Under the Veil

I wanted to watch something of Wayne’s so that was the reason for tuning in to this one. Then I realized Wayne and Sonija were collaborating again so the better for me since I had liked them together after watching Pages of Treasure (and felt they were kind of robbed as a couple in there). I also didn’t have any problem with the rest of the cast so I dove in. As I was patiently waiting for the plot to unfold, I thought it was just another palace related show. However, I was wrong. Yes, the main story arch was regarding the palace and the uprising of some arrogant dude who thought he would be a better ruler. It always happened that way. What made it different was how it brought back feelings of old series. Mostly feelings of ancient series of the old days. It wasn’t being controversial on purpose or try to dramatize everything. The story just flowed along. I found it funny at first that they had several characters in here in various roles and even their characters looked alike. I soon got past that and realized it would be an interesting one. At least it was different. Then I got pulled in by the story. Sure, some were repetitive and reminded me of Liao Zhai related stories. Yet it was refreshing in a sense of the chemistry between various characters. I felt it strange at first that they let Kristal portrayed a guy. It was almost as if they were running out of cast or something. But then the character grew on me and so did Kristal’s portrayal. (If they did some Mulan adaptation, she would make a perfect Mulan. Not kidding.)

Anyway, aside from the main story arch, I felt the rest of the couples had a fair share of stories. Although Yat Pan Heung was shown as a greedy, flirty, and despicable character at first but the background story for her made sense. She was a prostitute, what was she expected to do? Then she was living in such a place, how could she not come up with different schemes to triumph over others? Who was she supposed to trust? It made sense. The previous happening with the switch and all was only to teach Chu Yi Dan a lesson. It didn’t allow for Yat Pan Heung to justify herself more than that. Because he wasn’t her fate so he only seen her as the fun person, not like his boring wife–as he mistakenly thought. Chu Yi Dan finally learned that his wife was very talented in her own way and very strong. There were many things she’d done for him but he didn’t realize its importance until she was no longer doing them. It made him realized his unreasonableness and knowing that the wife he wanted had been by his side all along. When Yat Pan Heung finally met Hon Tin Loi, the story unfolded and she found her own happiness and what could be considered a normal life. I actually liked those characters more, lol. Call me bias but scholar versus awesome martial arts dude. But both Wayne and Sonija did quite well in bringing out their different roles.

Then there was the story of the Song prince and Princess Lap Ka. Their story was cute at first and then moved toward the tragic route. However, their story was spread out throughout and not bunch together. It created a sense of mystery to it, making you wonder if there would be some sort of miracle in the end, which there was. But it didn’t make it too corny. The story actually made sense in the fairy-tale or folktale kind of way.

The story regarding the fish spirit and Cheung Chan was a mixture of cuteness and tragedy. Although it turned out favorable in the end. But that story brought forth both humor and mystery. The ideal, sweet girl wasn’t who she posed as out in public and a supposedly fish demon wasn’t so evil like often portrayed in others’ eyes. Eliza actually did quite well portraying both roles. She brought out the innocent, cute side of the fish spirit nicely. Then there was the cunning, scheming side of the royal miss, Hung Mao Dan. Her chemistry with Bosco was cute and likable in their own way.

Aside from all the couples in here, I felt some of the notable mentions went to Lee Kwok Lun, portraying two roles (like some others in here) of the turtle spirit and Justice Bao. He was humorous as a the turtle spirit and somewhat grim as Justice Bao. Yet he was convincing in both roles. Koo Koon Chung was given a loyal, righteous role in here, which was hilarious. Well, okay, not like he’d never portrayed a good person type of role before, but I was more used to his cunning side or somewhat playful roles in the past. So having him in this role was a nice change. He was a great addition under the reins of Dyun Fung Sam. At the part where it was thought he had abandon Dyun as well, considering how he had a family and all, it was tragic but understandable. Yet he returned after having settled all his families at a safer place. It proved that he really meant what he said, i.e. caring for his family, and that he wasn’t afraid of death–like initially thought.

After all that was said and done, I think the most tragic couple must be Yuen Sam Yeung and Dyun So Sei. The ending for them was so sad. There was supposedly another chance for them at long last after all those years of waiting. However, in the end, they couldn’t be together. Both Raymond and Kristal acted out their scenes so well. Their chemistry wasn’t bad either.

