Greed Of Man

Reviewed by: Charbydis

October 11, 2005

Rating: five

Greed Of Man ("Dai Si Doi" = The Great Era")

I went on a shopping spree in Hong Kong last year and bought a lot of old TVB series. One of the best and most longed for series I bought was "Greed of Man". I watched it when I just started senior primary, and even now, I rank it as one of the best works by TVB. I was even more sure of my ranking of it as I rewatched it.

The Story:

A story of love and hate between two families, a story of corruption and the righteous people who struggle to live in it, and a story of revenge and greed, in a great era of economy boost and the birth of the stock market.

The story starts off with Fong Chien Bok (Sean Lau) celebrating his victory of the Ding family in the stock market, and the Dings jump off a roof, and some other people die as well before flashbacks of the 70's begin.

Fong Jun Sang (Damian Lau) and Ding Hai (Adam Cheng) are friends, and they each have four children. The appearance of the beautiful Law Wai Ling (Yammie Nam) ignites the hatred between the rich Fongs and poor Dings, resulting in the death of Sang, and Hai being wanted for murder and leaves for Taiwan.

When Hai returns to Hong Kong, he reignites the feud between the families when he is arrested and trialed for Sang's murder. His triad sons (David Siu, Michael Tao, Ng Kai Ming, Derek Kwok) harass the Fong children (Sean Lau, Ng Wing Hung, Loletta Lee, Carol Yeung) and cause Bok to be the only survivor in the family. Bok trains in the stock market, waiting for a chance to avenge his family and the Dings flourish in the stock market.


Cast and Character Analysis:

Fong Family:

They are a peaceful and righteous family that never does anything wrong. I don't think they were ever a close-knitted family until the very end when they united against the Dings. Fong is always causing fights. But Ling was the glue who held the family together; and later Bok as he led them in unification against the Dings.

They are very nice and moving when they are untied, but I am just surprised by how no one (except Ling who had to work long hours so that's acceptable) seems to care about Mun and are preoccupied with themselves (e.g. Bok with the girls and the stock, Ting's out dating, Fong's complaining) until she turns suicidal. And they feel too secure as well, and have a delay in locking doors, which is very dangerous considering Yik Hai's always rocking up at their house.

Fong Jun Sang: Damian Lau Chung Yan

A strong but stubborn man, who is righteous in a corrupt time. He loves his family, and tries to be as nice as he can to Hai. He is brilliant and calm, and very clever, but frustrated at how bad the society is and actually cares for the common stockholders. After the accident, he becomes weak, timid and afraid since he can't remember anything. You still see the love he has for Ling and the kids, and his desire to earn money to let Ling live better is a mark of his true love for her. He is afraid of Hai, yet risks his life to fight Hai when Hai roughly pushes Bok aside.

I felt sad when Sang finally won over the corrupt people, only to be bashed by Hai. Damian really had a screen presence, which showed power initially, and helplessness and fear after the accident. His performance was very moving, in folding newspapers over and over again, begging and crying on his knees to beg for his job, and crying on Ling and asking her to forgive him for not taking better care of her. I felt sad when he died, and missed Damian on screen.

Law Wai Ling: Yammie Nam Kit Ying

She used to be a cheerful and kind and gentle girl until the day she met Ding Hai. Ding Hai stalked her, manipulated her, and frightened her, all because she was kind to him when he begged her for forgiveness when he killed her cousin in the judo ring. She was kicked out by her family, couldn't study since Hai was waiting for her, and her friends left her since Hai would burn their houses if they allowed her to stay.

To her, Sang was like a guardian angel, and it was no wonder that she fell in love with him. She gives all for the children and lets her chances of marriage slip away as she can't forget Sang who she never legally married.

We can understand why she over-reacted when Ting told her she loved Hao Hai. Ding Hai ruined her life, probably of all the family, she hates Hai the most. She is a strong woman who took on too much so when she couldn't take it anymore, she went mad.

This was what I graded as Yammie's best performance in TVB. She was so convincing as a young student, to a tired mother to a mad woman. She fitted well with both male leads, and despite the strong competition in acting skills, she remained on par with the more experience actors in this male-dominated series. I was surprised how Yammie managed to portray so much emotion in so few scenes.

