How Often Are You Willing To Journey Into Qiong Yao's World?
After reading this entry by Jole Cole, I am wondering is it really that worth it journeying back and forth into Chiung Yao's World or stories that somewhat follow her style? My first exposure to Chiung Yao's World was the 2001 version of Romance in the Rain prior to the 1986 version. While the 2001 version of Romance in the Rain wasn't all that bad but the 1986 version really had some issues. Worse, the novel has been pretty much a story focusing on what goes around comes around.
So much of the stories actually show what's wrong with Chinese culture back then compared to today. Even while watching the 2001 version of Romance in the Rain, it can be shown how double standard was common among men. The story involves Lu Zhen Hua who freely marries then divorces any woman he desires then later, he beats his latest wife Xue Qin up when he discovered she had an affair with a smuggler named Wei Guang Xiong. Even if Xue Qin's affair was not justifiable but she certainly had a point when she said that he's had so many women so why should she be faithful? It's a question of how Chinese society back then has a lot of people who demands respect for superiors but there's hardly any respect for subordinates.
Some of the synopsis in some of her novels really show how much crazy the typical Chinese family was in the past before China got modernized. You really have these people who only care too much about their reputation and wealth rather than character. You have a lot of "I'm the parent and I'm always right." running into the plots. You have a lot of chauvinism going on, you've got monster-in-law issues and the like. It's really where you feel like telling someone, "We're not in in ancient China anymore!" In the 2001 version of Romance in the Rain, I remembered the scenes of how Er Hao and Shu Huan repeatedly mention how times have already changed to Zhen Hua a man who's a prisoner of his past.
Fortunately, Chiung Yao also came out with not so sad to lighthearted novels or deviating from tragic endings such as "The Unforgettable Character" that even with all the tears, you still see a happy ending to it. Some of them have that level of engaging stories like "Princess Pearl". Princess Pearl may not be entirely all fun but it's really a much better trip than some of Chiung Yao's previous works. Some of them may have a sad beginning but you may get a good ending. "Yan Shuo Chong Lou" may be a sad story at first but in the end the heroine Meng Han meets her happy ending with marrying her second husband Yu Hang redeeming her from the abusive tradition of her time.
Even Romance in the Rain which started out as a novel full of tragedies (Spoiler: Shu Huan and Yi Ping never ended up together in the original novel) ended up getting a few changes from the author herself. Is it rightfully called an author's saving throw? During the 1986 version even if Ru Ping did commit suicide but we had Xiao Ji (a character who was merely mentioned in the 2001 version) who managed to stand by Meng Ping in spite of the tragedy. In the 2001 version, Ru Ping's suicide was entirely written off in favor of giving her a happy ending.
Before picking up another TV series that's based on Chiung Yao, I always ask myself the question, "How often are you willing to journey into Chiung Yao's world?"