The Fate

Reviewed by: sukting

November 03, 2004

Rating: three

How long
12 vcds/20 episodes

Thanks to a friend, Meng Chu, who lent me these VCDs which triggers my memory. I watched it over the Malaysian channel over 16 years ago when I was a child. It can be amusing but also boring/terrifying to see how times have changed over the years. If you can bear with the thick make-up, dressing of the old times to reminisce the unbeatable chemistry between Yun Fatt and Yuk Ling, you may try out this one. It is not only ‘Man in the net’ that made them household names.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Tung Shun Wah – Dodo Cheng Yuk Ling
She is a lawyer after many setbacks. She and her younger sister, Shu Yan, were deserted by parents since young. Shu Yan was adopted by Professor Po and his wife while Shun Wah was adopted by a famous lawyer, Hseun Yee, to be her successor. Shun Wah is very headstrong and is badly affected when her boyfriend, Hao Mun, ditches her to marry Helen. Ngai Chun makes use of her weakness to threaten the witness to get him off the hook.

She hates him but ends up working as his legal advisor. After knowing that it is Kwong Shang who gives him trouble and he is a kind man, she starts to love him. However, both of them are headstrong and always quarrel. To help him clear his name of killing Kwong Sang, she gives a false statement and pretends to frame him by pretending to be with Hau Mun. She is jailed for 9 months. She gives up her future but both are together in the end.

Cheng is successful as the headstrong woman who suffers many setbacks in life but is stubborn not to admit defeat to failure.

2. Ngai Chun – Chow Yun Fatt
He is the adopted young son of a chief drug trafficker, Ngai Cheng, but the couple regards him as their own child. He is intelligent and knows how to manage business well, thus, Cheng leaves him to hold the forte when he is jailed. He turns all to legal business but his henchmen often gets him into trouble by still involving in illegal activities. Thus he always crosses swords with Hseun Yee and Ying Mou who try to nab him with no success.

He has a clean record but he is not a ruthless man. He feels apologetic towards Shun Wah after making use of her so he tries to make up to her. He is once framed in a drug case and his henchman makes use of her to threaten the witness. Knowing that her business is poor because of him, he engages her to work for him. He is aware that she is looking for loopholes in his companies but he is open to let her check all the accounts. After he helps to save Kei who is kidnapped by Kwong Sang while trying to check his illegal acts, he changes her impression of him and both fall in love.

Chun is a fair man. Upon seeing how much money Kwong Sang spends at the nightclub daily, he knows that he can earn enough to match with his spending. Thus he puts a stop to disallow him to sign the bills. The brothers have bad blood with each other as he doesn’t wish to get involved in illegal activities but Kwong Sang tries to make use of Hok Nien’s company to smuggle drugs. Chun discovers this and lets him off. However, he doesn’t appreciate it and both get into a fight. Later Kwong Sang is found dead so he is tried for murder. The real culprit is his ex-henchman, Hong who is caught and he is released.

What can I say? Chow puts on such a brilliant performance. The way he talks to his henchmen isn’t in a fierce tone but is stern enough to command respect from them.

3. Po Shu Yan – Chan Sau Chu
She graduates with an arts degree but becomes a housewife after marrying Wilson despite her adopted parents and Shun Wah’s disapproval. They know that he is a womanizer but she believes that she can change him. She is naïve and too forgiving. It is sad that her baby son doesn’t live long because Wilson transmitted disease to him. She wants a divorce but he refuses. During the commotion when she threatens to move away, he accidentally pushes her down the stairs. What a way to die – her neck bone is broken!

Chan is amazingly young and sweet here. Although this is the first time I see her pairing with ah Miu, their chemistry is there.

4. Tong Wilson – Miu Kiu Wai
He is a spoilt from young and is a good-for-nothing playboy. He nearly shocks his father by wanting to marry a foreigner bargirl from his studies abroad. He knows Chun by patronizing his nightclub and both become close friends. They are not aware that they click so well because they are half-brothers. In order to make Wilson settle down, Hok Nien forces him to make a choice – to marry Shu Yan or to build a new factory in Indonesia. He is afraid of the hard work so he chooses the former.

He loves Shu Yan but never changes his ways – which causes his son’s death. After causing her death indirectly, he is very remorseful. Although Hok Nien tries to cover up the truth, Shun Wah decides to sue him with adequate evidence. He is jailed for two years but is relieved as the accident pricks his conscience.

Can you accept Ah Miu with BIG shades that cover almost half his face? At first, I can’t even recognize him! I must complain that sunglasses in the 80s look very awful. However, this has not hindered him from presenting a lazy man with philandering ways well.

5. Tong Helen – Hon Ma Lei
She is an unreasonable woman who is pampered from young and is Wilson’s younger sister. She deceives Hao Mun that she is pregnant so that he can marry her. When her lie is revealed, she is so angry that she harasses Shun Wah, warning her to stay away from him. Hau Mun divorces her and she goes to England because she can’t bear others to mock at her. Hon is successful here to make you hate her very much – maybe too successful that she lands up as spitfires in many serials that I watched.

