Monday, November 29, 2010

Rebuttal to Tse X Tai Bond Manifest

pix source
Tse X Tai Bond Manifest:  Tse and Tai share an immutable chemistry, whether as official and subordinate, friends or lovers
Great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ.
Oh, for the joyous meeting of like minds – be it likened to “water unto wine” or birds of a feather flocked together.

1. It should be noted that since young before his return to his backwater hometown, Tse has lived his life ensconced in a male dominated, academic setting. It can be inferred that he grew up in a genteel environment where intelligence and erudition were most priced above all things. But upon his return to Leung Choi county, he’s like a big fish confined in a small pond. Poetry recitation is all well and good for passing time, but he does have a lofty dream to pursue. In short, life in Leung Choi county is a bore. His stealing of his father’s precious jade bowl speaks volumes of his idleness, if not his boredom. Everyday he bugs his father to secure him an official post, so that he can begin the life he envisions. (Can’t understand why he didn’t sit for the civil service exam.) And when his father finally concedes, what did he get but a lowly post; to add insult to injury, he even acquires for him 5 dimwitted goons as bodyguards. Oh, the indignity.

Under such circumstance he meets Dai - finally someone possessing equal intelligence to his, if not higher, and glory be, sharing the same aspirations to boot; someone he can actually consider his counterpart in every aspect. Sexual attraction has nothing to do with their affinity; it’s the joy of finding a 知音 (soul mate), and the meeting of like minds.

2. Together, side-by-side, they will and did battle the wicked and fight for the meek and the weak, and make the world a better place. There is strength and safety in numbers and in unity; they are the unbeatable and unstoppable duo. (as opposed to the 4 musketeers Haha!) Their friendship grows out of mutual admiration, respect, and interdependency of each other, which is greatly intensified by shared hair-raising experiences and narrow escapes. They are bound by the very essence of all brotherhoods since time immortal; loyalty to each other, loyalty to friendship and loyalty to a shared vision. (e,g The Water Margins). So forsaking a friend in peril is unthinkable to this duo. Yes, there is love between them, brotherly love that is, not romantic love.

Indeed, Tse tears up quite easily whether in shock, in anger or in sorrow. (men in period dramas seem to tear up easily, e.g.the Legend of the 3 kingdoms.) He sheds copious tears of anger and anguish when confronting what he deems his friend’s mistrust and betrayal of their friendship over the latter’s identity. Likewise, Dai is upset at being wrongly accused by the one friend who he thought should know him better. How could Tse even for a minute think that badly of him. Again I see their angst over a lost friendship, not over love.

3. Tse is empathetic and sympathetic by nature as depicted throughout the series. On one hand, he is gratified to find out that his instinct was right all along, Official Dai is indeed his best friend. On the other hand, he is horrified that his best friend has had to mutilate himself and jeopardize his life so as to save him and his family. Oh, the crushing guilt and the overwhelming gratitude; unless he’s cold blooded, what hot-blooded men would not choke with emotion at such sacrifice?

That's all for now.
Tse cares deeply about his hair being black and shiny and conditioned, whatnot. Ancient metrosexuality, anyone? (Side note: Also, he allows his lackeys to wash his hair, massage his scalp, etc etc. Since when was hair care part of the package? o.O)

Tamaya:  I, too, earlier posted about Tse being metrosexual because of that very scene, but that was before I found out that the ritual is part of Tse’s tradition and lifestyle. As for having the goons washed his hair, I actually think it is more proper for male servants (valets or goons) to wash Tse’s hair than a maid, given the time period. Anyway, we are over analyzing a silly scene specifically filmed for eliciting cheap laughs. 

Blue Maniac:  But after thinking about it in the context, I think that Tse and Tai are soul-mates that the ancient days poems often talked about. Soul mates that have the same ideals, dreams. What more they have worked together to get rid of evil, so there is definitely a bond between them. Even a lover will not have that kind of bond. What we modern viewers can't understand is because we don't have the same definition as friends as those in ancient days. Ancient days people often talk of 'yi hei', the sense of loyalty to one's friend. What Tse was upset when Tai refused to admit was the person who had the same ideals, the same person who worked together with him against evil, the one person who understood him so well could actually lie and commit an offense just to save him. Guilt is one important aspect and especially for Tse who doesn't want others to get dragged down just because of him.

