[Review] “Rear Mirror” (By Funn)

By on September 8, 2014 in REVIEWS, TV Dramas

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Rear Mirror <載得有情人>
Hong Kong TVB Drama 2014

Producer: Fong Chun Chiu
Genre: Modern
Episodes: 20

“Drama is good for a series which is pretty much flat line in the romance department”

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Wayne Lai as Sunday Kei Yat Sing
Louisa So as Anson Yiu Ngai Yan
Tony Hung as Ivan Yiu Chi Hau
Natalie Tong as Mui Man Kwan
Elaine Yiu as Miu Man Yee
Chung King Fai as Yiu Siu Bong
Lau Kong as Yiu Siu Wing
Susan Tse as Gu Suk Yin
Mary Hon as Elaine Fong Yi Ling
Benjamin Yuen as Jason Yiu Ngai Chung
Stanley Cheung as Ryan Yiu Ngai Suan
Amy Fan as Hung Lai Sa
Ram Tseung as Yue Dai Chi
KK Cheung as Ben Shum Bok Man

SYNOPSIS

Found here at Wikipedia which is pretty accurate.

A single father who works as a mini bus driver that struggles to raise his young son with a severe food allergy problem alone, meets a female CEO of a huge corporation who seems to have it all on the outside but has struggles of her own due to her father’s illness and family members fighting with each other for the CEO position.

COMMENTS

It is billed as a romantic comedy or a rom-com. It is more like draromedy with less romance, more drama and some comedy.

For a drama, it works. The drama is the entire story of the in fighting and outsiders’ fighting for the place of CEO. Comedy is provided by Tony Hung’s story which is really the real romance of this series. As for the romance itself, there is none between the 2 leads until the very end and even then it is more like suggested rather than all out romance. It felt like a romance story suitable for senior citizens; rather non happening, not very passionate and it is what it is without embellishment which this series badly needs. The embellishment is in the drama and at times I was wondering what am I watching.

You see, this series succeed in none of these elements.

Rear Mirror Tony Hung Natalie Tong 3As a comedy, it wasn’t very funny. Sure it has its moments, like the awkward charm of Tony Hung’s character who kinda grows on you. I like the fact that he learns to be decisive in his love life and goes for the real love of his life. Natalie Tong works well with Tony Hung and they are believable as lovers who became friends who became soul mates. I was not convinced with Tony as the fidgety guy who is unsure of himself with a domineering but nonetheless a father who meant well. I thought this was a role made for Jason Chan who defines fidgety and unsureness but towards the end Jason will have a hard time convincing me he is self assured and grows into a real man. So in a way Tony Hung does badly at the beginning but does better in the end. Truth be told, I find Tony Hung a far better actor than Jason Chan so all things worked out well. But quite a pity; I may actually like Jason Chan if he was in this character. As for Natalie, at times in other series she OTT in everything but in this series, she was fine. I enjoyed her performance and I do like how decisive her MK Mui is. I feel the romance is in this pair as well although the real pair is Louisa and Wayne.

Rear Mirror Wayne Lai Louisa SoLouisa and Wayne… it sounds like a pair made in heaven but in the end something is missing. Is it the spark? I feel it is more like the story that is unable to assist the spark. For a rom-com about a driver and his boss, there is no romance at all until at the end. For all the talks about being sublime, understated, etc etc the romance or pairing felt more missing than subdued. I get it; their love is like tea, takes time to brew. But we don’t see the brewing, we don’t even get to see the tea so how are we supposed to be convinced we sipped tea in the first place? Almost more than half the series is about the drama; first the drama about Wayne, his son and ex girlfriend coming back for the son for dubious reasons. Then we have the drama about Louisa and her brothers and step moms and the fight for CEO. Then we have Tony’s father arguing with everyone about a project we often hear about (about some clean water project) but never get to see it in action. You will certainly hear one word a lot; CEO. The way this series goes, it felt like CEO is the single most important, more powerful, most awe inspiring and most dazzling position, E-VER. But do you actually get to see the CEO work? Nope. Implied, some board room maneuvering but not much. It is so funny when the board or employees sit down to talk about projects, the scene cuts to the end where “Ok, so now we know what to do….” Yeap, make life easier, just cut through the real work and go straight to the drama. But I will love to sit in this family’s board room. Why? Drama every single time. Step moms snapping at one another, brothers questioning the CEO sister, uncle threatening to cut funds for very very personal reasons. Everything is personal in here. The way the business is run, I am surprised anything is ever agreed and carried out.

