Fated Love

Reviewed by: sukting

December 15, 2008

Rating: two-point-five

How long
40 episodes


Building on the success of 1996's The Good Old Days, Chan Sau Mun and Ma Jin Tao paired up a second time in 1997 for ATV's grand period drama Fated Love. Set in the bustle and decadence of 1930s Shanghai, this moving drama sees them caught in a love triangle with film actress Ng Kar Lai.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Fu Shau Nam – Ma Jin Tao

Shau Nam is the second son of the Shanghai mayor. Unlike his eldest brother and younger brother, he refuses to turn up his father's wedding as he is taking in a second wife who is about his age.

Shau Nam falls in love with Choi Yuet from the moment he sees her in the tram. He tries hard to look for her. Both meet again at a calendar beauty pageant. Shau Nam woos her with all his might. Knowing that she wants to buy a necklace, he gets it for her and wraps it as a present, about to give to her. She is angered and tells him to stop harassing her.

She has thought that he is an ordinary rich man's son to reject him repeatedly. She comes to work in Fu family company and learns of his identity when a wall collapses. Knowing that Chi Yee needs a doctor to treat him for his heart attack, he helps out and Choi Yuet is grateful to him. Through work, she finds Shau Nam a helpful person but after knowing his engagement with Zoi Mei, she suppresses her feelings and keeps a distance from him.

Shau Nam shifts his attention to take care of flowers. He also feels that Zoi Mei drifts away from him. One night, he forgets to collect his plant in and discovers it with Choi Yuet. Both have nothing to tell each other. He is sure that she is interested in him and treats her even better. He is upset and quarrels with Zoi Mei. Knowing that Choi Yuet is back to work after her father's death, he rests his mind but she suddenly bursts into tears to release her sorrow.

He knows he cannot turn his back on Zoi Mei, whom he is supposed to marry, but nor can he forget Choi Yuet. As the day of marriage pulls nearer and near, he realizes that his love for her is too deep to let go. He decides to break off the marriage and runs away at the altar. He refuses to divulge the reason to his family and gets disowned by his father. He sneaks back home to look at the plant while Choi Yuet sighs looking at the necklace. After knowing that he has left home, she tails him secretly to tidy his room for him.

He discovers her and runs after her in the rain but she refuses to betray Zoi Mei. Shau Nam tosses a coin to decide their future and it flips to his choice. Choi Yuet is tailed by reporters so it rumours that both are cohabiting. Zoi Mei reads it and runs out to the road to get knocked down. She gives Choi Yuet a dressing down in the hospital and sneaks out.

Zoi Mei's father sends men to beat the two up. Shau Nam gets seriously injured and Choi Yuet wants to send him to hospital. But he clings her tightly towards him as he is afraid that he will not see her again. He runs a feer so Choi Yuet risks going out to look for a doctor. When she is back, he holds her tightly. She finally agrees to be with him. She informs his father after bringing him to hospital and decides to leave Shanghai quietly. Seeing his son mumbling her name in his sleep, he is curious to know how she is like.

After knowing that she has returned home, Shau Nam staggers to her home, wishing to see her but Choi Yuet hardens her heart not to see him. He chases to the harbour and finally wins her hand. Both go through the ceremony in church and Zoi Mei watches with her cold eyes. Shau Nam's father is glad that Shau Nam makes a correct choice.

Seeing that Shau Nam laxes after marriage and neglects his work, Choi Yuet reminds him. Indeed, it becomes so bad that he borrows money to support Choi Yuet's art exhibition. He is shocked to know that his debtor is Zoi Mei. She uses this chance to seduce him after knowing that he is scolded by Choi Yuet in wasting money to get an expensive watch for her. She kisses him and he is afraid that she will tell his wife. Zoi Mei initially agrees to marry Shau Nam's friend but later regrets.

This man gets so angry that he beats up Shau Nam at work. Thus Shau Nam has to explain the whole thing to Choi Yuet. He later goes into cold war with her and dances with Zoi Mei. He uses money to invest in shares and his father opposes to it. Choi Yuet later discovers that the flowers are withering and weeps – does this signify the end of their relationship?

Shau Nam doesn't return home for a few days. Choi Yuet comes to look for him to find him and Zoi Mei naked in bed. She doesn't know how to explain to the family when she is home. She wants a divorce but is deterred when seeing the necklace. He tries to win her back using the flowers.

Both are willing to throw away everything to be together, but can their love really overcome the conservative traditions of the day and the consequences of Zoi Mei's vengeful anger? No, they break up and he even thinks that her heart is with another man to marry Zoi Mei. They finally reunited later and he decides to be a soldier to serve the country. He dissuades Siu Tien to join him to that he can take care of the others. He promises to be back after the war.