Fong Chien Bok: Sean Lau Ching Wan

Bok was lazy, insensitive, irresponsible and cocky. But when he was motivated, he was serious, dedicated, yet not losing his humour. He is very protective of his family and caring to his friends. He acts like a child, and always runs around screaming and I strong suspect that he has ADHD. He wants to be like his father, but doesn't really care about common stockholders and only for revenge, which is understandable.

His central goal in life is to avenge his father's death, so he always puts revenge first, which is bad for his love life. He loved Han Mui even before the Ding Hai trail began, but didn't even take the time to reject Gei Mun or reassure Han Mui. He is extremely selfish even though he is aware of their feelings and their losses, but still, he has to make them wait seven years to inform them of his choice.

But this is also a tragic character. He saw his mother get dragged along a street by a car, his father being beaten to death, his sister jump from a building, his two sisters being thrown off a building, Ling die in his arms, and lastly, in my own opinion, his wife, Han Mui die of a heart attack in his arms.

From sleeping underneath a bridge to battling inside the stock market centre, there is not a second that I am not astonished by how well Sean does in this show. Sean can act with his eyes, and even when he is just sitting still without talking, his eyes show all the worry and sorrow. His tears just appear out of no where even though he is still laughing and joking. I don't think any actor in TVB could have been better for this role.

Fong Fong: Ng Wing Hung
I thought this actress did a convincing job of being irritable and annoying, and her crying was good. But I fail to understand this shallow character. She had a hard childhood and bullies her sisters to do things her way and constantly reminds them of how she sacrificed her education. She takes their respect for her for granted and repeatedly tries to drive Bok from joining the family. She starts yelling and complaining when everything is peaceful, but runs away and hides when something happens. I really don't like this character. Her role is just to make Ling feel guilty and Bok feel unwanted. By the way, Lelia Tong Ling (yes, the one in "Twin of Brothers") played the young Fong Fong and was very cute.

Fong Ting: Loletta Lee Lai Chun

Ting was a strong character in the beginning with her independence, academic brilliance and standing up for Bok. She stood for what she believed, yet cared for her family. She was kind and forgiving. But as the story progressed, you don't see much in Ting anymore. She is overshadowed by the emerging Bok and just loses her personality.

She loves Hao Hai very much, but doesn't understand and empathize with him, selfishly expecting him to just ignore Hai, forgetting that he is Hai's dad and only cares about her own pains. She doesn't see how he is caught between Hai and her and the pain he is experiencing to make a final choice. She doesn't really try to make this relationship work, which is pretty inconsistent with the strong feelings she had for him at the start and feels indifferent after breaking up. This character takes such huge steps in her change of feelings that I feel there is much self-conflict that is missing in between.

I think TVB could have done a better job developing this character. If Ting was the vengeful one, she could have made a much bigger impact than Bok. She made the two close brothers fight over her, made Hao Hai nearly leave his dear family for her, and made To willing to go bankrupt to avenge her. But was she really that special?

I thought Loletta did very badly in some scenes. She was good in the beginning as the gentle girl and when she had to tell Ling that had accepted Hao Hai. But in later scenes, like when Hai kidnapped her and she was supposed to cry, it seemed like she was forcing her tears out. And in court against Hai, all she did was screaming angrily. She had almost no reaction when breaking up which was unbelievable since TVB made him like the love of her life. She was just reading lines and voice was monotonous. Loletta was disappointing.

Fong Mun: Carol Yeung Ling

She is a sweet timid girl who is helpless when her family fights. She is very academic and cares for her family members. She doesn't understand why they fight. She has no hatred against the Dings since she was very young when Sang died, until Yik Hai starts harassing her. It is a saddening scene as she says her farewell and jumps out of the window, just out of reach of her brother's hands.

Carol's best scene was when she was in depression and wanted to commit suicide after she found out she had gonorrhea and her family found out about her being sexually abused. She cried silent tears and looked helpless in the strait jacket, and easily gained sympathy. I liked Carol in here.

Yuen Mui (Han Mui): Vivian Chow Wai Mun

She is extremely timid and will so anything to save money, but she is willing to spend to save other people's lives, help friends, and give her grandmother good food. She only uses the old and unhealthy stuff on herself.