6. Tsang Hau Mun – Shek Sau
He is Shun Wah’s ex-boyfriend who works for the Tongs. He is such a weakling and a person so easily deceived. When Helen lies that she is pregnant, he never asks for the doctor’s confirmation. When Hok Nien tries to make amends to him by offering an apartment to his mother, he accepts it. When he finds that he has been deceived, he has the cheek to ask Shun Wah to return to him!! How can he as he has made the painful choice himself?? I definitely despise him – he keeps on saying that he will divorce Helen but he still stays with the Tongs – till the day he testifies against Wilson!

It is wishful thinking on his part to think that Shun Wah might give him a chance. Why? He mortgages his home to raise funds to open the law firm. Shun Wah also finds him a job after he resigns from the Tongs’ company. Only after knowing that the couple plans to register their marriage when he gives up. However, when Shun Wah begs him to play a part in her plot to save Chun, he agrees to it.

How? He flies to Singapore and writes a couple of letters to Shun Wah to pretend how happy he is waiting for her to join him after she stops framing Chun. This deceives all the rest to think that Shun Wah is a loose woman. He explains her actions to others when he returns.

He is one of my favourite actors and he always stays to be. He maintains his composure throughout to be a nice love rival. To think that he is about 10 years older than Chow but he is surprisingly young here.

7. Tong Hok Nien – Lam Tien
He is a successful businessman and has neglected his two children because of work. Thus, both are spoilt rotten. He cheats on Hsuen Yee and both part. When both children leave him, he feels lonely. Unknown to him, she was pregnant at that time and he is overjoyed to know that he has a son. He tries to make amends to him after he refuses to stay with him by making him work in his company. However, he decides not to publicize their relation because he doesn’t want to put both sons in an awkward position. When he knows that a witness is found to clear Chun name, he quickly goes to beg the man despite of his status. That is a very touching scene when he is going to do anything to repay the witness’s kindness after that.

8. Song Hsuen Yee – Heung Yee
She is a successful lawyer and paves the road for Shun Wah to be her successor. She is cold but she cares for her. However, she is troubled when Shun Wah is stubborn like her, wants to be independent and often talks back at her. She adopts her but has treated her like a daughter. She misses her son whom she put up for adoption. Imagine her shock to know that he is Chun! At first, she doesn’t know how to face him. but later, both reconcile and she even takes up his case when he is being sued.

However, I don’t like her to doubt Chun and believe Shun Wah that Chun threatens her to change her statement. Mentioning that he is brought up by the Ngais to do illegal business hurts him. Please, isn’t there trust between the two? Luckily, she sees Hau Mun leaving with Shun Wah and is thus firm that he tells her the truth. We can never doubt a good actress. She is a formidable one indeed and plays the role well.

9. Superintendent Chek Ying Mou – Cheung Ying Choy
He always works hand in hand with Hsuen Yee to nap the Ngais. I like the classic lines when he captures Cheng twice. ‘ Mr Ngai, why are you taking such a late walk’ (when he tries to escape from a secret tunnel to outside the house) or ‘Mr Ngai, there is no moonlight so why are you fishing here?’(when he tries to jump bail to run away on a boat.) Hseun Yee changes his mind about Chun and he alerts him to be careful of Kwong Sang. Chun should thank him for capturing Hong.

He is never the cop I have in mind as I only watch him in serials when he is old. But he is also young and agile here to make me feel impressed.

10. Kwan Kei – Hui Siu Hung
He is Hao Mun’s landlord and is an ex-cop. He later works as a PI but treats Hao Mun and Shun Wah as his siblings. He opens his PI office in Shun Wah’s office to help her to pay the loan. He is very helpful to find a suitable job for Shun Wah or looking for clues/witnesses to help them in their work. Without him, Chun will never be able to find the construction worker whom he dirties his clothes wet by his car in the car on that fateful day – to prove that he isn’t at home at the time of the murder.

11. Ma Yuk – So Hing Hsuan
He is Kei’s wife who can be lazy but is kindhearted. She treats Shun Wah well but dislikes Helen so she digs at her whenever she has the chance. She also wished Hau Mun to be back with Shun Wah so she tries to create chances for them to be together.

12. Ngai Cheng
He is Chun’s adopted father. Knowing that his natural son has no ability and cause his business to wind up sooner or later, he gives the reins to Chun. He loves this adopted son so much that he advises him to go straight to prevent joining him in jail. It is tragic that Kwong Shang causes his death by making him angry.

13. Ngai Kwong Sang – Kwok Fung
He is Cheng’s natural son but is selfish. He is jobless, wicked and is a spendthrift. He is always bitter that Chun gets better treatment from his parents and tries to belittle him every now and then. A perfect villain here so no wonder he does so well in ‘ATE’ later.

14. Mrs Ngai – Lee Heung Kum
She is soft-spoken and treats both sons equally. She is fair and gives Chun a fair share of what he deserve for working hard. But she gives in to Kwong Sang too often and this indirectly causes his death.

