Happy Spirit


Reviewed by: sukting

November 06, 2008

Rating: three-point-five

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
This is one of Cheng Yuk Ling’s earlier works. Do you wish to see how she acts as a ghost? You have seen her pairing with Chow Yun Fatt, Yam Tat Wah, Lui Leung Wai and Wong Chi Wah. What about Lam Lap Sam for a change? I doubt we can get such a big cast now to shoot a low production comedy like this.

Story

Hau Yee works in a nightclub but she refuses to go to hotels with the men. This puts the PR manager of a loan company, Kar Ming into a fix. His clients want enjoyment but how can she keeps on avoiding this? He recommends her as she is his friend and also neighbour. Both are close friends.

A barber, Chun Chin Wing is afraid of his wife. He chases his son, Kit to sleep in the shop so that he can rent a room to the Yeung sisters. Hau Yee only has a younger sister, Hor Yee. Hau Yee falls for a man, Ah Leung and they are about to get married.

He finds out her occupation and forsakes her. She attempts suicide but later gives up the thought. However, she is choked to death by a new year cake by accident. (This is the most unthinkable way to die.) She doesn’t know how to behave like a ghost. She befriends Concubine Chan. Concubine Chan teaches her the rules – if she doesn’t practice the good ways, she will need to wait for a long time to reincarnate.

Kar Ming’s boss, Mr Ga intends to give his business to his honest younger son, Siu Wah but his corrupted elder son, Siu Nam is eyeing on it. Kar Kwong is uninterested in studies and becomes the nightclub’s manager due to his bravery. Many dance hostesses, especially Susan are interested in him. Chin Wing’s daughter, Bing is an introvert who becomes a nurse. Her doctor boyfriend is unhappy with her for being traditional not to go into bed with him before marriage so they part.

Hor Yee is upset over Hau Yee’s death. Mrs Chun keeps on hinting her to move out. Hau Yee feels unhappy that she is unable to help her. She gets agitated when Ah Leung has a new girlfriend so she keeps making fun of him. Ah Leung thinks that her ghost is haunting him so he helps Hor Yee out. Hau Yee is eager to reincarnate so she saves Kit from a car accident.

Kit mistakens it as he has mastered martial arts to escape the danger to make her laugh. (Kit walks on the street listening to his walkman. The noise is so loud that he can hardly hear anything. How can he be able to save himself? He is definitely conceited.)

Hor Yee saves hard to pay her rent but she faints from malnutrition. Kar Ming helps her to get Hau Yee’s savings. Kit can’t stand Mrs Chun for threatening Hor Yee so he pretends to be Hau Yee’s ghost to scare her with his friend, Pui Lun’s help. She treats Hor Yee better. Siu Nam intends to kill Susan for witnessing him doctoring the accounts.

Pui Lun has low self-esteem as his mother remarries the vegetable seller Piew. After his mother’s death, he is ill-treated. He is involved in a car accident and Piew blames him for damaging the goods. He bears with it. Susan uses Kar Kwong as a shield to collect the money but he gets all the evidence for Siu Nam instead.

Susan is nearly killed. Siu Nam chooses Kar Ming as his scapegoat to be the loans manager to take the rap. Kar Kwong doesn’t get a promotion after the incident and is even implicated into a dance hostess’s murder. Pui Lun starts liking Hor Yee but doesn’t dare to reveal to her. He discovers that Kit likes her too. Ah Leung intends to borrow money from Kar Ming’s company to get married. It is then that Kar Ming discovers that he is being used.

He discloses to Siu Wah and he promises to help him since he is asked to stop working for a while. He means Bing at the bar. Bing becomes very liberal after her breakup. She dresses up as a white widow to attract different men and ends up sleeping with Kar Ming when drunk. Kar Ming intends to look for another job but he is blacklisted. His spirits sink rock bottom. Hau Yee flies into a rage to know that Ah Leung is getting married and gets into Hor Yee to inform his fiancée about it.

Hau Yee even ruins the wedding. She even wants to electrocute him to death. Concubine Chan stops her or she will become a roaming soul. Kar Kwong meets Siu Nam at a remote island and both start to depend on each other. Kar Ming realizes that he has one night stand with Bing and doesn’t know how to face her. The Ga’s brothers’ wives are pregnant so Hau Yee contemplates on who to choose to become their child by checking out who is more influential.

Hau Yee is barred temporary by staying in heaven for keep going to the humane world. She has to resort using telecommunication instead. Siu Nam returns to the company when Mr Ga has a stroke but he is still refused the company authority. Siu Nam gets Kar Kwong to guard Mr Ga. Knowing that Kar Ming is prejudiced against the Gas, Kar Kwong doesn’t dare to tell him that he is now Siu Nam’s henchman.