She is afraid to love someone since she knows she will not live long and will hurt the person she loves if she dies. She loves Bok because he is nice to her and she sees his hardship in seeking vengeance. She is not jealous of her love rival, and is even willing to give up Bok for his success. She waited so many years for him yet she did not hate him. She is the type that will stand by her man through thick and thin.

Vivian is so cute in here, especially when she fights with Bok over money. She does look very timid, and also very beautiful, even in t-shirt and jeans.

Despite the ambiguous ending, I think Han Mui died in Bok's arms. She said all her family members died in their sleep and all she wanted to was die in her lover's arms. It is sad. I think TVB made her die because it was Bok's fate to see all his loved ones die.

Ding Family:

The crazy, violent and chimney family. I am beginning to think that "Greed of Man" was sponsored by a tobacco company since these characters never stop smoking. Even if they didn't jump, they would have died from lung cancer anyway. I also think that the Ding family has this crazy violent gene that passed from Hai to his sons, especially Yik Hai. Thank heavens for the handsome gene he also passed down (this is a pretty good-looking family if you ignore their crimes).

With an exception of the women, this family is very close and united. The four sons are almost together in every scene, but the degree of their unity is very frightening and too extreme, such as they cover for each other even though they knew it was wrong, forgive each other too easily and think themselves always as right. One scene still shocks me in how intimate they are. In the same room, one is on the phone, one is smoking cocaine, and one is having sex. They have zero privacy which is scary.

Of course, they are all 100% filial, even though they do it in a strange approach. It can be moving sometimes, and other times, weird and freaky.

Ding Hai: Adam Cheng Siu Chow

A violent man with problems controlling his temper, and understanding other's people's thoughts and thinks everyone he loves must love him in return. He is extreme and stubborn. He is very passionate in his love which easily scares people. He is self-centered even though he doesn't realize it, and values friendship, love and family above all. However, he thinks other people should think the same way he does. He thinks he is always right, and those who oppose him must be wrong and he has to set out to save and correct them. He lives in his own self-justifying world, which clashes terribly with the real world.

He is very sincere to Sang, but is frustrated when Sang has different values and other priorities than him. Being very shallow in thought, he fails to see why Sang has to pretend to be corrupt, and immediately jumps to the conclusion that Sang is after his girlfriend. He doesn't see himself as threatening, and thus takes Sang's defensive blow as an attempt to kill him and beats up Sang.

Hai is a disaster in male and female relationships. He thinks his first wife left a perfect family because she is morally cheap, and doesn't see how he has emotionally tormented the poor woman over seven years' time. He also paints a cheap image of her in their sons' minds.

With Ling, Hai misinterpreted a single smile as love and won't leave her alone. He thinks everything she does for him is out of love, and not fear, which is the reality. He fails to consider all the obvious hints and direct speech that she hates him, and interprets them as her wanting attention.

He feels that because he thinks she is the love of his life, she must also think he is the love of her life. This is the belief that has stuck in his mind, and he won't let anything change it. This could be a self-defense mechanism. Even when she died and he understood that she never loved him, he still didn't see how much she hated him and the wrongs he did her because he mentally suppressed all the information that could hurt his feelings.

Towards his sons, he is a loving father, but not a good one. He taught them his own values and beliefs, and put blames on others. He cares deeply for them, but thinks they must listen to him 100% without complaint. He thinks that all things could be redeemed by love and care, and fails to see the permanent scars and hurt he has given to other people. It is tragic how even in the end; he never really got why people hated him.

However, Hai is a very kind-hearted person, who has the best intentions, but always turns out to have the worst consequences. He is also very forgiving, he can be very angry one minute, but after he vents his anger and calms down, he forgives immediately. He is a very determined guy, who wants to do good and never gives up on improving other people (however the ones he sees as wrong mostly are right in reality). He is childish and naïve in thinking that everything is just as it seems. He is definately not stupid, and is quite cunning in some cases.