But that’s not just the problem.

Earlier on we see Louisa as someone no one respects or rather no one even looks at her. She was in the legal department and of no significance to the corporate structure since daddy runs things with uncle. I never had the impression the father loves her very much or even prioritize her at all. And then she became CEO and I thought it is because she was the one least involved in the squabble. But thereafter we see how daddy loves her, enjoys her company, taking trips down memory lanes about her mother, her childhood, etc etc. But I never had the impression the father loved her the most. In fact it was understood she is there on temporary basis; eventually she has to give way to one of her brothers. I find that very insulting. Of course in the end we know the father’s real intentions which is really all about challenges to keep his mind alert and he enjoys challenges very much.

When the series seems to be steering towards something interesting; how the driver protects his lady boss, how she deals with problems after problems, the entire thing stopped and switches gear to Wayne and his son’s mother and the paternity suit and the entire custody hearing. That came out of nowhere because earlier the mother came back, did DNA test and then said cryptically “You won’t win against the biological father” and then she disappeared for a good number of episodes and then came back when the plot requires some drama. And then more drama as the biological father wins the case, kid moves in with bio-daddy and quite as sudden, the kid is returned and the series switches gear to corporate takeover. And as I was beginning to enjoy the corporate takeover, there is a double corporate takeover and we learn the true nature of both the bio-daddy (KK Cheung) and the father (Chung King Fai) which really is very interesting. The entire dilemma would have merited a few episodes except quite as sudden, bio-daddy disappears from screen and father has dementia and we learn uncle was always right. Cut to 3 years later and the main pair meets again, some cryptic lines and the end.

And in retrospect, I realise I only ever truly enjoyed 2 parts of this series; the story of MK Mui which really steals the limelight of romance which this series is supposed to be and how Wayne did the Tokyo Drift thing with Louisa’s car at the beginning which is really the drama for me. The suspense is great for watching but after that it kinda made me feel I was watching something incomplete; something that is half baked. The only thing I learn from this series is CEO is everything. Louisa’s character even won one of the Top 10 Female CEO in the country. Which is funny. So there’s top 10 female CEO and top 10 male CEO. Feels like TVB awards; dividing the pork. I don’t even thing the portrayal of CEOs is anything near resembling a CEO in real life. All I can here is CEO this, CEO that, CEO here, CEO there. The court room drama is exactly that; drama. It is badly written, and mainly to facilitate that short moment of difficulty for our hero and his young son. It felt put on; it didn’t feel natural. It would have been fun if one of the lawyer characters in The Other Truth guest star as one of the lawyer. Now that would be attention grabbing.

Performances wise, I am torn.

Rear Mirror Wayne Lai 2I am a huge fan of Wayne Lai who I feel deserves every single accolade showered on him. He is an actor’s actor; a character actor with character. He is also an actor who can portray romance; he tends to be one of the most flirtatious and romantic actor on screen without being overly lewd or depending on so called physical aspect. He can stand 10 feet away from the girl and still show us passion and deep love. Which is why he is so disappointing in this series. For one, his character Sunday is certainly the most super achiever of a character. A former delinquent turned gangster turned reformed learned dude turned mini bus driver turned driver turned photographer turned cafe owner turned cafe franchise owner. His Sunday doesn’t give me an impression he is poor; the way HK goes, England is like so cheap for everyone. I thought maybe he is some CEO in disguise or something. Ahhhh that is if this is a Taiwanese rom-drama! It isn’t, of course. He felt out of place. He was god-awful in the first few episodes. It felt like he just walked out from Forensic Heroes 3, changed career and became a mini bus driver. I find his performance pretentious and he lacked chemistry with the young boy actor. But as TVB series go, give it 7 episodes or so before we are all brainwashed and so I was; by the 7th episode I got used to his over sophisticated driver character but I never could shake off the feeling Sunday is an impossible character. I was never convinced by him, never felt for him, never cheered or cried for him. That was for Tony Hung’s character, not this Sunday.

