Flaming Butterfly


Reviewed by: sukting

May 14, 2009

Rating: three-point-five

How long
40 episodes

Foreword

Finally a chance to see many new faces after ATV changes a new owner! Some are from TVB while others are newly groomed by ATV. This story is loosely based on the life of the late famous richest Hong Kong business woman, Kung Yu Sum. She was also Asia’s richest woman named by Forbes magazine.

She ran her husband’s business empire after he disappeared in a kidnapping. It was the first series to be filmed in High Definition by ATV, recognised as ATV’s 2008 top drama. I must confess that I also follow the story because I am curious to see how it is shot.

Story/ Introduction on characters

1. Fok Sum Yee – Lee Choi Wah
She is the eldest daughter. She longs for love and also has the hunger for wealth. She is once rich but is later poor as her father becomes a bankrupt. She enters showbizz with her father’s friend help. It is an unforgettable experience for her when she first starts out as small roles in category 3 movies. She has to face the media and copes with poverty. She learns to be practical – to pick up any role she sees in order to earn money. 7 years have passed and she is still taking up minor roles.

She has a principle – that is never to betray herself. That is why she suffers a lot of hardship. She is enraged when working with Hok Lai – she discovers him to be Hok Yu’s younger brother. Thus, she accepts Hok Lai as her boyfriend to spite him back. After realizing that Hok Yu is forced to leave her, she seeks all kinds of ways to get him back. Both are finally married and she quits showbuzz.

She helps him out in his grandfather’s factory. She also seeks to get a degree to continue her studies in business administration. Finally getting recognition from Shau Yan, she works in Cheung Holdings and becomes his capable assistant.

She becomes a shrewd businesswoman after crossing swords with Kar Keung. Knowing that he and Chor Wan are behind her baby’s death, she comes up with a cycle of revenge plans but ends up hurting everyone. Money and power – which is more important to her in the end? She realises that love matters to her but it is too late. Hok Yu has gone missing after the kidnap and she fails to get him back even though she offers a handsome reward of HK$2 billion.

I don’t know how others feel but I find Choi Wah having some resemblance to Michelle Reis (Lee Kar Yan) in looks who also gets married into a wealthy family lately. That makes her look convincing as a rich woman. Her tall and willowy build makes her very authoritative-looking. She has the stubborn air in her, refusing to admit defeat easily.

No matter how badly she fared in the past, she has stretched her acting chops, having chemistry with Mun Long. The role aged from her teens to her 40s who resorts to unscrupulous means to achieve fame and fortune. She only realized that love and kinship are the truly important things in life later.

2. Fok Sum See – Dong Mun Lei
She is a frank and simple-minded person. That is why she is easily deceived and can’t hide secrets. She has high IQ to get into university at the age of 16. But she lacks life skills and harbours a lot of dreams on love. She is always forgetful. Thus Sum Yee often worries about her. She knows that Sum Yee works hard for the family so she looks up to her as her example. She befriends Hok Lai when he sells his computer to her. Fearing that she will get cheated, Sum Yee insists meeting him.

Sum See meets Ming Leung when he accidentally knocks her down with his car during a movie promotion. Sum See conspires with Sum Yee to give her a bouquet of flowers to pretend to be her fan so as to raise her popularity. It works although Ming Leung sees through her ploy. Both start to date each other despite of Sum Yee’s opposition. But all will disapprove or her throwing herself at him. Sum See realizes that he is a drug addict and tries in vain to help him kick off the habit.

She is in his car when he knocks down someone. She wants to take a look at the injured but he speeds off, fearing that others will know his dark secret. The court still manages to know his car number to bring him in court. Ming Leung doesn’t turn up on her graduation day. She is completely shattered when he pushes the blame to her in court. She also has difficulty getting the assistant professor job due to this. Hok Lai pities her and makes her his filming assistant.

After her graduation overseas, she becomes his personal assistant again. She carries a torch for Hok Lai for a long time. Her efforts pay off and they get married. She is devastated that Sum Yee harms Hok Lai just for revenge. She has not considered their feelings. Sum See has hoped to set up a charity foundation with Hok Lai’s shares. Sum Yee forbids her to do that as Kar Keung wants to seize her shares. You can’t believe that Sum See is so stupid that she nearly signs the contract if not for Sum Gai’s intervention on time!

Thus both sisters fall out because of this. Sum See is pregnant. She forgives Sum Yee after seeing how regretful she is over Hok Yu’s disappearance. She moves in to stay with the Cheung household after Hok Lai’s recovery and both have a son.

I find this character extremely foolish. After so much hardship, she should have grown up and not let others worry for her. Yet, she behaves like an immature person who knows nothing. Even Sum Gai is more sensible than her. Luckily, she becomes sensible later.

3. Fok Sum Gai – Chow Chi Hou
He is the youngest and only son. He is very organized and takes care of things at home when his sisters are not around. He is like Sum See’s clock to wake her up on time. He has to undergo kidney dialysis since young and is very weak in health.

He works hard but he often ends up retaking his exams. Sum Yee has no choice but to send him overseas for treatment with Hok Lai’s help in paying off the cost. She later discovers that Hok Yu has also helped to find his senior, a surgeon to take care of him in the U.S. He doesn’t visit his sisters even though he is in Hong Kong as he dislike mingling with the rich. Sum Gai finally becomes a doctor and returns to Hong Kong upon knowing Hok Lai’s accident.

