Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hong Kong's Policewomen


Female officers compose 15% of the Hong Kong Police Force, a relatively high ratio compared to police forces in other major cities. The first female officer was Kimmy Koh, who was appointed to the rank of Police Sub-Inspector in 1949. She mostly handled administrative work and cases involving “moral” issues (such as prostitution and gambling). But still, she set an important precedent.

In 1951, the first class of 10 female officers, trained by Koh, graduated from the Police Training School. They were assigned the numbers from 5001 to 5010. Among them, 林靄思 (#5010), known as “Sister Ten”, stayed with the force the longest. She became the first gun-carrying female officer. She was granted special permission to carry a gun while investigating a murder case in 1953. She went on several undercover missions, from busting drug deals to fraud cases. She also served in the Witness Protection Unit (WPU).

Angelina Lo's character in Sergeant Tabloid is based on the real "Sister Ten".

Initially, though female officers were seen as valuable additions to the force, they were not treated equally as their male counterparts. They were paid lower salaries than men and only worked day shifts. They were regulated to “low-danger” jobs, such as community outreach, prisoner transfers, traffic control and crowd control.

In 1973, the police force instituted equal pay and benefits for male and female officers. As well, females were now permitted to join almost any unit. Beginning in 1995, all cadets, male or female, had to undergo firearms training. Previously, only males were required to take such training. In 1997, the last gender barrier was removed when women were allowed to join the Police Tactical Unit (PTU).

Female officers have always been used for crowd control situations. The rationale (justified or not) is that the crowds tend to be less aggressive when faced against women. In 1962, when a large mass of Mainland immigrants flooded Hong Kong, all the 273 female officers at the time were stationed at the borders. In 1992, female officers were similarly deployed against Vietnamese refugees. A special all-female unit named “Tango Company” was formed and trained for crowd management at large public gatherings.  

Niki and the girls will join the Tango Company to maintain order during protests.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Justin Lo - Tough Battle

After a two year hiatus from the HK music industry, Justin Lo is finally making his return! Earlier, he released a new single, Tough Battle (硬仗).

This song speaks straight to my heart. I'm facing some tough challenges right now, but I tell myself to soldier on. I've conquered challenges before and this is just another one of them.

縱使生命如硬仗 贏輸不過自己
Even if life is a hard war, winning or losing is up to you. 

Justin will be kick-starting his "Justin Tough Life 2013 World Tour" at the Hong Kong Coliseum on May 25. I hope he makes a stop in Toronto!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Overview - Beauty At War

Christine Ng purposely spreads rumours in the palace to vent out her displeasure of her sister Sheren Tang. Ada Choi, a wet nurse, uses the opportunity to make money by helping others investigate the truth to the rumours. She becomes Sheren’s most trusted confidant and the two share a sisterly bond, until the arrival of a Kunqu troupe. The performers, Moses Chan and Eddie Kwan, move the hearts of many within the harem, including the lonely Christine. Worried that Christine will make a grave error in judgement, Sheren devises a fool-proof plan. But instead, it causes her to become entangled in the complicated relationship between Ada and Moses. To get back at Sheren, Christine allies with diviner Kenny Wong. Outsiders may see Kenny as a lunatic, but those involved know that what really drives people crazy is Forbidden City itself…

Comment: War and Beauty is one of my all-time favourite dramas. I remember finishing it in 3 days. I hope the sequel lives up to the name. Everyone has different characters in the sequel except for Sheren. She reprises her role as Yu Fei, but according to her interviews, Yu Fei is more peace-loving this time around. 