Pui Lun and Kit want fair competition to win Hor Yee’s heart. Kar Ming gets a job at Ah Leung’s milk powder factory. Concubine Chan visits Hor Yee on Hau Yee’s behalf and advises her to be calm in making her choice to choose the right man. Kar Ming treats Hau Yee like a younger sister but Kit regards him as a love rival to try to be more mature in front of her.

Mrs Chun threatens to kill herself and Kit upon discovering that Chin Wing has an affair. Luckily, Hau Yee comes on time to save them. All mistaken that Kit has supernatural powers. (This part is nothing extraordinary – he is supposedly to fall to the ground but Hau Yee causes him to ‘fly’ back to the original position.) Bing decides to return to her nursing profession to become Mr Ga’s nurse.

The heaven court lets Hau Yee have her freedom back but she must be serious with her reincarnation plan. Hau Yee sees that the two men are still pestering Hor Yee although she is cold to them so she intends to fool both of them by entering her body.

Kar Wing comes at this time to visit Hau Yee to show her concern. Hau Yee recalls her fate and cries. Upon seeing how Siu Nam’s wife causes Siu Wah’s wife to have a miscarriage, Hau Yee realizes that being blissful is more fortunate than being rich. Siu Nam protects Mr Ga from being harmed by a killer and gets his trust. Mr Ga also notices that Kar Kwong is a righteous man and intends to groom him.

Bing’s parents nag at her to get married so she becomes interested in Kar Ming. Although Kit tries to create chances for her, he is still lukewarm to her. Ah Leung resorts to drinking as his wife is indulged in gambling and neglects doing housework at home. Hau Yee is harassed by hooligans and the two men fail to become her heroes to get beaten instead. Kar Ming manages to come with the cops to arrest them.

Hau Yee witnesses this happening but stands aside to make both realize how incompetent they are. Hau Yee slowly loves Kar Ming and hints her love but Kar Ming doesn’t take the hint. The two men sense a change in Hor Yee and mistakens that she is cheated by him. So they become more diligent to woo her. Kar Ming is disillusioned upon seeing Kar Kwong becoming a loanshark so he gets drunk. Hau Yee keeps him company the whole night but Hor Yee becomes the poor victim to be ridiculed the next day.

Siu Tin also knows that something is wrong with Hor Yee and forces Hau Yee to appear. The two pit their skills against each other. (Sorry but I find this supernatural parts very cheesy. It is more appropriate to use in kungfu dramas.) Concubine Chan comes to explain everything before taking her away.

The two men regain their confidence in Hor Yee and warn Kar Ming to back off. Kar Ming feels that he has fallen in love with Hor Yee through the night. He has detected that Hau Yee has entered Hor Yee’s body. Both finally reveal their true feelings to each other.

Kit challenges Pui Lun to a bike race and Pui Lun is seriously injured. Upon seeing Hor Yee concerned over him, he knows he loses and backs out. Hau Yee neglects Concubine Chan when dating Kar Ming so the bored Concubine Chan only chats with Hor Yee. Siu Tin is prejudiced against her and keeps using Empress Chi Hei to scare her. Siu Nam wants Kar Kwong to poison Mr Ga to death. Bing overhears them and doesn’t give him the chance.

Just when Siu Nam is about to do this personally, Mr Ga has another stroke to be completely paralysed – much to his and his wife’s pleasure. Hau Yee is aware that Bing is secretly in love with Kar Ming. She knows that Bing has the upper hand as a human being so she enters Kar Kwong’s body to woo her. (There is no more second chance to see how Lui Leung Wai acting so feminine so it is a big highlight.) Hau Yee knows that Pui Lun lacks confidence so she helps him to win the race. Hor Yee doesn’t like her to do that.

Kar Ming transfers to Siu Nam’s flour factory to work. Upon knowing that he still wants to sell poisonous flour to others, he decides to find evidence against him. Siu Nam wants Kar Kwong to use his life to threaten Kar Ming to give in. Kar Ming refuses and both brothers fall out. Pui Lun is unhappy to know that Hau Yee helps him all along. Siu Nam’s beat Siu Tin up for the evidence. Kar Ming is shattered to find out.

Hau Yee sulks as she is nearing the reincarnation date but Kar Ming neglects her. Kit helps Pui Lun to regain his confidence. Siu Tin destroys the evidence to prevent Siu Nam from harassing him. All are disappointed over his action. Concubine Chan realizes that she falls for Siu Tin. She checks the records to discover that he is her lover in the past life, Emperor Kwong Sui. Siu Tin attributes it to her wishful thinking and tells her to let go of her past.