There were many things about this series that made me wanted to defend TVB again, although I know they’re a lost cause for the most part. Most dramas nowadays are always leaning toward “love, love, love” and not so much for theme of patriotism so I thought this series sort of brought that back into focus. Yes, there were various love stories in here–and it would probably contradict my previous statement somewhat, but I think that they made the right calls for the main story arch, i.e. the side stories weren’t that dragged out for the sake of it. It was more plot driven than character driven so it made the pace likable and enjoyable in many ways.

The ending? Although not completely satisfying and I’m sure there were flaws somewhere, but I felt it was nicely executed for the most part. A typical ending with a battle between good versus evil. Yet it united some of the key characters for the epic ending. It was nice seeing Raymond in another role, but this time as Prince Wanyan Siu. He joined forces with them to help find the special liquid and also defeated the ultimate bad guy in here. It was a nice battle scene. Not overdone.They actually worked together to defeat the bad guy AND NOT make it like someone hogged the entire scene for some outright exaggerated battle. It brought forward a sense of joint effort like how it was from the beginning, having different characters participate in the events, not one or two person(s) all the time. One of the main reasons why I liked this series. And yes, it was indeed a major surprise that I’m praising it.

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Celebs Real Life Couples

Okay, I was just bored and wanted to start a list. But I will only include the ones I know for sure of OR care about somewhat. So if you don’t see your favorites on there, DON’T freak out. Also, I’m not including any past relationships OR rumors. AND–yes, this is the last one–I’m dividing them by region since I was getting a headache trying to group ’em one way or another.

Hong Kong

  • Andy Hui and Sammi Cheng
  • Angela Tong and Chin Ka Lok
  • Edmond So and Winnie Lau
  • Eric Suen and Macy Chan
  • Ekin Cheng and Yoyo Mung
  • Felix Wong and Leung Kit Wah
  • Frankie Lam and Kenix Kwok
  • Hacken Lee and Emily Lo
  • Jacky Cheung and May Lo
  • John Chiang and Lee Lam Lam
  • Kevin Cheng and Grace Chan
  • Leila Tong and Desmond Tang
  • Liu Kai Chi and Barbara Chan
  • Michael Miu and Jamie Chik
  • Noel Leung and Gary Chan
  • Power Chan and Mimi Lo
  • Roger Kwok and Cindy Au
  • Simon Yam and Qi Qi
  • Stephen Fung and Shu Qi
  • Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Carina Lau
  • Wong Cho Lam and Leanne Li

Mainland China

  • Benny Qian and Coco Lv
  • Deng Chao and Betty Sun Li
  • Dong Xuan and Gao Yun Xiang
  • Fu Xin Bo and Ying Er
  • Kevin Yan and Sunny Du
  • Qiao Zhen Yu and Wang Qian Yi
  • Tong Li Ya and Chen Si Cheng
  • Zhang Jie and Xie Na

Taiwan

  • Alyssa Chia and Xiu Jie Kai
  • Blue J and Sandrine Pinna
  • Blue Lan and Jade Chou
  • Chen Yu Feng and Ye Jia Yu
  • Eric Huang and Jenny Lu
  • June Tsai and Lee Yi
  • Justine Ji and Wu Jian Xin
  • Leroy Yang and Jiang Zu Ping
  • Nylon Chen and Lene Lai
  • Phil Chang and Shi Yi Lang
  • Vic Chou and Reen Yu
  • Wallace Huo and Ruby Lin
  • Wesley Chia and Amanda Chu

Singapore

  • Christopher Lee and Fann Wong

MIXED

  • Ada Choi and Max Zhang
  • Archie Kao and Zhou Xun
  • Dicky Cheung and Jess Zhang
  • Gallen Lo and Sophie Su
  • Hawick Lau and Yang Mi
  • Mark Chao and Gao Yuan Yuan
  • Michelle Chen and Chen Xiao
  • Nicky Wu and Cecilia Liu Shi Shi
  • Sonija Kwok and Zhu Shao Jie

*This list will be updated from time to time.

