steven and Julian,especially the unspoken tension that they both have over the issue of Charmaine's love.This one scene is quite touching,where CHarmaine wa shoping that when Julian could speak he would say something like wanting her and loving her.Steven was living in fear of losing the woman he loves but yet he purseud the doctor to save this man he considers hia brother.ANd Julian could speak,he said to them,"I wish the both of you great happiness".Such a giving man.

The Ultimate Classic Scene
This I feel is the most disturbing and the most classic scene in this serial.It's malicious,it's sad,it's touching and it's impossible to deny that such things do happen in real life.

Julian's father left his mom and him and his mom dragged him into the bathroom,thought for a while and then decided to kill her son by forcing him to consume some detergent thing and he was saved by Auntie Q,but his vocal chords was damaged instead,rendering him silent for the next 20 years.His mom,did not regret her actions and left smiling,thinking that she was still beautiful and could find a new husband.

The Most Sickening Aspect
The above situation and several below.These scenes have a common theme,that is how terrible and horrible a parent can be to a child.I can't say that they suffer from bad parenting because some of the children turned out well but I could say they're all bad parents,which makes these scenes collectively known as the Most Sickening Aspect of this serial,apart from the bad casting and the horrible non-ending of an ending.I mean,after I reflected on all the scenes and all the parents,I realised that this serial can be qute an educational serial,on "How To Not Be Like The parents In This Serial".

Parents of Pui Kin : Man Chu Sa Wah,I can still remember the name and her husband wanted their son to marry this rich spoilt girl for business purposes and they tricked the son into thinking that he was to be married to Hoi Lam.Happily they made wedding preparations only that on the day of the marriage,they switched brides and told Pui Kin,marry this girl.If not,I cannot guarantee what will happen to the other girl.So he married that woman,and left Hoi Lam a broken hearted woman,but not for long.

Parents of Pui Kei : Same set of parents,but this time this son is a bad bad son.He wantyed to rob his own casino for cash and instead of being scolded and turned to the police,his mom,Man Chu Sa Wah twisted the real truth and made sure that Kam Seng was the one to be blamed.How then can one expect this son to grow up to be a good person with parents like that?

Parents of Julian : Father left.Nothing much to say.And the mother....refer to the above Ultimate Classic scene and you can now debate,who has the worst parents for parents.

Mother of Kam Seng : sad case actually but if that rich man didn't want you,so live on.But she killed herself when her own good name was tarnished by Man Chu Sa Wah and left her own young son to fend for himself.Selfish woman.

Father of Charmaine : Not his fault that he did not know he has a child until years later but this man,fearing his wife would know,made his own daughter into some sort of a dirty little secret,when she comes,walk the other way,call me uncle,say you do not know me,ignore your mother.I mean,sure he wasn't that bad as a fther but somehow his actions were still wrong.

Parents of Steven : the unseen characters,they blamed Steven for the death of the other younger son and from what he said,he spent his years in boarding schools,travelling.That made him into a stronger man but a man with regrets.

Adopted mother of Julian : Sure,you could be the best son in the world but when it comes to my own beloved daughter,sorry pal,you're not good enough so go far far away,go to China,go everywhere else,ignore my almost pitiful looks at your pitiful situation,ignore the fact taht I have,by my unspoken actions belittled you because you do not have great education,mpney,status nor a voice to begin with and compared to Steven,hey you're not worth my daughter's future.Be my son but never my son in law.I mean,sure Nancy Sit is a good mom to Julian,but somehow the way she handled the tricky situation of Charmaine-Julian-Steven love triangle kinda refelcted what I wrote above.If it was any other actress,I would have strangled her for contributing and aggravating Julian's already low self esteem.

So who is the worst set of parents?I have to say,it's a tie between Man Chu Sa Wah and Julian's real mom.No,no it would have to be Julian's real mom for reasons already stated above.


Most Compatible Couple(s) as in the serial
Julian and Charmaine?Not possible,not even a kiss,but they do look good together.

Steven and Charmaine will have my vote here.

That Pui Kin and Hoi Lam,one too thin,another too tanned.No way!

Kam Seng and Yee Man?Yes but they didn't end up together.

BUT,I was hoping for Hoi Lam and Julian but alas!No such perfect coupling.

Most Confusing/Mind Numbing/"I Don't Get It" Aspect
Which will also be the worst thing about this serial,the ultra boring andultra confusing love triangle between Julian-Charmaine-Steven.Let me explain myself in this ultra long explanation.Do remember,I am not taking into account the acting,just pure characterisation and the storyline.

