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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Little Nyonya

Posted by Aik at 7:44 AM 0 comments
Are you familiar about the Peranakan culture and its origin? It is said that many years ago, when a princess from China was betrothed to a Malay sultan here, she brought along few hundred maids and they eventually married the Malay men here. Their descendants were known as Baba and Nyonya.


The Little Nyonya (Chinese: 小娘惹) is a 34-episode drama serial which debuted on 25 November 2008 in Singapore.

Synopsis:

The story spans over 70 years, from the 1930s till the present day.

Huang Juxiang is born into a large Peranakan family where her mother is a mistress. She is gentle, beautiful and a fantastic cook. Due to a serious illness when she was 9 years old, Juxiang becomes a deaf-mute. Because of her handicap, she is ostracized by people. Right before the Japanese Occupation in Singapore, she is forced to marry Charlie Zhang, a rich Peranakan, and become his mistress. Juxiang resists the marriage and runs away from home. She then meets Yamamoto Yousuke, a young Japanese photographer, and after overcoming many obstacles, they finally get married and Juxiang gives birth to a daughter Yueniang. During the World War, Juxiang is injured and both she and her husband die, leaving behind their 8-year-old daughter.

The orphaned Yueniang eventually walks to her grandfather's house on her own. Her grandmother rejoices for her presence. Under the supervision of her grandmother, she learns to cook Peranakan dishes and sewing. She grows up looking exactly like her mother and is exceptionally beautiful. After the war, her maternal relatives who ran away to England to seek refuge there returned home. Yueniang ends up leading the life of her mother – always discriminated against, beaten up and tortured. She puts up with all these in order to protect her grandmother.

Yueniang's pretty looks incurs jealousy from her cousin and attracts the attention of many rich Peranakans. However, she only has eyes for penniless driver Chen Xi. Chen Xi actually comes from an educated and wealthy family. Yueniang's kindness, purity and persistence move Chen Xi and he falls deeply in love with her, and hides his identity to be with Yueniang. Unfortunately, their relationship is filled with many obstacles and difficulties. Under pressure from his family, Chen Xi is forced to marry Yueniang's cousin instead. Yueniang is then sold to a butcher, Liu Yidao. Many things happen after this and it is revealed that the Huangs use misunderstandings and mistakes for granted and resort to off-board measures.

Yueniang is unwilling to accept the fact that her life is always manipulated by others and decides to end her own life. Yueniang's strong personality impresses Liu Yidao and they become sworn siblings instead. Yueniang decides to choose her own path in life. She begins learning how to run a business and in the process, she is framed and ousted from her business. Despite the odds, she manages save her declining family business. Sadly, her love life has yet to begin a new chapter with no news about her love interest, Chen Xi.

My comments:

I have to admit that I love this movie, which is full of twists and turns. The Baba and Nyonya culture really fascinates me. Their traditional beaded slippers, culinary skills, mouth-watering dishes and pantun really makes me proud that they actually exist in Malacca, Malaysia. I really hoped that Yueniang and Chen Xi can marry and live happily ever after, but they did not. Albeit there are some loopholes, this is still, undeniably, one of the best dramas I've ever watched, besides Dae Jang-geum.

My "crazy" sister watched 15 episodes a day. Can you imagine it? 15 hours sitting in front of the TV/laptop!



*You must watch this great drama! I promise you will LOVE it!

Download link for The Little Nyonya Drama Theme Song piano sheet - Like the Swallow (如燕). *All credits to Ah Doe

《如燕》
词曲:陈佳明
编曲:Terence Teo

愿意合上眼才能美梦无边
别让悔熏乌了从前
也许碎片才能让回忆展颜
何妨瓷花拼凑明天

谁带我寻获幸福的模
却自己谜中困锁
谁为我留下缱绻的天涯
信物是抹晚霞

Chorus:
思念如燕它飞舞舌尖
若是真爱配尝几分苦甜
意念婆娑时间里推磨
追随到何处才结果

燕如针线在青空缝编
几幅女红将以泪缀点
誓言斑驳情雾只是经过
风雨中且让我盈步婀娜
 

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