Miss Hong Kong 2001

Definite signs of deterioration. No doubt about it. Though the opening was interesting but still…the entertainment parts were always way better for some reason. I must say that each year they managed to come up with a different theme. Not bad. The contestants were introduced and they had to list why they were eligible to enter the next round. Man, most of them were definitely bragging. Guess they were testing to see if the contestants could be witty without being arrogant. BUT it was hard.

The hosts: Eric, Louis, and Sonija…

Judges: Pauline, Gallen, Charmaine, Hacken, and some others…

Definitely signs of TVB using internal resources more than ever. Gallen looks so handsome though! (*mwuhahaha*) Charm looks so cute in that outfit. (Okay, I know half of the population hates her but I have my moments with her.)

Scenes when they were outside usually make them look better for some reason. Strange…

After Patrick Tang and some people performed, we were finally led into the questioning part. PHEW…not sure how worse it could get but whatever. Sonija get to introduce the contestants while Eric and Louis were in charge of grilling the contestants. GOSH…it’s killing me. Eric and Louis should kill them all already so they couldn’t pass. #6 was all right. At least she didn’t stutter. (Though it was all right that she mixed her languages.) Where in the world did they get all these contestants? AND poor Eric, had to look up so much. These girls are honestly too tall. #18’s question was funny. George Washington was still holding the ax, LOL! Darn! These girls are killing me. Shirley’s question was the easiest BUT she didn’t get it? How slow could she get? Only like about 3 could provide some decent answers.

Jordan Chan will take them to Japan? Poor Jordan! I actually like the effects where Jordan was drawing/painting and the pictures came to live. That was about it. Then there was also the part they were transported to the city and other areas. Very exotic and cool. That was about it. No comment regarding the ‘beauties’. I thought they looked better when they covered up because their bodies were too much of a sight to me. (Seriously, I must agree with Eric that most of them looked like they haven’t gone through puberty yet.)

Last part before they picked top 12? Joey Yung and Ekin Cheng. (What a coincidence!) Joey Yung look better than the contestants! (I know that was mean but honestly.) Interesting story. Kind of cute… I already gone out of the ‘Ekin’ phase so I wasn’t really paying attention. (But I think Ekin must have improved in his singing or something? Since he sounded better than the last time.) The settings were quite grand though. The crew totally make it happen.

Miss Photogenic? Shirley got it? Umm…no comment. I guess she seemed better than most of them for some reason.

They were each given a lamp and would take the label off. The ones who got the ‘X’ would be out.

Gilbert Lam was the person who introduced the judges at the beginning of the 2nd part? Cool! I totally forgot about him! He’s so cool. Too bad he doesn’t get to stick around much. Or perhaps that was better since it would be too much to stand.

(I didn’t want to say it before but I was seeing the pattern of ‘Angels of Missions’ people in here. BUT of course AOM was after this. But still interesting to see.)

I totally forgot that Leon was in here also since he opened up the show with his performance. (Snore-land though it was an upbeat song.) The whole time he was singing, I was like, “Hand it to Aaron already.” Mean, I know. But I was yawning too much. He’s not suitable for upbeat songs.

The next part was funnier though – much more entertaining – since Hacken was seen walking along with Natalis and Alan on the camels, trying to find their way to the show, LOL. Natalis and Alan were pondering if they were lost, LOL. And then Hacken was saying they heard Leon’s voice so they must be going in the right direction. Alan was even saying how Hacken was easily fooled by Eric’s words (i.e. he was the one who told them the directions, lol). Then the contestants get to tell everyone their dreams and/or goals. But Natalis, Alan, and Hacken’s rants were funnier. Eric had been in some sort of accident (according to their recounts) so he was unable to make it.

The next part was cool since they managed to invite this one pro acrobat lady to do some really cool tricks. Then Bernice Liu came out, dancing and singing. Cool. Suitable for the theme. She was so glamorous. Okay, the contestants had to use the objects given to describe one another. They were divided into pairs, of course. I love Alan and Hacken! They were so funny, arguing with each other like that instead of asking the questions, LOL. Bernice changed again to continue the song – or at least until the next sets of contestants came out. Watching the contestants try to find some compliments to praise each other with the objects given was too funny! At least they were improving. OR it seemed to get a tad better than having them answering trivial questions. Bernice changed again! Whoa! That was fast. Anyway, still cool.