Julian loves Charmaine,Charmaine loves Steven,Steven loves Charmain,then Charmaine also loves Julian,maybe more than Steven,maybe lesser than Steven,maybe not love at all,maybe it is love.I mean,this confusion is real big problem for me.I never knew Julian loved Charamine more than he would as a sister until she loved Steven.And I didn't know Stevne fell for her until he confessed his love for her and she too suddenly,like dthis man when all teh while she hated him!And then all of a sudden,we were told by Hoi Lam that Charmaine knew about Julian's love for her and suddenly she is considering him as a potential boyfriend.In fact she even told Julian that she hoped when he could speak again,that he would say he loves her as much as she loves him!When he didn't do that,there she goes running into the arms of Steven,letting him fall deeper in love with her when all this while she perhaps loves someone else.And when Julian started to avoid her,she became upset.When she saw Hoi Lam hugging Julian,she ran to Steven and slpet with him!BUT yet,before she lft HK,she would give this glance towards Julian and would hug him tightly,afarid of losing him.

Get the confusion here?I have no doubt of Steven's feelings for her and also Julian's feelings for her BUT I am so confused by how thsi woman feels.

This is my theory.

The writers suddenly felt that hey!Gotta have a love triangle to complicate things,but that only makes the plot more draggy and more boring.And when they figured how to make a really confusing love plots,now let's confuse us further by making the woman undecided.

through what I could see on the small screen,Charmaine is fascinated with Steven for his style,his generosity,hios tenderness,his understanding and his love for her.So quite easily she fell for him.And yet somehow when she knew(don't ask me how but all of a sudden in a scene she knew) that Julian loves her too,and now she is torn between two men.One she grew up with,and another she might possible grow old with.Who should she choose?I feel the chice is obvious,not because one is a better man than the other,but because her love for Julian is deeper,transcends beyond love like any lovers' love or brotherly/sisterly love but the love of a soul mate,and a confidante.Someone that she trusts with her life,and so she thought she loves him as a lover,but actually she is grateful for his devotion and she too is devoted to him.Attraction there are none,but it is beyond physical attraction like that between Steven and Charmaine.And so she is not in love with Julian though she loves him dearly but she is in love with Steven though she may have doubts.

Now,I am reading too much into the plot because frankly,they told us nothing.As to teh performances,I blame it on that too for the confusion because I doubt teh actors knew what was all the love love thing all about.But if your'e confused, you can use my theory to explain the confusion and then come out with your own set of theory.

By the way,the above is my explanation for the All Of A Suddfen Aspect that I have mentioned above.everything happened all of a sudden!

Another aspect that is confusing is Nacy Sit's decision to make her daughter misunderatood her love for abandoning her.I mean,the mother wanted her daughter to leave without any worries with Steven to USA to study,start a new life.Yes,that i understand but does she have to like make herself into the villian and pretending to be greedy by demanding $2m as dowry and not write to her daughter for 5 years?Can't blame Charmaine for thinking that her looved ones did not love her anymore but this situation is unnecesary.I mean,it's not like Nancy's dying,the daughter has a scholarship waiting for her with a bright future and is not leaving.She is leaving after all.Why make all those things up ?To kake her look like the most giving mother on Earth when the plot only serves as a corny subplot of a motherly love?

And then,another confuing stuff would be Charmaine's own srtupidity to fall for the obvious ploy that even a total stranger could figure it out.Her mother never wanted money all her life,loved her dearly and yeat this young girl could not look beyond the lies and pretension and see the real "giving" truth.My sis said that she reminded her of a retarded person.Now,that's cruel and mean,but I can't help but agree that this character of Kwan Hoe is not only spoilt,with no manners,rude,exceedingly loud and annoying,but also stupid as the episodes go by.

The Most Hated Character
Man Chu Sa Wah as explained above and also Julian's mom.

The Most Irritating Character
Charmaine's Chuk Kwan Hoe for reasons stated above and to be stated below.And also,I cannot understand why a girl like this has 2 guys,the best guys in this serial falling for her(not to mention Kam Seng also) and yet a nice girl like Hoi Lam has to be a mistress instead.

The Most Lovable Character
Definately Julian's Man Chor ,felt like hugging him,pinching his cheeks,but there are times felt like slapping him for his own low self -esteem rpoblems.

My Most Favourite Character
It's a fight between Julian's Man Chor,Steven's Sze To Lai Soon and Tong Man Lung's Kam Seng.All three with differnet backgrounds but all three are good man who coincidentally all three fell for Charmaine's Kwan Hoe,as if like there's no other nicer girls in Macau.

