Friday, February 28, 2014

Overview- Ruse of Engagement

Widow Louise Lee raised her sons, Ruco Chan and Ron Ng, on her own. The brothers are both members of the Anti-Terrorist Force (ATF) and are recognized by their superior Eddie Kwan. However, a single tip causes the brothers to become enemies. Ruco obtains a reliable tip from reporter Yoyo Mung and begins investigating a secret organization. He is nearly killed in the process. Unable to return to his job, he asks girlfriend Aimee Chan, an intelligence analyst in ATF, to steal data from the police to help with his investigation. Ron believes that his brother has already betrayed the police force. When Ruco suddenly goes missing, Ron takes the opportunity to pursue Aimee. Fortunately, Ruco had Yoyo by his side during his most difficult time and they develop feelings for each other. Now, Ruco has put himself on the line to lure out the terrorists. He appears to have forgotten all notions of loyalty and brotherhood.

Ruse of Engagement Promo Clips

Monday, February 24, 2014

Canada @ 2014 Sochi Olympics

I am going to deviate from the TVB theme to give a shout-out to all the Canadian athletes who have made us proud at the 2014 Sochi Olympics!

Canada won 25 medals in total, with 10 gold, 10 silver and 5 bronze. They ranked third in the medal count (by gold) and was fourth in terms of total medals.

Ice Hockey

Four years ago, the nation erupted into celebration as Sidney Crosby scored the Golden Goal to help Canada win gold in men's hockey. This time, Canadians woke up at 7 am (5 am for those on the west coast) to watch Canada defend its title. Our boys did not disappoint with a 3-0 victory over Sweden in the gold medal game.

The women's team also won gold in dramatic fashion. Facing a 2-0 deficit with only three minutes left in the gold medal game against the United States, the women rallied back to win in overtime off a goal by Marie-Philip Poulin. This is their fourth consecutive gold medal at the Olympics.


Jennifer Jones became the first female skip to go undefeated in an Olympic tournament en route to gold in women's curling. Brad Jacobs won gold for Canada on the men's side. It was Canada's third consecutive Olympic gold in men's curling.


Sisters Justine and Chloe Dufour-Lapointe won gold and silver in the women's moguls event. Their elder sister Maxime had also made it to the finals - what a family!

Alex Bilodeau was the first Canadian to win an Olympic gold on home soil in Vancouver 2010. He successfully defended his title with what he described as the "best run of [his] career". He is the first athlete to ever win back-to-back Olympic gold in a freestyle skiing event. Teammate Mikael Kingsbury took the silver medal.

Figure Skating

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are Canada's sweethearts in ice dancing. They were golden in Vancouver and skated away with silver medals this time. Patrick Chan won silver in men's figure skating. Canada also captured silver in the inaugural team figure skating event.


Kaillie Humphries and Heather Moyse won gold in two-woman bobsleigh in Vancouver 2010. They successfully defended their title with an excellent final run to beat out the Americans, who had been leading through the first three runs. They were selected as Canada's closing ceremony flag bearers.


Charles Hamelin celebrated his gold medal win in 2010 with a passionate kiss in front of camera with girlfriend and fellow speed skater Marianne St-Gelais. He was at the top of the podium again for the men's 1500 m and repeated the famous kiss. Marianne won a silver medal of her own in the women's 3000 m relay. Charle Cournoyer won bronze in the men's 500 m.


Gilmore Junio showed what it meant to put the team first. He gave up his spot in the men's 1000 m event to teammate Denny Morrison, whom he felt had a better chance to win. Morrison did not disappoint as he won a silver medal in the event. He would add a bronze in the 1500 m race.

Freestyle skiing

Canada won the most medals (9) of any country from the freestyle skiing events, which includes moguls (see above). Dara Howell and Kim Lamarre won gold and bronze in women's slopestyle. Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa finished with gold and silver in the women's ski cross. Mike Riddle took silver in the men's halfpipe.


Mark McMorris kicked off the medal count for Canada with a bronze medal in men's slopestyle. It was an amazing accomplishment considering he had fractured his ribs just two weeks before the Olympics. Dominique Maltais took the silver medal in the women's snowboard cross event.

Alpine Skiing

Jan Hudec won bronze in the men's Super G event in a tie with Bode Miller of the United States. Before the race, Hudec buried a loonie at the finish line. Whether by luck of the coin or by the sheer perseverance that saw him overcome numerous serious injuries, he won Canada's first medal in alpine skiing in 20 years.

