Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Portrait of Home

Portrait of Home is a Chinese language drama which was filmed for and broadcast on Singapore's MediaCorp in 2005.

The show has 100 episodes telecast in two segments, the first with 60 episodes and the second with 40 episodes. Part 1 was aired from 16 May 2005 to 15 August 2005 while part 2 was aired from 11 October 2005 to 5 December 2005. It stars veteran Hong Kong actress Lee Sze Kei who acted in ''A Kindred Spirit'', Richard Low, Adrian Pang in his first attempt in a Chinese speaking series, Pierre Png, Xiang Yun, Cynthia Koh, Felicia Chin, Apple Hong, San Yow, Terence Cao, Cavin Soh, Zhang Yaodong, Zhang Wenxiang, Chen Shucheng, Priscelia Chan, Jesseca Liu and Wang Yuqing.


Part 1

Fishball factory Tong Xin Yuan is a successful local business, with thriving sales in both Singapore and overseas. But behind the company lies a dark mystery.

The founder of Tong Xin Yuan, Zhou Dong , married a beautiful factory worker Li Tian many years ago. They had three sons – Dadi , Dashan and Daqiu . Zhou Dong disappeared after a kidnap attempt went awry; not even his body was found.

Without the master around, a faithful worker in Tong Xin Yuan, Lin Shitou took up the task of overlooking the factory. Three years later, Shitou married Li Tian and had another 3 sons – Dahai , Dayang and Dajiang . From then on, rumours abound that Shitou killed Zhou Dong and usurped both his factory and wife.

Tong Xin Yuan grew tremendously under Shitou and Li Tian’s management, and all six sons receive the same treatment. Li Tian, in an effort to let her children remain close by her side for as long as possible, as well as to encourage them to love and support each other, built a block of apartments with seven units inside. She lives in one of the units with her husband, with the remaining six units planned for her children. They may move into their unit only after marriage, and if they should choose not to move in, they will automatically forfeit all rights to the unit. Li Tian has even set a family regulation that no matter how busy each family member is, everyone has to turn up at her unit for a meal at least once a week.

Six half-brothers, each with their own peculiarities, often rub each other the wrong way. All of them work at the fishball factory with the exception of Dahai and Dajiang who is still in university.

Amongst the six sons, Dadi has the strangest temperament and is still single. He is nicknamed the Mad Man, and is secretly in love with their factory supervisor Xiuhua who is a few years older than him. Unaware of his feelings, Li Tian and Xiuhua select a Vietnamese bride Ruan Mian for Dadi, putting Dadi in an awkward position.

Dashan had a sad past in his youth, falling into despair after witnessing the death of his beloved girlfriend. He fell into bad company and started taking drugs. Upon release from the drug rehabilitation centre, he meets cunning Su Haitang who bears a great resemblance to his deceased girlfriend. He would have fallen into Haitang’s trap if not for the appearance of the kind-hearted Yang Qin.

The scheming Daqiu married a shrewd Baozhu . He constantly plots to take over Tong Xin Yuan but all his attempts fail. In contrast, his honest and straightforward brother Dayang marries Baozhu’s sincere younger sister Baobei . The two work hard to earn an honest living. Despite frequent efforts by Daqiu and his wife to put them down, Heaven seems to be watching out for Dayang and Baobei as they succeed in their lives.

Dahai marries a young lady from a wealthy family, Gao Jimei . He goes against his mother's wishes by doing so and even moves into Jimei's household. Through his wife, he gets to know Fyn who has turned up for revenge, thereby putting both Jimei and his life in unnecessary danger.

Da Jiang is still in university. He changes girlfriends constantly and harbours no great ambitions.

How do Dadi, Dashan and Daqiu feel about their father Zhou Dong’s mysterious disappearance? Shitou wishes to hand Tong Xin Yuan over to Zhou Dong’s flesh and blood Daqiu, but Li Tian objects vehemently.

Daqiu schemes to take back Tong Xin Yuan, unite his two brothers, and chase Shitou and sons out of the family. The family is turned topsy-turvy furthermore when the supposedly deceased Zhou Dong suddenly turns up!

Part 2

The story from the last serial continues… Daqiu accidentally wounds Shitou and the latter slips into unconsciousness. Li Tian’s dementia becomes more serious and Daqiu makes use of the opportunity to take over Tong Xin Yuan. Following the departure of both Ruan Mian and Xiuhua , Dadi shows little interest in life. During this period, Tong Xin Yuan and the Zhou family have undergone tremendous changes.

