Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Election Episode 5 Recap

Hong Kong does not have any legislation regarding political parties. Some people may think that political parties do not have a hand in the government, but the reality is that Chief Executive candidates seek the support of political parties in the background. Political experts predict that Hong Kong will soon have its first official governing party.

Yip Ching (Angelica Lee) meets with Poon Tsz Wan (Eunice Ho), the reporter who had inquired about Wai Man Hin's dealings in episode 3. She wants Poon to help her investigate the truth about Wai's death. Poon agrees and also warns Yip Ching to be careful of the people around her, as she had found out that the mysterious "Sam" was Cheung Kwai Lung (Gregory Wong).

Lee Tsz Kwan (Mimi Kung) arrives at the police station to serve as counsel for her husband Song Man San (Liu Kai-chi), who is giving his account of what happened before Luk Wai To's death. He says that Luk was suffering under the immense pressure of the election campaign. He uses his wife to assert his story that Luk had begged him to find a reason for him to quit the race. Lee appears taken aback for a moment, but goes along with it. Song also claims that when he had arrived at the rooftop, Luk had already fallen to his death.

Yip Ching concludes a meeting with a legislator, who expresses admiration for her platform and agrees to give her his nomination ballot. He invites her to meet with his politician friends in the next room. They turn out to be the youth faction of the DALP, led by Fong Kai Chiu (Alan Luk). They want her to run against Ho Chun Pak (Samuel Kwok) in the DALP's internal elections, but she declines.

Between 1999-2011, a faction of young members in the Democratic Party of Hong Kong, nicknamed the "Young Turks", attempted to challenge the mainstream party ideology and adopt more grassroots ideas. It created a split within the party and many Young Turks eventually quit the party to join other political organizations. The Neo Democrats is one of the prominent new organizations founded by Young Turks.

Song holds a press conference to read a text message that Luk had supposedly sent out before his death. In the message, Luk apologizes for not being able to complete the election run and requests privacy for his family. Song does not disclose the last past of the message, saying that it is related to himself. Meanwhile, Yip Ching's team organize themselves to take advantage of the temporary void left by Luk's death.

Yip Ching tricks Cheung into believing that she will negotiate with Fong to join the DALP. When he arrives at the place where they were supposed to meet, he finds only Yip Ching there. She exposes all his lies, including his connections to Song and the reporter Gei Man Wai (Isabel Chan). Cheung tries to explain that he is only using Song to help her, but she refuses to believe him anymore.

Song sends the full text of Luk's last message to Gei, which he wants published as tomorrow's headlines. Gei has to storm into the office of the HKMG president, Sum Suet Lai (Violet Li), to get this accomplished.

Members of the DNRA have a meeting to discuss Song's candidacy. Song asks for half an hour to consider it and returns to his office to wait for a call from Mr. Wong. His assistant suggests that they can act without Mr. Wong's blessings, but Song angrily expresses that if Mr. Wong does not support him, he will do everything in his power to ensure that the party loses badly in the election. Finally, the phone rings.

Back in the meeting room, Song proudly declares his intention to run in the 2022 Chief Executive election. He promptly holds a press conference to announce it to the public. Afterwards, he and his assistant consider people for their campaign team. Song states that he wants Cheung as his campaign manager.

Meanwhile, Cheung is in a drunken stupor at a club, where he is seduced by a woman. Just as they are about to have sex in the alley, they are caught by police officers. At the station, the woman accuses him of trying to rape her. Lee arrives to post bail for him. She brings him to see Song, who says that he can make the case go away, as long as Cheung agrees to be his campaign manager. When Cheung rejects the offer, Song informs him that the woman he tried to have sex with is the wife of a deputy minister.

The next day, the media surround Yip Ching's office looking for a comment about Cheung's case. Over the phone, Cheung instructs the team to make a press release distancing themselves from him. He also wants Yip Ching to report him to the ICAC for taking bribes from Song, so that they can take Song down before he has a chance to strike. However, Yip Ching has other ideas.

She goes to see the deputy minister whose wife is involved in the case. She reveals her knowledge of a case from two years ago where the wife was caught up in a separate scandal, but the deputy minister had used his powers to cover it up. Yip Ching says that if Cheung is falsely accused of rape, she will withdraw from the election and spend her time exposing this to the public.

Cheung is hounded by the media outside his home. He dissociates himself from Yip Ching's campaign, but she shows up and declares her support for him. Song and his wife watch the scene on the news broadcast. He remarks with amusement that this will be a spectacular election campaign.

Election countdown: 102 days

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Borderline Review

Genre: Police procedural
Cast: Liu Kai-chi, Dominic Lam, Lawrence Chou, Joman Chiang, Leila Tong

The Borderline has the advantage of being the first HKTV series to air, so there is a sense of freshness to it all. The first, most obvious difference is the cinematography. Using real location settings, everything appears darker and this might be a turn-off for some people. But take a few episodes to adjust and it shouldn't be a big deal anymore. Or start watching The Election and suddenly you will appreciate the lighting in The Borderline.

The next thing to notice are the fresh faces, or at least some actors who haven't been on the television scene for a while. It was nice to see a different set of people for a change and not just the same casts rehashed from series to series. Long-time TVB fans can also play "I Spy" and see how many former TVB artists they can spot.

Police dramas have been done again and again, but The Borderline successfully mixes familiar aspects to create a thriller. The plot is like an endless rollar coaster with many surprising twists and turns. New pieces are constantly being introduced to change the direction of the mystery and keep up the suspense. There are complex, multi-dimensional characters which add to the unpredictability of the series. Moreover, the series maintained a good, fast pace. Since it didn't have to meet a 20-episode minimum, it took only the exact number of episodes that it needed, thus eliminating useless characters and side plots.