Sum Gai is sure that Sum See is a Schultz when coming to signing documents and stops her from being cheated of her shares to Kar Keung. But he is clueless on why Sum Yee refuses setting up the charity foundation. He has not known of the dangers of the business world but he believes that Sum Yee loves Hok Yu deeply so he wants him to trust Sum Yee.

This character hardly appears in the latter part of the drama. It seems that the producer has forgotten about him totally till his sisters fall out. How can he not turn up for his sisters’ wedding at all?

4. Cheung Hok Yu – Tong Mun Long
He is the second son in the family. He is like his name – gentlemanly and polite. He is mature and restricted. However, he doesn’t wish to see his mother suffering to want to fight for her. He is never Sau Yan’s favourite as the stock market stumbles when he is born. Even after getting his doctorate, Sau Yan even thinks of sending him to Mauritius to slog.

Neither can he see eye to eye with Sau Yan’s ways of doing business and believes in striking out on his own. Thus he takes charge of his late grandfather’s factory, Sui Shing as he is aware that high technology will be the ‘in’ thing soon. He buries his head in work although seeing Sum Yee and Hok Lai together torments him. He soon proves his ability when the factory is enlarged.

He is very devoted to love but decides to give Hoi Kei a chance to avoid hurting Hok Lai. But he discovers that he can never do it. Thus he braves through all opposition. He moves out of home and Sau Yan cuts off all links to his factory. He is unable to get a loan to purchase new machinery for his factory. But he still manages to marry Sum Yee – his only sweetheart.

They have a happy marriage initially but things turn sour after their son die. He has doubted that she is unfaithful to him as he is considered impotent. He is too softhearted to let his enemies go. That is why he is made Cheung Holdings Chairman while Sum Yee is the managing CEO. He can’t forgive her for causing so many tragedies to his family but still gives her a chance.

Her voting of rejecting to let Sui Shing break away from Cheung Holdings to open European markets make him decide a divorce. He finds that Sum Yee doesn’t trust him at all as she has seen how Hoi Kei exchanges smses with him. Actually, this is also the same way that he treats her earlier too. His kidnap puts a big test to their failing marriage. He finds that he still loves her after all.

Mun Long has made a wise choice to take up this role as he displays his experience well. Who is not won over by his earnest acting. He has more Singapore female fans now after they watch this drama.

5. Cheung Hok Lien – Cham Bing Hei
He is the eldest son from the eldest wife. He is the PR consultant who is an introvert and is very narrow-minded. He is as plain looking as Sau Ha and has gained weight as he is over 30 years old. By right, he is the rightful successor to Cheung empire. Sau Yan doesn’t trust him as he screws up every project which is given to him.

He is very rebellious in secret. Seeing Sau Yan marrying one after another, he resents his act that he hates marriage. He becomes a homosexual but Sau Yan insists that he should get married, not knowing his secret. He has no choice but to marry Bik Chu or he will lose the family fortune. He gets a film star, Tak Wai to be the company spokesman but touches his leg in the car.

Tak Wai tears the contract in a rage and Shau Yan decides to sue him. Tak Wai then reveals of what has happened and Shau Yan is enraged over this. He demands that he must have a grandchild borne by him within a year. But he is still unable to do it. He is a gullible man. Thinking that Kar Keung will help him to get control of Cheung Holdings, he instigates a strike when the employees get a pay cut. But it is soon called off when Hok Yu and Sum Yee sign an agreement with the staff.

He overhears Kar Keung’s comments on him at the golf course to realize how foolish he is. Upon knowing that Sau Yan leaves everything to Hok Yu, he has thought of getting Kar Keung’s help to deal with him. Luckily, Sau Ha stops his idea or he will even lose out his 6%. He grants Bik Chu a divorce and eyes on Hok Yu’s fortune to want his share. But the additional clause in Hok Yu’s will damages all his hopes.

6. Cheung Hok Lai – Leung Jun Yat
He is the youngest son who is rebellious and loves the arts. That is why he becomes a movie director. Because of his father’s influence, no one dares to speak ill of him in the filming studio. He is very pampered by his family and always gets what he wants. However, he has a kind heart. He helps to shoot Sum Yee to stardom and falls for her. He even gets Sum See to help him.

But the only thing that he can never get is Sum Yee. After hitting someone as he is out of love, he is ordered to do social work for 180 hours. Sum See helps him and both become friends. Although he is neutral to the two getting married, he still harbours hopes of getting her. Hok Lai gets drunk and sleeps with Sum See for the night. He doesn’t know how to face her.

Hok Lai kisses Sum Yee when she is asleep. Sum Yee slaps him and Sum See leaves for the U.S. Hok Lai gets drunk and spouts nonsense to Hok Yu, citing that he has slept with Sum Yee for the night. During the period without Sum See, he finally realizes that he loves her. He decides to marry her but his father and uncle die on the same day.

He believes that both elders wish to see him getting hitched so he goes ahead with his plans. He is devastated to know about his parentage and demands to know the truth from Chor Wan. He is knocked down by a car and becomes a vegetable. Luckily, he recovers from the coma and helps out in Cheung Holdings so that the burden on Sum Yee isn’t that heavy.

This actor really can’t cry although he acts relatively well in cheerful scenes. It is an agony to see him forcing tears. He has to try a lot harder.

