Tamaya: I've just finished re-watching Safe Guards for the n times. Incredibly, I still had this urge to 'chase' the story. Sorry to say, but Steven didn't look as good here as in his other Qing series. But Sheung Chi's charisma, his steel of nerves and his indomitable spirit just jumped right out at me. And then contrast all that with his tenderness towards his mother and Ah Fung. And with his shyness when dating Ah Fung - his unsureness and bashfulness suddenly struck me that Ah Chi is really still a young man despite his maturity. Even if I say so myself, Steven is absolutely wonderful at portraying his character's tenderness and protectiveness toward the woman he loves and to think it was just an act.
Akazukin: Safeguards is a really good series (minus some minor parts, it can be perfect). That's it with Lee Tim Sing's series, maybe not all, but for SG, SITS, RB, and SOD, I had the urge to 'chase' the story when I rewatch it too. And SG and RB also have the advantage of having Cheung Wah Biu as the scriptwriter, who is really good in writing climax and emotional scenes with 'golden phrases'.
I think Steven still looks good in SG, I especially like his costume after he got married. But I agree with you, he definitely looks better with his head shaved for Ching costume. Sheung Chi's charisma is undeniable and can't be ignored, he really charmed me throughout the series. But I have a rather different opinion about his attitude towards romance, well, not totally different but slightly. I think his mature thinking shone through all the way he was handling the romance aspect of his life. To me, the start of his romantic relationship was based on logical thinking. In the beginning, his romance with Ah Fung started because he was advised by his parents that he had approached the age of marriage and that they promoted Ah Fung to him. It also happened that he knows that Ah Fung is a good girl and will be a good wife and he was told that she cared about him and loved him. Based on this, he finds that Ah Fung is not a bad choice at all and allowed himself to nurture his feelings. He may have liked Ah Fung at the time the parents raised the question, but in my opinion, it wasn't a romantic feeling until they told them that she loved him.
He was shy when making the first move, but I think this has to do with his (conservative) righteous spirit rather than just 'being young'. He knows that to win a girl's heart, he will have to do some love tricks (which he did with the sunglasses thing) or basically flirt, but he also knows such tricks don't fit perfectly with a noble man (the serious and loyal type) is supposed to behave, even though it's harmless. So he was shy. But he also knows that if he doesn't do anything, their relationship will never develop and they will just continue to watch the boring stageplays. That's why he did it.
I also admit his shyness has to do with his inexperience in romance. But whether inexperienced=young, then I have some reservation. I think even a middle-aged man can be shy if he is inexperienced in romance too (whether it is a nice scene to see is another matter). But no doubt Sheung Chi is a young man, his appearance is enough to show it. But whether his youth shows because of the romance, I have some reservations. Later, when Fung's parents were against their relationship, he also handled it very maturely. He didn't just give up, but he didn't try to force them, all he did was to talk senses to the parents and find the real solution to the problem (by finding Fung's registered husband). He also didn't give up to write encouragements to her. I think all these showed his maturity and a great sense of responsibility. Later, when his father disagreed that Fung be his only wife, he again talked senses to the parents. He was mature enough to consider Fung's feelings, he was mature enough to weight against all the disadvantages if he married two just to satisfy his father's pride, which is not even going to matter if no one knows about it. That's all a sign of maturity. Anyone lacking mature thinking may not be able to do that, in my opinion.
And of course, Steven is always so wonderful in tender scenes, he is very wonderful in heroic scenes too, or comedic scenes. Anyway, that's why I said he is versatile, LOL. One of my most memorable scenes in SG is when he persuaded his mother to stop starving herself because Sheung Chung is not a leading material and making him lead will just danger his life. What a touching scene absolutely well acted out.
But I think you didn't mean that he was childish either. My point is even in the romance aspect, he is still a very mature young man, nevertheless.
Tamaya: But let me elaborate on that innocuous observation of mine.
And with his shyness when dating Ah Fung - his unsureness and bashfulness suddenly struck me that Ah Zhi is really still a young man despite his maturity.
First of, never would I dare use the word ‘childish’ on Sheung Chi…a lightning might strike me for uttering such blasphemy ! Lol! Second, I was referring to those scenes beginning with their 1st date to when Ah Fung divulge her marital status.
Third, Sheung Chi’s maturity is never in question here. But in the dating scenes, I suddenly sense his ‘youthfulness’ which has been until now successfully concealed, if not buried under his cloak of maturity. It seems like Sheung Chi was born mature, with an old soul. The only time when he displayed a childlike behavior, it was brutally beaten out of him. True, people tend to mature earlier in the olden days, but Sheung Chi, always more mature than his real age in actual years, did not have the luxury to be ‘young’. Responsibility was thrust onto him from young, then leadership, and later greatness too was thrust upon him. But during those few dating scenes, the audience was given a peek at a ‘young’ Sheung Chi out on a date, for once without his burden of responsibility, or his mantle of leadership or his aura of greatness to come, all of which have greatly ‘aged’ him. Look at the way how the 'young' Sheung Chi lounges on the seat cracking a peanut, his bored look, his shy smiles, and his 'youthful' awkwardness. A relaxed Sheung Chi twiddling his thumbs, (figuratively) feeling out of his element and depth but sticking it out anyway. Reminiscent how a child fidgets during a boring interminable sermon in a church. Sheung Chi shy? – well, he has such shy and bashful smiles when talking to Ah Fung – maybe he isn’t really shy just that those smiles were. But he was definitely awkward like a typical young man (of his times i.e ) on his first date. I find those scenes so endearing and sweet, so reminiscent of first love, and Sheung Chi acting like any young man in similar situation.
For the first time, Sheung Chi feels another person’s total and wholly affection just for himself unlike his parents’ love which is conditional and leftover at best. But Ah Fung loves him for himself not for what he can do for her. This kind of love is potent to a man who has been an outsider throughout his whole life. He has never until now experienced the full love from another person. Ah Fung draws out the youthful playfulness in him. Sheung Chi playing the fool with a pair of blackened glasses? Sheung Chi, no way! but he did.
Sheung Chi’s maturity in thinking and behavior can’t be denied, in fact, it is so palpable it not only permeates his whole being, but also swathed it, so much so, one (at least I) tend to forget that underneath the maturity mantle, he is young in actual years.