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.


How Long
Strange but true,11 tapes/22 episodes

Lau Chung Yan,Kong Wah,Mak Cheung Ching,Margaret Chung,Hung Tin Ming,Kwok Siu Wan,Ng Wing Mei,Cheung San Yuet and many more familiar faces.

What & Where
Modern HK during the bad times of economic crisis,it is about middle-aged men and women with mid-life crisis,like adultery,pregnancy,the chase for a better life and the main theme of this serial,unemployment and a second chance at love.

The storyline
A very simple storyline that could’ve been a very morbid one too because mainly,it deals with Lau Chung Yan,a 48 year old Executive who was fired due to economic crisis and with that,he had to make a fresh start amongst many problems,such as his heavy investments in properties at the times where property value are the lowest,his mortgages ,his young son (Hung Tin Ming) who likes to play more than work and his 40 year old best friend who acts like he is 20 ,and almost looked like it with his long hair and hair band.Because of the economic downturn,he had no choice but tried very hard to sell his luxurious apartment that he bought for investment together with Ling Hay Si (Kong Wah who is his best friend) but unfortunately,nobody wants to buy.So he rented his 2 rooms out to the woman (Ng Wing Mei) who fired him(who coincidentally was secretly going trhough a divorce with her two-timing husband played by Dou Chi Fung) and a couple who wanted to stay there because they wanted to look good in their children’s application forms for a place in expensive reputable schools.And at the meantime,he fell in love with a girl (Cheung San Yuet)younger than his son,who so happens to be the long lost daughter of his best friend,who in turn later fell in love with his brother(Mak Cheung Ching) and what he didn’t realise was,a woman has been waiting for him to love her all these while.At the mean time,his best friend who was a succesful broker who lost almost everything,who was irresponsible found out that the girl he had wanted to woo was his daughter(but that we know later is a lie by the selfish,materialistic girl),and he fell in love with a girl(Margaret Chung) who had a bad track record as a decent human being,who so happens to be very pregnant with someone else’s child.Sounds complicated which it is.

The Biggest Change
Every character in this serial somehow changes from someone with a certain flaw to someone better.For example,the girl who played Sardonna in Mr Diana (Cheung San Yuet)( here she is Ah Ling) was a 21 year old selfish and very manipulative girl.But she was also an orphan who had little love.She lies,she cheats but she changed when she realised one of her lies backfired,in the sense that she realised it’s bad to hurt someone who genuinely cares about her.Kong Wah was a yuppie with little responsibilities in life and always at odds with his father who deemed him to be useless to some effect.But after he found out that Sardonna from Mr Diana could be his daughter he had with his first love(but we know that she is not coz she is actually his former lover’s niece),he changed to a more responsible person.And when he fell in love with a pregnant woman,he became a man in the sense that he works for a living and not just play all the time.In other words,he acts like his age.Lau Chung Yan was a mean old man who seemed like he has tons of problems in the world which is actually true.He was fired and realised he had little skills except for cooking a special sauce which he turned it into a business venture with Kong Wah’s help.But before he was such,he didn’t care much about other people’s feelings,he seemed cold but actually he is a nice old man.Kwok Siu Wan is an uneducated house wife who wants her two children to have the best in education,and so she willingly became a Catholic,pushes her children into tons of activities in the pursuit of getting her daughter into a St Mary’s Primary School and her son,a St Mary’s Secondary School,which is a reputable school.But her children didn’t feel that way,especially her son,an excellent student who feels he can excell anywhere.But in the end,she realised if her son is smart enough,and with a little hard work,he can make it,as long as he is happy.Margaret Chung plays a young woman who would seduce a married man for money by creating the biggest lie,that is she's pregnant. .But she left the man because he had little money left but the thing is she IS pregnant.Along the way, she met Kong Wah and they became friends and they fell in love(which I don't understand why HE fell for HER) and because she does care for that man and knowing that he had little money,she secretly planned to run away from the Loan Sharks after one particularly bad investment made so that she would not trouble him but he begged her to stay,telling her that it is BOTH of their responsibilititesto get through this difficult phase together.Ng Wing Mei was a very mean and cold hearted woman who only believed in herself and no one else and not surprisingly,the husband left her for a younger and much more easy to live with of a woman in the form of Margaret Chung.She was a very domineering woman,courtesy of a lifetime education from her very own domineering mother.She moved in with Lau Chung Yan because she wanted to leave her matrimonial home due to well,pain of losing her beloved husband.She was unfriendly at first and thought highly of herself(that is arrogant) but at last she realised it doesn't hrut to be a little approchable and I would vote her the BIGGEST CHANGE IN CHARACTER in this serial,to the point that she is willing to wach Hung Tin Ming's underwear,to the chagrin of her strict and very arrogant mother.She is nice,if you could just get past her icy stares and demeanours and in the end,you would just wish for a happy ending for all characters.

