VERY IMPORTANT NOTICE

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








Written by Funn Lim




"In the end the series is flawed but compared to recent offerings, this is the best in terms of acting and story."








SPOILERS ... SPOILERS ... SPOILERS


Chinese Title
巾幗梟雄

Pinyin Title
Gan1 Gwok3 Hiu1 Hung4 / Jin Guo Xiao Xiong

What it means
Wikipedia says...

Li Tim Shing (producer) explained that the production was temporarily called "Wives and Concubines" (妻妾成群) when the initial script was first submitted, but was later renamed to "Red Powder Merchant." Colleagues criticized the new working title, and Li later finalized the official title to "Veiled Heroine, Ruthless Hero" (巾幗梟雄) and its official English title to Rosy Business. "Veiled Heroine" (巾幗) represented Tang's role of the fourth wife, while "Ruthless Hero" (梟雄) represented Lai's role 'Chai Kau'. The drama was also sponsored by Bawang Shampoo.

Bawang? In Malay Bawang is onion. I am sure in Chinese it must mean The Conquering Emperor or something like that.

English Title
An impossibly bad title, Rosy Business.

Released in
2009

Cast-Character
Cheung Family
Suet Nei as Guai Yuk Yu 季玉如
Elliot Yue as Cheung Kiu 蔣喬
Stephen Wong as young Cheung Kiu
Susan Tse as Yan Fung Yee 殷鳳儀 (First wife)
Jessie Shum as young Fung Yee
Kiki Sheung as Pang Kiu 彭嬌 (Second wife)
Josephine Shum as young Pang Kiu
Kara Wai as Lau Fong 劉芳 (Third wife)
Summer Joe as young Lau Fong
Sheren Tang as Hong Bo Kei 康寶琦 (Fourth wife)/ Originally Hong Bo Yin
Angel Chiang as young Bo Kei
Pierre Ngo as Cheung Bit Man 蔣必文
Ron Ng as Cheung Bit Ching 蔣必正
Kelvin Leung as Cheung Bit Mo 蔣必武
Chan Wing Kei as Chow Gwong 周廣
Kong Fai as Siu Cheung 小張
Ling Lai Man as Uncle Tsuen 泉叔
Wong Ji Wai as Keng 瓊
Wong Fung King as Aunty Tin 田嫂
Lam Ying Hung as Siu Hung 小紅

Yau Family
Suki Chui as Yau Man 丘敏
Helen Ma as Yau Ngan Yuk Heng 丘顏玉卿

Hing Fung Nin Rice Company
Wayne Lai as Chai Kau 柴九
Cheung Yick as Lee Cheung Fat 李祥發
Suen Kwai Hing as Uncle Wah 華叔
Wong Man Piu as Keung 強
Hugo Wong as Wai 威
Martin Tong as Dat 達
Yau Biu as Brother Sek 石哥
Hui Ming Ji as Ji 志
Jacky Yeung as Seng 勝
Cheung Han Mo

Rice Companies
Lee Tsi Kei as Kum Boss 岑老闆
Chan Min Leung as Mok Boss 莫老闆
Law Kwan Chor as Chung Boss 鍾老闆
Kwong Chor Fai as Chu Boss 朱老闆
So Yun Chi as Kum Boss's wife 岑老闆之妻

Ching Bong Group
Lee Sing Cheung as Pang Hang 彭鏗
Oscar Leung as young Pang Hang
Nancy Wu as Suen Hoi Tong 孫海棠
Lee Kai Kit as Ah Chiu 阿超
Brian Wong as Ah Jen 阿俊
Bryant Mak as Ah Yu 阿釣

Sa Ka Group
Kwan Ching as Sa Tzan Tin 沙震天
Cheng Ka Sang as Ma Hung 馬雄
Adam Ip as Lek Jay 刀仔
Ho Kin Man as 豹

Governers
Kwok Fung as Lord Wong (King's Brother) 王爺
Bruce Li as Governer Lam Ji Fu 林知府
Joseph Yeung as Governer Lam's brother 林知府之弟
Cheung Siu Chin as Governer Lam's Uncle 林知府舅仔
Leung Kin Ping as Governer Chung Ji Fu 秦知府
Wong Wai Leung as Governer Hong Cheung Weng 康梓榮 (Hong Bo Kei's father)
Yeung Ying Wai as a Governer

