Central Affairs


Reviewed by: sukting

September 20, 2008

Rating: three

How long
30 episodes

Foreword
Wong Ching started making dramas for ATV in recent years. Yip Suen starred in here when she switched from TVB. This was also Tse Yin’s comeback after many years. This drama was on the insurance world in Hong Kong’s central area. Coincidentally, the U.S. insurance burst bubble was in the news in 2008. I admire Wong Ching for his guts and foresight in shooting this drama although it is not that realistic.

Story/ Introduction on characters

1. Cheng Mun Hou – Tse Yin
The magnate of the big insurance holdings, MIG (what a daring attempt to use such a close abbreviation!). He is wise to rope in Chuk Hung to help him out but he has a weakness for women who work for him. He is a born womanizer. That is why he gives Chi San power to climb to the top but also makes sure that she can’t climb over him. He doesn’t know that he fathers See Sun. He is overjoyed when knowing that so he tries to help her as much as he can when she works for him. Too bad she doesn’t appreciate his help.

He knows that Chi Kin is ambitious but has no choice but to accept him as his son-in-law as Lok Yee loves him so much. Alas, he never expects to invite a wolf to destroy his empire. Chi Kin not only kills his beloved son and wife but also causes him to have a stroke.

Mun Hou’s life is turned upside down when Chi Kin ill-treats him at the old folks’ home. He can’t talk at all and has to bear with all his insults and beatings. He can’t tell others what he has done and keeps all the misery to himself. See Sun acknowledges him at this time to bring him home. He finally enjoys peace to be with Ching and See Sun. Seeing how both daughters fight saddens him but he has to side with See Sun. From being wheelchair bound, he finally gets to walk with a walking stick under Ching’s care.

I have always thought of Tse Yin to rely more on his looks than his acting. He proves me that he can act well here. But……I can’t tolerate him having a pony tail in here. He should have cut his hair short.

The young Mun Hou is by Yuen Mun Kit. He gives a fine performance as a man who wants to climb up the ladder. He is overjoyed to have See Sun but his affair is discovered by Suet Ning so he abandons them.

2. Mun Suet Ning – Bao Hei Jing

She is Mun Hou’s bossy wife but closes an eye even though she knows of his affairs. But knowing that See Sun is his illegitimate daughter wears off all her patience. She belittles her whenever she gets the chance. She is killed by Chi Kin with a bow and arrow upon knowing that he kills Lok Tin. Poor Mun Hou has to witness her death in front of him when he has a sudden stroke.

3. Sum Ching – Lui Yau Wai
She is See Sun’s mother who loves the wrong man. She marries Sau Lek and gives birth to Mok Sun but this man disappears. She works for Mun Hou for a while to have See Sun but she knows that he can’t provide for her. She left both men to bring up her daughters independently, giving them her surname. She is very timid and indecisive to always giving in to Mok Sun. Ching keeps on dissuading her from working for Mun Hou as she hates him. See Sun finally knows about the truth later.
Ng Lou Yan acts well as the demure and gentle role as the young Ching.

4. Sau Lek – Cheng Shu Fung
He is Ching’s ex-husband who keeps harassing her for money. She has no choice as he keeps threatening to reveal See Sun’s parentage to her.

5. Kwan Chuk Hong – Lam Wai Sun
He was formally a top notch lawyer but later works in MIG to head a department. All his subordinates are capable men. Chi Kin and Shing Fai work under him. He believes in working with principles and dislikes office politics. Being upright, he disapproves of Chi San’s ways of getting insurance policies. Chi San spends all her time trying to get rid of him in vain because he is as capable as her.

When knowing that See Sun is unhappy in her team, he transfers her over. He loves Selina and they are in the process of getting married. However, she decides that their disparity in thinking is too wide and suggests a breakup. It takes him a long time to accept See Sun as his girlfriend. He later discovers a change in her to be unscrupulous. Being disillusioned, he resigns and returns to his law practice. Although he knows the reason is for her revenge, he can’t forgive her and returns to Selina.

Wai Sun is very consistent in his acting so there is no exception for this one.