Rear Mirror Louisa So 9Louisa So was also god awful in the first few episodes until she got into the rhythm of things. Her Anson never truly touched me. I was never convinced with her niceness. I kinda thought she cared more for her dog than for the kid. I never thought she ever truly loved her vet boyfriend at all. I find her cold, and that is Louisa’s fault. She never exuded the warmth that is needed for Anson. I also dislike the way she slurs her speech. It is worse than I remember. Louisa is normally a competent actress but this series did not manage to bring out the best in her and quite frankly, I don’t even think she bring out her own best for this series.

Natalie Tong impresses me. I used to dislike her OTT acting, like everything is personal to her even if it is someone else’s problem. But in this series she balances well in her performance as MK Mui who is for me the most memorable character in here. Her chemistry with Tony Hung works and she is very enjoyable to watch. She is less sleepy looking, less bored looking and looks more alive in here.

Tony Hung as I have commented above is not suitable for the first half of the series but grows into the character in the 2nd half.

Benjamin Yuen and Stanley Cheung as the half brothers were enjoyable to watch since they don’t have much to do except to antagonise Louisa’s Anson in the boardroom.

Amy Fan is enjoyable to watch. I feel she is one of the very few whose character is fully fleshed out. She nails the part of Vanessa (Wan-Nai-Sa aka Play with Sand).

Elaine Yiu is typecast as the ungrateful disgruntled ex girlfriend who runs away from a relationship for own selfish reason. That being said, she has grown into a competent actress. I shudder to think of how she was in Safe Guards and my god, she has come a long long way. I wished she has more varied characters though. And she should take care not to slur her words, if not she will end up like Louisa So.

The young actor, not sure what is his name, is a very handsome boy! That’s the first thing I noticed. Whilst I didn’t like his acting at first, not as good as the ones in Coffee Cat Mama (http://point2e-reviews.blogspot.com/2014/01/r-coffee-cat-mama-tvb-2013-funn-lim.html), he grows on me.

Ram Chiang has a role in here, a very important one even if I was thinking his role will be a villain, in love with Anson, etc etc. I was pleasantly surprised that he is personally without much drama and I like that. As always, a wonderful actor, as long as he is not the CEO.

The veterans were the ones who truly shine. From the bickering step moms that is Susan Tse and Mary Hon to the typecast Lau Kong as another angry uncle/demanding father, KK Cheung as the nice guy/bad guy/nice guy/bad guy/nice guy/bad guy character (yeap, series was indecisive as to vilify him or deify him) and Chung King Fai, the ultimate bad guy. In fact Chung King Fai steals the show in the end with the way he was so calculative and turns out to be the biggest villain. Pity is there is no consequence for this character except for dementia which was a blessing in disguise because it heals the rift between the 2 brothers. I would have wished Anson walk away from her father and run away with Sunday to England because what the father did was inexcusable. Unfortunately, this series decides not to go extreme in anything. The dilemma flat lines before it reaches the ultimate drama.

VERDICT

Rear MirrorYou can see it both ways; 20 episodes of nothing much or 20 episodes of too much. Either way, nothing is adequately portrayed or fleshed out or represented. It felt like it was badly edited or filmed in a rushed way without adequate films to cover all the intended scenes and stories. Great for those days where there’s absolutely nothing to watch. I enjoyed it for that reason. But if there is something else on the telly, give this a miss. I wouldn’t recommend it even for Wayne Lai.

This series will appeal to those who wants to watch something that is nothing much. Drama is good for a series which is pretty much flat line in the romance department.

P/S

I like the poster. One of the least packed poster in recent memory. However Natalie and Tony shouldn’t be in the middle. Looks out of place.

This review is written by Funn Lim, a Contributing Writer at JayneStars.com, and was originally posted at www.point2e.com.

65 comments to [Review] “Rear Mirror” (By Funn)

  1. pandamao says:

    a very cute drama that i enjoyed a lot. i can’t pinpoint what exactly i liked but it had this subtle storyline that varied from previous works. it didn’t try too hard and had good dialogues.

    i wouldn’t re-watch this series but it was one of the few series i watched from beginning to end w/o forwarding or cursing at the director for poor script.

