Wax and Wane


Reviewed by: sukting

May 12, 2013

Rating: three

Foreword

Wax and Wane is on the story of two rival families which are related that dealing with revenge, greed, business affairs, and family. Yi-tsun is at his wits' end as he has to handle his family issues single-handedly. He never understood what family ties really meant, nor had he the courage to try to find it out, until he learns from the Mans. They are poorer than the Yungs but they lead a simple and satisfying life.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Yung Shing-fun - Lau Siu-ming: He is the patriarch of the Yung family. He is the younger maternal cousin and rival of Cheong. Fun and Cheong have been at odds for years, over the trade name rights of their family's noodle shop. He lies all his way through to gain the rights to mislead his family to believe that Cheong’s family has been unreasonable.
Fun gets 6 taels of gold from Cheong’s father to set up the business in Hong Kong. His life has been a breeze. He is lustful to help ping as his mistress. He isn’t aware of moon’s real parentage as his daughter. When Tsun reveals it, he gets so remorseful that he gets a stroke. After Ying’s death, he also treasures relationships to get ping and long to stay with him.
Fun tries to make up to Moon to get her to stay with him. He is perturbed to know that ping is actually Hung’s lover that he gets a second stroke. He is nearly killed by hung but luckily Moon saves him on time. The two families reconcile and he gives half the company shares to Cheong. Thank goodness, his acting isn’t as stage-like as in the past and is more natural now.

2. Kwong Lai-ying – Chan Man Nah She is fun's wife who is the only person that the Mans don’t dislike. She knows of Moon’s parentage and Ping’s existence but chooses to keep quiet in order to protect her own family. I really want to laugh when Tsun confronts her on why she keeps mum about it –her answer is she is afraid that fun is unable to take it! How can he not to since he can have a mistress openly although he claims to respect her? She has all along thought that she causes Moon’s mother’s death so she is nice to Moon.
How does it happen? She learns that she is pregnant and pushes her down the stairs. She later dies due to difficult labour and mistakens that she is the cause but the real reason is she is poor in health. Tsun and Ying are relieved to know that she isn’t the killer. She later suffers from senile dementia and dies in an accident. Chan acts well as the long suffering wife and should have won an award for it.

3. Wong Sau-ping - Yiu Kar Nei She is Fun's mistress and Long’s mother. She chooses to be with Fun to prevent suffering from hardship after coming from China. She is Hung’s younger sister only in name but is actually his lover. She is actually kind to Ying and feels remorseful towards her. Ying’s emotions escalate when fun buys a house for ping to stay in the same neighbourhood and they keep bumping into one another. She bears with the humiliation for a long time so as to cheat money from Fun to flee with Hung.
She is greedy wanting the best for long and still wants to be with Hung. Thus, she lies to Hung that Long is his son. Hung is badly hit by the truth and kills her accidentally when he pushes her against the wall and a nail is struck into her head. Also credits must be given to her to bear with all the being-beaten scenes – this role isn’t as hateful after all.

4. Yung Yi-tsun – Kwok Chun On He is Fun and Ying's eldest son who goes by the book and no one can mellow him with ties as he is badly affected by Fun’s affair. His soft side is only on his family and he protects the members as much as possible. Thus, he often takes out on Hung, not giving him a promotion. Deceived by Fun, he gives the Mans very little shares to buy over their shop. Nevertheless, Fung, Moon and Fu join the company.

He is slowly melted by Fu who keeps sending him encouraging notes. Knowing how Fun mistreated the Mans, he tries to make up to them by giving them more dividends. Their relationship improves and upon knowing that Moon is his half-sister, he treats her even better to make her their company’s spokesperson.

He is shattered over Ying’s death but in order to save the company from closing down, he rushes overseas to clinch deals. He is late and can’t see through Ying’s funeral. That becomes his biggest regret in life and begins to be better to Fun after knowing that he is lonely. He even allows Ping and Long to stay with them.