Of course, the series is not without its flaws. Where it falters is that the story included some common plot devices from TVB. For example, the story of Leila Tong and her mother was too convenient and put in as a tear-jerker. Both the split personality disorder and evil twin ideas have been used before and the scriptwriters did not even choose the better one for the ending. The police are still made to look incompetent and are never able to catch a criminal by themselves.

The series makes frequent use of flashbacks, as way to explain things that have occurred or are occurring. However, there were instances where the criss-crossing between flashbacks was overused, making it difficult to follow and breaking the momentum for a particular scene.

On the acting side, Liu Kai-chi and Dominic Lam were the best, with explosive performances that pushed the intensity of the series. Leila Tong was funny as a clueless policewoman. The scenes of her nervously holding a gun are well done. Joman Chiang is okay as a madam, but she was awkward when interacting as a couple with Lawrence Chou. The weakest link was probably Lawrence Chou, who was stiff and slurs when saying his dialogue. The supporting casts, like Philip Keung, Deno Cheung and Wu Kwing Lung (the bombmaker), did their jobs well and created distinct personalities for their characters.

Rating: 4.5/5.

Friday, December 12, 2014

"To Be or Not To Be" Character Interviews

Interview with Maggie Cheung and Poon Chan Leung:

Interview with Mimi Kung and Savio Tsang:

Historical Context: Touch-Base Policy

Headline: HK government cancels Touch-Base Policy as of midnight (October 26, 1980)

We see it in Hong Kong dramas all the time. A police officer stops someone on the streets and asks to see their identity card. Ever wonder why everyone in Hong Kong must carry their identity cards with them at all times? Well, read on...

Before 1949, people could move freely between Hong Kong (then a British colony) and China. But with the Chinese Civil War, waves of refugees from China rushed to Hong Kong. The population of Hong Kong increased almost three-fold in just five years between 1945 and 1950. The sudden large increase in population posed a huge problem. A heavy strain was put on public utilities, such as housing, education and social services.

Famous people who immigrated to HK during this time: Ha Yu, Kara Hui, Lo Hoi Pang

In 1974, the Hong Kong government introduced the Touch-Base Policy (抵壘政策), which stated that immigrants who reached the city and connected (ie. "touched base") with their relatives, could apply for Hong Kong residency. Those who were caught at the borders were sent back to China immediately.

The rationale behind the policy is that if the immigrants continued to live in Hong Kong with an illegal status, they would enter the black market for labour or participate in criminal activities. Moreover, the immigrants could serve as a source of cheap labour for the thriving industries.

Anyone who made it past Boundary Street was considered to have reached urban territory.

Immigrants had to be south of Boundary Street before they were safely "in the city". When China ceded Hong Kong to Britain, the line was drawn at Boundary Street, with the north belonging to China and south belonging to Britain. Later, the British negotiated a 99-year lease for the "New Territories", making the territory north of Boundary Street part of Hong Kong as well. Although urban development sprawled up on both sides of the street, it was still traditionally seen as the separation between rural and urban.

However, the Touch-Base Policy did nothing to stop the influx of immigrants. If anything, it may have encouraged people to make repeated attempts to get to Hong Kong. In October 1980, the government abolished the Touch-Base Policy. Immigrants who had arrived before October 23 were given a three-day grace period to register for Hong Kong identity. After that, illegal immigrants were subjected to repatriation upon arrest.

Headline: HK government reminds residents over age 15 to carry their identity cards

The implication was that everyone above age 15 in Hong Kong was now required to carry their identity cards with them and present it to a law enforcement officer when requested, so as to detect illegal immigrants.

Originally posted at Casual TVB

Thursday, December 11, 2014

"To Be or Not to Be" Theme Song

The theme song for To Be or Not to Be is called "Two Cups of Tea" (兩杯茶), performed by Prudence Liew.


浪淘盡身世 夢中不記得我們如飛絮
時代輪迴翻身 迎頭痛聚
長情像山水 但山歌散失各自人生裏
寧願沉默相對 或者歸去

期望的福氣 尋覓的歸宿 為何偏差

人在光景轉 情為心境變 各有牽掛

舊時月色裏 大家都困守這繁榮堡壘
而未曾學好散 如何好聚
浪淘盡心跡 夢想吹起的泡沫全粉碎
茶未涼人先走 是否飲醉

期望的福氣 尋覓的歸宿 為何偏差

人在光景轉 情為心境變 各有牽掛

如出處去路 可以作主
誰可以決定 和誰偶遇
回首你我在命途 絕處手挽手
忘掉哪時放晴 哪時有風雨

期望的福氣 尋覓的歸宿 為何偏差

人在光景轉 情為心境變 各有牽掛

難道今天我 還未懂欣賞你那杯茶

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Election Episode 4 Recap

This episode is about the power of the media. In the 2012 elections, the intervention of the media resulted in almost daily scandals. The trend continues with the 2022 elections. As Malcolm X once stated, "The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent."

A woman visits her son in jail. Her son faces extradition to the United States on murder charges, where he could possibly be given a death sentence. The current Chief Executive has refused to meet with her to discuss the case, but she reassures her son that there will be someone that can help.

Song Man San (Liu Kai-chi) is angry that Luk Wai To (Savio Tsang) did not consult with him first before exposing Yip Ching's secret deal on the radio. He says the move could potentially backfire on them. But in the end, Song says he will handle the matter.

Song pays a visit to the leader of the Labour Association for Hong Kong (Mannor Chan). He persuades them to organize protests against Yip Ching for her "betrayal" of the workers. In exchange, he promises to help them pass a bill to increase the minimum wage.

The Labour Association refers to the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU), which is the largest labour group in Hong Kong and is also pro-Beijing. Mannor Chan's character takes after Chan Yuen-han, the honorary president of the HKFTU.

Meanwhile, Yip Ching (Angelica Lee) does not seem worried that her popularity ratings are dropping due to the scandal. Instead, she is gaining nomination ballots from the business sector, who had previously been wary of her background as a labour union activist, but are now supportive after she betrayed the workers. Yip Ching reasons that if she can become Chief Executive, then she will have power to do more for the workers.

