Love and Ambition


Reviewed by: sukting

April 08, 2004

Rating: two-point-five

How long
16 episodes

Foreword
I have been watching Korean dramas daily. Thanks to our local stations which don’t seem to get tired of them, viewers get to watch a wide variety from good to bad or from old to new. However, it can be quite boring to see most serials having the same or boring endings. I am so afraid that the more I watch, the lower the ratings I am going to give for future serials. This serial is among those which I dislike.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Yin Shu Ran – Jin Zhi Xiu (She is Shang Mei in ‘Bad Friends’)
Shu Ran’s father works as a spy and kills the president, but he gets killed too. His friend, Luo, takes her in but he even wants to make her his mistress. She leaves and borrows money from Tai He to continue her studies. Luo is so determined to get her that he even cancels her chances for getting a bursary. Shu Ran is so mad that she wets him with a glass of water. At this time, Tai He is also there and observes this.

Tai He refuses at first and she sells her books. She spends the bulk on a meal before sleeping at Tai Yu’s shop. Tai Yu lets her stay. To repay Tai He, she gets a job from Tai Yu to be the middleman in introducing people to find the things to earn the commission. One day, Tai He is upset and kisses her. Both become lovers.

Determined that their future not be ruined by Zai Shu, she quits her studies and hopes to save money with Tai He to go overseas together. However, Zai Shu refuses to let Tai He off and Heng Jun is determined to have her. They try running away but fail. Tai He decides to return to Zai Shu after his mother dies while trying to protect him.

Upon knowing his engagement with Mei Xian, Shu Ran has a miscarriage when she tries to drown herself at sea and hates Tai He. Tai Yu opens a computer business. He invites her and Du Wan to be his partners. Du Wan promotes the business well to women using his looks while she doesn’t get to sell one computer in a month. Thus she decides to submit to Heng Jun to seek revenge on Tai He.

She opens an agency – not only to sell factory materials but also to keep tabs on Tai He. He gets very mad with her. She has softened initially and wants him to return to her. Finally, he gets her factory without Tai Yu’s knowledge! This is not a gesture of rekindling their love but she wants revenge.

She hates Mei Xian but upon seeing her in agony, she sends her to hospital as this reminds her of her own miscarriage. But she is unable to forgive Tai He for being so selfish. It is strange that she has the evidence to betray Heng Jun and Zai Shu but she only tells Du Wan to lock it in a bowling centre locker.

She has wanted to seek revenge by belittling him, make him regret his act and return to her. How naïve she can be! After Zai Shu suffers from a stroke, she regrets her decision and joins forces with Mei Xian. Upon knowing that Tai He is holding a press conference to promote similar products that Tai Yu has made, she senses something amiss and thus discovers that Tai He has stolen Tai Yu’s ideas.

She quickly alerts them while she rushes to the product endorsement centre. She also tells Du Wan to get Tai He’s evidence of seizing their ideas. She knows that Tai He will try to destroy the evidence to leave any trace behind. At this time, she discovers that she is pregnant with Tai He’s baby.

When he comes to thank her for ignoring Tai Yu and carrying his child, she lies that she had an abortion. She tries hard to help Tai Yu preserve his company and they gain success. She gives birth to their daughter. But her leukemia illness costs her her life. She is remorseful for causing Tai Yu to lose his sight and thus donates her eyes to him after her death.

I don’t like this character – she is very vengeful, selfish and ungrateful. She knows Tai Yu is in love with her, yet she is always so intimate with Tai He at his shop! I get so fed up over the way she wants to borrow money from Tai He – it seems that he owes her money instead! She is so ungrateful to Tai Yu. When she needs his help, she treats him like a float. I despise her for betraying Tai Yu. Luckily he can take it as he is a strong man and she tries to make amends to him finally.

2. Jiang Tai Yu
He is a talent in fixing electrical appliances and also computers. He is very kind and loves Shu Ran. Despite knowing that she wants to be with Tai He, he requests his father to officiate their wedding. But knowing that she wants to leave with Tai He, he can’t help but cry. Still, he is a loyal friend. He knows that the police are searching for Tai He to arrest him and impersonates him so that he can escape.

After his graduation, he opens a company and helps Shu Ran when she is ditched. But she betrays him by giving his company to Tai He. After knowing her motive, he decides not to marry Hong En and wishes to dissuade her from seeking revenge. But this man is stupid – can’t he try to love another woman?

He is remorseful when Hong En is jailed because of him. He visits her often and still helps in her family factory by renting her premises. He is initially upset when Shu Ran betrays him but he changes to a firm man. Who can expect him to open a company soon to sell similar computer products like his former company to give Tai He a hard blow? Shu Ran tries to talk him out of it but he refuses.