Congratulations to all the athletes. Looking forward to the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea already!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Gilded Chopsticks Connection

It is time to complete the relationship chart for the Qing Dynasty!

Let’s go back to The Life and Times of a Sentinel. Sunny Chan was the Shunzhi (順治) Emperor, the first Qing emperor to rule over all of China.

Shunzhi (Sunny) was succeeded by his son, the Kangxi (康熙) Emperor, played by Power Chan.
  • Gilded Chopsticks begins during the later reign of Kangxi, now played by Elliot Ngok.
  • In GC, Power is the 2nd eldest son of Kangxi (himself/Elliot). He is named as crown prince, but is twice-deposed.

In TLTOS, Elaine Yiu was Kangxi’s (Power in TLTOS) 3rd Empress. She died one day after being named Empress. Grace Wong was one of Kangxi’s concubines. She is the mother of his eldest surviving son.

In GC, Kangxi’s (Elliot) consort is Rosanne Lui. She was posthumously named as his 4th Empress. Rosanne is the mother of Kangxi’s fourth son, the future Yongzheng (雍正) Emperor, played by Ben Wong. She is also the mother of the 14th prince, Owen Cheung.

Louis Cheung (8th), Derek Wong (9th) and Matthew Ko (10th) are all sons of Kangxi (Elliot), bore by different concubines.

After a lengthy 61 years on the throne, Kangxi (Elliot) dies and is succeeded by the Yongzheng Emperor (Ben).

Yongzheng (Ben) takes Nancy Wu as his concubine. She gives birth to three children, but they all die prematurely.

Yongzheng’s 2nd Empress gives birth to his eventual successor, the Qianlong (乾隆) Emperor. 

Relationship map continues with:

Beauty at War Connection
The Confidant and Curse of the Royal Harem Connection

The full Qing Dynasty relationship map (click to see):

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wayne Lai & Sheren Tang

What if Wayne and Sheren could have their own version of Always and Ever?

The two videos were created by StoryForest. Very creative and amazing editing. I wish TVB would actually make this series!

The Trailer Version:

The Story Version:

Related posts:
Always and Ever vs No Regrets
Bobby Au-Yeung & Esther Kwan
KK Cheung & Michelle Yim

Monday, February 17, 2014

Storm in a Cocoon Theme Song

The theme song for Storm in a Cocoon is "Fate" (天意), sung by Steven Ma.

The sub-theme song is "Thinking of You" (想起你) by Jinny Ng.

Overview - Storm in a Cocoon
Storm in a Cocoon Promo Clips

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Historical Context - Nanshan Case

In episode 1 of Gilded Chopsticks, one of the imperial chefs attempted to poison the Kangxi Emperor (Elliot Ngok). He said he was seeking revenge for a man named Dai Mingshi, who had been executed by Kangxi.

Dai Mingshi (戴名世) was a scholar that lived during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor. He authored a text called the Nanshan Collections (南山集), which recounted the events of the Southern Ming Dynasty.

The Southern Ming Dynasty was a politically sensitive topic at the time. It had been formed by the remnants of the fallen Ming Dynasty. The Qing court viewed it as a rebellious effort. Yet Dai appeared to be glorifying them in his writings.

In his book, Dai made the argument that the Southern Ming Dynasty should be recognized as an official dynasty alongside the Ming and Qing Dynasties. He referred to the Southern Ming rulers as “Emperors” and used their era names instead of the Qing era names. He praised Ming loyalists and condemned the Qing army’s massacre of civilians.

Dai was reported to authorities by his rival, Zhao Shenqiao (趙申喬). The Kangxi Emperor was naturally infuriated. Dai was executed on charges of insolence. Kangxi spared the lives of Dai’s family and associates* and sent them to live in exile instead. The Yongzheng Emperor pardoned all those involved when he ascended to the throne.
* A historical inaccuracy in Gilded Chopsticks where the would-be assassin chef said that Dai's family was executed along with him.

Many historians feel that Dai had been unfairly accused of insolence. They believe that his book and arguments were merely meant for academic discussion. In his early life, Dai indeed held anti-Qing sentiments. However, during his later life, his attitude towards the Qing had clearly changed and he even served as a government official. His rivalry with Zhao and his arrogant attitude, which had angered many of his colleagues, likely factored in his downfall.

