[Episodic Thoughts] “Outbound Love” Episode 1
Outbound Love <單戀雙城>
TVB Series 2014
Cast: Ruco Chan, Aimee Chan, Tony Hung, Lin Xia Wei, Matt Yeung, and Samantha Ko
Disclaimer: This is a watch as I write episodic thoughts and some information may not be accurate since this is memory based. Certain dialogue is reproduced with some creative license adopted. I apologize if there is any mistake. All opinion remains my own.
First episode, things at lightning speed and if this is promo for Malaysia, I will say it must be some inside joke I am not aware of.
But first, a short recap.
Themesong is mandarin, did not catch who sang it but it sounded absolutely terrible.
Basically it starts with Aimee as Law Sik Sik running through a just opened shopping complex to buy a very specific bra. It seems she is buying the bra for her BFF Wong Kei Ying (ahhh puns on names..) who just had a one night stand that is so passionate her bra strap basically snapped and BFF Sik Sik bought her a sensible bra.
There is a problem here. No not Samantha Ko playing a man eater which I don’t buy. She is sexy but she doesn’t give off the vibe of a man eater. Somehow there’s a certain innocence to her and I will say this is a miscast. Anyway for a woman who has many many many one night stands where she had sex on the sofa, the window whatever, the floor wherever, everywhere but the bed, why would she be so concerned with a bra?
You know what I mean?
Move on from that scene and we see Sik Sik and her brother in law (for now I can’t remember the actor or the character’s name) in a meeting with big boss in a travel agency. They provide tour to Malaysia and the boss is not happy others are doing better with all durian feast trip and what nots. So he wanted his agency to arrange for a super high class tour to Malaysia where they will stay at an exclusive award winning hotel in Penang plus high class Nyonya food. Benz Hui is the manager who says yes to everything and then dumps everything on Aimee and brother in law to arrange the impossible. Why?
1. the hotel does not do tour group package; and
2. that restaurant recommended by their boss for Nyonya food is super expensive.
So for HKD500 per pax, no one will go. And I was light only HKD500 and they consider expensive?! Wow, we Malaysians have been “eating expensive rice”. As for the durian feast, that has been done to death according to Aimee. But Benz said they must arrange it and brother in law feels compelled to go eventhough it is mission of death for they will surely fail. Sik Sik’s sister (actress is very familiar) and son arrives and immediately sister tells husband they can sacrifice Sik Sik since she is university grad, knows English and so can get another job. Sik Sik feels compelled to take the job and lied that she wants to change to hotel management anyway. Anyway she also wants to visit her boyfriend Matt Yeung (as Nic) in Singapore. Nic is a super successful architect by the way. Before going she has a good time with 2 BFFs, one is Kei Ying and another a TV chef. I think the actor is Tony Hung, but frankly I thought he was sorta forgettable so I never paid attention.
Off she goes to Malaysia and arrives in Penang and that’s where EVERYTHING GOES WRONG (for Sik Sik and for me). Let me just summarise her misfortune. Oh and if you think this is some opposition sponsored program, which may or may not be true, then surely the following scenes give Malaysia a very bad name.
1. Once she arrives at the airport, she nearly gets run over by 2 people pushing their luggage carts recklessly. Ok maybe they are foreigners.
2. Her bag nearly hit a car nicknamed Mary I think and yes Ruco appears and introduce himself as Luk Kung Tzi (same pronunciation as 6th Son or 6th Master son which is oh… another pun). What is offensive is what Ruco is wearing. Green hat… get it?! Urghhh!
3. He was 30 minutes late but that is because he was only informed of her arrival like 20 minutes before for something. He is the local tour guide in charge of driving Sik Sik. Anyway in the car, another offense, none of them wearing seatbelts. NONE. The car isn’t that old!
4. He is also talking on handphone, without hands free.
May I just inform non Malaysians, do not try talking on handphone whilst driving without hands free set. The fine is high. I felt like I was slapped. Why can’t they show him use some bluetooth device which is rather popular here? Or if they do any research, a cheaper way is to wear a helmet and stick the phone in place to the ear. Ahhh instant bluetooth!
5. He drives recklessly nearly hitting a dog. Car broke down and Sik Sik is so angry and upset and on top of that it rains, hard. Sik Sik declares Ruco as her bad luck sign when she also confesses before meeting Nic she was very very bad luck. She actually met Nic at some end of the world party and the world didn’t end, and so she declares him as her good luck charm.
6. No taxi. What?! Anyway arrives at that hotel 30 minutes late and boss refuses to see him. Dejected she leaves. Ruco takes her to that Nyonya restaurant and she wants to ink the deal but Ruco says the food’s bad and basically insulted the owner and so no deal.
I take offense at certain words used. Do we say Nyonya as Cantonese version? And do we call ourselves “dai ma”?
7. She goes into a bus which she says goes either to Komtar or Georgetown. Penang is small but not that small.
8. She falls asleep in the bus and the driver wakes her and she is lost. She asks the driver (Malay boy) where she is in English and Malay boy says he can’t understand a single word of English. She goes to a Sikh or some race whatever seller and again asks in English and the guy can’t understand a word of English, does not try to help her and leaves the girl alone!
