Extraordinary Woman


Reviewed by: sukting

September 06, 2009

Rating: three

奇女子

How long
100 episodes

Foreword
Flaming Butterfly is not the first ATV drama based on a businesswoman. This drama is the one. It is a story about a woman who fights for career and love. This drama was shown in Hong Kong right after ‘The chameleon’. Many thanks to my neighbour who provides information on the storyline as I have forgotten most parts of the plot. I only watch it once when I was very young.

Story

Fong Ting comes from a simple family. Her mother brings her and her sister up by being a dance hostess. She becomes a salesgirl in a shopping complex after her secondary education. Under her classmate’s invitation to a ball, she befriends the handsome Hong Sui. Both proceed to become a couple. But Hong Sui marries her classmate Wing Mun (Yuen Pui Chan). Both are loving but Wing Mun passes away later.

To match with Hong Sui’s wealth, Fong Ting becomes a model. She later accepts Kwai Fung’s advice to join Princess Hong Kong beauty pageant. She wins and thinks that she has the value to be loved by him. Thus she doesn’t regard him that important now. Hong Sui feels lonely and gets to know his father’s friend’s daughter, Yuk Kei. Yuk Kei is capable and also dependent.

Yuk Kei also loses her fiancée to cancer and is saddened. Due to Hong Sui’s parents encouragement, he woos Yuk Kei. But he has already gone to bed with Fong Ting. After marrying Yuk Kei, Fong Ting is badly affected and hates men. Fong Ting has no other skills so she listens to Kwai Fung’s suggestion to become a dance hostess. She doesn’t know the facts for the first time and is often insulted.

Fong Ting befriends the bar’s boxer, Ho. Both develop feelings but because of his infidelity, Fong Ting breaks up with him. She then places her money in investments. But she is deceived by the company. Her clients suffer from great damages and want her to pay back through sleeping with them. She is hurt and wants to kill herself but later picks herself up again. She becomes a rich man’s foster daughter and also learns more knowledge from a writer.

Fong Ting faces another blow when she meets Hong Sui again. Yuk Kei has given birth to a daughter and concentrates on doing business to neglect him. Hong Sui feels bored and meets her again. Although love never rekindles between them, Yuk Kei learns about it. She asks both of them out and insults her in front of Hong Sui. Fong Ting has no more self esteem left. Under her foster father’s advice, she goes to serve his client in Thailand, a general.

The general loves her very much. Although he has a bad temper, he treats her well. He is later killed by his enemy but he leaves her a lot of money. So the Fongs become rich overnight. Now she can develop any business she wants. She tries to be famous and never forgets her humiliation. She tries to get Hong Sui’s favour to help him promote his business.

She also sets up a good relationship with Yuk Yu. Yuk Kei catches Hong Sui and Fong Ting in bed. Hong Sui is now against her and often belittles her success. Both become a couple only in name. Things turn worse when her daughter dies due to a high fever.
Fong Ting becomes famous soon as she is able to seize opportunities. She gets the writer to write her biography – but changes her facts of her ugly past. She also invests money to shoot a movie, making herself the lead actress. The television station then invites her to become a movie reviewer. She smuggles in jewels and earns a lot of money.

However, she doesn’t want Fong Wah to follow her footsteps. She controls her and doesn’t want her to be materialistic. She herself uses all her charm to sweep different men off their feet. Her smuggling act is discovered but Ho takes the rap for her. The television producer also abandons his family because of her. He even kills himself after knowing that he isn’t her only lover. She has many business associates who are also involved with her in some way.

One of them is Yu Ming. He loves to woo famous women. Yuk Kei dislikes him to be with Nau Ching Ching (star appearance by Miu Hor Sau) and forces him to break up with her. He has wished to woo Fong Ting all along but she is unwilling to be with him. In the end, she has to marry him as she becomes a bankrupt. This time round, Yuk Kei can’t object and hates Fong Ting even more.

