Golden Faith (流金岁月)

Title:  Golden Faith (流金)

Production Year: 2002 (TVB HK)

Length: 45 episode(s)

Main Theme: “歲月的童話” by Gallen Lo

Cast(s)/Role(s):

* Gallen Lo – Ivan Ding Shan Ben / Zhong Tian En

* Jessica Hsuan – Rachel Cheng Tian Lan

* Deric Wan – Zhong Shou Kang/ Zhong Tian Ci

* Paul Chun – Ding Rong Bang

* Raymond Lam – Oscar Ding Shan Xing

* Myolie Wu – Ding Shan Yin (YinYin)

* Liu Dan – Zhong Huai Ku

* Anne Heung – Sabrina

* Tavia YeungKiko

Synopsis:

Ding Rong Bang, a wealthy man who own “Ding Feng” (gold and jewelry group), is the adopted father of Ivan (Shan Ben). Rong Bang saved 6 years old Ivan from the sea when a boat accident killed his parent and his younger brother. Although he is the adopted son, Rong Bang doted on his eldest son like his own child. Rong Bang’s 2nd wife and his two other children weren’t aware of Ivan’s background. They believed that Ivan is Rong Bang’s son from the previous marriage.
During a business trip to Australia, Ivan met Rachel (Tian Lan) and both develop a mutual liking of each other. Unfortunately, before the relationship can develop further, Rachel was force to prosecute Ivan over stolen jewelry upon their return to Hongkong. Rumors had it that Ding Rong Bang built his wealth from his connection to underworld and occasionally doing money laundering. Over the years, Rong Bang was determined that none of his children will get involved in that side business. However, being the filial son as he is, Ivan was more often than not had to help his father going through the mud. Thus, this often creates a lot of dilemma between him and Rachel, a new public prosecutor.

Zhong Shou Kang, a newly promoted inspector, was once an undercover cop with Rong Bang’s associate. He was determined to prove ‘Ding Feng’ connection to underworld and illegal activities. He also determined to bring its shareholders to justice. His particular interest was Rong Bang’s favorite son, Ivan. Misunderstandings often occurred between Ivan and Shou Kang and only got deeper when Shou Kang also developed interest toward Rachel. In a twist of fate, Shou Kang turn out to be Ivan’s biological brother, the one that he thought had perished at sea with their parents some 20 years ago.

Rong Bang’s sudden death created yet another problem for Ivan. At his death bed, Rong Bang willed over half of Ding’s wealth to Ivan. Driven by greed and power, Rong Bang’s brother manipulated Oscar (Ivan’s adoptive brother) to go against Ivan. How exactly will Ivan resolve his conflicts with Oscar? Will Ivan finally win Rachel’s heart? Moreover, will Shou Kang accept Ivan as his brother?

Character(s) Analysis:

* Ivan Ding Shan Ben

After 45 episodes, I certainly wonder if Ivan even exists in this world. He virtually sacrificed himself for his family and friends. This guy is too good to be true. Ivan remained me a little of Roger Kwok’s character, Ma Zhiqiang, in At The Threshold of An Era.  Even Zhiqiang has temper every now and then, Ivan pretty much don’t have temper. Ok, back to the character.  The eldest son of the family is his father’s favorite son. You’ll never know that he is actually not his father’s biological son. Ivan is filial to his parents, loyal to friends, devoted to girlfriend, and doting brother to his younger siblings, especially toward his mentally-challenge sister, Yinyin. However, Ivan can be sometimes being seen to be overly protective towards Oscar (and later on also toward Shou Kang). His relationship with Rachel start off as a sweet relationship but has to ended because they belonged to two different world at time (she is a public prosecutor and he has connection to underworld). Rachel wanted him to lead simple life in Australia, but Ivan – as filial as he is – promised his father that he’ll clean off ‘Ding Feng’ (by severing ties with underworld) before he returned the company to Oscar. The heavy burden of both ‘Ding Feng’ and Ding family eventually break up the relationship between him and Rachel but neither one of them can forget each others. In short, Ivan is the big brother, son, boyfriend and a friend that everyone would want to have.

On Gallen Lo:  He won his 3rd Most Favorite/Best Award Award that year on this character. So, what else can I say about this guy? He is one of the great TVB actors. He certainly earned his title as “TVB No. 1 Brother”.

* Rachel Cheng Tian Lan

As newly promoted public prosecutor, Rachel was given the first hard task to prosecute Ivan. An independent career woman with mind of her own, she yearn a simple life of sub-urban Australia. She and Ivan loved each other but – more often than not – she got caught in the middle between him and his heavy burdens. Her on and off relationship with Ivan was truly put into test when Ivan has to choose Sabrina (Anne Hueng) because of responsible. In the end, Rachel had to choose between the two brothers (Ivan and Shou Kang). One is always stayed by her side and helped her through problems. The other one is the man that carried too much burden on his shoulders, but nevertheless loved her. Who exactly will she choose?