Okay, the next part of questioning – more trivial questions, LOL. There were three sets of questions – middle school, high school, and college. (OR something like that.) If they answer right, they would advance one step up. If not, they would be lower one level. The questioning would start at their current educational level. The contestants changed outfits again. Nice outfits, LOL. I think the contestants were better in these set of questions since they were more used to the straight fact question-answer than the critical thinking ones. At least it’s reassuring on some level since it would be more encouraging to watch. Shirley did slightly better in this one.

The next part was a really cute yet entertaining story. Aaron Kwok and Coco Lee. (I was a bit surprised that they were able to invite Coco to participate.) Aaron got to sing his ‘Para Para’ song! LOL! (This sort of solves my question with why Aaron wasn’t opening before. This was more fun.)

Anyway, after that, we get to witness the contestants sing and dance with 60 children. The children were so cute! (I don’t know, I just didn’t care as much for the contestants regardless of how much they improved for this round.)

They were trying to do it different this year. Getting rid of three at a time until they reached top 5. Don’t know it would come to that but I guess it was something to keep people tune in. Hacken’s so funny!

Eric’s return. Awww…Alan was subbing for Eric. Just when Eric return, they made him be the bad guy to eliminate 3 contestants, LOL. Still funny. What was Hacken looking at, kept staring at Eric’s head. So funny that Eric was reassuring the others to come back next year, LOL.

More questionings. They were given a statement and then they had to pick if they agree with the phrase or not. Then they had to argue for or against it. Alan was too funny! He lost during the first time! He and Hacken are cracking me up! Hacken was saying how Alan was only the witness and did not have to input. It got even funnier when they were attempting to translate for this one contestant. Then Alan translated before she was even finished. Natalis was poking at Alan for it. (Actually, he was pretending to talk about Alan with Hacken, LOL.) Man, it was way funnier watching the hosts argue. Man, Natalis’ comment!

They invited Anne to help with determining who had beautiful skin? Shirley got it. I guess the judges were careful and inspected everything so no complaints.#3, #9, and #18 got the creativity prize since they were able to impress the judges with their cooking skills and creation.

I totally forgot that Jacky was in here! Cool! I guess it wouldn’t be complete without him. Jacky and Kelly Chen? OKAY…but for all the fun of it. Funny ending since he was just dreaming and his wife (portrayed by Kelly) was rousing him up. So much for it…(LOL) Again, save the best for last, right? Since it was supposed to be the last performance before they eliminate 3 more. But the top 12 got to return so they could announce the ‘most improved’ prize and the Miss International Goodwill. #4 got ‘most improved’ and #6 got Miss International Goodwill. Not bad. I don’t know. Somehow they looked better around this time. *shrugs*

Alan, Hacken, and Natalis were arguing over who should sing for the last part? But they ended up using the dancing routines to determine who was the top 4. At least they didn’t have to argue. That was interesting that Johnson Lee was one of the ones holding the sign up when they were answering the last round of questions. #2 and #3 got eliminated after that.

The ones who were eliminated had to come out and tell us who they support to be the winner. #6 got 3rd place, #4 got 2nd, and of course Shirley got first. Not bad. NOT the best of all time, but I guess it will have to do.

Miss Hong Kong 1999

So, what about 1999? Cool opening. This year, the girls got to sing more than the previous years. (Again, probably cutting back on inviting the famous guests. Possibly a way to recruit new singers.) Still, in a way, it helped to see that they were so united in various parts.

New way to start the show. Letting them walk around and grade their different features and/or body parts.

Finalists for the nice/beautiful legs: #5, #7, #17, #15; Winner: #15

Beautiful Skin: #4, The Most Fit: #14

Finally questioning part…*sigh*I must admit that though they were not as pretty as expected, but they were more intelligent and/or more fluent than last year’s. They seemed to understand and interact better. At least for most of them, comparing to last year. #9 was really good! Man, she guessed right! Sonija’s answer! Funny yet her explanation made sense. I don’t even know why Myolie even got in! She couldn’t get past Eric or Chin Ka Lok in the first round. (Okay, so she got the fitness prize, but so what?)

The next part was testing how well the contestants handled rumors. Interesting since it would bring forth how well mannered they are. Not to mention to see how they would react. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that it was a chance to wear their evening gowns. Kind of nice.)

