Gone With the Wind


Reviewed by: sukting

October 29, 2008

Rating: four

How long
76 episodes

Foreword
ATV threatened TVB with its strong cast and stories in the late 70s and 80s. Do you wish to know why this drama is among them? It was shown over Singapore television when I was very young so I could hardly recall the story. My neighbour just got these dvds so I managed to borrow from her.

This was also the first drama that the late Cheung Kok Wing worked with Chan Sau Mun and Man Tse Leung before "Taiji Master 2". This would also be the last time that we would see such a strong cast with powerful acting as most artistes either passed away or retired from showbiz.

Story Introduction on characters

1. Cheng Sui Cheung – Yuet Wah

The background is in 1949 when the situation is unstable. Most people will try to fight for their survival. Sui Cheung brings his wife, Lai Ching to Hong Kong from China. He is educated and is smart, knowing who to please at the right time. He is also an expert in concealing his mistake.

The poor life results him to get drunk and sells his wife on the way. He considers her a burden and keeps scolding her. He doesn’t know that she is pregnant with See Wah. He regrets his action after that and becomes a rickshaw puller. 6 years later, he meets Dai Nien and also Yuet Ting. Through a failed smuggling attempt, Dai Nien is banished to do military service on a remote island so Sui Cheung takes over his place to bring up his son, Chan Pang.

Sui Cheung also gets Yuet Ting’s trust to get a high post. He later marries Doi Hou. Sui Cheung spends 10 years to establish his career and leaves Yuet Ting. His love life becomes a mess. He deserts Doi Hou and rejects Luk Shang’s love too. Why? He is reconciled with Lai Ching. Can you believe that he offers a price to buy his wife back to get beaten up by her present husband instead?

When this plan fails, he proposes to Luk Shang in impulse. This proves to be a big mistake. He falls sick and she takes good care of him. He claims See Wah to be his foster daughter. Upon seeing Lai Ching unwell during the dinner, he accompanies her to see a doctor. This arouses Luk Shang’s jealousy and pretends to be close to Chan Pang. She even threatens to resign. This causes him to be more determined to be with Lai Ching again. Both only get together for a short while when she dies of liver cancer.

After Lai Ching’s death, Sui Cheung is angry to see See Wah’s family photo with her step-father. He insists that she should change her surname to be under his but she refuses. He plans to make the two stop writing letters to each other. Sui Cheung meets a financial crisis. When learned that Yuet Ting is only giving the GM seat to his family, he plans to woo Luk Shang again. She initially rejects him but accepts him upon seeing Jing Hong with Zhen Wah.

He oversees the new company having the shares to be listed on the stock market with Luk Shang. Chan Pang is jealous over this and reveals his past to the others – on how he sold his wife for HK$50. Dai Nien slaps him and See Wah leaves home. But See Wah returns home after a spate of tragedies. She stays by his side when he becomes a bankrupt. When knowing that her step-father comes to Hong Kong, he lies that See Wah is dead to prevent both from meeting each other.

See Wah’s step-father sees her on television when news of Jing Shang’s insanity is revealed. She gets angry to leave with her step-father to stay in Australia. Sui Cheung ponders over the past and gives up on himself. He dies due to poverty on the street, depicting his sad life. He manages to see See Wah for the last time before his death.

2. Cheng See Wah – Chan Sau Mun
She is only 19 but is pretty and innocent. She comes to Hong Kong to look for a job and Wai Shang gets attracted by her to recommend her to work in Sui Cheung’s factory. It is an embarrassing moment for her parents when she introduces each other. Her step-father isn’t happy with this and Lai Ching has to promise that she will never see Sui Cheung again.

She moves out to open a laundry with Luk Shang. As gentle as she may seem, she can never forgive her father for deserting her mother. She is helpful to others and has her own principles in doing everything. That is why she wins Wai Shang’s heart easily.

Both intend to get married but her over-trusting nature causes their love to halt as he is killed by Chan Pang.

3. Che Wai Shang – Cheung Kok Wing
He is Yuet Ting’s youngest child and only son. He has a heart murmur problem since young and has to take his medication daily. He looks gentleman with his elegance and seems to take things easy. But he can be very conceited to enjoy digging fun at others. His illness reoccurs so he decides not to fall in love.

He can be very indecisive, quiet and over-sensitive. He loves air-rifle shooting and has few friends. Jing Hong is one of his closer friends. He has hoped that he will marry Luk Shang but things do not work out between them. Wai Shang returns to Hong Kong after his check up to learn that Man Fong and Luk Shang are driven away by Yuet Ting. He tries to persuade him to forgive them but to no avail. He is the only person to attend Luk Shang’s wedding as all flock to Jing Shang’s wedding.