Anyway,a close fight but I personally like Lai Soon more because he is no bloody nice and understanding and supportive and calm and well,a perfect guy.Like him from the first scene.As for Man Chor,my second choice,nice guy also but a bit lacking in teh confidence department but definately equal to Lai Soon in the giving department.Men with great big hearts,all three of them.

Best Performances
Definately Julian Cheung.His Man Chor is so sensitive,so expressive.He couldn't speak but you could almost feel all his pain and all his joy.Such expressive performance,I was kinda disappointed when he could speak,took away all the magic but still nevertheless,great performnace by this very cute actor.

I was very surpised by Tong Man Lung's performance.At one glance,I thought he was Edmund Leung.Anyway,never knew this guy untilnow and I am imppressed by his Kam Seng but there is a bit lacking in the emotions department when it comes to really emotional scene but he does act.talk and walk like an uneducated man who lived a hard life.

Nancy Sit's Auntie Q.Though sometimes she took too long a time to speak a few lines,her acting is a bit too controlled in here,but she has more depth in this performnace than her performance in the riciulously cartoonish character of Auntie Ho in Kindred Spirit.

Kok Fung,the woman who played Man Chu Sa Wah,and all the older generations were good,in fcat sometimes too good.

And last but not least,I have to mention her name,Yew Lok Yee,or Sherming.She could play a soft spoken girl,sa rude girl,a materialistic girl,anything.Though she is not exceedingly pretty but there is undeniable talent in her for her ability to be as diverse in her performnace as in all the characters' she played.I did not like her character but i am impressed with her performance.

Most Improved Performance
I never liked him in Healings Hands,mediacore acting and too fair for a guy.Now,new image,tanned looks,a bit more weight and a bit more understanding in teh concept of acting.Perhaps his Lai Soon is like a very easy character to play but not really,for all the confusion,pain,angst(sometimes),though he is still a bit lacking in the scenes that requires output of some really emotional feelings,but nevertheless,he improved so much that I can''t help but now say,I am eating my own words.His Lai Soon is sensitive,giving,yet there is a stark difference between Lai Soon and Man Chor,because of his very well grounded performance.I dare say,I hope to see more of Steven Ma and hopefully,he improves more on his expressions when in really emotional scenes,perhaps learn from Julian Cheung.A good performance.

The Not Good Enough Performance
She could have been the worst if not for the fact taht she is not in teh front line of the casting.That is teh girl that played Hoi Lam.I like her character but I hate the girl's often monotomous delivery of her lines,a bit juvenile and childish in her performance for a character that is in so much pain from being in love with a coward.Very much lacking in the emotions department.

The Most Disappointing Performance
I am sorry to say this,but for all the hype about how good she was,how much she has improved,how great she was and how much she is begging you to see this serial for great improvement,I saw only bad casting,bad acting and overall annoying presence,in the form of Charmaine Sheh.Her performance of Kwan Hoe has no real depth.It's like a scene per scene performance,if that scene requires her to look lovingly into Julian's eyes,then yes,it's ok.If that scene requires her to look lovingly into Steven's eyes,yes,then she's ok.But put it all together there is no consistency in her performance as Kwan Hoe.Parhaps it is the writers' fault for giving us such a weak characterisation of a character but again,there are no bad movies,just bad actors.Here,she is one really bad actress.She is supposed to be a tomboy,but cutting your hair short,wearing pants and speaking 10 times louder does not make you a believable tomboy.Half way through the series,you see her in skirts and her feminine ways betrayed her in her attempt to act like a tomboy.I could not believe a girl as pretty as she is would have people saying," she is such a tomboy,she'll never find a husband",when she is much more feminine than Hoi Lam herself!To be fair,Charmaine tried really hard,sometimes too hard that you can see some actions to be deliberately non-deliberate,if you know what I mean.And I hate her voice now.It used to be tolerable because she spoke softly,but now in every few lines she would be screaming her lines,and I felt like gagging her and telling her to please speak softer.You do not have to scream your lines.Not shout,but scream !And her body acting,those body actions is so feminine,and frankly,the supposed mother-daughter relationship with Nancy is a bit lacking because of her non-acting with her body language.I do not feel nor see the closeness.But I have to admit,she is very good with intimate scenes,like she was with Sunny Chan in DIF IV and various other serials,so she is good in lovey-dovey scenes which requires her to be a bit flirtatious with the guy.But in emotional scenes,the best she could do is some watery eyes.I guess her failure in all her performances is that she either tries too hard or she does not try at all.It's either she could not grasp the essence of her character or she was badly miscast.In this case,she was badly miscast AND she could not grasp the finer virtues of this role and convey it out properly.Either she did not read the whole script and see the inconsistencies or she herself created the inconsistencies.