Taiping Rebellion
Ben Wong as Chiu Yut Ming General 趙一鳴將軍
Lau Tin Lung as Chiu General's followers 卒長
Mikako Leung as female solder 女太平軍
Poon Koon Lam as female solder 女太平軍

Wuxi Villagers
Dia Yiu Ming as a disaster victim 災民
Ng Wai Shan
Fanny Yip
Cilla Kung
Ngai Wai Man
Lily Liu
Eda Chan
Coson Ning
Chalk North

Others
Gei Bo Law as Doctor Bak Long 白朗大夫
Raymond Tsang as a killer 殺手
Wong Wai Tak as a killer 殺手
Kau Cheuk Nung as killer 殺手
Kwok Tak Shun as Uncle Kin 堅叔
Lai Sau Ying as Grandmother Wan 穩婆
Law Tin Chi as Sei 四
Kitty Lau


Story In A Nutshell
Taken from Spcnet


HONG PO KEI's (Tang Shui Man, Sheren) engagement with Wuxi rice baron TSEUNG KIU (Yueh Wah) broke off many years ago when a natural disaster hit the country. Later when the country was running out of food supply her whole family was killed and she become a criminal. Over the years, KEI has never got over KIU. She has been trying to prove he is not as heartless as the others think. Fate has it that they meet again and she becomes his fourth wife. KIU's first and second wives, YAN FUNG YEE (Tse Suet Sum) and PANG KIU (Sheung Tin Ngor, Kiki), always make things difficult for KEI. KEI, who is an extremely clever person who never wastes time on trivial things, turns every threat into an opportunity. This makes KIU appreciate her wisdom and persistence. He entrusts his business to her and tells her to find a suitable successor for him before he dies.

Despite all the attacks in the family, KEI manages to keep the business in good shape. She has never forgotten KIU's last wish, too. By chance, she discovers that TSEUNG PIT CHING (Ng Cheuk Hai, Ron), KIU's second son, is not really a playboy but an upright person loved by everyone in the shop. She therefore guides and helps him in every possible way, but her efforts are met with CHAI KAU's (Lai Yiu Cheung) challenges. KAU seeks vengeance for being mistreated and wants a pay back from TSEUNG family. After rounds after rounds of battle wits and actual fights, KEI and KAU begin to appreciate each other. KAU even falls for KEI as time goes by.

Detailed Summary
All written by me here. Be forewarned, complete spoilers.

Comments
I first watched the 1st episode of this series 3 times over at ASTRO On Demand and never once was I bored. I waited about 1 year or so before it was finally broadcast over at ASTRO Wah Lai Toi. I watched every episode with my full attention, my miniature hobby put aside (unlike Gem Of Life) and wrote my episodic thoughts to the best of my memory for every single episode, never missing one nor have I missed more than collectively 10 minutes of the entire series. I sat through the entire end song, watched the previews next episode and waited with abated breath every Friday because the series would resume on Monday. Let me state it here first before I go any further with my review; the intensity in my concentration is in part due to the series itself, but largely because I was going to write a recap of the series later on. I will say there was never any dull moment in this series but I will stop short of calling it an instant classic or that it was amazingly great. Because it wasn't. You might think I am contradicting myself, how can I give such attention to it and yet not call it the greatest? Quite simple really. The fact I gave so much attention to it I see its flaws, which are deep flaws in everything of this series and yet because it has its moments, not every few episodes but in every single episode, you will just ignore those flaws.

Rosy Business, which is really an awful title reminds me of 2 series, one which it follows the story and the other, the format, increasingly popular in TVB series these days, which is good for excitement but bad for storytelling as a whole.

Safe Guards is the obvious reference. You may say Sweetness In The Salt or even the China production it was accused of ripping, but to me the entire story of Safe Guards is in this series, except different gender, different timeline but basically it Safe Guards but bigger production and the roles reversed.

Moonlight Resonance is the obvious format. There is a crisis in each episode, and the crisis is solved within 1 or at most 2 episodes. There are confrontation not unlike Jin Yong sort of stories, except in Rosy Business it is between families and not between clan members of different sect or kung fu masters. The confrontation is highly emotional, that as a viewer you will take sides and you will cheer when the finality comes, when one anti-hero stands out and became hero of the day to rescue the fair maiden who herself is a very capable person. The anti hero here is Chai Gau, the fair maiden is Hong Bo Kei.