Wai Shang returns to manage the company after Luk Shang’s death. He hopes that See Wah will close the laundry to work for the Ches. He also wishes to get Sui Cheung’s approval to marry See Wah but Sui Cheung is sore over Yuet Ting’s treatment towards him to reject him. Still, he reminds Wai Shang to observe Chan Pang’s expression carefully when knowing that Yuet Ting is drowned. He is so badly affected by his parents’ death that he falls ill. Sui Cheung finally gives his approval.

Jing Shang comes to visit him and he vows to seek redress for them. He discovers Yuet Ting’s gun among his belongings and promises to use it to kill the murderer. Wai Shang transfers all the funds to the main office. Wai Shang is angry that Chan Pang gets away scotch-free and demands to know the truth from Jing Shang. But he has to send her to hospital when she gives birth to a boy. He finally knows the truth and is shocked. He doesn’t bear to make his nephew an orphan so he bears the pain.

He is about to get married when he discovers Yuet Ting’s note. He decides to get forensic evidence to go to England against Chan Pang and postpones his wedding. See Wah can never talk him out of it. Jing Shang begs him to let Chan Pang off with her son so he burns the note.

He is the exact opposite of See Wah as he doesn’t trust others easily. He doesn’t like Chan Pang and suspects him having a motive to marry Jing Shang. But his instinct doesn’t save his own life. Chan Pang is switches Wai Shang’s medicine with poison. Upon eating it, he discovers something wrong. He fails to convince Chan Pang that he has burned the note when he demands for it. He manages to shoot Chan Pang with his gun. Although both are sent to hospital by See Wah, both end up dead.

4. Che Jing Shang – Ngai Chau Wah
She is Yuet Ting’s eldest child who is determined to get what she wants. She creates discord among Chan Pang and his ex. Then she pronounces that she is going to marry Yuet Ting’s business associate. She is about to meet Chan Pang but stops when her fiancé gives her expensive gifts.

This proves to be the wrong choice when riots happen and her husband is killed in jail. The funds are frozen by the Indonesian government. She is very practical who seems quiet and kind on the exterior. But she has changed to be very unreasonable to quarrel often with her siblings. She keeps seducing Chan Pang but he is no longer interested in her. She pretends to be drunk one day to reprimand Yuet Ting for ruining her happiness. This makes Yuet Ting remorseful to decide to divide his fortune.

She is actually very ambitious to become Yuet Ting’s favourite. She tells Chan Pang that he needs to please her if he wants to get business deals from her. She also causes Yuet Ting to suspect that Man Fong is unfaithful to him. Chan Pang has to follow her bidding when she hinders him from working with Yuet Ting. She works in Chan Pang’s factory but Luk Shang will oversee how the shares will be presented in the stock market. Jing Shang is angry with him showing favouritism.

She becomes Chan Pang’s wife. Knowing that she is losing in the battle with Luk Shang over the company control, she photocopies Luk Shang’s love letters to send to the press. Still, her relationship with Wai Shang is closet. She pleads with Wai Shang to get Yuet Ting to forgive her after Luk Shang’s death. Yuet Ting wants her to divorce Chan Pang but she refuses. She turns for the better after getting pregnant. She becomes mad after Chan Pang’s death, killing their son by mistake.

5. Che Luk Shang – Mah Mun Yee
She is Yuet Ting’s second daughter. She is the prettiest to be attractive to men wherever she goes. She is very passionate to love and hate easily. She is initially close to Jing Hong.But later, she falls secretly for Sui Cheung. She even persuades Wai Shang to help him when he faces financial difficulties. Sui Cheung wavers initially but later rejects her as he feels that their age gap is too wide.

This woman is very temperamental. She is angry that Jing Hong praises See Wah for working hard and intending to promote her to be his secretary. She blows her top when seeing See Wah lunching with Sui Cheung. After Sui Cheung’s marriage to Lai Ching, she trips down the stairs despite Wai Shang’s advice when throwing her tantrums. She falls into a coma but listens to Jing Hong when she wakes up to give up on Sui Cheung. She manages to sell a piece of land to Jing Hong and starts to fall for him.

They become lovers after that. Jing Shang is angry over this and locks herself up in her room, ignoring the family business. Luk Shang becomes the GM and Wai Shang gets Yuet Ting’s shares. Luk Shang is with Sui Cheung for a while but leaves him upon knowing what he has done to Lai Ching. She marries Jing Hong overseas. She seeks Yuet Ting’s forgiveness but Jing Shang keeps interrupting them.