Fong Ting seems to be on the low profile after marriage. She wants to be a good wife but can never change her habit. She demands to have a hand in Yu Ming’s business to get profits. She is caught by Yuk Kei. Yuk Kei tells Yu Ming the truth. She also makes use of Fong Wah’s greedy nature to become Yu Ming’s mistress. The good-for-nothing Ho keeps on creating trouble for Fong Ting.

Yuk Yu loves Fong Ting and tries to get fresh with her. Fong Ting struggles and breaks free but Yu Ming has mistaken that she is unfaithful to him. He wants to divorce her so she feels indignant. She wants Ho to scare Yu Ming but he ends up killing him instead.

Fong Ting escapes the chance of having a divorce and changing of the will. She starts being arrogant and tramples on Yuk Kei to keep harping that she is her stepmother. Yuk Kei finally finds evidence to prove that she is the killer. Fong Ting is later found guilty of murder so she is sentenced to life imprisonment. Yuk Kei comes to visit her to request her to let her handle the fortune but she said she would donate it to the third world countries and not leave it to her. She will never give in to her after all.

Introduction on characters

1. Song Fong Ting – Ngai Chau Wah

She is initially an ordinary woman. Because of her perseverance, ambition and revengeful nature, she achieves success. The drama truly shows how she struggles to be one of the upper class. Fong Ting is initially proud. After losing love and unpleasant encounters, she makes use of the men who can help her to be successful. She is able to carve a niche on her own.

However, her love is weak as she doesn’t seem to be able to find true love. I do pity her in a way. She is forced by circumstances to become like this. If not for Yuk Kei’s constant deflating her like a balloon, she will not have changed so much.

Many sacrifice for her. Most of her time is spent on dealing with Yuk Kei. Thus she comes to a sorry end. Chau Wah makes this complicated character come alive. She has many different hairstyles. A youthful Fong Ting has long hair. She later has short hair t oshow her difernt emotions. This drama trains her to become a credible actress.

2. Song Fong Wah – Yung Wai Mun
She is Fong Wah’s younger sister. She is innocent to the extent of being naïve at times. She is imaginative and also devoted to love. However, she becomes materialistic as she grows up. She envies Fong Ting’s smooth success and tries to imitate her. She also uses extreme methods to achieve her aim. Even though she knows that Yu Ming is her brother-in-law, she doesn’t hesitate to throw herself at him.

But despite of what she has done, she fails in her career and love. She betrays Fong Ting and both fall out. She has a sad ending of becoming mad. Fong Ting is sad when she can’t recognize her. I feel that Wai Mun isn’t good in acting then. The beginning part of her to be naïve - she struggled very hard. When Fong Wah turns evil, she becomes slightly better but is still destined to be overshadowed by Chau Wah. She is destined to be among the second class stable of artistes when in ATV.

3. Gan Yuk Kei – Lee Ying
She is rich and knowledgeable. Being capable, she helps her father to manage his business. She gets rid of anyone who can ruin it. Even though she regards kinship important, she also has a strong desire to control others. She doesn’t change her nature even after marriage. She points out to others on how incompetent he is to shame him in public.

She is also ruthless to Fong Ting. She keeps saying bad things about her and often finds fault with her. Even though she marries Yu Ming, she not only opposes to it. She also tries to destroy their chances. When she is successful, her conceited smile scares everyone.

Lee Ying is another versatile actress. No matter if she is given a tragic role or a strong-willed character, she is able to portray it well. Many will detest her for being so hateful in the end.

4. Liang Kwai Fung - Miu Kam Fung
She looks greedy but she is faithful to love. She gives all her love to her daughters and has never thought of remarrying since her husband’s death. After Fong Ting becomes rich, she also turns to become a businesswoman but like Fong Ting, she is also involved in illegal business. She also can’t change her greedy nature. The way she teaches her daughters and being sexy – it proves that she is a veteran actress.

5. Lee Hong Sui – Wan Tse Leung
He is a man who has no mind of his own. He does everything according to his parents’ bidding. He can’t marry the woman he loves. He also doesn’t have enough courage to talk back at Yuk Kei. He is a real coward. No wonder Fong Ting’s love is dead and is never rekindled although they meet again.