7. Cheung Hok Fung – Chan Siu Ha
She is the second daughter and Hok Yu’s elder sister. She isn’t as demure as she looks. She is angry with Suk Mei for being overly submissive to Sau Yan. Hok Fung is a graduate in business management. Kar Keung’s family is in dire straits so Sau Yan arranges her to marry him as an investment. She is against it initially but changes her mind upon seeing him capable, gentle and handsome.

After marriage, she discovers him to be cold to her but is reluctant to give him up. She finally understands how her mother feels. She knows that Kar Keung will disallow her to work although she longs to help Hok Yu out so she declines him. Later, she helps Hok Yu out but this is just Kar Keung’s scam to steal Hok Yu’s company information to crush him.

Hok Fung chances upon Kar Keung’s affair with Mei Mei. She can’t take it anymore to raise a divorce. This jeopardizes Sau Yan’s plans to work with Kar Keung’s family and he loses a lot of money. Sau Yan gets so mad that he nearly chases her out. Luckily, Sum Yee helps her out. She guards against Sum Yee at first but now she lets down her defence. Both come to a consensus to steal glory for the second household.

She continues working with Hok Yu at Sui Shing. After Hok Yu’s disappearance, she helps to set up Sui Shing’s branch. She falls for Vincent as he helps her out and both get married. How much has she aged! Although her acting is fine, you can’t help feeling sad that she has changed so much.

8. Cheung Hok Ying – Chan Yin Hang
She is Hok Lien’s younger sister who is only a bimbo who follows fashion blindly. People love gold but she adores silver. We only see how these accessories on her. She loves to attract attention and has a sharp tongue. She marries at a young age of 22 but she still loves freedom. Upon knowing that Sum Yee marries into their family, she can’t wait to see how she suffers.

Although she is a married daughter, she still wants a share of the family fortune. She conspires with Hok Lien in his plot to get Hok Yu’s share. But her hopes are also dashed too. Yin Hang’s role is reduced to a minimal and it is the same loud role that she has played before.

9. Cheung Sau Yan – Tsang Kong
He is a rich businessman who loves crushing others and looking down on others. He is the traditional man who is ruthless and treats his children as investments – only wanting them to marry other influential parties to strengthen his business. He controls the lives of his wives and children.

He approves Hok Yu to be with Hoi Kei as her father is also an influential businessman. Sau Yan initially dislikes Sum Yee but changes his mind about her later. None of his children resemble him in doing business but she is the only one. All will find him heartless to oppose to Hor Fung divorcing Kar Keung as he fears that this will affect their joint investment.

He only gives in when Suk Mei reminds him that Kar Keung is out to jeopardize Hok Yu’s business and also he is behaving like Sau Yan in the past – to seize his father-in-law’s business. He becomes a better person after he is released from jail. He is equally down to lose his grandchild so he approves of Sum Yee’s ways to seek revenge on Kar Keung.

Sau Yan is upset to know that Hok Lai isn’t his but is Sau Yee’s love child with Chor Wan. He cuts both completely off his will. But upon knowing Sau Yee is killed in a car accident, he has a stroke but he still maintains a clear mind to let Sum Yee handle the affairs at work. He requests her not to let Hok Yu know what she has done or Hok Yu will never forgive her. He is angered to death when Chor Wan visits him.

My first reaction is – what – he again as a rich man? But I guess ATV has no other choice as he is the only one who fits the shoes. But it can be very boring to see him playing the same roles repeatedly to look down on others. The only breakthrough will be how he plays a stroke patient.

10. Chiu Hoi Kei – Sum Ying Ting
She comes from a rich family and has plenty of chances to help out in her family business. She chooses to slog with Hok Yu in the small factory instead as she loves him. She helps him to get lots of contacts and he is very grateful to her. Unlike many rich girls who are spoilt, she is sweet, capable and understanding. She knows that Hok Yu still loves Sum Yee so she is willing to give him more time to forget her.

However, he hurts her by choosing to be with Sum Yee. Although disappointed, she still gets her father to be the guarantor to lend him the loan so that he can develop his factory. She leaves for the U.S. and later returns again to help him out again, hoping to explore European markets with him. However, her love for him has never changed and she seeks to become the third party in his marriage.

They are together for the night and he is kidnapped later. She requests her father to pay for the ransom after Sum Yee refuses to help him. She can never forgive Sum Yee for leaving Hok Yu in the lurch. This former 2004 Ms Hong Kong finalist actress’s crying scenes can be as fake as Jun Yat. But she does have an air to show that she comes from a rich family as she speaks very fluent English.

11. Tou Sau Har – Lee Fung Shing
She is Sau Yan’s first wife. She lacks the brains and the looks so Sau Yan takes in two more wives. She knows that Sau Yan only respects her due to her family wealth. She has hoped that Hok Lien’s birth will earn his affections but this doesn’t work. Sau Yan even marries Suk Mei when she is pregnant with Hok Ying. Thus she becomes the dowager at home to remind the two younger wives of their positions.

She pins her hopes on Hok Lien but he proves to be her biggest disappointment as he is gay. After Sau Yan’s death, she starts to throw her weight around. But to her dismay, her household gets a lesser share than Suk Mei’s household. She only wishes to save her own skin when in trouble. This actress is terrific! This is the first time I see her act and she leaves a deep impression.

12. Mun Suk Mei – Bao Hei Jing
She is the second wife who comes from a rich family. Her father arranges her to marry Sau Yan as his business is going bust. She is bitter during her pregnancy with Hok Yu to know that Sau Yan seizes her father’s business. Thus she makes the statement that her child will be his nemesis. This proves to be true as Hok Yu’s birth makes his career go downhill.