In the end, both sisters hold their weddings on the same day at different venues. Yuet Ting disowns her ut forgives her later. The love letter issue causes her marriage to break up and she stays with See Wah as both open a laundry. Her health worsens and when Jing Hong refuses to forgive her, she jumps down from the building. Jing Hong comes too late to save her.

6. Chiu Chan Pang – Lau Chi Wing
He is Dai Nien’s son who lives in Sui Cheung’s home since young. He is very capable and ambitious. But he also becomes unscrupulous during the process. He is jealous of Jing Hong’s ability. He also doesn’t like to see Luk Shang too intimate with Sui Cheung. After killing Yuet Ting, he becomes frightened and wants to leave Hong Kong but Jing Shang is pregnant. He bribes a teenager to admit to the killing.

The teenager’s father comes to Chan Pang to ask for the money and Wai Shang sees this. The two compete on buying over the witness. They succumb to Chan Pang as he gets gangsters to harass them.

Thus he marries Jing Shang to get into Yuet Ting’s good books. The couple plan to seize the family fortune. But he can be so wicked to kill Yuet Ting. Later, he is killed by Wai Shang. It is too late of him to realize that he has made a big mistake when knowing that Wai Shang has destroyed Yuet Ting’s note.

7.Choi Jing Hong – Man Tse Leung
He is Sui Cheung’s capable helper who is born ina big family. He is very traditional and thus do not think that women should work after marriage. He is educated and has the ability. He is also helpful, filial and loyal to friends. He is upright but is like Wai Shang who suspects others easily.

He is Wai Shang’s friend and is also Luk Shang‘s tuition teacher after meeting her in the library. His loss in love is also partially due to Chan Pang’s hinderance. Both do not see eye to eye when doing business for Sui Cheung. Chan Pang keeps framing him but Jing Hong still gets his promotion to become the GM because Sui Cheung knows the truth. But Chan Pang still manages to create discord to force him to leave the company. He starts a romance with See Wah but she has to part with him due to Sui Cheung’s disapproval. Sui Cheung reveals that he is her natural father.

He befriends Zhen Wah who is a successful businesswoman. Zhen Wah is jealous of Luk Shang when both become business associates. She plans to break up the two but end up making them closer instead. They get married but he doesn’t trust her over the love letter issue. Both part over this. He has wanted to reconcile with her but gets jealous to see a young man sending her flowers. It is only wishing thinking on the man’s part but he decides to divorce her. This leads to her death instead.

Jing Shang is remorseful to have nightmares over her death. She and Chan Pang engage a monk for a praying session and Jing Hong causes a scene. See Wah can take it no more to give him a slap. He is the actual cause for her death. He rejects Zhen Wah’s love and decides to migrate overseas.

8. Che Yuet Ting – Ping Fan
He is the Shanghai clan lord. He is Sui Cheung’s boss and flees to Hong Kong after killing a China traitor. He opens a shop selling dried seafood. This is only to cover up his smuggling activities. Knowing that Chan Pang and Jing Shang is only out to cheat his company shares, he transfers his shares to Luk Shang so that she can reestablish the company ground to be the GM again.

He focuses a lot on appearance so he is very generous. He loves flattery and doesn’t know how to discipline his children. He becomes muddleheaded when old to get ill-treated by Chan Pang and Jing Shang after his stroke. Both move out and Mun Fong moves in to take care of him. He combines forces with Sui Cheung to deal with them.
killed by Chan Pang.

9. Cheng Doi Hou – Chow Wai Kuen
She is Sui Cheung’s second wife. She is open-minded and can overlook minor details. She is also righteous but we know that love is blind so people change for it.

She is initially a boat ‘driver’ to ferry people from shore to shore. She works in a casino. Later, she helps Sui Cheung and Dai Nien in their smuggling. Of course, she doesn’t like Luk Shang to get close to Sui Cheung to have conflicts with her openly. She enjoys her riches for a shot while as she gets ditched later.

She returns to Hong Kong after making a wrong investment. Sui Cheung is angered that she gets help from Chan Pang. Doi Hou wishes him to make a comeback but he is uninterested. She gets so angry that she decides to sell her own boat. She feels sorry for Jing Shang and offers to look after her and her son after Chan Pang’s death. But it is too late when the baby is suffocated to death by Jing Shang.

10, Sum Man Fong – Lau Ying Hung
She is Yuet Ting’s mistress who is from an influential family when young. She enjoys life when reaching middle-aged. She is Doi Hou’s good friend but is always scared that the Che’s illegal dealings will affect her. Thus she prefers to stay in her own apartment, unlike other concubines who will try to find all sorts of ways to live with the family to gain the right status. She tolerates with the humiliation when Yuet Ting doesn’t trust her. She is genuinely in love with him.

