Wounds of Passion


Reviewed by: sukting

March 06, 2004

Rating: three

How long
5 episodes - one of the shortest idol drama that I have watched so far by Chai Zhi Ping and I am so thankful! Most idol dramas pushing my patience to the furthest limit with its extra long length. What to do, Hok Yau is so busy. In Taiwan, this serial is divided into one hour, shown on 6 nights.

Foreword

This drama is adapted from a Japanese novel by 'Yi Tiao You Xiang Li'.Do you wish to see how ‘God of songs’ Cheung Hok Yau acts in his debut drama? You must not miss this valuable opportunity! It is the one and only television serial that he has done so far. He did not even act for TVB although they invited him so many times. Moreover, it is a Mandarin serial where you can hear his own voice. Will there be chemistry between Mok Mun Wai and his Taiwan counterparts? The answer is shown below.

Story

In Autumn 2000, a successful banker, Zi Liang returns to Taiwan from Japan with his fiancée, Gen Sha. Gen Sha meets his family at the airport. She suddenly faints due to shock. Zi Liang is anxious and is relieved that she is alright later at home.

3 years ago, she and her university classmate, Mei Shu were in Japan for a trip. She met her senior whom she liked along, Ah Sen with a friend, Zi Lin at Tokyo airport. She is upset to see Mei Shu hitting off well with Ah Sen. Upon seeing that Zi Lin was airsick, she offered him her shoulder. He liked her name – it sounded like the morning mist.

Zi Lin also felt that Ah Sen was stupid to like Mei Shu. He would choose Gen Sha if he were him. Upon boarding off the plane, he suddenly kissed her on the nose. He said that he wanted to leave a mark on her nose. Mei Shu left Gen Sha alone to have more time with Ah Sen.

Zi Lin invited her to tour together. Both went to a small temple to make a wish to find a person to love her. Zi Lin quietly made the wish to be the person whom she would like in future.

They returned to the hotel at midnight. Gen Sha confessed if not for the age barrier, she could have loved him. He was encouraged and kissed her fondly. This scene was really hot – I never know that Yan can be such a great kisser! He couldn’t wait for their date the next day and both spent the night together in bed.

The 4 day trip ended abruptly. Gen Sha had no vision for their romance and was sure that this was only a dream. Zi Lin promised to visit her in Taiwan 2 weeks later. He told her that she was his first love.

He looked for her and she was upset for not being able to find a job. Both decided to be together but they had to face reality. Mei Zhi knew about it and wanted her to leave her son in order not to affect his future. She agreed reluctantly and went to Japan without telling Zi Lin. Zi Lin was bitter over it and thought that she had toyed with his feelings. From then on, he didn’t trust any one and became a womanizer.

A few years later, Gen Sha gets to know Zi Liang. Zi Liang is a very caring and gentle man. He wins her heart quickly and both return to ask for his parents’ consent for marriage. She is too shocked to know that Zi Lin is his younger brother and thus faints. Gen Sha and Zi Lin decide to keep it under wraps as all can see that Ah Chuan and Zi Liang are really looking forward to their weddings that is to be held on the same day.

Zi Liang has a business appointment with his client. He ends up drinking too much and suffers from gastric cramps. This is an old ailment and he has not wanted to alarm the rest. But he feels so terrible upon reaching home that he is unable to hide it.

Gen Sha keeps him company at his home with his father. They are concerned as this has not happened for a long time. They are glad that he is okay when he sleeps peacefully later after taking his medication. Gen Sha decides to stay over for the night.

On the same night, Zi Lin quarrels with some men over a woman and gets beaten up in a pub. Gen Sha is nervous and bandages his wounds. She tells him off – why can’t he fall in love normally? His reaction is harsh – he wants women but the woman he likes is untrue to herself.

Now, he is not asking too much. He only wants to make love to her and that’s enough. She feels insulted and refuses his request. She thinks her initial decision is right. Zi Lin run s out but he refuses to stay over at Jing Jing’s place. Jing Jing knows that he loves Gen Sha. She gives up and hopes that she is contented just being his business partner. They open a CD ROM shop.

A month later, Zi Liang is married to Gen Sha while Ah Chuan is married to Mei Zhi on the same day. Many friends come to congratulate them but Zi Lin doesn’t appear at all.

Zi Liang senses that Gen Sha is unhappy. He gets her a plate of food. He sits beside her and tells her that seeing her eating is bliss to him. And having her smiles is another way of getting happiness. She is touched and decides to forget Zi Lin completely.

