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Likit Fah Chata Din ep 1-15

The drama opens with a baby boy being left at a shrine's door. He is picked up by the curious residents of the shrine while a woman watches from afar and leaves hastily before she can be discovered. Through a series of quick flashbacks, we learn that the woman is Darakan, the sheltered daughter of a rich couple who got herself pregnant after a one night stand with a kind stranger on her graduation trip. She later learns that the man was actually due to marry soon and decided to keep her pregnancy a secret. With help from her loyal maid Aunt Bua, she hid out her pregnancy in the small town of Lampoon and gave up her child to save her family's reputation. Darakan later marries a respected businessman Bancha and has another son Din but all the while she pines for the son that she left behind, resulting in Din feeling neglected because his mother would rather spend time doing merit at an obscure shrine than be involved in his life.
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2012 Lakorn list

For my previous lakorn lists I simply added in newly watched lakorns and ranked them according to preference but with more and more lakorns watched, it was getting increasingly harder to do so. I may consider a particular lakorn average but when stacked against other average lakorns, I can't really say one was better or more favoured than the other since I liked/disliked each for different reasons. So I've created a master lakorn list which places lakorns I've watched in alpabetical order and also linked to my respective posts on them, except the Love It section which I have no problems ranking. XD

I honestly thought I was only going to have 1 lakorn on my list this year when I passed the half year mark having only finished Pang Sanaeha (and boy what a trainwreck it was) but thanks to whatever that made me give Mia Taeng a chance, I wound up on quite the lakorn streak. I did end up dropping as many as I actually complete but I'm happy to finally have another lakorn that I really love. Here are my lakorns for 2012:
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Looking back on 2012

My first thought when getting ready to write this post was 'meh, what a lackluster drama year' and it certainly feels so with me stuck in this drama slump with no apparent end in sight. However when I skimmed through my lj entries as well as my written journal, I realised that while dramas didn't consistently deliver through 2012, there were quite a few entertainment highlights that got me merrily obsessed. There will be a separate post on lakorns which should be coming this weekend.

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Review: Fai Chon Saeng 2009

What would you do if your father was framed for a crime he did not commit then murdered in cold blood? Would you lie low, try to live your life the best possible and wait for those responsible to be ruined by their own acts? Or would you actively seek them out and plot their downfall at whatever cost? The premise of Fai Chon Saeng had potential, with twins Tien and Wan(Chompoo) choosing two different paths in reaction to the same event but ultimately both the story and execution was a let down.

I obeserved in my initial impressions that it's all very OTT and the lakorn continues in the same vein for the remaining episodes. I got quite fed up with the constant raging and screaming of almost everyone around ep 3 that I jumped to the final ep and was ready to get it over and done with for this lakorn but somehow I found myself wanting to know how things got to where they are and ended up backtracking that I eventually only skipped a couple of episodes! So I suppose it does have its entertainment value in a soap opera-ish kinda way?
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I rate this: 2.5/5
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Watching now

Besides 'Qi Pao', I'm also following two other dramas which are as different as night and day.

First we have 'Tur Gub Kao Lae Ruk Kong Rao (You and him, and our love)' starring Pancake, Pae and Pete in a melodramatic love triangle where everyone seems to be mopey/angsty most of the time. I have no interest in the cast or another Ch7 lakorn and wouldn't even be aware of this lakorn's existence if not for me stumbling upon a MV by Clash who sang the theme song (which I love and can I say the lead singer of Clash is quite manly man hot). Just so happen I'm in the mood for something cheesy and dramatic so there, I went and downloaded a few episodes on my iphone to pass time while commuting to work. I'm only halfway into ep1 and am getting a bit concerned that I prefer sugar daddy Pete over our emo p'ek Pae (I've watched a few clips of him in later episodes) and like the secondary charaters (Pete's siblings) more than n'ek Pancake. We'll see how many episodes I can last for this and if it will join the collection of lakorns where I liked the OST more than the drama itself.