Due to Fun, he has no confidence to fall in love. He cites conditions with all his ex-girlfriends. That is why Ada breaks up with him at the company farewell party for a staff to shame him. Even knowing Hoi-lei through Fu is part of his plan to expand the family business. Fu slowly opens his heart and he tries very hard to suppress his feelings. One night, Fu has thought that she can never conceive and burst into tears. He is drunk and kisses her forehead in order to console her. It is a false alarm over her condition so they decide to forget it.

He finds Ping and Hung getting intimate and suspects them. Ping then frames him and causes him to fall out with Hang. Hung also frames him for getting close to Ting. He has to resign his CEO post to move out with Kiu when Hung frames him of using illegal means to buy the company shares. He keeps his cool to get Lei’s help to rope in investors to tide over the crisis. He later gets to relax to allow Hang to take over most of the responsibility so that he can be with Lei.

Chun On acts well in this drama as a caring elder sibling to make many sacrifices for the family. This is a breakthrough from the usual simple-minded roles that he is always typecast to be.

5. Yung Yi-lam - Wong Lam She is Fun and Ying's second daughter. She is married but often returns home. She feels indignant on Ying being neglected and often speaks up for her. She is very against Ping. Neither can she accept her half-siblings.

6. Yung Yi-hang - Ng Cheuk Hei He is Fun and Ying's youngest son who is dating Kar-fu, Cheong's daughter. They face lots of setbacks due to opposition from both families. He is the company’s deputy CEO and promotion department manager. He is reluctant to work but later matures in handling the family business. Being with the Mans for long, he tries to change Tsun’s impression on them.

Tsun is suspicious of Fu’s intention and sends a PI to check on her. Hang gets stabbed and Tsun finally learns that he is overbearing to intrude into Hang’s personal affairs. Hang is disturbed to know that Tsun is also interested in Fu that he proposes to her. Many misunderstandings arise and they break up. Hung even misleads him into thinking that Tsun fathers Fu’s unborn child. He takes over the CEO position to give the rights to Hung to sign every document on his behalf but he indulges himself in drinking and taking drugs.
Luckily, he turns sober to believe Tsun with Moon in the end. The three deceive Hung to waste all his money to buy the shares. He can’t believe that Hung is so greedy to come to him to sign a fake document to get more. He recovers and marries Fu. They have a son and she tends to a little souvenir shop that he buys for her. He looks refreshed and handsome here. But can Cheuk Hei be spared from given impulsive, reckless and spoilt brat roles? I am getting sick of it.

7. Fai – Wong Chak Fung He is Yi-lam’s husband who is seldom in Hong Kong as he works overseas. He tolerates all Fun’s nonsense and tells Lam to bear with it too and not to oppose openly. But she will never listen to him.

8. Yung Yi-long – Leung Cheuk Hin He is Fun’s son and Hung is misled by Ping to think that he is his son. He is quite attached to Hung but more to Fun. Hung is bitter when he can’t bring Long to see a doctor from the kindergarten when he is ill as Fun doesn’t state him to be one of the guardians. In the end, he has to call an ambulance. Moon’s appearance makes Ping worry that Long will get a lesser share of the company.

9. Man Fa-tung - Leung Shun Yin She is Fun's maternal aunt and Cheong's paternal aunt. Both families take turns to prepare longevity noodles for her birthday. Fun often cheats, wanting to replace with his own. She shakes her head when they can’t have a decent meal in peace but is glad that their fend is finally over in the last episode to turn up with her three great-grandchildren.
10. Man Wing-cheong - Chow Chung He is the older maternal cousin and rival of Fun. As a result of the losing of the suit, he becomes a street hawker and later opens a small noodle shop. His wife dies due to overwork. He sells the shop reluctantly to Tsun, hoping that his children can work in the company. Another reason is he hopes that Tsun drops the law suit against Fung who beats him up. Feeling bored at home after retirement, he can only practice Taiji in the garden.
He has intended to bring Moon’s secret to the grave but is uneasy that Moon will create incest with Tsun as they get too close. Actually, Tsun is only doting on her to send her for extra etiquette classes to be the spokesperson. Tsun feels guilty upon knowing the truth and treats Cheong better from then on, promising not to tell the truth.

