Cast: Violet Li (李影), Lau Kong (劉江), Angelina Lo (盧宛茵), Marco Ngai (魏駿傑), Louisa So (蘇玉華), Sammi Cheng (鄭秀文), KK Cheung (張國強), Wallace Chung (鍾漢良), Raymond Cho (曹永廉), Gan Pui Gwan (簡珮筠), Ho Kit San (何潔珊), Bao Fong (鮑方), Lily Leung (梁舜燕)
For the past few weeks, I’ve been watching the series “Journey of Love” on TV every night and just finished it a few days ago. Overall, this actually wasn’t a bad series, even though I did have quite a few issues with the way the storyline was written and presented (which I will go into later). I think for me, what really ‘saved’ this series and made it worth watching was the acting from the cast – most (though not all) of the cast put in solid performances and really helped to push the emotional factor forward – this was actually no easy feat considering much of the cast consisted of ‘newbies’ (in acting at least) and the script was kind of messy and ‘all over the place’ (the storyline is extremely clichéd to the point of being hugely predictable, which will become more obvious later on in the review).
First off, before I go any further, I feel it’s necessary to give a brief overview of the plot for this series so that the rest of my review makes more sense (for those who have seen this series already and are very familiar with the plot, you can skip this section if you want).
Summary / Plot
The story is about a benevolent mother named Ho Ah Chun (played by Violet Li) whose husband dies and leaves her with 5 young children to raise (3 boys and 2 girls). Since the family was already poor to begin with, Ah Chun must now work even harder to try and make ends meet so that she can provide the basics for her children. Due to her desperate situation, she resorts to utilizing little tricks to cheat people out of money at the local Mahjjong centers and that’s where she meets Fung Guang (played by Lau Kong) – one of the local ‘bullies’ who hangs out at the gambling places and tries to make people’s lives miserable. After some misunderstandings occur between them, Ah Chun is forced to flee to the Philippines, leaving her 5 children behind in HK in the care of her good friend Lee Bo King (played by Angelina Lo). Unfortunately, she encounters bad luck over there and after being framed for a murder she didn’t commit, she ends up in jail for 18 years. When she is released, she returns to HK and begins the difficult ‘journey’ of finding all 5 of her children and reuniting with them. The entire series is pretty much about Ah Chun’s quest to find each of her children one by one and the hardships / setbacks she encounters along the way.
Even though Ah Chun does end up finding each of her children, the lives that each of them lead turns out to be completely different due to the circumstances under which they grew up.
Eldest son Cheung Ka Sing (played by Marco Ngai) spent most of his childhood working at the local street markets and ends up owning a small local restaurant when he grows up, which he maintains with the support of his wife Suk Kuen (played by Louisa So) and young son Siu Lung (child actor whom I don't know the name of). Ka Sing has a gambling habit and constantly uses money from the restaurant to 'fuel' his habit (which leads to misunderstandings between his wife and mother). Suk Kuen is the typical hardworking, practical housewife whose main goal is to maintain the restaurant while at the same time making sure that her family is taken care of (of course, she has tight control of the finances). Their son is an annoying brat (sorry, but I really didn't like the kid much at all). Overall, they are a decent family trying hard to make a modest living. Of course, things happen over the course of the series that put their marriage to the test, though they end up fine in the end.
Eldest daughter Cheung Ka Wai (played by Sammi Cheng) -- oldest amoung the girls but second amongst all the siblings -- ended up in an orphanage after her mother left. Being the smartest and most educated one out of all the siblings, she ends up having the best lot in life when she grows up -- she becames a high ranking attorney (prosecutor) with a super-nice boyfriend Joe (played by KK Cheung) who, of course, is a doctor (talk about cliches and stereotypes!). She changes her name to Helen while at the orphanage and even though she finds out early on that Ah Chun is her biological mother, she refuses to acknowledge her pretty much until the very end (due to reasons that I won't get into here). She and Joe eventually get married and have a daughter together.