Make no mistake, this series may have a lot of people but the entire series is from the viewpoint or rather is about 2 people; Chai Gau and Bo Kei, both coming from different background but faced similar adversities that binds them together. The rest of the characters either moves the story forward or to add some sort of dramatic value but none of the other characters ever fully develop.

Which is why I say the series is exciting but deeply flawed.

Like Cinderella's Stepsister, Rosy Business spends a lot of time developing the 2 main characters but except Cijnderella's Stepsister, our protaganists never wallow in their own misery. They triumph over it, they make do with whatever they have and they do so for the sake of others and not for themselves. Which is why I feel this series imparts positivity even at the most negative time, even at the worst of time. The human spirit triumphs.

The success of this series is without a doubt is due to the characters of Chai Gau and Bo Kei. Without them, it is empty. They're the good guys, but not clear cut good.

For example Chai Gau. He is to me the anti-hero and the best developed character in this series because the scriptwriter just love him. He is an interesting character. He started off such an arrogant man, who is in over his head and yet during all those times, you sense he knows what's right and what's wrong, but his rebellious nature somehow stops him from quickly doing what's right first. When Bo Kei begged him to help her when it comes to Bit Mo's kidnapping, he refused and refused and refused. But at the end he did help. Whenever Bo kei faces objections from many about her ability, he may not be the fastest to step out to speak on her behalf but he certainly was the first, and sometimes only voice of support. What he does, he did sneakily but when he speaks, he speaks the truth. Which is why viewers will cheer because he is often right. There is wisdom in his words, because he has seen the worst, he has experienced the worst and because he is not bound by family or fortune or by status or reputation. Even Bo Kei sometimes had to do things carefully, even if she knew the right thing to do is a certain act, she preferred to see things over first. Chai Gau does not have that limitation, but he learnt to impose on him a limitation when he began to care about the people surrounding him, first and foremost his benefactor and somewhat mentor, Bo Kei, then his fellow kinsmen, his brothers, his wife Hoi Tong, etc. He matured, though he fumble. Whilst he assisted Bo Kei and became her voice of support, Bo Kei is his voice of reason. He may limit himself, but sometimes he steps over and will in the end hurt himself. Give him a little and he will walk all over you. However Chai Gau is not a bad person which is why Bo kei see in him a supporter, an abled assistant, a friend, a confidante and in the end a soul mate. Chai Gau obviously respected Bo kei, if not her then who deserves his loyalty? He may have felt hurt when he thought she betrayed him when Bit Man he was still alive, but in the end he forgives her because he knows he has stepped over the limit and is only hurting himself and those who cares about him. You can say he is her light at the time of darkness whilst she is her conscience at the time of confusion. These 2 characters made this series into what it is if not for those silly moments or incoherent storyline. Strip away the incoherent and you will see a beautiful, engaging and satisfying story of these 2 people, about more than a decade of age apart.

And that is what is so interesting about them.

This is an olden day series, and we have a widow who is much older and an unmarried man who is much younger and both of different status even if they went through similar hardships. And yet there is no objection to the nature of their relationship, the story didn't bother to even go there except for one outburst by Bit Man who accused them of having a sordid affair which wasn't true and it was quickly dealt with in 10 minutes or so. The rest of the series, no one said a thing. The ending Bo Kei is described as his "Ji Kei" which can be best friend, close friend, confidant, soul mate, lover. I will take the term as soulmate. They were never lovers physically, but in their hearts there exist this utmost respect, admiration and in the end pure love between them. They spent 2 years together, unmarried to one another, never apart and Chai Gau died not with his wife Hoi Tong beside him but this soulmate, that is Bo Kei. And never once this series every attempted to make something ugly or dirty of that and I appreciate that. I like the fact that the people felt grateful for them and what they did and that they should do whatever that makes them happy. So I feel this series is rather classy in the way it dealt with this unique relationship because when this series started properly, it is filled with senior citizens or those near that. Average age is about 35 and above. Of course the series never really stated clearly except for Bit Mo's age (16 at the time of kidnapping) and Chai Gau's age (35 at the age of death). You will have to do the math yourself but it isn't exact science since it isn't exactly said. I am not even sure how long a time line was this series except for the 20 odd years, there is a specific number given from Bo Kei's hiding until her reunion with Cheung Kiu, I can't remember how long but there is no specific date given for what happened afterwards. I think the last narration did state it specifically, I didn't catch it but my guess was no more than 5 years. The characters themselves did not tell us how much time has pass because Bit Man the eldest remains unmarried when he died, Bit Mo still looked like a kid and Bit Ching married, but not much was said.