Later, Fun engages him to work in the company as an advisor. After knowing the real past, he doesn’t blame Fun anymore as his children are his pride. He slaps Fung upon knowing his misdeed and knocks sense into him. He is overjoyed to have Ting back home when the misunderstanding is being cleared.

11. Man Kar-fung - Chan Kam Hung He is Cheong's eldest son who gives up furthering his studies to help in the noodle shop. Being impulsive, he gets into all kinds of trouble with the Yungs. He can never forget how Tsun humiliates him when young. When the shop is closed, he becomes jobless but lies that he is getting a job. Upon knowing that Fu is with Hang, his reaction is more intense than Cheong.

He later joins the company as the production manager. He can’t stand how the company produces low quality noodles and keeps making proposals. He is enraged when Tsun keeps shutting him out. Hung works in the factory with him and becomes good pals. He proves his worth in front of foreign investors and Tsun starts to see him in a new light.

He gets Fung to think of new production lines. Fung is diligent but later when he knows the truth of the 6 taels gold, his personality changes. He is determined to seek redress for his mother and gets the signboard back. He listens to Hung and starts forging Tsun’s signatures to buy a stale land to get more shares for himself. He even suspects Ting for not fathering his child and suggests to do a DNA test when the child is born.

After realizing his mistake, he is locked up by Hung and is later rescued. Tsun forgives him and allows him to work in the factory. He is later a proud father of twins – a son and a daughter. I guess Kam Hung’s peak is in ‘At the threshold of an era’. He makes Fung so hateful here.

12. Ko Wai-ting - Kwok Siu Wan She is Fung's wife and Yi-tsun's ex-girlfriend. She has wished to be an interior designer but gives it up to be a cashier in the noodle shop. When it closes down, she becomes a housewife although she yearns to work. She is childless for years due to Fung’s concentration in the shop.

Tsun engages in a property development project. Unwillingly, he offers to buy out the location of Cheong's noodle shop with his company's shares. He also invites Cheong and his son, Fung to join the company's management. He actually has ulterior motives for doing this, as he hates Fung to the core for marrying Ting.

Tsun shows her concern and learns that they break up due to miscommunication. He has written letters to her when he studies overseas but they are kept by her aunt. She thinks that he gives up on her so she marries Fung but she has no regrets. Tsun discovers Fung’s crimes but chooses not to reveal to the police as his arrest will badly affect Ting and Cheong.

She is overjoyed upon getting pregnant but Fung chases her out of the family, thinking that she betrays him. She stays next door to Kiu to wait for Fung to turn over a new leaf. She is believable as the simple and good-natured housewife, different from the sassy roles that she has in the past. She deserves to get nominated for best supporting actress award.

13. Man Kar-fu - Tsui Chi San She is Cheong's youngest daughter and Fung's younger sister who has been dating Yi-hang, Fun's youngest son. She is initially a gourmet reporter but later joins the company as the communications deputy manager. She is very cheerful and changes the lives of many.
However, her will is very weak when she keeps missing chances to be with Hang to attribute it to fate. The two keep accusing each other of having another lover. Lei has to tell her to fight for her own happiness. Cheong can’t accept her for being a single mother upon knowing her pregnancy so she moves to stay with Ping. Cheong has thought that she has a fling with both brothers and is upset with her. Luckily, she moves back later. There is no surprise here as we see the usual pairing of her with Cheuk Hei again.

14. Ho Kar-moon - Leung Ching Kei She is Cheong's niece and Fun's daughter. Cheong takes care of her after her mother’s death. She is lowly educated and becomes the noodle maker in the shop. Ying thinks that she works too hard but she enjoys it. She later works in the quality control unit. She becomes the spokesperson for the company when she shows off her skills in front of foreign investors. Tsun sends her to upgrade herself.