Cheung Ka Keung (played by Wallace Chung) is the middle child who ends up with the most unfortunate lot in life -- while left in the care of Bo King (Angelina), he accidentally falls out the window of her home, hits his head on the sidewalk, and due to damage to the brain, he becomes mentally handicapped. Not able to care for him, Bo King puts him in an institution that specializes in taking care of mentally handicapped children and that's where he grows up until Ah Chun returns. Even though he has the mental capacity of a child, he does eventually learn to be independent and later on is able to take care of himself, though before that happens, he of course has to go through all sorts of ‘issues’ due to society not being receptive to people like him.
The 2 youngest siblings are twins (a few minutes apart in age) Cheung Ka Mei (played by Gan Pui Gwan) and Cheung Ka Jun (played by Raymond Cho). When their mother left, both of them were pretty much still babies (1 year old) and so they weren't old enough to remember their mother at all. Ka Mei remained with Bo King and was raised alongside her own daugher Siu Lai (played by Ho Kit San), but because Bo King had to make a living and sort of neglected her throughout most of her childhood, she grew up to become one of those typical incorrigible 'problem youth' who didn't go to school and pretty much spent her entire day 'hanging out' with good-for-nothing friends and getting into trouble left and right (typical!). Due to her plight, Ka Mei has a rebellious attitude and is constantly angry at everyone and everything, which also makes her a very unreasonable person and difficult to get along with. She pretty much spends most of the series wreaking havoc and causing problems for everyone.
Ka Jun was in and out of the hospital as a baby due to having asthma (I think?), so when his mother left, the doctor who operated on him at the hospital (Dr Wong, played by the late Bao Fong) and his wife (played by Lily Leung) adopted him, changed his named, and treated him like their own son. So pretty much Ka Jun (who is referred to by his English name Dick Wong) grows up in an affluent family and doesn't have to worry about anything financially. Since he was only a baby when his mother left, he does not know that he was actually adopted and Ah Chun is his biological mother until pretty much the last 3rd of the series.
Storyline / Script
As I said earlier, the biggest problem I had with this series was the script, which had a lot of flaws and inconsistencies in it that definitely affected the viewing experience (for me at least). I mean, I felt that the story that the series was trying to tell was quite good and the lessons it tried to teach were definitely meaningful, but the ‘method’ that they used to tell the story was a bit too ‘messy’ for my tastes. The first third of the series or so was actually pretty good, but by the middle / ending sections of the series, it really started to fall apart in my opinion – to the point that I started to get a little annoyed at some of the scenes. At a few points throughout the series, I actually felt that the scriptwriter was really trying to test our (the audience) patience and perhaps were even trying to pull the wool over our eyes with some of the ridiculous story arcs that just didn’t make a whole lot of sense.
For instance: the part where Ka Mei goes all ‘psychotic’ when she finds out that Siu Lai likes Ka Jun (this was back when no one knew about his true identity) and spikes his drink at his birthday party out of jealousy, causes a car accident, then tries to frame him to say he was taking drugs and they end up battling it out in court. That whole segment (if I remember correctly, I think that whole story arc ran the course of an episode or two?) was just completely ridiculous and lame. I mean, come on now – knowing Ka Mei’s background (um, she was dealing drugs at one point), how could it even fly that Ka Jun spiked his own drink at his own party for no reason at all? And for everyone to defend her like she was some angel? Oh and Siu Lai’s reaction was pathetic: when her mother Bo King tells her to ‘go along’ with Ka Mei’s story and ‘frame’ Ka Jun, Siu Lai does it pretty much without question – wait, isn’t this the guy that she supposedly had feelings for and wanted to develop a relationship with? Then why would she so readily agree to ‘frame’ him knowing that he was completely innocent? And then when everything is said and done and Ka Mei ends up going to jail for a few months, Ka Jun not only forgives Siu Lai right away, he also continually seeks her out and still wants to develop a relationship with her again as though nothing had happened (not to mention he still wants to try and get on Ka Mei’s good side for Siu Lai’s sake). Huh? Really? Throughout that whole segment, it just seemed like everyone acted very out of character (except for Ka Mei) – it was almost as though they were playing completely different characters during that part or something!
