Episodic Thoughts: “Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles” (Episode 5)

Silver Spoon, Sterling Shackles <名媛望族>
TVB Series 2012

Cast: Damien Lau, Kenneth Ma, Tavia Yeung, Idy Chan, Ron Ng, Rebecca Zhu, JJ Jia, Elena Kong, Mary Hon, Sire Ma, and Vincent Wong.


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 apologise if there is any mistake. All opinion remains my own.



“Anyway, would I have been able to stop you from doing anything you really want to do?”

Daily S.S.S.S variation;

Single Shutter Solo Shuttle

I am not making sense anymore. Anyway editing is better in this episode, less jump, more flow but damn the hotel lobby music and Bottled Passion wannabe. No doubt Damien (I have decided on Damien instead of Damian) can turn on the charm but having that sexual magnetism may be a bit too much for me to handle. Poor Kenneth; maybe when Damien rewrote the script he took away all the kisses from Kenneth.

Anyway interesting episode and this series is steadily gaining slight momentum but where is this series heading? No idea.

Recap begins.


Remember Arthur gave Kwan a necklace and she wanted to return it? Her reason is because she thought it was his way of seducing her; by buying her gifts and she didn’t want the relationship to begin that way. Important point as we shall see.


Arthur dances with Yee Yin, Arthur smiling, Yee Yin beaming and they look beautiful together, like their wedding day and above is Kwan, watching silently when Arthur stops and gives Yee Yin a small box as he says “This is for you” and Yee Yin smiles and says “And I thought there wouldn’t be gifts to spoil this occasion, quite a show off”


Her way of saying he is cheap-a-fying the situation by first giving her such beautiful memories and then supplementing it with gifts representing his wealth.


She takes it, opens it and in it a diamond broach in the form of a I suppose butterfly or dragonfly or ribbon or bow tie, frankly I have no idea what to call it. She looks stunned as she says “You.. still have this with you?” and Arthur smiles and says “I remember when I first wooed you and this was my first present to you but rejected me then. How long ago was it?” as Yee Yin says “Decades ago, I never knew you still keep this” as Arthur says “I have promised myself back then that one day I shall give this to you when you’re ready to accept it, to accept me into your heart and here we are, in Shanghai, and not a better moment than this…” and he kneels down and he says “Yee Yin Gege, will you do me the honour to be my wife?” and Yee Yin smiles and he stands up and she hugs him hard.

I do think Yee Yin loves Arthur but of course there’s always that pesky first love.

Meanwhile Kwan upstairs watching all these and she has tears in her eyes. But it is not tears of jealousy or envy but rather tears of complete and utter happiness.

Later that night she tells Yee Lan she is keeping the necklace as she says “I wanted to return it because I thought he was buying my love. That I thought this was his style, his way into a woman’s heart. But when I saw how he kept that gift for his 2nd wife all these years just for the right moment to give it to her, I realise he chose his gifts very very carefully. He is not a flamboyant callous man but a man who is tender and loving”

And that’s why she cried. She was touched by his gesture for Yee Yin and I suppose she wants a share of that tenderness he showed Yee Yin.

Next day Arthur, Charles, Yee Yin (with a dead fox around her and in case you wonder is that real, end credits showed credit given to a fur shop and so it is real and whilst I am not politically correct whatever, I was sorta shocked by that fur coat she wore and… is Shanghai always winter? Or autumn?) and Kwan. Kwan officially accepts Arthur’s offer to perform in HK for one year and meanwhile Kwan witnesses the loving banter between Arthur and Yee Yin and Arthur is busy whilst Charles has to draw up a contract and so Arthur asks if Kwan can show Yee Yin around since she hasn’t been back to Shanghai for many years. Kwan somewhat reluctantly agrees.

They go to a pagoda which Yee Yin is very interested in and as they walked along the pagoda, they chat and Yee Yin reveals a little something of herself, something about the past, present thing and we see a flashback of a younger Yee Yin happily dating at the pagoda with her young rickshaw puller boyfriend and later we see she gave him a Qing coin as a gift of good luck and later we see they had planned to elope. Obviously they were not successful. As Yee Yin walks and chats with Kwan on one side, on the other side we see a mysterious figure of a man in a suit and as Kwan leaves Yee Yin to check out the place alone, Kwan bumps into this man and he is Ben Wong, with white hair by his side, and he leaves and Kwan sees that he accidentally dropped a Qing coin thing.