Kar Ming tells Siu Wah about the flour incident. Hau Yee spends her time with Kar Ming and forgets about Kar Kwong. Thus he is cold to Bing again. Bing doesn’t know why there is a transformation in him but still harbours hope. Siu Nam gets a son and his family is overjoyed. Mr Ga gives his daughter-in-law a huge sum of money. She runs away with her lover and leaves a letter to claim that her son isn’t Siu Nam’s own flesh and blood. Siu Nam is fuming mad over this.

Hau Yee sees through Siu Tin for feeling remorseful towards Concubine Chan to keep rejecting her. She forces him to face the truth and both finally reconcile. Concubine Chan disregards the heaven rules to continue her romance with Siu Tin. Hau Yee also feels like giving up her reincarnation chance too. Kar Ming knows that she will never get a second chance and talks her out, despite his grief.

Siu Nam ignores the company progress and Siu Wah takes over. Both brothers quarrel and Siu Wah fires Kar Kwong for collecting loans illegally to alret the police. Kar Kwong threatens to kill him. Siu Nam makes this threat come true by getting killers to kill Siu Wah and frames Kar Kwong. Hau Yee is about to reincarnate when she sees Kar Kwong nearly killed by Siu Nam’s men.

She saves him but misses her chance. She feels lost over it. Siu Nam attacks Kar Kwong but bing shields him to get hurt. Hau Yee admires her for her undying love and drags her back to the humane world before she disappears completely. Siu Nam promotes his product but he suddenly blurts out that the product is poisonous. Siu Nam is arrested and Kar Kwong realizes his mistake. He reconciles with Kar Ming.

Kar Kwong finally realizes his love for Bing and both become a couple. Hau Yee is supposed to disappear into thin air but the heaven court considers her efforts to save Bing and Kar Kwong. She is given a chance to become the pearl chicken in Ocean Park. (You have to watch this funny arrangement yourself. It is as hilarious as seeing Kuan Ching begging Mok Yong Fu in ‘The sandwich man’ ) Hau Yee sobs upon seeing that she can never get away from the fate of being a chicken. (‘Chicken’ in Cantonese means ‘whore’ too). She doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry over this.

Mr Ga sees the evil doings by Siu Nam. He transfers all his business to Siu Wah. All are astonished to know that Siu Wah goes into hiding to avoid Siu Nam’s harrassment after escaping from the killers. Siu Nam is badly affected by this.

Hau Yee confirms the date for her reincarnation and becomes positive. She asks all to come to visit her at Ocean Park then. Kar Ming becomes very upset and intends to work in Ocean Park to take care of her. She is very touched. Pui Lun joins a bike contest and finally wins due to his own ability. Hau Yee’s reincarnation day is the same as Concubine Chan. Concubine Chan gives up her chance that she longs for 10 years to be with Siu Tin as she can’t bear to leave him again.

All await for Hau Yee’s arrival at the Ocean Park. The keepers announce that the test-tube pearl chicken experiment is a failure. Hau Yee’s ‘birth’ fails and Kar Ming is so distressed that he nearly faints. He loses sleep over this to wait for this big day to face this disappointment. He wanders on the street and finds a woman looking like Hau Yee. But the woman doesn’t recognize him. But when she walks away, she suddenly turns around to wink at him. So it is obvious to all who she is,

Introduction on characters

1. Yeung Hau Yee– Cheng Yuk Ling
She is considered to be a bimbo (’13 points’ in Cantonese) in others’ eyes but she is actually kind at heart. She stands by her principles. Although she screws up many matters, she tries her best to set things right. All are used to see Yuk Ling elegant in professional roles so this role is memorable for all of us to see her loud, unforgiving and crude. Her dressing is so different – in loud colours and extremely thick make-up. Itshoots her to stardom again as she hardly shoots dramas besides compering shows.

2. Yeung Hor Yee– Tang Chui Mun
She is Hau Yee’s younger sister who is very diligent in her studies. Thus Hau Yee gives her whatever she has. She is timid initially but becomes independent after Hau Yee’s death. Being young, she doesn’t know how to face two men’s affections for her. This is the rare youthful side of Chui Mun that all viewers will never get to see now although her acting is still raw then. Her crying scenes can be better.

3. Ha Kar Ming – Lam Lap Sam
As the elder brother, he is easily contented with what he has. He always believes in gaining success on his own. His honest nature wins many women’s hearts although he is quite ordinary looking. He is a very caring elder brother. That is why he is so disappointed in Kar Kwong when he is unable to talk him out of his illegal activities. Although I seldom see Lap Sum act, I am won over by his earnest acting. He makes a compatible on-screen partner for Yuk Ling.