Tamaya: I think you hit the nail right on, especially with this insight: What more they have worked together to get rid of evil, so there is definitely a bond between them. Even a lover will not have that kind of bond. That we modern viewers can't understand is because we don't have the same definition as friends as those in ancient days. Ancient days people often talk of 'yi hei', the sense of loyalty to one's friend.

I will digress a little here to expand on your insight: In this days and age of technology advancement and internet revolution, loyalty to most things has slowly but steadily become archaic. 

Blue Maniac: I don't think loyalty is becoming archaic in this days just that we have different definition of it. And with individualism creeping into many societies even ours, soul-mate? What soul-mate? All I want is my own independence and I don't need anyone to have the same ideal as me and someone who understand me when I can have all the information I need around me. Present day mentality?

I have to applaud the writers because they have written the friendship between Tse and Tai so beautifully. Not much series have that focus on a beautiful friendship. 
 Not much series have that focus on a beautiful friendship.

carneliane: I think TVB has been trying to capitalize on the strong friendship between male leads in certain series, but it either comes off rather weak either due to poor chemistry between the actors, or tired ol' clichéd plotlines. (*cough* BrinkofLaw *cough*) TGC2 had what the others lacked: the Steven Ma-Wayne Lai combo, and a wonderfully fleshed out character for Tai, it's rather rare to have such a dimensional character in Cantonese serials. 

Blue Maniac: I'm going to be real biased (considering I have never watched BOL) by saying that it's really hard to write such a strong friendship between males without it screaming "gays" in a modern context. But Steven and Wayne are really the best people for the friendship since they have lot's of 'chemistry'. Even Wayne and Bosco's friendship in DD was nothing compared to Steven and Wayne.

I think there is nothing wrong in thinking a bit too far since series are out there in the open for us to interpret. And it's all done for fun so it's nothing serious. But if TVB still had the "Best Partnership" award, Steven and Wayne should get it despite the controversies it will generate. Looking from the series that are going to release this year, not much will be able to beat these two.

anyhow they do have this friendship bond that sometimes seem more like when Wayne got slapped steven kept trying to protect him. I thnk its really sweet, but its kinda strange cuz they just met. .... .Nii.K.Ki.
 Tamaya: About the slapping scene, Wong Sheung's reaction reminds me of Xiao Yen Zi's (HZGG) emotive reaction when Ziwei was slapped by Rong Mo Mo, but viewers thought nothing of it; they took that to be sisterly love. However, in the case of Wong Sheung's similar intense reaction to his friend's abuse, their friendship is questioned; god forbid that such intensity can exist in a platonic friendsip between men. Double standards, you betcha! 

well we can see how ruthless the older brother was so if tse was wrong and it's really the older brother than there's a high chance for death. i guess it's just me but no matter how good the chances are I definitely won't bet my family's life on it. hehe i'm not much of a gambler as you can tell. ...rulan

Tamaya: Aha! But Tse has never witnessed the wicked ways of Official Dai, only heard of them, from a disgruntled brother, no less. Alleged ruthlessness has less impact than seeing of actual deeds. What Tse saw before him was Official Dai looking, sounding and investigating like Old Master. Moreover, Tse is a person who puts lots of faith in his own gut’s feelings and instinct, and his gut’s feeling tells him that Official Dai is Old Master, period. So single mindedly certain he was of Official Dai's true identity, that he fears the latter might have killed his own brother for him. That’s how strong Tse’s belief is.

All these considerations might or might not have crossed Tse’s mind in the heat of confrontation, so consumed was he by roiling emotions of anger, fear and hurt. Totally losing his cool and behaving totally unlike his former coolheaded self, he recklessly throws caution to the winds and pleads with Official Dai to come clean with him -- yes, even to the extent of wagering his life and his clan’s, which in his mind, would never come to be, so confident was he of the wager outcome. So to Tse, gambling of lives is not in the equation at all. Anyway, at that moment, he wasn't thinking straight. Even in the face of evidence, he is still unshaken (well, maybe briefly) in his belief that Official Dai is Old Master.

That video not only showcased the friendship and personalities of Tse and Dai, but also the excellent peformance of the actors.

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