Sunday, 20 November 2016

Runaway Dragon and Missing Phoenix part 3

Artwork by Ibuki Satsuki

On Li Sai Man’s return to Cheung’on... without Sik Sik. Containing a link to a new ‘deleted’ (mature) scene. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here.

-xxx-

Li Sai Man felt his senses returning after his internal storm abating. He turned to see his beautiful wife lying next to him, smiling dreamily at him. He smiled back and kissed her. Heaven, she was so beautiful, gentle, kind and precious…he always felt very grateful every time they communed. He asked Sik Sik how she felt, but she didn’t reply. Instead, she rose and reclined next to him, her long ebony hair caressed his chest. She caressed his face with a saddened expression. Then, just as he registered her sadness, from the corner of his eyes he saw Sik Sik lifted her arm high; her hand holding something shiny. His brain registered everything too late, for the next thing he knew was that blood splashed on his face and body. He gasped, a wild thought occurred in a flash that his wife just killed him. Has she actually never forgiven him all these years?!

Yet, he was quick to realise that he felt no physical pain at all. Then, with a sudden emotional pain, he realised that Chun Sik Sik just stabbed herself.

“No!!!” Sai Man bolted up and held the swaying body of his wife. Blood oozed from the large wound on her chest, right where her heart was. He cupped Sik Sik’s face in panic, trying to revive her. Yet, the light in her eyes was fading away too quickly as she whispered, “Now you can return to Cheung’on… without regrets…”

Sunday, 13 November 2016

United We Stand (生繡橋王) summary of episodes 10-12

Too cute not to post upfront: Fei kissing Barbara's forehead (Ep 12)

This is the last three episodes of the United We Stand (Saan sau kiu wong). Watch it at Yueyuyy (complete, annoying ads) or Youku (patchy, not so many ads). Or buy it from YesAsia (free international shipping!); mine arrived in less than two weeks. Special thanks to Sandy for filling me in on some plot holes. Click here for all UWS episode guides.


Ep 19 Yueyuyy (officially Ep 10)

Episode 9 ended with Tung Pang-fei, Andy Tai and A Hoi joined forces to reveal Mr Ho’s illegal weapon trade. They were supported by A Leung and Mr Leung, as well as the Lam family. However, when A Fei et al just found the weapons, some thugs hired by Mr Ho came and defeated them. A Fei recognised the thugs, hence A Hoi thought A Fei betrayed them. After the thugs left, A Hoi almost hit the unconscious A Fei had Andy Tai not intervened. A Hoi returned home and reported A Fei’s ‘treachery’ but his family was all lukewarm about it (because they knew A Fei was in their team).

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

United We Stand (生繡橋王) summary of episodes 7-9

 

I'm dividing the last half of the United We Stand (Saan sau kiu wong) into two parts, for I might pepper the episodes with screen shots later. Watch it at Yueyuuu (complete, annoying ads) or Youku (incomplete, not so many ads). Or buy it from YesAsia (free international shipping!). Special thanks to Sandy for filling me in on some plot holes. The next installment will complete the series (Eps 10-12). Click here for all UWS episode guides.

Ep 13 Yueyuyy (Ep 7a Youku)

A Leung talked to Barbara, apologising and asking her about Tung Pang-fei. I think Barbara said that A Leung is A Leung, Fei is Fei. Anyway, A Leung went home disappointed. Fei met A Leung and, in a very stylish scene, gave A Leung a pistol to shoot him, but A Leung just shot something else to vent out his frustration. Later, Barbara was courted by a rich young guy (seems to be the son of Mr Ho’s business partner or something like that). Fei was not happy to learn that Barbara was going out with this Chiu guy, but Fei had to tag along as an escort for Barbara. Later, Chiu directly told Fei to just walk somewhere while he and Barbara had a chat, but Barbara told Chiu that Fei was her friend, so it was okay for him to sit with them.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

What to bring while travelling

I have almost finished summarising United We Stand episodes 7-12 (until the last episode). However, I need to do some real-world stuff first today before being able to post the next UWS summary. It will take me at least three hours to do that, so I might not be able to post it today. But I'll try.

Meanwhile, here's something for you in case you're going to travel and in need of packing. I love travelling, but I hate packing with a passion, hence I created this joke below. It compares the items we pack these days to the items the wanderers packed during those jianghu era. The answer is below the break (have been updated to include some extra essentials).

Have a nice weekend!




Sunday, 30 October 2016

United We Stand (生繡橋王) episode summary 1-6

I’ve had a mixed feeling about watching ‘United We Stand’ (Saan sau kiu wong 生繡橋王) since last year. Because, after watching it, basically that’s it. No more Michael/Barbara new series that I could watch. Not that the other ones were not good, but I do want more...