Timeline aside, the series can be divided into crisis at work, crisis at home and crisis in the town. Sometimes interlinked but most of the time the crisis at home is due to crisis at work and crisis at work is due to crisis in the town. The perspective is pretty narrow. And quite a lot of crisis, from locusts to rebellions. No, no earthquakes or godzilla attacking the town but still major stuff happening.

The crisis at home is always due to fighting of the fortune even when the patriach that is Cheung Kiu was still very much alive. It is the crisis at home that belittles the story, and I find that part rather dumb.

You see, the villains in here are specifically 2 people, Fung Yee and her son Bit Man. Uncle Cheung Fatt is just an assistant, a fool rather than a villain. This series already has all sorts of dramatic problems, and villains in forms of greedy merchant that is Pang Hang (but he is not the villain per se) and the town officials and such. But the villains, Fung Yee and Bit Man. And the problem with these 2 is they remained the same from episode 1 till the last. It took Fung Yee too long to express her vilainess so to speak because she was always instigating Pang Kiu or Lau Fong to do her dirty deed so she is a passive villain. When she finally expressed herself as an active villain, everything she did she fails and I knew she will fail within 1 episode, no matter what her big plan was. Her character became stunted, there is just no growth and she will either die spectacularly or go crazy which she did the latter. I find her start was great, her end was great but everything in the middle was just furstratingly under developed. A useless villain.

Her son, Bit Man is just the same. There was a scene which suggests a change for the worse or better but in the end he flatlines as a villain. He didn't do anything that would move the line up or down, he was pretty consistent villain and again underdeveloped. And after he came back from his exile, he just stopped developing and the story of these 2 villains went into a loop which is frustrating. His end is a bit anti climax BUT very suitable. Why? He fails as a villain and so should die an unmemorable unremarkable death. But due to his death, Fung Yee should have one final outburst against Bo Kei which is one of the highlights of this series. That scene was just waiting to happen.

So for me, the villains sucks.

The other characters have problems too.

Pang Kiu just never developed. She was a bully in the beginning until the time she went off screen. There is no growth. And she kept saying that word, "I am a ghost repelling talisman", that is probably more quoted than Chai Gau "How many decades does one have? Seize the day and live life to the fullest!", or rather bored to hear what she has to say. But interesting, even when I felt zero for Pang Kiu, her death was probably one of the 2 saddest scenes in this series, the other is Chai Gau's death. Why you may wonder? Because of Bit Mo. I feel for Bit Mo. There is very little on this character, but yet I could feel his presence. He is always talked about, sometimes he is not even in a scene and I suppose this is due to how Bo kei reacted when he was kidnapped. So there is an emotional tie between Bit Mo and the viewers. And we see the goodness of Pang Kiu through her eyes. He is a decent boy, he later stood his ground in support of Bo Kei which shows Pang Kiu must have done something right. Pang Kiu may be an underdeveloped character but through Bit Mo we know she is a good mother. She loves her son dearly and so her death scene was very sad to watch because of how Bit Mo reacted. In my mind I was thinking "poor Bit Mo, half an orphan". Never once did I go "Poor Pang Kiu". I didn't pity her, but I did pity Bit Mo, more so when her death was told by his shell shocked haunting eyes. You will feel for that boy. And I like the fact that Cheung Kiu didn't play strict emotionless patriach, he in fact held Mo and stroke his head and back like a modern father would. There are elements of modern values infused with this family and I think that makes that particular scene richer. But I must admit, there was never any kind of development on Bit Mo's character per se.

Pang Hang may look well developed but he is basically the same from episode 1 to 25. However this is one villain that provided the comic moments due to the wonderful portrayal by the actor, Lee Sing Cheung, a wonderful veteran actor at TVB whom I only know his name after watching this series. I don't think the comic moments were unintentional. But because of this comic moments it made Pang Hang less evil. In fact no one is evil in this series, just a varying degree of foolishness or stupidity.