Finally something to see. Or at least in the entertainment department. They have to go find 4 key elements to help save the earth, lol. The first one is the key of intelligence. Daniel Chan led the first group. The second one is the stone of true love and the group was led by Edmond Leung. The third group was led by Eason Chan and they had to find the (?) of leisure. (Sorry, too fast, wasn’t really paying attention) The fourth guy was Ronald Cheng and they had to find the sword of bravery.

Miss Photogenic? LOL! Funny how the hosts were explaining how it works, lol. Louis kept calling Sonija his fiancee, lol. So cute!

Interesting way to know the result. Probably another way to livening up things.

Anyway, the opening of the second part, more of the contestants singing the songs themselves instead of having some famous guest do it. Natalis joined the other hosts. Again, always good to see Eric and Natalis together as a team. (They’re more on par with each other than the others. Not that the others aren’t good but Eric and Natalis are on the same level, so their jokes toward each other aren’t as awkward though the others tried.) What they lack in popular singers and/or popular music, they made up for the different performances of the variety of musicals. Interesting to see and learn more regarding the cultural aspects. (Clever move by TVB. I know it’s a TVB move to cut back on inviting famous singers BUT I actually like the idea of presenting different parts of cultures into this one.) Michael Tse came into the scene around the time they were doing some stunts, LOL! He participated in some fight scenes. (But of course there was also some dancing as well.) Different stunts were done and the tricks were quite entertaining. (Probably a lot of hard-work. Man, quite nerve-wrecking during some scenes, especially the one they were carrying the kid and raising him to the second level while doing jump ropes.)

Fun questioning part since if the contestant was wrong, she would be lowered one step. #2 only got one right? LOL! #4 has none right? Honestly? OKAY… #5 got 4 right out of 5. Wow! Still hope. #9 got 4 right out of 5. Hmmm… #11 got 4 out of 5 as well. Sonjia? 3 out of 5. Not bad. Myolie? 4 out of 5? Really? OKAY… #17 got 3 out of 5. #18 got 2 right. #19 got only 1 right. It was getting funnier. #20 got 3 right.

More questions but this time they are asking contestants to vote for one another. #11 is seriously stuck up. #2 was clever, LOL! Who was fake or who was playing on words? LOL! Some of them are actually very funny.

They actually do more questions this year – or so it seems. It gives them more chances to prove themselves – or make a fool of themselves. YET it puzzles me even more and more why Myolie even got in. She wasn’t as impressive as the rest of them. Sure, some of them were not that great. But it wasn’t like she surpassed the others. #20 was really funny with her answer regarding who she wanted to get rid of. (#12 so they wouldn’t have to compete, LOL.) At last she wasn’t fake about it.

After announcing to us that #4 won the Miss Healthy prize (?), they were back with showing us how the contestants were choosing their own outfits, etc.

Okay, bikinis. Recycled ones. Well, ’cause they were trying to reminisce past Miss Hong Kongs so they were doing the theme of letting the contestants wear past ones. PHEW! Darn! Sonija almost took a fall. Lucky she was strong or managed to regain herself in time. Another contestant almost fall too. I swear there was something with the steps.

Sonija got the Miss Congeniality? Lucky she got it. (For some reason, I remember it was Myolie. Lucky I remember wrong.)

Okay, last skit before they moved on to top 5. Aaron Kwok and Kelly Chen. Of course can’t forget William So and Michael Tse either. (I forgot Cecilia Cheung was in the story too.)

Singing the top 5? LOL! Well, sort of since they were trying to see who was in or out. Trying to crank the hype up again. Eric doesn’t want to be host anymore ’cause his niece didn’t make it? LOL! Seriously, some of the other ones got better answers than Myolie. Oh well, the damage is already done.

Best smile? WHAT?! Alan Tam picked Myolie? Seriously? Marsha’s smile is the best among all since she really lightens up the whole atmosphere with her smile. Sally got better taste! LOL! AND Mr. Kwok was really cool. #4 and #12 definitely won in that area.

Regardless of all my criticism, I actually like the idea of having them sing the song ‘Peng You’. Kind of touching. (Even if it was leaning on the side of fakeness, lol. Sorry, had to squeeze that in.) The flashbacks were kind of heart-warming.Though I was wondering if they were scoring points with Alan Tam, LOL! At least I think someone got through already.