Next is TVB Anniversary drama 'The Confidant' which chronicles the rise of the infamous eunuch Li Lianying in the courts of the even more infamous Empress Cixi during the late Qing dynasty. Unlike past media representations of Li Lianying as an evil power/money hungry official, Wayne Lai's version starts off as lowly, humble eunuch with no ambitions and plenty of heart unlike his glib buddy An Dehai (another eunuch well known for the wrong reasons) who's already well versed in currying favour with Empress Cixi. The eunuchs in 'The Confidant' have also been called the most 'manly' eununchs by netizens because they aren't the sterotypical eunuchs who speak in high pitched voices with feminine mannerisms and they even have their own love lines!

'The Confidant' has been generally well-received in HK - of course not without some picking on certain details which deviate from history - and it's not hard to see why. The production and acting is top notch and the story so far (i'm up to ep 4) is engaging. While Li Lianying's story is interesting, I want to see more of Shuang Xi and his encounters with an odd palace maid Yi Lan who may or may not be a ghost – ok, I'm pretty sure she's not a ghost and is really a princess but I'm avoiding spoilers to see if my prediction is correct. I'm appreciative of how Yi Lan's appearance was neatly weaved into the current plot line of the young prince's ghost haunting the medical quarters where he died and I look forward to more masterful storytelling in 'The Confidant'.

Impressions: Qi Pao ep 1&2

2 episodes into 'Qi Pao', we finally meet most of the players in this game of whodunnit and there are things I want to compliment the lakorn on but first allow me to get this off my chest.

Somebody please fire the person in charge of the music.

The OST and music effects may not seem like something significant in a drama but when used well, they are the perfect icing on the cake and help to create the right mood for special moments. On the other hand, when overdone, it can get extremely distracting and that's my one big complain for QP thus far. There's constantly some kind of background music or sound effects being played like a reminder in flashing neon signs of 'THIS IS A TENSE MOMENT', 'THIS IS A SAD MOMENT', 'THIS IS A CUTE MOMENT', 'THIS IS A SCARY MOMENT' and to make matters worse, the different types of music do not flow naturally into each other so a happy tune would jump abruptly into a tense one then 10 seconds later turn into a melancholic one. I was trying desperately to block them out mentally but I found myself getting even more acutely aware of the annoying music and omg, it drove me mad the whole of episode 2. Let's hope things improve in subsequent episodes or I may have to resort to watching QP without sound. :\

Now for the good stuff. In ep 1, I liked the vibe of our main characters, be it the stern Ming Tian, lively Paeka or gentle Maylee but it was only in ep 2 that I got a better feel of their personalities and want to know more about their stories. I never doubted Ann's ability to play two different characters in the same drama (which she already did 10 years ago in Rang Ngao) and she managed to project the different auras of Paeka and Maylee perfectly. The real surprise here for me is both Mart and Ming Tian. Mart's not known for his acting chops – even Ann comments that he's robotic in the BTS so hey, guess it's an open ent secret? Lol – which was why my mind was concerned about him being casted in QP though he had already won my heart in a few other lakorns. I wouldn't say he became an amazing actor but I do see improvements in how he emotes and he was able to convey Ming Tian's internal turmoil with subtle shifts in his expression when he is with Paeka. As for Ming Tian, ep 1 seemed to confirm my assumption of him being the standard cold, aloof p'ek but turns out he has a playful and mischevious side! The 'cold' type p'eks are often cold to everyone and only likes teasing the n'ek cos duh, she's special but that's not very convincing so I really liked how Ming Tian was a playful person in the past who enjoyed teasing and pranking his siblings. He became sombre after Maylee's death but his playful persona is led out again by Paeka and it was funny to see him trick Paeka into thinking a bug was on her clothes. Looking back at ep 1, it doesn't seem too OOC for him to tease Paeka at the hotel.

Unlike in Roy Mai where Suriyawong/Rerin are modern reincarnations of Siriwong/Maneerin, Paeka and Maylee are two separate individuals who happen to look alike but I actually love Ming Tian with both of them! Haaa. Ming Tian/Paeka are obviously the end game pair here and I love the fun and spice of their relationship but Ming Tian/Maylee's sweet, sad fauxcest love is also one of my favourite drama tropes, so yea, I get to enjoy twice the romance.