She faints after identifying his dead body. Unable to live without him, she kills herself.

11. Chan Lai Ching – Leung Suet Chong
She is Sui Cheung’s first wife who is a traditional woman. She is simple-minded and kind. She is protective towards See Wah so she tries hard not to make her reconcile with Sui Cheung. But she is touched by his concern and decides to marry him again. She later dies of illness. Before her death, she tells Sui Cheung that See Wah isn’t his child and that causes him to treat her badly. Funny – what kind of mentality has this woman to torture the two of them?!

12. Chiu Dai Nien – Leung Ming
He is Sui Cheung’s good friend who suffers from diabetes. He is banished from Hong Kong. He receives little education and loves drinking. He is loyal to friends and doesn’t ask for anything in return. He returns to Hong Kong and mends his bad relationship with Sui Cheung. He is sour that Chan Pang stays with Yuet Ting after marriage so he is cold to the couple. Realizing about the couple’s intention and worried that Yuet Ting will be ill-treated by the couple, he moves in to stay with them.

He is thankful that Wai Shang lets Chan Pang off even though he kills Yuet Ting. After Chan Pang‘s death, he still carries the burden of taking care of his grandson. He is concerned over Jing Shang’s mental state but can’t do anything as she doesn’t allow him to visit them.

Songs

The songs are very unforgettable. The opening theme song: 浮生六劫Gone with the Wind and the Ending theme song: 戲劇人生 Dramatic Life are both sung by Yip Chun Tong. Both are declared as among my top favourite memorable songs. Yip is such a talented singer to bring out the bitterness in life of every character. A must-keep treasure for drama theme song fans.

Interesting scenes

Sui Cheung selling Lai Ching away. I simply can’t believe this!

Kok Wing as Wai Shang playing the pipa?! Unbelievable but he does it well. Ying Hung singing and playing the pipa too. Showed how well she acted. The older artistes show their substance on how they can act and also sing well. Hong Kong is lacking of such talent these days.

Luk Shang and Jing Shang competing unknowingly in the family fortune and love lives.

Wai Shang and Chan Pang pitting against each other. Not just in business but also in destroying evidence.

All the characters getting killed. Very sad. I don’t think I want to watch this drama a second time as it is too painful for me.

Conclusion

If you are looking for ‘old wine’, this is one you should go for and not miss. The intense plot that includes rivalry, romance and harmony will attract you from the beginning to the end. I am totally fascinated by its turn of events. But you will need lots of tissues to get through the heart aching scenes. But the story is too sad so I don’t think I will want to watch it a third time.

The romantic plots are interlinked but not confusing as other dramas. There is a definite cause for every character’s action to change their partners. The chemistry is simply wonderful. See how advanced they are – old man, young woman relationships have started in those days! Unlike other reviews which I comment on each character’s performance individually, it is unnecessary for me to do for this one as they are simply perfect. Yes! Simply perfect with no flaws!

Even though ‘Relentless Justice’ is a more recent drama, it copies some parts from here. Especially the part when Yuet Ting spoils his children rotten is the same way Hoi Tou treats his children too. Wai Shang being poisoned to death also resembles how Kar Kei is harmed in ‘Relentless Justice’ too.

It tells on how the Shanghai clan has conflicts with Canton clan. They fight for fame and also plot to develop their business. Only the survival is the fittest. It shows the weakness of men and the changes of time. Every scene is a highlight in this drama.

‘Moonlight Resonance’ or ‘Heart of Greed’ is still ordinary to me despite its success. Both only concentrate on the household. ‘Gone with the wind’ is poised and classy in delivering sensitive issues. From land property to public bus purchasing – what more can I ask?

Every artiste is a jewel. That is why they are so fondly remembered for their roles even after so many years. Every character’s fate can also be the mirror image of every Hong Konger. It tells of their inner feelings. No wonder it is an instant hit and a classic. Even the young artistes show their acting talent.

Undoubtedly, it is a very long drama but it truly shows how a strong cast works with a commendable story. It can withstand the long period of time with the compelling. It is definitely a collector’s item for all Kok Wing’s fans and ATV supporters. Hopefully, I can get to catch 'The Chamelon' when it is out to write a review on it too.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : ***** (Scale of 5) (How to get such a wonderful cast these days? Even TVB can’t do it.)

On story : **** (Scale of 5) (Need to cut down a little as there are too many sad elements. The dose is too much for my intake.)

On songs : ***** (Scale of 5) (Simply fascinating. Theme songs should be directly related to the story as like this one.)



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