Hi everyone! My name is Chibi and I’ll be helping K guest blog TVB’s 2012 Grand Production series “Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles” (名媛望族) literally translated as “prominent family of high status women”. To those of you who stuck around, you may remember me covering Beyond the Realm of Conscience in 2009 co-incidentally also starring Tavia Yeung (now with a sharper nose.. XD). After a hiatus, I am back to share my oh-so-blunt thoughts and excited to hear your opinions too.

The reality is, not many TVB drama has been catching my attention lately, but “Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles” looked promising with it’s endearing cast lead by Damian Lau (whose rather charming, no?) A man with 4 wives all living under the same roof is bound to get juicy err.. exciting.

So anyway, let’s get started shall we? 😉

Characters and impressions

The drama is set in the 1920’s and 1930’s colonial Hong Kong. Right off the bat we are introduced to Sir Arthur Chung (鍾卓萬) portrayed by Damian Lau, an extremely rich and influential ethnic Chinese barrister (said to have never lost a case in court). His frequent use of the English language reflects his highly educated background and abundance of connections with other prominent figures. Damian’s confident demeanor extends to his private life, always in control and quite the womaniser, flirting with any lady he fancies. The fact he can manage three wives at the same time must say something…

Damian Lau in Silver Spoon Sterling Shackles

Mary Hon plays Koo Sam-lan (顧心蘭) the first wife of Damian. Being the eldest, Mary likes to make it clear to her ‘sisters’ that she’s Damian’s highest priority (though it doesn’t seem like she is). She can be rather fussy and childish at times, like waiting for Damian to help her up and escort her down the stairs when she’s fully capable of doing so herself. She has two children, played by Kenneth Ma and Sire Ma (more about them later)

Mary Hon in Silver Spoon Sterling Shackles

Idy Chan plays Aisin Gioro Yee-yin (愛新覺羅·爾嫣), a Manchu ex-princess of the fallen Qing dynasty; the second wife of Damian. She is the first of Damian’s woman to be introduced in the series and the one he claims to love the most. Idy is classy, calm, collected and extremely witty. She is the one Damian would confide with and one who understands him most. She also has no children with him. So far, I quite like Idy’s character.

Idy Chan in Silver Spoon Sterling Shackles

Elena Kong portrays Yvonne Yik (易懿芳) the youngest of his wives thus far (before Tavia gets into the picture) Elena uses her youth and sex appeal to capture Damian’s heart. She’s also the sweet talker, said to be the mediator who keeps things civilized in the family. However, I believe there’s much more to her than she lets on, as she seems rather sneaky at times (like trying to find out why Damian’s organizing such a huge birthday event for Idy).

Elena Kong in Silver Spoon Sterling Shackles

Woah, steamy. Anyone else find this scene where Elena seduces Damian to be rather amusing? XD I can just imagine all the laughter during filming… how embarrassing.

Kenneth Ma portrays Charles Chung Kai-sun (鍾啟燊), Damian’s eldest son who is also a barrister. Ambitious, serious and a gentlemen, Kenneth is the typical good guy who works hard, is persistent and stands for righteousness. Fighting for Human rights, especially in regards to abolishing slavery, Kenneth soon finds himself entangled with Tavia Yeung’s business and tirelessly tries to help her. At the moment, I think his character is a little pale in comparison to his almighty father.

Kenneth Ma in Silver Spoon Sterling Shackles

And of course, we have Tavia Yeung, who plays Hong Tsz-kwan (康子君) a famous Peking opera daomadan singer known by the stage name Sai Fenghuang (賽鳳凰). The only reason her character stood out for me was sadly because of her nose. OMG WHY IS IT SO BIG? D: It’s so long and pointy and..and.. urgh. Trust me, I really tried to ignore the nose, and focus on her acting and characterization and all that, but it’s just really difficult when it’s slapped on her face..and in our face. This is the main reason why I’m a little behind in watching this drama. It took me a while to really push myself to keep watching because all I could focus on was her nose. Personally, I think she looked a lot prettier pre-nose-job (It’s obvious she did something to it).

Tavia Yeung in Silver Spoon Sterling Shackles

Tension as Damian flirts with Tavia, leaving her a little intimidated..