I am sorry I have to be so blunt but frankly,she is a very overrated actress for this series.So,as of 1/9/2000,she is still not good enough.In fact,she deproved in her acting.Please somebody tell her go back to girly roles and perfecting it before attempting soemthing that requires a real acting talent to pull it off if your own self aren't like that.

The "If I Were..." Factors

If I were Charmaine Sheh,I would... : Refrain from saying "I have improved" and just for once perhaps be brave enough and question the writers as to the way her character is written and to really do some research as to what a tom boy means and how a tom boy behaves.And go for some really expensive voice coach and some even much more expensive acting classes,so that we the viewers do not have to sit through hours of torture watching her act whilst wait painfully for the day she can act really well.

**Alert!Alert!Hacker detected!Hacker detected!! **

"Now,you Funn Lim,listen up here!You said,some underact,some overact,Charmaine could not act.What is good acting then??!!Why don't you try to be in CHarmaine's shoes for once,I would bet you would faint even before the director yells,"ACTION!!"!!"

Eh!What the heck is going on here?Who are you?!What the....you know what....Ok,I'll answer your question!I would probaly faint,true but if I knew I was not good enough,I would do my homework even more and to analyse my roles in thousands of ways instead of just hundreds of ways for better choices that may suit me.Heck,I may even decline the role if I was not good enough because I would not want to be blamed for the failure of the serial's ratings!

"Ah Ha!Caught you!This serial was a success!"

Ah ha!Got you!THe success was not because of her performance but solely because of Julian's charming performance,amongst others.

"But hey!I watched this serial because of her!"

You're probably a guy who is in for the good looks but not substance.

"Hey!I AM A GIRL!!"

Same answer as above,but replace guy with girl.

"Are you implying that I am a...."

No,I am not implying anything but am just admitting the fact that she is pretty but in this serial,her performance was like her looks for this serial...plain and boring.

"You're so mean"

Yes,and I glorify and I bask in my meaness,thank you.

"So what is good acting then,if you're so damn smart".

First of all I am smart but not damned in anyway for my opinion.Secondly,what is good acting is up to you the viewers.If Charmaine felt she was good,then I guess she is good,in her own opinion.But mind you,great actors like Chow Yun Fatt,Johnny Depp,Jodie Foster admitted that they never really know whether they are good or not.Some even said they're never good,they're never complacent and thatw as what made them so good in their work,they never give themselves a pat on the back for a "job well done".

Mind you,remember Stepehn Chow in King Of Comedy where his character came out with so many ways just to interprete one character?I would bet Charmaine and a lot of actors never do that,and in a way,this is the reason for the decline of teh quality of TVB artists.Acting I do know is never about delivering the lines and job well done.It is about research,understanding or at least knowing your character and putting your own thoughts into the final output of the portrayal of the character.There is no standard acting,if there is might as well just switch off the TV.

"huh?!"

Basically,there are two schools of acting....the old school and the new school so to speak.One advocates that when you enter a character,you distingusihe yourself and sperate yourself from the character you're playing and you interprete it a what would your character do.You become the character you're playing.

The other school of acting is that you never become the character as a different entity but always,there something of YOU in all the character you play.Your character has you in it,and so you can never seperate yourself from the character when you're interpreting the character.

I tell ypu,acting is an art,not some sort of a hobby.If you take it as a hobby,you can never excell beyond your own restrictions .

"So?!You're too analytical,you place too much importance in art whilst I watch it for entertainment"

Which is basically the difference between you and me.You watch it for entertainment and when you're entertained,you ignore the obvious or sometimes subtle flaws.I watch it for entertainment but would always try to ignore the flaws but couldn't which was why I am writing reviews in my own free time,to scream my dissatisfaction.

"Have you ever been satisfied at all with anything?!"

I assume you're talking about serial.Yes,many many times,and frankly,I kinda enjoyed this one too but I would still like to scream out my unhappiness with the flow of the story,the characters and the performances.

"You criticise the artists too much"

I do not criticise them all the time.If you really notice,99% of the content of my reviews are for analyzing the characters' actions,and one or two paragraphs on bad performances.That's all.It's just that YOU would rather pay more attention to the bad performances part than in the rest of the content of this review.