She is in love with Hei but is dismayed that he is only treating her like an elder cousin although he is only younger than her by 2 days. Her feelings are unreciprocated but she harbours hope of being accepted one day. Thus, she gives up the chance to study overseas. The truth is blown when both old men quarrel to take a photo with her individually and Fun blurs the truth.

When she learns of her parentage, she realizes why Fun is so nice to her. Feeling cheated by Cheong when Fun calls him to give him shares to get her to return to him, she leaves home and takes up odd jobs. Chung makes her stay at his home as he feels remorseful over Ying’s death. Hung advises her to return to Fun to seek revenge on Hei. She starts going out with different men.

Tsun reminds her to be wary of Hung. True indeed, she notices that Hung doesn’t want her to have a share of the company to want her to get involved in parties. Thus, she plays along with him. She even hangs out with a stockbroker to get news of buying the company shares. This is only a smokescreen to make Hung lose his money. Hei can’t take it anymore and woos her again. She later works in the company with her brothers.
Ching Kei has overacted in this role. She makes this role look crude instead of being rude. As I dislike her role so much, I still have no idea how she gets nominated for’ My Favourite Female Character’

15. Lai Pak-hei - Law Chung Him He is a lawyer and Cheong's godson. His parents die when he is young and he is filial to Cheong for financing his studies. When Fung gets into trouble after hitting Tsun, Moon commands him to leave his Singapore assignment to hurry home to settle the matter. He has no choice but to tell the truth of Fung losing the case to settle it out of court. When knowing that another property firm is going to buy over the noodle shop with a higher price offered, he rushes to want to stop but is late to prevent both sides from signing the papers.

This man is terrible to lead Moon into loving him by giving her the things that his girlfriend doesn’t want. He also doesn’t appreciate Moon’s efforts to tell Melody off for two-timing men. He scolds her and Fun takes into his own hands to punish Hei, almost causing him his job and he threatens to move out.

Upon knowing Moon’s parentage and Melody real nature, he regrets taking her for granted but is heartbroken when she is now belittling him. Luckily, she doesn’t blame him and both are together again. Chung Him is only getting a minor role and his acting can be raw here.

16. Wong Hung - Kok Cheng Hung He is Ping's older brother a.k.a. Ping's lover. He swallows his pride to work in the company, vowing to make big one day. He makes use of all those around him. Actually, he is quite truthful to Fung to tell him about his past (minus the part with Ping.)

He works hardtop support his younger siblings and is proud when his younger brother gets into university. He is not a graduate but lies to be one to avoid people from looking down on him. He is touched when the Mans treat him like his family. He clinches a China deal with Fung and both get promoted. He has also thought that Ting betrays Fung to alert him.
His mother’s death deals with him a hard blow. He feels bad to be unable to tell her in person that she has a daughter-in-law and a grandson. Tsun gets suspicious when Ping doesn’t return to China with Hung and also disallows Fun to go with her to pay her last respects. He realizes their relationship but he is framed when Hung bribes the PI to lead Fu to meet Tsun to be discovered by Hang.

Hung enjoys creating discord to others and gets the rights. However, he is greedy for more to lose everything in the end. He is puzzled why Long doesn’t leave with him and Ping and insists that they must be on the run together. He has waited a long day for this but is enraged to know that he isn’t his son.

He kills Ping by accident and is arrested. He reveals to Cheong where Fung is locked and later becomes insane. Brilliant performance by Cheng Hung. I enjoy watching scenes of him with Chun On. Both create so much tension when together.

17. Chan Yat-chung - Hui Siu Hung He is Fun's personal assistant but he is treated more like a servant to ferry Ping around in the car. He also has to hide Ping and Long from being discovered when Lam and Ying go to the villa. Fun leaves him to take care of Ying when he is with Ping but yet blames him for Ying’s death to fire him. He straightens his thoughts after his first stroke to hire him back.
He then creates chances for him to have meals with Moon. He has thought that Man is going to be her boyfriend but is a little disappointed when he only wants to be her disciple.