This must be the most complex character that has ever been made up. The dialogue is superb, and very unique to a man who is lost in his own world. Adam did a great job in this breakthrough character. He did an excellent performance from the loud outbursts (considering all his previous roles were refined gentlemen) to the anxious facial twitches during the trail to the emotional crying in prison and while on the run. It was a bit scary to find Adam swearing and beating up someone every fifteen minutes, but it was very convincing that he was a mad and confused man. Adam has such a strong screen presence here that every time Hai appears, we feel the fear and shock and suspense at what unpredictable thing he would do next. It can be hilarious sometimes.

Ding Hai is not a person you should hate, but rather one you should pity. The things he does may be annoying, but he never means it and he feels remorseful for things he feels is wrong. He at least (unlike his sons) has a line to draw. He is overall a very nice man, and it's not his fault that he just cannot understand other people's hidden messages (brain defect???). His wig is terrible though!

Ding Hao Hai: David Siu Chong Hung

This is another very deep and pitiful character that is memorable. He was taught that it was OK to commit crimes in order to support your family. Hai was always away from home, and he had to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of glueing the family together from a young age, by stealing food, fighting and wagging school.

He became a triad member at twelve and was exposed to violence and many other evils of the world, but somehow, he has maintained a conscience which none of his brothers have managed to keep. He knows what he does is wrong, but keeps on doing it because he has to, and also hopes that one day; he will be able to change and become a good person (which is influenced by his crush on Ting when they were children and the Bible she gave him so he can learn to be good).

He is calm, rational, mature, brave and quiet, and can cope with high levels of stress. He is 100% filial and very protective of his brothers. But as his brothers describe him, when he gets angry, he is very violent and fierce. Unlike his father who thinks he is always right, Hao Hai knows when he is wrong and tries to make up for it in a more realistic way.

This guy is pretty much doomed in his love life since he is a Ding. Like Hai, he is very passionate in love. He actually sees from Ting's point of view and never forces her into a relationship. He is also very concerned with how she views him as a person. Due to his occupation and education and his family, he feels very insecure, and is jealous of To. He is caught between the two most important things in his life, Ting and his family. Yet, he chose Ting over his wealth, his family and status. But when Ting chose her family over him it broke his heart.

He no longer felt the need to be good because no one would be there to appreciate it, and suddenly turns goes the full limit of evilness to protect the one thing he has left, his family. The sudden coldness in his attitude (like pushing Ting off the car and chucking her Bible at her) is a self-defense mechanism, where he pretends not to care about her anymore to protect himself from getting hurt. So he hands over the job of harassing the Fongs to Yik Hai. He let his men chuck Ting off the roof because he didn't want to care anymore, but he cried heaps when she died.

After she dies, he is no longer quiet and polite, and starts to act more gangster-like because he doesn't care anymore. He is the only one who dared to speak out against Hai. As to why Hai jumped by himself, I think it was because he had nothing else to live for. He lost the love of his life, his wealth, and everything he had worked so hard for over the years had now disappeared. It is a tragic moment.

This character never talks about his feelings to other people, even his girlfriend, and keeps his worries to himself which adds to his stress. He tries to absorb all the hurt so the people he loves can be safe and happy. He is extremely frustrated by his family, but puts up with them. He wants to leave, but he can't.

I think David must be either related or bribing the TVB producers. He always gets all these good roles which have plenty of space to act a variety of expressions and lots of sympathy from the audience. But of course, he always does a good job and I think he is very talented at acting and very good at crying scenes. Too bad he quit.

However, in this series with so many first-class artistes, David doesn't really stand out with his acting, but if you only focus on him during the scenes, you will realize how great a job he did. He made this character very multi-layered and deep. Like Adam's case, I was surprised how much David swore and beat up people in the series; he always used to get gentlemen roles who spoke softly.

There are two things I noticed about David in "Greed of Man". One, he is short-sighted and squints all the time, and doesn't squint when he has glasses on (which he looks great in by the way). Secondly, he is a terrible driver who can't drive straight and doesn't indicate when he changes lane or comes out of parking. Scary!

Ding Yik Hai: Michael To Tai Yu

A terrible replica of Ding Hai. He has inherited the worst genes from Hai and has picked up even worse traits while growing up. In simple words, he is a rude, anti-social, misogynistic sex maniac who has violent traits, a shallow mind, and a horrible false belief that he is always right. He has no remorse and enjoys ruining other people's lives.