Bit Ching is a major character and I feel even more major than Bit Man himself. Many scenes he has but always shared with Bo Kei or others. I like this character because he is a decent guy, a good man but it took him forever to smarten up and become a capable man and even that moment, that moment Bo Kei told him you're better than you think you are or that Lau Fong who gave him life in the end gave him his strength as a man came too late and too fast. I wanted to Bit Ching to be on equal footing with Chai Gau and Bo Kei but even at the end, he is not near their capabilities. Not really a major criticism but you get this feeling Bit Ching should have been given proper prominence instead of touch and go. After all he is the heir apparent chosen by Bo Kei, shouldn't he be given the time to develop fully into a capable man? As in you believe he can run the company without fumbling and can run it with an iron fist so to speak? I wasn't convinced in the end but his heart as always shown from the beginning is in the right place.

His wife Man fared no better. She doesn't seem she can assist him at all. Bit Ching will be all alone if Bo Kei dies unless he smartens up some more. Even Bo Kei needs Chai Gau sometimes.

Another character that is shown very little but somehow I just feel for her is Hoi Tong. Her background we will hear by narration, her end is not important except for that scene she knew Chai Gau loved Bo kei the most and so let Bo Kei have the privilege of accompanying Chai Gau and let him spend the last of his days with Bo Kei. I feel Hoi Tong's character seems like some idiot but she turned out to be naive and later on a rather loyal brave woman despite the hardships she went through. I like how her love story developed with Chai Gau. Nothing romantic, even rather cold and simplistic but I would never have thought she would end up with Chai Gau. I thought she was just one of the characters.

The character of Uncle Cheung Fatt will make you vomit blood and this guy is not underdeveloped but rather like a broken record. He never went anywhere and yet his death scene was now shown but implied and was rather sad quite simply because he did finally said something that he should have said much earlier and he was foolish most of the time. Maybe the writer wanted to imply he was in love with Fung Yee but that was never developed or even mentioned. Maybe they should have. His loyalty lies in the fact not because he is godfather of Bit Man but because Bit Man is first born and that his dead master said first born will be the heir. You thought how dumb he is to think that but even Cheung Kiu thought that. But in the end their actions is not because Bit Man is first born but rather because they truly love him, despite his obvious flaws.

Lau Fong is one frustrating character. I thought she changed but almost at the end still the same old Lau Fong. However I like the way suddenly she became much stronger, for her son. Her timid personality almost made Bit Ching that way but when she knew she had to stand up for Bit Ching, her one slap and one shove of Fung Yee was indeed one of the highlights. Her death was sort of sad I suppose marred by Ron Ng's awful acting but saved by Sheren Tang's great performance of a grieving Bo Kei.

And then we have another major character, Cheung Kiu. I thought he would die much earlier but he died way later but spent some time in a coma. He should have died much earlier because all those fighting when he was in coma and everything else after he woke up just downgraded the story in my opinion. For one, what drives Fung Yee to scheme and do so many scheming som openly and yet pushes Bit Man to his father's side thinking Cheung Kiu will recognise the son's pretentious good efforts when someone will surely tell Cheung Kiu about Bit Man and Fung Yee's real deeds? Like the keys incident? What makes them think no one would tell Cheung Kiu? What makes them think Cheung Kiu will not find out? And a whole lot more. And when he dies die, that scene about the 2 wills played out too fast in the series. You will realise with the conclusion of the will scene in just that episode itself, the villains will be going nowhere, there won't be any further development and whatever they do later will bound to fail. It makes the entire scene anti-climax. Of course we have later scenes how Bit Man and Fung Yee tried to grab power again but it is so pointless. What makes them think they can? No one respects Bit Man at all, and no one cares about Fung Yee and what she has to say. It would be different if Bit Man started off as respected but from the beginning everybody hated him. I find such instances dumbed down the story.