Before they announced the results, Sonija snatched another prize. (YAY! Well, let me just say that anyone snatching a prize is better than Myolie.) OF course Myolie got third place while Marsha Yuan got 2nd (PHEW). Let’s just be glad Myolie didn’t get the prize. BUT if I had to pick, I rather let #7 be third and it would be perfect. At least for that year.

Where The Legend Begins

I must say that I have never read Three Kingdoms properly so I do not know how accurate it was. But it was not that hard to tell that Cao Cao was supposed to be the villain. That was interesting to see that they shown him as an honorable person to his sons at the beginning. It also presented a different perspective to the story of the Three Kingdoms.

This focused around the Cao household and what roughly happened during the wars between Cao Cao, Sun Quan, and Liu Bei. They briefly mentioned some historical context to move the story forward but Sun Quan and Liu Bei never appeared, which was understandable since if the others were to appear, it would’ve stolen the spotlight from Cao Cao and therefore defeating the purpose of revolving the story around Cao Cao in the first place. But they managed to put in the famous ‘Battle of Red Cliff’ (Chi Bi) and how badly Cao Cao was defeated, causing his downfall (or at least made him lose the will to fight any longer).

This story began with Yan Fuk’s dream of Lok Sun being punished for causing the rift between her husband and this other god. It was all a misunderstanding but Lok Sun still got punished and the other two gods were spared of the punishment. Yan Fuk was actually the reincarnation of Lok Sun.

Yan Fuk suffered the same fate as Lok Sun because she was stuck between two men–whom were brothers (and incidentally Cao Cao’s sons). Yan Fuk’s only fault was that of her beauty. If that was even supposed to be a fault at all. Even Cao Cao himself has fallen for Yan Fuk at one time though Yan Fuk skillfully persuaded him that he was her respectable elder since he was her father’s friend. He finally thought it through and decided to resolve the conflicts that his two sons were going through to win Yan Fuk’s heart. Yan Fuk, of course, favored Cho Chi Kin (portrayed by Steven Ma) from the start because of their shared love for poetry and the likes. They had this tacit understanding and complemented each other very well. Chi Kin’s older brother, Cho Chi Woon, claimed from the beginning that women were trouble and those beauties only destroy men (and the country in general). He even wanted to kill Yan Fuk at first but when he finally met face to face with her, he immediately fell in love with her. That led to the conflicts between him and his brother.

At first, Cao Cao wanted Chi Kin to succeed him as the leader of the Cao/Cho household, but he later reconsidered and changed his mind, letting Chi Woon be the leader. He never knew that Chi Woon was not using his own talents to win over Chi Kin for the power. Others failed in vain in convincing him that there was some stronger power behind Chi Woon helping him. They were right and that was the pretentious Si Ma Yi. Chi Kin did not want to fight with his brother but he was driven to the wall with his brother’s despicable/underhanded method of winning that he was pulled into the conflict in gaining power as well. (Not to mention how he knew that only he could help the citizens live a better life after gaining power. Chi Woon was not a good choice where citizens were concerned because he would do anything to gain power. Chi Woon was like their father in that way.) Cao Cao also knew that Chi Woon was not the best choice so he wanted to marry Yan Fuk to Chi Woon so she could be his adviser and guide him in the right direction. However, he never realized there were other parties and forces involved so his plan was crumbling apart. Aside from Si Ma Yi’s constant schemes to get rid of Chi Kin’s allies, there was also Yan Fuk’s supposedly good sister Kwok Huen stirring things up to sabotage Yan Fuk due to jealousy.

There were too many things going on at the same time that it was hard to explain. You just have to watch it to know what really happened and understand the conflicts better. Who was the big winner in the end? Si Ma Yi of course since Cao Cao failed to listen to the others and gave too much power to Chi Woon that when he finally found out about Chi Woon’s beyond cure state, it was too late.