The How Can... Factor
How can Lau Chung Yan have a son like Hung Tin Ming?Why not because he is supposed to be a 48 year old widower.How can Kong Wah have a 21 year old daughter?Why not,even if he’s 40 year old,considering that a 19 year old can father a child.

The Puke Factor
Maybe I am a bit old fashioned but a 48 year old man with a 21 year old girl?They looked more like the mismatched couple,more so when she likes Aaron Kwok and he(Lau Chung Yan) likes classical music.A man his age can never keep up with her pace and this serial clearly shows us that.And Kong Wah who at first wanted to woo her.Now that’s scary because we thought she was his daughter and it almost is incest but well,she isn’t his child but they remained being close as a parent and child would be.Then there’s Mak Cheung Ching who has a thing for his brother(Lau Chung Yan’s) girlfriend and what does he do?He did what most men would do and what brother’s should never do,he successfully wooed that girl but it is also because the girl wanted him too after she discovered being in love and being in a relationship is not the same thing.

Real Life and Reel Life
There are many similiarities that this show has with our real lives.For example,Kwok Siu Wan’s father left an apartment for her older brother and her,equally in the hands of their mother.Kwok Siu Wan pays for the remaining mortgage and allowance for her mom and in the end,when she moved with her children and her husband to the rented room in a high class apartment,she found out that her brother moved back in with his bitchy wife and there goes the battle for a share in the house.It is so real because it does happens but of course,everybody at last realise that money isn’t important.Then there’s Kong Wah’s younger sis ter and her husband who in a bid to prevent the brother from taking over the family business(and not that he wanted to anyway),they very selfishly did many well,selfish things.For the love of money,what would people not do?

How Come…
Later in this serial you’ll ask this question when you see a former mistress(Margaret Chung ) stands together and is so friendly with the ex-wife of her former lover(Tou Chi Fung).I mean there wasn’t any anger but real friendliness.Then there’s of course Kong Wah’s father who is like the most open minded old man I’ve ever seen on TV.He not only accepts the girl who lied and manipulated her way into their hearts as a god-daughter,he even could accept a grandson that doesn’;t even have a single same blood with his only son!And then there’s the mother of Lau Chung Yan and Mak Cheung Ching( Lai Shuen) who found out her youngest son having a secret love affair with her eldest son’s girlfriend and all she said was,nothing at all!This serial has way too many open minded old people which isn’t so bad actually.

Most Adoring Performance
You might say everybody else but I would say the two children of Kwok Siu Wan,especially that little girl who has like cuteness overload everytime she appears on screen.She is one good young actress,and frankly she is even better than some actresses we know of,like Lee San San for one.

The Biggest Villian
None here actually.You might be disappointed to know that this is a 100% comedy-drama and has nothing like deaths,suspense,family struggles for the throne or wealth or best friend betraying another best friend.It is simply a family drama about love,friendship,forgiveness and making the best out of this life we have and in the end,missed oppotunities.

Special Mention
I was disappointed with Kong Wah’s performance at first because he seemed out of place,like a man trying to be flamboyant when he is not.He looked old and haggard and way too thin.And with his hair band and long hair and his silly antics,he seemed silly to watch at first.But as always,he excells further in the serials.He could play to perfection a man who has tears but could not cry out and frankly,I do think he is probably the only middle aged man who can wear a hair band (which is a woman’s accessories) and still look normal and stylish.As for Lau Chung Yan,he is alright but he has gained wieght so he didn’t really looked that good.But in this serials,I like Margaret Chung’s performance who though have a very small role,she seemed at ease playing the vixen here.Notably,Kwok Siu Wan is at her usual best and Hung Tin Ming surprisingly is so cute in here and he is funny.And I especially like the change in performance by Mak Cheung Ching who can play any type of characters,be it really stupid ones ,mean ones ,nice ones or as in this serial,smart ones.Very versatile.But the one person I didn’t like is that Sardonna from Mr Diana fame.I don’t really know her name but her performance is limited to being wide-eyed.And that is all.Overall,everybody else is great.

