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Date Posted: 05:35:39 04/05/02 Fri
Author: Kikyo
Subject: Ghost Husband

I'm new here, so greetings to all you Yue Ling fans. I've recently finished watching the Mandarin version of Plum Blossum II - Ghost Husband. Throughout the whole show, I couldn't help but compare it with the Cantonese version. I must say, I'm both disappointed and delighted. Diappointed that the Cantonese version cut out soooo much. Delighted that I had a chance to see scenes that I never knew existed. My whole view about the show has totally changed after seeing the missing scenes in the Mandarin version.

In the Cantonese version, they cut out many of the moments where Lok Mei was thinking about Hei Hin. Because Lok Mei was never really very expressive about her love - before her marriage - I got the impression that she was rather indifferent to Hei Hin during their 'dating days'. It was therefore very contradicting when Lok Mei appeared so madly (in a literal sense) in love with her 'ghost husband'. It was thus very interesting and meaningful to see scenes in the Mandarin version where Lok Mei silently struggled with the conflict of her love and cultural values.

Even more meaningful were the scenes in the Mandarin version that showed Lok Mei's 'dance with insanity' during the time she had to live in a world of lies after her marriage. It made the Cantonese version seem like a superficial account of Lok Mei and Hei Hin's tragic situation. I know it isn't very pleasant to see people forced into madness, but the input from those missing scenes really placed a whole new depth to storyline. It made it more real. I was really frustrated though, with Hei Hin's selfishness and the family's deceit. Firstly, it appeared that Hei Hin gained power and control with his pitifulness. He expected EVERYONE to sympathise with him, even when it was sooo obvious he was hurting/torturing Lok Mei. I mean, I can understand his depression and pain about his condition, but some his actions were really cruel. It was obvious he was leading Lok Mei on by giving her the 'hope' of a 'ghost husband' and then making her live through another experience of her husband's death when he decided to leave her again as Old Or. With the family's actions, I really can't comprehend how you can stand by and watch your own lies force a normal, healthy person into the frightening world of insanity, and still have the guts to say that you're only doing it for their own good. By telling Lok Mei those lies, the family were really taking advantage of her fragile emotions. Disillusion and dementia were really inevitable. It is also really frightening for Lok Mei too, because she had no control over her situation. It's not as if she would suspect her own mother or parents of her supposedly dead husband.

Oh, another unforgettable scene in the Mandarin version was when Lok Mei was painfully, softly, crying out her husband's name while leaning on Old Or/Hei Hin's helpful shoulder. This scene was sooooo beautifully ironic. Fancy pining for your husband when he is the very pillow under your cheek. (Yeah, yeah, I'm a weakling for mushiness. But it has to be meaningful and original! I can't stand cliche mushiness.)

I even think the Mandarin language sounds more appropriate for Qiong Yao dramas. Because its way more 'mannerly' than Cantonese, it gives romantic lines a whole wealth of meaning and depth. Cantonese seems a bit crude to me at times. I also have to have a dig at the choice of Cantonese voice for Lok Mei. The Cantonese Lok Mei sounded too old for a 17/18 year old girl. Also, the voice gave me an impression of a somewhat mean person when she was angry, and a hysterical person when she was grieving. Yue Ling's own voice is so unique. It sounds really pleasant and youthful, and totally appropriate for her part. Even when Lok Mei was near insane, I only ever got the impression that the actress was unspeakably sad and in emotional pain.

I also didn't know that there were two songs in Ghost Husband that was sung by the leading actor and actress. There is one that is sung by Yue Ling herself. This is a rather pretty song. I only ever heard the music to it in the Cantonese version. The lyrics make the song even more beautiful. I know Yue Ling is not a professional singer, but she does have a pretty voice. However, the effect of the song is really good, because it is basically a song about Lok Mei's tragic situation, and to have Lok Mei herself sing it is very meaningful.

Notes : This message was posted at Yue Ling Old Messageboard which was closed few months ago. Re-posted by Scarlett on 04 April 2002.

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