If not for his elder brother Hao Hai, who is a triad leader, he would have been killed a lot time ago for his cockiness and lack of self-control. He uses his brother's power and abuses the power of the triads to make people do things his way. He is worst member of the Ding family.

He won't leave the Fong family alone since he reckons that it is their fault that their dad was wanted in Hong Kong for killing Sang. He wanted Ting, and was close to raping her until his brother found out and beat the crap out of him. He then went after Mun, the youngest and most vulnerable one whom he managed to repeatedly rape.

However loud he might be, he is a wimp underneath, showed by the immediate crying (he cries like a girl by the way) when he gets punched by his father (somehow Adam always goes for Michael first, even when throwing off the roof), and fear when his brother gets angry.

Wow! I am surprised that Michael even made it to be a "lady-killer" on TV since he was so annoying here with his rude remarks, annoying behaviour and cocky attitude. It shows he can really act since every movement he makes is just like an uneducated gangster who is a shameless pervert. He should have gotten a reward for this role.

Ding Wong Hai: Ng Kai Ming

A quiet man who is a lawyer; he is not intimidating, but can be evil. He is very filial and scared of his brothers. He also has a heart condition. He is very good at talking and is very calm and tries to analyze everything. Ng Kai Ming (Brother of Lawrence Ng Kai Wah) doesn't do much in here, except walk around and stick with the gang. There isn't really spectacular about his performance here but he has done better.

Ding Lei Hai: Derek Kwok Jing Hung

An immoral doctor who sells drugs and works for the triad. He is loud, and has no conscience, though is very filial. A very young and handsome Derek was in here, and he suited very well as a doctor who didn't care about his patients and abuses his workers. As with Ng Kai Ming, his role doesn't have much to do here except walk, talk and scream occasionally. But I liked him when he was seeing a patient and he was fiddling with his pen and shaking his legs rudely when his patient was talking.

Ho Jeen: Lai Suen

A poor woman who can't control her son's abnormal behaviour and mind and had no time to care for him though she cared deeply for him. It pained her to see the mistakes he was making, yet she could do nothing about it. She stays in a nunnery to atone for her sons and grandsons sins, hoping to make them change. She is hugely disappointed by the increasing degree of evil that her family is up to over time.

When Hai returns, she does her best to protect him and also the Fongs from him, but as she can no longer control Hai, she has no choice but to call for the police to arrest her son. Just imagine the hurt she must be feeling to so that to her beloved son. She finally gives up on them and leaves them to their own destruction.

Lai Suen (grandaunt of Gigi Lai Chi) is an excellent veteran actress. She showed the agony of being part of his horrible family, and the guilt when she kneels to the Fongs for forgiveness. But she does overact and screams too much and too dramatically.

Ah Giu (Hai's wife): sorry, unknown actress

A woman who married Hai at a young age, and suffered tremendous emotional and physical abuse by Hai's possessiveness and lack of understanding. She had to sadly leave her sons to escape further abuse, and ended up as a Macau prostitute. She is permanently scarred by Hai's treatment of her, showed by the extreme fear she has when Hai appears at the bar and splashed boiling water at her. From her own words, "Even as a prostitute, I lead a better life than the seven years I spent with you, which was hell for me! Why can't you just let me go?"

This actress, who is an extra in TVB nowadays, had a small role, but accurately portrayed the fear and tears an abused woman shows when her abuser was after her.

Stock Market People:

Yip Teen: Law Lok Lum

A great performance by the veteran in the stubborn and determined stock agent who aimed to clean up the stock market. Teen was awarded the title "God of Stock" but his own son went bankrupt on stocks and killed the whole family, leaving Teen mad and lonely. He cares deeply for Bok like a father, hoping to shape him into a second Sang.

It was tragic for him to lose everything by the thing he had dedicated his life to, the stock market. His character leaves a bitter and poignant taste and he dies from brain cancer with the advice for people never to enter the stock market and be consumed by greed and desire. Law Lok Lum looks very pitiful and scary when he is out of his mind and starts attacking himself. He actually does stand up to Adam and Damian in performance, namely when he starts having epileptic attacks and starts going mad. The struggling way he walks looks so natural to him, like he was really going mad any moment.