Is it worth Renting
I would say it was worth every $4 I paid for each tape.I was bored at first but after a while,this serial just kept getting better and better.

The Verdict
It is amazing how the writers can write such an uplifting story of a very sad time in HK economic situation.If you like a good comedy-drama that focuses more on the story and performance instead of gimmicks like being 100 episodes long,this would be it.In TVB,you’ll realise that the smaller the pruduction,and the lesser known the actors the better the serial is.This serial is simply effective in telling us what they’re trying to show,not being too long or too short.

If I Were The Scriptwriter
Amazingly,however good a serial there is some flaws.For one,I’ll change the actress who plays Ah Ling(that is Sardonna of Mr Diana fame).I am sure there are plenty of young actresses who is pretty and could act better.And more importantly,I’ll change the ending.Nope,there isn’t a cliffhanger but I just wish for a happy ending for a certain character.It is such a great pity that the whole serial builds before us a potentially happy couple if only they could just get together and in the end……Just give me a happy ending.But then,this is the serial’s difference.In bigger production,usually the usual expected ending is shown but in smaller production such as this,the writers can be a little braver and venture beyond commercial ending.But darn!For this one I just wish for a happy ending for everybody.

Is it BETTER than…
Smaller productions such as Plain Love II,Life For Life?I know they have nothing in common but they are all small productions with lesser known casts and lesser publicities.But they all have in common a great story to be told,great acting with compelling storyline and the end product is often very charming and extremely watchable.They can draw you into the story eventhough they have little or no special effects and especially,no big time family drama or sordid love affairs.I would say they are all great and I consider this reviewed serial one of the best of TVB’s this year.

Interesting Facts
None for this serial but I would believe that it will be a hit amongst older people.However,this month will be Kong Wah’s month coz just after this serial is released,another serial with him is released.It is titled Yeung Kwai Fei and it is a costume drama but it isn’t about sword fighting clans but women fighting for the affections for one king ala Happy Ever After.It will be interesting to see a serial with 99% women in it and as usual,Kong Wah always shines in costume drama especially when he plays a king.Look out for the review in this site.If you have the time,go to ATV and rent Battle of the Majesty which is like War and Remembrance but better.Please see this site’s ATV page for the review.

Mak Cheung Ching got married recently and reportedly,he was so overwhelmed he cried at the wedding.And very recently,he became a father to a baby girl.Amongst those present to greet the baby girl was Lau Yoke Chui and Benny Chan.

If you do not see the resemblance,I wouldn't say you're not very observant because he doesn't look a bit like his famous father.Hung Tin Ming (the guy who plays Bowie,son of Lau Chung Yan) is the real life son of Sammo Hung,now a bona fide American icon with his famous Martial Law Series in US the A.

Interesting Gossips
You know that girl who plays Ah Ling here and Sardonna in Mr Diana(Cheung San Yuet)?She has a very bad reputation in the sense that very few people like her.I am not sure why but she is not very likable and people have very little nice things to say about her.But this is just a small gossip.Anyway,you can now see her in a 2 year old drama with Nicholas Tse.
For bigger and more dramatic ones,the honours will go to Jesicca Hester Hsuen for her very public battle with Maggie Cheung and very recently,with the top TVB producer who just so happens to be the sister of Mui Siu Wai.Coincidentally,every serial Mui Sui Wai acted in,her sister is the producer.I do think real life make for better dramas. And it is ineteresting to see as an actress become more famous,the more outspoken she is.Which is a good thing (when she is right).

Unimportant Stuffs
I can't read not write chinese,that is why the reviews are in English.But to those who wants to rent this serial citing its chinese title,for whatever it is worth ,it is called Mou Yip Lau Mun in cantonese.


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