Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Election Episode 14 Recap

In the 1960 U.S. presidential election, the campaign between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy was very close. However, a knee injury to Nixon affected the voters' confidence in him and he was defeated. On the other hand, in 2008, the young and physically fit Barack Obama soundly defeated John McCain, who was rumoured to have cancer.

In Nixon's case, it was not the knee injury itself that hurt him; it was the fact that he appeared on the television debate looking sickly after his hospital stay. 

The doctored audio clip of Yip Ching (Angelica Lee) and Cheung Kwai Lung (Gregory Wong) is released by HKMG. In it, Cheung pleads with Yip Ching to think about their relationship, but she tells him to wait until after the election because she must rely on Wai Man Hin's name to win. Gei Man Wai (Isabel Chan) personally vouches for the authenticity of the clip, saying that she recorded it a few months ago when she was still in a relationship with Cheung.

Speaking to the press, Yip Ching firmly denies a romantic relationship with Cheung. Cheung rebukes Gei in front of the media for making up this story as revenge against him.

Meanwhile, Song Man San (Liu Kai-chi) has been having hallucinations of Luk Wai To because of the side effects of his medication. He asks his doctor to switch to another medication, albeit a less effective one.

With the latest news about Yip Ching and Cheung, Tsui Kam Chuen (Daniel Kwok) is willing to switch sides. He goes to Song with two different statements that he has prepared for his press conference – one that continues to support Yip Ching and one that criticizes her as untrustworthy. Tsui offers to let Song choose which statement he should give.

At Tsui's press conference, he says that neither Song nor Yip Ching are desirable candidates and urges citizens to cast a "blank vote". Song analyzes this situation and deems it favourable for his campaign because he has enough guaranteed votes from loyal supporters. The blank vote movement will only affect Yip Ching's supporters and undecided voters.

The blank vote is a proposal which would allow voters to vote for none of the candidates in the election – essentially, a "none of the above" option. If more than 50% of the votes cast are blank votes, then the election is declared void and the whole process is restarted. The idea is meant to be a "safeguard" in case the nomination committee puts forth a slate of undesirable candidates (see post on electoral reform). 

Ho Chun Pak (Samuel Kwok) and other senior DALP members have a meeting to discuss Yip Ching's latest scandal. They draft a statement that effectively abandons her as the DALP candidate, but Fong Kai Chiu (Alan Luk) convinces them to give her a chance to speak directly to the membership.

The next day, Yip Ching arrives at the DALP headquarters. Before she gives her speech, she asks to have a word with Ho. She tells him that she has nothing to lose in this election, but what about him? If Song wins, he will surely use his power as Chief Executive to oppress the DALP. As leader of a marginalized party, Ho would have next to no influence. At least if Yip Ching wins, he still has a chance of yielding some influence. She leaves him to think about this.

Speaking to the membership via webcast, Yip Ching states that an audio forensic expert can prove that the audio clip of her and Cheung is fake. In addition, she shows evidence that Tsui is only advocating for the blank vote because he made a deal with Song to drop his assault charges stemming from the protest. Yip Ching urges the membership to go out to vote in order to counter the blank vote movement. Lastly, she calls on Ho to say a few words. This time, he gives her his full endorsement.

Cheung pays a visit to Song. He says a bunch of stuff while discreetly leaving a recording device in Song's office. After Cheung leaves, Song has another hallucination of Luk Wai To. He hurls things at Luk, which, in reality, is just an empty chair.

After watching Song's outburst, Cheung deduces that he must have some kind of illness. He asks Poon Tsz Wan (Eunice Ho) to investigate further. Then, as he walks outside, a car races towards him and knocks him out. He regains consciousness at the sound of his phone ringing and manages to get up and stagger away. Meanwhile, Yip Ching notices Song's hand shaking uncontrollably while watching one of his speeches. She tries to call Cheung, but cannot reach him.

Poon finds Lee Tsz Kwan (Mimi Kung) at the hospital and questions her about Song's health condition, but Lee refuses to disclose anything.

Song meets with Sum Suet Lai (Violet Li), whose HKMG will be setting up the official debate between the Chief Executive candidates. He hands her a set of questions that he wants asked to himself and Yip Ching during the Q&A session. Kong Yat Dong (Samson Yeung) interrupts their meeting to inform Song that Poon has spoken to his wife. Upon hearing this, Song rips up the list of questions. He says that it is no longer necessary because he predicts that Yip Ching will not show up for the debate tomorrow.