Aside from all those political conflicts and side romance stories, I found several scenes memorable–touching even, which were:

  • The part where Lau Sik Sik died. I actually cried at that part because of her tragic ending. She was an orphan who was brought into the brothel to be trained as a singer and later was recruited by Cao Cao’s first wife to fight against Yan Fuk. Yet, she was not a petty person. She knew and understood that Yan Fuk was a talented person and someone whom she could befriend since they shared some common interests. I felt that she was more on par with Yan Fuk and could be considered as the good sister than that of Kwok Huen. (Since although Kwok Huen used to be from a rich family and her beauty was stressed at various times but she could not be compared to Sik Sik’s elegance or grace.) The conflicts between Cao Cao’s wives had caused Sik Sik’s death. Not to mention how Kwok Huen had sided with Cao Cao’s second wife to try and replace Sik Sik by copying Sik Sik’s singing style. Sik Sik, like Yan Fuk, only wanted to live a simple life–but it was impossible with the circumstances surrounding them. Priscilla was a good choice for the role and her voice matched one of those ancient singers.
  • The part where Yeung So died. Yes, death was an unavoidable thing around the Cao househould since Cao Cao was a very suspicious person, always thinking that others were plotting against him if they did anything out of the ordinary–according to him. Yeung So’s death was caused by his stubbornness and unwilling to let go and some traces of arrogance that had made others feel threatened by his talents thus wanting to get rid of him. Perhaps he should’ve listened to his master before taking actions or at least be more cautious toward what was going on. However, he should not be blamed in totality since he was desperate to help his good friend, Chi Kin. In fact, he was a loyal friend. He had never shown jealousy toward Chi Kin or Yan Fuk considering how others had compared them to him with their ability to solve various problems. His death scene was really tragic considering how they showed Chi Kin and Yan Fuk remembering back to the past about their group of friends going to the inn to drink and talk about various matters. Also, the poem he uttered out before his death and the the song version came on accompanying the whole scene was very well done. A very touching moment. (Not to mention the letter that Yeung So left behind for Chi Kin.) Though lack of screen time (or what it seemed like), Gilbert did very well in portraying his character with his brilliant side and the somewhat stubborn side as well.
  • The part where Chui Fau died. Though ironic since she was an annoying character throughout with her petty antics in trying to get rid of Yan Fuk yet she turned out all right in the end. Her only fault was her stupidity since she did not understand Cao Cao’s plans yet only wanted to support her husband throughout. It was really pathetic and beyond frustrating that when Chi Kin was telling Cao Cao how he did not like Chui Fau but Cao Cao did not listen. He brushed it off and proceeded with their marriage anyway. However, when he discovered why it was a big mistake in letting Chui Fau marry Chi Kin, he immediately sought to eliminate the obstacle (or so he thought) for Chi Kin. I felt that it was very ironic since Chi Kin finally learned to accept her and she finally learned how to become a good wife (minus the whole high dreams of wanting to be a queen one day). What was even more tragic was leaving behind their son without a mother. I felt that scene was equally memorable with the other two death scenes since it highlighted the conflicts and enhanced the rift between Chi Kin and his father. She did not deserve to die however stupid she was.
  • The part where Yan Fuk died. It was sad yet frustrating at the same time though I knew from the beginning that she would die. It was probably her fate and if tying in with her Lok Sun identity, it could be explained that her time in the human world was done and she had served out her sentence after learning all the things about the human world. Yet it was giving Kwok Huen and Si Ma Yi the satisfaction of her death since they eliminated the biggest obstacle of their lives.

What I found the most frustrating and pathetic was Chi Woon knew from the start that Chi Kin and Yan Fuk were the real couple yet he kept wanting to win over Chi Kin and marry Yan Fuk. Yet afterward, he would blame Yan Fuk for being unfaithful when she had tried her best to make it work–because of what she could not change with the forced marriage. It was probably Cao Cao’s fault also for thinking that he could just plan anything and it would go accordingly. However, I just felt it was really dumb to blame everything on Chi Kin and Yan Fuk when Chi Woon was the one being unreasonable and unfaithful throughout. Chi Woon never loved Yan Fuk to begin with, he was only obsessed with her beauty and how badly he wanted to win over Chi Kin. (If not, why would he fall for Kwok Huen’s schemes?) But in a way, it emphasized Cao Cao’s downfall and how his family would never gain power for a long time so that was their deserved fate. But I felt Chi Kin and Yan Fuk were the victims of time, considering how they only wanted to have a simple life yet were forced into such conflicts.

