Plain Love


Reviewed by: sukting

September 24, 2008

Rating: three

How long
20 episodes

Foreword
This was Chow Hoi Mei’s last drama before she left TVB. Did you want to see how she portrays a strong-willed woman?

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Fong Shu Gan – Lo Kar Leung
He is a boorish man who often gets into fights and quarrels with others. He is also Ah Choi’s childhood sweetheart to be her husband later. He is often suspicious that Choi has an affair with Tin Yam. She has to reassure him about it every now and then. But he truly loves his family. When the whole family gets into hunger, he will leave food for them but takes tree roots instead.

What a transformation in Kar Leung! We often see him in ‘highly educated’ or cultured roles. He becomes so dark here that you can hardly recognize him. The way he talks is completely different too – rude and loud. No wonder he became TVB’s ‘Yat Gor’ for so many years due to his hard work. This is not just a sheer chance to gain the success.

2. Kwan Tin Yam – Cheung Siu Fai
He is the second son of the family but the power lies in his hands because he is more capable. He doesn’t look down on the poor. Knowing that Ah Choi is reliable, he gives her the authority to become the ‘foreman’ of his workers. During the process of working with her, he falls deeply for her. Siu Far also gave a good presentation of the role.

3. Kwan Tin Fok – Ooi Wai
The good-for-nothing of the family. Even though the workers have not enough money to pay off the rent, he still exploits them frequently.

4. Kwan Suet Yu – Kwan Hoi San
The matriarch of the family who starts the rice company. He believes that owning rice fields is the best way to ensure the supply so he buys many plots. He also regards Guai Cheung as his right-hand man so he also treats him well. Initially he looks down on Ah Choi to take over his post but later accepts her.

5. Lau Guai Cheung – Ng Wai Kok
He dotes on his daughter and treats her no differently from how others treat their sons. However, he is short-lived when he dies in a drought.

6. Lau Ah Choi – Chow Hoi Mei
She receives little education but is determined to do her best in life. The Kwans treat her family when her father passes away. Thus she tries to repay their kindness but planting the best rice crops for them. She crosses many barriers to control the workers as they don’t believe in working for a woman. She knows that Tin Yam is in love with her but knows that Suet Yu disapproves of them to be together. Thus she chooses Shu Gen instead. Her love for him has never changed at all.

7. Fong Lap Chun – Chan Pui Shan
She admires Ah Choi’s fighting spirit and aspires to be like her. They are as close as sisters.

8. Chiu Yuk Lan – Chui Kar Bo
She is virtuous and the Kwans are in luck to have her married into the family. She keeps the whole family intact although they face a lot of financial difficulties. Tin Yam actually marries her because of her wealth but later learns to treasure her after seeing how nice she is. No one expects her to shed her evil roles images to act as a kind-hearted person so well. She played supporting roles for too long and deserves success now.

9. Kwan Sheung Sheung – Jeung Mun Tun
Like Tin Yam, she has no airs. She also disapproves of Tin Fok’s ways and is in charge of the financial affairs with Yuk Lan.

10. Mrs Lau – Chan Mei Kei
She is a traditional woman who prefers sons to daughters. That is why she is disappointed when Choi is born. Guai Cheung takes a long time to change her mind.

Favourite character
Ah Choi, for her endurance and persistence in gaining success.

Most hated character
Tin Fok, he nearly ruins the whole family when he gambles away all the funds.

Song
Surprise, surprise. It is from actor Ho Kar King. The title is ‘the strong love from the past plains’. He sings quite well with his strong voice.

Conclusion

Watching this drama will make us respect our forefathers and the Chinese more. There could be famines, droughts or earthquakes. They have this virtue to be able to brave all kinds of hardship to pick themselves up quickly. The clearest example would be in 2008 – China started with a big spate of misfortunes but the Chinese still managed to hold Olympics and Paralympics.

This spirit could be seen in this drama when we see how the villagers go through floods and famines to harvest crops. How do they overcome the worst condition? No short cuts but hard work. After this success, TVB also shot ‘Country Spirit’ that runs in a similar pattern. It also became a hit with the viewers. I feel that ‘The Good Old Days’ by ATV paled slightly as compared to this one due to its watery plot.

The producer was brilliant to choose Hoi Mei. She was spectacular to play the role from young to old. She is no longer a vase or playing a side-fiddle. She holds on the fort on her own. The actors also did a good job although the part where Shu Gan’s mysterious disappearance dragged for too long. On the whole, this is a totally different drama from other usual romance or mou hap dramas which deserves our attention.

Sukting’s ratings :

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

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

On songs : *** (Scale of 5)


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