This 5-part mini-series takes a mature look at issues regarding love and marriage facing young urban adults in China and Singapore. Fann Wong stars as a rich Singaporean girl Jian Ni, who ...
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This 5-part mini-series takes a mature look at issues regarding love and marriage facing young urban adults in China and Singapore. Fann Wong stars as a rich Singaporean girl Jian Ni, who meets up with her based-in-America boyfriend Peter in Shanghai, only to find out that he has been two-timing her. She gets to know a divorcée Liu Liwen and his estranged wife Xinli and while being the mediator for their failed marriage, she finds herself gradually torn between having to face up to her feelings regarding Liwen and her old flame. Written by
This 5-episode serial was filmed way back in 1996 when Fann Wong was still considered relatively new to acting for Singapore TV. This was also her first overseas serial, a Singapore-China joint production filmed mainly in Shanghai, though few people, if any, remember her role in this serial. Which is very much a pity, because this mature and thoughtful serial is one of Fann's most natural portrayals back in those early, pre-regional/pre-international days.
She plays a rich Singaporean girl (Jian Ni) who meets up with her boyfriend Peter (played by Bernard Tan) in Shanghai, only to find out that he has been two-timing her with Casey (Shao Min). Angered and betrayed, she breaks up with him. While visiting her father's friend in Shanghai, she gets to know his daughter Ye Xinli (Shen Min) and her estranged husband Liu Liwen (He Yan). Their marriage has failed irrevocably and both are discussing divorce and the custody of their son. Jian Ni finds herself playing the mediator between them as their failed marriage prevents them from speaking meaningfully to each other. The wide-eyed Singaporean innocence that Jian Ni possesses is exposed to the complexities of contrasting emotions as both husband and wife put forward their cases for the custody of their child to her, hoping that she would convince the other party to give up.
At this juncture, she finds herself falling for the caring and concerned Liwen, even though he is a 30-something Shanghainese man with the rugged, anachronistic behaviour befitting a man of his age in that society. Then, Peter seeks her back for a reconciliation. She finds herself having to make tough choices between what is politically correct and what she feels is correct.
The serial, filmed in Shanghai, captures the glitziness of the bustling streets in Shanghai, the beautiful glory of the Bund, and goes inland to the port city of Zhouzhuang, which is the "Venice of the East". The camera films everything from the suburban flats to the beautifully-restored teahouses to the expensive urban hotels (Equatorial) that Jian Ni and Peter stayed in during their trip to Shanghai in this show. A veritable feast for the eyes indeed, this serial also brought a new dimension to Fann Wong's acting. She cropped her hair really tomboyish-ly short for this role, donned spectacles to look nerdy and exuded all the charm of an innocent young Singaporean girl. In a 1996 TV interview, she was quoted as saying, "This is my easiest script ever", which might have added to the ease, the flair and the comic timing that she exuded in her role.
The only flaw in this serial seems to be the addition of a totally unnecessary sub-plot involving Liu Liwen's suspected smuggling of Chinese national antique treasures from a Singapore roadside stall into Shanghai. The plot dragged at this point early in the story, but as it passed, the story began to liven up again.
A mature and thoughtful production headed by the heavyweights of TV production in both Shanghai and Singapore, this serial is a must-watch for anyone seeking a digestible, interesting love story that transcends cultural and image barriers.
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