AHA!! That’s the old lover!! But damn, isn’t Idy Chan too old for Ben Wong or Ben Wong too young for her? White hair for sideburns can’t disguise his age. Michael Miu would have been great for this role or better yet, maybe Felix Wong or even better yet, Andy Lau in a special special guest starring role and so we shall reunite again Yangguo and Xiao Longnu and yes maybe Andy is younger than Idy but have you seen Andy lately? He looks much much older than Idy in this series.


Yee Yin sees Kwan fiddling with the coin and urgently she asks who drops this and Kwan points to a direction and Yee Yin rushes forward and then suddenly stops and Kwan says “Are you ok?” and Yee Yin sadly says “Never mind”.

Arthur at his office in Shanghai with Charles and he compliments Charles for being efficient with the contract and also booking the tickets for Kwan and her simui without Arthur telling him what to do. Charles said he learns all these efficiency from Arthur. And Arthur laments “Now if only you can learn from me the art of seducing a woman and keeping her happy” and Charles says “Father, not to worry, Jimmy inherited that from you!” and Arthur says “I want you to get married!” and Charles avoids the subject when his super underused ke-le-fe that is Savio Tsang comes in and says there is one businessman who returned from I didn’t quite catch where he said and that he wants to join the HK Chamber of Commerce and Arthur says “It is Tung Ting Hang’s concern, not mine” and Savio says “Sir, you will want to check this person out” and he opens the file and here in it is the picture of Ben and he is Chai Yat Fai and Arthur’s eyes open wide and says “He came back?” and Savio says “Yes, and he has been asking around for news of 2nd madam. He doesn’t know 2nd madam has already married sir”. Arthur agrees to see him.


So Arthur knows, but Chai doesn’t know Arthur knows, Yee Yin doesn’t know Arthur knows and 1st wife seems to know something.


I think this scene is before the office scene, my memory is jumbled up.

Arthur goes back to hotel and sees Yee Yin getting ready with her horse riding costume and Arthur says “I thought you said you don’t like horses, you find them smelly” and Yee Yin says “But you love horses, so I want to join along” and Arthur says “So you mean I am a smelly horse” and Yee Yin laughs and says “Yes indeed!” and Arthur kisses her playfully and they hugged happily. Arthur says he will join her in the afternoon as he has a meeting in the morning. Yee Yin graciously says no problem, business more important.


This is perhaps the first natural sort of loving interaction between a man and woman in this series, where they do seem like a happy loving couple. And Yee Yin whilst still pining for her lost love actually makes an effort to make Arthur happy and I believe this is because she genuinely wants to and was touched by the ballroom moment. Why I said that, we shall know later.


Arthur meets with Chai who doesn’t know he is Yee Yin’s husband. Basically Arthur offers Chai a business opportunity that will take Chai to London and Savio the assistant put in good words and their motive is simply to get Chai to leave Shanghai but Chai doesn’t know. He says he has some things to do in HK, a personal matter but in light of this great business opportunity he agrees to go to London and Arthur apologises for not introducing him into the HK Chamber of Commerce yet which Chai very politely thanked Arthur for the business and seeing it as not an opportunity lost.

Arthur goes back to the hotel, with a skip in his walk meaning he is happy, ready to go horse riding with Yee Yin when he sees a silent unmoving sulky Yee Yin on the sofa and he approaches her and she looks at him and says “May I ask what was your business meeting about?” and Arthur freezes and doesn’t answer as Yee Yin says “You met Chai Yat Fai?” and we see a flashback where she goes to see Arthur at office and overhears how Arthur tells Savio I think to make sure to get Chai away from Shanghai so that he won’t bump into Yee Yin. Yee Yin looks squarely at Arthur and says “I overheard everything, I wanted to surprise you and in the end I was the one who was surprised. You knew about Chai Yat Fai and me. How?” and Arthur says glumly “I checked up on you before we were married” and Yee Yin shocked says “You investigated me?!” and Arthur says “I have to know what sort of a woman I was marrying, of course logically I had to check on you” and Yee Yin says “You never trusted me. If I had wanted to see Yat Fai, do you think I couldn’t just go and see him?” and she bangs her palm, in it the coin onto the bag placed on top of the coffee table and Arthur sees the coin and I think he knows about the coin as he, getting increasingly angry says “You still have feelings for him!” and Yee Yin says “I am angry because you didn’t trust me. Because you don’t respect me as a wife!” and Arthur says “And have you ever respected me as your husband?!” and Yee Yin angrily counters “I don’t deny I had feelings for him but that was the past!” and Arthur counters “I never stopped you from seeing him if you want to. The truth of the matter is you are angry now because you still have feelings for that man. If you have no feelings for him, you won’t have this sort of reaction!” and Yee Yin is seated on the sofa getting angrier and Arthur continues “I have tried for many years to win your heart. I waited so many years for you to come with me to Shanghai, a place you avoided because of that man so that I can give you that broach I have wanted to give many years before. But at the end of the day, I now realise your heart is still his! What must I do for you to love me?” and Yee Yin shakes her head as she says “I never intended to see him again! Never!” and he continues “We never had such a huge row and you have never showed me your temper, and now for that man, you’re showing me your temper!” as Yee Yin tries to counter when Arthur says “Anyway, would I have been able to stop you from doing anything you really want to do?” and Arthur walks away angrily and Yee Yin looking rather flustered and angry at the exchange.