The war ends so Yiu Yuet and Bak Shui come to meet Choi Yuet. Choi Yuet strolls along the bay on her own. She misses Shau Nam and suddenly sees him appearing with a crutch. She runs to him and both hug in tears. They are finally together again.

When watching Jin Tao's drama, you must take a deep breath. Many Shanghainese can't take him forcing his own veins to protrude on his face. So am I at times although he claimed that he used his own feelings. The Shanghainese only allow tears to form near the eyes and will not shout and cry profusely like him. So do I –but luckily these scenes are not too many. He is still outstanding on the whole. He has played a perfect man long enough and has done well to portray a man with flaws.

2. Yung Choi Yuet – Chan Sau Mun
She is intelligent and stubborn since young. She walks past a shop and sees her mother's pearl necklace but she has no money to get it. She is unhappy when Shau Nam gets it. Choi Yuet walks past the antique shop to find it closing down and is upset. She sees Shau Nam there and is speechless to know that he is the one who has bought the necklace and is in love with her all along.

She keeps the necklace and both treat that nothing has happened. Tok is supposed to go on a business trip to Nan Jing with Choi Yuet but he hurt his leg so Shau Nam takes over. This trip makes her discover how capable he is. She writes down in her diary and Shau Nam reads it to kiss her in the rain. Zoi Mei sees this when she comes to visit Shau Nam. Unable to endure the looks of others, she resigns.

She finally marries him but notices that he has no concept in saving money. She is upset to know that Zoi Mei has kissed Shau Nam and has never forgotten him. Her marriage is about to be better when Shau Nam's brothers get into trouble with Zoi Mei's father. She is forced to divorce Shau Nam in exchange for their freedom and pretends to have an affair with Siu Tien. She returns to her mother in the outskirts and gives birth to a son, Hau Tong.

He is ridiculed to be fatherless and Choi Yuet is sneered to be a widow. Now Shanghai is in trouble because of the Japanese's arrival. Choi Yuet and Hau Tong hide at a church to meet Shau Nam there. Shau Nam sneers at them, thinking that the boy is Siu Tien's son. She has to keep her promise to Shau Nam's father so she keeps quiet. Upon knowing that they are innocent, he decides to bring them home after parting with Zoi Mei. She is worried that Zoi Mei will seek revenge.

Poor Hau Tong is confused with 2 fathers now. When Shau Nam is framed for Zoi Mei's suicide and gets thrown into prison, Choi Yuet bravely saves him out. The whole family is reunited again as he is nursed back to health. Sau Mun is still as competent in her acting as always. But some will get bored as it is a bit repetitive from her role in 'The Good Old Days'.

3. Kiu Zoi Mei – Ng Kar Lai
She grows up with Shau Nam and regards him as her future husband. But Shau Nam has not known what love is then and lets nature takes its own cause. She returns to Shanghai and becomes Choi Yuet's good friend. She invites Choi Yuet home for a party and this creates a chance for Shau Nam to meet her again. But he is too late to go out for her as she leaves early.

Zoi Mei is delighted when Shau Nam dances with her in the rain. She has a cold but tells Choi Yuet how romantic he is – Choi Yuet doesn't know that he is Shau Nam. The three become awkward when are together for a meal. Zoi Mei complains about her problems with Shau Nam to Choi Yuet. Choi Yuet knows that it is due to her. She discovers that necklace that he keeps and thinks that it is for her.

She shows it to Choi Yuet and she gets even more upset. Zoi Mei finds that both are together and tell them to discontinue their relationship. Zoi Mei begs Shau Nam to return to her as he is important to her. He agrees reluctantly as she presses both families to go ahead with their wedding plans. But Shau Nam's
running away at the altar deals with her a hard blow. She gives Choi Yuet a slap, vowing revenge.

On Choi Yuet's wedding day, she deliberately asks how they meet. She is agitated upon seeing how Shau Nam protects her by answering everything. She goes to a fortune teller with the married couple's birthdates and is angrier to learn that they are a perfect match. She gets Choi Yuet to help out at a charity art exhibition. She drugs Shau Nam to go into bed with her and threatens suicide to make him stay with her.

She hopes that both will divorce and is angry that he buys a ring for Choi Yuet instead. She deliberately lets Shau Nam know that she is pregnant. But he still doesn't want a divorce and she nearly has a miscarriage. Wronging Choi Yuet to have an affair, he marries Zoi Mei. She gives birth to a son, Sin Hang 6 months later and pampers him rotten.