For now I think I'm slightly more fond of the Mteam, Ming Tian and Maylee. Sigh, aren't they so sweet and beautiful together?

Romance is not the be all and end all for this lakorn though and I find the politicking within the Jao family interesting to watch too. As the Chinese saying goes, a mountain cannot have two tigers and when a house has two mistresses, life will definitely not be peaceful. Thankfully (?) both wives are the intelligent sort who crosses verbals swords and engage in proxy battles through other members of the family instead of going for the straightout petty cat fights. Well, Jao Wern Yeuy probably finds that just as irritating to deal with but as a viewer, I appreciate it (suddenly thinks of the lame tricks played by Bua Ngern in RM. I sure hope the second wife continues to be a clever villian!).

All in all, a great start by 'Qi Pao' but lay off the music, kthxbye.

*both sigs credit to baidu lakorn forum*

Impressions: Tawan Tor Saeng

A gorgeous poster done by ATM subbing team

Came across a post on baidu forum recommending Dome's latest lakorn 'Tawan Tor Saeng' and figured I'd give it a shot. During my fangirly days with 'Ruk Mai Mee Wan Tai', I had wonder if Dome would be able to hold his own as an actor without playing off his chemistry with Ploy which had accumulated in their real life relationship over a long time and now is the chance to find out.

TTS kicks off with our nang'ek Rasa (Mai) attending a friend's garden wedding which she was in charge of designing. There she sees our pra'ek Pakapong (Dome) from afar, dining with an actress and she turns her nose up at yet another arrogant, rich man. Obviously that wouldn't be the last they see of each other and fate pushes them in each other's paths by first having them almost have an accident on sea and later, Pakapong engages Rasa's services in designing his house without knowing her identity.

There's nothing in particular I can pick about the first episode, eh, except for maybe Dome's acting. The sets and overall production look good, the major characters are not stupid and/or irritating (so far), Mai is pretty and her acting is natural but the whole thing is just so generic, lakorn 101 stuff. Rich, handsome p'ek who is actually a nice guy beneath his snooty exterior returns from abroad to take over his family business. Check. Fiesty n'ek who doesn't give a hoot about said rich handsome p'ek unlike all the sane girls out there. Check. Forced to be in close proximity because of work. Check. Jealous girlfriend of p'ek finds fault with n'ek which makes p'ek appreciate n'ek even more. CHECK. I read the synopsis and seems like Pak and Rasa falls in love soon but he dumps her to hook up with his half-sister (who is unaware that they are related) in order to revenge his mom who left him and his dad. Yup, all in a day's work for lakorn p'eks.

See, for a lakorn newbie I think this would make a decent drama but it's all been there, done that for me. When the story doesn't offer me anything new, my interest in a lakorn boils down to the OTP and in this case, I can't feel the sparks between Pak and Rasa. Dome and Mai make an attractive couple but visual compatibility did not translate into the much needed chemistry and horror of horrors, even Dome couldn't get me spazzing over his hotness alone. I was like... what's wrong with me?? What's wrong with Dome?? Is it the hair, the acting or what? So in order to double-check my fangirl radar, I went and re-watch RMMWT and guess what, from the moment Dome appeared on screen, I was in this mode

Confirm, fangirl in order. So I guess the problem does lie with TTS. Feel free to check it out if the story or fan MV below appeals to you 'cos objectively speaking I think it's probably better than some of the stuff I've sat through (eg Plerng See Roong) but it's simply not for me. I do like the OST though! Dome needs to keep his day job as a singer.

In between my wait for new episodes of 'Qi Pao', I shall continue on my re-watch of RMMWT!
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A last look at Num Ban Rai Gab Wan Jai Hi-So

Now that subs of 'Num Ban Rai Gab Wan Jai Hi-So' are completed, I went and re-watched the 2nd half which I had previously guess my way through and I've decided to put it in my 'Love It' list! Perhaps because I already knew how the story would go, I stopped minding the poor handling of the secondary characters/that final lame plot point and was able to simply enjoy my lovely OTP.