Watch Promo Clips here

Character Map:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Featured Series at FILMART - Day 2

View dramas from Day 1
(including Rosy Business 3, Brother's Keeper and Will Power)

Beauty At War
Cast: Moses Chan, Sheren Tang, Ada Choi, Christine Ng, Kenny Wong, Eddie Kwan

Ruse of Engagement
Cast: Ruco Chan, Ron Ng, Aimee Chan, Yoyo Mung

Bullet Brain - [Overview]
Cast: Wayne Lai, Natalie Tong, Pierre Ngo, Edwin Siu, Sire Ma

Awfully Lawful
Cast: Roger Kwok, Pal Sinn, Raymond Cho, Johnson Lee, Sharon Chan, Grace Wong

A Great Way to Care 2 - [Overview]
Cast: Alex Fong, Tavia Yeung, Yoyo Mung, Edwin Siu, Aimee Chan, Ram Chiang

The Hippocratic Crush 2
Cast: Lawrence Ng, Kenneth Ma, Tavia Yeung, Him Law, Mandy Wong, Eliza Sam

Always and Ever
Cast: Bobby Au-Yeung, Esther Kwan, Pierre Ngo, Ben Wong, Rebecca Zhu, Christine Kuo

Triumph in the Skies 2
Cast: Francis Ng, Julian Cheung, Ron Ng, Kenneth Ma, Myolie Wu, Fala Chen, Him Law, Nancy Wu

All clips from HKChannel and kuangaiTVB. Pictures from respective Weibo accounts.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Featured Series at FILMART

This is Casual TVB's 100th post! WOOT!

Will Power
Cast: Wayne Lai, Moses Chan, Fala Chen, Christine Ng, Jason Chan, Sire Ma

Slow Boat Home
Cast: Ruco Chan, Raymond Wong, Aimee Chan, Selena Li, Matt Yeung, Cilla Kung

Sniper Standoff
Cast: Eddie Cheung, Michael Tse, Kathy Chow, Kate Tsui, Eliza Sam, Alice Chan

Outbound Love
Cast: Ruco Chan, Aimee Chan, Tony Hung, Lin Xia Wei

Karma Rider
Cast: Raymond Wong, Priscilla Wong, Evergreen Mak, Yoyo Chen

Eat for Slave
Cast: Wong Cho Lam, Ben Wong, Joey Meng, Louis Cheung, Nancy Wu

Brother's Keeper
Cast: Ruco Chan, Linda Chung, Edwin Siu, Louise Lee, Kristal Tin, Louis Yuen

A Change of Heart
Cast: Michael Miu, Bosco Wong, Niki Chow, Joey Meng, Vincent Wong

No Reserve
Cast: Wayne Lai, Myolie Wu, Edwin Siu, Sire Ma, King Kong

View dramas from Day 2
(including Triumph in the Skies 2, The Hippocratic Crush 2 and Beauty at War)

All clips from HKChannel and kuangaiTVB. Pictures from respective Weibo accounts.

Reality Check Review

Producer: Lee Yim Fong
Genre: Modern, family
Cast: Louise Lee, Ruco Chan, Priscilla Wong, Evergreen Mak, Rebecca Chan, Stanley Cheung

Plot: A filial foster son takes care of his gambling-addict foster mother. (Full overview)

The take-home messages of Reality Check are: (1) don’t gamble; and (2) communicate with others to avoid misunderstandings. There, I just saved you the trouble of watching 15 episodes. You’re welcome.

Which 5 episodes should you watch? That would be the first 5 episodes, which were filmed in a rural village. It was fun to watch how a spoiled HK youth (Hero Yuen) adjusts to village life. Seeing the simple rural lifestyle makes urban dwellers appreciate all the luxuries of city life. It also gives perspective on the differences in values between urban and rural people, such as on family and education. This segment was as refreshing as a breath of fresh air in those open fields.

Once the characters returned to the familiar city setting, TVB also returned to its familiar family genre. The rest of the series is a slew of family problems… and more family problems. It is irritating to watch simple problems being complicated, and much of it is due to lack of communication. The characters witnessed how Hero learned to communicate with his father, yet none of them picked up that skill for themselves. The rural village segment is almost irrelevant to the rest of the story because no one, with the exception of Hero, changed their attitude because of it.