This exchange, which is a really good scene shows Arthur never really had control over Yee Yin. Yee Yin does whatever she wants to do at her own accord. So when she wanted to go horse riding with him, she wanted to go on her own free will. It seems Arthur lets her get her way all the time since Yee Yin knows how to walk the sensitive line in the Chung household but this time she was disappointed that Arthur investigated her. Arthur also suspects Yee Yin never really love him like she did with the Chai Yat Fai and so did all he can to win her heart. I think he really loves her and he also knows she may not love him as much as he loves her. I don’t doubt Yee Yin loves him too but everyone has a past. I think every time she feels fed up with him, he will do something to win her heart. And later on there is one very important scene which explains the dynamics of Arthur and Yee Yin’s relationship, other than from the fact that he lets her get her way as he cryptically says that he can’t stop her if she really wants to do something, which shows she has a stubborn streak. That pivotal moment later on shows Yee Yin does love Arthur, after all they have been married for decades, I assume many years, and deep down she deeply respects and admires Arthur as all his wives do. But what made Arthur angry is she never really is totally 100% totally devoted to him, like his 1st wife or as he thought, his 3rd wife.


Kwan walking along corridor of hotel with Yee Lan…

Pause! Pause!!

Every time in public Kwan dresses rather extravagantly as opposed to in private. Same as Yee Lan, who dresses in suits and ties since her role in the Peking Opera troupe is to portray male characters and may I say Jess Sum looks convincing in a masculine sort of way.


They were chatting, how Kwan is intent on Arthur when Yee Lan says “And talking about your crush…” and Kwan sees Arthur drinking alone. Kwan goes to him, sits down, cue the hotel lobby Bottled Passion wannabe seduction song. Cut long story short, she guessed it must be 2nd wife problem and Arthur isn’t pleased that she’s so nosy and presumptuous and he walks away when he knows she is distressed when he is walking away and he turns back, smiles, and returns and they bantered around and then drink and Arthur becomes very very drunk and Kwan carries him up the stairs (not really carries) as she says “I will carry you back to your room..” as Arthur drunkenly says “No no… I don’t want to go to that spoilt woman’s room. I have spoilt her! Spoilt her too much!!” and she carries him to her room, he fell to bed as Kwan says “You’re drunk!” and he pulls her onto top of her and he says “What is it with you women, what must we men do to win your heart? I have tried, did all I could. She was the most difficult to woo and the one I used the most effort and yet, it isn’t enough! A woman’s heart is like a needle in the bottom of the ocean! (Å®ÈËÐĺ£µ×Õë)” ..


女人心海底针 basically means.. imagine a needle in the vast ocean. Is it difficult to find? Yes? That’s what it means. A woman’s heart is difficult to decipher/grasp/understand.


…as Kwan says “Maybe because you men change your interest too often!” as Arthur says “So? I can marry you if I want to!” and Kwan I think did retort she is not that sort of a woman or something like that and he rolls on top of her and Kwan pushes him away but he’s on top of her and forcibly kisses her and after a while she lets him and suddenly he becomes dead weight and she realises he is totally out. She rolls him over and looks at him, shocked at what he just did and what she just let him do.


Sorry but ewwwwwwwwwwwwww. And the kiss was less sexy, more like WTH!! It would have been nice to show Kwan being that sort of a woman who knows what she wants (and she is) and gets it by kissing him back hungrily and passionately only to be disappointed that he has fainted and all his interactions was because of his 2nd wife.


