Mum suckered me into watching another drama called The Little Nyonya (小娘惹)!! 这次爸爸和哥哥也跟着看
I wasn’t meant to start another drama until I watched Avatar: The Last Airbender which R gave me, True Blood (s1) that I got off J, and lets not think about all the Taiwan and Korean Drama my cousin gave me!!... But… but I hardly ever watch Singaporean Drama (我好像只看过一套）and the reference to Malaysian-Singaporean (or should I say overseas Chinese?) history aroused my curiosity.
The storyline spans over 70 years from the 1930s to the present day, involving four generations of a big family…The deaf and mute Juxiang (Jeanette Aw) is a mistress in a large Peranakan family, who flees from home to marry a Japanese photographer named Yamamoto Yousuke (Dai Yang Tian). After their deaths during World War II, their beautiful daughter Yueniang (also Jeanette Aw) stays with her grandmother (Xiang Yun), who teaches her the fine Peranakan art of cooking and sewing. Yueniang’s beauty and culinary skills soon attract many rich suitors, but she only has eyes for Chen Xi (Qi Yuwu), a penniless driver…
*Peranakan (or “Baba-Nyonya”) refers to the descendents of early Chinese immigrants in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, where “Baba” means men and “Nyonya” women.
Although at it’s core is a love story (I’m such a sucker for love stories) what I enjoyed the most is the insight into the Peranakan culture, it really helps me appreciate what I have and be grateful that mum doesn’t nag me any more than she does when it comes to traditions, greetings, face, dining and social etiquitte etc. It also helps me put into perspective where my grandparents are coming from when they say or do certain things – it’s amazing how much can change in just a couple of generations.
The other thing which got me hooked onto the show was the constant cooking! It just makes me drool at all the yummy Malaysian food that just don’t quite taste the same here down under.
Just like any other movie or drama series, there’s also a few quirks which The Little Nyonya (小娘惹) has… Besides the unrealistic outcomes (ie. Yueniang talking her way out of everything) and faults in acting (which weren’t actually too bad), there’s only a couple of major qualms I have with the drama.
Who did she marry?
This one really bugs me because the show heavily suggests that Yueniang and Paul get married, even saying how her child became a lawyer (like Paul). But if this is the case, her granddaughter (Angela) must be really slow and really thick for even thinking that she is biologically the granddaughter of Yueniang and Paul? Just show me a Eurasian who looks completely Asian and I’ll take this remark back.
If I swear celibacy, will I be Super Granny?
TaoJie at 90+yrs wasn’t senile or bed-ridden, and she was still strong enough to serve (and out-live) her mistress and mistress’ daughter all these years. That’s impressive! Not only can you be Super Granny, you also don’t have to deal with all the headaches and heartaches that life throws in your face or have the life of diaper changer/chauffeur/maid etc.
Were/Are people really like that?
The character of Yueniang gets on my nerves because she is always on the moral high ground. Even after her biological family disowns her, treats her worse than a servant, physically and verbally abuse her, kills her Mama, locks her up, attempt to kill her several times, sold her Nya to cruel man, constantly slanders her Mama, Nya and herself etc etc (the list can go on).
It’s especially difficult when the ‘bad characters’ are worse than bad, they’re just pure evil. I excused the Huang kids and Robert Zhang as mentally unstable – the Huangs because they’re inbred and Robert because he has Charlie as a father. Still, it seemed like everyone else was just pure corrupt… What a twisted and scary world we live in!
*End Spoiler Warning*
Like many of the drama series I’ve seen, there’s many discrepencies in The Little Nyonya, but I have to say that it’s a lot better than TSCC (boy were there lots of dodgy loopholes in that series!). I’m quite surprised at how good the show turned out despite my low expectation