Zi Lin changes his willful ways because of Gen Sha. He visits his friend and sees the breathing support machine in hospital with a long straight line. This shows the end of a life. His life before seeing Gen Sha is the same so he decides to change. He stops patronizing pubs and looking for girls.

All his friends think that he has become a homosexual. He only laughs the rumours off. Jing Jing sees that he only spends time at the shop and refuses to attend the wedding. She asks and gets a scolding instead.

Zi Lin returns home with a heavy heart. He has to act cheerful in front of Zi Liang and Ah Chuan to congratulate them. Later, he cries in his room. Why is his sister-in-law not someone else? Why is his love rival the elder brother whom he respects most? How is he going to control and hide his feelings?

After marriage, Gen Sha is eager to find a job at a Japanese Language agency to be the course coordinator in planning courses. Zi Liang has not wished her to work so hard but he gives in to her. Still, he supports her decision to do the things she likes. He has already considered her to be the only one who can bring him happiness or sorrow.

Zi Lin happens to produce CD ROMs for the centre and tries hard to get to close to her again. She only resists weakly but fails to suppress her love for him.

Zi Liang visits her at the company when she works overtime on one night. He sees her asleep and covers her with his suit jacket. He later finds photographs of Zi Lin and her together when they took in Japan upon seeing them dropping out from her diary.

This means that they have known each other for a long time and yet both pretend not to know each other! He is so shocked that he has sleepless nights. He then finds out the truth from Mei Shu. He then realizes the pain that Zi Lin and Gen Sha have been through.

Mei Shu tells Gen Sha about her telling Zi Liang of the matter so Gen Sha decides to face the music. She intends to tell Zi Liang about her true feelings. On the fateful day, she is so tired to work overtime and sleeps on the sofa. Zi Lin sees her and tries to kiss her.

She wakes up at this time. It is a windy and rainy night. Zi Liang is worried about Gen Sha so he drives to her workplace to fetch her home. Upon seeing this scene, he is hurt and upset. Unknown to him, Gen Sha tells zi Lin to stop as she needs time to cool off.

Zi Liang leaves at the wrong time and both of them are unaware that he has seen them kissing. Zi Liang decides to give her a chance to make her choice. Thus, he backs out and chooses to work in Japan’s branch office.

Zi Lin finally knows the truth of her leaving him years ago. He wants her to accept him again. She reveals her decision. She can’t be with Zi Liang because she loves Zi Lin. She can’t leave with Zi Lin because she can’t divorce Zi Liang to be with him.

She feels that she has owed him too much. So she decides to let go of her love. The two hug and kiss together. But what awaits them is the breakup.

I can’t believe this - in the end, Gen Sha chooses NO ONE??!! She can’t decide whether to accept a person she loves or a person who loves her. So she chooses to become lonely in the end. What a stupid ending!

Introduction on characters

1. He Zi Liang – Cheung Hok Yau
He is Zi Lin’s elder brother. They are not blood related but they are very close. Unlike Zi Lin, he is an introvert who doesn't show his feelings that openly. He really dotes on Ze Lin and gives in to him. Although he is young, his career is well established. He appears when Gen Sha is at her weakest moment.

He is there to provide her comfort and consolation. This gives her happiness. To him, she is his spring of joy but this joy doesn’t last long when he discovers her past. He realizes that he only helps her to forget the pain temporary. He is so forgiving and nice to her.

He has been unaware all along about who is the male lead in her past. At first, he thinks this man isn’t important. But it seems now that he is very close to her. So he hasn’t given her enough warmth and he is letting her go. This can be eternal to let her go forever or it can be a chance for her to return to him in future. Although tormented, he decides to back out to give her the time to make another choice.

I really like this character. He is calm, analytical, caring and also wise. The way that he portrays Zi Liang is so attractive. I also wonder whether such a nice person exists in real life.

To compare with his past performances, Hok Yau has the mature and steady charisma here. He is no longer the wooden actor that we know in the late 80s. Many melt at the scenes that he is involved.

It is not easy to play this role. This man can be affectionate but how to make him look across as someone who loves his woman deeply but will not say mushy words? But Hok Yau has not failed us. He is firm as the successful banker, looking every inch a professional.

The way he looks at Gen Sha tenderly and fondly is so endearing – especially on the marriage day. My friend even jokes that he must be recalling his happy wedding day with his real life wife, Lo May May to make the feeling so real and true.

The sadness and shock that he shows upon finding out Gen Sha’s affair is also so realistic. That is really a sharp contrast. Although he says nothing, it is so obvious that he is badly affected by it.