Shitou’s injury proves fatal, and he dies. Dahai , Dashan , Xiuhua and company all rush back to attend his funeral. When they learn how Daqiu has taken advantage of Li Tian’s unclear state of mind to cheat her into signing over the family’s wealth and property, they decide to bring him to court.

Li Tian’s health shows little progress. As he is afraid that Li Tian’s ill health will affect the outcome of the hearing, Daqiu forbids Xiuhua and company to contact Li Tian. Dadi accidentally stumbles upon Li Tian’s diary which provides a detailed account of her illness. As this is an important source of evidence, it soon has all the stakeholders scrambling to lay a hand on it. A long drawn-out legal battle ensues with the unscrupulous Daqiu getting the upper hand, and he succeeds in acquiring control of both Tong Xin Yuan and the Zhou family estate.

After Jimei left without a word, Fyn tries ways and means to get closes to Dahai, even to the extent of pretending that she has pre-natal blues. Dahai feels entrapped and miserable, especially when he fails to locate Jimei. As Xiuhua needs to take care of Li Tian, she comes into frequent contact with Dadi. Their feelings for each other deepen. Just when Dadi decides to start afresh with Xiuhua, Ruan Mian suddenly turns up. Ruan Mian has become a beautician, and is being courted by a suave and wealthy businessman, Parry . Dadi’s feelings for Ruan Mian are re-kindled after meeting her again.

In order to train Dayang to be more independent, Baobei looks up a job for him. Under Baobei’s painstaking tutelage, Dayang excels in his work performance. This earns him the wrath of Shaodong who tries to malign Dayang. However, Dayang not only emerges unscathed, eventually he even manages to set up a small eatery with Baobei. The feelings between Dayang and Baobei deepen.

After taking over the reins of Tong Xin Yuan, the ambitious Daqiu plans to expand his business overseas. With the help of Li Fa’s daughter, Xinmin, Daqiu pours in huge capital to set up a food and beverage business with a rich Chinese businessman, Shi Nuo Bi. Not knowing that this is a business scam concocted by Xinmin and her cohorts to cheat him, Daqiu who has fallen for Xinmin, ignore the well-meaning advice of his family members and liquidates his assets, including mortgaging Tong Xin Yuan and the family estate to raise funds. As for Baozhu, she takes up a lover Bai Yingjun. Although outwardly they are still a couple, Daqiu and Baozhu begin leading separate lives.

Zhou Dong who has disappeared for the past 20 years, suddenly turns up. However, he is reserved towards his ex-wife, Li Tian and his own sons. His present wife, Jiang Ling also makes an appearance, and even moves into the Zhou residence. Conflict soon ensues between Jiang Ling and Li Tian. Zhou Dong gives little regard to family ties and is set to emigrate to Australia. As such, he asks Daqiu for money. Daqiu is put off by Zhou Dong’s attitude, especially when the latter uses Li Tian’s diary to threaten Daqiu. Father and son reach a standoff.Daqiu bribes Jiang Ling to get him the diary and she agrees,but she only manages to get a photograph of Zhou Dongwith the real Zhou Dong.A struggle ensues as they both vie for the photograph and Zhou Dong accidentally pushes Jiang Ling onto an ivory tusk,piercing through her heart and killing her.Li Tian has seen everything but with her unclear state of mind,does not realise she has just witnessed a murder.She comes out of the kitchen and starts nudging Jiang Ling's body,not knowing she is dead,urging the body to wake up.She realises her hands are smudged with blood and is disgusted.At this moment Xiuhua and the rest come home and take in the scene before them.Zhou Dong rushes out of his room and then frames Li Tian for it.Li Tian is soon hauled off to the police station for questioning.

As a result of Daqiu’s inept management, Tong Xin Yuan falls into the hands of Xinmin.Eventually,she sells Tong Xin Yuan away to a buyer,who unexpectedly turns out to be Dashan.But since Dashan was killed before he could return to Singapore,Yang Qin becomes the new owner.She then returns to Singapore and gives Tong Xin Yuan back to the family.


In Star Awards 2005, ''Portrait of Home'' received 6 nominations and 2 awards. Cavin Soh won the Best Supporting Actor award and Yvonne Lim won the Best Supporting Actress award.

Adrian Pang was nominated for Best Actor, but lost to Chen Hanwei. Cynthia Koh was nominated for Best Actress, but lost to Huang Biren. Jesseca Liu was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, but lost to Yvonne Lim. The show was also nominated for Best Drama Serial, but lost to ''''.

1 comment:

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