Morning, Arthur wakes up, dazed and confused and sees a note by the side, handwritten where first verse is ..

A woman’s heart is like a needle in the bottom of the ocean

And the 2nd verse added by Kwan is something I don’t know how to type out, it is her reply to his woes where she says…

A man’s heart is difficult to decipher if it is sincere.

Arthur smiles.

At breakfast, Charles sees Yee Yin arriving alone and slightly coughing and she is sorta sick and Charles asks where is father and Yee Yin glumly says “I have no idea, he did not come back last night” and then we see Arthur walking in and Charles says Yee Yin is sick and Arthur asks about her but I think there is a wedge between them after their argument.

At home, Jimmy reads an English letter which says Arthur got an OBE!! I believe it is a knighthood, and so he shall henceforth be known as Sir Arthur Chung!

Arthur arrives home with everyone and 1st and 3rd wives notice immediately there is something cold between Yee Yin and Arthur. Arthur checks up on 1st wife, asking about her leg and 3rd wife playing spoilt baby girl insists he checks her arm and Yee Yin sees all these and says to Arthur “I am going up now” and he pretends not to hear her when Jimmy tells Arthur he has some important news and immediately Arthur says “You are getting married?” and Jimmy laughs it off and told everyone about the OBE and Charles says “Father you don’t seem surprised? You expected this didn’t you, because you solved the rice price issue” and Arthur says “Does it matter?” and urghhhhhhh can’t Arthur just give Charles a straight answer? 3rd wife proposes a huge ball to celebrate and Arthur agrees. All these while, Yee Yin stands at the back, alone, like an observer of a happy family celebrating together and she is like an outsider, When she first heard the OBE thing, she stopped from walking upstairs, turned back and was genuinely happy as she wanted to share her happiness with Arthur, wanted to say congratulations but drowned out by the others’ happiness and Arthur’s pretend indifference towards her. This is where I say Yee Yin deep down admires Arthur, because OBE is not easy to get back in those days as I think Jimmy said only the governor has an OBE and Arthur is like the 1st Chinese to get it but when she saw everyone celebrating but it did not involve her, she stopped smiling and sadly turned her back and walked up the stairs. Arthur smiling happily did noticed her and he continued smiling.


Yee Yin visits her mom, and may I say Bak Yan is definitely a grade E for me because she is the only one justified for having white powder on her face, red lipstick, looking like an old relic of the past and she even talks in higher pitched. Great performance even if a short one. Moreover, I forgot to mention Arthur pays for her mom’s everything and her brother’s everything. Even her opium addiction. Look at the luxury she lives in and obviously Arthur pays for all that. And Yee Yin and mom speaks to one another in a rather old fashioned way, like Fujin, leong, etc.

Anyway mom says “Are you using my poor health as an excuse to visit me? Either you’re genuinely concern or I suspect with you continuously using that same excuse really want me to be sick” and Yee Yin says “Mother, please don’t say that”. I think she told mom about Chai and mom chastised her for thinking about the past and she told mom “But I am pronounced guilty even though I did nothing whilst he, he can flirt all he wants and still be presumed innocent” as mom says “Yee Yin, can you genuinely say ever since you married Cheuk Man he has been treating you with respect and love?” and Yee Yin says “I know he is upset. He hasn’t been talking to me. He ignores me. I might as well move back here, since he is avoiding me, I am avoiding him, what sort of a marriage is this?” and mom says “You can’t do that! You must win his favour back if not your life will be difficult” and Yee Yin says “Mother, this is not the old days. It is the modern days ..” and mom counters “And what is different? Still one husband and plenty of wives to fight over him. Don’t forget the she-wolves that is that 1st wife and 3rd wife ready to pounce on you when you make a mistake! Don’t let them see your weaknesses!” and Yee Yin sits there and ponders mom’s wise words.

Meanwhile 1st wife and 3rd wife reconciles after 1st wife reminds 3rd wife their fighting against one another will only benefit a third party, that is Yee Yin and 3rd wife even teaches 1st wife how to ballroom dance. Her reasoning is simple; “You’re the 1st wife, and so the 1st dance with husband is rightfully yours” and in unspoken words, neither wants Yee Yin to win this one. And so back to friendly truce as they laugh and dance. So 1st wife and 3rd wife is one team, I bet Yee Yin and Kwan will be one team later on.