"Bullshit!"

You're still reading this right?What more can I say?If you skipped this,then I was wrong.

"She could sue you you know....."

Yes she could.You can sue anybody for anything but can you win?I have not defamed her by saying lies,I was just merely stating my opinion as to her work,which is never meant to be malicious in any way.It's fair comment and it is justified.Moreover,shut E-Buzz down you might as well shut down the whole Internet thing.I am one of the more polite amateur reviewers out here/there/anywhere.

"But I am still Charmaine's fan,CHARMAINE FOREVER.I'll always support her no matter what you say!!!Char-maine!Char-maine!Char-maine!"

Hey...HEY!!!I am not here to change your mind about her.I am just here to scream my dissatisfaction,to tell you what I think of the story and to just let you know I still could not see any improvement in her,in a big way.Ignore me if you want but I am here to stay baby!

"But people say she is sooooooooo good in here!"

You'd rather believe others than me....sigh.......anyway,she is over rated for this serial.

"You're underrating her!"

I could left rate her and right rate her she is still that bad in my opinion.

"You're picking on her when there are others like Lee San San,Anne Heong..."

Yes,but any new serials with them in it?You'll probably see the same comments in there.The truth is Charmaine has the making of a star,and in the most minimal way,she could act...

"Ah Ha!You said she could not act!"

LET ME FINISH!She could act,in a minimal way,like everybody even in the worst of any actors could.The trouble is she is in the frontline and she is getting way too much attention and thus her flaws are magnified a million times.As an actor,they must have a chameleon like effect,to change,to blend in,to adapt,to adjust.She's like Maggie Cheung Hor Yee and now,almost Jesicca Hester Hsuan is becoming boring.Star quality but with no substance,staying power.I could not relate nor empathise with her character because she could not bring out such an emotion to such a level,except for Flying Fox which was because her role was excellent but her performance was dissapointingly lacking in everything!There is a saying,there is no bad movies but just bad actors.How true.

"So why Charmaine then?"

Because you are reading a review on her serial lar!But the above applies to all those I have crtitised and will criticise in future.

"What gives you the right?And you hurt my feelings you know."

I am tired of this question so i'll skip this one.You know waht,I won't skip this one.I have no special right to comment on her or anybody else but to tell you the truth,I give myself the right.O...K...????!!!You hurt mine too but frankly,who are you?!Why should I concern myself with your feelings when I am not even concerned with my own feelings?

"Ok,so you wish for the worst for Charmaine and all others like her eh?"

Nope.Like you,I want to be entertained.And I also hope to see great performances.I do not wish to see a great serial spoilt by one single bad performance.Charmaine will improve with time but how long I do not know.All I know is that I would really hope to eat my own words and say "hey!Improvement man!" but I could not see it.I will not make statements to qualify myself by saying " She was not that good but she improved" in the Best Performances heading because almost never counts.

"You're so sarcastic,pessimistic,critical but funny."

Thank you and I hope you're laughing with me,not laughing at me.But if I were to just describe,verdict and end this review,I would never have received hate mails and mails of encouragement for as long as I have been screaming my thoughts to the public,so I guess I thank you for trashing me for trashing your favourite artists.

"Do you not have anything else better to do like work?"

Yes actually,and that includes reading,writing,web site building,having a life.

"So you'll still write then?"

As long as people who has no life like you who will read and send me any mails of your thoughts,comments or questions,I will continue to write,because frankly,I really do not have a great social life.Kidding.Actually,I write reviews to get my dissatisfaction off my chest.If you disagree/agree with me,you are welcomed to submit your own reviews and I'll gladly put your reviews up,below mine of course!

"So why so few updates lately,as of 31/8/2000?"

I have no great social life but hey,I do have a life you know.Moreover,I have been so slow in catching up which will explain why the more popular serials will have two reviews once in a while because someone beat me to this,which is a good thing actually.So that I can take my time to write my own review and put it on top.Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!

"What's with the Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha! ?"

Evil laughter.Forget about that one.

"One more question.Are you the webmaster of E-Buzz?"

Meaning having absolute control?Nope,Seagull is,but i could write anything and I have complete access to TVB/Hollywood/ATV/Taiwan..so in a way,I guess i could be said to be a webmistress of this site.And yes,I am a girl!Funn is a girl's name!"

"Ok then,BUT Char-main!Char-main!I LOOOOOOVVVVEEEE YOUUUUUUU!!!"

Yeah,yeah,yeah.Seagull,heard that?Ok,that was sarcastic,Seagull is not here....