Chan Man Yin: Kong Ngai

A cheap corrupt and greedy man who uses the Stock market to gain wealth for himself. He doesn't care about the people who go bankrupt or die after losing stocks, and is extremely arrogant and narrow-minded. He thinks everyone, like him, cares about money, and drives his son and wife away. He feels nothing for his wife when she requested to see him by her deathbed, and chucks money at his son and tells him to scram. His son, Chan To To, stock market genius as well as his superior, comes back for revenge and tries to bankrupt him. He then suddenly admits To as his son and insults him for going against his father. Even after repeated jail terms due to corruption, he never learns from his past and never feels remorse. He only hangs himself because he couldn't face failure and bankruptcy, and not because he felt sorry for what he has done.

Kong Ngai, being one of the TVB acting school instructors, gives a fabulous act as this pest. He does give that arrogant look and his reaction is terrific when he learns that Hai earned millions when he, the expert, lost millions in stock.

Chan To To: Bowie Lam Bo Yee

A witty, cocky and talkative man who is arrogant because of his early success, which is fuelled by his hatred for his father who abandoned him and his mother in poverty. He grew up having to fend for himself, and knew that he had to succeed to prove to his father that he was wrong in abandoning him.

He is an optimistic man who likes to tell jokes, even when he is severely depressed, probably to cover his own hurt. He falls for Ting (for some reason) and leads a personal vendetta against Hao Hai to avenge her, and with Hai's extremely good luck, To was bankrupted, but made a comeback working with Bok to bring down the Dings.

I thought Bowie was more natural in here than in the recent "War and Beauty". He seemed more comfortable in talking, moving and even crying. In here, he showed he was born to act.

Taiwan People:

Lung Sai Bong: Kenneth Tsang Kong

In his youth/middle-age, he was a powerful and corrupt senior inspector who had many wives, and children, and basically, could have anything he wanted. He fled to Taiwan with his billions after the ICAC was established. With age, his many wives and children threatened for money and made him so angry that he drove them all away and became a miser. The youngest, Gei Mun, tried her best to tell her father that she doesn't care about money, but he just abuses her and insults her.

He maintains the arrogance of his youth, until he gets kidnapped by Hai, and reveals his vulnerable side: his fear, his old age and failing health. But from this incident, he found out that Gei Mun does truly care for him and begins to love her back.

Bong also finds out that he is no longer fearful, and realizes that his dependence (he is lonely and made Gei Mun vow that she would never be with Bok) on Gei Mun has ruined her chances with Bok, and tries to redeem himself by forcing her from his side by telling her he killed her mother (I think he lied) and made her hate him and leave with Bok. He hoped that Bok would accept her, and even let go of his millions and lent it to Bok to finance his company. He was happy to learn that his daughter was happy.

Kenneth was always a strong actor and showed his best when Bong was incontinent and going senile. He showed a father's true love for his daughter when he looked tenderly at her when she came back to him, and told her that she could forget her vow to never love Bok. He really looked old and frail. I just love his acting during the transition from a fearless man to a weak old man.

Lung Gei Mun: Amy Kwok Oi Ming

This is one of Amy's first few performances after winning Miss Hong Kong 1991, and I thought she did a good job. She screamed a lot, but it was what the feisty and strong character was like. Gei Mun had a lonely childhood, snatched from her mother by her father, she lacked attention amongst her numerous siblings. All she wanted was her father to love and care for her.

She lacks love, which is why she loves Bok so much when he takes care of her. No matter how much her father insults her, she does love Bong and stays by his side even though he hurls abuses at her, and even chooses to take care of him over Bok. She is a tragic character as she loves Bok so much, yet gains nothing in return. She sacrifices so much for him willingly, knowing that he only loves Han Mui. All he does is ignore her and take her for granted. Han Mui is her love rival, yet she does not hate her, and even tries to get her and Bok together.

She was happy to have Bok just as a friend, but she finally left him when she found out he caused her father to have a fatal heart attack when Bok didn't tell him to stop buying down stocks so the Dings wouldn't realize what he was aiming at, and Bong thought he lost everything. She was broken-hearted to see how little she meant to him and left him without a word when all Bok happily said to her was "I'll pay you back all the money!" as if he didn't care. It would have been better if he asked, "How is your father?" She felt as if she killed her own father because she persuaded him to invest in Bok.