15. Mrs Chang – Wong Mun Lai
Hau Mun’s mother who is kindhearted but suffers from kidney disease. She is grateful to Shun Wah for taking care of her when Hao Mun goes to study overseas. But she is dismayed when he marries Helen. She bears with her but becomes an unhappy person. She still wishes Shun Wah to marry Hau Mun so she reveals the truth about the mortgage incident.

16. Mrs To – Lo Lan
She is To’s mother and is also kind at heart to settle disputes in the family.

17. Yip Chau Ping – Mun Kit Wan
Chun’s ex-girlfriend who is a dance hostess. However, she loves him deeply and is very worried when he is on trial. Later, she senses that he has a change of heart. She is depressed but still wishes him well.

18. Ah Hong and Ah Fai
Both are Chun’s henchmen. Hong is an expert in handling accounts but he is greedy by mature. That is why he is manipulated by Kwong Sang easily to assist him in illegal activities. Fai is a boxer but he is one who both the guts and brains. He is the one who rescues Kei from danger with Chun. Seeing Hong behaving nervously and there are 2 extra crates of goods, he doesn’t believe Hong’s words and opens the boxes to find the drugs. If not, Chun will be in trouble. He is very loyal to Chun.

The title song ‘Fate - Ming Wan’ was sung by Jenny Tseng. It was a great song which is unforgotten all these years. It is written by the unbeatable combination – Mr Khoo Kar Fai and Mr Wong Jiem.

Interesting scenes

Touching scenes of the two sisters together. It puzzles me why the Pos don’t adopt both of them. It’s not that they can’t afford or they know that Hsuen Yee will adopt Shun Wah?

Kwong Sang gets caught later trying to swim away in the sea in vain while leaving Cheng to get captured first. This shows how selfish he is.

Chun gets released when his henchman manages to bribe a woman to give the envelope which contains the witness’s statement to get him to change his statement.

The wild ways that Wilson has with call girls who work at Chun’s nightclub. He even causes one to die after taking drugs. I have never seen such a lecherous looking Miu in any another serial and he does it well!

How tolerant Chun is towards Kwong Sang. He bears with him repeatedly but still gets beaten up and endures sarcastic remarks. No wonder he wishes to divide the family business. But being filial, he still stays with the Ngais. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be a nice man.

How Shu Yan dies. I never know that falling down the stairs can lead to death. Paralysis perhaps?

Shu Yan’s funeral. It shows how remorseful Wilson is over her death. Upon seeing the soil covering her coffin, he jumps into the grave and hugs the coffin. How sad.

How Chun and Hau Mun compete to win Shun Wah.

How Chun and Shun Wah pickle. This pair is sure cute!

Chun acknowledges his parents. Unlike other touching scenes in other dramas, the three are so awkward to face each other. Hseun Yee even leaves early as she doesn’t know what to say to him. Chun decides not to change his surname and Mrs Ngai treats him well.

The part where Shun Wah lies in court is so unconvincing. I must say that it is the most fake statement that I ever seen in dramas. You will have to watch it yourself. I still believe that there should be a way out to help Chun. Yes, her position is awkward as the court knows that both are getting married. But how to convince the judge with such horrible and inconsistent exchanges??

Chun is shattered upon finding Shun Wah lying in court. Seeing her leaving with Hau Mun is the last straw. We know that he is a strong man all along. How can we not feel for him when he finally breaks down and hugs Hok Nien for consolation?

Kwong Sang’s murder trials. It is such a delight to see veterans Ha Yu, Hseun Yee and Kwan Hoi Shan as attorneys. The producer finds the right people for the jobs. Hseun Yee is out of the case when Ha Yu discovers that she is Chun’s mother. Kwan replaces her. Their splendid acting surely put all the young ones to shame although they appear in less than 5 episodes.


When you look at how the flowers were wrapped those days, they don’t give you the romantic feel – they look more suitable for visiting those who have passed away. Those old fashioned suits, cars (a horrifying old BMW model but Mercedes cars still look okay), hairstyles, spectacles (which many wear to cover almost half their faces) and dresses look awful – I can’t take it! I am so thankful that I wasn’t an adult in the 80s. This is so scary! It seems that only those 40s Shanghai era dramas still manage to attract me.

It is a different experience to see veteran elders, Lee Heung Kam and Wong Mun Lai, be demure mothers in here. I must add that all are so youthful looking. A span of 20 over years makes you realize that time travels so fast to change so many factors.

I am so used to see Shek Sau and Ah Miu in period dramas that I need a lot of time to adjust to see them in ‘modern’ clothing here. Especially when one acts as such a weak man who no backbone while another becomes a playboy in here. What a change! But I must say that my favourite actors have never let me down so their acting is as good as always.

However, the main attraction is still on Dodo and Chow Yun Fatt. You will know from here why they are paired up as a couple in so many dramas. It is a pleasure to see them together. They are so natural. No wonder many even think that they are an item in real life. Do watch this drama when you have the chance.

Sukting’s ratings :

On acting : **** (Scale of 5)

On story : *** (Scale of 5)

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