Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More on the drama “Little Nonya”

Ok, as mentioned in my earlier post on “So, what is really wrong Little Nonya”, here is my observation on why Jeanette is not entirely to blame for Juxiang able to understand what people are talking about even though she was not facing them.

To clarify first, all these are my guess and observation, thus it might not be correct. Let me know if you have other findings.

One of the scenes which I have noticed that has this error was the first episode. The first mistress (Lin Mei Jiao) asked to look at Juxiang’s embroidery and commented that her daughter Meiyu’s cannot be compared with her’s at all. She commented that it looked good on its own, but is pale in comparison against Juxiang’s. She wanted Juxiang to exchange with Meiyu’s.

All through the dialogue, Juxiang was seen standing behind the first mistress, so by right deaf Juxiang would not have heard what she commented. I analysed and thought that they are made to stand that way to suit the camera angle i.e. the scene would look good for aesthetic reasons. Then if so, it was obviously an instruction from the Director and the logic part was sacrificed for camera angle. This is why I think it is not fair to pin it as Jeanette’s poor acting skill.

I looked through the second time and I had another thought. You know how people with missing senses are more sensitive than common people like you and I? I guessed Juxiang might not have relied entirely on lip reading, but on the body language and facial expressions of the speaker. She might not understood 100% completely on what the person want but maybe 70% or even 80% of the content, mostly guessing her way through.

Like the above example which I have cited, the First Mistress was holding both shoes patterns and talking away holding them. I would have guess this is not the first time that Juxiang was subjected to such unfair exchange and if you were her and had been bullied through your life, wouldn’t you have some clue as to what the first mistress wants?

While we are speculating on the possible reasons, it would be better if the drama had been clearer and had more patience in revealing the story. In reality, they cannot since they have a budget and they had spent a lot on the show already. It is supposedly one of the most expensive drama they have ever produced, I read. Anyway, as the week goes by, I have discovered some more loopholes.

  • At the Chen’s place, it was Chen Xi’s Chor Chor 80th birthday. They are trying to find a suitable bride for Chen Xi. It was said that Yue Niang was illiterate and she has to sew Chinese character. Later, she remembered the characters above the board at the alter hall and sew them. When Chor Chor asked her about the characters and what they meant, she read out the words and explained more proper than any of us could on the meaning…
  • Yue Niang went to look for Chen Xi to warn him that someone is trying to harm him. She was intercepted by Zhen Zhu. The scene showed that it was night time. Then in continuing scene, Libby was relating to Chen Xi later on how she knew about the possible harm. It showed Libby saw Yue Niang walking out of Chen Xi’s house in board day light. Huh, what happened here?
  • Again, the illiterate Yue Niang can read the letter which the Hotel manager wrote for her.

Since my first post on the drama “Little Nonya”, I have also been doing my own research online to see what others have commented about it so far. Many of the comments which I read are negative. Actually to be fair, there are some good about the show too. Let me start the ball rolling to list out some good of “Little Nonya”.

Good Acting from the Supporting Roles – Not in any particular order

Guan Xu Mei -管雪梅

She is one of the senior entertainment reporters in SPH, but I think she acted before in the past. Even though she is only given cameo roles for the first few episodes as “Tua Gu”, Juxiang’s aunt and Pan Ling Ling’s Mother, I find her acting quite good. In fact, her expression is more natural compared to Lin Mei Jiao.

Ng Wei – 黄慧

I am sure everyone agreed on her lively interpretation of Ah Tao, the Ma-Jie. It was really good acting from her and was always very expressive. I think she is a very hardworking artist who speaks very clear Mandarin. If only, she can present a more realistic persona as a host, I am sure that people would accept her more. I find her sometimes "act" too much when MCing which hides her true character from people.

Xiang Yu – 向云

Needless to say, Xiang Yun managed both the characters with ease. I can totally tell apart whether she is acting as “Tian Lan”, Juxiang’s mother or aged “Yue Niang”. Actually, I just found out from Little Nonya Wikipedia page that her role was supposed to be filled by Huang Bi Ren? It was because Bi Ren did not renew her contract, thus was awarded to her. Wow, so this role is reserved for the “professional” level actress only. I am sure either one of them would execute the role with ease.

Li Yin Zhu - 李茵珠

Another experienced actress who managed the role well. Though some commented that she did not have enough presence as the matriarch of Chen’s family, I thought her acting was quite impressive already with very natural expression. I thought in one of the scenes against Qi Yi Wu - it was as though her nose can act too.

Apple Hong Yi Xin - 洪乙心

She also improved a lot in acting. She started to show that she can be versatile actor in drama "Just in Singapore" as a soft-spoken Vietnamese mail-to-order bride. In this show, she was casted as a baddie too – a disgruntled wife who is neglected by Pierre Png's character. I actually pity her character that she was forced to be ruthless by the environment.

Dai Yang Tian - 戴阳天

Forgot to add him. He is one of the better looking actor which Mediacorp has discovered recently. Most importantly, he act well and has an interesting persona, kind of cool and playful. I guessed he would probably make it to Ah Ge level if he continues to perform well.

Good Props and Sets

Needless to say, I am sure many of us are awed by the beautiful decorations of a traditional Peranakan house. While some of the scenes are shot on-set at Malacca, I noticed they have created replicas set of the Peranakan house. Though unable to compete with the real one which looked like a palace, one can tell that they tried their best to re-enact the scene.

Hmm... I am feeling a bit sad that the show is coming to an end very soon. I wondered if the new drama by Chen Li Ping and Zhong Qin will have an interesting and substential plot. In meantime, I will be chasing "Little Nonya" every night till it end!

Read also - Little Nonya 3 minutes extra footage - The Final Nail

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