The next day, protesters are gathered outside of Yip Ching's office. They demand that she apologize and drop out of the election. Her campaign team suggests that they should simply call the police to get rid of them, but she says that they should not stifle the protesters' freedom of speech.

At the law firm, C.K. So (Shek Sau) chats with Song's wife, Lee Tsz Kwan (Mimi Kung). He asks for her opinion about who he should give his nomination ballot to. She indirectly hints that he should support Yip Ching. At home, she tells Song that she has influenced C.K. into giving his ballot to Yip Ching, just like he had asked her to do.

Song meets with the reporter Gei Man Wai (Isabel Chan), who was the one that gave Yip Ching the fake interview of Wai Man Hin in episode 1. Song knows that she has a special relationship with Cheung Kwai Lung (Gregory Wong) and wants her to keep track of him. In exchange, he offers her exclusive news that the minimum wage bill will pass through the legislature next month.

Sum Suet Lai (Violet Li), the head of the media conglomerate HKMG, goes to see Yip Ching. She says that HKMG can fully support her election campaign. The only condition is that once Yip Ching becomes Chief Executive, she must use her executive powers to stop the extradition of Sum's son. However, Yip Ching rejects the offer.

At the HKMG office, Sum instructs all the journalists to use "Yip Ching is innocent, the workers are unreasonable" as tomorrow's headline. Gei gives Song advanced warning about the headline. He calls the Labour Association and tells them to end the protests. In addition, they are to tell reporters that they are open to consider giving their nomination ballots to Yip Ching. Song explains that by helping Yip Ching, he can bring down Luk.

The next morning, Yip Ching and Cheung are surprised at the headlines that are supportive of her. Sum calls Yip Ching and says the headlines demonstrate the media's power in dictating the truth. She asks her to reconsider the offer, but Yip Ching sticks to her previous decision.

Song walks into Luk's office and says that he must finally ask him to quit, otherwise their party would surely lose the election. He tells him that he will arrange for a doctor's report to show that Luk's health cannot handle the tough election campaign. He believes this will be an acceptable explanation to the public and to Mr. Wong. Luk walks out of the room dejectedly.

That night, Luk calls a prostitute to his hotel room. He suddenly recognizes her as the woman who had supposedly blackmailed him with his bed photos, but she has no idea what he is talking about.

Yip Ching meets with C.K. at the law firm. He gives her two items that Wai Man Hin had entrusted to him five years ago – a safety deposit box key and a signed power of attorney. When Yip Ching goes to open the safety deposit box, she finds wads of cash and a Bible. She is curious since her husband had not been religious. At the church, she finds out that her husband had once believed that his life was in danger.

Before the press conference, Luk demands to meet with Song on the rooftop. He says that he has discovered all of Song's tricks to damage his reputation. He threatens to get Mr. Wong to destroy Song's political career and ensure that Song will never, ever become Chief Executive. As he turns to leave, Song knocks him out with a pipe. Just then, Cheung calls Luk, as Luk had previously asked to meet with him. Song sends out a message using Luk's phone, then proceeds to drag him towards the edge of the roof. Later, a news broadcast reports that Luk has died after falling from a rooftop...

Election countdown: 105 days

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Electoral Reform

The Basic Law states that the eventual aim is to elect the Chief Executive (CE) by universal suffrage. This would mean that every eligible Hong Kong citizen could cast a vote for CE, instead of just members of the Election Committee, as is in the current system. The government has promised to implement this change by 2017. However, the proposed electoral reforms have caused a great deal of controversy, leading to the massive protests that is happening in Hong Kong right now.

How can the electoral system be changed?
The Basic Law stipulates that any changes to the election of the CE must have the approval of three parties:
  • two-thirds of all Legislative Council members
  • the Chief Executive
  • the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC), which is the body of the Chinese government that has final constitutional authority

In 2004, the NPCSC outlined a "Five-Step Process" to institute electoral reform:
  1. The CE makes a report to the NPCSC regarding the need for electoral reform.
  2. The NPCSC determines whether there is a need for electoral reform.
  3. The HK government introduces the required bill to the Legislative Council, which will need to pass it by a two-thirds majority.
  4. The CE gives his/her consent to the bill.
  5. The CE hands the bill to the NPCSC, who will give final approval.

Proposed Reforms for 2017
On August 31, 2014, the NPCSC outlined a framework for the 2017 election:
  • Candidates will be nominated by a committee similar to the current Elections Committee
  • Candidates require support from at least 50% of the nomination committee to run in the election
  • The number of candidates will be limited to 2-3
  • The CE will be elected among the nominated candidates using a "one person, one vote" system

The election rules being used in The Election follow the proposed framework. Since the current Elections Committee consists of 1200 members, candidates in The Election require 600 nomination ballots to enter the race, as described in episode 3

A Democratic Process?
Pro-democracy activists have deemed the proposed framework as "false democracy". The reason is that potential candidates need to obtain support from at least 50% of the nomination committee. This allows the Chinese government to control who gets nominated, since they have significant influence on over half of the nomination committee. As a result, activists are concerned that only pro-Beijing candidates would be able to successfully secure a nomination, while the pro-democracy camp would be left out. 

To understand the implications of this system, look at the 2014 Miss Hong Kong Pageant. Citizens were allowed to vote for who they wanted to win the pageant. However, they could only choose among the three contestants that were selected by the judges. #15 Veronica Shiu was crowned the winner after receiving the majority of the votes in the final round, but the contestant with the most popular support, #11 Sofiee Ng, had actually been left out of the voting.

In episode 1 of The Election, Wai Man Hin stated that it was his desire to create a more democratic system, in particular, one that would allow citizens to nominate their preferred candidate. Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong are also calling for the same thing. It remains to be seen whether this will be achieved in the series, and in real life.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The Election Soundtracks

The song played at the end of episode 3 is called "I'll Be There", sung and composed by Eva Chan.