However, this man is so unlucky. He is attacked by Zai Shu’s men when trying to protect Shu Ran and falls down a hill. This incident causes him to have blur vision. He still returns to work. When Tai He steals his chip and also destroys his master computer, he hurries to Hong En to open the file from her computer. He is smart to keep another copy there. But when Hong En asks him the details on screen, he can’t even see clearly.

His friends manage to help him to print out everything and apply successfully for his product endorsement. But his condition deteriorates. When Du Wan drives him back to the company, he asks Du Wan to walk quickly with him into the office to inform Hong En the good news. He doesn’t even see that she is right at the entrance. They force him to see a doctor and are alarmed to know that he needs an operation as soon as possible because he may go blind anytime.

He only agrees to have the operation after defeating Tai He and even wants the rest to keep from Shu Ran. When Shu Ran cries over his condition, he declares that he wants her to look at him instead of Tai He.

All combine their shares. Tai He has 35% while they only have 33.2%. They try hard to raise the 2%. He later solves the problem by mortgaging his endorsement to the bank. But another problem comes again. Tai He has a partner that makes him having 3% more again. All are troubled till Mei Xian finds cash in the home compartment with Zai Shu’s help. This time round, Tai Yu decides to buy over Tai He’s company shares and Tai He is mad that he gets 38.2%, which is 0.2% more.

But Tai He still laughs haughtily that he still has 1.8% more from a minor company. No one can predict this – Tai Yu’s father manages to persuade his friends to buy 2.3% more of the shares so Tai Yu ends up the winner. However, he delays his operation and becomes blind for life. But later with Shu Ran’s help, he regains his sight and returns Tai He’s daughter to him after his release.

After Shu Ran knows about his condition, he says that he has felt upset as she is always looking at Tai He. Now he feels like looking at her and hopes that she depends on him to be a good person. I don’t call this unconditional love. I deem him stupid. It is a mad way to try to defeat his love rival by risking going blind just for Shu Ran.

3. Cui Tai He – Piao Zheng Zhe ( He is as Cui Rong Xi in ‘Hotelier’)
His mother helped him to escape from his gambler father to avoid trouble. He tried to study while working in a shop but his employer hit him repeatedly. He fought back. Zai Shu admired his guts and engaged his services to be a loanshark. In return, she paid for his university education.

Tai He has longed to end his misery, he loses 500,000 won and Zai Shu is so angry that she gets Cheng Jun to hit him. Tai He is determined to leave Zai Shu. However, when he manages to retrieve her losses by revealing another person, Zhang’s involvement in tax invasion, Zai Shu refuses to let him go. She even gets him a contract. If he goes overseas to study alone, he can be a company director. But she is enraged when Tai He chooses to give that up to be with Shu Ran. He proposes to her and gives her a ring.

But it is hard to erase the past. He is later framed to be the one who caused Zhang’s downfall. But despising Zai Shu’s evil ways, he chooses to be jailed. He suddenly longs to see his mother and hopes that he gets her blessings to get married. He is in tears upon seeing her still having a hard time and cries.

However, a set up ruins his plans. He is being framed for burning a factory and his mother dies. Thus he decides to get engaged to Mei Xian. Years later, he returns and is married to Mei Xian. He is shocked to see Shu Ran at Heng Jun’s home.

He never expected her to become Heng Jun’s mistress. He demands to know why she does this and she retorts saying that she wants power and fame. He is dismayed to find that the upper class does respect her as Director. He never asks her about their child since they are not together anymore. However, he does feel a little remorseful when Mei Xian tells him that she is pregnant.

But his hunger for power gets better of him. This man can have the cheek to ask Shu Ran for help! He has hoped that his unborn child can strengthen his position. When Mei Xian miscarries, can you imagine him asking Shu Ran what he should do and what will happen to him instead of feeling sad over the loss? He can be so selfish! That is why Shu Ran decides to go ahead with her plan to ruin him. She pretends to help him to go against Zai Shu on the surface.

He feels intimidated when Tai Yu invites him and Shu Ran to his new company opening. He confronts him but Tai Yu reprimands him for using a woman to help him achieve his aim. This is very true as he wants Shu Ran to contact all banks on his behalf to reject Tai Yu. Shu Ran wants him to handle it alone but he still insists that she help him. When a bank accepts Tai Yu’s products, he scolds Shu Ran. He starts to feel insecure although she says she can do nothing as the bank says that it is only a small case.