6. Gan Yuk Yu – Lam Kok Hung
He is Yu Ming’s younger son who also manages his business for him. Although he is as capable as Yuk Kei, he is very reckless when coming to love. It is love at first sight for him when he meets Fong Ting. Thus he is very badly affected when she marries his father. After Yu Ming’s death, he loses interest in work and has to go overseas for a while. He can’t forgive Fong Ting for killing his father.

7. Gan Yu Ming – Wong Wai
He is a successful businessmen but he also enjoys the company of women. He will express interest and will never give up till he gets the woman. Even though he knows that Fong Ting and Yuk Kei are nemesis, he still marries her as he wishes to see how the two can compete against each other in front of him.

Song
The theme song is by Cheng Bo Mun. It is a very sad song.

Interesting facts

Many were curious over the title. This was the first time a TV station to be so daring to sue women as the main storyline. In Chinese, it means ‘extraordinary women’. Many thought it was referring to Dik Nah. Dik Nah was famous to be liberal, dressing sexily when young and is a career woman. Some thought it might also include steamy hot scenes. Thus many were attracted by the title.

The normal long dramas could bore viewers easily as it was repetitive. It was rare for ATV to shoot 100 episodes. ‘The chameleon’ was 80 while ‘Dynasty’ was 60. TVB was famous in shooting such length then. This showed that ATV had complete confidence in Chau Wah. The record was only broken by the 106 episodes ‘The Good Old Days’ in 1999.

This was Chau Wah’s second drama in ATV after ‘The chameleon’. She was arranged to die there to act in here. She was arranged to act as a simple but a strong-willed woman. After many setabacks and discouragement, she becomes a famous woman. She makes fun of those around her and often pits her wits against her rivals. Many found her acting better than her later dramas as she was given more chances to act in here. It was also a refreshing change from her usual weak roles.

But it didn’t make her to be ATV’s leading actress but she went into the second line. Probably not many could accept her role in toying too many people’s feelings. Plus she also acted as an evil woman in ‘Gone with the Wind’, her unfavourable roles made her lose their votes. However, this drama was specially tailored for her as she tried on different looks. From being innocent, daring to love and hate till completely evil to the core without being noticed, her acting was fully utilized.

The story was mostly on dance hostesses, beauty queens, career women and also actresses. It tried to let viewers think what is right or wrong. But because the stand was unclear, it drove away viewers as they could not find any extraordinary woman in it. As it was too long and many saw many flaws in it – slow, draggy and unclear plots.

The standard was irregular and thus it was not considered as one of ATV’s classics. The only thing special was it was their first drama for most actresses. TVB’s Bak Yan has a cameo role as Yuk Kei’s aunt. Especially Yuen Pui Chan (She paired with Ng Wai Kok in ‘The Four Constables’ who just graduated from acting class then. Even Chan Sau Mun also joined in the shoot. Thus no one could say that the cast wasn’t a strong one.

Conclusion

My neighbour saw me writing the review on ‘The Chameleon’ and reminded me about this drama. Not only the Hong Kong audience is confused over the storyline, I also lost my way when watching it. Is it possible for a woman to get involved with so many men? No wonder I can only remember bits and scraps of it. The story is too far-stretched and i am not convinced that a woman can go through so many obstacles. Even men can’t withstand the torture.

Unlike the usual dramas that he shines, Man Tse Leung is only a sidekick. He doesn’t have much to offer in here as this is a woman’s drama. Furthermore, Hong Sui is a pen-pecked husband that doesn’t deserve our pity for being so indecisive.

It is indeed Chau Wah’s one person show. She has done quite well. A pity that she isn’t recognized for her efforts, though. Lee Ying is also compatible with her. I love the scenes of the two having cat fights – it is exciting to see how each of them try to cut each other throats with abuses. Never have I seen women competing like this before. The 100 episodes can show you how they fight bitterly due to their deep feud.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : **** (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

On song : *** (Scale of 5)


Pictures found at: http://www.bonniengai.com/works/atv/klg/index.html


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