He doesn’t say much but his different emotions are shown so clearly in his eyes and gestures. I must also compliment his onscreen brotherhood with Yan. This is so unlike his other movies where he is as the younger brother. This is a refreshing change for once to be mature and also protective to the people he cares.

No wonder Hok Yau is named the heavenly king and he deserves to win two supporting acting awards earlier than the other 3 heavenly kings. I hope that he wins the best actor award someday.

2. Gen Sha – Mok Mun Wai
She is an ordinary woman – helpful and attractive to others although she isn’t very pretty. When she meets Zi Lin, she has trouble finding work. When she meets Zi Liang, she is troubled with love relationships. She is so lucky to meet two men who are devoted to her. One is like a strong mountain for support while the other is a wide sea. The unfortunate part is they are brothers. She tries to find an exit in vain.

Mok’s acting is only okay in here. Unlike her clown roles in movies, she mellows down in here. Sometimes, she looks innocent in plaits while mature with her hair let down. Some say that she and Gen Sha are similar in character so she is only acting as herself.

This can be partly true. I find her having more chemistry with Hok Yau than Yan. Probably both have worked together before and know each other better. Unlike Yan, she has some difficulty playing a younger Gen Sha as she is not as young to be an university student. However, I do think that she has shown Gen Sha’s complicated side well. But this is an unfavourable character and I don’t really like Gen Sha.

3. Zhang Zi Lin – Yan Cheng Xu (F4 member, as Daomingsi in ‘Meteor Garden)
He is a lively 18 year old lad who meets his first love. He is impulsive and passionate. He doesn’t hide his feelings. It doesn’t wither quickly as the sakura flowers but leaves a mark in his heart. His persistence wins Gen Sha but the age gap is still a major problem. After his first failure, he becomes bad tempered, wild and also insecure. It changes his attitude towards love completely.

When he meets Gen Sha again, he pretends to be indifferent. Cai Zhi Ping places a lot of effort in getting Hok Yau and Mun Wai to work with Yan. He gives a better performance. He becomes more mature than in ‘meteor garden’. Many like him to portray a younger Zi Lin because he is cuter and also innocent. Many F4 fans simply find him hard to resist.

I wish that he can do better as he is not that good in expressing love for Mun Wai – both still lacks some chemistry. He is more at ease with Ben Yu. Maybe because their ages are closer and he has a lot of chemistry with Hok Yau. Both really communicate like real brothers.

4.Ah Chuan – Tao Da Yu (famous singer Tao Zhe’s father in real life)
Zi Liang‘s father who is a cheerful man. He loves his two sons but he can be so ignorant of the pain that both are going through.

5. Mei Zhi – Li Xuan
Zi Lin’s mother who wants the best for her son .Only Mei Zhi is alert to know what is wrong with Zi Lin. We can’t blame her for treating Gen Sha badly because their age gap is really too wide.

6. Housekeeper – Tang Qi
She works in Ah Chuan’s home for a long time and treats Zi Liang like her own son. She also dotes on Zi Lin and she is very respected in the home.

7. Mei Shu – Qian Wei Shan
This friend is selfish to ditch her own friend to be with another man while touring in Japan. Wonder how she can be close to Gen Sha as she is so insensitive?

8. Jing Jing – Zhang Ben Yu
She loves Zi Lin but knows that she has no hope of winning his love. However, she doesn’t hold a grudge against him. She is mild mannered and is his good confidante or business partner.

Most favourite character
Zi Liang. He treats Gen Sha so well and doesn’t deserve such a sorry ending. All along, he thinks that Gen Sha is devoted to him and he is shattered to know the harsh truth. He is too forgiving towards her.

Most hated character
Gen Sha – she is very selfish. Even by not choosing anyone, she has done enough damage to both brothers.

Songs
‘The ending is not what I want’ is the theme song. It is sung by Hok Yau. It is a sad song and it really shows the desperate feelings of Zi Liang and the rest.The ending theme is 'I am really hurt' is also by Hok Yau. It is also a slow sad song.

The 2 subtheme songs are by Mun Wai. I am so sorry that I forgot the titles although the local radio stations air them more often than Hok Yau’s song - which can be qutie unfair. When they air them and I listen, the songs have reached the choruses. The timing is just too bad. I feel that they are not as attractive as Hok Yau’s songs.

Interesting quotes from the characters :

Zi Lin
- Now I have left a mark on your face, you are mine.