His affair is discovered but he is still cold to Mei Xian. Later, he sees Shu Ran to hug her. He has thought that being power hungry has diminished his urge to love. But it doesn’t seem this way. Shu Ran hugs him back to congratulate him for his promotion to chairman when Mei Xian tries to win him back.

Upon finding Shu Ran’s plan, he still lets her off to combine forces to deal with Heng Jun and Zai Shu. He seizes control of the company and causes Zai Shu to have a stroke. Even so, he even asks her to give up her shares to him. After knowing that Tai Yu has invented a new product, he tells someone to steal it and comes up with a promotional exhibition.

This shameless act is uncovered when a reporter from the endorsement centre questions the similarity. Tai Yu has made the report early in the morning. Tai He is embarrassed on the spot and doesn’t know how to answer to it. He then decides to buy over Tai Yu’s company’s shares. Then he will sell them and buy them in again at a low price after releasing news that Tai Yu is becoming a bankrupt. This is not to earn the profit but to crush him thoroughly.

However, he doesn’t expect the gentle Tai Yu to think of buying his company shares instead and he has to stop buying over his company. When he loses everything, he rushes to the hospital to see Shu Ran as he is worried that she will abort their child. He doesn’t understand why she makes everyone miserable but pleads with her to keep their child.

It is quite sad that he doesn’t get to see her the last time. Mei Xian has to break the news of her death to him. He cries upon knowing that she still loves him. When he gets to see his daughter, he cries again.

4. Li Hong En – Li You Zhen (She is Li Na Luo in ‘Beautiful Days’)
She is a tomboy and the only female in Tai Yu’s class. The guys bet that her legs are ugly so she only wears jeans to study. All are shocked when she wears a skirt for the first time. They are furious to lose the bet. However, she is a lazy person who relies on Tai Yu to do most of her assignments. Still, she is a loyal friend of his. Although she loves him, she still consoles him when he falls out of love.

She has no regrets going to jail because of him. After her release, she hasn’t lost her pleasant personality and still helps him out. She is very angry with Shu Ran for ruining her marriage plans with Tai Yu. She knows that he will only listen to her so she tells her to fix things back as her selfish act has affected others.

Still, she cheers for him when he isn’t afraid of Tai He. She is also happy for him when he tells her that he gets the first deal. She is his capable assistant but upon knowing that he makes such a big sacrifice to save Shu Ran, her love for him dies and decides to be friends with him instead. Even though Shu Ran assures her that she is the only person who can make him happy, she knows that she can never replace her.

5. Quan Zai Shu (She is as Mrs Zhang in ‘Mother, Sister’)
She is a finance company manager but she also hires many loansharks to collect the debts for her. She is a very possessive and authoritative person. She wants Tai He to be by her side forever. That is why she is mad with him for wanting to lead a normal life. She wants to make sure that he returns to her, so she uses despicable means.

She frames him for Zhang’s downfall. She uses all deals under Tai He’s name and not hers. When the police question her, she doesn’t defend him since he is not her man anymore. Actually, this is also part of Heng Jun’s suggestion to keep him.

Zai Shu is equally appalled to see Shu Ran. She then realizes that Heng Jun has more power than her now. The wedding ceremony is for Heng Jun and Shu Ran to show off their authority. Being a sly one, she bears with the defeat and even tells Mei Xian to tolerate it. Her initial intention to have Mei Xian in the company is to keep tabs on Tai He. She is dismayed that she wants to help him instead but she keeps quiet.

She thinks that Shu Ran has caused her to be questioned by the police so she gives money to Tai He to help her to bribe the others to help her. This act is the same as giving fish to a cat. After knowing the betrayal, she is so shocked that she gets a stroke. Knowing that Mei Xian needs cash to defeat Tai He, she crawls all the way from the bedroom to the living room to push the secret compartment to show her the cash. She dies in peace upon knowing that they have won the war.

6. Luo Heng Jun
He is a despicable man. Why? He is so much older than Shu Ran and yet he harbours designs on her. He prevents her from getting a bursary by telling the school board about her father’s identity. Later, he works for the same financial company and works with Tai He together. He is jealous of him for being Shu Ran’s boyfriend so he always comes up with evil plans.

He tries to separate her from Tai He by telling the embassy about her identity again. This ruins her chances of going overseas. Shu Ran is very angry with him – he has said that her status gets everyone into trouble. If that is the case, I wonder why he wants her then??

He finally gets her and doesn’t mind being made use of by her to spite back at Tai He. He tells Mei Xian that he will give Shu Ran freedom before he dies. But he will never give Tai He the chance. But still, he fails as Shu Ran indirectly causes his downfall.