18. Chan Chik-man - Leung Lit Wai He is Chung's son and Fun is willing to finance his studies but he is not cut out to study. He becomes the leader of the quality control team and looks down Moon as a woman when she first comes. Both are at loggerheads and both get fired. Both go for job upgrading classes and she rescues him when a fire extinguisher explodes. He is grateful to her and becomes her disciple.

He dreams of achieving success without working hard and tries to hint to Tsun about his close links with Moon since she is now popular. However, Tsun doesn’t like such a man to get close to his sister to lecture him. That has not really woke him up.

Seeing how Hei ill-treats Moon irks him. He also searches for Moon everywhere and discovers that she becomes a beer lady. He and Chung get beaten when they shield her after she offends a customer. She helps them to chase the man away and both promise to keep it a secret to make her stay with them.

From then on, he is serious on the job and works hard on the quality control. He is angered when he notices that Hung and Fung brings in low quality and the noodles do not taste the same. He alerts this to Moon but is dismayed that she cares more to get him to pose as her boyfriend to go partying instead. He feels that he isn’t being respected to leave. He is relieved that things haven’t changed and both maintain their friendship.

19. Lee Kiu - Ha Ping She is Ying's mother and Fun's mother-in-law who stays with them. All the children, especially Tsun are filial to her. Tsun is very wary not to upset her. She is very fierce to Ping for seducing Fun and is sad over Ying’s death. However, she can’t blame Ping anymore after she carries her to see the doctor as she sprains her ankle. She mellows down a lot and it pains her when Fun’s the other family moves in. Seeing Fung keeps wronging Tsun to be with Ting, she slaps him to wake him up.

20. Wah Hoi Lei - Lee Bik Kei She is the youngest daughter of a land developer tycoon. Even though she isn’t working in his company, she can influence him in making decisions. That is why Tsun seeks her help when he runs into financial trouble. She opens a restaurant and is Fu’s best friend. They know each other when Fu interviews her as a reporter. Tsun finds Fu believing others too easily while Lei advises him to try wooing Fu but he dismisses it.

However, he later discovers that they have some similarities in common when they go to the same places overseas. Both chat freely in front of Lei and she notices a change in Tsun. Lei is interested in Tsun and is overjoyed to get a pair of ear rings from him as her birthday gift. However, Tsun has bought them as a gift for Fu, wanting to pass to her but to give Kei instead. Lei is aware of it later but doesn’t tell Hang or Fu to keep it a secret. Yet, Fu detects this so she warns Tsun not to toy with Lei’s feelings.

21. Wah Chung Tai – Wong Ching He is Lei’s father and dotes on her. That is why he agrees to work with the company. Upon hearing from Hung that Tsun might be making use of Lei, he disperses the rumours of them together although both of them open a new company to buy Wan Cheong Sheng’s shares. As a result, the investors pull out. Tsun tries to dissuade him by showing him his proposal and he finally gives his approval.

Normally, he is a hooligan or poor man in most dramas but he is convincing as a magnate her. He really pulls it off well although he has few scenes.

22. Chung Lok Ken – Leung Kin Ping He is Yi-Tsun’s personal assistant and follows him around. He can be careless to nearly lose an important contract and makes Fu go all the way to the rural site to pass the document to Tsun. That is how Tsun finds Fu’s loyalty to the company and lets off his guard against her.

23. Donald – Cheung Chung Chi He is Fu’s university classmate and ex-boyfriend. He suffers from depression after suspecting that his ex-wife commits adultery and divorces her. Still, his ex-wife requests Fu to take care of him. That is why he believes that Fu is still in love with him and only gets close to Hang to seek revenge. This causes him to stab Hang but the two gain approval to get married due to this.

24. Detective – Peter Lai He is hired by Tsun to first check on Fu. You can say that he is incompetent when he is so slow to get the right facts on Donald and it is too late for Tsun to stop Hang from being stabbed. Later, he is sent to check on Hung and Ping. However, he is bribed by Hung to frame Tsun instead as he is involved in seducing Fu.

25. Lee Leung – Chung Chi Kwong He is the production unit factory owner. He is sour to work under Fung and can’t stand him for being rigid to insist to use the best flour to produce the noodles. Later, he discovers that he is right and obeys him.