Arthur back home and sees a servant who tells him 1st and 3rd wives already chosen their jewelry except 2nd wife and Arthur carries the cases of necklaces, earrings up to Yee Yin’s room only to be told by the servant that Yee Yin is asleep. “So early in the afternoon?” asks a flustered Arthur and servant says yes and Arthur gives the cases to the servant to ask Yee Yin to choose later and he angrily walks away because he thinks Yee Yin is trying to avoid him. Truth is Yee Yin is sick and he doesn’t know. Inside the room a pale looking Yee Yin in sleeping gown asks if that was Arthur and servant says yes and that he has just left and asks her to choose the jewelry and she looks at the jewelry gloomily thinking Arthur is avoiding her.

What a sad tale!! Hang the servant!!

Arthur alone at the balcony and he takes out a slip of paper, and on it is Kwan’s 2 handwritten sentences and he smiles.

Next day I assume, he goes to the big theatre and sees Kwan practicing and he says if she wants to join him for lunch or something and she teases him and says “Not until I finish practicing” and Arthur asks “And how long will that be?” and she coyly says “Until it is perfected” and she goes on performing for him only and he sits there, smiling and watching her intently.

Poor Yee Yin. I bet she gets very angry when Kwan enters the Chung household and then Kwan gets angry when JJ’s character enters the Chung household. What a lusty old man. At present, he has 3 wives, going on 4 and Charles? 1 going on 0 from the looks of it.

Ok, FUNN’S DAILY REPORT CARD for this episode;


E = Exceed expectations meaning truly awesome
A = Acceptable
B = Boleh lar (in Malay for Ok lar or can do lar)
C = Ceh! (in ordinary speak, you can say same as meh! or just so-so which is lesser than boleh lar)
D = Dreadful meaning terrible
F = Fail, worse than dreadful but nowhere near…
EF = EPIC FAIL which is worse than F by the way, so worse it is the pinnacle of worse as in worst.

A for this episode because of the Yee Yin-Arthur conflict which shows more of the Yee Yin-Arthur errr.. conflict. I like the fact no hotel lobby music for this couple.

All D except for Yee Yin and Arthur that gets an E because I love how he teases her, how she teases him, how he kisses her and all that stuff.

Bak Yan gets an E for her short but on point performance. She does look scary I tell you and for good reason. For once not a mg of powder wasted.

More acting this time from Idy Chan and sorry to say, the important confrontation scene gets an E for the story and dialogue, an A for Damien’s fine performance and a D for Idy Chan because whilst she did fine for those stare, sit, angry scenes but when she had to walk from point A to point B, she was awkward, worst when she slapped her palm onto the luggage on top of the coffee table where she stood that way for far too long. It was to me like watching someone rehearsing a scene, and not actually the best shot.

Tavia gets an A from me for this episode’s performance but would have been E if she did kiss Damien back hungrily like how I imagine her character would do. A bit of a reserved performance but the usual dramatic part, silent crying part, etc, all A. I believe she will win that TVB’s Best Actress award she so wanted not because she was so damn great but because at least she is consistent even if I shall maintain, don’t expect her to lead a series. Idy Chan has more class than her and when they stand together, my eyes goes to Idy and not Tavia even if Tavia is a much better actress than Idy.

Ben Wong is a good actor but a miscast. If Andy Lau guest starred, I would have given the grade of E+++.

Everybody else not much so no comment.

A C for the fur coats because one is too shocking, the other looks cheap. But E for Idy Chan’s qipaos. Elegant, beautiful.

EF forever for Kenneth’s hair. C for most wigs.

A because going well.

B, much better than the first few episodes.

Still an EF from me.

An A for Idy’s nostrils who is an acting class of their own. I.AM.SERIOUS!

A for this episode. Getting better. So when will Kwan marry in? I mean put that woman out of her misery and just let her marry Arthur and let her have sex with him.

This Episodic Thoughts was written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at http://silverspoonsterlingschackles.blogspot.com

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  1. Agree Tavia is consistently good. I may be bias, hut I give Tavia E.
    I really can’t stand Damien’s kissing scene. Squirm.
    Yee yin’s mum is an amazing actress!

  2. Funn – enjoy your recaps.

    I think Bak Yin in scene stealer too – she should be a character you hate but she makes so much sense (practicality) to have to grudgingly agree with her.

    I don’t think Tavia can carry a show by herself. I cannot watch her in any scenes being alone in any series.

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