The Silver Chamber of Sorrows

Reviewed by: sukting

June 24, 2011

Rating: three

How long
21 episodes

Seung Hun is the head of his family and the business. He lives with his four wives, son, daughter, and father. When his father's 80th birthday party turns into a death tragedy, the ugly hidden secrets are all revealed. A rich family is ruled by lust and also revenge.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Seung Hang - Chun Pui
Sheung's Silver Chamber is the largest jewel company in Foshan but it is facing serious financial difficulties. In order to obtain a loan from Shum's family, Hang and Siu-Tip plot to arrange marriage between Wan and Wing Tung. He has a head for business but is very selfish.

His old ways of managing the business clashes with Wun's new methods. Both are at loggerheads with each other. He has thought that Sau Hang is carrying Wun's baby and brings her to the ancestral hall, threatening to kill her. She laughs when she has a miscarriage.Hang has killed his own son instead. Hang goes mad and burns the whole place down. Although Wun wants to save him out, he pushes him to safety.

As usual, he puts up a powerful performance that all will hate him for his evil deeds. What's more he can instigate others to kill without dirtying his own hands. One of the best vetran actors in TVB.

2. Seung Wun - Ng Wai Kok
He is a widower when his wife dies due to difficult labour. Love bloosoms between him and Sau Hang when she helps to take care of his son, Sai Wai. However, fate plays a joke on them when he is tricked to marry Wing Tung. Wan falls out with Hang, and stays in France. After leaving home for years, Wan returns to celebrate his father's birthday. Wun discovers that his brother has never changed. He has also gone from bad to worse.

Seeing Sau Hang badly tormented also tears his heart. When she is critically ill and his sisters-in-laws send her to a monk as she is 'possessed by evil spirits', Wun disapproves of it. When Sau Hang faints, he immediately carries her to the hospital to be by her bedside. He has never forgotten her all this while.

Tension between the two brothers comes to a head when Hang is reluctant to pay ransom to save the youngest son of Wan. The employee is framed and thus makes the attempt. Wun is determined to disconnect completely from his family ever since but later changes his mind as he wants to revive the shop's business.

He fights for the workers' benefits. He also gets new conracts from foreign clients but Hang never appreciate his efforts. Hang forces Wun to move out due to Chung Hei. In the end, he decides to return to France to be with his family after the whole ordeal.

It is rare to see Wai Kok acting these days. I welcome his return. He makes this indecisive man who hurts 2 women comes alive. Or maybe he is destined for these roles?

3. Choi Siu Tip - Sit Kar Yin
She is the first wife but is easily manipulated by Hang. She is childless after her marriage for a few years. Even the maid Nien Wong is faster than her in producing a son through seducing Hang to become the second wife. Although she later gives birth to Ho Yee, she has to bear with Nien Wong's insults.

Being the traditional wife and knowing that Hang fancies Sau Hang, she has to help to trick Hang to get in the marriage sedan to marry Hang. She treats her well as she feels guilty. She also hopes that Sau Hang can give birth to a son to defeat Nien Wong but Sau Hang is cold towards him. This results Hang to take in the fourth pregnant wife, Fei Fei.

She bears with his philandering and ruthless ways. However, she becomes stronger when Hang wants to arrange Ho Yee to marry a man she dislikes. She helps her to break off her engagement which is something that she doesn't expect herself to do. Gone are the over-the-top ways that Kar Yin often portrays in most dramas. She mellows down a lot - why doesn't' she try this tactic more often?

4. Lien Nien Wong - Chan Sau Chu
She is formerly Siu Tip's maid but her status changes after giving birth to Sai Jo. She is proud to get all the attention and dislikes Wun for chiding her for not showing enough respect to Siu Tip. She often thinks that others look down on her. She is helpless against Sau Hang and Fei Fei when they get married into the family. Fei Fei tries all means to please her. She has a sad ending of going mad after Sai Jo's death. Another credible actress that I must commend - she is fantastic in the quarreling and gossiping scenes.

5. Ching Sau Hang - Ng Wing Mei
She is Wan's maid, growing up with the Seung family members since young. She is also Wun's sweetheart. Fueled by hatred when he marries Wing Tung, Sau Hang marries Hang as his third wife and becomes Wan's sister-in-law. Since Wan's return, Sau Hang suffers from Hang's neglect. She also gets framed for causing Fei Fei's miscarriage. Hatred leads her to seek revenge when she realised that she is tricked into marrying Hang.

She seeks to subvert Sheung's family by luring Wun. He intends to free her through Hang's signing of the divorce letters. But he has no intention to marry her as he can't let his wife and son down. In her rage and intentionally, she unveils Chau Kuk, the maid in the family, is Hang's illegitimate daughter. That causes lots of chaos. All have thought that she has died in the fire.

She escapes death and Siu Tip discovers her. She has no intention to return to the Sheungs as she enjoys her freedom now. Wing Mei has always proven to be good but I still feel that she can improve. ”The Beauty of the game” is still her best so far.

6. Ha Fei Fei - Wu Ding Yan
She is a dance hostess in a bar. She knows that her youth is short so she seduces Hang. She gets pregnant soon and is lucky to get married right after her father-in-law's death. However, being an outgoing person, she doesn't like to stay at home. She falls from a swing but frames Sau Hang when she has a miscarriage.

Neither is she faithful to Hang too. She is very interested in Chung Hei and both start to have affairs. When this happens, Hang drowns her in a well - this man is ruthless to let Sau Hang handle this. Sau Hang has nightmares from then on. Wing Tong is most disappointed when Wun tries to cover up for Sau Hang as the body is uncovered from the well, claiming that Fei Fei calls back earlier. This speeds her decision to leave.