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  2. Ginny says:

    horrible series and review.
    good thing tvb didnt hire someone like you who is so judgmental.

    And such a fake fan. only likes them due to one role. omg wow.

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    • Sasha replied:

      agree

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    • H replied:

      It’s Funn’s review…that’s why she’s judging the series.

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      • cn replied:

        Uncommon words? What are you five years old? Try reading a book once in a while. It might help your vocabulary.

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      • jj replied:

        @Victoria: out of curiosity, what words did Funn use in the review that you find uncommon?

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      • Ben replied:

        are you saying words such as accolade, delinquent or even onus are common words?

        Like funn could have used “privilege” instead of “accolade”

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      • Kidd replied:

        Sigh, using good English is now offensive.

        When you dislike someone, everything he/she does is wrong.

        “accolade, delinquent or even onus are common words? “

        Onus might be less used, but, accolade and delinquent are common words. I have read/heard these words many times in my life.

        “Like funn could have used “privilege” instead of “accolade””

        Privilege will be wrong for the context of the sentence the word is used in.

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      • Gina replied:

        a person using more advanced vocabulary does not necessarily mean it’s good english.

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      • Kidd replied:

        “a person using more advanced vocabulary does not necessarily mean it’s good english.”

        Wow, I’m so impressed. You are using the word ‘advanced’. It’s such a sophisticated and uncommon word.

        It’s sad when common words like ‘accolade’ and ‘delinquent’ are considered as advanced vocabulary.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        This is getting rather cute.

        “accolade, delinquent or even onus are common words? “

        Accolade = an acknowledgement of something well done?
        Delinquent = young criminal?
        Onus = burden of proof?

        “Like funn could have used “privilege” instead of “accolade”””

        Privilege is privilege. Accolade is accolade. How can I use one word when I meant the other unless it is a typo error?

        These are not uncommon words. Jaynestars readers are English speakers or writers, I have absolute faith they can all understand my “uncommon words”.

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      • Esther replied:

        @victoria
        Onus is common even in speaking English!
        Doesn’t mean it’s strange sounding to you it’s ‘uncommon’.

        @cinny
        What happen to looking up a word from a dictionary as a means to improve ones command of English?
        If you don’t understand a word look it up. Don’t sulk and complain that a someone uses a word that you don’t understand. What happen to self learning? Is your command of English so exceptional that you ceased learning?

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      • jj replied:

        Onus, accolade and deliquent are not UNcommon. I’ve heard/used these words many times, and English is my fourth language. When one doesn’t know or haven’t heard the word, it doesn’t mean other haven’t either. It also doesn’t mean it’s uncommon. One can always look up in the dictionary as another poster mentioned.

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    • cn replied:

      wow! You are a very bitter individual.

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    • Ben replied:

      I concord with this statement. not the first time.

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  3. m0m0 says:

    didn’t watch the series. didn’t appeal to me w/ the theme and plot.

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    • Sasha replied:

      Exactly. What excites Funn is “OMG RUCOOO and fake squeals”

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  4. lin says:

    i enjoyed this series, the simple plot line works 🙂

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    • MW replied:

      Yup, the final week’s ratings scored highest of the entire series. Rear Mirror may end up moving even higher in the rankings, which seems inconsistent with Funn Lim’s review (for some reason).

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      • Tina replied:

        well, funn’s reviews are her opinion and doesn’t need to be consistent.

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      • thanhhuong replied:

        Agree 100%; for me, the series “Rear Mirror”is not too good but good enough to enjoy watching it from the beginning to the end; TVB: keep it up.

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  5. Pauline says:

    Like the theme song, lyrics very meaningful

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    • MW replied:

      “Climb/高攀” by Hubert Wu, who is an excellent singer.

      The series contains many life lessons within, which is also very meaningful.

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  6. Catherine says:

    this drama was boring and so was the other series that aired, especially black heart white soul, ghost dragon of cold mountain.

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    • Julie replied:

      agree! ghost dragon of cold mountain was horrible.

