“A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.” –Isadora James
I first saw the ten minute preview of this when HKTV was showcasing some of their upcoming series in 2012. Something about it drew my attention and was eager to watch it. But, they were never issued a license and this series did not show until last December.
Two sisters. Two upbringings. This is their story. Anson (Maggie Cheung) and Mei Tin (Prudence Liew) grew up in a Hakka village. The two young sisters had a very close relationship. Their father died, so their mother Suk Wai (Mimi Kung) took care of them. Their grandmother, Yau Kam (May Tse) worked in Hong Kong as a housekeeper and would often go back to visit. On one occasion, Yau Kam indicated one granddaughter could migrate to Hong Kong, while the other can wait another two years until the papers are ready. Originally, Suk Wei had planned for Mei Tin to go first, since she is the older one and have Anson stay in China with her. The young Anson claimed to have been chased off by a local pedophile, triggering Suk Wai to change her mind and have Anson go to Hong Kong instead. Mei Tin stayed in the village and took care of her sick mother who suffered a stroke during her teenage years. And for the next 30 years, the sisters were two cities apart, their relationship forever changed.
Mei Tin is married to Kwok Cheung (Savio Tsang). Together, they own a large scale restaurant and live in a mansion in China. Mei Tin has a lot of connections in China. On the outside, she is a powerful career woman and has a loving husband. Inside the mansion, Kwok Cheung physically abuses her after he is drunk, begging for her forgiveness the morning after. She also finds out Kwok Cheung has been hiding a mistress named Bing Bing (Vivi Lee) from her. To make matters worse, Kwok Cheung and Bing Bing have a daughter together and a son on the way.
Anson works as a manager in a PR company. Her boyfriend is Hill (Poon Chan Leung), a fellow coworker. On the day of the wedding, Hill calls it quits, leaving Anson to call off the wedding at the ceremony. The company hires Isabella (Queena Chan) to be the new department head. In between Anson and Hill’s broken on-off relationship, she becomes Hill’s girlfriend. At the same time, Anson’s childhood friend, Tai Loi (Zac Koo) keeps declaring his love for Anson.
On one occasion, Mei Tin is kidnapped and rescued by Chun Fai (Lam Lei). He used to be a chef at a 6-star hotel, but downgrades himself to become a chef at Mei Tin’s restaurant. Through ups and downs between them, they get together. Kwok Cheung later finds out Bing Bing had lied to him all along: both the daughter and son are not biologically related to him! He starts to regret his wrongdoings and begs Mei Tin for forgiveness. Chun Fai and Mei Tin collaborate to create a Chinese cuisine dinner based on a story in Hong Kong. Mei Tin is stuck between two men: on the one hand, Kwok Cheung, her husband of 20+ years, and Chun Fai, a man who has protected her and stood by her side.
Anson resigns her position as manager and starts up a new PR company. After knowing Hill and Isabella are together, she finally gives Tai Loi a chance after he helps her to overcome some past childhood memories. However, the two ex-lovers realize they still miss one another. They start an underground relationship, both becoming third parties to each other’s current relationship status. When the simple Tai Loi finds out, he breaks up with Anson, granting her happiness. When the scheming Isabella finds out, she plots to bring Hill to the top of the world and make him fall into a case of corruption.
By chance, Anson overhears Mei Tin on the phone and finds out she has cervical cancer. The sisters travel to Fujian to seek a Chinese doctor. The night the two sisters sleep side by side after 30 years, they finally reveal their long, never told before secrets. Anson had made up the story of the child pedophile, knowing their mother would definitely have her go to Hong Kong that way. But, her life in Hong Kong was not something she dreamed of. Their uncle (Ai Wei) worked hard to bring her up, but she was often abused by her aunt verbally and physically. In order to save money, she worked in a restaurant, pushing dimsum carts. She stole HKD 100,000 from her boss in order to study overseas and ran away from sleeping with him. Mei Tin did not intend to leave their sick mother unattended on top of a hill for her to commit suicide. Mei Tin had walked off to buy a popsicle, only to be raped by a man. That night, the sisters finally let out all their secrets and embrace one another.
As Mei Tin is tackling cancer, she is informed of her pregnancy. The father of the baby is Chun Fai, which brings Kwok Cheung to throw a rage. Although everyone tries to persuade her to abort the baby so she can undergo cancer treatment, she refuses to do so, putting her health and life at risk. She knows the food she intakes is not only feeding nutrients to the baby, but also the tumor as well.
One day, Isabella storms into Anson’s office and leads her to the roof of the building. She commits suicide, but tries to frame it on Anson. Because there are no other witnesses, Anson is suspected of murdering. During her time behind bars, she reconnects with God, hoping He will lead her way and bring her back on path. Meanwhile, Hill tries to go through building after building, in hopes to find a witness who is able to prove Anson’s innocence. He accidentally stumbles into a secret illegal drug factory. They think he is a police and shoot him, paralyzing him from the hip down.
Anson is released when the drug factory’s surveillance camera shows Isabella jumping off the building by herself. She takes care of Hill, occasionally visits Mei Tin, and tries to run her company at the same time. Hill leaves one morning, not wanting to be Anson’s burden. Mei Tin delivers a healthy baby and names her ‘Ming Yat’ (meaning ‘Tomorrow’) signifying hope. However, Mei Tin dies of medical complications affected by cancer. Anson realizes how special Mei Tin was to her as a sister. Three years later, as Anson is in Fujian thanking the Chinese doctor, she finds Hill teaching as an English teacher. The two lovers finally realize they should be together.
This was my first HKTV series, and I honestly think it was a good one. It felt somewhat different from a TVB drama. It showed different parts of China and lighting settings were a bit on the darker/dimmer side. The middle was draggy in a sense and the last few episodes were very fast paced. Last but not least, I found these three to be the most pointless in the series.
From left to right, they are Lennon (Emily Wong), Jacky (Oscar Chan), and Lana (Janice Ting). Lennon is the head of a youth protesting group, often fighting for different things. As for Jacky, he cannot make up his mind. On the outside, he wishes to be a loving boyfriend to Lana, who is very demanding and controlling, but on the inside, he has another personality and wishes to be a disguised hero, posting comments on forums to support these protests. Lana, of course does not want her boyfriend to be so open about his actions. And therefore, there is an indirect love triangle here. I found them pointless because they contributed nothing to the storyline. Jacky was just an employee under Hill and Lana was the only employee to Anson when she opened her new company. And Lennon was just protesting whenever there was a protest. These three took up unnecessary screentime.