I also felt that the writers went a bit too ‘overboard’ in trying to make the series overly ‘dramatic’, especially with the main story involving the mother Ah Chun, and therefore made the series way too ‘cliché-ish’ (if that’s a word). I mean, look at all the ‘tragedy’ that the writers put the mother through: her husband dies; she has no money and 5 kids to raise; she encounters a ‘bad guy’ who forces her to flee to Philippines; she gets separated from her kids; she is framed for murder and goes to jail for 18 years; her oldest son has leukemia and almost dies, her middle son is mentally retarded, her youngest daughter is a ‘problem child’, her other 2 kids don’t want anything to do with her; she endures all sorts of mental and emotional anger / frustration / ‘torture’ as well as hardship; she almost gets put in jail again after that bastard Fung Guang dies and she is suspected of doing it, etc. -- then in the end, when all the problems are resolved and just when we think that finally she gets the chance to live ‘happily ever after’ with her 5 children and their families, she gets liver cancer and dies (or at least it’s implied that she dies)! Sheesh!! By the time I got to the end of the series, I really wanted to tell the writers to just leave the poor woman alone already!!!
Now, don’t get me wrong – not all of the script was bad….there were actually quite a few very poignant, very well-made scenes in the series and some parts of the script were pretty decent – it’s just that the writers should have tied everything together in a better way.
Cast / Acting
In terms of the acting, there were actually quite a few very solid performances in this series and as I said earlier, this was really the piece that kept me watching until the end (otherwise, I probably would have given up on the series already).
Here’s my take on a few of the ‘main players’:
Violet Li (Ho Ah Chun) – Violet’s role was a really tough one to do, but she actually pulled it off quite well in my opinion. She was convincing as the benevolent but tough mother who loves her children so much and so unconditionally that she was willing to do anything for them, including admitting to a crime she didn’t commit and risk going to jail. In my opinion, Violet did a good job bringing out the depth of the character and illustrating the emotional ups and downs that she goes through in her journey to find her children – most of the scenes that I found to be most moving to the point of getting teary-eyed were pretty much scenes involving her.
In terms of Violet Li as an actress, I actually don’t know a whole lot about her, as she was pretty much active as a television actress prior to my time and already retired from the industry long ago. I do know that she was one of RTV’s (ATV’s predecessor) fadans back in the day (in the 70s) and then she immigrated to Canada in the 80s, returning briefly in the 90s to film a handful of series for TVB and ATV. I haven’t seen any of her other performances, so can’t really comment overall, but she definitely did leave an impression on me with her performance in this particular series.
Angelina Lo (Lee Bo King) – To be honest, I really didn’t like Angelina’s character in this series – I found her to be a bit on the ‘annoying’ side, especially with the way she treats people and such. And I hate how she agreed to ‘get back together’ with that loser boyfriend (husband?) of hers, Fung Guang – I mean, knowing that he’s not only a bad person, he’s also a penniless drug addict who pretty much asks her for money day and night and even tries to ‘harm’ his own daughter, what was the point of even allowing him into her life again? If she would have cut off all contact with that pathetic good-for-nothing in the first place, a lot of the ‘bad’ stuff in the second half of the series probably wouldn’t have happened (though we all know that of course the storyline had to develop that way in order to up the ‘dramatic’ element).
With that said though, I actually was fine with Angelina’s acting (she put in a strong performance as usual), but I just didn’t like her character all that much, so I really didn’t focus too much attention on her in this series. Besides, I sort of felt her character wasn’t really that important – she’s pretty much just ‘there’ to insert her opinion in things every now and then…pretty much any actress could have played the role without much difficulty (sort of a waste of talent if you ask me).
