|This Review is written by Funn Lim.
Any comments drop it into my MAILBOX.
Chun Pui has a young son, Ng Ka Lok who is a social worker and a daughter, Mariane who is happily married for 7 years to Jackie, and they have a son. Mariane has a best friend who was jilted by the greedy Marco who went after a richer girl, the child of a big time lawyer and she herself is a big time lawyer, Yew, whilst Chun Pui, who is widowed and has no brothers of his own considers his "brother of the same teacher", Lei Chi Hung, a self made millionaire who was once a student of a Chinese wedding gown master, together with the more knowledgeable Chun Pui. Lei is divorced with a daughter and is remarried to a nice capable woman whom his mom hates and they have a son together.
One day all hell breaks lose.
Chun Pui met a young desperate thief, Louisa who is poor, looks after her constantly sick mom, supposedly went to jail before, has a father who is nowhere to be seen and is very desperate and broke. Chun Pui after much thought decided to accept her as his student and taught her the embroidery skills as well as some management skills. Lei one day came to Chun Pui, on the suggestion of a very cunning and ambitious woman who would do anything to get to the top of the corporate ladder, Kong and suggested that Chun Pui turns his business into a big time franchise, where he will still have complete artistic control and to provide for genuine authentic Chinese wedding ceremonies. Chun Pui was naturally happy because the business he started with his beloved dead wife years before called Kam Moon Tong was like his own child and he wanted to spread the Chinese tradition everywhere. And so he agreed and signed a contract handing over the license to his business, name and everything else and left it in the care of his own trusted and beloved "brother", Lei. Trouble was, Lei became enamoured with the ambitious Kong who saw this opportunity as a way to climb more "ladders" and persuaded Lei to sell Kam Moon Tong to some gwailo company. Chun was naturally angry about this, and Lei's wife who knew about the not so secret affair left her husband with their son. Chun sued Lei over the matter, each represented by lawyers who were once lover. Chun was represented by Yew and Lei by Marco who left her firm to go to another. Yew's argument was that in the contract, it was stated the purpose of Chun signing over the rights and license to Kam Moon Tong and his name is to promote Chinese traditional culture when it comes to Chinese wedding. Westerners wouldn't know what is Chinese and what is not. Marco argued that it didn't matter, since they have a master, Yuen Wah who is Americanised and has lived in America most of his life who was as capable or more capable and knowledgeable than Chun himself when it comes to traditions and wedding gowns. The battle came to a high point when Louisa went to court to testify that she was the one who sewed those Chinese wedding gowns, not Chun and that Chun himself never observed the traditions he held so dearly, like when he and his wife got married, she did not wear Chinese wedding gown. When the daughter got married, the wife never wore a Chinese wedding gown, and that for a man so traditional in his thinking about marriage, he certainly did nothing when his own daughter divorced her husband! And so the battle rages on. Who will win and why?
At the meantime, Mariane discovered her husband of 7 years, a professional photographer who together with his wife co-owned a bridal shop/wedding planning shop was having an affair with a free spirited woman, Ng. After much thought, Mariane decided to pick herself up and asks for a divorce. The husband, Jackie left everything and sold his business to Mariane and went on to live with Ng. Though Mariane was bitter about the affair, she realised life must go on and she came to terms with her husband and his new GF for the sake of her son, to maintain some normalcy in her lonely life. But all along she was hoping, praying for her husband to come back. Indeed, one day Ng came to her and revealed a great big secret; that she was dying of cancer and that she is ready to surrender her husband back to Mariane. Mariane did seriously considered this golden opportunity but best friend Fannie told her to wake up. Jackie wasn't going to come back. So whilst Ng was slowly dying and preparing everything for Jackie for his upcoming solo photo exhibition and Jackie didn't know a thing about her illness, Mariane didn't know what to say. Until the day of the exhibition, Ng didn't turn up, and left for London. Jackie didn't understand and Mariane told him the truth about her illness and questioned him; "She didn't once indicate it to you?", and she shook his head. He became even more depressed, drinking, crying until Mariane came begging to him to live on, this would have been what Ng, who died a week or so later in London, alone and contented would have wanted. And so he bucked up and went working overseas, and Mariane and Jackie maintained their friendship but not quite so. Will they get together again?