Dear friend I promise you
The sun will always rise
And I'll be by your side
Everything will be alright

I know there are times, when trouble things get in your way
Dear friend don't be afraid, I'm only just one step away

I'll be there to love and comfort you
When you're feeling blue I will get you through
Remember you're not alone

Life is hard but I’m with you

I'll be there to love and comfort you
When you're feeling blue I will get you through
Remember you're never alone

For you I will be true that and there is nothing that I wouldn't do

Eva also recorded a Chinese version which is called "East Point Station" (東角駅).


畫面閃過曾經 被你在徹底攻破

不想一世難過 若放下了怨恨已可

和你相約於東角駅見 傻到心跳加速兼且氣喘
小心選我的路線 避免塞車我怕遲了點
難以想到今天約會見 和你相隔擁抱都已十年
何其陌生也能預算 時代風景已變有沒有一種感覺會未變


和你相約於東角駅見 傻到心跳加速兼且氣喘
小心選我的路線 避免塞車我怕遲了點
難以想到今天約會見 和你相隔擁抱都已十年
何其陌生也能預算 時代風景已變 我還有一種感覺卻未變

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Election Episode 3 Recap

Since 2015, the debates surrounding the Chief Executive elections have intensified, particularly about the use of a nomination committee. However, the Chinese government ultimately decides that the nomination committee must stay. Candidates who want to participate in the election must obtain at least 600 of the 1200 ballots from the committee.

See how the current election process works (Linkand the electoral reforms (Link) that are being used in the series. 

Continuing from the last episode, a reporter arrives at the campaign office to ask Yip Ching (Angelica Lee) about her knowledge of an alleged deal between Wai Man Hin and businessman Cheuk Tin Fan (Felix Lok). The reporter alleges that there had been a highway project which was opposed by many people, but Wai still insisted on continuing with it. Coincidentally, Cheuk purchased all the land near the planned highway route before the project was made public. Yip Ching denies any knowledge of a deal and says that she believes in her husband's character.

As the reporter is leaving, she receives a message from a person named "Sam", who says that Yip Ching knows nothing about her husband's dealings. Later at her office, she receives a package from Sam.

Luk Wai To (Savio Tsang) wants to drop out of the election due to the pressure of being scrutinized by the media. Although Song Man San (Liu Kai-chi) angrily scolds Luk about the implications if he dropped out, he discreetly guides Luk into suggesting that he would be a suitable replacement as Chief Executive candidate.

Another protest is happening at the docks. The workers who had participated in the strikes earlier had been fired by the dock company. Yip Ching watches the news report on TV, but Cheung Kwai Lung (Gregory Wong) warns her not to get involved. He says that they cannot afford to lose the nomination ballots held by the dock company and its affiliates.

Song's wife, Lee Tsz Kwan (Mimi Kung), is a lawyer working at a law firm with C.K. So (Shek Sau). She is given the case of defending the wrongfully terminated dock workers. However, at home, Song tells her to reject the case because it might affect a "new job" that he will soon have. She is happy to oblige. Song also reminds her that as a politician's wife, she must act carefully, otherwise it can affect her husband's career.

Yip Ching meets with the management of the dock company. They offer to give her their 9 nomination ballots as long as she stays out of the matter, but she rejects the deal. Cheung is outraged when he finds out about this.

Luk is happily preparing for the press conference to announce his resignation until he receives a call from Mr. Wong. At the press conference, he unexpectedly announces that he will stay in the race.

At the DALP headquarters, Ho Chun Pak (Samuel Kwok) holds a meeting with some party members whom he knew were invited to meet with Yip Ching later that evening. He makes a "friendly" reminder that their nomination ballots should go towards the yet-to-be-determined DALP candidate, otherwise the party will pull their support for them in the next Legislative Council elections.

That night, no one goes to meet with Yip Ching. Cheung tells her that in this political game, she must offer benefits in exchange for votes. Even Wai Man Hin had understood this principle as he had indeed revealed government secrets to Cheuk in exchange for 32 nomination ballots.

Yip Ching receives another call to meet with the reporter from earlier. The reporter shows her Wai's phone records. He had frequently been in contact with a phone number belonging to Cheuk. Yip Ching says that they can check Wai's old cell phone, which she still kept at home. As they are driving to her house, they get into a car accident.

Meanwhile, Luk is extremely upset that Mr. Wong forced him to stay in the race. Song appears to be sympathetic, but in reality, he despises him. He attempts to kill him by leaving the drunken Luk in the car with the engine running. However, Song later changes his mind and returns to retrieve Luk.

Yip Ching and the reporter are in the hospital after the car accident. The reporter messages "Sam" that she has lost the documents that he sent her. Sam is revealed to be Cheung. The rest of the campaign team ask if this ploy will actually change Yip Ching's mind. It is shown that Yip Ching was the one who took the documents, which she burns.

Yip Ching reaches a deal with the dock company to pay only a little compensation to the fired workers. The CEO of the dock company welcomes her decision and gives her the contact information for the nine nominators. Yip Ching watches as the dock workers pack up at the protest site and then walks away silently with Cheung following behind her. "Will you continue to stay by my side?", she asks. "Yes", he replies.

At a radio interview, Luk is asked about what he thinks of Yip Ching's increasing popularity. He exposes her secret deal with the dock company and says that the Hong Kong people will soon see her true nature.

Election countdown: 110 days

Friday, November 28, 2014

Election of the Chief Executive

The Chief Executive (CE) is the top government official in Hong Kong. The office of the CE and its powers are provided by the Basic Law (the constitutional document of Hong Kong). The CE is responsible for a wide variety of functions, including deciding government policy, introducing bills and appointing other key officials and judges.