Poon continues her investigation and finds out the name of Song's doctor. She goes to the clinic to look for him, but he has just stepped out. He meets with Song outside, who has a plane ticket ready for the doctor to fly to Taiwan immediately, no questions asked. Song tells the doctor to stay there until after the election and promises to appoint him to the board of the Hospital Authority afterwards.

With half an hour before the debate, Yip Ching is prepping backstage. Song comes in and asks to speak with her. He offers her a deal: if she skips the debate, he will give her the missing page from Wai Man Hin's death report, along with a video of the car crash. Yip Ching has to make one choice...

Election countdown: 22 days

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Second Life Theme Song

The theme song for Second Life is "Let Me Sing Again" (再任我唱), by Wilfred Lau, Joey Tang, Patrick Lui and Terence Yin.

The sub-theme song is "Accompany You For Life" (伴妳一生), by Terence Yin.

Another sub-theme song, "Know Mistake" (知錯), by Wilfred.

The Election Episode 13 Recap

No politician is a blank page; there are always hidden secrets on their page. During elections, candidates will use any method to reveal the secrets written on their opponent's page. Romantic rumours frequently appear on these pages. Exposing an opponent's romantic rumours is like triggering a time bomb for them. In the 1998 leadership race for the Democratic Party of Japan, news about an affair caused front-runner Naoto Kan to lose the leadership to his opponent Yukio Hatoyama.

HKMG releases the clip of Lee Tsz Kwan (Mimi Kung) having an affair with C.K. So (Shek Sau). Song Man San (Liu Kai-chi) plays victim in front of the media. He blames himself for not spending enough time for his wife because he has been so focused on the election. Of course, he throws in a few references to his great vision for Hong Kong as well.

Lee is staying at a hotel to avoid the media. Song comes to see her and asks her to do one thing for him. Later, Yip Ching (Angelica Lee) receives a call from Lee, asking to meet with her. When Yip Ching arrives at her hotel room, they chat and Lee apologizes repeatedly. All of a sudden, she falls sick.

At the hospital, Song angrily pushes his way through the throng of media. He is told by the doctor that his wife had taken a bottle of sleeping pills, but is now in stable condition. After the doctor wheels his wife away, Song turns to Yip Ching and smirkingly says that her election hopes are over.

Song walks outside to the waiting media group. He questions why Yip Ching was with his wife and what she had said to her to cause her to attempt suicide. He claims that he had already decided to resign to spend more time with his wife, but he now changes his mind because he cannot let an immoral candidate like Yip Ching become Chief Executive. Yip Ching comes outside and accuses Song of setting up the whole thing. They continue to trade words in front of the media.

Sum Suet Lai (Violet Li) directs her staff to make up a story about Cheung Kwai Lung (Gregory Wong) and Yip Ching based on the video clip of them sharing drinks at the cafe. When Cheung sees this news report, he goes to Gei Man Wai's (Isabel Chan) workplace and insults her in public, calling her a whore who opens her legs to get news stories.

Tsui Kam Chuan (Daniel Kwok) holds another rally outside the DNRA building. The protest quickly gets out of hand, causing injury to a DNRA staff. Song invites Tsui into his office to seek a peaceful resolution and offers to give him some benefits, but Tsui rejects this as Song had voted in favour of stripping his councillor position when he went to jail.

Yip Ching meets with leaders of several women's groups. They agree with her policies, but are skeptical about her as a candidate because of her rumours with Cheung. Yip Ching reaffirms her commitment to her late husband Wai Man Hin.

Gei, appearing to be drunk, forces her way into Cheung's house. When he refuses her advances, she asks whether it is because he likes Yip Ching. He adamantly denies this and pushes her out of the house. Then, Gei calmly walks out and meets up with Kong Yat Dong (Samson Yeung).

Tsui drops by Yip Ching's office and requests that she support him at a press conference as he has gotten into trouble for the violent protests. When she refuses, he angrily says that he knows what she and Cheung say behind his back. This arouses Yip Ching's suspicion. She and her team search for and find the listening device that Tsui had hidden in their office.

Gei is at a studio with audio clips of Yip Ching and Cheung from earlier that night. From Cheung's phrase "I do not like Yip Ching", she edits it to say "I do like Yip Ching", and from Yip Ching's words, she changes it to "If I want to win, I must use [Wai] Man Hin's halo."