Knowing that Choi Yuet is still in Shanghai, she gets her a permit to force her to leave but the permit is stolen by other refugees. She wants her to be out of her life but she can't get rid of her. Zoi Mei's Japanese officer friend, Sam Jing is sad as his son is dead. He later finds out that Sin Hang is his son. Zoi Mei is only using him to trap Shau Nam. Thus he comes to Shau Nam's home to grab his son back. Shau Nam learns about the truth through the argument and is disgusted by her nature.

Zoi Mei wants to die with him but Shau Nam slaps her to leave. Determined to seek them out, she gives her son to Sam Jing. The trio escapes to the French embassy through a secret tunnel. Her father loses his mayor post and her mother is ill but she is unconcerned about them. She wants Sam Jing to get her a gun. He is unwilling to help but later gives in upon seeing her half-mad. She later injures Sin Tong and kills herself to land Shau Nam in prison, ending her tragic life.

Kar Lai shows why she deserves the golden horse award best actress win. You will sweat in horror when seeing how she plots her every step. Although her role is unfavourable, she shows her acting powers and it is a pity that she seldom acts in dramas.

4. Yung Yiu Yuet – Mak Lai Hung
She is Choi Yuet's elder sister who is willing to become a social escort in order to share out the family financial burden. She gets beaten by her husband and her family brings her home. She returns to him but soon finds out that he has an affair. A doctor, Bak Shui falls for her and elopes with her.

5. Choi Siu Tien – Ha Yu
He is Siu Far's elder brother who asks Choi Yuet to stand in for Siu Far in a beauty contest. If she wins, she can get the money to buy her mother's necklace back. She really has him to thank as she comes in third. He introduces Choi Yuet to work in Fu company. Regarding her as his sweetheart, he is scared that Shau Nam may have evil designs on her and keeps finding excuses to separate them.

He feels insignificant when he tries in vain to help Yiu Yuet from Ying Chan. He sees Choi Yuet crying over her father's death so he knows that she only loves Shau Nam. He bares his feelings to her on Shau Nam's wedding day to get rejected. Disappointed, he claims that it is only a joke. He resigns together with Choi Yuet and later finds a better job to go another province.

He is a loving brother. He bears with Shau Ming's beating as Siu Far is pregnant with his child. He loves touring around to perform. Seeing Choi Yuet bringing up Sin Hang alone, he lies to the other villagers that he is her husband. He is unhappy when they are reunited again. When knowing that Chau Feng goes missing, he gets anxious to search her among the crowd. He is overjoyed to find her and promises not to upset her again.

We often see Ha Yu in jovial roles. We hardly see him in tragic roles. This role proves that he is flexible to take up any challenge given to him.

6. Yung Chi Yee – Ko Hung
He elopes with Choi Yuet's mother when young. He hopes to seek his father-in-law's forgiveness before he dies. His wish is granted and he dies peacefully after all take the family photo.
7. Choi Siu Far - –Cheung Mun Chi
She signs up for a calendar beauty contest but is unable to attend it because she suddenly has measles. She is materialistic and ditches Tok for Shau Nam's younger brother, Shau Ming. After learning that she goes to bed with Shau Ming, Siu Tien falls out with her. Shau Ming hates Choi Yuet when she reveals Siu Far's pregnancy to his father. She gives birth to a son, Yee Hang. Her husband runs away during the war, leaving her to bring up their son alone.

8. Dong Ying Chan – Kok Fung
He is Yiu Yuet's boyfriend. Choi Yiu knows that he isn't a good man and tries in vain to prevent her sister from marrying him. He ill- treats her but manages to get her to return home with him. But he is a womanizer who never changes his ways. He is angry when Yiu Yuet leaves him and Choi Yuet is the one to arrange her with her lover to leave Shanghai.

He attempts to rape her but fails. Although Shau Nam's family doesn't want her to report to the police, she still does it as she keeps having nightmares. This causes her to start quarreling with Shau Nam. Zoi Mei buys over him to knock Choi Yuet down with a car but he ends up causing Shau Nam's father to be paralysed instead. He doesn't give up searching for Choi Yuet even after her divorce and nearly rapes her the second time.

9. Man Chau Feng – Chong Jing Yee
She is Shau Nam's friend s elder sister. She doesn't like him to marry Zoi Mei and tries to stop him from marrying her. She is a dance hostess who loses confidence in all men. She is initially at loggerheads with Siu Tien. She starts to like him after wrapping his wound for him. She gets angry when he keeps introducing different guys to her to point out to him that he has not forgotten Choi Yuet.

During the war, she turns to sell soya bean milk. Although Siu Tien apologises to her, she only treats him coldly. She can never be with a person who doesn't regard her seriously. She is headstrong indeed – Zoi Mei should learn from her on how to let go. This moves Siu Tien to love her. She is another jewel in acting – why does ATV keep on giving her supporting roles?!