Sometimes I feel that Bok didn't deserve Gei Mun and she should have just left him because he was dragging her feelings in dirt when he knew fully that he didn't love her. Taking into consideration that I am suffering from "The Link" withdrawal syndrome, I wanted Gei Mun and Hao Hai to get together since these two really need and deserve understanding and love.

Amy was very cute in here, especially when she chased after Bok and hit him. She brought the righteousness out of Gei Mun very well, and also the sadness that accompanied her character. Maybe if she wasn't Bong's daughter, Bok may have had a chance with her since he viewed Bong causing the demise of Sang when he made Sang launder money for him. At least she and Sean are happy in real life!

Chow Jai Sang: Lau Kong

He was powerful drug lord who bribed Bong and also forced Sang to launder drug money for him in stocks. He is very stubborn, old-fashioned, and a very bad temper. He and his wife, Wah, fled to Taiwan as well as the ICAC were after them.

He is a loyal friend, and maintained very powerful triad connections in Taiwan. He may shout at his wife, but he really loves her, and almost goes crazy with worry when she is kidnapped by Hai and later killed by killers. With this great loss, he turns to superstition. He later finds comfort in Han Mui as a goddaughter who reminds him of his wife and helps Bok against the Dings to redeem themselves.

The tone of Lau Kong's voice fits perfectly the persona of a Chiu Chow tough man. He is very convincing as the cripple on crutches and the look in his eyes when he remembers back to how he met his wife was very sweet.

Ng Bo Wah (Wah Jie): Wong Oi Yan

The wife of Chow Jai Sang is a tradition woman who listens completely to her husband, despite his shouting at her. She helps out in drug deals, and is also very kind and understanding. She calms her bad-tempered husband down all the time to prevent trouble. She is childless, and sees Gei Mun as a daughter.

It is very sad to see her run to her husband happily, only to have a heart attack and die as the assassins (sent by the Dings) shot at them. Wong Oi Yan's soft voice is very suitable as the obedient wife, and the comforting mother figure. She too, is a gem at acting, though she usually acts timid roles.


As I like to spot for artistes before they were famous, in "Greed of Man", I found Gordon Lam Kar Dong ("Crimson Sabre") and Wong Tak Bun (Maggie's eunuch friend in "War and Beauty") as stock analysts working for the Dings, who both were unfortunately thrown around by David. Florence Kwok Siu Wan ("Seven Sisters") appeared twice as the Scared Nun that Chow Jai Sang worshipped. Gilbert Lam Wai Sun ("The Good Old Days") was a stock analyst working for To.

Praises :

The series was very fast paced and suspenseful. In the stock exchange centre, all the competitors seemed to alternately win and lose, and you would never guess how the winning side did it before it was shown. The chemistry between all the actors and most of the actresses was awesome.

The sequence in which the series was filmed was also very well done. The series starts off with so many deaths and much rivalry that you would want to know how it started. Then Hai's flashbacks start showing and you see the friendship between the two families, and wonder what on earth happened? Then you see Bok toasting to his dead family members and you just want to scream at the TV, "You'd better show me what happened or I'm fast-forwarding!"

The triad scenes were also very effective. It was almost frightening to see hundreds of triad members walk in the streets with the Ding brother's heading them, and contrasting them to the small Fong family who are next them on the sidewalk.

The names of the characters were also chosen very nicely. The choice of names like "Hai (crab)" and "Jeen (cheap)" showed the low education of the Ding family, while more sophisticated names were made in the Fong family.

I like how TVB chose to make direct contrasts between the families. One was rich and one was poor. When the rich became poor, the rich became rich. Bok was playing with toys while Hao Hai had to steal food to feed his brothers. When Bok was working like a slave in Taiwan, Hai and his sons lived like kings.