Who can be Chief Executive?
Technically anyone can be CE, as long as they meet the following requirements:
  • at least 40 years old
  • permanent resident of Hong Kong with no right to abode (live) in any foreign country 
  • has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of at least 20 years
  • be a person of integrity and dedicated to his or her duties

How is the Chief Executive elected?
The CE is elected through an electoral college. What this means is that ordinary HK citizens do not get to vote for the CE. Instead, they are represented by a group of electors, known as the Election Committee.

The Election Committee is comprised of 1200 members, divided evenly between the four major sectors (commerce, professional, social and political). These four major sectors are further divided into smaller sub-sectors. The number of seats for each sub-sector varies. Most of the sub-sectors have internal elections in which citizens and entities can choose their representatives to be on the Election Committee.

After the members of Election Committee are selected, they will then nominate candidates for CE. Each member is allowed to nominate one person. Any candidate with 150 or more nominations will be allowed to run in the election for CE.

On election day, only members of the Election Committee get to vote for CE. The winning candidate must receive an absolute majority (50% + 1) of the votes to win. If no one receives the required amount of votes, a run-off is held with the candidate that received the lowest number of votes dropped from the ballot.

The final step of the election process is for the Chinese government to officially appoint the Chief Executive-elect to the office.

Stay tuned for the next post on electoral reform!

Monday, November 24, 2014

License Plate in The Borderline

Looks like HKTV is not immune to having some gaffes after all. A netizen pointed out that the license plate for the car that kidnapped the little kid in episode 2 of The Borderline was inconsistent.

License plate when they captured the kid in front of the school: EP6228

License plate when Leila Tong chased the car to take a picture: PM7962

Personally, I wouldn't even notice these little errors, nor do I think they affect the enjoyment of the series. But if people are going to be picky with TVB on these things, then I think HKTV should be held to the same standard as well. 

"The Borderline" Character Interviews

Interview with Liu Kai-chi and Felix Lok:

Interview with Philip Keung and Crystal Leung:

Interview with Luvin Ho, Lui Hei, Wu Kwing Lung:

Interview with Leila Tong and Dominic Lam:

Interview with Joman Chiang, Lawrence Chou, Kathy Yuen:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Election Episode 2 Recap

The episode begins with a caption saying that the spending limit for the 2022 Chief Executive election has increased to $20 million. Elections are no longer just about policies and people, but also about financial might.

Members of the DNRA discuss Yip Ching's chances of winning. The majority of them dismiss her chances, but Song Man San (Liu Kai-chi) points out that Wai Man Hin had managed to double his polling numbers within half a year in the last election. It is revealed that Wai used to be a member of the DNRA.

Yip Ching (Angelica Lee) introduces her campaign team to the media. Reporters ask Cheung Kwai Lung (Gregory Wong) why he suddenly switched camps. He says that he felt he was going against his conscious helping the good-for-nothing Luk Wai To (Savio Tsang). He truly believes that Yip Ching would be the one that can change society for the better.

Luk is preparing for an interview when he receives a message containing a photo of him in bed with his assistant, whom he had previously claimed to have no relationship with. He is distracted throughout the interview and puts up a terrible performance.

Yip Ching's team conducts a vetting of her past to discover any potentially scandalous material and ask her many sensitive questions. Cheung says that the most powerful weapon in an election is a candidate's scandalous material. Yip Ching remarks that being a politician is worst than being a prostitute, as a prostitute only need to reveal themselves in front of clients, but a politician must expose themselves to everyone.

The next big issue for Yip Ching's campaign is fundraising. The team figures they need a minimum of $13 million, but they do not have the backing of any political party or wealthy donors. Yip Ching says they can try to find previous supporters of her husband. However, at a meeting with one of them, she is told that the DNRA have made a deal with most businessmen to not give her any funding.

Yip Ching receives a call from Ho Chun Pak (Samuel Kwok), the chairman of the Democratic and Liberal Party (DALP). He urges her to drop out of the race and back his bid to be the DALP's candidate for Chief Executive instead. He promises that if she supported him this time, he would help her win the next election in five years.

The DALP refers to the Democratic Party of Hong Kong, a prominent party on the pro-democracy side. Ho Chun Pak is based on Albert Ho, former chairman of the Democratic Party and the pro-democracy candidate in the 2012 elections.

Luk is fretting over the bed photos and begs Song to help him. Song says he will deal with the matter and goes to meet the person who had sent the photos. However, he is actually meeting with a prostitute, whom he uses to trick Luk into believing that he had obtained the photos from her. Luk promptly shreds the photos. Back at his office, Song shreds a second set of the photos.

The part where Luk offers Song political positions in return for his help is reminiscent of businessman Lew Mong-hung, who was a big supporter of CY Leung during the 2012 elections. However, he later exposed that he had been offered certain political positions by CY Leung.

Meanwhile, Cheung tries to blackmail some businessmen into donating money to Yip Ching's campaign, but they refuse. However, later on, one of the businessmen, Cheuk Tin Fan (Felix Lok), brings $8 million in cash to Cheung, saying that it is to return a favour that Wai Man Hin had done for him before. The only condition is that his name is not to be associated with their campaign in any way whatsoever.

Cheung meets with Song secretly. Song gives him an envelope and tells him he wants the contents of the envelope exposed to the media by tomorrow morning. In exchange, Cheung obtains a list of 500 names to use as fake donors for the $8 million. That night, Cheung is seen putting back together the shredded bed photos of Luk Wai To while listening to a wiretap of Yip Ching's phone conversations.

The next morning, Song is eating breakfast with his wife and subtly shows her a magazine with Luk's bed photos on the cover. Cheung shows Yip Ching their accounts which has $9 million in it. Just then, a reporter comes to their office to ask about allegations that her husband Wai Man Hin once revealed government secrets in exchange for benefits....