Election countdown: 26 days

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Election Episode 12 Recap

"Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times." - Winston Churchill

Ho Chun Pak (Samuel Kwok) does not show up to film a promotional clip for Yip Ching (Angelica Lee). She knows that he has no intentions of helping her anyways. They go ahead filming with Yip Ching and Fong Kai Chiu (Alan Luk) instead.

Poon Tsz Wan (Eunice Ho) finds Professor Lin Chi-Yun (Simon Lo) and learns his back story. Eight years ago, he travelled to the United States with his wife to treat her cancer. She was successfully cured, only to be killed in a traffic accident shortly afterwards. He sees it as karma for what he has done in the past.

Poon discusses her findings with Cheung Kwai Lung (Gregory Wong). Before Lin had left for the US, he had been commissioned by Song Man San (Liu Kai-chi) to write an environmental report to assess the government's proposal to build an industrial zone. The report turned out to be favourable, silencing many critics and allowing the government to pass the bill. Cheung theorizes that Song may have paid Lin to write a fake report.

Yip Ching's event at the high school is underway. There are many protesters outside, but few supporters inside. As they wait, Cheung expresses confidence that she will get the required amount of supporters. The caption says that the event lasted for six hours. In the first 2 hours, there were less than 200 people, but after that, supporters poured in. In the end, there were over 3000 attendees for the event. Combined with the Internet supporters, Yip Ching got 423,700 supporters in total.

Song secretly visits Professor Lin in his hotel room. He promises to make Lin the environmental minister once he is elected, but Lin says that it is not what he came back for. He shows Song pictures of people with varying degrees of lead poisoning. The poisoning was caused by pollution of the water source in a village near the industrial zone, a fact that had been known to Lin but purposely omitted from his report because Song had paid him $200 million. Song feigns sorrow after learning about the poisoning and assures Lin that he will do something about it. He asks Lin to give him all the information he has collected so that he can forward it to the relevant government department.

Song shreds all the information once he returns to his office. Meanwhile, Poon collects a water sample from the water source near the industrial zone.

A former legislative councillor, Tsui Kam Chuan (Daniel Kwok), has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for burning a flag. He promptly holds a rally in front of the DNRA office. He declares that his party, known as the "Frontline Alliance", will back Yip Ching for the election. Later, he shows up unannounced at Yip Ching's office and offers his help for her campaign, but she is resistant as they have different ideologies.

Tsui Kam Chuan is a parody of legislative councillor Raymond Wong Yuk-man, as they both have the nickname "Mad Dog". The Frontline Alliance is a reference to either the League of Social Democrats or People Power. Both are political parties co-founded by Wong (he is no longer part of either party) that take a radical approach, using tactics such as protests and filibusters. 

On her radio show, Poon exposes the evidence about the lead poisoning and raises questions about Song's role in this incident.

Song is hounded by reporters outside the DNRA building. He denies that the environmental report is fake and says that he will ask the government to investigate the exact reasons for the lead poisoning. Tsui arrives on the scene with his supporters. He challenges Song to drink a bottle of water from the poisoned source and demands that he apologize and resign. Song deftly avoids confrontation by leaving.

Afterwards, Tsui goes to Yip Ching's office again. Cheung politely humours with him and sends him off. Once he is gone, they talk bad about him. But unbeknown to them, Tsui has bugged their office and can hear every word that they say.

Yip Ching and Cheung go to see Professor Lin. They try persuade him to reveal the truth. Cheung recalls an incident in which Lin had insisted that any report must be accurate to the decimal point because it was his duty to let the public know the truth. Lin eventually agrees to do an interview on Poon's radio show tomorrow.

The next day, Professor Lin is on his way to Poon's place when Song's assistant comes to say that Song wants to see him. Lin is taken to the rooftop where Luk Wai To had died. Song uses both threats and promises to make Lin back down from going on Poon's show. Instead, Lin goes on the air at HKMG. He publicly admits that his report was riddled with mistakes because he had been distracted by his wife's illness and states that Song had nothing to do with the incident.

Yip Ching's poll numbers have pulled to within 9% of Song's. She and Cheung have a light moment at the cafe where they swap beverages. A family at another table is recording a video which catches them in the background. In Sum Suet Lai's (Violet Li) office, Song gives her a video clip of a woman who has cheated on her husband. That woman is his wife...