Anyway, the bad news is, I found NO English subtitle for UWS, which means that I either have to watch Cantonese raw or Mandarin raw. Thank God that Yueyuyy.com and Youku have the Cantonese version. Both sites are not perfect. Yueyuyy is sourced from Tudou and VideoGet, all episodes are listed, but some links are broken. Yueyuyy also has loads of annoying ads. Youku’s ads are less annoying, but it’s missing many important episodes.

The other option is buying the original DVD from YesAsia, which I’ve done last week. It’s expensive (USD 45), but it arrived in Australia in less than two weeks (Update 11 Nov'16: shipped on 3 Nov, arrived on 11 Nov) and the quality is very good, considering it is an 1984 production (remastered in 2015).

Since I’ve actually watched the entire Dik Ching 1986 Cantonese raw without subtitles and provided the episode summaries, I think providing summary for UWS should be doable as well. It won’t be perfect, I yearn for a sudden ability to understand Cantonese (just listening will do, no need for writing). However, until someone translates the UWS into English, this is the only English summary available on the web. At least, to my knowledge. I hope you like it. Input into the general storyline, Cantonese romanisation etc. is definitely welcomed. Click here for all UWS episode guides.


Saturday, 29 October 2016

Runaway Dragon and Missing Phoenix part 2

Part Two of the Runaway Dragon and Missing Phoenix series (the Foundation 1984). Would Li Sai Man consider the request to return to Cheung’on? Click here for Part 1.

Cheung Cheut Chan and Li Sai Man (from Ep 5 The Foundation)

Runaway Dragon and Missing Phoenix part 2

The Lady with the Red Sleeves tentatively entered the veranda facing the back garden of the younger Li couple. She had read about the garden from Sik Sik’s letters, carefully sent to Tang through the Fusu spy network. Sik Sik never mentioned anything dangerous; just those mundane things of a peaceful life, like her vegetable and herb garden and how Sai Man got the hang of ploughing in the field. But through her letters, Cheung Cheut Chan could get a glimpse of a serene life that her surrogate little sister had been sharing with Li Sai Man.

Now, even in the darkness of the night lit only by two small lanterns, and despite her distress, Cheut Chan could feel the serenity of the garden that could only be created by a soul such as Chun Sik Sik. Cheung Cheut Chan traced her dainty fingers on the wooden railing, absentmindedly observing some pots of herbs adorning the simple railings. Her nose caught the whiff of roses and jasmines, and she wondered whether Li Sai Man would attempt to pick those flowers to appease Sik Sik. Perhaps some other times, when he faced less dire situations than this one.

Friday, 21 October 2016

"A Capital Mistake" - a Chor Lau Heung 1984 fanfiction

The dreadful feeling when Chor Lau Heung realised his mistake (Ep 27)

Chor Lau Heung made mistakes, but never at this scale. He beat himself for it, he tried to fix it, and he still lived with his regrets until quite some time. But someone needs to tell him to forgive himself. Hence this fanfiction, dedicated to all readers who have made mistakes in their lives...including me.

-xxx-


A Capital Mistake

That mistake shook Chor Lau Heung to the core. He had made mistakes in the past, of course, but not one of this scale. One that basically cost two noble lives, made a young man lost one arm, and blinded a very fine matriarch. In agony, he kept playing the scenes in his head. Him not listening to the Kams, him not stopping for a moment to calm down and consider that they might have been right all along. Him accusing them, him easily defeating them due to his superb skills.

Then...the heart-stopping moment, the fear that suddenly grabbed him mercilessly, the bitter truth moment when he realised he'd done a capital error that couldn't be fixed. The floor that suddenly seemed to dissolve and the feeling of the Earth swallowing him, such that he had to grab onto something to stabilise himself. The painful feeling that he'd done something so irreversible that he couldn't even contemplate to forgive himself. The nerve-wrecking guilty feeling he'd been experiencing to date, despite him having confronted the Kam family's attacker.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Runaway Dragon and Missing Phoenix part 1

Li Sai Man is a constant enigma; his unspeakable action towards Chun Sik Sik is a source of (heated) discussion among The Foundation 1984 viewers. This is my take on LSM, spinning off from Ep 11 of the Foundation 1984, inspired by the conversations in the comments section of the Maiden Phoenix Rising. Romanisation is mostly Yale Cantonese or at least a terrible attempt at it. The Foundation 1984 is the property of TVB Hong Kong, and it’s my love to Michael and Barbara that made me write this story. Rated S for “safe”. No, seriously, it’s safe ^_^

The hollow after the deed... Ep 11 TF 1984

"Sai Man, look! The rainbow is here!"