What I found the most admirable was the friendship between Chi Kin, Yan Fuk, Shik Shik, and Yeung So. They knew each other’s talents and capabilities and shared interests thus becoming good friends yet they seemed to live in the wrong time (as mentioned above). They were so comfortable with one another and was really happy at that one inn where they would meet and talk about various topics, composing poems, or drink to their friendship.  Their bond was what made Shik Shik and Yeung So’s deaths even more tragic and touching. No one was able to stop it from happening, especially in Yeung So’s case. Shik Shik was unexpected. But Yeung So’s was predictable considering how he was taking such actions but he chose it anyway, knowing it would bring him trouble. The others did not have any power to prevent it from happening and could only witness it in frustration or sadness. The scene with Yan Fuk reminiscing about the past and Chi Kin practicing his swords skill while Yeung So was being transported to the appointed site for the beheading process reflected their state of emotions well. Each time, it was like the ones whom were left behind would hurt more with continuing to carry on no matter how hard it was. It was like until the end that Chi Kin finally died as well that their bond finally broke. Though their story would probably remain behind with those who knew them.

What was a bit interesting and amusing all at once was the relationship between masters and servants in here for several cases. What I meant was Yan Fuk and Yau Seen versus Kwok Huen and Song Yau. Both servants were loyal to their masters but one out of gratitude and respect contrary to the other with blind trust/beliefs. It was interesting how Kwok Huen was able to brainwash Song Yau into helping her throughout with the various plots. It was ironic that Song Yau said Kwok Huen saved her so she would do anything to protect Kwok Huen yet if it wasn’t for Yan Fuk saving Kwok Huen in the first place, none of that would’ve happened. But Song Yau got what she deserved in the end for being so blind with helping Kwok Huen. I also felt that June was better in portraying her role so her character was more convincing and May Kwong was not as good so it was hard to understand how her character was becoming that way.

Acting? Honestly, Steven and Ada were the ones that I was really impressed with among the four main cast. Moses was all right but I thought he could not make me sympathize with him even when he was being under-estimated by his father. I guess it was mostly due to the fact of his ironic character, stating that women were trouble but he just dived right in to it and could not resist temptation and just turned around blaming them in the end. It was pathetic. And for some reason, I could not feel the bond between him and Steven as brothers but could feel more with Steven and Evergreen Mak’s. Maybe it was because how Chi Woon had always been so calculative (aka keeping scores) and had been silently jealous with Chi Kin that made it hard to see their brotherly bond. Yes, there were traces of their bonding with how they played that one game at the beginning of the series, but I felt it was always Chi Kin/Steven pulling the weight or effort to mend things with Chi Woon/Moses. Evergreen’s acting seemed stronger than Moses’ though he was not placed into one of  the lead roles. He still delivered his part and made his loyalty toward Chi Kin/ Steven convincing and admirable. He was an honest person but he knew the importance of family–unlike Chi Woon who was blinded by jealousy. Perhaps, putting Moses alongside Steven was a bad idea since Steven would shine without trying. Ada probably looked more compatible with Moses than Steven (or what I thought of at the beginning) but Steven and Ada’s acting made up for it with their chemistry and interactions throughout. What about Sonija? Let’s just say that she did better in her recent roles. Because honestly, Sonija was what made it hard to see what was the fuss about her beauty. Maybe it was only Chi Woon who was blinded by Kwok Huen’s words and seduction method but there wasn’t anything important about her. Possibly that was why Kwok Huen was so jealous of Yan Fuk and wanted to get rid of her. Even Irene Wong did WAY better than Sonija in portraying her role. Although it was a different type of character considering their characters’ personalities but Sonija failed to capture the essence of the character thus making it unconvincing or show any signs of significance.

However frustrating that was, I still find it one of the better TVB series since it managed to capture an interesting side of the story. It was another perspective to consider since we were always told from the point of view of the other two famous figures, Sun Quan and Liu Bei. What I wanted to complain about was the make up for the cast. The guys were all right but the girls were more noticeable. Except for Priscilla’s make up, the rest of the female population seemed too pale or too old somehow. I’m not saying that they’re old, I’m just saying that the make up made them look that way. All the female cast chosen were not ugly at all yet the make up failed to bring out their beauty. Even though Ada looked stunning in her costumes but she still looked like she was too tired or something.

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