The “novel” aspect of this series was Louise Lee as a gambling addict. It was an interesting angle to work from, but suffered from lacklustre presentation. For the most part, the audience is told that she has a gambling problem, rather than being shown. The only gambling scenes are the shots of her playing mahjong. They could have shown her first trip to Macau – the mesmerizing lights and sounds of the casino, the excitement from winning, etc. – to emphasize how gambling helps her forget about her troubles, which is why she fell victim to addiction. By conveying these things through dialogue only, it is harder to understand her plight and sympathize with her.

The ending makes complete sense in TVB world. Of course Louise can get rid of her gambling addiction. Of course her children realize their mistakes and are forgiven. Of course everyone’s wishes come true. Every single problem is easily resolved in the last episode for a perfect happy ending. So much for being a Reality Check.

The Chinese title “Heart Road GPS” seems to encourage people to follow their inner GPS. But actually, all the problems were caused because the characters acted on emotions from their heart. Louise let her emotional well-being overwhelm her rationality (she felt better when gambling). Ruco rejected his biological mother because he was hurt by his childhood experience. Evergreen’s instinctive assumptions made him unreceptive to his wife’s words. Obviously, their navigation systems need a little tweaking.

There’s no need to elaborate on the excellent acting skills of Louise, Ruco and Rebecca, especially on the emotional scenes. It was a nice change to see Louise deviate from her usual perfect mother roles. Evergreen Mak gave a pretty standard performance. Priscilla Wong was natural and genuine in a role that seems well-suited for her. No comment on Stanley Cheung. Hero Yuen was quite believable acting as a spoiled youngster. There were complaints about Jenny Lau (the girlfriend of Louise’s son), but I guess annoying and bitchy was she was aiming for. Overall, great acting wasted on a forgettable drama.

Rating: An easy skip. 2/5

Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Sergeant Tabloid" Theme Song

The theme song for Sergeant Tabloid is "Love from the Heart" (愛從心), sung by Niki Chow and Michael Tse.

Niki also sings the slower, solo version.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Great Way to Care 2 - Preview of Cases

Case #1 - Nightclub Undercover
Tavia Yeung goes undercover at a nightclub to search for evidence against a criminal organization. It is extremely dangerous and Tavia is suffers repeated attacks as revenge.

Case #2 - Religious Cult
Matthew Ko is the leader of a religious cult that uses Professor Law Lok Lam's "Doomsday Theory" as their teachings. Coincidentally, Law Lok Lam is now missing and several followers have been murdered, leaving everyone to feel unsettled.

Case #3 - The Riddle of Zeus
An explicit video of Hugo Wong (nicknamed "Zeus") claiming he can help his sexual partner restore spiritual purity and a video of an allegedly possessed person has gone viral online. Aimee Chan publicly comments that she is disturbed by Hugo's actions. Aimee's brother, Otto Chan, can accurately foresee and draw out what Hugo will do next. When Hugo is attacked, Otto, who has autism, is impacted as well.

Case #4 - Doctor Fraud
Wealthy heir Dia Yiu Ming habitually runs afoul of the law. His lawyers use mental illness as his defense. Forensic psychiatrists Edwin Siu and Oscar Leung are heavily slandered in the process. With a distaste for the rich, they deliberately alter their psychiatric assessment. The typically honest Ram Chiang is dragged into the case and he, too, lies for self-interest.

Case #5 - Utility Knife Murder
The police have determined that Ronald Law is involved in an utility-knife serial murder case, but cannot find any evidence. Alex Fong suggests to Tavia that she should investigate Ronald's girlfriend, Lee Yee Man. This leads Tavia into a trap where she is captured for bloodletting.