Suk Mei is neglected and she is also sorry for her father’s death. But she is very conservative to follow whatever Sau Yan says. Thus she wants her children to obey him all the time. She has pinned all her hopes on her children, wanting them to get what they deserve. She opposes to Hok Yu marrying Sum Yee, as this will make her home position more awkward. But she knows that the two will never break up and has to give in to them in the end.

Initially, she has wished Hok Fung to bear with Kar Keung’s infidelity. But upon knowing that Kar Keung has tried to sabotage Hok Yu’s company and also causing so much distress to Hok Fung, she becomes firm. She refuses to meet Kar Keung’s dad to reconcile. People can do anything to her but she will never allow others to harm her children. The veteran actress acts well in every role so she doesn’t do badly here either.

13. Lam Chor Wan – Lau Ying Hung
She is the third wife who is a former singer. She knows how to attract attention in front of Sau Yan and is a smiling tiger. She is Sau Yan’s favourite so her position is the most important at home. Hok Lai’s birth makes Sau Yan’s career take off again so he dotes on him the most. She wants Hok Lai to help in the family business in order to have a meat share but he isn’t interested.

The appearance of Sum Yee spoils all her plans. So she seeks revenge on her. She causes her miscarriage and also seizes the company proposal for Kar Keung. However, she worries that Hok Lai’s real parentage will be discovered. She destroys the disc after grabbing it from Sum Yee but Bik Chu witnesses it. She keeps the remains to extort money from her under Sum See’s instigation. She is forced to give 1% of the shares she owns but she goes to Sau Yee for it as she can’t bring herself to ask Hok Lai.

When Hok Lai becomes a vegetable, she also loses her senses as the shock is too great. She doesn’t recover completely although Hok Lai is nursed back to health later. She was the great pusher – first to push Sum Yee down the stairs and later pushing Hok Lai out of the pavement. This actress proves to be a powerhouse, upstaging every single actress here. How I wish that she can take up more roles. She is famous for acting and also singing well.

14. Cheung Sau Yee – Lee Long Gei
He is Sau Yan’s younger brother. He has been a rebel since young who indulges in playing and drinking. He only appears at home when he wants to, touring the world. What he has in mind is only to create a sales line of exporting red wine. He is always not at home not because he likes to but he wants to escape from Chor Wan. She is his old flame and he doesn’t know how to face her after her marriage to Sau Yan.

He dotes on his nephews and nieces. All of them also love to be with him as he often accompanies them through their childhood. He feels that he has the most affinity with Hok Lau. But he never expects him to be his biological son. He doesn’t know how to face him upon knowing the truth. He suspects that something is wrong when Chor Wan reveals that Bik Chu extorts money from her.

Besides Suk Mei, he treats Sum Yee well so she doesn’t wish him to interfere in Chor Wan’s affairs. But he is determined to stop her. So Sum Yee reveals Hok Lai’s parentage to Sau Yan, causing both brothers to fall out with each other. Sau Yan drives him out from his family. A dejected Sau Yee calls Hok Lai, telling him that he is unable to attend his wedding although he wishes to. He alerts him to be careful of Sum Yee but he is knocked down by a car and dies instantly. Consistent acting from this actor too.

15. Chan Kar Keung – Lam Wai
He comes from a rich family. To prevent his father’s business from folding up, he has to break up with Mei Mei on his birthday many years ago to marry Hor Fung. He doesn’t love her at all and often returns home late. He is Sau Yan’s capable assistant in business but is jealous when Hok Yu gets an award for designing, beating him. Thus he approves Hor Fung to help him out to harm him by selling him illegal harmful lamp bulbs for his LCD televisions.

His love for Mei Mei has never changed and she becomes his mistress after settling a dispute for her as she offends an underworld boss in an article. Hor Fung discovers his affair and commits suicide. But she still forgives him. But she can never forgive him upon knowing his real motive so she decides to leave him. Kar Keung finds it a disgrace when Hor Fung wants a divorce.

He rejects it but Sum Yee leaves him no choice by threatening him with his affair photos. He marries Mei Mei but later Mei Mei leaves him after her miscarriage. Kar Keung steals Hok Yu’s proposal for a major business deal but his factory is unable to produce the power conservation circuit like Hok Yu. Sum Yee tricks him to incur a loss but exposing his deed. All along, beating her is his only aim in life.

Thus he kidnaps Hok Yu for revenge, expecting Sum Yee to sell away her shares to redeem him. He borrows money from loansharks and the bank. His plan backfires when the ransom is stolen by the kidnappers and he owes the bank money. He is declared a bankrupt and is jailed for 25 years for his misdeed. He shows no remorse even though he loses his freedom.

Lam Wai has acted as villains in too many dramas. This is only a reprise of his past roles that offer little surprise. But he manages to instill interest on us to watch this drama further.

16. Chin Mei Mei – Lee See Pui
She is a reporter who only writes articles on the truth. Thus she offends many people but Sum Yee becomes her close friend. She helps Sum Yee to fend off unfavourable reports and is with her when her family deals with one blow after another. She is bitter when Kar Keung leaves her for wealth. She later forgives him for his mistake and becomes his mistress. She even falls out with Sum Yee because of him.

Mei Mei marries Kar Keung but is displeased with his deeds to harm Sum Yee to cause her miscarriage. She struggles to leave him and has a miscarriage. This is another main reason why Kar Keung hates Sum Yee so much. Mei Mei leaves Hong Kong as she doesn’t wish to see him anymore. She tries hard to tell Sum Yee to stop her revenge but gives up as she can’t change her mind.

