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…
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)
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.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.