Lau Kong (Fung Guang) – I guess you could say that Fung Guang was the most detestable character in the series, which isn’t surprising considering he’s the main ‘villain’ so to speak. Even so, his role actually was not that big, though the impact of his character was quite significant – he was there for like the first episode or so and then doesn’t appear again until close to the last 3rd of the series. I feel that his character was primarily there to act as the ‘catalyst’ for most of the ‘drama’ that happens in the series (i.e. it’s because of him that Ah Chun must flee to the Philippines and leave her children behind, thus indirectly having a hand in how each of the 5 children turn out). And it becomes clear when he reappears later on in the series that it’s also partly because of him that Ah Chun’s son Ka Keung becomes mentally handicapped (Fung Guang beat Ka Keung and locked him up in a room – when Ka Keung tried to escape by climbing out the window, he fell and hit his head).
Lau Kong is one of those veteran actors with so much acting experience playing all different types of roles (convincingly, I must add) that sometimes you can’t help but wonder if there is a role out there that he ‘can’t’ do (I think the answer is “no”…hehehe!). Whether he’s playing a villain character (which is most of the time) or a ‘good’ person (mostly father figures), I’ve actually never been disappointed with any of his performances. Nowadays, he’s actually one of the few senior, experienced, talented veteran actors that TVB has left, so hopefully, they treat him well.
Marco Ngai (Cheung Ka Sing) – Marco’s character in this series was pretty much one of those ‘average joes’ who was a good person at heart, but not surprisingly, being human, he falls prey to life’s temptations (money, women, etc.) just like any man would. Of course, as expected, the storyline surrounding Marco’s character Ka Sing is quite stereotypical and in line with TVB’s ‘traditional’ formula (his gambling habit causes him to fall in with the wrong crowd and he ends up having an affair with another woman, which causes his wife to break up with him; then when he discovers the other woman was using him, he regrets it and just when he wants to get back with his wife, he discovers that he has leukemia – of course he is saved in the end and he gets back together with his wife…).
From an acting perspective, I feel that Marco did a fine job, though the role itself probably was not too difficult for him. I’ve always been of the sentiment that Marco has talent as an actor, but unfortunately, his personality and all the stuff that went on in his personal life damaged his career more than it helped him (in my opinion, the breakup of his longtime relationship with Joyce Tang really killed his career in HK, since most audiences seemed to hate him after that). Personally, I neither like Marco nor hate him (I’m pretty much neutral toward him), so whatever he does in his personal life really isn’t a problem to me – he’s a good actor, so I’d much rather watch him in a series than some of the current ‘actors’ that TVB has been promoting recently (just my personal opinion, so don’t shoot me! LOL!).
Louisa So (Yuen Suk Kuen) – Louisa plays the typical ‘disgruntled wife / daughter-in-law’ character who is not a bad person at the core, but just acts bossy and demanding all the time because that’s the only way she is able to survive in the face of everything going on – plus at the end of the day, she’s just trying to protect her family by looking out for the best interests of her husband and son. I really can’t blame her for being somewhat of a ‘bxxch’ in the beginning because putting myself in her shoes, if I all of a sudden had to accept a mother-in-law whose background was a bit shady and a brother-in-law who was mentally incapable of taking care of himself into the house (and have to foot all their living expenses), I would probably be a little bit ‘upset’ in the beginning as well (not to mention having to deal with that unreasonable, psychotic sister-in-law Ka Mei – she’s enough to make anyone go crazy! LOL!). One thing I didn’t like about Louisa’s character though was how she was so biased against her brother-in-law Ka Keung from the beginning, pretty much discriminating against him merely because he mentally handicapped (though again, I can’t completely blame her for that either because that’s pretty much the attitude that most people who are not familiar with how those types of illnesses work would typically take). To be honest, I even started feeling sorry for Suk Kuen later on in the series when her husband betrays her by having an affair and she leaves with her son.