6. Sum See Sun – Yip Suen
Although she is the younger daughter, she behaves like the elder daughter. She gets her scholarship to study law. Mok Sun keeps running into debts and implicates her to pay them off for her. She is initially in love with Chi Kin when he helps her to get use to the working environment in MIG. But they get into a heated argument and she has a miscarriage. After that, her love for him dies as she discovers that Chi Kin gives her up to please Lok Tin.

She has not wanted to get involved into another relationship but Lok Tin manages to win her heart with his sincerity. But fate plays a big joke on them when they find out that they are half-siblings. She turns to like Chuk Hong who is very attentive towards her.

Upon knowing that Chi Kin is the cause of all the tragedies from Mun Hou, she decides to seize back the MIG power. She goes to seduce Chi Kin. This incurs the wrath of Ching, Lok Yee and Chuk Hong. She can only relate her feelings to Mun Hou but he has not recovered from his stroke to console her. After getting back everything, she loses Chuk Hung. She nearly wants to jump off the MIG building and her parents have to talk her out of it.

She does fairly well in this drama as a mature role to come out from her formerly younger roles in TVB.

7. Mok Mok Sun – Leung Mun Yee
She is the elder daughter who is a spitfire who doesn’t talk using her brain. She only wants to do what she likes to be a problematic person. Her mother allows her to snowball her spending habits so she often gets See Sun to pay off her credit cards. She later works in MIG through See Sun and is brainwashed by Chi San to be as ambitious as her to lure clients in bed to get their policies. She only learns her lesson to continue her studies in prison when she kills Lek accidentally.

8. Selina – Kar Ying
Being a top-notch lawyer, she is dedicated towards her work and is very strict towards See Sun. She is very elegant and calm when dealing with cases. See Sun was formerly her understudy but seeing how she created mistakes to lose her license, she decided that she isn’t suitable for the job.

She recommends her to Chuk Hong to get into MIG. Chuk Hong and Mandy start to neglect each other due to their busy work. Selina is actually too career minded as Chuk Hong still tries to make time for her. Thus they break up but later discover that love is more important than career to be together again. She really looks cool and is very compatible with Wai Sun. A refreshing change from her past neglected roles .

9. Yu Chi San – Cheung Mun Chi
She is the head of another department who believes in getting policies by luring clients with beauty. She is arrogant but capable. She hasn’t reached 30 years old but she wins the outstanding award. She is Mun Hou’s mistress. She sets See Sun up with a client but luckily Chi Kin saves her on time. It can be quite pathetic as whatever she does is for the sake of her younger brother who is dying of bone cancer. She needs money desperately for his treatment.

She is deceived by Chi Kin to be jailed. Chi Kin doesn’t keep his promise to take care of her brother and he dies. Filled with regret and hatred, she sneaks out of prison, wanting to kill him. Her knife strikes into his spinal cord instead to make him into a vegetable. She is contented to get jailed again upon seeing that justice is done. Mun Chi simply shines here – she acts best among all.

10. Cheng Lok Yee – Gu Jo Lam
The second daughter of Mun Hou is very westernized and positive. But she only knows how to play or fool around to lack interest in work. Her parents spoil her rotten. She loves Chi Kin at first sight and marries him. She becomes his pawn to seize her family business when she transfers her shares to him. She is very gullible to believe whatever he says.

She even goes to court with See Sun to get Mun Hou’s remaining fortune. See Sun has to prove to the court that she ill-treats Mun Hou to make her lose the case. She gets very angry with See Sun. She is sad to know of Chi Kin’s affair with See Sun to realize that he doesn’t love her. After knowing his evil deeds, she divorces him and brings up their only son. Jo Lam is still wooden in some scenes and needs to brush up her acting skills.

11. Hon Chi Kin – Wong Hou Yin
He is an orphan so he is brought up by his grandmother. He is witty but loves to take short cuts to gain success. He loves See Sun but doesn’t want to offend Lok tin to bring them together. He turns his target to woo Lok Yee instead. He is like the young Mun Hou to marry into the family. But he isn’t easily satisfied to want the family fortune. He starts to miss See Sun after he gets everything.