7. Quan Mei Xian
She is Zai Shu’s daughter. She looks quiet but she is very arrogant and sarcastic. She likes Tai He and pretends to be sweet in front of him. In order to get close to him, she refuses all chances to go overseas to study after her high school education. But when she is with Shu Ran on her engagement day, she can sneer at her background and also her lack of elegance.

She loves and trusts Tai He too much. She decides to help Zai Shu’s company just to strengthen Tai He’s position. When she is going to miscarry, she has initially refused Shu Ran’s help to get into her car. But Shu Ran tells her not to be spiteful at this time. She later reflects on her action and decides to heed Zai Shu’s advice to learn from her how to build up her business network.

Mei Xian is crushed upon knowing that Tai He’s present company is a gift from Shu Ran. She confronts her but she says that Tai He begged her to help him since he is not getting recognition from Zai Shu and Mei Xian. So she gave him the company out of pity. Mei Xian is badly affected upon seeing Tai He resting his head on Shu Ran’s lap in a garden.

She later finds that Shu Ran and Tai He have become major shareholders of Zai Shu’s company by buying the shares in secret. She meets the two and demands them to stop their act.

Hong En meets Mei Xian to tell her about Shu Ran’s evil plot. Shu Ran hates Tai He too because he has ditched her to cause her miscarriage. Mei Xian is shocked when knowing Tai He used a client’s money to buy over the company’s shares. She demands to see him and is appalled to know that he is meeting Shu Ran at her Qing Ping bungalow. She can’t concentrate on the way when she drives and ends up driving off a cliff. She recovers to know that Tai He betrays them.

Both divorce but she still requests to be a director of the company to oversee its working. She joins forces with Shu Ran to deal with Tai He. Who will expect her to help Tai Yu to regain his company too? Upon seeing the two women together, he warns them not to overestimate themselves but they prove him wrong.

8. Xia Cheng Jun
He is Zai Shu’s henchman and has worked under her longer than Tai He. But he is always suspicious of Tai He. The part where he gets beaten up is just like having sweet revenge. He ends up in jail but still tries to find old supporters who can help Mei Xian in the company.

9. Du Wan
Tai Yu’s friend who is the first among them to start pedaling stuff to others. At first, he is quite unhappy that Shu Ran and Tai Yu snatch his business. But after finding them easy to get along, they become close friends. That is why they become business partners later too. He is quite loyal and has the intelligence for business. But he is no match for Ming Xi.

He buys a doll that comes in many different layers. He places a ring in the smallest compartment. Ming Xi says that her mother tells her not to let men touch her hand and wants Du Wan only to slip the ring on her finger. He does it reluctantly but is astonished to learn later that she is an orphan.

He decides to return to studies for a fashion design degree as he can’t depend on Shu Ran or Tai He forever. It is strange that he meets Ming Xi when she is on night shift in the company. She is touched and finally accepts him. When Ming Xi chides him for not doing his homework, he tells her that he is willing to forgo his studies and open the shop right now.

He is very capable – when Shu Ran wants him to look for evidence of Tai He’s crime, he manages to scare Tai He’s subordinate to give all the details to him. Later, Shu Ran gives him evidence of Tai He conspiring with another boss while Mei Xian also passes him documents that show how he gets hold of Zai Shu’s business illegally. He has mixed feelings when he has to produce these to the police for his arrest.

10. Han Ming Xi
Despite Shu Ran giving away his company, Tai Yu manages to open another shop that sells computers. His business is so good that he engages Ming Xi to become his secretary. He will do the promotion with Du Wan while she handles the phone calls.

She is capable and cunning. I really laugh at the part when she acts innocent and still gets the ring from Du Wan. At first, she thinks that Du Wan is not serious about her. However, when he relates his plan to her about his dream, she hugs him.

Conclusion
I realize why SBS is often weaker in TV ratings than KBS or MBC. I am simply uninterested in the story. The pace is very slow and I am so glad that I taped it daily to watch as I need to work. It has saved me a lot of time – I always fast forward the tape.

I don’t expect something glamorous like a blockbuster but the storyline can be more appealing. It focuses too much on business, which I am quite uninterested because the scenario is very different from our context. Only the ending is more exciting. There is nothing to rave about the acting.

Only watch it when you have the time. I watch it just for the sake of writing a fair review ... or rather, to discourage others from watching it. It is not worth your time and money to rent or buy this serial. If you wish to watch real rivalry between women/men, I will suggest ‘All About Eve’, ‘Law Firm’, ‘I love Patzzi’ or ‘Invitation’. This serial isn’t thrilling at all. Do watch only the last 3 episodes as the property shares war is really heated up.

Ratings :

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

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


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