What I love most about NBRGWJHS (phew, long title) is the moments of serenity between Prab and Napdao. Sure, they argue, fight, sabotage each other like any warring couples in rom-coms but pretty early on they realise that the other is essentially a good person and in between their tug-of-war over the farm, they are able to spend quiet times together under the stars or overlooking the hills.

Individually, Napdao and Prab are also extremely likable and I dare say Napdao is my favourite lakorn nang'ek, yes, even when pitted against Alin! Napdao is so full of vitality that she lights up the screen everytime she's on it and Chompoo makes the most adorable faces, especially when pouting at Prab to wheedle her way out of trouble. She has a bucket load of flaws but when push comes to shove, she chooses to do the right thing even if it means having to own up to her mistakes. As for Prab, I wonder if such a wonderful guy exist in real life? He loves and gives unconditionally, from Praifah, to Noinah, to Napdao.

Besides having an OTP that speaks to me, I guess the idea of gazing at the stars and lazing under the clear blue skies in a field also enchants a city gal like me. While this is not the most well-written lakorn out there, it is definitely one that warms my heart. ;)

I also love this song from the OST which I think is sung by Chompoo with Peter in back up vocals.
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What's on my lakorn horizon

Qi Pao is airing tomorrow! However much I make fun of Mart's acting, I must admit to being partial to his dimpled charm which he should be putting to good use as the cold (read: expressionless) p'ek. No worries about Ann obviously and I like the murder/mystery/supernatural plot but I'm just an itty bitty concern about the execution since I belong to those who felt that Roy Mai wasted a potentially epic love storyline.

Some more news on Ann .... she is finally pairing up with Tik in Ya Leum Chan. With both their current standing in the industry, it's like a 'golden pairing' of sorts but I'm not particularly excited for it. I want to like Tik but since being scarred by Kaew Teh Pee, I haven't managed to enjoy anything of his and am I the only to find Ya Leum Chan's story rather silly?

Chompoo is back with Rome for 'Khun Samee Karmalor Tee Ruk' which will be airing end Nov after Rang Ngao. I'm not sure of the story but from the BTS, I guess it's the rom-com-y sort? At least I don't think we'll be getting another dumb as bricks p'ek like in Mia Taeng!


Seems like Ploy can't get away from playing rai even if it's the main role. I like her in nice roles like in 'Phoo Yai Lee Gab Nang Ma' and 'Rak Mai Mee Wan Tai' where I major fangirled over the OTP but Ploy does have a 'fierce' look that helps when she's being nasty. Haa. I can't quite figure out what's going on from the teaser. Por's a nasty p'ek, Ploy's a two-face nasty nang'ek, Kan's a nasty third wheel and Yard is ... an innocent slave girl? Whut. Anyhow, I presume 'Buang Barb' will air within the year.
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The Maidens of Heavenly Mountains - HK movie

Yes, still on my wuxia obsession. I was just randomly youtubing for related vids of 'Demi gods and semi devils' when to my surprise, I saw that someone had actually uploaded the full Cantonese version of 'The Maidens of Heavenly Mountains'. It's an old movie very~~~ loosely based on Xu Zhu's part of the story in DGSD - kinda like fanfiction if you will – but you get to see Brigitte Lin, Gong Li and Sharla Cheung in their prime and that's enough to make me ignore the plot and spend a couple of hours on it whenever there's a re-run on tv. You can catch the movie here with Eng subs.

Sharla Cheung may not be a familiar name amongst Western audiences like Brigitte Lin and Gong Li are but she's one of my favourite wuxia actresses. She took on many iconic wuxia roles in HK movies in the 90s and while their plots were often 'creatively adapted' from popular novels to form a coherent story in less than 2 hours, I was seldom disappointed by the cast. To date, Sharla Cheung is still THE Zhao Min in my heart. Gigi Lai was not bad (incidentally, Gigi Lai acted as Zhou Zhi Ruo in the movie version where Sharla was Zhao Min), but Alyssa Chia and Ady An are just NO.

A lovely compilation of some of Sharla's works.