" Lou-ise!Lou-ise!I LOOOVVVEEEE YOOOOUUUUUUU!!!!!"

** HAcker's identity identified.Codename : Seagull **

Seagull?Was that hacker you???????

"Seagull : Yes it was me!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!One more Ha! than you!Erasing all your reviews' datas for your overall meaness!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!Ha!"

Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!Noooooooooooo!!!!

"Seagull : This is for making me having to sit through hours after hours trying to appease the angry mob of fans of Charmaine out there!For some of the mean things about Louise.And the real reason....because this is your punishment for the bad things you have said about other people's idols.Cannot sue you?Sue also cannot win?How arrogant!So what,have no fear people,Seagull is here!!You will have to write it all A-G-A-I-N!!!!"

** Deletion completed **

ARRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!I take it all backkkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!!!!WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?????????!!!!!!!!!!!


If I were Tang Hoe Kwong,I would....: Gain weight and lose the over tanned looks.Doesn't anybody realise it yet,it only works for Takashi Sorimachi and Louise Koo.Anybody else and they look like sun burned and really suffering from the after effects..

If I were the writers I would ....:Be molre consistent in the love triangle and give a clear cut answer.Replace Charmaine Sheh with perhaps Joyce Tang or some new talent that could be convincing as a tomboy turned feminine woman.Focus more on the sub plots than this ultra boring love triangle.And why why why must thye make Julian falling in love with Charmaine?Give her a woman for god's sakes,somebody else.It;s almost incestious you know.Almost because they're not related by blood.AND please please be more consistent in the age terms,meaning Julian is 5 years older than Charmaine,so in those flash back mode,why does the young Charmaine looks bigger than a supposedly teenaged Julian?AND the ending,so anti-climax.I personally feel more importance should be placed in the reunion scene of Charmaine and Nancy than Charmaine and Julian.Hated the ending.

If I were you,I would.... : Ignore me and refrain myself from stalking me and hunting me down for writing this crappy review and some really crappy comments about my wonderful Charmaine Sheh.


Is it worth Renting
For Steven Ma and Julian Cheung and some really nice sub plots,yes,it's worthed renting.But do not place too much high hopes.In the end,this is just a love story,which is boring for reasons stated above.Frankly,I didn't enjoy it as much as I should because of reasons stated above,but you might want to watch this if you have nothing better to do and if you're into some really sentimental stuff that isn't really taht sentimental.It's all drama,it's all show and in the end,it's all so crappy.I didn't like it as much as I should and definately,this will not have my vote as the best of this year.

Interesting Facts
A hit in HK and looking at some of teh reponse in the mailing list,a hit in everywhere else also.I can see why but I still do think some performances have been overrated.

Macau recently in 1999 went back to the administration of China,the motherland after years of rule under the Portugese.Actually,the Portugese have long since ceased to actually rule over Macau and indirectly,China has been slowly gaining control.But everybody knows that Macau has a serious problem with triad societies.Not that it is a fact but from sheer observation,HK's triad are less meaner than Macau whilst Taiwan,everybody is afraid of them.Anyway,the return of Macau to China was seen in a positive light,unlike HK before it became Speacial Administration Reagion,in short S.A.R because China could control the truiad society though some said corruption will still prevail.Please give them the benefit of the doubt.Great plans ahead for Macau,clean up the streets first,economy priority numbert one and you may never know,they could be Vegas of Asia.Anyway,wanna gamble?Come to Genting Highland's casino in Pahang Malaysia.Big,comfortable,and safe,no triads,no nothing but pure enjoyment.

But you must either wear coats/tie or batik dresses(no jeans,sneakers,slippers,shorts) for guys and for girls,anything.BE above 21 years of age and you must put in some deposit of a sum that i can't remember,just in cas eyou lost everything and could still go home to sleep of course.

By the way,the real Casino King in Macau is Stanley Ho,Josie Ho Chiu Yee's father.


Interesting Observation
Macau is so clean!You do know where is Macau right?

Interesting Comparison
Hallmark's What The Deaf Man Heard was what some told me that this serial is similiar with.I saw that version and frankly,though it's about a supposedly deaf man observing the various characters in this made for TV movie,that's where the similiarities ends.It is quite unfair to always assume that any chinese serial by TVB is always traceable to some Hollywood production,though this may not be an entirely unfair of a comment.But TVB can be original AND hey!Hollywood aren't the only one that can make a film/series about deaf-mute people,lawyers,doctors,etc.


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