Her looks in this drama is a bit of a turn off for me, and I’m not sure if it’s affecting my view of her character. Innocently being brought back to Hong Kong from Shanghai and being held captive in the process should be enough for us to sympathize with Tavia. Tavia used to be a mistreated servant and at the age of 12 was forced to marry a 70 year old man. However, I just don’t like Tavia’s character here. She is innocent, but behaves in such a rude and ‘high horse’ manner that makes her not very likable. I also think it’s in her eyes. She doesn’t seem good in nature. Am I the only one thinking this? While she was in the prison cell looking helpless and desperate, I didn’t have any desire to see her freed. It was odd. What I was interested in though, was how she would escape or more specifically, how Damian would get her out of the sticky situation. That was the interesting part for me and the solution didn’t disappoint. In terms of Tavia’s character alone, it didn’t really impress me as there  weren’t any “wow” moments in her acting.

Rebecca Zhu plays Kwai Siu-yau (季小由), the poor young lady who gets accused of stealing before Tavia comes to her aid. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Rebecca, the much talked about Fala Chen look-a-like. Personally, I don’t see any resemblance and actually had no idea this girl was actually Rebecca until I checked her up on wiki. First impression was..urgh, she looks kinda ugly, but as I watched on her character started to grow on me and I now find her face kinda cute (albeit chubby). It’s funny how your perception of someone’s beauty changes when you get to know more about their personality.

Rebecca Zhu and Ron Ng in Silver Spoon Sterling Shackles

Ron Ng plays Kam Muk-shui (金木水) a poor wanderer who gets into all sorts of fights, but deeply cares for Rebecca. I haven’t seen Ron act in a drama for quite some time, so hopefully his acting will be decent here. I don’t feel much for him, but I find his relationship with Rebecca cute, especially when he gave her the (real) pearl necklace.

Other thoughts

There’s a lot of English being thrown around and I can see how this can upset HK viewers (fine for us English speaking, but not so much for the average HK household). To put it into perspective, I was kinda thrown off in the few scenes where the characters were speaking in Shanghainese. Thankfully it was only very minimal.

After the first 3 episodes, I still don’t know where this story is heading. I have a vague idea that Tavia will end up being Damian’s fourth wife (pretty much a given), but not so much of overall plot. The family seems a bit too civilized at the moment, and everything appears close to perfect. The wives seem to get along, Damian loves all his wives, the children are well behaved and filial.. perhaps this is the calm before the storm..

What were your favourite scenes? Who is your favourite character and why? Do you find Tavia’s character likable? Anyone else distracted by Tavia’s nose? Feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll make sure to reply to you 😀

To those who have watched ahead, please refrain from posting any spoilers in this comment section 😀 Let’s keep it spoiler free and only discuss events that occurred in episode 1-3.

Click here to read my thoughts on episode 4, 5 and 6!


14 Responses to “[Silver Spoon Sterling Shackles] Episode 1-3 Thoughts”

  • KTVB says:

    Hi Chibi Welcome back and thanks for guest blogging! I’m sure your fans have been eagerly awaiting your return on K-TVB.net (including myself!)

    Nicely written and succint! 🙂

    I’ve just seen the first 3 episodes as well and agreed with pretty much everything you’ve said XD The family seems too civilised and everyone gets along so well it makes me wonder what could possibly happen. Could it possibly be Tavia’s appearance which could start stiring issues in the family?

    My favourite character so far is Damian and Idy. I love how they’re both so intelligent. Loved the intro of Idy too!

    Mary doesn’t seem to have much power in the family while Elena looks like the manipulative type.

    I don’t feel much for Tavia or Kenneth’s character..they don’t really stand out. Disappointingly as you’ve mentioned, I don’t even feel sorry for Tavia’s character and I couldn’t care less if she was freed or not. I was just anticipating how Damian would save her.

    Nothing special with Vincent or Sira’s characters either, though I think Vincent’s character is more likely to get into trouble/cause trouble for the family.

    This is also my first time seeing Rebecca Zhu. At first I didn’t think she looked good, but started thinking she’s ok as her character started to grow on me. Love watching the bond between Ron and Rebecca- such sweet sibling love! Could they possibly turn out to be lovers? XD I can see Ron easily becoming an “evil” character later on though.

    I don’t really know where the story is heading either haha Perhaps the “villains’ causing more problems in society?