This case, which is known as the Nanshan Case (南山案), was one of many episodes of literary inquisition during the Qing Dynasty. Literary inquisition is the official persecution of scholars for their writings. Scholars could be punished or killed for the use of a single word or phrase that was deemed offensive. The practice was especially prominent during the Qing Dynasty because the Manchu were an ethnic minority ruling over China. As a result, the Qing emperors were very sensitive to anything that appeared to question the legitimacy of their rule.

Spoiler (revealed in episode 11-12):

Friday, February 14, 2014

Food Series

Just watching these series is enough to make your stomach growl!

Gilded Chopsticks

A rich boy (Wong Cho Lam) is fearful that he will become a slave because of food. Although he desperately tries to avoid this fate, he ends up in the palace anyways, working as a chef. He unexpectedly gets caught in the royal succession battle.

Yummy Yummy

Five contestants from a game show become good friends, but their friendship is tested as they try to manage a restaurant together. A collaboration between TVB and Singapore, featuring then-young stars Kevin Cheng, Charmaine Sheh, Raymond Lam and Tavia Yeung.

The Rippling Blossom

Two brothers work together to run the sushi bar left to them by their father, but competition and jealousy soon cause a rift between them. They have a final contest to determine the ultimate winner.

The Gâteau Affairs

The trainees at a bakery each discover their passion for baking cakes while learning from the master chef (Joe Ma). Meanwhile, a "Cake Robin Hood" has been leaving cakes for less fortunate children.

Wasabi Mon Amour

A talented Japanese chef (Michael Tao) helps his crush (Louisa So) become a food programme host even though she knows nothing about cooking. His love for her is challenged when he finds out she will resort to any tactic to boost ratings.

The Season of Fate

A widow (Esther Kwan) struggles to maintain the family restaurant and take care for her husband’s first wife, who is mentally ill. Luckily, she has the help of her good friend (Derek Kwok). Problems arise when a con-artist (Roger Kwok) arrives at the restaurant.

Happy Ever After

A small-time chef (Bobby Au-Yeung) with an "Emperor's Tongue" invents new dishes with his partner (Marianne Chan), catching the attention of the Qianlong Emperor (Kwong Wah). Bobby is invited into palace to become an imperial chef, where he is faced with a choice between love and loyalty.

A Taste of Love

Flora Chan enlists the help of a temperamental chef (Lawrence Ng) in order to save her father's famous restaurant. She also encourages her half-brother (Raymond Lam) to become a hard-working and responsible man.

A Recipe for the Heart

A mysterious man (Bobby Au-Yeung) purchases the majority share of a restaurant owned by Lydia Shum and Esther Kwan. He teaches them how to cook in order to run the restaurant on their own. The star-studded cast also includes Louis Koo, Jessica Hsuan and Maggie Cheung.

Food of Love

An aspiring chef (Wong He) chases his dream with the help and encouragement from his good friends. He achieves fame and fortune, but discovers the consequences that come along it... This series was the representative work in Wong He's early career.

Jewel in the Palace

A palace maid faces many obstacles as she works her way up in the imperial kitchen. She goes on to become the first female physician in the Korean royal court. The drama set an all-time high for viewership, peaking at 50 points.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Gilded Chopsticks Theme Song

The theme song for Gilded Chopsticks is "Loyal Subject" (忠臣) by Wong Cho Lam and Stephanie Ho.

The sub-theme song is called "Tears of Departure" (離人淚), bu Louis Cheung.

Overview - Gilded Chopsticks
Gilded Chopsticks Promo Clips

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Outbound Love Actor

Did you notice this man who plays "Brother Coconut" in Outbound Love?

He is known as "Onebird". He is a production assistant with TVB. He is active on Weibo and shares many behind-the-scenes pictures of the dramas he has worked on. Interesting to see him take on a role in a drama. He said that this is his first on-screen role.

He seems to be quite friendly with many stars:

Monday, February 03, 2014

Birthdays of the Month - February

February 1 - Hins Cheung

February 3 - Miriam Yeung; Kara Hui

February 4 - Eddie Cheung; Power Chan

February 5 - Eddie Kwan

February 6 - Sisley Choi

February 8 - Dicky Cheung

February 12 - Selena Li

February 13 - Kenneth Ma

February 20 - Raymond Chiu

February 22 - Ronald Law

February 24 - Christine Ng; Fala Chen; Adam Cheng; Carlo Ng; Crystal Li

February 27 - Matt Yeung; Maggie Siu; Toby Leung