Election countdown: 112 days

The Election Episode 1 Recap

The series starts with the 2017 Chief Executive election. Despite the efforts of the Occupy Movement, Hong Kong still only has a restricted form of democratic elections. While the votes are still being counted, the leading candidate, Wai Man Hin (Poon Chan Leung) enters an old apartment building to meet with a secret group of people that had orchestrated his election win. He promises that once he becomes Chief Executive, they will no longer have to be in hiding and can work with him as part of his government. He says that tomorrow will be the beginning of a new era for Hong Kong, marked by fairness and equality. They cheer and celebrate Wai's pending victory.

At the convention centre where the votes are being counted, Wai's wife, Yip Ching (Angelica Lee) is anxious about the whereabouts of her husband. Over the phone, Wai reassures her that he will be back before the counting is over.

The final tally is announced. Wai is declared to be the next Chief Executive, but he is nowhere to be seen. Meanwhile, firefighters are working frantically in the rain to pull someone out from a flipped car. The bloodied man turns out to be Wai. The caption says that his death is ruled to be an accident and that after much debate, it was decided that the current Chief Executive would remain for another term, until 2022.

Fast forward to four years later. Yip Ching is now leader of a labour union. Dock workers have been on strike for 34 days. Upset at the stalled talks, the workers want to start a violent protest, but Yip Ching reminds them that the reason they have gotten support from the public is because they have insisted on peaceful protests from the start.

Their insistence on remaining peaceful is the same as the ideology of the Occupy Movement. The worker strike alludes to the Hong Kong dock strikes in 2013 (Wikipedia). 

Yip Ching is invited to meet with the management of the dock company. To her surprise, they agree to meet all the demands of the workers, with only one condition – Yip Ching must personally announce that the strike is over. She questions why management has a sudden change of heart and the CEO reveals that they have been offered a deal by someone from the DNRA Party – if they agreed to the workers' demands, the party will block legislation that would have allowed new competition to the industry. Yip Ching guesses who set up this deal.

The DNRA Party refers to the DAB (Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong), which is the biggest pro-Beijing party in Hong Kong.

Luk Wai To (Savio Tsang) had just announced his intention to run in the 2022 Chief Executive elections, but is discovered unconscious and undressed inside a car with a woman.

Luk Wai To resembles Henry Tang, who has family ties to the Communist Party and was the early favourite in the 2012 Chief Executive election, only to be brought down by scandals. 

Cheung Kwai Lung (Gregory Wong), who had been part of Wai's secret campaign team and is now Luk's campaign manager, wakes up to find many voice messages telling him about Luk's scandal. Cheung rushes out, but Yip Ching is waiting for him. She demands to know why he set up the deal with the dock company. He says that he has planned this for a whole year and tells her to trust him, as he had always helped her with her labour movements over the past few years. Yip Ching reluctantly agrees to do as he says.

Members of the DNRA hold an internal meeting to discuss how they should handle Luk's scandal. They vote to decide whether to continue supporting Luk's candidacy. The vote is tied and the president, Song Man San (Liu Kai-chi), has the deciding vote. He votes no.

Song Man San can be comparable to Jasper Tsang, who is the current president of the Legislative Council and also former chairman of the DAB.

After the meeting, Song receives a call from a Mr. Wong. His face falls as he talks to Mr. Wong in Mandarin. Afterwards, he goes out to tell everyone to forget about the meeting and that the entire DNRA Party is to support Luk's campaign. Cheung comes in to say that he has a plan on how to deal with the scandal, but he is yelled at by Song, who insists that the scandal was his responsibility. Song tells him to either quit or be fired. Cheung angrily quits, but not before calling everyone in the party idiots for blindly supporting the idiot Luk.

The Mandarin speaking Mr. Wong represents the voice of the Chinese government.

Meanwhile, Yip Ching makes the announcement to the workers about the successful negotiations. Cheung calls her and tells her to immediately announce that she intends to run in the 2022 Chief Executive election, but she refuses.

That night, Cheung tries to convince Yip Ching to run for Chief Executive. He says that this is the only chance for her to find out the real truth about her husband's death. He shows her the document that had been used to rule her husband's death as an accident, which was missing an appendix on the last page. The only way for them to access the confidential document would be if she became Chief Executive.

Yip Ching receives a call from a reporter who said she had interviewed Wai Man Hin a few days before his death. They meet up and the reporter gives her a copy of the interview, where Wai talks about his dream of re-establishing Hong Kong as a fair and just society. He says that his dream was inspired by his wife, Yip Ching.

The next day, Yip Ching holds a press conference to announce her intention of running in the 2022 election, in order to continue her husband's legacy and hope for a just society. Watching the broadcast on TV, Song looks on thoughtfully. Cheung is also watching the broadcast in a bedroom with a woman. He praises the woman for making up such a touching interview, otherwise Yip Ching would not have decided to run...

Election countdown: 141 days

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chief Executive Candidates

Candidate #1: Song Man San (played by Liu Kai-chi)

His heart is filled with only one thing – ambition. To satisfy his hunger for power, he won't hesitate to betray his family, friends and even his soul. In his eyes, it doesn't matter if the tactics are despicable or not, as long as he achieves his goal. A cunning character that is able to manipulate anyone and remain calm under a crisis. Yet he is also petty-minded, intolerant towards others and lacks the affinity that a political leader should have.

Candidate #2: Yip Ching (played by Angelica Lee)

A pity and slender figure, but under the gentle appearance, she has a strong and determined heart. Fairness and justice are not just her own guiding principles, but also an objective for society, which is her mission to fight for. With an indomitable spirit, she does not compromise or flinch despite being under heavy pressure. She is articulate, possesses affinity and charm and is a naturally born leader.

Have your say! Who do you want as Chief Executive?

Cast your vote!

Monday, November 17, 2014

HKTV Schedule

The official schedule for HKTV has been announced (all in Hong Kong time).