Fannie was the co-owner of the bridal shop and she was the wedding planner who somehow was always unlucky in love. Her long time BF, Marco who she had financed his law education dumped her for his bosses' daughter, Yew who believed that Fannie was as greedy and bad as Marco made her out to be. Out of love and with no money, Fannie found a friend in a happy go lucky motel owner cum freelance computer programmer, I think the actor's name was So Chi Wai, one of the 3 members of Grasshopper. Anyway, love blossomed but one day, the guy, So came and borrowed from her HKD$200,000 and left without a trace. Thinking she was jilted again and thinking she was stupid for the 2nd time, she became totally cold when it came to love and didn't quite care anymore. But one day, the man suddenly turned up, with a nice car, an expensive dog, a big big house and a silly reason for his disappearance. It seems that he was invited to work in Silicon Valley and thus he borrowed her money for living expenses over there. He somehow created a program and became really rich. Unable to deal with the fact that he was a millionaire almost over night, he avoided seeing Fannie. But when he did, he proposed to the angry Fannie. She softened and agreed to marry him. However on the day of their marriage, she had cold feet. She ran away and left So in the church full of people. Will she come back?
The Ending Revealed
Chun Vs Lei + Louisa
Fannie + So + Yew + Marco
Fannie did come back to the church after she met an old couple who told her marriage has its highs and low, it was all about tolerance and love will conquer the day. Putting aside her fears and doubts as well as her insecurities, she went back to the church and married So.
Mariane Vs Ng + Jackie
When Lei was asked as to his proficiency in Chinese wedding custom, he gave a convincing answer. BUT Chun testified to the contrary. Some explanations given by Lei was wrong and one which was glaringly wrong was this; in Chinese custom you were supposed to use a red wooden bucket, its significance I forgot. But Lei used in his wedding package to be introduced in the new gwailo ran company a pink plastic bucket. He thought it was ok. But to Chun, that was the biggest mistake. Because in olden days, pink is the colour one would use when marrying a mistress, red is for use when you marry your first and legally recognised wife, which is of course higher in status. To use pink is to insult the status of a first wife. I thought that was interesting. And the embroidery on the Chinese wedding gown means something, with a dragon and a phoenix. Can't change that either.
Chun explained to the court the allegations made by Marco as to his not complying with traditions. For one, his wife and him was way too poor to afford a decent Chinese wedding gown when they were getting married, hence she never wore one. On the day of Mariane's wedding, he did asked a friend to go to China to buy a hand embroided Chinese wedding gown meant for mom whose daughter was marrying, but that wedding was spoilt a bit. Being a perfectionist that he was, he wanted to correct the mistake but there wasn't time and so the wife said it was ok. Hence she never wore one that day. And Chun trying to find time in his busy schedule was actually making one for his wife but before he could complete it, she died of illness. To him his wife never wearing a Chinese wedding gown was his biggest regret, because he believed happiness in a marriage would start with a decent wedding gown. He felt he never gave his wife the happiness he deserved. This was a very moving scene. Anyway, about his daughter's divorce, he said that he knew his daughter tried all she could to salvage the marriage and so as a father, he offered nothing but a comforting shoulder and his utmost support for her decision.
When So gave his explanations why he avoided Fannie for some time. I thought that was really funny, someone who can't believe his good fortune that he was a millionaire over night and can't handle his richness, that was a classic. And her response was perfect; she left angrily. If I remembered correctly, she even poured a cup of water right to his face!
And the ending for Louisa was just perfect, where she found her father again and he turned on a new leaf, taking care of her mom, and that she left for America, with a tiny teensy weensy suggestion that love is in the air between she and that gwailo housemate, who is really a very nice guy. For a moment I thought they were going to spoil it all by showing Louisa having a love affair with Chun which was a big no-no to me. I liked the ending for her.
The ending for Lei was abrupt and rushed. We never see whether he patched things up with wife, or whether he realised his wrong doings. We never even see Kong again for some unknown reason left him just because the deal fell through. As far as I am concerned, he was still reach, but then he had a potential big law suit coming soon so perhaps that was why she just left.