Interesting facts
Pre-production and character casting began September 2009. The two Koks – Chun On and Cheng Hung were cast first. They joked that they made up the Kok family when learned that Sau Wan also joined them. Upon hearing this, Cheuk Hei explained that he turned down two mainland Chinese drama offers in order to fit his schedule to film Wax and Wane with Chun On.

Hang Yee was also reported to have been part of the project, but later dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. She found it a pity as she had hoped to work with such a strong cast. It was the second project for Kar Nei with Chun On after ‘The threshold of a persona’.
She was amused to act as his rival here as she acted as his wife there. So was he – he shouted that it was hard for him and Cheuk Hei to address her as Aunt Ping to make her his elder in here. It took a full four months to complete this drama. Lam joked that she was lucky as her role was hostile to her so she could avoid this.

Below are the awards nominated for 45th TVB Anniversary Awards 2011 – sorry but no winners. Ratings were from 27 to 34 points.
Nominated: Best Drama
Nominated: Best Actor (Kwok Chun On)
Nominated: Best Actor (Ng Cheuk Hei)
Nominated: Best Supporting Actress (Chan Man Nah)
Nominated: Best Supporting Actress (Kwok Siu Wan)
Nominated: My Favourite Female Character (Leung Ching Kei)

Most favourite character Tsun, he does so much for his family but all have taken him for granted. I don’t blame him for not trusting others easily as Fun has destroyed his trust in others.

Most hated character My top choice is Fun, all his misdeeds are countless besides cheating Cheong of his share of the company. He can lie his way through – he can’t even recall his wedding anniversary and Ping has to remind him to celebrate with Ying. This is a direct insult to Ying. More so, when he rushes off to bring Long to hospital due to a high fever to leave her alone to face the guests. Unable to put up with the stress, she faints.

He also doesn’t even remember that he seduces Cheong’s sister and forsakes her later. He keeps saying that Moon lacks a father to discipline him. Upon knowing that she is his daughter and how Ping betrays him, it is sweet revenge for all of us.

My second is Moon, she is very unbearable and stubborn. She is a true glutton – she has such a big appetite to eat up the whole of Tung’s birthday cake! I really dislike her for not showing respects to elders too.

My third is Fung – he is very unreasonable and doesn’t listen to advice.

Song It is by Cheuk Hei. I find his singing bland without much emotion although the lyrics are touching. But my nephews pester me to sing to them daily as they like it. What a sharp contrast!

Conclusion
The drama has a good start but it is later plagued with plenty of deliberate misunderstandings that slow the pace. The history of noodle making is interesting. The development of Ying enduring Fun but thinks that Moon is her mother to yell at her after getting senile dementia is convincing. But later, it becomes the predictable struggles and normal arguments between the two families that seem never ending. Some parts just go on, explained.

It is strange that Fun suddenly dotes on Moon after his stroke. He can be unforgiving when she often talks back at him in the back. Moreover, he dislikes the Mans so much that he opposes strongly to Fu marrying Hang.
How can Tsun be wronged twice to toy with two women’s feelings? It seems that Hung becomes very powerful while he becomes the underdog later. Can’t he explain himself instead of moving out to allow Hung to harm his family? I can’t believe that the usually smart Hang can be coaxed to take drugs easily even though he is upset over Fu. That is too hard to be true.

And Fung – just a slap from his father is enough to wake him up to realize his mistake? Hang can get rid of his drug taking habit within minutes too. Fu also forgives Hang too easily. I also don’t buy the part where Hei falls for Moon as he keeps stressing that she is family to him. This happens just too fast.

This isn’t exactly an outstanding drama but it is so much better than Moonlight Resonance. The matching of the different couples is of top choices. On the whole, the cast gives presentable acting although the story is seriously flawed. It is still worth your time if you are looking for family dramas.

Sukting’s ratings :
On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)
On story : *** (Scale of 5)
On song : *** (Scale of 5)


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