17. Lui Bik Chu – Kong Mei Yee
She is Hok Lien’s wife and is a housewife. She is pretty and comes from a rich family. Her only regret in life is being childless. She feels empty but still forces a smile when facing others. Whatever jewels she borrows from her mother-in-law to wear in the day, she has to return at night. She has thought that marrying her first love will be blissful.

She has never dreamed that Hok Lien is gay and is overly dependent on his family. Her 15 years of marriage to him is a nightmare. That is why she finds Sum Yee too much as her 7 years is nothing as compared to her as Hok Yu loves her.

Bik Chu is disappointed and has thought of divorcing Hok Lien. Her father doesn’t dare to offend Cheung family and opposes towards this. She also knows that she will become a laughing stock of the upper society if the news leak. Thus she has to pretend that both are a blissful couple in front of others.

She joins Sum Yee’s camp to deal with Chor Wan. She divorces Hok Lien and is able to get away from him to open her own hair salon. She is thankful to Sum Yee for her help and she jokes that she will sell her shares to her if she runs out of money.

18. Fong Ming Leung – Wong Kar Wai
He is a popular heartthrob with women. Many female fans regard him as their idol. He is indignant over
Sum Yee’s rising popularity. Being a co-star of Sum Yee when acting in ‘Zhang Ai Ling Biography’, both are considered a screen couple. His dark side of life of impulsive gambling and drug abuse causes him to ruin his career. He also shows his ugly nature by pushing all the blame to Sum See.

19. Fok Hung Gei – Lo Hoi Pang
He is Sum Yee’s father who gets rich through speculating on shares. He is over confident of himself and loves to boast about himself. But he is a doting father to his three children. His wrong investment causes him to lose his wealth overnight. Sau Yan ignores him when he is down and out. He then burns himself to death in his factory, leaving all the debts to Sum Yee to bring up his younger children.

20. Lee Jun Fai - Leung Hou Koi
He is Hok Ying’s husband who is also a party animal like her. He never thinks of their future – only wish to know how to spend the money after Sau Yan gives Hok Ying her share.

21. Hong Shing – Kong Gai
He is a successful China businessman. Unlike others who come from a rich family, he goes through lots of hardship to set up his business on his own. Although he opens a factory, he is also interested in movie making. That is why he knows Sum Yee through investing on her movie. He admires Hok Yu’s abilities and doesn’t understand why Sau Yan resents him so much. He goes into business ventures with Hok Yu. Both then become close business contacts.

He treats both as his juniors. Knowing that Sum Yee is forced to sell her shares to Kar Keung, he buys them over and promises to sell them back to her when she can afford. He can be trusted as he does sell all back to her a few years later.

22. Vincent Tsui Tse Tou
He is Shau Yan’s assistant who is forced to forge the share prices in order to help the company to get listed. He is later bribed by Kar Keung to reveal everything to the police to send him behind bars. However, he does it for a good cause – to earn more money for his retarded younger sister. I find Hor Fung ridiculous to tell him to deny the truth at court to let Shau Yan off.

This is obstructing justice and Vincent can end up in jail because of this. But seeing that Kar Keung is getting unbearable to want to harm Cheung Holdings further, he tapes the conversation between Kar Keung and Chor Wan in a CD to send it to Sum Yee to reveal the truth. He is seriously injured and nearly dies. Hok Fung visits him and strongly believes that he wishes to help the Cheungs.

She speaks up for him and arranges him to work in Shui Shing. His expertise helps the company to prosper. He later marries Hok Fung and stays with her family.

Favorite character

Hok Yu, he is very caring and forgiving towards all – even to his enemies. But this personality isn’t suitable in the business world. He isn’t a person without flaws. He also believes others too easily.

Most hated character

Chor Wan – she is a brainless woman. She shouldn’t have conspired with Kar Keung to harm Sum Yee. This directly causes hurt to everyone, including herself. She cares no one but herself . she doesn’t shed a tear after the brothers’ death – she is a money digger – only wanting to know how much money she can get.

Song

The themesong was sung by Mun Lung and Choi Wah. Strangely, Mun Lung did a better job although Choi Wah was a professional singer. Her voice was too weak. The subtheme song ‘Let go of love’ is by Leung Chun Yat. Only satisfactory.

Interesting scenes

Hok Yu meets Sum Yee at a ball when both are university students. Both have an intimate dance. Love blossoms between them although Sau Yan opposes strongly.

Hok Yu returns after getting his engineering doctorate from the U.S. Cheung Holdings shares is just listed so Sau Yan attributes it to the bad luck that Hok Yu brings home. When Hok Yu decides to stay to help him out, Sau Yan wants to send him overseas to establish the company business in Mauritius. This shows how distant the two are. When Hok Yu wants to take over his grandfather’s factory, Sau Yan only gives him a few months to make things work. Hok Yu takes up the challenge.

Hok Yu and Sum Yee meet again 7 years later when both turn up for her ‘Zhang Ai Ling’ movie promotion. Hok Yu is speechless to know that she is the actress that Hok Lai is wooing. She brushes his hand abruptly after they pretend not to know each other to exchange greetings. Hok Yu is so badly affected that he nearly has a car accident later.