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  7. hong duong says:

    The series is good to watch; I preferred watching the couple WL&LS’s acting more than the couple TH&NT’s.

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  8. AL says:

    sorry…pretty boring story….I skip and fast forward for it.

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  9. Victoria says:

    LOL half of the comments on this page bashes this series. Guess it’s not that great.

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  10. Hannahh says:

    Drama was alright. I like the casts.

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    • Cindy replied:

      cast was ok, plot/script was horrible.
      worse than ultimate addiction

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      • kolo replied:

        this drama is only watchable because of the right cast but still i fall a sleep in a few episode.

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  11. sandcherry says:

    Poor Funn Lim!

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    • Tina replied:

      haters are going to hate and that this hate may happen as JS is a site that always had some kind of drama. It’s either with you, alluka or some other person. not something out of the blue.

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    • sandcherry replied:

      ….. for being honest. Funn is a diehard fan of Wayne Lai, and I am sure she will say the truth as per her judgement. It is her review after all. Why should she be criticized by so many people for her use of English words?

      As someone says, Jayne’s website has become a battlefield for some readers.

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      • Juilette replied:

        that’s why a lot of the older users has left or moved on and how JS has been losing views.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        I think so too, as there are fewer and fewer posts on Jayne’s articles. Sad!!!

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      • Jolly replied:

        i don’t find it sad. People tend to move on as tvb is losing viewers

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      • sandcherry replied:

        We can no longer have any discussions now on acting, drama series, or artistes. Anything submitted by certain readers will be badly attacked by some readers. Very unfortunate! As a result, many readers have chosen to stay away from this website or at least from posting their comments.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        It is sad for Jayne as she made an effort to put up this website for us to catch up with the entertainment news in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

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      • Jolly replied:

        It’s solely Jayne’s fault and her management team. When people are accused of something, she just let it slip. When her favourites are attacked, she finally makes an appearance and favours her favourites. other people, she can care less about.

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      • Catherina replied:

        I don’t find it sad either. If people are going to be bullied on this site due to different opinions/views yet the moderator did nothing to prevent this or favours certain people, then people are going to leave. No need to deal with this any longer.

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      • Kidd replied:

        When moderator comes in too often, there will be complaint of too much restriction. Can’t win either way.

        I remember Jayne said that she wants the site to have as little restriction as possible so that people can voice their opinion freely.

        As the creator this site, Jayne would want it to be a success. So, I don’t think Jayne would deliberately play favourites. If someone felt that he/she was wronged but neglected by Jayne, maybe he/she can email Jayne directly to report.

        Some people said Jayne only steps in when her favourites got attacked. But, I see Funn (who many claim is one of Jayne’s favourites) got attacked by internet bully again and again and Jayne only steps in after things nearly got out of hand (and most after the time, it’s only after the victim reported). If she really play favourites, she would have stepped in earlier.

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      • Cinny replied:

        I don’t find it a pity. These people miss out.

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      • Fanima replied:

        well yeah since some commenters are just plain rude. hence lots of the old users who commented a lot has stopped visiting. people also move on to better things in life.

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  12. i love this film so much!!! is quite amazing!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

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  13. jj says:

    Umm guys, why are we reviewing the review? Shouldn’t this be a review of the actual work, the series itself? The reviewer doesn’t have to like series to make her/his review a valid one… This is her/his perspective and opinion. We’re welcome to dis/agree with her/his review, but to say the review isn’t valid because it doesn’t agree with your opinion is a bit much. If you disagree with this review, then write your own with praises and points where you like/love about the series. That’s more productive. That’s my 2 cents.

    And for those who dislike the moderator/writer of this forum, then why are you still supporting this forum with your comments and reading the articles? If you don’t like how things are handle here, then find another website. Wouldn’t that make you feel better? Just saying.

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    • jayne replied:

      The person criticizing Funn’s use of “uncommon words” is likely “Vivien” from prior posts. She has been stalking the site under different aliases, but always manage to read and comment on Funn’s reviews.

      It is unnecessary to review how the review is written. If there are valid points to be made, let them stay within the discussion of the drama’s content and acting performances.

      As to the running of this website, I try to be fair and not overly police the site with multiple restrictions. However, some have taken the liberty to take the discussions/ debates too far into personal dramatic performances. Where necessary and usually with the case of repeat offenders, I will step in.

