Monday, August 10, 2015

Ricky Wong's editorial on HKTV series "Hidden Faces"

I’m currently watching HKTV’s medical drama Hidden Faces.  Unlike traditional HK medical dramas, this one from HKTV is a very sincere, slice-of-life portrayal of ordinary events that occur at a franchised medical clinic.  The 3 main doctors in the series are played by John Chiang (family medicine), Frankie Lam (plastic surgery), and Wilson Tsui (Obstetrics/Gynecology) – all 3 characters have markedly different personalities and both good as well as not-so-good sides to them (in other words, they are very much flawed, which makes them all the more realistic).  I don’t want to comment too much on the series, since I haven’t finished watching it yet – but one thing I will say is that I’m 12 episodes into the series (episode 13 airs today) and am enjoying it immensely!   Sure, the series is not fast-paced and action-packed like The Menu was and because of that I’m sure the series won’t generate the same type of hype and attention that series did (with that said though, recent media reports claim that HKTV’s ‘ratings’ slumped drastically after The Menu but now with the airing of Hidden Faces, the ‘ratings’ have gone back up, albeit not to the level it did when The Menu aired)….but I’m ok with this because to be honest, I wasn’t expecting a lot of action given the genre of the series.  From what I’ve seen so far, I feel that Hidden Faces is more along the lines of To Be or Not to Be (minus the controversial societal/political theme) – it’s a slow-paced but meaningful series that doesn’t take sides (one of the things I loved about TBONTB)….instead, it leads audiences to self-reflect and ponder various aspects of life and through that, arrive at our own conclusions about right and wrong, moral and immoral.  (In other words, the series ‘tells it like it is’ and, as an audience, you get what means the most to you from it, which will likely be different from the next person).

Anyway, I digress….the purpose of this post is actually to share one of the ‘articles’ that Ricky Wong wrote as part of his daily column for HK newspaper Sky Post.   For this past Thursday’s column, he decided to write about  Hidden Faces -- after reading his editorial, I feel it is a good supplemental read for those of us chasing the series (though I also recommend checking out HKTV’s Facebook page as well, since they usually post up quite a bit of ‘inside’ info about the series that are currently airing).  The first part of the article about the significance of the series’ Chinese title was actually already explained on Facebook last week – Ricky Wong basically extends the explanation further with his post and correlates it to his thoughts on life.  It’s a very brief but interesting read….


Losing One’s Way in Life

**Editorial written by Ricky Wong

Source: Skypost

Translation: llwy12

The other day, a netizen left a message on HKTV’s Facebook page asking about the significance of the ‘three faces’ (三面) in the series Hidden Face’s (三面形醫) Chinese title.  The scriptwriter responded with the explanation that the ‘three faces’ refers to each person having 3 different sides (faces) to them from a mental/psychological perspective. The first side (face) is ‘one’s true self’ – raw, unassuming, not influenced by outside forces, it’s who you truly are deep inside.  The second side (face) is ‘how other people see oneself’ – basically, it’s how other people view you based on various factors.  The third side (face) is ‘the self that exists for others’ – the side that we cover up, pretend, change for other people’s sake.

After enduring so many setbacks in life, I now have a better understanding of what it means to ‘take things in stride’ – by experiencing and learning, I am slowly starting to grasp its significance and realize how important it is to have a heart of gratitude.  In the series, there is a line of dialogue that goes like this:  “What you possess today, others may never be able to possess in their entire lifetimes.  If you’re still not satisfied [with all you already have], there is no surgery in the world that can help you.”   The characters in the series think that going through plastic surgery will help them gain even more in life, forgetting that they should actually be happy with what they already have.  This is how it works in real life as well:  you may feel that your life currently is not as good as someone else’s, but in reality, it is already better than what many people experience in their entire lifetimes.  Since that’s the case, why spend so much of your time ‘existing’ for others and chasing after other people’s ideals?  If you continue to spend your life blindly pursuing others, you will only lose your way in the end.


  1. Thanks for translating Ricky Wong's article very meaningful. I haven't started Hidden Faces since I wanted to finish The Election first. I'll probably start this weekend.

    1. @sport:  You’re welcome!  :-)

      Hidden Faces is actually quite an enjoyable series.  Of course, it’s not the caliber of The Menu or The Election or even To Be or Not To Be, but it’s a good series nonetheless – very sincere effort from HKTV in producing an ‘ordinary’ medical drama that is well-balanced (not overly dramatic like most medical dramas tend to be), meaningful, has just the right amount of subtle humor, and is ‘relate-able’ for audiences.  This series is definitely going on my “favorites” list!

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  3. I'm actually enjoying this series. I don't mind its leisure pace, not too slow for me. But I wish Jodie is acted by another actress, nothing against her acting skill per se, just that I don't feel her performance. Also I find Lesley Chiang's voice to be too monotonous and flat when delivering her lines, other than that, I love the cast with Ah Lam to be my favorite character for his sunshine personality and optimism.

    1. @tamaya:  Yup, agreed.  I actually don’t see a problem with pacing on this one, so I don’t really understand all the complaints about it being “too slow”.  In comparisons with Beyond the Rainbow (which I think this series is supposed to be along the same lines in terms of the ‘slice of life’ piece), this series actually isn’t slow at all – BTR was way slower and with the major editing on that series, it turned the entire thing into a poorly flowing story about nothing….I don’t get that type of vibe with Hidden Faces.  I’m thinking perhaps some audiences are too used to watching action-packed series or ones with exciting things happening or cliffhangers in each episode, so when there are deeper, more contemplative series like this one (TBONTB was in the same category actually) that is about ordinary life, people are less keen to accept it.  In any case, I’m definitely enjoying this series and can’t really believe it will be over in a few days (finale airs on 8/17). 

      Yea, I’m not that interested in the Jodie storyline either for some reason.  For me, it has nothing to do with the acting, as I feel the same way no matter who plays that role...just don’t really care for that part of the story, probably because I feel that story arc is unnecessary.  I get the part about Amber and what happened to her being included in the series, since that story arc is critical in setting up Jack’s background and why he acts the way he does, but to be honest, what does Jodie have to do with it?  They could’ve removed that story arc and not give Jack a ‘relationship’ line and the series would’ve still been fine.

      I also agree about Lesley’s voice and also her acting being a bit raw, but since she’s a newbie when it comes to acting (never acted before prior to joining HKTV, unlike her brother Benji, who actually DOES have some acting experience), I’m fine with cutting her some slack (especially since I’ve seen way worse – she’s actually quite decent in comparisons to the ‘worse’ ones).

      And yes, Siu Lam is my favorite too – he’s such a sweet guy, so optimistic and happy-go-lucky and takes everything in stride.  Sam Chan plays the part so naturally too, which is what I like most.  In fact, I like Sam’s performance so much in here that I’m looking forward to seeing more from him!