Election countdown: 28 days

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Election Episode 11 Recap

"In our age, there is no such thing as keeping out of politics. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia." - George Orwell

Song Man San (Liu Kai-chi) is shaken by the video clip of his wife. He tells his assistant to check every inch of his office and home for hidden cameras. Later, Song meets Yip Ching (Angelica Lee) in a remote area. He asks her to hand over the video since he had already cancelled the deal with Ho Chun Pak, but she says she will keep a copy in case he pulls any more dirty tricks. Privately though, she makes Cheung Kwai Lung (Gregory Wong) delete the video, which had been sent to them by the same anonymous person.

Protesters demonstrate outside of Yip Ching's campaign office, demanding that she step down because of the hostage incident. Meanwhile, Sum Suet Lai (Violet Li) ramps up her effort to slander Yip Ching via HKMG's various channels. She orders extra coverage linking Yip Ching to the death of the elderly hostage. In addition, she makes up fake poll numbers, citing that an "independent source" has found that Yip Ching's approval ratings have dropped to 9.88%.

Yip Ching arrives at a high school to give a speech and is met with protesters outside. Inside, she walks into a largely empty auditorium as the parents' and teachers' associations have boycotted the event. She delivers her speech to an audience of 13.

On the other hand, Song prepares for a speech at a gala in front of many prominent business people. During his speech, he is interrupted by a man. The man spews off a bunch of environmental facts, then presents a gift to Song. Later on, Song opens the gift in his office and is stunned to see a broken finger.

At night, Cheung waits for Gei Man Wai (Isabel Chan) outside her home. He wants to see the clip of the environmentalist at the gala, which has been kept out of the news by the DNRA-friendly media. In exchange, he promises to give her exclusive news and first interview if Yip Ching decides to withdraw from the election.

After watching the clip, Cheung recognizes the man as Lin Chi-Yun (Simon Lo), a former professor that used to help the government with their environmental assessments, but had mysteriously disappeared eight years ago. Cheung finds it odd that Song would act as if he didn't know the professor even though they had worked together before.

Facing rapidly declining support, Yip Ching decides that they must do something bold. She will host another event at the high school. If the number of attendees plus online supporters reaches 300,000 people (10% of eligible voters), then she will continue with her campaign. Otherwise, she will announce her withdrawal from the election. Although it is a risky plan, Cheung supports it. He says the quickest way to get the word out is to go through HKMG.

They set up a live interview with Gei on the pretense that Yip Ching will announce her withdrawal from the election. However, Yip Ching uses the on-air opportunity to announce the event at the high school. When Sum realizes what is happening, she orders the live broadcast to be cut immediately.

Song calls his team into his room and tells them that he has reached a deal with Ho to join the DNRA along with 120 other party members. He wants to hold a press conference at the same time as Yip Ching's event to devalue her public support.

That night, Song's assistant Kong Yat Dong (Samson Yeung) sneaks into Song's office and attempts to steal the file with Ho's statement. He is shocked to find that the file contains only blank paper. He quickly leaves the office, but Song is already waiting outside. Song says that the purported deal with Ho was just a trick to find the mole in the team. He is enraged that his loyal assistant would betray him, but Kong insists that he is only helping. He explains that he ruined the deal with Ho because Mr. Wong would not be happy to see a collaboration between Song and Ho. Song asks about Kong's relationship with Mr. Wong, but Kong says that the only important thing is for Song to win the election.

Kwan Suk Mei (Candy Chu) announces that she will file a lawsuit against Yip Ching for causing the death of her father. During the press conference, Poon Tsz Wan (Eunice Ho) puts Cheung on the speaker phone to share Lee King Shun's thoughts about the incident. Lee spent a long time thinking about why Yip Ching would enter the building. If it was only to play hero and win votes, it was not worth the risk since the extra votes would be meaningless if she had be killed. He concludes that the only explanation is because she truly wanted to save the hostages. He asks citizens to ignore the media reports and use their own minds to analyze the facts. In the end, this speech clears yet another hurdle for Yip Ching...

Election countdown: 33 days

Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Election Episode 10 Recap

Elections are always full of changing factors. To get the citizens' votes, you must first win their hearts. Voters can easily be influenced by their emotions. Often a single quote, decision, old news story, accident or even natural disaster can change the course of an election. In 2004, a shooting incident caused the hot favourite to lose the presidential election in Taiwan. In 2012, a hurricane allowed Barack Obama to save his low approval ratings and win re-election.