Louisa did an excellent job in her role as Marco’s wife – though I also felt that this role was too easy for her as well, given how great of an actress she is. Surprisingly, she actually had pretty good chemistry with Marco and I actually enjoyed watching their scenes together – they matched pretty well together, whether physically or in terms of personality and interaction onscreen. Louisa is truly a talented actress (if you haven’t seen her performance in Phoenix Rising, I highly recommend it – watching her in that series sent chills up my spine) – unfortunately though, she was hugely underrated at TVB (not surprising considering how TVB has a ‘history’ of underutilizing talent). She actually only started to become somewhat ‘popular’ after she won that cooking show a few years back, which is a bit of a shame considering she was in so many series prior to that and never really got any recognition. Perhaps, like many of her ‘classmates’, she also fell under the HK Acting Academy ‘curse’ and so that’s why TVB never really liked her (it seems that TVB has a pattern of ‘mistreating’ or ‘neglecting’ some of the earlier graduates from the HK Academy of Performing Arts – i.e. Sunny Chan, Power Chan, Mimi Lo, Rain Lau, etc.). Whatever the case, great job from Louisa!
Sammi Cheng (Helen / Cheung Ka Wai) – Sammi’s character Helen was actually very typical of the types of characters she used to play back then when she filmed series – usually some type of professional (lawyer, designer, etc.) with a somewhat haughty attitude (I honestly felt that the whole ‘black-face’ thing she was known for back then sort of applied to her series as well – huge contrast from the way Sammi is now). I actually got a little bit annoyed with her character at first because she always seemed like she was in a bad mood or something – and the way she would say harsh words to her boyfriend Joe or argue with him over some petty issue kind of ticked me off at certain parts. With that said though, I did grow to like her a little bit towards the end, especially when her personality changed after she became pregnant and was more accepting of the people around her (which, btw, I have to mention that they didn’t do a very good job of making the pregnancy look convincing because Sammi’s ‘fake’ stomach was way too big and it made her look extremely awkward…haha!). Also, considering most of the women in this series weren’t really ‘likable’ (aside from Violet and maybe Louisa), I think they found a pretty good balance with the way they developed Sammi’s character.
Acting-wise, I definitely prefer Sammi today than back then, perhaps because she has more acting experience now and is a lot more polished and mature in her acting (plus I like the ‘happy’ Sammi a lot more than the ‘constantly pissed off” Sammi….LOL). She wasn’t bad in this series actually, but I just felt that some scenes came off a little bit awkward – not sure if it was the way the storyline was written or what. Regardless, given the circumstance, this was a decent performance for Sammi – not ‘awesome’, but definitely watchable! (And got to give her some credit for the themesong, which she performed quite nicely.)
KK Cheung (Dr. Joe Tang) – First of all, I’m glad that KK didn’t have to play the villain this time around (haha…I’ve been watching him in too many villain roles lately) – instead, he plays a super nice doctor who ends up becoming Ka Keung’s personal doctor as well as Ah Chun’s good friend. Ironically, he is also the boyfriend of Ah Chun’s daughter Ka Wai (though no one knows it at that time) as well as the best friend of her son Ka Jun (again, no one knows at that time either), so indirectly, he sort of acts as the ‘link’ between Ah Chun and the 2 children she’s trying to find. He is very nice to Ah Chun and treats her like his own mother (of course, he actually does her son-in-law later on in the series). He has a very easy-going personality – the type of person who doesn’t have a temper whatsoever and doesn’t get upset easily (that’s why I say he’s ‘super-nice’ – cuz it takes a lot to get him upset) – interestingly, his personality is completely opposite from that of his girlfriend Helen’s (she’s more high-strung and gets upset easily), but yet they are still able to make things work out well in terms of their relationship (though of course they do have quite a few ‘arguments’ throughout the series). I think that Joe was truly the ‘epitome’ of what a ‘good man’ should be like in the series, which is why I found his character so highly likable.
KK is definitely on my ‘favorites’ list in terms of actors – he’s always convincing, whether he’s playing the villain or the ‘good guy’. He’s also a great husband and father in real life as well (he has 3 children, all of whom are high school / college age). One of the other things I really like and admire about KK is the fact that he went from being an athlete with absolutely no acting experience whatsoever to an established actor with great acting skills – that definitely doesn’t happen very often! Even though he has been in a lot of series since he returned to TVB earlier in the decade, I still feel that KK is very underrated as an actor because up to this point, he hasn’t really been given a ‘breakthrough’ role – he definitely deserves more recognition for his acting than he currently gets!