Which I must compare this series to Safe Guards, who has scene per scene copied in Rosy Business except at different times and I really believe this was done conciously to show a different series from Safe Guards. But Safe Guards' villain is successful. He was seen as the gentleman, the good guy and so the support given to him was believable. The protaganist is the hero and the problems are not compartmentalised but rather continous; how does the hero ensure the business evolve with the changing times? Safe Guards will show you what he did and though it may look ridiculous, it was at least consistent and continous. The Will reading scene in Rosy Business just served nothing more than drama, it solves some issues but not satisfyingly so. In Safe Guards, the almost last scene was the Will reading scene and it once and for all solved the crisis and in dramatic fashion with revelations after revelations. The entire theme of Safe Guards in the end was a person's integrity; the lack of it will lead someone to do bad things, the one with integrity leads and wins. Even certain scenes where the dialogue was believable and ring true, like how the mother realises her son isn't cut for the business even if he is the eldest child. It makes Safe Guards truly unique, memorable and most of all, in my opinion, an instant classic.

Rosy Business stopped short of that. It has waves of drama, waves of excitement, some exciting and somewhat realistic dialogue although you're right to wonder why would anyone listen to Chai Gau, a lowly employee at the beginning? Because Rosy Business infuse modern values. Someone with something useful and reasonable to say must be listened to, screw the hierarchy! That is why I feel Safe Guards is the better and more superior series because the story is far more superior.

I must mention about Chai Gau's adopted grandmother whom I have nicknamed Kawaii Grandma. She is so cute, however the acting was horrendous but she is so so so cute! And also a miracle. I actually thought she died when Chai Gau left in episode 1. Since there was famine, she was bed ridden and very old, I naturally thought she would have starved to death. She didn't. She in fact outlived Chai Gau. Amazing!

The opening sequence though was quality stuff. It reminds me of those China production sort of opening, meant to be watched on 16:9 widescreen format and I love how the graphics played out to the song. It was beautiful. The poster is beautiful but the theme opening sequence was gorgeous, rarely have I been so delighted by such beautiful sequence, it was like art, a very good one. It was somewhat similar to Gem Of Life except Gem of Life was just scrolling pictures whilst in Rosy Business the tone was sepia giving it an antique and mysterious feel, a very grand sort of feeling. In fact the opening sequence and the end sequence seems to be made for cinemascope. Some scenes have such beautiful cinematography and wide angle camera scope that it felt grand, it felt expensive and it felt that this was one production that the producer felt personal and important. However that feeling is not all the time but at least some of the time, and it is a real treat to the eyes.

Now the performances.

No doubt, I was dying to watch this series because of one man and one man only; Wayne Lai. He truly arrived with the character of Chai Gau but frankly I thought he already arrived with his performance as the pig in Journey To The West. He never really left but nobody really took notice except those who did. He was beyond excellent in Safe Guards but in Chai Gau you will see a different side of him; despicable, desperate and yet sometimes quite debonair. He is angry, he is fierce and yet there exists that tenderness in him. Someone said he has that hunger in his eyes and that hunger never left the entire series which made him such a great actor and yet despite the hunger, you will feel Chai Gau will never betray his integrity at the most important moment. He will be an asset, not a liability and Wayne Lai infused all that into his Chai Gau. Truly Chai Gau may not be his original creation but the development of Chai Gau is his alone. Probably one of the best developed character in the series or in any series, Wayne gave Chai Gau such life that you would believe such a man truly exists and the last scene where he died, I am sure you will be shocked and yet feel that is a proper end for this great character. I was hoping Bo Kei will die and not him though but then in the end Bit Ching will need Bo kei's wisdom and not Chai Gau's strength. What an amazing performance by an amazing actor. I am truly happy for Wayne for his recognition and his success and may I sad, he is even more handsome now!

Sheren Tang is one actress I never quite liked beyond liking but in here, this is truly her best performance. Hard to explain but in the past she seems to look arrogant and nothing else but as Bo Kei, there were many expressions. A wonderful performance even if she looks young for the character. But then she looks young for her age.

Susan Tse is ok. Nothing ground breaking. It's not that she can't act but her acting is so old style, so 50's, so opera-ish, but not really over the top that I just feel she is neautral and another more modern approach to acting of an actress would have made this character better. Why not as Liza Wang to do this role? I want to see her as a villain. A bit too old though.

Kiki Sheung had little to do. Wasted in this series.