The themevideo was very effective in portraying a change in events. It was like every scene was choreographed to tell a story. Examples are: Sang is shown rich and tidy, and another scene, disabled and crying. Hai is shown screaming, then the next he is celebrating and smiling. Ling is young and in school uniform, the next she is scruffy and older. The four children are contrasted against the other four. You see the Fongs crying, and the Dings laughing in the next scene. Ting and Hao Hai are kissing, then the next scene shows them breaking up. Sang is crawling on the ground looking for a ring, then later, we have Ling who is also looking for the ring. You'll see that TVB really put a lot of work in this.

The song by Alan Tam is pretty suitable too, it tells of no matter how powerful you are, you have to step down one day. But the melody sounds a bit too happy to me. The sub theme by Adam is one of my favourite songs, singing of regret and sorrow, and loneliness. This song was used by the VCD as the main theme for some reason, and a scrappy sequence of random scenes was made for the themevideo, which in my opinion is crap and ambigious. The original video was much better and meaningful.

I love the bitter feeling in you as the show ends. It is a depressing story where the good may triumph over evil, but karma always gets you.


I thought that the Fongs were a bit stupid not to leave, stay over at some friend's house or go into protective custody during the Ding Hai trial. I think TVB tried to portray them as 100% goodies, righteous and victims, but some of their actions were just stupid.

Why on earth would To, such an experienced man, offer an assistant position to a young girl like Ting, who has not yet graduated, has no experience or clue about the work involved? Even until she quit, I don't think she did anything productive except buy lunch and keep To happy!

The Ding Hai trial is so stupidly written that all who watch "Law and Order" can pick up the mistakes immediately. Hai has no evidence, and talks about this miscellaneous stuff which is not related to the trial and the judge should have never let him go on. I don't even know why all the Fongs are called as witnesses. Only Bok saw Sang being killed. Why on earth was the rest of the family on the stand for? And why were the witnesses in court before being summoned? The Dings should have just applied for leniency due to insanity plea.

The ending is so rushed, though very suspenseful. Bok learnt all these skills from Teen, but he never had to use any of them against the Dings. All he relied on was luck and instinct which was pretty crappy for me. It would have been a better ending if Bok tricked the Dings into feeling they were lucky, then manipulated the stock exchange and bankrupted them with all those skills they learnt, instead of yelling, "Up! Up! Up! Yeahhh!" And the Dings, with all their fortunes, couldn't; get a better stock market expert to help them!

The ages of the Ding brothers are very messed up. Hai spent 14 year in Taiwanese jail, and Hao Hai was 12 then, so must be 26 when Hai returns. But Dr. Ding Lei Hai has to be at least 25 or 26 years old (graduates high school at 18 + 6 years of med school + 2 years of clinical work). So where does that leave the ages for the middle two brothers? And none of them are twins. Weird! And Bok, who was 23 when Hai was released, was supposed to be older than Wong Hai and Lei Hai!

Complaints about the Sequel "Heavenly Retribution" by ATV:

I thought Sean, Amy and Adam were idiots in taking part in this ridiculous production. It had a crappy plot and dragged on and on. The worst of it was that it killed all the strengths "Greed of Man" built up. It is Wai Kai Fai's worst work. Hai's friendhship towards Sang is less genuine, Bok's parentage is questioned (Too much "Star Wars"!), Gei Mun becomes pathetically weak, suddenly, Hai's sons try to kill him and To doesn't really like Ting.

If you are a "Greed of Man" fan, take my advice, never watch the sequel or you will regret it for the rest of your life. You'll either go crazy from laughing your head off (like me) or use up ten new remotes by the constant pressure on the fast-forward button!

Interesting facts about "Greed of Man":

Of course, as you all know, this series gave birth to the Ding Hai effect, which caused Adam to be hated by stockbrokers and stockholders who blame him for the fall of the stock market. Nearly every time this series or an Adam series is shown on TV, the stock market goes down. Of course, that's not going to stop me from watching them!

TVB was sued and complained heavily by viewers for this series since it was very violent, had a lot of swearing, sexual references, and the images of people falling from roofs scared the little children.

Final Comment:

I think this is a must-watch series. If you miss it, you must be as mad as Ding Hai. If you don't like the storyline, at least watch it for the fabulous cast. This will be the only time you will see Sean Lau being cornered by two women; Damian eating oranges Adam just chewed on, Adam trying to commit suicide by flushing the toilet and Michael To crying like a girl!

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