He doesn’t know that she gets near him just for revenge. When he loses everything, he comes to her home, wanting to hurt her whole family. Chi San comes at this time to turn him to a vegetable. He sure resembles Lau Tak Wah in his looks! But he can act well as an evil man despite his innocent and boyish exterior.

12. Cheng Lok Tin – Dou Chi Kong
He is Mun Hou’s only son. As his name suggests, he is very positive towards life. He loves diving so he has a very dark tan. He is an I.T. expert so he is considered an all rounder. Many girls like him but unlike other womanizers, he is very steadfast in love. It is love at first sight to him with See Sun.

He goes all out to woo her. When they have just started their romance, she suddenly suggests a breakup to deal with him a hard blow. He doesn’t know the reason is they are half-siblings. He discovers Chi Kin’s illegal deeds but is killed by him before he can tell Mun Hou. Chi Kin makes it to be like suicide but Mun Hou later discovers the truth to confront him.

It is rare to see a Taiwanese in a Hong Kong drama. He is at ease with the rest. Who will not feel sorry for Lok Tin as he gets rejected by See Sun repeatedly?

13. Barbie – Lee See Pui
She is an MIG employee who is simple-minded. She is initially Chi San’s subordinate but later becomes See Sun’s friend to be under Chuk Hung. She finally gets recognition under him and becomes a couple with Shing Fai.

14. Bik Shing Fai – Cheung Kar Lun
His nickname is ‘Failure Fai’ and is Chi Kin’s good friend. Both work in MIG but hs doesn’t work as hard as him. He is sincere and doesn’t play tricks. Even though his results are the poorest, he doesn’t wish Chi Kin to help him. He only wants to work happily daily and often jokes around. He is so easily used so Chi Kin uses him for evil deeds to make him lose his job. Shing Fai realizes his mistake and joins forces with See Sun to eliminate him.

15. Lucy – Lo Lan
She is Chi Kin’s grandmother who is very upright and loves to help the weak. She protects Chi Kin – even after knowing that he kills Lok Tin to lie for him. But upon knowing that he has killed more than one person, both get into an argument and she is pushed down the building to her death by mistake.

16. Tsang Pui Wah – Dong Nam Fei
She works under Chi San. Chi San is unhappy with her poor sales and forces her to accept deals with the underworld. They gang-rape her till she loses her mind. Although See Sun tries using her example to convince Mok Sun to avoid working for Chi San, she still refuses, upsetting her.

Favourite character
Chuk Hung. He is in such a complicated working environment but yet he knows how to work with a clear mind. He is also fair to give all his subordinates the recognition they need. As a lover, he has done all he requires to – showing love and concern. No more explanation since two women love him so much.

Most hated character
Chi Kin, he loves wealth too much to marry into the Cheng family even to Lucy’s opposition. This man has no backbone at all. Little does he know that after disposing Lok Tin and marrying Lok Yee, this is not the end as yet. See sun who is also another lawful successor but she has kept her identity from him all along.

Most pitiful character
Lok Tin, he shouldn’t have asked Chi Kin to meet him out at sea to question him about his illegal deeds. This gives him the chance to kill him and he dies without knowing how he does it.

Interesting facts

It was rumoured that Yip Suen did not get along with the cast as she threw her weight around. Mun Chi was unhappy with this and often complained to the producer.

Viewers watched this drama not only to watch how the real ‘fire’ started brewing between Yip Suen and Mun Chi on and off screen. They were also curious when the self-conscious Tse Yin would remove his dark shades. But…he did not even remove them in the bed scenes with Mun Chi!!! All yelled in frustration (that also included me). But they finally satisfied their curiosity when he wore normal glasses in scenes where Mun Hou had a stroke. They lamented he had very deep eye-bags – no wonder he tried to hide them.

Conclusion

Sometimes, we need to give ATV dramas a chance. It has tried within the best of its abilities to provide better scripts despite its limited stable of artistes. This drama is very predictable but it gives a refreshing feel with some new faces and they have tried their best. The setting is quite grand. Surprisingly, Yip Suen blends well with the cast. Do give it a try when you have the time.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : *** (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)


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