Gentle Reflections


Reviewed by: sukting

September 22, 2008

Rating: three

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
This is how Wan Bik Ha started a long string of slutty roles on the small screen even after being cast as a sex kitten in most movies on the big screen. How does she perform in this drama as the notorious Poon Kam Lien? To get category3 movies’ actor Sum Lap Mun to pair up with her is a rare chance too.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Far Chi Hui – Tam Yiu Mun
Chi Hui is initially a weakling in the family. The process of how he wins her heart is so sweet. He changes for her after loving Ping Yee. It is sad when he is killed by Hing. Yiu Mun is in his best here although he hardly acts in periodic dramas and has very good chemistry with Hor Ying together as a couple. He becomes one of my favourite actors after I watched this drama.

2. Far Chi Lam – Lam Kar Dong
Chi Hui’s responsible brother who takes care of the household. When the family gets into dire straits because it loses money, he has no choice but to make sure that Chi Hui work hard to restore its glory.

3. Sai Moon Hing – Shan Lap Mun
Although he isn’t the emperor, he leads the life of one. When he sets eyes on a woman, he will try to get her to marry him. All his wives are lavishing beauties. It is strange that he also gets the plain Chun Mui to become his wife too. For all, it is just a spur of the moment. He is genuinely in love with Ping Yee. He feels peace with her as she doesn’t compete with others for his attention. As followed by the novel, he is killed by Chong in the end.

One of the wildest and yet sincere interpretation from this actor! I am really won over by his acting. He makes a good pair with Bik Ha in the seducing scenes.

4. Mou Dai Long – Liu Kai Chi
As a hermit, he has very low self-esteem. We can’t blame Kam Lien for forsaking him to plot his death with Hing as he often ill-treats her.

5. Mou Chong – Tsang Wai Kuen
Although his sister-in-law, Kam Lien tries all sorts of ways to win his heart, his love for Ping Yee remains unchanged even after her two marriages. You must salute him to be able to keep his impulsivity under check even though Kam Lien is very scantily dressed. This takes a lot will power!

6. Lee Ping Yee – Kwok Hor Ying
She is formerly a maid but falls for Chi Hui, her young master. After he dies tragically, she vows revenge on Sai Moon Hing to become his wife. She tries in vain to keep Chi Hui’s unborn baby when she has a miscarriage. She preserves some conscience but a lot of intelligence when coming to compete with his other wives. Hor Ying has the beauty and elegance. This shows how she captivates 3 men’s hearts here.
But like Pik Ha, her face is also round although she lets her hair down and she has a willow figure.

7. Poon Kam Lien – Wan Pik Ha
As expected, this role stays truthful to the novel - sexy, appealing and longing for love. It is sad that all the men she loves liked Ping Yee instead. The part missing is the evil core. She is made to do evil deeds here because she is forced to. She is quite a pitiful character.

Pik Ha gives a wonderful performance but her face is really round although she lets her hair down.

8. Chun Mui – Yeung Ling
She turns from a maid to Hing’s concubine. Although Ping Yee and Kam Lien are rivals, they treat her well as their sister as she reminds them of their past status. I am quite disappointed that her role is reduced to a minimal as this is not the fact in the novel.

9. Ng Yuet Niong – Lam Kei Yan
Her wisdom shows how she manages a household. Although Hing takes in many other wives, he still holds her in high regard.

10. Lam Chi Yin - Kwok Siu Wan
She is initially hing’s top favourite. After Kam Lien comes, her spot dips to number two. After Ping Yee’s arrival, she sinks further to number three. She is filled with jealousy and tries hard to be in favour again.

Favourite character
Ping Yee, she can do anything to seek revenge but not to the extent of hurting others.

Most hated character
Hing, he enjoys breaking up couples so that he can get beautiful maidens as his wives. He doesn’t even mind their previous status as widows. How liberal can he be!

Song
The themesong and themevideo was excellent. The themesong was sung by Pik Ha. It is very poetic which blends well with her weak voice. What captivates me is the MV. It begins with the Chinese words flowing down behind the paintings of the main female characters.

The animated paintings of the main female characters as they gradually turned to show their faces and smile, are also very beautifully created. At the end of it, they showed all three together casually relaxing. It started with introduction of each of the main characters and then ending it with all three of them together. I doubt we can see such good presentation these days.

Interesting facts

It is based on a Chinese novel named 金瓶梅 or "Plum in the vase". The last word is omitted so we saw very limited scenes of Chun Mui. In the novel, Ping Yee has romantic feelings for Xi Men Hing while in the TVB series, she was arranged to marry him to get revenge.

Chun Mui was supposed to be another concubine who rises to power within the household in the novel, but she was written to be a pure-hearted girl in the drama.

Lap Mun came to Singapore for Eason’s concert in 2008. Not as a guest star but as his drummer! We were all tongue-tied to see him on stage as we had never related him to music. We even thought we saw the wrong person…but how can this be as he has such a unique surname? He was very youthful and chatty in person. He joked that all must see him in another different light, apart from acting. And indeed, he was a good drummer!

Although this drama was aired late in Hong Kong because of the adult theme, many still watched it. Many joked they suffered from nose bleeding as they were jealous of Kam Lien’s beauty(for the women) and Hing’s fortune (for the men) in having so many wives.

Conclusion

It was the '90s version of War & Beauty regarding how women fight for power within the household. They do not only resort to only verbal insults but also scheming various ploys to harm the other wives to gain favour or attention. That results in deaths for some of them. In fact, I enjoyed watching this drama than ‘War and beauty’ as the beautiful women here are also brilliant in protecting themselves.

Costume-wise, the actresses wore beautiful and colourful dresses. Each is quite representative of their position. Ping Yee and Yuet Niong who are quite conservative generally were thicker clothes that covered their bodies. Kam Lien and Chin Yin wear outfits that are more thin and revealing.

The cast did a wonderful job. They know that their performance will either make or break it. Thumbs up for their acting. Lap Mun and Bik Ha manage to show the humane side of their evil roles, thus leaving a deep impression for all.

Sukting’s ratings :

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

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

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



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