The cheerful girl turned her petite body towards her lover, her face glowing like the rainbow. Suddenly, she gasped when she felt a sharp metal object, its tip glowing in the morning sunlight, thrusted into her abdomen, piercing her light blue dress.

Then, upon entering her skin, the object stopped short from piercing it completely.

Although she suddenly felt a small but sharp pain, she also registered that the pain didn't go further. Confused, Chun Sik Sik looked up to see her lover, Li Sai Man, the second prince of the Tang Dynasty, looked back at her with mixed expressions. Cruelty was the first she registered, a cruel expression she never thought Sai Man had. Then she saw sadness and love. Immense love. Then regret.

Then her lover's expression changed. Determination was clearly etched on his handsome face. A part of Sik Sik screamed inside when he lifted the object, which was now clear to her that it was a knife, to another striking stance. He was going to kill her. The love of her life was going to kill her!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Interview with Michael re LOCH 2017



Michael Miu was interviewed on 7 October 2016 on his recent roles in the Line Walker 2 (as Cheuk Sir) and in the Legend of Condor Heroes 2017 (as Huang Yaoshi). The followings are the translated and original versions of the interview. I have based my translation for the LOCH 2017 part from Google Translator, MDBG and the Kaypang Gallery Indonesian translation (thanks, Pangchu!). I translated the third and fourth parts myself from GT and MDBG. I didn’t translate part 1 about Line Walker 2; but I hopefully will in due course.

The original article can be found after the translation. It’s really nice to read the thoughts of our beautiful and wise Michael. Enjoy! Oh, and do correct me when you find mistakes in translation and interpretation, I surely have made some...

Update 9 Oct'16: Thanks to Krabs from SPCnet for editing some of my translation!


Sunday, 2 October 2016

Barbara Yung’s letters part 2: LOCH 1983

Barbara shooting her first LOCH scene with Felix Wong

Last month I promised that I’d post some letters of Barbara Yung regarding her experience with the Legend of Condor Heroes 1983. Apologies for taking so long, but I finally am able to sit down and copy her letters from Rob Radboud’s site.

Reading her letters again reminding me how beautiful she was, in and out. She was caring, loving and sensitive. The letters you’ll read below doesn’t only talk about LOCH 1983 of course, and there you’ll see how she cared for her family, in this case her mother, her uncle and Shela, her uncle’s partner (later wife). She also cared for her other friends, that they didn’t have enough money etc. I also found out that her family lived in Cambridge in 1982 (Letter 12 August 1982). Do they still live there now? For some reasons, I wonder whether they have moved out...

As for LOCH, Barbara did her audition on 13 August 1982 (Letter 12 August 1982). She had always wanted to do an ancient drama, so she was excited about her audience. However, since she had the audition for the most important role in the series, the announcement was not made until mid November (Letter 19 November 1982). She was of course very excited about it, but then she was also worried whether she’d be able to fill Michelle Yim’s shoes (Mie Shieh or Michelle Yim played as Wong Yung in LOCH 1976)(Letter 13 March 1983). 

Saturday, 1 October 2016

"Maiden Phoenix Rising" - The Foundation 1984 fanfiction

A seriously shivering scene from The Foundation 1984, ep 9

The “deleted scenes” after Sik Sik and Li Sai Man quarreled in Ep 9 and made up after he found out that Sik Sik used to be Kong Fung’s lover. From The Foundation 1984 (Michael Miu, Barbara Yung). Li Sai Man, Chun Sik Sik and the Foundation are the property of TVB Hong Kong, no copyright infringement intended. Dedicated to TinyGin, thanks for your suggestions! Rated R.

-xxx-

Sik Sik glared in disbelief at her lover.

"Look, if I still love Kong Fung, I don't have to hide it from you. I'd just leave you and go to Kong Fung instead!" Seeing how Li Sai Man still glared back also in disbelief, she vented our her frustration. "You have the rights to be angry at me for keeping you in the dark, but don't you ever doubt my feelings for you!" Since Sai Man still didn't respond, she stomped her foot and said, "I'll leave now if you hate me so much!"

With that, she turned to leave. Yet, her arm was held tightly by Sai Man. Forcefully yet slowly, the Second Prince turned her to face him. Then, he said quietly, very intensely and possessively,

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Xuan Zhang 2016

Xuan Zhang 2016 is not your usual “Journey to the West” movie. You won’t find flying monkeys there. Instead, you’ll find a realistic journey of an amazing Tang monk across the treacherous deserts, who spoke fluent Hindi when he was already in India and addressed the Indian monks/gurus as “Acharya” in such a respectful way. Copied from my other personal blog because it relates to Li Shimin (Tang Dynasty) and it gave me a thought about LOCH 2017.