    P.s I can’t stand Tavia’s nose…. 🙁

    • Chibi says:

      haha thanks! Hopefully there’s enough interest in this drama for more people to be following 🙂

      “Nothing special with Vincent or Sira’s characters either, though I think Vincent’s character is more likely to get into trouble/cause trouble for the family.”

      I haven’t mentioned Vincent or Sire much in the post, because nothing particularly stood out about them. It was a bit confusing trying to figure out which child belonged to which mother. Having Vincent actually be a illegitimate son was a nice touch, and made sense why he was so…random/silly compared to Kenneth. Sire also seems like the typical goody-daddys-girl~ hopefully there’s more to her too.

  • Daisy says:

    I love how you ask questions about Tavias nose so funny! But I agree her nose is lot pointier and just can’t help but notice..
    A bit disappointed at Kenneth’s English didn’t he study in Canada? Damien’s English were pretty good.
    I heard that they’re gonna be a lot of “risky” scenes! I was planning on not watching anymore but since you’re recaping this I think I’ll just read instead of watch XD

    • Chibi says:

      Hi Daisy,
      Thanks for leaving a comment ^^ haha yeah, I can’t help but comment on the nose.. it’s a shame that we’ll be seeing that nose in all TVB series moving forward.. (Well, it ain’t going anywhere XD)

      In regards to Kenneth’s English, I agree it’s a bit off sometimes. It could be a lot better. Damian’s English pronunciation was actually quite impressive.

      “I heard that they’re gonna be a lot of “risky” scenes!”

      hmm..what do you mean by “risky”? ;D Do you mean it’s erotic? lol

      “I was planning on not watching anymore but since you’re recaping this I think I’ll just read instead of watch XD”

      hahaha, aww really? Which episode did you watch up to when you decided to stop?

      • Daisy says:

        I wonder if Damien studied abroad or something XD

        Yup lots of articles about those erotic scenes with the “lip biting”, Ron seducing Rebecca to sleep with her, Elena’s seductive dance, Ron and Elena make out session. I think there might be more? I’m pretty immature XD

        I think I stopped watching after episode 2 not cause I didn’t enjoy it but because of school! And then I’m reading all these people saying how “risky” the scenes are and some people said it was disturbing to watch too? So I’ll just read the recaps then decide if I wanna keep watching! Ahaha.

  • Ri says:

    Haha you know what? Every initial impressions of SSSS that I’ve read so far has made a point to mention Tavia’s nose. I have to admit I wasn’t really affected by it (I knew it was DIFFERENT but didn’t think too much of it) until reading more about it – now it’s all I see really. It is incredibly pointy and high (and HUGE when she’s in her opera makeup), which suits her snooty character I suppose? I think her character is suppose to be very feminist and independent (as seen in her convo with Siu Yao) but Tavia somehow does not pull it off convincingly enough. Feels a bit like she’s struggling with her role to be honest. Esp the part in jail where she fights with Damien, I was so distracted by her asthma-like breathing! Tavia has improved leaps and bounds since day one and remains one of my favourite TVB actresses but somehow, for such a promoted show and role, she has yet to impress :/

    So far only Damien’s character stands out the most and rightly so, I guess, since the point of the first few eps was to solidify Damien as the central, dominant character. I do think Damien was a the right choice for the role – I can’t really imagine anyone else capable of portraying Arthur Chung.

    The wives: Mary Hon is Mary Hon, nuff said. She has played all sorts of roles in her career, so much so that she does fall into each role naturally. Always a pleasure to see the versatile Elena Kong on screen, she does seem to have a meaty role, especially later on (?). Yee Yin and Arthur have palpable chemistry but I can’t say much for Idy Chan’s acting. She’s alright so far but if her role does call for more, which I’m sure it will, I’m not sure if she can pull it off convincingly though. She does have the Princess air about her tho!

    The kids: Kenneth, oh Kenneth, what is up with your funny wavy hair? Hahaha. Hair aside, his character is plain and a bit boring so far, nothing to really push Kenneth’s acting skills yet. Nothing much on Vincent or Sire yet but there’s still a whopping load of episodes to go!