      For the repeat offenders who complain about the same issues over and over again, I have responded in the past and stopped to do so. My reasons were made clear in the past and if the point is still not understood, then there is no need for me to personally respond anymore. Some may notice certain offensive comments deleted for this reason.

      Some may disagree, but I have done my best with the time resources and staff on hand. Running the site does deplete my energy on certain days, so while I may not be doing a 100% perfect job, I am trying my best to ensure a welcome environment with freshly updated news. There may be occasional slowdowns in news coverage due to staffing changes and availability, but we’ll try to juggle.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        Thanks, Jayne. I know you have tried your best to give us less restrictions and a free environment to chat on your website. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of them and post tons of unpleasant messages against certain readers.

        I would also like to thank you for putting up all the latest entertainment news in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Recently I have learned to stay away from the articles on those favourite artistes welcomed by readers on your website. It seems that they can only accept praises and compliments but not anything else. I am sure it is not your original wish. Your website should be open to all reasonable and polite comments, whether good or bad.

        Anyway, I hope that this issue will be resolved eventually and most readers will respect others, and Jayne’s website will remain our frequently-visited website for Asian entertainment news.

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      • jayne replied:

        Thanks Sandcherry for understanding.

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  14. jazzy_tea says:

    The series was enjoyable although I was more interested in Natalie and Tony’s storyline. Maybe it’s because I’m not in the middle-age range yet but Wayne and Louisa’s slow cooker romance really bored me at times.

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  15. Kelly says:

    I’m in my 20’s and I was actually enjoy the romance between Wayne and Louisa, their chemistry was great.

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    • her replied:

      I thought their chemistry was great. I definitely didn’t need any make-out or touchy scenes between the two leads. Especially for two people at their age, all they really want is a friend to talk to and someone they get along with.

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      • jazzy_tea replied:

        True true. I did enjoy the segments where Wayne’s character gave advice. It was always so sound and sagely.

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  16. aptos says:

    Why are there so many critics of an article written by one reviewer of the series. I am sure if these critics want to write their perspective of the series, just write it in the section. Over half of this section was just criticisms for the author’s choice of words. It takes a lot of time to formulate the theme, formulate the paragraphs into a logical review. Personally, I look for the substance of the review and their rationale why they assessed the series the way they did.

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    • sandcherry replied:

      Absolutely agree. People can agree or disagree with the contents of the review, not the choice of words.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        If people don’t understand the meaning of those words, look them up in the dictionary. Very simple ….. just click on: dictionary.com. For me, it is always good to learn some new words and enrich my vocabulary.

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      • Yoona replied:

        or at a very young age?

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      • sandcherry replied:

        I guess a child under age 12 should not worry too much about the review of a drama series! Spend more time on his/her studies. Just joking!

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  17. HONG DUONG says:

    I think a lot of people here criticize the review because Funn is too strict; she should give the artists and producer some encouragement for their effort.

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    • Taco replied:

      Let her be.

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    • sandcherry replied:

      A review is a formal assessment or analysis of something. Personally I don’t think there is any need to give artistes or producers any encouragement. Funn’s review is her personal assessment/analysis of a drama series. Everyone’s expectation is different; some is stricter than others. Again, people can agree or disagree by reflecting with their personal opinions/comments.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        Funn would not be biased in the above review. As she said, she is a big fan of Wayne Lai. In fact, I was impressed by her honesty because she always thought highly of Wayne’s acting. If she criticized Wayne’s acting in “Rear Mirror”, I believe that she did it professionally ……. at least to her standard.

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      • sandcherry replied:

        Acting is very subjective. I believe that even a professional critique may have some kinds of bias in his/her reviews. Everyone’s expectation is different.

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  18. sammnie says:

    anyway….i enjoy the drama alot especially the relationship between Ah Pa and Mong Chai.

    of course, i wish the relationship of the lead could be more dramatic and passionate. I agree it is not enough but only 20 episodes, so not much could be expected.

    nevertheless, this is entertaining but i really want more of wayne lai!

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  19. Tevin says:

    Funn is the best writer ever!

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