Knowing that Hok Yu has a hard time managing the factory, Hoi Kei immediately comes to his aid although she can assist in her own family business. Both have a meal and Hok Yu is amused that she is still having high standards on food while she is also amused that he doesn’t have any demands at all.

Only Hok Lai doesn’t know the past but the rest are aware. They observe Hok Yu’s response at the breakfast table when Hok Lai announces that he is courting Sum Yee. Hok Yu keeps his cool to excuse himself after eating midway.

Hok Lai quarrels with Sum Yee over the shooting. He asks Hok Yu for help. Hok Yu recalls the hut that he prepares for her in the past and gives him the tips. It works for Hok Lai but his own heart is bleeding. When listening to her radio interview, he becomes so distracted that injures his hand when fixing a machine.

The whole Cheung family turns up for their charity ball. Hok Lai gets Sum Yee to be his dancing partner while Hok Yu chooses Hoi Kei. Sau Yan clearly shows his preference for the latter to give her a light hug while he only nods coldly at Sum Yee.

Hok Lai and Sum Yee are selected as the best dancing partners for the ball. They exchange kisses with each other on the cheek. That is the last straw that Hok Yu can take. He gets out for a while, wishing to have a cigar but smoking isn’t allowed. Sum Yee criticizes him for helping Hok Lai and the poor man can only gulp a whole glass of ice water in despair. When he returns home, he takes out the house drawing that he has kept for years. He closes his eyes later, showing the anguish he has been through.

Upon knowing that Sum Yee has injured her calf, Hok Yu comes to visit her. Hok Lai is silly indeed to get Hok Yu to take care of her. She reprimands him for wooing her on Hok Lai’s behalf. She chases him out of the room as she never forgets the humiliation she has faced many years ago without him. Upon knowing the truth, she wants to be with him but he chooses to be with Hoi Kei.

When watching the ‘Zhang Ai Ling’ movie that she has finished shooting in the cinema, both are fated to sit beside each other. It shows the part that both main roles finally meet each other for a long time – this reminds them of the past. Hok Yu touches Sum Yee’s hand hesitantly and slowly. Sum Yee is more direct – she grips his hand tightly. He can control his feelings no more and looks for her to hug her.

The news is known to public and Hok Lai goes to him, beating him up. The two admits their past to sadden Hok Lai. He ends up hitting a man and has to do 180 hours of community service. Sum See joins him and both become close friends. Hok Yu has to move away from home and he is troubled as none of the banks agree to give him the loan to save the factory.

Sum Yee runs after a thief who seizes Hok Yu’s computer. Hok Yu is touched and proposes to her. Both have an intimate night. Both fight hard to get approval from his parents.

It is their big day. Hok Lai lies to reporters that his romance with Sum Yee is only a gimmick. But he can’t help feeling down when seeing both being so close to each other on stage. The lavish setting isn’t spared and we finally get to see a grand wedding. She furthers her studies to get a business administration degree.

Sum Yi is able to win the Cheung family over by overshadowing Hok Lien and climbs the corporate ladder to become one of the key figures in the Cheung’s family business. She becomes the managing CEO. To prove her potential, she is even reluctant to bail Sau Yan out. Hok Yu is petrified over her change.

To make sure that Kar Keung divorces Hok Fung with no conditions attached, Sum Yee sends private eyes to take photos of Kar Keung and Mei Mei together to prove his infidelity. Kar Keung has no choice but to sign the divorce papers but he is able to marry Mei Mei because of this.

The two are newly married and loving but Hok Lai can’t take it. He is forced to take over a position in Cheung Holdings and kisses Sum Yee when she is asleep. She slaps him and he gets drunk, blurting to Hok Yu that both have spent a night together. When Hok Yu is found to be impotent, he begins to suspect that Sum Yee isn’t carrying his child and keeps to himself.

Sum Yee has a miscarriage when Chor Wan trips her down the stairs as she discovers that Chor Wan is the one to betray their company to Kar Keung. The baby boy dies without seeing his father the last time as Hok Yu thinks that Hok Lai is the father to give him the chance. How stupid he is! Sum Yee gets hysterical and hugs the baby from the mortuary, refusing to let him go and wants a divorce.

Sum Yee gets vindictive upon knowing that she can never conceive again. She blurts Hok Lai’s parentage to Sau Yan and Sau Yee is chased out of home. This also indirectly causes the brothers’ deaths. She is against Hok Lai upon knowing how he sprouts nonsense to Hok Yu when he is drunk. This shows that he is as irresponsible as his natural father, Sau Yee. Totally forgetting what he says when drunk.

Sau Yan’s will is read – Hok Lai and Chor Wan are left with nothing while Hok Lai is given the lion’s share of 27%. Hok Lien’s family can’t believe their ears and Sau Har doubts the contents of the will. Sau Yan has given all the members 3% equally when he is in jail.

Chor Wan insists of bringing the case to court and conspires with Kar Keung. Although Hok Lai has the feeling that Sau Yan intends to cut off all ties with him, he still respect his wishes. Upon hearing Sau Yee’s last voice mail to warn him to be careful of Sum Yee, he confronts her to know the truth. He is later involved in an accident when he quarrels with Chor Wan.

Sum Yee has not expected the triple tragedies to happen. Hok Yu is so sore after all these happenings that he considers a divorce. He transfers part of his shares to Hok Lai without Sum Yee’s knowledge. Their relationship sinks rock bottom when she gets wind of him meeting Hoi Kei to expand Sui Shing’s business overseas. She rebuts him at the meeting, not giving him any face.