    Is it me or does Ron look a bit stumpy and unattractive in this show? His acting has also reverted back to the over-shouting, over-gangster, over-OVER type albeit that actually being his character. I wish his acting would be more nuanced but heck, I wish that for a lot of TVB actors and actresses. I also had no idea Rebecca Zhu was suppose to be a Fala Chen lookalike but when I found out, all I could really think about was how Fala would do so much more for the role. Oh well, Rebecca isn’t being dubbed over and for that, I can be very thankful.

    OK this has gone on longer than I expected.. 😀 looking forward to reading more of your thoughts of SSSS! And here’s hoping the rest of the show only gets better! 🙂

    • Chibi says:

      Hi Ri~ Nice to see you comment 😀

      ” I have to admit I wasn’t really affected by it (I knew it was DIFFERENT but didn’t think too much of it) until reading more about it – now it’s all I see really. “

      haha, whoops! I guess it’s hard to ignore now that everyones pointed it out ^^;

      “So far only Damien’s character stands out the most and rightly so, I guess, since the point of the first few eps was to solidify Damien as the central, dominant character. I do think Damien was a the right choice for the role – I can’t really imagine anyone else capable of portraying Arthur Chung.”

      Yup! I like watching Damian’s character.. I’m curious about his way of thinking and how he handles situations.

      Yee Yin and Arthur have palpable chemistry but I can’t say much for Idy Chan’s acting. She’s alright so far but if her role does call for more, which I’m sure it will, I’m not sure if she can pull it off convincingly though. She does have the Princess air about her tho!

      Idy’s character is a little wooden at the moment. Hopefully she’ll have a chance to shine later on the series.

      “I think her character is suppose to be very feminist and independent (as seen in her convo with Siu Yao) but Tavia somehow does not pull it off convincingly enough.”

      I know what you mean. Her so-called “independence” is a little annoying seeing as she thinks the reason she got out of the prison cell was because of own wit thinking~ and the reality is, Damian would have saved her regardless if she got Rebecca to throw a chess piece at him or not :/ It seems like she’s giving herself too much credit. I’m just not really convinced by her role just yet… though she does take initiative.

      The kids: Kenneth, oh Kenneth, what is up with your funny wavy hair? Hahaha. Hair aside, his character is plain and a bit boring so far, nothing to really push Kenneth’s acting skills yet.

      Agreed. Nothing about Kenneth interests me at the moment..which is expected since his character hasn’t really done anything, and personality wise very very standard. I feel like his character needs a whole face lift…maybe once a girl enters the picture we can see a different side to him (apart from serious business)

      Is it me or does Ron look a bit stumpy and unattractive in this show? His acting has also reverted back to the over-shouting, over-gangster, over-OVER type albeit that actually being his character. I wish his acting would be more nuanced but heck, I wish that for a lot of TVB actors and actresses.

      Nope, not just you!! Ron is a bit scruffy at the moment, and overly-shouty.. He too, like Kenneth seems to fall into a very stereotype role. He’s practically the exact opposite to Kenneth. At first I thought he actually had some substance (being a gangster and all) but then when he gets busted for just staging an act, pretending to save Tavia- his character just seems rather lame :p He should be playing a larger role, so I’m curious how it will develop..from him, anyway.

      “looking forward to reading more of your thoughts of SSSS! And here’s hoping the rest of the show only gets better! ”

      Yup! It would be a shame if I stopped blogging midway cause hit doesn’t hold my attention…. (I’m currently up to episode 6, so once I get a chance I’ll have the next write-up posted 😀 Stay tuned!)

  • aiMi says:

    Little Miss Hong Kong can’t even pronounce Cantonese fluently… Is she even 廣東人?
    People are saying how bad Eliza’s Cantonese was when she’s not from Hong Kong.

  • JacJac says:

    Finally I finished watching the first 3 episodes of Silver Spoons. I agree with you about the nose. It kinda disturbs me when I first saw Tavia’s nose and I tried to ignore it. I agree with you about Ron caring for Rebecca. Kenneth has such a small role in this drama but hope his role will become better toward the middle and the end.

    Nice recap!

  • 'Muff says:

    I didn’t watch this series completely, just saw bits when my mum was watching it (I haven’t chased TVB dramas in a while… over 2 years I think…) but I agree with you about Tavia’s nose O_O

    I first noticed it in scenes in The Hippocratic Crush (especially in the photo K uploaded to FB where she does the thumbs up) and just thought ‘maybe I haven’t seen her in that angle before .______.’

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