Two hours of drama – one episode each of The Borderline and The Election – will be made available each day starting at 6:00 am. In addition, there will be a 30 minute episode of the variety show The Challenge, as well as several foreign purchased dramas.

Live Broadcast (November 19):
8:00 pm – Opening Ceremony
8:30 pm – The Borderline
9:30 pm – The Election
10:30 pm – The Challenge
11:00 pm – Shopping Hero

Update: Instead of two hours of drama daily, the schedule has been changed as follows:
The Borderline will have one episode released each day (Monday-Friday).
The Election will have one episode released on Saturdays. 
The Challenge will have one episode released on Sundays. 

Update: Variety show "Gone With the Wind" will also have one episode released on Sundays.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

"The Borderline" Deleted Scenes

This is the deleted footage from The Borderline that was shown to people who participated in HKTV's stress test earlier.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"The Borderline" Promo Clips

Promo #1

Promo #2

Astro Promo

HKTV Launch

Which series do you want to see first? Vote here (Link).

The Borderline (警界線)
Cast: Liu Kai-chi, Dominic Lam, Leila Tong

A clear conscience and discipline are important boundaries for police officers. But if these boundaries are crossed and detectives work together with criminals, the ability to crack cases becomes infinitely larger. A marginalized undercover; a hot-tempered detective who was once framed and lived as a fugitive; a thief who steals from other criminals and was once wrongfully convicted; a female officer who has never fired a gun and uses her intelligence to deconstruct the minds of criminals; a top fugitive with a loyal character and in love with a policewoman; a female inspector who is the encyclopedia of the Forensic Firearms Examination Bureau. They participate in a battle of wits and force. Not only do they produce love, hate and sparks, they also break through boundaries, working together to undo cases of injustice and find the real perpetrator. Through blood, tears, life and death, these cops and bandits highlight the glory of humanity and leave behind an extraordinary story.

Interest level: 4.5/5. The first episode ended with a cliff-hanger. 

The Menu (導火新聞線)
Cast: Noel Leung, Catherine Chau, Kate Yeung

Monitoring society has always been a responsibility of the media, but violence, porn and blood have become the norm for modern media. The story follows three female reporters with different ideals, working for a free newspaper. They have daily conflicts over news reporting. The profit-motivated chief editor is willing to abandon ethical responsibility and make exaggerated reports. The assignment editor and a reporter are passionate about helping disadvantaged groups voice out social injustices. Facing a commercial reality, a newspaper that is disrespected by its peers chooses each day whether to reveal or hide the truth for different purposes. How can reporters highlight justice and use their pen to defend their ideals?

Interest level: 4.5/5. Would love to see the ugly side of the media business.

The Election (選戰)
Cast: Angelica Lee, Liu Kai-chi, Samuel Kwok

Every level of society has their struggles and battles. Human nature, power and benefits are tangled together. Angelica Lee enters the Chief Executive election with her husband's ideology of fairness and peace. Unfortunately, she gets caught in the complicated reality in which she has to deal with internal competition, as well as external attacks from her rival Liu Kai-chi. Experiencing major challenges, she cannot differentiate between friend and enemy. The love-hate relationships and the struggle between humanity and self-interest are a reflection of social reality. Through this political game, the ugly and glorious side of human nature is pushed to the extremes.

Interest level: 5/5. This will surely be popular considering the current political situation in Hong Kong. 

Paranormal Mind (開腦儆探)
Cast: Felix Wong, Sam Lee, Lo Hoi Pang

Felix Wong is initially a police inspector. The trauma of his son’s mysterious death triggers his ability to read other people’s consciousness, but also causes him to have multiple personalities. His wife and friends think that he has a mental disorder, but Felix firmly believes his son was killed in the subconscious dimension. Felix begins to develop his potential of reading other people’s consciousness. Working as a private investigator, he helps the police solve supernatural cases, while still hoping to find his son’s killer.

Interest level: 4.5/5. Reminds me of TVB's D.I.E. but still has interesting premise.

To Be or Not to Be (來生不做香港人)
Cast: Maggie Cheung, Prudence Liew, Poon Chan Leung, Savio Tsang

The reunion of two sisters and the quarrels between them are used to examine the changing relationship between China and Hong Kong in the past 30 years. The blood relationship cannot be denied. As China becomes more powerful, how do Hong Kong people position themselves? Would you still want to be a Hong Konger in the next life? Can the current social conflicts be solved with money? With the emerging integration of China and Hong Kong, what core values can Hong Kong people still defend?

Interest level: 3.5/5. It's got a mix of politics in it. 

Second Life (第二人生)
Cast: Wilfred Lau, Terence Yin, Bondy Chiu

People who reach middle-age will often complain about the pressures and setbacks of life. They will only regret about missed opportunities, but a dreamless life is akin to a salty fish; what use can it have? At a low point in his life, the main character gets a chance to change history, but even after history is rewritten, his life does not turn out better. He finally understands that rather than being upset over the past, he should live well in the present.

Interest level: 2.5/5. Not keen on seeing Wilfred. 

Hidden Faces (三面形醫)
Cast: Frankie Lam, John Chiang, Wilson Tsui

Humans naturally like beauty. Many people will use makeup, beauty products or even plastic surgery. But there are few who can look into a mirror, peel open their outer shell and expose their most naked, hidden side. That is why doctors can heal one’s body, but rarely their hearts. At the root of many illnesses tends to be “human nature”. In the series, a plastic surgeon joins a large medical corporation, spurring discussion of many hot topics that will evaluate modern values and allow people to reflect on their self-worth and the definition of “beauty”. At the same time, the series voices the views of different people in society.

Interest level: 3.5/5. I'm not sure I want to see a real plastic surgery being performed on-screen.