WOW! Penang so unfriendly eh? Come on! We know basic, very very basic English. Some other race knows Hokkien for heaven’s sake. By this point I was fuming.
9. Rains, yet again and she runs to a bus stop and alas, top is gone! So she is soaking wet and falls down hard. Ok.. bus stop no roof is true, mostly.
10. Runs to a telephone booth for shelter (still got such booths meh?) and cries her heart out at her bad luck when Nic, her saviour arrives.
No no, NOT YET FINISHED. Got some more!
11. Nic knows the hotel’s lady boss who happens to be the dead owner’s daughter running the show but she is so inexperienced she listens to the manager who Sik Sik wrongly identifies as the boss who Ruco knows personally. Anyway thank you to Vivien Yeo for speaking in the right errrr dialect? Especially when she says “Uncle…” and this is how we refer to older people. But then she is Malaysian. Anyway Sik Sik inks the deal for the time being and happily Nic takes her around and also takes her to some fancy hotel in KL facing KLCC. Before that she meets Nic’s sister, played by the boring Lin xiawei who is a learning pastry chef, learning Nyonya desserts.
A busy day. Penang to KL plus jam is at least 3 hours away.
Anyway she meets with his friends who tried to make her drunk or whatever and Nic has to go for a while as client calls him.
12. Sik Sik excuses herself, a bit drunk and walks out to the front of Pavilion. You can see it is quite late at night since shopping complexes here closes at around 10pm but there is major jam outside since this is city centre and it is always jam there. Anyway she bumps into a bunch of equally drunk gwailos and this leaves me fuming; she is sexually harassed! I have walked there in middle of the night, no drunk gwailos and believe me it is safe since that is not Chow Kit area. If you want drunk gwailos try hard rock cafe or near bangsar. I thought that just shows us in a very very bad light.
And of course Ruco appears in white to rescue her.
And here I must wonder, why would a guy travel at least 3 hours from his home in Penang all the way to KL? Is he obsessed with her? Since he said he knows her but not sure from where? Or to TVB there is no difference in geography?
And there it ends for tonight. Oh yes, ending part during credits scene, Aimee was kind enough to explain the Penang murals and what they mean. There, Malaysia tourism. But oh it hurts!!
Such a sloppy series. So much negative stuff that I don’t feel it is favourable to Malaysian tourism.
But that of course is arguable. There are some good stuff like Penang’s scenic area, the murals, and many scenic spots. You can see the camera angle is deliberate and scenic wise, shows Malaysia in a very good light. Even Pavilion looks so modern and clean. And thanks to the extra hot sunny weather in Penang, everything looks so bright! But the rest… aiyahhhh…so bad lar!
Let’s move to the dialects or accents or slang words.
Ruco’s character is not from Malaysia or so he claims but at least grows up here. It is cute to hear him throw in a few Malaysian slangs that I am sure you too can identify and yet when it comes to crunch time, he said Dai Ma which I thought strange. Then he said Nyonya in Cantonese which is even more weird unless he calls Nyonya in mandarin version? There are a lot more that I can’t specifically say but all I can say is his slang is sometimes there, sometimes not and it feels forced instead of natural.
Performance wise, I am eager to see a different aspect of Ruco and I am sorry to say whilst I think he is competent, I feel he is a miscast as the playful irresponsible tour guide. I will think Bosco looks more Malaysian and can play this part better. But then when it comes to more serious stuff, maybe Ruco can do better.
I like Aimee and I feel she improves a lot but I find her rather forced here, the way she laughs, etc. I don’t find her cute nor her bad luck prone nice girl remotely charming. The role in Slow Boat Home suited her since she is more on the mature side even though she looks young for her age. I feel she is a bit too jaded for this role. I consider her a miscast and I feel Samantha Ko should switch role with her. Or perhaps Nancy can take this role. Nancy may be a bit too mature looking but I feel she can play accident prone charming girl well if she tones down the way she speaks. But Samantha Ko will be ideal. There must be some innate cuteness in her, like she is not aware she is cute but is cute. However let’s see how it progresses. Aimee is ok unless she is required to speak more than 10 lines at one go. When she isn’t smiling she looks mournful but when she is smiling she looks very happy. However Sik Sik to me is a character that should be neutral when she is neither. Personally I feel Linda Chung will give this role justice. And Steven Ma can take on Ruco’s role.
So far the only one who impresses is Vivian Yeo because she is Malaysian and she is convincing as a Malaysian.
Let’s hope episode 2 is better. And enough with the slangs and the puns in names! There was a time it was all about nicknames, now it is about puns! And if you wanna do slangs, do it all the way.
By the way a bit of discussion or moot point. The HK-ers call Malaysia “Ma-lai” as in Malay. Can’t blame them for the misconception so that is not a criticism. However Malaysia IS Malaysia, not Malay. Malay is a race, Malaysia is a country. Malaysia is made up of more than just Malay. Chinese is not Malay Chinese or Ma-lai wah yan but rather Malaysian Chinese or Dai Ma wa yan or Ma-loi-sai-ah-way-yan if you must.
This Episodic Thoughts was written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at http://outboundlove.blogspot.com.
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[Episodic Thoughts] “Outbound Love” Episode 1