Kara Hui on the other hand may be stuck with a one note character but her performance was anything but one note. She improved so much in her acting. I never thought of her much, even in Safe Guards but in here, she played to perfection the weak and timid Lau Fong, the way she cried, her eyes suddenly looked so big to me and so expressive. Fantastic performance! But hated the character.

Elliot Yue is to me not the best actor amongst the veterans. I feel Chun Pui would have been far greater. I just feel Cheung Kiu was meant to be a more shrewder, faer more intelligent man but Elliot Yue's Cheung Kiu just stop short of that. I don't feel his wisdom, I feel him to lack the leadership and shrewdness quality that makes a successful merchant compared to the resourceful Chai Gau. I was hoping for more scenes of his younger days grieving for Bo Kei but none.

Ngo Ka Nin has always been a good actor. His limitation in here is not him but the character who was exciting at first but in the end became a one note character.

Nancy Wu is one actress I never thought of much. I thought she had only one expression and that is the arrogant look. But in here, she displayed more emotions, she breaths life to Hoi Tong even if her scenes were not much. I like how she stripped away those ladylike whatever and just go for her role, displaying everything desperate and ugly about Hoi Tong and yet in the end showed how gentle, caring, loyal and loving she could be. A wonderful performance and she should have gotten the Most Improved award if she hadn't already.

Suet Lei was terrible. Inconsistent performance, worse was when Bit Man was dead and she seems rather cheerful about it.

Kelvin Leung as Mo is to be wonderful. I just like him as Mo.

The rest are ok, although Suki Tsui wasn't up to par. First of her character seems like a possessive unreasonable bossy wife. Her performance was lacking of oomph. She is cute but what is cute in the face of so many better actors who probably can play cute much better? Is cute a natural ability? Can you practice cute?

A special note of all the younger actors playing younger counterparts of Cheung Kiu, Bo Kei, Pang Kiu, Lau Fong and Fung Yee. All were wonderful, even if screentime was little. The one possible exception was the actor who played the young Pang Hang. Too caricature.

Now... Ron Ng...

I know he garnered a lot more fans after this series, praising him for his performance as Bit Ching. I was surprised that he was the one who sang the themesong because the singer sounded good. So I must praise him for improving in his singing but the themesong is already a good song. A better singer would have done the song more justice, not that Ron Ng was awful. But his acting, now that I have seen the entire series, was in the end awful. If Ngo Ka Nin's problem is with his character Bit Man who in the end was a 1 note character, Ron Ng's problem is that his performance was a 1 note performance. I wrote and praised highly about Bit Ching, because I truly like this rather honourable character who actually developed as a character, who to me should have been central to the struggle and not beside it, so to me the script did Bit Ching injustice by shoving him to the side and giving more prominence, to the point of utter obsession with Chai Gau, not that I am complaining. But Ron Ng, he looked dead serious when he is upset, he looked dead serious when he is supposed to be playful, he looked dead serious when he is happy and the only scene he looked suitable was when in dead serious scenes. I feel little for Lau Fong's death because Ron Ng's performance in that scene was so utterly inadequate. He was worse in his earlier performances but he has improved, however the improvement means he is stuck in one facial expression only that is dead serious. He does look dead serious everytime. His eyes emote nothing but a blank stare. No emotion, no joy, no pain, no nervousness, just utter blankness. His body language is as worse. He is perpetually hunched, in excitement whether due to joy or fear or panic, he will grab both sides of the shoulders of the person he is delivering his lines to, and most of the time the way he delivers his line, his head is bobbing up and down, like a chicken on the prowl which gives me a headache. But body language can be cured by just strapping him onto the chair. His expression was a major problem. The only scene he ever did well was in EU where he cried as Laughing Gor died. Even then, it was a blank face, but there were tears and why he did well was because that is one dead serious scene. He contributed nothing to the development of the character of Bit Ching except the fact he is playing Bit Ching. You look at him then look at Wayne Lai and you see how awful he was. By himself with other younger or lesser actors like Suki Chui, he fares better. But with even Kara Hui, he was inadequate. His character loves his mother very much, often withstand abuse and bullying for her sake and yet I feel none the love nor the warmth between them except the script says they're. There is no chemistry between them. Compared to the same character of a son to a father in The Greatness Of A Hero where Wayne Lai plays the stern and unloving father and Stephen Wong if I am mistaken plays the son who is eager to please the father. In their death scene, that just one final moment, there was familiarity between them, there was love, there was acceptance and a certain sadness that the son loved the father so much he was willing to die with him and the father finally understood how much his son loved him. I don't see this familiarity between Ron and Kara and it is not Kara's problem. She seems almost afraid or wary to touch him, there wasn't much physical contact, but plenty of tears and frustration. Stephen Wong plays the young Cheung Kiu in here but I would have preferred he plays Bit Ching. In fact I would have thought Ngo Ka Nin could play Bit Ching and Bit Man can be played by someone else because I know Ngo Ka Nin can play a gallant gentleman that exudes gentleness and grace, something that Bit Ching was supposed to be, which was why Bo Kei liked him so much at first glance. However, Ron Ng may have been awful, but he wasn't hopeless, if not I would have lamented that fact in each and every recap I wrote. I just thought Ron Ng screwed up the chance to present to us a better performance. It is true that the more he is in the background the better he will develop as an actor but unfortunately, however much I love the character of Bit Ching, I can't bring myself to say the credit goes to Ron Ng. It goes to the script writer for writing a good character in the first place.

