Wong Cho Lam Reveals Inspiration Behind “Inbound Troubles”

By on January 23, 2013 in TV Dramas


Wong Cho Lam’s (王祖藍) first scriptwriting effort, Inbound Troubles <老表,你好嘢!>, is a big hit. With ratings peaking at 33 points in its first week of broadcast, the drama’s controversial depiction of the tensions between Hong Kong and mainland Chinese people has captured nearly 3 million viewers to tune in. The vivid punch lines and detailed characterizations also left a deep impression among viewers.

When TVB’s scriptwriters were poached by Ricky Wong’s (王維基) City Telecom (CTI) last year, Wong Cho Lam maximized on the opportunity to approach TVB executive, Tommy Leung (梁家樹), with the story of Inbound Troubles. Since part of the story is based on Cho Lam’s real life experiences, he felt it was best to write the script himself.  Cho Lam was reportedly compensated $700,000 HKD for Inbound Troubles.

From February through July 2012, Cho Lam wrote the majority of the script for Inbound Troubles. Due to the time required for writing the script, Cho Lam lost out on other money-making opportunities, which cost him a 7-figure sum.”The main script, story, characters, and comic situations were created by me. The details in the script were completed by TVB scriptwriters. This is a collaborative team project.”

The memorable dialogue, coupled with the distinct characters were due to Cho Lam’s attentive writing. Taking inspiration from classic hit shows that had vivid punch lines, Cho Lam said, “I did not omit any fine details. I carefully designed the dialogue and scenes. It is the result of team work; the time we spent on the project was worth it.”

Cho Lam drew inspiration from Carol Cheng’s (鄭裕玲) classic film, Her Fatal Ways <表姐,你好嘢> and his own family experiences to create the story behind Inbound Troubles. His grandmother had illegally crossed the border from mainland China to Hong Kong decades ago, and sent back her hard-earned money to relatives in China. “Nowadays, society is full of contradictions. We often say that mainlanders are sharp and breaking out, that China is full of power, but Hong Kong attracted a lot of foreign investment in the 1960s and 1970s and people did eat rice with shark fin.”

Since the release of Inbound Troubles, mainland netizens felt that the drama’s content besmirched mainlanders, while Hong Kong locals said that the drama attempted to harmonize tensions. Cho Lam urged audiences not to analyze the content too seriously, but rather relax and enjoy the series.

Cho Lam’s efforts were initially met with adversity from his colleagues, in which an anonymous TVB scriptwriter criticized the qualifications Cho Lam had to become a scriptwriter. Met with immense pressure to succeed, Cho Lam reportedly lost sleep for months while working on Inbound Troubles, writing the script and filming for the drama at the same time.

Sources: East Week, Ming Pao via Yahoo.com

11 comments to Wong Cho Lam Reveals Inspiration Behind “Inbound Troubles”

  1. Funn Lim says:

    This series is getting better even if the story is old. It is nothing new but it is the cast that gives this series a fresh perspective. I can’t imagine myself enjoying Joey Meng’s performance, and I am even with her super “teh” voice. Then there’s the Lady Gwa Gwa that had me laughing hard and that is Wong Cho Lam’s in the poster. I never knew how silly those pop idol’s costume until I see it on the tax officer. I am also enjoying Ivana Wong’s performance. She is cute and there is a realism to the way she acts. Sort of rough and yet great potential.

    But seriously, it is Roger, Roger Kwok is absolutely fantastic in here. His anger, his pain, his fear, his witty side. You can argue that the story is a pun instead of social commentary, that it is not funny enough, etc but the casting is impeccable thus far. Everybody can take a joke and make themselves like a fool. Very funny.

    I am also enjoying that Sonija Kwok series, also funny.

    But my problem with these 2 series is they[‘re supposed to be funny as in super duper funny but they aren’t. Antics is funny but the writing is less than stellar.

    Glad he took inspiration from Dodo’s classic movie Her Fatal Ways. If I remmeber that was Alfred Cheung (?) movie? A smart witty social commentary and I think it was in it she sang karaoke with Alfred, that song called.. Wind Flower? Or something? If it is the same movie, that movie had me laughing till I had stomach cramps. Inbound Troubles is not that same level.

    Login or Register before you can reply to Funn Lim
  2. smurf120 says:

    I find it refreshing that this is first time in a long time that TVB skewered mainland-Hong Kong relationships in such a light hearted way. I thought so far the scriptwriters handled making fun of everyone very evenly.

    Enjoyed the end of the “dating club” scene when Joey stood up to those strange men and defended women very eloquently. Eliza Shum does a killer young Mimi Chu.

    Login or Register before you can reply to smurf120
  3. TN1 says:

    Wong Cho Lam is freaking crazy lol Hope HK/Mainland residents don’t actually talk dat way mann!

    Login or Register before you can reply to TN1
  4. Agnes Tan says:

    This series is refrehing,very funny and my family enjoy the show very much.

    Login or Register before you can reply to Agnes Tan
  5. pepe69 says:

    wong cho lam !!!!!! why are u born with a “genius smart” comedic brain though ur body still remain very “teenage-boy” & sexy-ladylike” of handerlababy…


    Login or Register before you can reply to pepe69
  6. dd says:

    They copied this scene from God of Cookery and put it in the drama


    And they had Law Lan portray an undead woman (which she’s known to do in the past with other movies).

    So I’m pretty delighted with all the HK movie references popping up and yes, Wong Cho Lam seems like he’s influenced by a lot of these old HK films which is always good.

    Login or Register before you can reply to dd
  7. fu says:

    For goodness sake, after 15yrs HK people still can’t speak Mandarin well!
    HK people must have forgotten the support & contributions mainland’d provided during the 1997 financial crisis and SARS!
    What an unfaithful lot! “Friendly Fire” not enough and now this. Next IT 2, my foot! Boycott TVB ! comrades

    Login or Register before you can reply to fu
    • dd replied:

      >Boycott TVB ! comrades

      What? And watch ATV?

      I choose death.

      “Death! ….by exile”.

      Login or Register before you can reply to dd
    • snoopy replied:

      The offical language in Hong Kong is CANTONESE! Get your facts right!

      how much money has Hong Kong people donated to China for flood, cyclone, famine etc over the years? How many schools have Hong Kong celebrities built in China? What do we get? People spitting on the street, urination in garden patches, climbing fences/walls when they couldn’t get into Disneyland, Pushing their way/ queue jumping on trains, bus, escalators, buying all the baby formulas, talking loudly in public regardless of where they are, bad manners- treat sales people like dirt- they are just doing their job… the list goes on.

      I agree with dd…

      Anyway if you hate TVB, STOP WATCHING IT!!!

      Login or Register before you can reply to snoopy
    • snoopy replied:

      AND who the hell did you think brought SARS into Hong Kong???

      Login or Register before you can reply to snoopy
    • dd replied:

      Yeah for the record, you guys, SARS started in Guangzhou. The Chinese government pulled a 180 after WHO and everybody breathed down their necks for a few months and they finally apologized for keeping SARS under wraps.

      Login or Register before you can reply to dd