10. Sum Tok – Lam Wai Sun
He is Shau Nam's subordinate who comes to visit Choi Yuet on his behalf. Siu Far thinks that he is a rich man and goes out with him. When Shau Nam is down and out, he is willing to lend him money.

Interesting facts

This drama shot many scenes in Shanghai. Many had hoped that Sau Mun and Jin Tao would work together again after 'The Good Old Days'. Sau Mun knew that they should be able to work well after their previous project. JinTao also looked forward to work with her again. Many asked if he took up the project because of her. He said what mattered most to him was the script.

It was the first time Sau Mun worked with Kar Lai. When asked if she felt threatened by the two, she welcomed the challenge to push her to work harder. This was the first time she acted as a third party. She did not mind it as she could not often act as the submissive woman.

Sau Mun never expected the change in temperature drastically and did not prepare enough winter clothes. Jin Tao got his personal assistant to get jackets for her. He placed one over her and she was grateful to him. He also wore the same design and both did look like a couple.

Kar Lai was thrilled to join the shoot as she thought that her looks was suitable for this era. She took care of her own make-up and hairstyle. She also took time to tour Shanghai to observe how they combed the hairstyle. She definitely blended in the era with the natural setting.

Kar Lai had not acted in dramas for a long time and what made her decided to work for ATV as she was a golden horse best actress winner? She admitted that the pay attracted her and although Cheng Yuk Ling had said that she herself would not shoot dramas for ATV as it would ruin her own reputation, Kar Lai did not view it the same way. She felt that artistes should not be bothered by the viewership and should be more conscious about the audience's response.

Why were Jin Tao and Sau Mun not on speaking terms later? It started all because of a kiss incident. The reporters wanted Jin Tao to kiss her to pose for a photo but he refused. It was said that Sau Mun joked that she must be scared that his girlfriend took it to heart. Jin Tao protested against this and explained why he refused. He thought that people were more conservative during that period.

So why must she speak on his behalf? He wanted her to make a public apology. He said that he always kept a low profile and Sau Mun should not have implicated his girlfriend into this. Sau Mun found this absurd as she had never said that and she was also curious to know who dragged her into this.

There would be chances for her to meet someone whom she disliked to work together but she would still be a professional in front of the camera. But since Jin Tao had alarmed the producer, she found the need to clarify/ Jin Tao had said of her to be late for filming for 4 hours and changing the script on the spot. This made her unhappy.

Sau Mun's husband, Kok Hung found him too petty – how can he put his wife in a fix? Thus he said that he could never be in luck in a rage. (I simply feel the newspaper reporters are blowing things out of proportion and this may not be true.)

Thus reporters observed how they behaved at the promotion. Although both did not talk to each other, both did not oppose taking photos together and gave each other greetings.

That showed that the incident had ended. Both were already adults and had dealt with it. How could there be forever enemies in this line? But insiders claimed that it caused both unable to make up till a few years later when they worked in 'Miracle in a bottle' again. But be it a rumour or not, it did help in promoting the drama, isn't it?


The theme song was 'Till the End' sung by Sau Mun. It was a great song but what an insult – Choi Yuet's love for Shau Nam is never dying but we can't say the same for him. ATV also pens nice songs for its dramas – in fact, I think they surpass TVB works sometimes. Sau Mun is among the few actressses who can sing and act well.


As what you have seen from most ATV dramas, this one has an attractive start but terrible ending. I feel giddy over the change of events. It should have stopped at 30 episodes and not 40. The gap between the poor and rich is so wide indeed to result in so many conflicts. Choi Yuet's is not making adjustment – she is the pillar of the household as even Shau Nam's father hands over the business to her.

Yes, we know that all Cinderallas may not end up happy but why make poor Choi Yuet suffer so much? She sacrifices so much for her family but they keep on saying not enough!! And Shau Nam to turn to such a jerk to upset her further. The producer must have read too much of “Home, Spring and Autumn' by well-known writer Bai Jin. There are also 3 brothers and women are troublemakers in this big household.

You might have exclaimed at how the leads keep meeting each other – how can their timing be so accurate? By right, it shouldn't work but if they are Sau Mun and Jin Tao, everything becomes I am willing to overlook all that. They simply display miracles and shines as a couple – from young to middle-aged. Both look so youthful and energetic. No wonder ATV keeps on pairing them up. Despite their disagreements, they work magic and although the plot sucks, they lure me to continue watching.

Kar Lai should get compliments for acting too. Those who are tired of watching Korean dramatic actresses acting as jealous women should look out for her instead. She is their role model to learn! Although I dislike the story development, I will advise fans to watch this drama because watching how the cast act is an enjoyment. You will not regret spending time on it.

Sukting's ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : **1/2 (Scale of 5)

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

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