- I will continue my studies and learn computer skills. Then I will some to look for you. No matter where you go, I will find you. It will be like the past. I will kick your door, open it and wait till you cry to me and let me know that you love me. (This is very similar to Daomingsi’s line in ‘Meteor Garden’)

- I wait for you to come to me. If you appear tomorrow, we will go to hell together but I will be the luckiest man in the world.

Zi Liang
- I know there is someone in your heart who is very unforgettable. I am afraid that I am not good enough for you. You like me just because I am a nice guy. I really hope that you and the person in your heart can see how I treat you to make both of you feel rest assured.

- Gen Sha, only one person can give me happiness or sorrow and the person is you. Even though it might be short, you really make me feel very blissful. You must remember that if there is a day you are willing to provide me lifelong happiness, please return to me. I will leave a place in my heart to love you forever.

Gen Sha
- I only love you when you are 18. now I can only treat you like my family.

- I can’t make a choice so I decide to be alone.

- No matter who I choose, I will not get the freedom that I long for.

- I can’t be your wife to continue to enjoy the concern and love that you shower on me. This is the punishment that I give to myself.

Interesting facts

This serial causes NT$600 million to shoot. They went Japan to shoot it. Tongues started waging even before the serial was ready as they were curious.

Many like the sakura scenery. Mok and Yan felt that they were like shooting MTVs at the places. With yellow fallen leaves, it came together with their happy faces. Plus Cheung’s singing, everything was perfect! But a flaw was the three leads were unclear in their dictation so the Taiwanese audience had to rely on the subtitles.

Hok Yau has resisted 10 years from accepting a drama assignment and this is his debut. This is the biggest lure for all fans. The whole serial plays his songs from his Mandarin album throughout – this could be the main reason to kill two birds with one stone. He can satisfy his curiosity in acting in an idol drama for top manager, Cai Zhi Ping and also promote his album.

Mun Wai knows Hok Yau for a long time. Both shot similar MTVs in Hong Kong. In fact, she had been his background dancer before and her debut MTV was with him. So although this was the first time that both act as a married couple, they clicked.

Hok Yau is the heavenly king but he is very easy to get along. He doesn’t have airs and joins others in every meal. He made no demands for special treatment too so many were reluctant to miss him when filming ended.

Yan finds Mok loveable and very cheerful. She was able to calm his nerves and her positive nature influences him. Hok Yau is his idol so he made full use of the chance to know him better. He was so excited to meet him on the first day.

Both chatted nonstop like close brothers. But as a newcomer, he sure paled in kissing scenes. He would often forget the lines or he would stand unsteadily in awkward positions. Many laughed and said it must be due to the effect of the Japanese wine that turned him to be like this.

On one scene, Yan was supposed to pretend cute and seize a kiss from Mun Wai. He ended up tripping over the suitcases and fell to the ground without kissing her! The whole crew laughed at him for a couple of days.

The cameraman was reluctant to erase this valuable scene and kept it. Many wanted him to give them a treat to silence them. He didn’t give in and still stood up in a dignified manner after the trip. He then looked at these heartless people, saying that they should do the reverse as he humoured them!

The debut episode was so bad in the ratings - only 3%. Many complained aboutthe storyline and the cast not having enough time to master the script properly to give a realistic feel.

Conclusion

Mun Wai and Hok Yau do not seem out of place when they are with the Taiwanese. They speak good Mandarin. In fact, I find their dictation okay. It is impossible to make them sound like the Taiwanese, isn't it? The Taiwanese can be a bit picky – some of their local artistes can be unclear with their dictation too.

The efforts didn’t really pay off as the viewership wasn’t very good either in Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore. Many had commented that the story wasn’t appealing, boring and predictable.

Of course – who likes the absurd ending? If Gen Sha chooses Zi Liang, she will be happy to have a warm and gentle hug. His protection will let her forget her worries. If she chooses Zi Lin, his hug will be full of passion. But this woman is indecisive. When she is with one man, she will miss another.

What and who does she actually want? I am sure that both want her to choose either one of them. Her final choice is sure wasting their love and time. Not everyone will like a serial with no answer – I am one of them. It is lacking creativity.

Luckily I am not the one who buys the VCDs but my friend was – she bought them before the serial was aired on television! She was so mad with Cai Zhi Ping! It is really a big letdown.

Yan and Mok’s fans will be satisfied with their acting. If you are Hok Yau’s fan, you will definitely be impressed by his performance. This is really a must watch serial for you as he does so well. The three have managed to save a weak and thin plot. The scenery is well shot in Japan and Taipei, making a sharp comparison of their happy and sad feelings. So both factors manage to make up for the deficit.

Sukting’s ratings :

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

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


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