An assassination attempt was made on Taiwan's incumbent president, Chen Shui-bian, on the day before the 2004 presidential elections. He suffered non-life threatening injuries and narrowly won the election the next day. There was speculation that the incident was staged in order to win sympathy from the citizens. (Wikipedia)

During the 2012 US presidential elections, Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast of USA. President Obama's reaction to the storm was widely praised and is said to have contributed to his successful re-election. (Wikipedia)

The Commissioner of Police personally visits Yip Ching (Angelica Lee) to discuss Lee King Shun's (Wu Kwing Lung) demand to see her. Yip Ching finally recalls where she had encountered Lee before. Eight years ago, when she was a radio broadcaster, she uncovered a scandal in which he used his police officer status to obtain free sexual services. Her persistent coverage of the story eventually led to his arrest. Realizing the cause for Lee's resentment, she agrees to his request.

Sum Suet Lai (Violet Li) sets up an interview for Song Man San (Liu Kai-chi) to comment on the hostage situation. He puts the blame squarely on Yip Ching for failing to defuse the situation earlier when Lee had committed other hostile actions.

At the hostage site, Yip Ching speaks to Lee from outside. He tells her to come inside the building or else he will kill the hostages. He gives her 30 minutes to consider her options. A gunshot is heard coming from inside as she retreats.

Meanwhile, Cheung Kwai Lung (Gregory Wong) meets up with Poon Tsz Wan (Eunice Ho), who has dug up information from Lee's police career. Cheung takes interest in a particular bank robbery case from 2010. Grabbing the information, he rushes to get to the hostage site.

Song watches the unfolding situation with Sum in her office. He reckons that Yip Ching is in a lose-lose situation whether or not she decides to go inside. If she does, she will probably not make it out alive. If she doesn't and anything happens to the hostages, she will have to shoulder all the blame.

Back at the hostage site, the police have decided that it would be too risky for Yip Ching to go inside. Just then, they receive a call from one of the hostages, who says that she will be the first one to be killed if Yip Ching does not come inside soon. Yip Ching decides that she must go inside, because as she puts it, "It is not that I don't fear death, but I have no other choice."

Yip Ching slowly walks into the building where Lee awaits her. He is quite aggravated at first, but she gradually calms him down by appealing to his sense of duty to protect citizens as a police officer. Just as he appears to be softening, two hostages make an escape through the back door, prompting Lee to fire a shot.

Cheung arrives at the scene and pushes his way through the police line. He shouts to Lee that he wants to talk to him. He says that they have seen each other before, during the 2010 bank robbery case. Lee slowly edges outside, holding Yip Ching as hostage. Cheung, claiming to be one of the hostages in the robbery case, describes Lee's heroics on that day, including how he said that one must be courageous in the face of difficulty. Cheung points to Yip Ching and says that she is doing exactly that by standing for election. Lee is touched by these words and drops his gun.

Later on, they get word that an elderly man had died from a heart attack after being held in the hostage situation. HKMG arranges for the man's daughter, Kwan Suk Mei (Candy Chu), to give a tearful interview in which she blames Yip Ching for indirectly causing her father's death. She alleges that Yip Ching aggravated Lee, causing him to fire the shot, which in turn, triggered the old man's heart attack.

The media gather outside Yip Ching's campaign office. She tries to explain her decision to negotiate with Lee, but Kwan suddenly appears and continues to argue that Yip Ching is responsible for her father's death.

Song meets with Ho Chun Pak (Samuel Kwok) to discuss their deal again. He tells Ho that this is the perfect timing to resign from the DALP. It will deal another blow to Yip Ching while she is already facing huge pressure from the aftermath of the hostage situation. Ho wants a higher position than what was previously offered, which Song agrees to.

Yip Ching and Cheung receive another anonymous text message telling them that Ho will quit the DALP tomorrow.

Ho holds a meeting with his supporters in the DALP and announces that he will officially resign from the party tomorrow morning. He is interrupted by a phone call from Song, who abruptly calls off the deal. Ho returns to the meeting room and grudgingly tells everyone to forget about their whole plan. Meanwhile, in his office, Song is furious as he watches a video clip of his wife in bed with C.K. So (Shek Sau).

Election countdown: 49 days