I found Xuan Zhang when I was on board Singapore Airlines from Hong Kong to Singapore (part of my lag from Washington DC to Jakarta). The good thing about flying with SIA is that you’d be guaranteed to have a wide array of Asian movies to watch. This journey was not an exception. I was weighing between Xuan Zhang and another Asian movie, and in the end, boy I’m glad that I watched Xuan Zhang.


The Chinese-Indian movie was directed by Huo Jianqi, produced by Wong Kar-wai (that name I know!) and starring Huang Xiaoming as the titular character. Never seen HXM in action before, but I was very impressed with his performance as Xuan Zhang that he’s one of my favourite Mainland actors now. HXM made me thought that he was actually channelling Xuan Zhang in the movie; his serene face and wisdom were so palpable, I wondered if he actually set aside time to meditate every day before filming. Actually, I would be glad to just sit next to him, listening to him chanting the sutras...

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

"The Dragon Dancing under the Moonlight" - a CLH 1984 fanfiction

The wedding night between the Wanderer/King of Thieves and the Princess. Shyly emerges, triggered by the very few sensual scenes between Chor Lau Heung and Song Siu Ching in the New Adventures of Chor Lau Heung 1984 (TVB Hong Kong). Rated R.

Being the 80s production, one of the very few electrifying scenes in CLH 84 is this...


-xxx-

Ignoring his thumping heart, the Wanderer opened the door and entered the bedchamber. A silver strand of moonlight fell into the chamber floor from the lattice window as the amber light of some candles warmed up the rose-scented bedchamber. The object of his excitements and anticipation was sitting on the bed, decked to the nines in red, glowing in the candlelight. He couldn't see her face right now, but during the ceremony a few hours ago, he did steal a glance to see the beautiful face thinly covered by a red veil. She was beautiful, like a mysterious flower; a rose or chrysanthemum, shyly smiling at him. Now, he saw her, his Princess, his Bride, his wife, her hands fidgeting with a red silk handkerchief. He realised she was nervous. The trouble was that, unexpectedly, he was too.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Barbara Yung's letters part 1: Chor Lau Heung

Barbara and Michael during a CLH 1984 press conference


I've been wondering for a while how Barbara was when she was alive. I wrote in May that she might suffer depression during her last months. But what of her in the beginning and midst of her career? What of her before that? Rob Radboud said that Barbara was a gentle person who would sacrifice everything for love. I watched a small documentary with her talking, she looked lovely and lively. But is there another way of understanding her aside from those sources?

Then it occurred to me after reading some unrelated (duh) letters of Van Gogh. Letters! Jane Austen left letters that made us understand who she was, what she was like. Also Van Gogh, and other authors/artists. Nowadays we can glimpse what a person is like through their social media postings. But letters are truer, for they are not intended for public viewing. Of course, unlike reading letters of Jane Austen or Van Gogh who had passed away centuries ago, it's more of a breach of privacy to read letters of the deceased when they passed away not long ago (Barbara is in this category). But Barbara's letters are already available online from Rob's website (previously hosted at www.barbarayung.net), hence I feel okay in discussing them here.

Monday, 5 September 2016

LOCH 2008 final impressions

LOCH 2008 poster, from Crunchyroll

"A mixed bag" is what I'd call LOCH 2008. Another way would be "good in small details, bad in big pictures". I originally wanted to write part 2 of the review after part 1, but then I didn't have time (and now I lean towards the don’t care attitude, sadly). Hence, this is a compilation of thoughts while watching eps 16-50. I will also comment on some characters that attracted my attention. I've only watched the 1983 ver so far (not planning to watch other versions, thank you), so inevitably I will compare it with the 1983 ver. Spoilers below.

Storyline

I find that the pacing is better in this series than the 1983 version. If you read my episode recaps of 83, you'll know that I complained about the almost two episodes devoted solely for the Dali story. This pacing wastage didn't happen in 08. They only spent about 15 min to explain the whole story between Southern Emperor, Yinggu and Zhou Botong. Which is great, cos I cannot relate to this ZBT at all. I find him annoying instead of endearing the way I feel for the 83 ZBT.

However, the compact storyline also sacrificed some aspects of the series, some of them major. As some past reviewers have commented, Guo Jing's childhood was skipped entirely. I'm not a fan of the 83 ver of having the eight first episodes dedicated to GJ's life in Mongolian; two episodes would do, I think. But I don't advocate wiping it out altogether either. Also, some crucial elements about Huang Yaoshi wasn't shown here, e.g. we didn't see the adorable Huang Yaoshi (Anthony Wong) looking for HR after she left the island after the contest between GJ and Ouyang Ke. Hopefully in 2017, we will be treated with that scene, for we have  a photo of Michael Miu's HYS on the lookout for HR onboard of a boat, just like in 1983.