Wallace Chung (Cheung Ka Keung) – Out of all the characters in the series, Wallace’s Ka Keung was the most challenging one to play and to be honest, I was a little surprised that the producer actually gave the role to a ‘newbie’ (that was around the time that Wallace had just started out in the industry as a singer). Ka Keung had a lot of scenes in the series that required him to express his thoughts and emotions through hand gestures and facial expressions, since his speech was a bit slow due to the damage to his brain – plus his mental capacity was pretty much that of a child. Well, Wallace definitely stepped up to the challenge because his performance was absolutely stellar – to the point that if you were to ask me, I would have to say that he was really the ‘star’ of the series from an acting perspective!! He absolutely ‘outshined’ everyone in the series with his performance – even the veterans! I was very impressed with Wallace’s portrayal of Ka Keung – he was so good in the role, so convincing and so natural!! Most actors who try to play a mentally challenged person (even those actors who are very experienced) would usually go the ‘exaggerated’ route because that seems to be the only way for the audiences to ‘get’ that the person is mentally handicapped (at least that’s the typical TVB way of thinking) – but with Wallace’s portrayal of Ka Keung, there was NOT ONE bit of exaggeration in the acting! From the mannerisms to the facial expressions to the way he spoke, his portrayal was absolutely PERFECT in my book! The other thing about Wallace’s performance is that he made his character very real, yet at the same time endearing for audiences – in fact, he was actually my favorite character in the entire series (couldn’t help being drawn to him). He definitely had too many well-acted scenes to count, so I would have to say that I loved pretty much every single scene with him in it! LOL!
I actually haven’t watched very many of Wallace’s series, as I pretty much knew of him back when he made a name for himself as a singer in Taiwan in the 90s (even though he was a HK artist). Then after that, he went to Mainland China to film series. Since I don’t follow Taiwan entertainment anymore and I don’t watch Mainland series at all (for the most part), I never had a chance to watch his series – but now that I’ve seen how great his acting can be, I might very well give his other series a try!
Raymond Cho (Dick / Cheung Ka Jun) – Raymond played the youngest of the 5 siblings, Ka Jun (he’s supposedly Ka Mei’s twin, but they absolutely don’t come across like twins at all). Ka Jun was a likable character overall, but I really don’t feel that the writers developed the character as much as they really could have. There were quite a few parts of the storyline involving Ka Jun that I sort of felt were lame (i.e. the part I described above in the script/storyline section).
With that said, I actually feel that Raymond did a pretty good job with his role, especially considering this was one of his first series and also the character itself was not that great. I did see that there were some scenes where he came across a little bit stiff, especially with some of the heavy emotional scenes, but to me, that’s definitely understandable and forgivable considering he was a newbie at that time (and since he started as a singer, pretty much had no acting experience). Otherwise, for a first performance, he did a pretty fine job! Of course, every time I talk about Raymond Cho, I have to fault TVB once again for failing to recognize his talent because it was already obvious even back then that he had acting potential. If TVB had promoted and developed him properly, he definitely would have been able to be successful.
Since I’ve already talked a lot about Raymond in this blog (plus I just recently translated an in-depth interview about him), I won’t comment on him too much in this review. One thing I will say though is that I actually was surprised that Wallace Chung got cast as the 3rd brother whereas Raymond got cast as the youngest brother – even after Wallace’s character appeared, it took me several episodes to realize that he was the 3rd brother and not the youngest one. Though both actors have that ‘eternal baby face’ look that allows them to play younger characters even though they might be older, it’s definitely obvious when you put Wallace and Raymond side by side that Raymond is older (or maybe I’m just used to watching the Raymond of today and so I’m used to his ‘older’ look?).