7. Shum Wing Tung - Yeung Yuen Yee
She comes from a rich family and is in love with Wun all along. Her father uses marriage as a business deal to exchange for her happiness. They get married and manage her father's business overseas. But she has never known of Wun's past with Sau Hang till Nien Wong's confession. Her instincts tell her that Wun is still in love with her. This proves to be true later when both women are in a restaurant but Wun only sees Sau Hang. This hurts her and she brings Sai Wai to France to let Wun settle his own matters himself.

8. Chau Kuk - Yeung See Kei
She is Sau Hang's maid and grows up with Chi Sing. She is grateful to be taken in by Siu Tip as she is an orphan. But she often ends up in trouble due to him. However, she starts to love him upon discovering him to be a nice person. She doesn't want to betray Ho Yee who is nice to her and being the illegitimate daughter makes her become an outcast.

Siu Tip has brought her home after Hang rapes her mother. Her mother becomes a nun and they only meet 2 occasions as she kills herself to hide the secret. But the secret becomes known to all soon. She pities Sau Hang and helps her as much as she can.

9. Seung Ho Yee - Lee See Yan
She is Siu Tip's daughter. Many envy her for being a rich man's daughter but she is like a bird in a cage. She wants freedom and Chi Sing satisfies her curiosity by telling her stories. She likes to love him and doesn't hide her feelings. She doesn't expect him to like Chau Kuk instead. She kills Sai Jo by mistake and later accidentally falls down the cliff to become a cripple.

Her family wants to arrange Chi Sing to marry into the family. Chi Sing intends to do that out of guilt. She can never lie and reveals the truth of killing her brother. She later goes to France with Wun.

10. Seung Sai Jo - Yeung Ming
Sai Jo is Hang's only son who is very pampered. He accidentally lets go his grandfather's favourite sparrow. That angers the man and he dies. To protect him, Nien Wong then lies that he learns of Sau Hang and Wun's past. This causes more conflict between the two brothers.

He sets his eyes on Chau Kuk and nearly marries her. Siu Tip has no choice but to admit that they are siblings or they will create incest. He wants to frame Chi Sing but Ho Yee kills him by mistake as he slips to get something sharp to prick into his head. What a way to die and be killed by a woman.

11. Shun Chung Hei - Li Tin Cheung
He is Wing Tong's younger brother who helps in their father's business. He comes over to stay with the Seungs for holiday. He already has a western girlfriend but deliberately angers her to make her leave. Why? He is attracted to Fei Fei at first sight. Both start to have secret meetings together. However, Hang discovers this and threatens to drown the two. Wing Tong has no choice but to give up part of their family wealth to save his life.

He has done well this time although it is still a supporting role. With a fake moustache and a lustful smile, who will not be charmed by him? He really goes all out to kill women with his antics.

12. Chow Chi Sing - Ng Lok Yin
His father is the housekeeper and Hang sends him overseas to learn more about the gold trade. Unlike other workers, he dresses in a shirt and pants. He is grateful to Hang and works in his shop but is frustrated when he doesn't accept new ideas. He is at loggerheads with Chau Kuk all along. He saves him from being molested by Sai Jo and she starts to be grateful to him.

Upon knowing that Chau Kuk is going to be married to an Indian merchant when her illegitimate daughter status is being exposed, he decides to elope with her. But Ho Yi's accident stops him and he has to stay. However, his love is greater and he gets to manage the shop with Chau Kuk after the tragedy.

13. Seung Man Kuan - Poon Fong Fong
She is the brothers' younger sister but her husband dies shortly after their marriage. Hang still marries her off despite knowing her husband's health condition in order to expand the family business. Her stubborn mother-in-law blames her for it and even forces her to become a nun.

14. Chow Chuen Chung - Lau Ho Kai
He believes in being loyal to Hang for showing kindness to them so he expects Chi Sing to be the same. He follows whatever Hang tells him to do and has no mind of his own.

15. Tung Mui - Chan On Ying
She is Siu Tip's maid. She knows a lot of secrets but she keeps from the rest in order to protect them.

Most favourite character
None - all of them have flaws.

Most hated character
Hang is the top of my list - how can he be treating everyone like an ant?

Interesting facts

The viewership is from 29 and at the peak of 40 in Hong Kong. Quite surprising for a 'traditional drama.

The following were the nominees for 41st TVB Anniversary Awards (2008):
"Best Drama" "My Favourite Female Character" (Ng Wing Mei - Ching Sau-Hang)

"Best Actress in a Leading Role" (Sit Ka Yin), Best Actress in a Supporting Role" (Wu Ding Yan)

The winner of the night was Wu Ding Yan for 'Most improved actress award'. Lee Tin Cheung also became famous overnight. He was normally recognized as the villain in many dramas without registering his name in other minds. Most found the two convincing in the adulterous pair scenes and longed for more.

Ding Yan confessed that she watched 'Lust Caution' and 'In the mood for love' for ideas. Some also thought that she had the 'traditional' love as her figure was perfect in the cheongsams.

The theme song is 'Admit fate' by Wong Yuen Chi. It is a very sad song.

I feel like reading 'Home Spring Autumn' by Ba Jin when watching this drama. It gives a walk into the past that makes us see how many take maters into their own hands. The development is very real-like to bring out how people in those days are resigned to their own fates. It is sad but luckily it has a happy ending. What a relief that we are not born in that era!

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