He reveals his feelings to Hoi Kei over what happens at home. Sum Yee is like a stranger to him now. He makes a will and a declaratory statement. He stays over to keep Hoi Kei company for the night upon knowing that she still can’t get over him but he is still faithful to Sum Yee. However, he is kidnapped outside her house the next day.

Hoi Kei questions Sum Yee over Hok Yu’s disappearance. Sum Yee regards it as a scam and slams the phone when Hok Yu calls under the request of the kidnappers. She only realizes that he is really kidnapped when Hoi Kei accuses her of leaving him in the lurch. Hoi Kei’s father refuses to pay the ransom. Sum Yee prolongs the ransom process and also alerts the police.

The kidnappers are impatient when Sum Yee doesn’t pay up. They cut off Hok Yu’s finger and sends it back to her. SumYee gets hysterical upon seeing the ring on it. Sum Yee wants to mortgage her shares but is hindered by Hok Yu’s declaratory statement. How silly this man is to trap himself.

Any amount more than 3 billion will require his signature and she is disallowed to use it. The bank also rejects her application after knowing the ransom case. So Sum Yee is forced to sell the shares in the open market. This is Kar Keung’s ploy to force her to sell so that he can buy to become the major shareholder. Luckily, Shing offers to buy over to go through the bad patch with Sum Yee.

Hok Yu disappears after falling down from the cliff while he tries to escape. Sum Yee bursts into tears upon reading his bloodied message that he is still in love with her despite all has happened. Probably he has hurt her too much to cause the hurt to himself now. So he has no reason to blame her. Upon seeing Sum Yee trying to kill herself, her siblings reconcile with her.

Three years later, Hok Lai recovers. He manages the company with Sum Yee. The capable Sum Yee buys the shares back from Shing over this period. Sum Yee never gives up hope of looking for Hok Yu and she feels that he still follows her. The reward for his search still stays at 3 billion. But Hok Lien can’t wait to get Hok Yu’s money to get the court to declare Hok Yu dead – which they do.

Hoi Kei is so devastated that she slaps Sum Yee right outside the court. She yells that Sum Yee must return Hok Yu to her since she is so heartless. Sum Yee still doesn’t accept the ruling. Hok Yu’s will is read. He leaves Sum Yee nothing as his asserts will be shared among his siblings. But one clause must be proven so that she can get everything. That is – she must wear his wedding ring. Sum Yee shows Hok Yu’s ring on a necklace that she wears all the time.

Hok Lien is bitter over this and yells – how can she keep something belonging to the death for 3 long years? That night, Sum Yee disappears and is at the small hut that she has Hok Lai has been when they are young. She recalls the English song that both adore – Old Black Joe and sees him there with her favourite sunflower. Both hug in joy – he isn’t dead after all.

Interesting facts

Chan Siu Ha is now a divorcee with two daughters. She signed a 2 year contract with ATV. ATV arranged her to act as her ex, Mun Long’s elder sister. She was hesitant on it initially. Was she embarrassed to work with him again? Her reply was no as both had not kept in contact for a long time. The feeling of meeting him again was good. He was a gentleman who looked after all of them well. Bao Hei Jing was also like a mother to her.

Many had said that this drama hinted on Kung Yu Sum’s life. When the trailer was shown, many marveled on how coincidental it was. Sum Yee was the eldest sibling and also the CEO of a large company. It also showed the part on how Hok Yu was kidnapped onto a van – which happened to her husband wong Tuck Fai. The part where the three brothers with her seizing the company authority was shown too. But all expressed more interested in the heated argument was between her and the father-in-law, Tsang Kong.

Choi Wah explained that some parts were similar but it was concentrated on how the rich family had amenity with each other so many parts were different. The director, Yeung Siu Hung also denied it. It was more based on how a woman matures due to the harsh reality of society. They had added a part on Sum Yee being a 3rd rated actress.

The part where Lau Chuk Kei slapped Lee Choi Wah was different. I was not sure why she was replaced by Sum Ying Ting. Lee Choi Wah wasn’t sure if the fortune teller Chan Zhan Chung would be added into the drama. She had not confirmed if she would be dressing in a cheongsam. Even it was disclosed later that they were not added, she read on her biography.

There were many kissing scenes between Choi Wah and Mun Long but Mun Long lamented that it was hardly romantic. Choi Wah even stated that they were as close as siblings and could not be a couple. It was rumoured that Mun Long was so immersed in the role that he did not stop kissing even though the director yelled ‘cut’. Mun Long maintained that he did not take advantage of her – what can he do in the presence of the director, lights planner and also other working staff?

Although there were lots of light bulbs around, he did not show that he was uneasy – even in the presence of his ex, Siu Ha. He had reservations at first. But he did not take note of her feelings as she did not watch the shooting scenes. Moreover, they have parted for a long time. Choi Wah was shy over a kissing scene at the harbour as it was her first screen kiss. There were many tourists so she took some n.g.s to complete.

Why can’t they become lovers? Mun Long had his education in the U.S. He was more open and was a good friend to pour woes to. Thus she often related her problems to him. He would analyse them from a man’s viewpoint. He would consult her regarding women matters too. Choi Wah related that this role was very different from her in real life and brought her spirits to sink rock bottom on crying scenes.