See Overview - A Great Way to Care 2

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Overview - Bullet Brain

The story takes place in Hong Kong in the 1960s. Wayne Lai, a kind-hearted character, illegally enters into Hong Kong and joins the police force with the help of his father’s friend Joe Junior. After one incident where he was shot in the head, the bullet fragments stimulated brain cell development and his IQ level increased exponentially. Wayne suddenly turned into a brilliant detective who can crack any case. But at the same time, he also changed into a ruthless person. The only exception was to his friend and partner, Pierre Ngo, whom he still gave some regard to. Joe Junior, sensing a brewing problem, appoints female officer Sire Ma to monitor Wayne, however Sire is always defending Wayne instead. This causes difficulties in the previously stable relationship between Sire and colleague Edwin Siu. Meanwhile, Wayne meets Natalie Tong, a social butterfly who looks exactly like his first love. All these relationships become extremely complicated. Not wanting to see Wayne veer on the wrong path, Pierre comes up with a plan, but it ends up injuring Wayne and causing another big change in temperament…

There is only one major case about a dissolved corpse throughout the whole series. The case is draws on the facts from a real case in 1989. 

Listen to Bullet Brain Theme Song

 Bullet Brain Picture

Character Map:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Overview - Ip Man

The television series "Ip Man" is airing on TVB overseas channels as Hong Kong broadcasts Sergeant Tabloid.

The Grand Master Ip Man was born in a time of turbulence. He spends his lifetime chasing after the realm of martial arts. His upbringing and experiences would transform him into a legend. From Foshan to Guangzhou to Hong Kong, he meets, one-by-one, the people who will have the most influence on his life, including a revolutionist, his first teacher and his Wing Chun master.

Suffering injuries from competition after competition, it is not only Ip Man’s blood that is spilled, but also the tears of his childhood marriage partner. Ip Man’s senior is petty-minded and in love with Ip Man’s fiancé. He frequently causes problems for Ip Man, even accusing him of being a murderer. As Ip Man escapes to Hong Kong, he meets his third master. Ip Man’s martial arts greatly improve from learning different forms of Wing Chun. During his time in Hong Kong, he conceals his identity, yet he still becomes involved in a fight at the docks. Fortunately, he has the help of his friend and a girl working at the docks. Although he walks the fine line between life and death every day, the difficult situation inspires his inner sense of heroism and righteousness, pushing Ip Man back on the fighting stage in Foshan…

Kevin Cheng stars as Ip Man

Yuan Wah and Leung Siu-lung are Ip Man's masters

Cecilia Han plays Ip Man's love interest

Liu Xiaofeng is Ip Man's senior. Song Yang and Chrissie Chau are Ip Man's friends. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sergeant Tabloid - Preview of Cases

*Possible Spoilers*

Case #1 - Drug Lord Boyfriend
Niki Chow finally finds a boyfriend (Vincent Wong) who doesn't mind that she is a cop. Not only that, he even shows up at the police station to propose to her. Niki is very touched and immediately agrees. However, while chasing down a suspect, Niki discovers that Vincent is actually a drug lord. As a defender of justice, Niki has no choice but to personally arrest him. This battle leaves an irremovable mark in Niki's heart.

Case #2 - Drug Addict Attack
As a uniformed patrol cop, Oceane Zhu receives a call to handle a case of an unconscious senior. When she arrives at the scene, she is unexpectedly attacked by a drug addict (Oscar Leung), who holds her and Benz Hui hostage with a knife.

Case #3 - Undercover Mission
Niki and the female cops are called upon to go undercover to bust a male prostitution ring. Coincidentally, Michael Tse and his assistant are also there posing as male prostitutes to collect material for their news story. Can the girls successfully complete their mission?

Case #4 - Apartment Sweeps
The Emergency Unit routinely conducts floor-by-floor apartment sweeps. Besides frequently encountering prostitutes, they may possibly come across drug addicts and dangerous criminals. How can the female cops cope with these challenges?

Case #5 - Voyeur Suicide Case
A voyeur who secretly photographed female cops commits suicide in front of Michael after having his identity published in the tabloids. This incident causes Michael to reflect on his actions and fall into a state of confusion. Can he be awakened from this experience?

Case #6 - Anti-Mainland Pregnant Mothers Protest
A group of anti-Mainland pregnant mothers protesters take to the streets to fight for the rights of local mothers. Mandy Wong leads the specially-formed female squadron to maintain order and control the crowds. They are met with unprecedented attacks.

See Overview - Sergeant Tabloid