TVB’s “Shades of Life” Reflects Hong Kong Society

New TVB drama Shades of Life <我們的天空> will premiere on Sunday, July 20. Produced by Franklin Wong (黃華麒) at 12 episodes, the drama will be aired during the weekends. Shades of Life features 12 unrelated stories that depict the life struggles of ordinary Hong Kong citizens. The style of the series is similar to the long-running RTHK television series, Below the Lion Rock <獅子山下>, one of Hong Kong’s most treasured and classic television productions.

Oceane Zhu: “Same Root”

Oceane Zhu (朱璇) will be starring in the second episode, “Same Root”. She will be portraying a mainland Chinese immigrant who courageously faces a new life in Hong Kong with her daughter. As a mainlander herself, Oceane said she absolutely understood what her character was going through at the time, including culture clashes that lead to misunderstandings.

One of Oceane’s most memorable scenes was when she had to take her daughter back to their hometown in mainland China. Oceane choked back sobs and said, “Seeing my daughter courageously break through English barriers, it tells me that I also must work hard to face my life.”

Ben Wong: “Influence Life with Life”

Ben Wong (黃智賢) will be starring in the third episode, Extraordinary Principal, a story about poor, low-income students. Portraying a school principal, Ben’s character is a generous man with great hopes. In an effort to change the fate of poor students, he spends most of his time volunteering as a teacher in poor communities.

“It’s hard to clap with one hand after all. We need to influence life with life,” said Ben.

Source: Oriental Daily

This article is written by Addy for

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  1. What is the definition of ordinary? Folks who are already employed with a 9-10 hour workday residing a decent size apartment is considered fortunate and should not be classified as ordinary versus those households who have elderly or handicapped at home, or occupying one of those older buildings with no elevators, or have only one income or both parents working low paying long hour jobs would be considered ordinary.

    1. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Ordinary to you are the elderly, handicapped, single parent family, and living in older buildings without an elevator? Seriously? Perhaps you misunderstood the word ‘ordinary’ so i took the liberty of looking it for you.


      with no special or distinctive features; normal.

      synonyms: usual, normal, standard, typical, common, customary, habitual, everyday, regular, routine, day-to-day

      With that definition, normal people are those who has a job, resides in a decent apartment, has no mental or physical challenge, perhaps living just below or slightly above the poverty line.

      1. I am definitely not kidding you as the article description reads “life struggles of ordinary Hong Kong citizens” and not the “life of ordinary Hong Kong citizens”.

        I am looking at those HK citizens who operate the newspaper stands, meat, fish, and vegetable markets, those who work (not own) in the service and tourist industries such as eateries, supermarkets, factories, common laborers like cleaning, deliveries, etc. Many of those individuals live in households who might have elderly parents living with them, handicapped children or siblings, etc. These are the “ordinary citizens” truly “struggling” to maintain a cohesive family renting in small apartment trying to make ends meet. These folks are just above the poverty line unable to get public assistance but yet are commonly overlooked.

        Your definition of an ordinary family are probably the younger, educated and more fortunate nuclear family living in newer apartments, in better paying jobs and working conditions which is considered the middle class. Check with your economics teacher and verify the validity of your definition especially the last 10 words of ordinary, normal people are those who has a job, resides in a decent apartment, has no mental or physical challenge, perhaps living just below or slightly above the poverty line.

    2. I am guessing ordinary may be the average Joe or Jane that lives in a typical apartment,has a decent job with decent income. Maybe like working middle class?

    3. How is middle class, working family with 9-5 job with spouse, kids and not handicapped parents living in a normal apartment/high rise not “ordinary”? They have their fair share of struggles too. The handicap, elderly and poorer state of wealth folks are definitely have more hardships. That doesn’t mean the middle class people have an easy life. This is about different folks from different walks in life trying to make it through society and make a difference.

      Unless you’re Jobs, Gates, Madonna, etc, we’re all pretty ordinary in my book. We grind through the days for a living to support and provide our love ones. I rather to have a story focus through that we’re it’s a bit more relatable than some tragic family history for the tear-jerking and unnecessary pity points.

      My 2 cents.

      1. Your “middle class” definition are folks more educated, with better jobs, living in better accomodations and not as dependent on paycheck to paycheck while still being able to fashionable with designer wear…

        The ones I am referring to in HK are also considered the middle class but on the lower end where many often struggle.

        Your middle class families are well off enough to hire “fei yung” helpers with the household chores and raising their young to lighten their “struggles” which the poorer middle class can not.

        Oh yes, have you live in a ghetto and lived through life struggles? Have you moved out of the ghetto into a slighter better neighborhood and yet still struggle to stay above the poverty line, pay the rent and household expenses, pay for tuition for a decent education but nothing leftover for fun things such as vacations, fancy restaurants, nice cars or other bling things?

      2. Agree that there are different definition of “middle class,” but that doesn’t mean one middle class is less “ordinary” than the other. As this article said the series is about ordinary families which can include “my middle class” and yours. Those who have 9-5 jobs don’t mean they aren’t living paycheck to paycheck or able to use nanny to raise their kids.

        I was raised in a middle class with both parents went to work. I went to school and then neighbors’ place until they came home. My parents paid the neighbor to watch me as were some other kids’ parents. But that doesn’t mean my family was a better off middle class, can afford brand names, or lavish vacations. There were times we did live paycheck to paycheck. True that there were/are family more mostfortune than us, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less ordinary. Everyone has their own struggles.

        Not born or raised in the ghetto doesn’t mean they’re not “ordinary.” Just saying if you’re not one of the kind, Eisenstein smart, super rich or famous, we’re glomp in the ordinary bucket. So I think from the 2 eps mentioned above, they do depict the “ordinary” family and his/her struggles. True they might not have to savage trash for food or count their bank accounts down to a penny, but they’re also just like an average joe family.

        Ha, I digress…. that’s all I’m gonna say on this. Ciao!

      3. “Oh yes, have you live in a ghetto and lived through life struggles? Have you moved out of the ghetto into a slighter better neighborhood and yet still struggle to stay above the poverty line, ..”

        Not living in the ghetto or have to struggle 24 hours a day means not ordinary?

  2. I can’t wait to watch the third episode, because I love Ben Wong’s acting!

  3. I like short stories as it is straight to the point, which I think TVB has been doing quite well.

  4. There will always be gaps between the rich and hard core poor, middle class and so forth. Mmm if I’m not wrong, most hongkies are not as poor as some indians in India. I feel there you could see more of the very extreme.

  5. sounds like a good drama w/ many good stories. hope they will be able to depict ordinary people’s lives close to reality. not mansion sized homes w/ super nice designs they have in almost all tvb dramas.

  6. I saw eps 1. It looks boring, exagerrated, and over-dramatic.

    Who the heck wrote the lines for the old white guy??? It’s stupid for him to be so amazed and puzzled about the kids dragging their backpacks and said the kids in the “states” don’t carry them. Umm, WHAT? IDK what “states” he referred to, but we did and still do carry book bags and load of books. Then they oversell HK kids *roll eyes*

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