The ball dancing scene was far below expectation when it was first shot. Siu Har’s feet were often stepped on by the ATV extras. All laughed when Tsang Kong had to teach them how to dance! Choi Wah denied that her poor dancing caused him to flare up. He even taught her acting and was nice to her. Siu Har had learned dancing but did not get to wear her dancing shoes so she had blisters. Luckily, Mun Long did not step on her. He was tall and danced gracefully. Mun Long was surprised that she took up dancing and was very diligent now as she was so different from the past. He also did not learn dancing too then.

Choi Wah’s bum was also injured from an explosion scene. Choi Wah described her role as hitting others and getting hit over 20 times. This created a history in her career. She preferred to be hit as she could not control her force. Which was the most unforgettable scene? It was the part where Ying Ting slapped her.

When she struck her twice, her feeling was okay. But when it came to the fourth try, it was really painful for her to cry aloud. She endured 6 slaps to complete the scene and her face was swollen. Both women cried after filming. Ying Ting needed to be pacified after this. This was her first job after her contract with TVB ended. Although ATV was smaller, she felt that she had more chances for taking up meater roles.

Choi Wah did not cry because she felt painful but she was very touched by the 3rd take. She knew that all of them were very pressurized so she could not control herself. Ying Ting praised her for helping her to get immersed into the role. She also did not expect herself to cry so hard too.

Because of the trials and tribulations that Sum Yee went through, Choi Wah did not sleep well during filming as it was hard to tear herself away from the role. She was nervous as she had not acted in dramas for 3 years. She joked that ATV was so much more generous than TVB. ATV had invited Yeung Choi Nai, Lam Kar Yan, Yuen Wing Yee and Yip Hseun but all turned down the offer. She took it up.

It was just as tough for Mun Long. He was used to more comical and action-orientated roles. Hok Yu was a dark and melancholic person to pose a challenge to him. After filming, he thought he had gone though an emotional roller coaster. But like Choi Wah, he was reluctant to see the filming end as all got along well as a huge family.

The scene where Chun Yat had to kiss Choi Wah secretly. They had wanted to finish the scene in a take. But all looked down on them and threatened Chun Yat to pay HK$1000 for each n.g. He protested as he argued that Choi Wah could have fallen asleep later and did not even know that she was kissed. Choi Wah refused to admit defeat. If she did not slap him well, she was willing to pay HK$500. But in the end, they owed the staff HK$4000 and had to give them a big treat.

Mun Long admitted that he even cried easily during the 4 months of shooting. He had never done anything so heavy. Luckily, Choi Wah was a great sport to brighten his days. They were Scorpios so they were quite alike. Sometimes they fought a lot too. Career was the first time that both had in mind so they had not thought of dating. Still, all found them matching although Mun Long was 38 while she was 24.

The song trailer had Choi Wah wearing a spaghetti strap dress and looking romantic. But it was hardly romantic as the light source was too powerful to cause her tearing continuously. The director praised her for her professionalism when she persisted after applying some eye drops.

Choi Wah wore sexy shorts on the promotion day. But all eyes were fixed on Mun Long and also Siu Har as ex-lovers. They posed close-ups but denied that romance had rekindled as they had parted for 9 years. Mun Long praised her for remembering the script well and she pulls his ear. All laughed when they jump away like opposite poles of a magnet.

Conclusion

Alert ! 火蝴蝶 is not 火玫瑰. Both stories are similar as it shows on how both heroines slog from rags to riches. They also know how to make use of men to climb up the corporate ladder. Same as Hoi Chiu, Sum Yee is also at loggerheads with one brother (in this case, the elder brother instead of the younger brother in ‘Vegeance’.) But the main bitter rivalry comes from the ex brother-in-law.

This is the first time I see ATV shooting a drama faster than ATV. The drama was completed within 6 months of her demise. Unfortunately, we do not get to see Choi Wah wearing a cheongsam or tying pigtails so she will look more like her. I am totally engrossed by the part on the will announcement on the asserts division. They are so hostile to each other and I can’t wait to see what is coming up next. ATV finally spends more money to make the rich look more convincing, unlike the past.

By getting a strong cast, ATV finally made known that it was able to produce a blockbuster. I feel injustice for the cast as the ratings did not score as well as it should. Acting wise, the cast could not be faulted that much as most have given in their best. My main complaints come from the younger artistes as supporting cast, though. It is a torture to see them crying as they can’t handle well.

The scriptwriter was daring indeed. However, some of the businessmen are still not ‘elaborately’ dressed as we keep seeing them wearing similar clothes all the time. But the ‘tai-tais’ are eye-catching in their costumes. They instill an elegant air in them. The plot development was so enchanting. I was tongue-tied on how close the story was to the businesswoman’s life.

She was the eldest sibling. Her only brother was also a doctor. She was a CEO of a big company. Her relationship with her father-in-law was rocky. Her miscarriage also caused her hard to conceive. Her husband was missing after a kidnap. If ATV still insists that all these are pure coincidence, I will not know another phrase to describe. Fiction characters are unavailable?

The only things different were she went to court with her father-in-law and won her husband’s fortune. Another would be a fortune teller contesting her will with her siblings. The suit was still going on with no verdict confirmed as yet (even in 2009 when I watched this drama) when ATV was shooting it so I guess they were smart to omit the two parts.

This drama is definitely a not-to-be-missed drama. If you like rich family power struggle tales, this one can satisfy your crave. It has all the essence – betrayal, misdeeds, deceptions, attraction seeking, hunger, greed and power. Whatever you name it, it has it.

Sukting’s ratings :

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

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

On songs : *** (Scale of 5)



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