Gan Pui Gwan (Cheung Ka Mei) – Ka Mei was probably the second most hated character in the series (for me at least) because all the things she does is just plain despicable and stupid. I mean, ok, I understand that she became ‘rebellious’ and such because she never had parents around to raise her and so fell in with the wrong crowd, but to be honest, she went way too overboard, to the point that when she actually ‘turns over a new leaf’ at the end of the series, it’s unconvincing and hard to believe. I actually hated her character from the beginning and even after she supposedly amended her ways, I still couldn’t get myself to like her (to me, the ‘damage’ was already done). I honestly feel that the writers took the ‘incorrigible’ and ‘rebellious’ thing way too far with her – she was very unreasonable and nasty and just plain immature.
As for the actress who played Ka Mei – Gan Pui Gwan – I actually don’t know much about her and there isn’t much info on the internet about her either. I remember the first time I saw her in a series was in “Instinct” (definitely not her first series) and at that time, I didn’t know her name – I just remembered that she looked a little bit like Marianne Chan (though Marianne was definitely prettier). I’ve seen a few other series with her in it, but none of the performances impressed me (though I do feel that she improved from the time she filmed this particular series to when she guest-starred in DIF3 – took me awhile to recognize her cuz she had changed so much). Anyway, I wasn’t too fond of her acting in this particular series, probably because I couldn’t really concentrate on analyzing her acting due to being distracted by other things about her – in the series, she constantly has this ‘poutiness’ about her and a ‘look’ on her face that seems like she is ticked off all the time…also, her deliberate ‘saunter’ whenever she walked really annoyed me (and I’m usually not the type to notice these types of things, so it must have been very deliberate to the point of ‘obvious in this case).
Ho Kit San (Lee Siu Lai) – Siu Lai is supposed to be the ‘good girl’ character who is used as a ‘juxtaposition’ to Ka Mei’s ‘bad girl’ role – even though they grew up together and their relationship is like ‘sisters’, they are actually completely opposites in terms of personality (the cliché thing coming into play again). I honestly didn’t like the character of Siu Lai at all because she was just way too ‘innocent’, ‘naïve’, and weak, to the point of being lame and pitiful – she pretty much lets the people around her control her life and constantly looks so ‘fragile’ that I swear you’d ‘break’ her if you accidentally pushed her over (yea, I’m being sarcastic, but you get the picture). Oh, and her whole “I’m so conflicted” thing in having to choose between the guy she ‘supposedly’ loves and the friend who is like a sister to her was just ridiculous and dumb – her storyline was very poorly written and her character was pretty much just a ‘filler’ in my opinion. I absolutely can’t stand characters like hers!
Prior to watching this series, I had absolutely no clue who Ho Kit San was (actually, I still don’t know who she is even now). I did some research on the Internet and found out she was in a few other series, but not very many (pretty much you can count them on 1 hand). Well, I guess it really doesn’t make much difference to me, considering her acting was only ‘mediocre’ at best (it’s not like I’m going to run out and watch the series she was in now).
Like I said earlier, this is a decent series. Sure, there were definite flaws with the script and quite a few inconsistencies with the storyline, but overall, the acting was pretty good (save for 1 or 2 people). Now of course, if heavily clichéd and predictable series bother you, then may want to reconsider – though I would still recommend watching just for the lessons the series tries to teach and don’t focus too much on the storyline.
Oh, and one last thing I wanted to mention – the ‘emotional’ factor is quite high with this series, as there is pretty much drama and tragedy throughout (in fact, I can’t recall a single ‘comedic’ moment in the series whatsoever). For me, episode 20 was especially poignant, as that’s the episode where most of the emotional scenes were (for example: the court scene where the mother recounts everything that happened to her and all 5 of her children are sitting there crying – that scene was especially difficult to sit through).
Also, for a ‘low budget’ series with an ‘average’ cast, this series is actually a lot more watchable than most of the other ones that TVB has made in recent years (though it’s obvious TVB didn’t really care much about the series, since they released it overseas first and then warehoused it for a year before airing in HK).