On Jessica Hsuan: There is not much to say about Jessica other than I like her. For every character that she ever played, she managed to deliver the characters in a very much natural way. Her “Rachel” character is well portrayed as a strong independent public prosecutor with a hint of typical female characters of jealously and demanding trait due to a girlfriend.

* Zhong Shou Kang / Zhong Tian Chi

An undercover cop who is later promoted to inspector. He is the type of person who sees matters only in 2 sides, white or black. There is no grey color in the middle. Initially, he dislikes Ivan because of Rong Bang’s ties to underworld. He is convinced that Ivan also part of that world, so he never really try to accept Ivan. He is actually adored his big brother (before he knew that Ivan is his brother). Young Ivan doted on him and even let him have the life saver device during the accident. In Shou Kang’s mind, his brother is the perfect one. Thus, after he realized that Ivan was actually his brother, he was – in the sense – disappointed. Again, it was because he misunderstood Ivan. In the end, however, the brothers cleared up all the misunderstandings and Shou Kang realized his brother is actually the very same person that he adored when he was young.

On Deric Wan: This is the first time I watch his TV serial so not much comments on him.  I do like his portrayal of Shou Kang. He can be annoying and arrogant at some scenes but he can be humorous and sincerely in certain scenes.

* Oscar Ding Shan Xing

The ‘godfather’ of WeiWei, the dolphin, is a happy go lucky young man who loved anything that has to do with marine life. He adored and admired Ivan as his big brother. Unfortunately, he is too young to understand office/family politics. Thus, his uncle can easily manipulate him. In between, his uncle kept telling him that his father wasn’t being fair for giving Ivan more than half of family’s wealth. The turning point was when Oscar was kidnapped by his own uncle but his uncle made him believe that Ivan is actually the mastermind. From that point on, Oscar hated Ivan and sided with his uncle 100%. Fortunately, time is the best antidote. At the end, he finally realized that he is nothing but a chess pawn for his uncle.

On Raymond Lam: I heard him as a singer but not an actor.  Oscar started off as big child at beginning of the series and gradually transformed into a man full revenge. Raymond did a good job for this character’s portrayal.

* Ding Shan Yin (YinYin)

The most innocent and carefree of all, Yin Yin is a mentally challenge daughter of Rong Bang. She wasn’t born in that condition but rather after she had a high fever as a child. She was overly protective by her mother and doted by her brothers. She idolized her brothers, especially Ivan.

On Myolie Wu: Wonderful portrayal of innocent YinYin! I find her portrayal of the character is cute but not overly done.

* Ding Rong Bang

A wealthy man whose wealth was built from not so clean method. Nevertheless, he is not your typical bad business man. On the contrary, he tried to clean up ‘Ding Feng’ and kept his sons from following his old footsteps. He lost his first wife and son to enemy and re-married for the second time. He adopted Ivan and named him “Shan Ben” – the name that belong to his dead son. He doted on all his children but he loved and trusted Ivan the most.

On Paul Chun: What else can I say about this veteran? He never disappoints his audiences with his acting skill.

My Comments:

This serial came highly recommend by a best friend. And being a loyal audience of Gallen Lo, I decided to give it a go. I liked the overall plot, but honestly I got a bit boring in the middle of the series. I think 45 episodes were a little bit too long. 30 episodes would probably be suficient. The theme and sub-themes by Gallen Lo perfectly fit the storyline (another plus point for Golden Faith). Now, on to some of my favorite categories

* Favorite scene(s):

Too many too count but here are some:

1. Ivan and Rachel in Australia. Beautiful background with happy storyline… Ivan and Rachel were so happy in those sweet scenes, you can sense it yourself.

2. Any scenes with Ivan and Yinyin. Very innocent and heartwarming. Ivan really loves his sister and vice versa.

3. Any scenes with Shou Kang with his uncle’s family. Humorous yet filled with family warmth.

* Best Chemistry:

I have to give it to Gallen Lo and Jessica Hsuan. They shared a wonderful chemistry, nothing close I can find in other serials. If I don’t know any better, I would say they are real couple. Of course, it wasn’t true. From I read, they are best friends in real life.

* I would not know…

that Ivan not Rong Bang’s biological son if the spoilers haven’t already gave it away. Rong Bang loves this son very much. In one scene, Rong Bang was queuing in the rain to buy roast pork just because Ivan loves to eat it (A very touching scene right Ivan found his biological brother and uncle but unsure how to tell Rong Bang about them). In more than one occasion, Rong Bang was more than willing to give up all his wealth if it will keep his eldest son out of harm’s way. Now, I am not saying that adopted parents can’t love their adopted children but the fact of life is biological children over adoptive one. In Rong Bang’s case, it is quite the opposite.

* Last but not least:  Do rent it for I think it is worthwhile series to watch.

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