1. Yuen Wah supposedly came back from USA, studied Master, PHD, what not, professor of Chinese traditions and customs and his English was like...like...blahhhhhh. Can't they find someone else? Can't he just learn his lines properly? And why is it that when they show someone coming back from overseas, like America, they must wear cowboy hats, boots? Where is his horse then? Did he come back from Texas or somewhere South? Why?! For a moment I thought he was going to say "YEEEEEEE HAWWWW!!" It was such a silly scene. And the judge, somebody please shoot her! If the film ever lost its integrity and meaning, it would be how the battle was fought and won, in the courtroom itself. The judge didn't possess the look of a distinguished judge, the lawyers were...well doing personal attacks ALL THE TIME except for Yew of course and that battle scenes, it was like suddenly the whole thing became too lighthearted but before that we got one really moving scene where Chun Pui tried to explain why his wife never wore the wedding gown! Why spoil it all? For what? A momentary laugh? It was pure silliness. Get pass that I am sure you could enjoy this series more. It was hard for me to do so, but well, I tried and I could get past these flaws.
2. The ending for Jackie and Mariane. Ok, so it was quite ok, but I was actually hoping Mariane moved on to another man and Jackie moved on to someone else but they remained loyal friends. Whilst Jackie lost all his feelings for Mariane because of Ng, suddenly and magically, with Ng's death, he suddenly had feelings for her again. of course the fact that suddenly Mariane was wearing high heeled boots, minus her glasses and really trendy dresses may have helped but would that be pushing TVB's motto "WE MUST HAVE A HAPPY ENDING" way too far? So, suddenly Ng wasn't Jackie's love of his life anymore?And Ng wanting to give him back to Mariane, that was noble and not very logical. Did Jackie look like a ping pong ball to these women? I thought he looked more like a burned Char Siew!
3. Surprisingly, hypocrisy still conquers the day when it comes to mistresses. You see, Ng was afraid of love because her parents had a bitter divorce because of a third party. And yet she herself became the third party and she wasn't the least bit tormented by that fact! I thought clearly her parents' divorce didn't affect her in a way I thought it would. At the end of the day, we will learn, love is selfish. Period.
I like Chun Pui's fatherly character who was very forgiving towards Louisa and very supportive towards his daughter and son. And I liked him also for holding on to his beliefs and his integrity that he had. His ideals about marriage may have eroded in today's world but perhaps if we have more people like him, such ideals may again be reinforced. He was a traditional man and so he lived by traditions which I believe was his life long quest, to promote what was fast becoming a lost art.
I like Chun Pui's son and his GF, who by the way had a story of her own; abandoned by her mom when she was young she met her mom who was now a career woman but she couldn't forgive her. At last she did when during one head on collision with another vehicle her mom shielded her body with that of her own and in the process her mom became paralysed. But true to all happy endings, the mom recovered but could not speak yet.
I really like Mariane's character who became wimpish to strong.
I especially liked Fannie's nice gullible character who had a soft heart.
So was a great character as well, because he was really nice.
Yew had a good character, one who would do the right thing and she was a very capable lawyer as well, though I disliked the way she uttered her lines.
Ok, Ng's character was giving and yet selfish as well. I mean must she leave to die somewhere else? Was Jackie just a ping pong ball? Left wife for her and she surrendered him back to wife? But then she died, and so I have nothing more to say.
I like Lei's very righteous wife who was really very nice and kind. She just left him thought she hoped to come back when he pleaded with her. We never got to see that.
So frankly, I liked this series. I won't say I loved it, I won't say I am actually bonkers over it but to me, it was entertaining because it was a simple series that was not quite so simple. Love is a complicated thing as it is wonderful thing. This series give you many perspectives about love and you kinda see the magic and its destruction, all wrapped in a very small simple production about wedding planners, gowns and traditions. Ultimately, this is also a series about family, friendship and the love that binds us all, that may not be LOVE per se. It has its charm and it certainly taught me a thing or two about traditions, though I am ashamed to admit I had to watch a series to learn some things about my culture. Even if you hate a series that is preachy, which this series thankfully did not try to preach preach preach like AMOC did in all of its episodes though this series does have a message about love, you can always watch this for your favourite star. Mine is Mariane Chan and so I had a reason to sit through 20 episodes of this series. But as I watched this series, I realised I liked it not because of Mariane Chan. I liked it because it was such a small series, with good performances, a simple storyline and some good moments. There were some dull parts as well as exaggerated and over the top scenes, but I enjoyed it. What was the word I was trying to use to describe this series? Ahhh yes, simplicity. That's it. It's simple, it's not overbearing or over ambitious, it is appealing as well as charming and most of all, it is ..what was the word again?..Yesssss....simple.
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