As for the ending, let me just say it was apt. I may have wished Bo Kei to die and Chai Gau to live but I suppose it is apt Chai Gau dies as he was like a burning bright star, that burns out fast. Like a force that hits you and then gone. His death scene was only seconds but the effect stays with you for a long time. I feel it was suitable to have an unknown narrator to narrate his life although at the start there wasn't much indication this series is about Chai Gau only. The narration makes it as if the series start with Chai Gau and ends with Chai Gau because Chai Gau is the main leading character which is misleading. There is a disadvantage to this as everybody else is shoved aside, either went out of camera or never properly developed because too much importance is placed on 2 characters. But I am not going to complain. This is Wayne Lai and Sheren Tang's moment, especially Wayne Lai and if the other characters are poorly developed, if the story is loopsided and is weakened by the fact that the story isn't told well, I really don't care, for once. I really enjoyed the story of Chai Gau and I like that the ending was personal, it was a shot of him and Bo Kei sitting next to each other watching the beautiful sunset. I would have wished though Bo Kei give Chai Gau just one hug, that didn't happen. But I think in the end she did hold his hand whilst dating and on his deathbed, if that is as I remember it, then well... I still want a hug. It is supposed to be a love story but this is like a restrained love of the heart sort of love story.

Verdict
Many noted how similar this is to Safe Guards and you're all right. Many noted it is way better than Safe Guard, story and performances wise. Let me make this clear, my opinion; Safe Guards was way better. The story was evened out, the villains properly developed, the struggle of Seung Chi and in saving his family business and in the end his family itself was consistent throughout and not a problem by problem basis. Many scenes played out for a reason and was dramatic at the right time. Rosy Business failed in that consistency, and many dramatic moments just passed with no lingering effect. And the story wasn't well developed, the characters even less so. However performances wise, both series has Wayne Lai, and that is a bonus. Steven Ma plays the gallant gentlemanly struggling adopted son better than Ron Ng but then he is more similar to Sheren Tang's Bo Kei than Bit Ching. Safe Guards is pulled down by a very bad actress but lifted up by great performances by the veterans and younger ones. Rosy Business has that balance too. So it is a give and take situation; you can't have all excellent performances in one series it seems, which is such a pity. Make no mistake though, Rosy Business is highly entertaining, certain dialogue will spur you on, you will feel connected to the story, feel the raw emotion, the pain, the struggle, the joy when there comes those scenes but when those scenes are over, you will feel like you were crashing down emotionally. It is like an emotional high, then emotional low, and not much in between. Which is why I feel strongly for Safe Guards but for Wayne Lai, any would be fan or any existing fan of Wayne Lai must watch Rosy Business for his star turn as the always fierce and angry Chai Gau. I did wish Chai Gau leaves the company and join his brothers earlier because I expected him to return really angry but the way the series went, I thought it was suitable too. You may wonder how come Chai Gau can exert such influence on his fellow colleagues when he was a nobody but with Wayne Lai in it, you just stop wondering and just accept that as a fact. In the end the series is flawed but compared to recent offerings, this is the best in terms of acting and story.

A must watch.







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