Love In Time (還來得及再愛你)
Cast: Danson Tang, Michelle Wai, Terence Yin, Sherming Yiu

The 224 year old male character has held onto a lost love for 200 years. Growing up as a young man in a village, he has experienced drastic change. The whole village, including his beloved, were killed by demons. Only he survived after being rescued by a vampire. Now he lives, but his heart is frozen; heartbroken, but cannot cry out. This is until he meets a lively and positive girl whose passionate love unconsciously melts his heart. The man is immortal, but the girl may have perhaps 80 years. Is this relationship a cruel joke played by fate or a match made in heaven?

Interest level: 1/5. Sounds a lot like Twilight.

Once Upon A Song (童話戀曲201314)
Cast: William So, Bernice Liu, Kelvin Kwan

As a child, everyone dreamed of being the prince or princess in a fairy tale, but when we grow up, we only become HK men and women. The qualities of a girlfriend include her outer appearance, while a boyfriend must have a house, car and career. Thinking deeper, does everyone still have a dream in their hearts? The first musical in the history of Hong Kong television, with young faces, beautiful voices and youthful dancing to present a touching love story. The story revolves around young CEO Kelvin Kwan in a love triangle with Kate Yeung and Evelyn Choi. It is accompanied by singer William So’s voice and other actors. A single series that combines singing, dancing and acting is worthy of anticipation.

Interest level: 1/5. Not a fan of musicals.

Karma (驚異世紀)
Cast: Dominic Lam, Noel Leung, Leila Tong

Fear comes from the heart. The eight separate stories will be about a hospital, a mansion, a university professor, a psychologist and hypnotist, a mysterious senior, a serial killer, an old camera lens and a luxurious hotel. Each of these stories will be connected by an overarching story. Filmed with movie-style cameras to produce shocking images that will challenge the audience’s courage. More importantly, behind this horrific world, there is a cautionary message to reflect on.

Interest level: 0/5. Too scared to watch horror films.

Doom + 5 (末日+5)
Cast: Sunny Chan, Philip Keung, Poon Chan Leung, Mimi Kung, Alan Luk, Gregory Wong

On January 23, 2015, the eight million citizens of Hong Kong are still revelling in whether the stock market will set new high records, still working to make their love come to fruition and still labouring over their jobs. Only five citizens, who do not know each other or are otherwise related, learn about a secret hidden by the government. That night, at 11:45 pm, the end of the world will come and no one will be spared. As life enters its countdown, with only 15 hours left, will they turn hopeless or become even more crazy?

Interest level: 2/5. Don't like the "cherish life because you never know what will happen" stories.

Night Shift (夜班)
Cast: Frankie Lam, Dominic Lam, Kathy Tong

A series entirely filmed at night. The story follows several emergency unit officers as they encounter different people and events on the night shift. They are met with unimaginable dangers and challenges. The countless temptations during the night weaken their resolve, leaving their self-defence mechanisms vulnerable to attack. The night is mysterious and beautiful, yet dangerous. Without self-discipline and control, one can easily step into forbidden territory with dire consequences.

Interest level: 3.5/5. Police dramas are always exciting. 

Class 4B (四年B班)
Cast: Sam Chan, Joman Chiang, Samuel Kwok, Crystal Leung

Silly little things in the eyes of adults can be important things to children. This series uses a child’s perspective to view how large the world can be and how children use their simple, yet determined minds to accomplish those little things. It will make adults realize that they should not impose their own way of thinking on children and instead allow their dreams to flourish. The story depicts a class of fourth-grade students at a subsidized school. Although they have just advanced to a higher grade, they have yet to truly develop independent thinking. It is easy for many funny and embarrassing moments to occur, but people will also be touched by their innocence.

Interest level: 1.5/5. "Simple" dramas are a bore.

Sexpedia (大眾情性)
Cast: Jason Chan, Joman Chiang, Alan Luk, Maggie Wong

Sex is a complicated subject. It includes communication between people, small pleasures between couples, love within a family and some of life’s philosophies. Thus, do not underestimate how important and influential sex can be. Real-life cases were used as a blueprint to create three distinct characters with unusual experiences. One is a virgin male who has been oppressed throughout his whole life and believes he only has one chance to make love. Another is a girl with a sexual disability who thinks she is unworthy of love. The third is a divorced man who prides himself on his experiences, yet does not know how to please women. Together, they make up a romantic comedy that will examine the topic of sex and love.

Interest level: 3/5. Definitely refreshing since TVB would never touch this topic.

Beyond the Rainbow (歲月樓情)
Cast: Ha Yu, Paw Hee Ching, Felix Wong, Leila Tong

A story spanning 30 years, with public housing as a backdrop. It shows how the “little guy” relies on a persistent, never giving up spirit to withstand challenges and establish a stable home. For millions of families living under the same sky, as long as their starting point is a happy and healthy home, they can all lead a fulfilling life. As time passes by, each person will leave their mark and time will bear witness to the stories of many different people.

Interest level: 3/5. From the trailer, there seems to be a mysterious aspect as well. 

The Wicked League (惡毒老人同盟)
Cast: John Chiang, Samuel Kwok, Yuen Wah, Jason Pai

As the saying goes, "a senior in the family is like a treasure". But many seniors face discrimination in their lives. The five main characters are all seniors who have been discriminated by their family, friends and colleagues. By chance, they meet each other and decide to get revenge on the people who have treated them poorly, creating the "Vicious Senior Alliance". This black comedy brings out the problems and difficulties faced by seniors in today's society, with a hope that the audience can understand and treat seniors better.

Interest level: 2/5. Nothing too exciting here.

Incredible Mama (我阿媽係黑玫瑰)
Cast: Kara Hui, John Chiang, Sam Chan

The legendary heroine "Black Rose" gives up on practising chivalry and becomes a housewife for her family, taking care of her husband and children. But her children do not know that their mother was once a heroine; they see her as timid woman who doesn't care about justice. When they finally find out about her past, that is when they truly begin to understand their mother.

Interest level: 3/5. Seems like a decent comedy. 

Originally posted at Casual TVB