4. Ha Kar Kwong – Lui Leung Wai
As the younger brother, he loves fighting but he is a quiet person. Unlike Kar Ming, he likes to look for short cuts. That is why he ends up to be with the wrong company. Still, he is close to his elder brother although they have no blood relations. Well, what a surprise! Leung Wai is doing a slightly evil role here. And I have the wrong idea that he will end up to be with Yuk Ling when I see his face. The producer has deceived me but I welcome this change.

5. Concubine Chan – Lui Yau Wai
She is Emperor Kwong Sui’s favourite concubine but is forced to death by his vicious mother, the empress dowager, Chi Hei. She never gives up looking for him this life. She doesn’t recognize Siu Tin because he is blind and is wearing the dark glasses at all times. She doesn’t want to give up her short happiness so she stays with him. She finally wins his approval.

6. Ha Siu Tin – Lau Siu Ming
He is a blind fortune teller but his predictions never go wrong. He adopts the two men as his sons and they respect him as their real father. He knows their fortune but he keeps from them. Seeing how Kar Kwong changes upsets him. He doesn’t believe Concubine Chan when she talks about their past. Till the night he dreams of her to realize the truth. Although he can no longer see her, he recognizes her perfume and touches. Feeling that both belong to different worlds, he is unable to implicate her to take care of him.

7. Chun Kit – Cheung Wai Kin
He is playful and only knows how to talk in a loud voice. But he is a loyal friend to help Pui Lun even though they are love rivals. Wai Kin is also youthful here. But his crying scenes can be so bad with the artificial eyedrops. It definitely amuses me!

8. Tam Pui Lun – Wong Shu Kei
He is an orphan who stays with his stepfather after his mother’s death. Knowing that his step-father intends to remarry gives him insecurity again. Thus he begs the woman to leave his step-father. This incurs wrath between the two men. He is interested in bike racing but can’t match up to Kit’s standard. Thus Kit has to help him to gain more confidence in the sport.

9. Chun Bing - Siu Mei Kei
She is a quiet and reserved person. Everything changes after her breakup. She becomes a totally different person to be wild at night to appear at bars. We can’t blame Kar Ming for failing to recognize her as she puts on a wig and is in thick make-up, ditching her spectacles aside. If I compare Mei Kei’s performance with Oi Ming in ‘The Art Of Being Together’, Oi Ming wins hands down because she is more appealing. Mei Kei is still tomboyish at times to me.

10.Ga Siu Nam – Ng Chun Yu
He is the unscrupulous elder brother who stops at nothing to get the company control. Although Siu Wah is his biological younger brother, he doesn’t show kinship at all. He tries to harm him repeatedly and he finally gets his just desserts when his family finds out his misdeeds. Needless to say, Chun Yu shines as a villain. He gets too many after this one and gets so sick of it!

Song

The theme song is ‘Both Hearts Have Not Changed’ by the late Mui Yim Fong. It is a slow paced song on how the different pairs of lovers still stick close to each other despite the many setbacks. I like the subtheme song better ‘the sadness that flows away with the water.’ It depicts the sad romance between Concubine Chan and Emperor Kwong Sui. It blends well with the Qing era setting.

Conclusion

This story is about three pairs of siblings. One is a pair of poor sisters who are very close. They are happy despite having to make ends meet. Another is a pair of foster brothers who are inseparable although they are not related. Unlike the sisters, they are well taken care of by their foster father since young so they don’t lack parental love like them.

The last is about a pair of real brothers whose relationship become sore because of the family wealth. It definitely gives a good insight on how the elder siblings treat their younger siblings. Two of them are responsible and protective while the other is vindictive. What a sharp contrast!

It is very amusing to see how the others act when Hau Yee enters their bodies. They behave exactly like her – tactless, bossy and direct. Can you imagine Hor Yee to suddenly becoming seductive towards Kar Ming? That is why she makes the other two men nervous. Especially when the men suddenly behave like women. They will send you sprawling on the floor as they imitate her gestures.

It is amusing to see how the top cast act when younger. Although raw in acting, they show potential to go far. They have the x-factor that recent artistes lack. The love triangle is comical when both men try to seize their chance to ask Hor Yee out. Their short build don’t hinder them from getting meat roles now. I wonder how the wonders of nature plays on Shu Kei or Wai Kin’s faces as they still look about the same now.

However, the limelight is still on Yuk Ling. She makes an excellent choice for the role, creating lots of laughs. Who will dare to tie large cloth hairbands to match clothes like her? She also perms her hair to look like Maggi noodles to give a wild look. She sinks completely into the role. She must be acknowledged for her efforts. If not, this is only an average comedy.

Sukting’s ratings :

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

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

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



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