My, How You’ve Grown!

I’ve been watching some old dramas and got unexpectedly warm and fuzzy inside when I recognized a few familiar faces among them. And I went, “Oh~~ They were so adorably cute!” I’m talking about the child actors. Some have grown up to take on leading roles, such as Wu Lei in Tomb of the Sea. Others are still playing younger versions of main characters. My moment of nostalgia inspired me to write about six young actors who made a strong impression on me in one drama or another, and I hope to see more of them in the future.

I’ll start the list with Bian Cheng, who I currently use as my profile pic. He completely won me over with his portrayal of teenage Luo Chi in Faithful to Buddha, Faithful to You. The farewell scene between Luo Chi and Ai Qing tugged my heartstrings to no end. I was choking with tears when he asked Ai Qing if he could go and find her in China. There was so much emotions contained in that small, hopeful question. And at a tender age of 12, he was able to to bring out all the layers with those soulful eyes of his.

Bian Cheng

Bian Cheng Name: Bian Cheng (边程)
DOB: August 6, 2004
Where have I seen you: Eagles and Youngsters; Faithful to Buddha, Faithful to You; Love O2O; Beauties in the Closet; Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace; Never Gone

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Song, you are the drama

May all the drama soundtracks in 2019 be as memorable and fitting as these are.

Xiang Long – Yi Sheng Zai Jian (A lifetime of goodbye) by Xu Fei.

Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace – Mei Xiang Ru Gu (The fragrance of plum is same as old) by Mao Buyi and Zhou Shen

Ashes to Love – Bu Ran (Unsullied) by Mao Buyi

Eternal Love – Liang Liang (Chilly) by Zhang Bichen and Aska Yang

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Xiang Long 降龙之白露为霜 Part 3

I really need a new addictive drama to get over my Lusheng x Dragon x Yaya obsession.

At the start of the drama, it seems impossible that Lusheng would ever consider Dragon a friend. Never mind BFF. He only wishes to leave the Long mansion in one piece and get on with his revenge. He doesn’t have the time nor the interest to be the playmate of Dragon-the-Giant-Toddler. But Dragon always manages some heartwarming gestures that makes Lusheng feel guilty for wanting to smack Dragon to the other side of universe.

Xiang Long
For those times you just want to sleep late and your obnoxious brother insists on waking you up.

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Xiang Long 降龙之白露为霜 Part 2

Xiang Long may have failed the Bechdel test but that doesn’t prevent me from loving the girls in this drama. Bai Lusheng and Dragon are two vastly different types of young men. Therefore, so shall the girls around them.
Xiang Long Xiang Long

Yaya, oh, my Yaya… She makes the world a better place. No, she makes the world a civilized place. As the #1 enforcer of Dragon’s thug incorporated, she implements his threats in a courteous and personable manner. Although she is kind and caring by nature, she is not made of marshmallow. Dragon’s personal maid has to be stronger than the toughest tough guy and yet unassuming as gentle flowing water. She exemplifies the quiet endurance of a traditional woman.
Xiang Long

Ailin is everything Yaya isn’t. She is an adopted daughter of a rich and powerful warlord. Pretty clothes, perfect makeup and social grace doesn’t cover up her chili pepper personality. She is smart, resourceful, and independent. She says what she means, and listens to no one except her own will. She is the very definition of a modern woman in the early 1900s.
Xiang Long

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Xiang Long 降龙之白露为霜 Part 1

Xiang Long Zhi Bai Lu Wei Shuang (降龙之白露为霜) aka. How to Tame a Dragon: Bai Lusheng’s Guide is about a fugitive, a servant girl, and a warlord 2.0 killing enemies with their pearly whites. Gun fights, dog fights, and bromance at its best.

Xiang Long

You know you got yourself a true bro if the guy is willing to take a bullet for you even when he feels like killing you himself. Long Xiang and Bai Lusheng are the truest of true bros. The queerbaiting doesn’t feel as intense thanks to the presence of Yaya, a girl who is soft like a mochi on the outside and tough as nails on the inside. I can pair these three people up in every which combination. I love them, warts and all.

Xiang Long Xiang Long

You know that complicated feeling of wanting your friends to get along then feeling jealously upset when they do…

Maybe it’s only me, but I really think guys with deep voice looked 5% hotter than they really are.

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Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace 如懿传

Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace (如懿传) is loosely based on the real life of Step-Empress Hoifa Nara (1718-1766). Her fallout with Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) is one of the greatest mysteries in Chinese history. It continues to baffle historians to this day. The fallout happened suddenly, brutally, and without prelude on one regular day during their 4th vacation trip to the south. From witness accounts of that fateful day, the Emperor and the Step-Empress were having a grand-ole-time together. There were no sign of marital trouble. But when dinner time came, she was nowhere to be found. It was only later that people discovered she was sent back to the Forbidden Palace in Beijing. Soon after, the Emperor rescinded all her privileges. While she still retained the title of Empress, she was treated like a minor concubine. When she died a year later, her funeral arrangement was that of a regular consort and not the grand ceremony for an Empress. On top of that, he never granted her son a rank, as customary for an Emperor and Empress’ adult son. And, her family line was demoted back to the Bordered Blue Banner. When the court officials protested the gross injustice, the Emperor angrily explained his harsh treatment stemmed from the Step-Empress losing her mental faculty and cutting off her hair during their vacation. And because of her degenerative mental state, he found her unfit to be the Empress of Qing Empire or to be buried next to him in the royal tomb.

Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace

In Manchurian custom, a woman cut off her hair when A) her husband died or B) her parent-in-law died. Since both were alive and kicking, her hair cutting was essentially a death curse on them. As a Manchurian royalty, she knew full well the repercussions of her blasphemous act. So the million dollar question is: Why did she cut off her hair?

Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace

Unless we can travel back in time and be the fly on their Imperial chamber wall, we will never know what actually happened in that fateful afternoon which made her publicly announced her wish for the Emperor and/or the Empress Dowager’s death. What mystified me is not her falling out of the Emperor’s favor but how the Emperor treated her afterwards. Why did the Emperor take away all her powers and privileges but keep her as the Empress, if only in name? Or why he kept her Empress title but adamantly refused to posthumously honored her and her son, which he was more than willing to do for other dead treasonous royalties? Or his attempts to obliterate the image of her from all the royal paintings?

If you don’t believe the Emperor’s BS about her cracking under the pressure of being an Empress, then RRL can offer you one possible explanation.

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My Prague vacation

When people said Prague in Czech Republic is easy to get around, they weren’t kidding. Their public transit is super easy to navigate. Between the metro, the tram, and the bus, I was able to see most of the city in the 3 days that I was there.

While their transit is awesome, buying the transit ticket is not. It’s about the most frustrating thing I have ever done. We had planned to use our credit card to buy the bus ticket from the airport to the city. But the damn machine asked me for a pin which I didn’t have. When my friend tried hers, it simply refused to process. So we were forced to withdraw money from the airport ATM. After trying unsuccessfully to pay with cash for the gazillion time, we realized that the machine only accepted the exact change. It can’t be 40 kc. It has to be 32 kc. The most frustrating thing was ALL the stores refused to break the bills for us because we didn’t buy/use/exchange money at their place. Ugh. Finally, we resorted to begging our fellow travelers if they had 2 kc to spare. One European lady took pity on us and paid our tickets with her credit card. God bless her beautiful heart. Once we got to our hotel, we were exhilarated to find out that we could buy tickets directly from the concierge. With our credit cards. Yay!

The next shocker was buying water (voda). Who knew? My past experience in Italy informed me that European countries loved their carbonated water. At least way more than Americans. So we were very careful to select one that that was not bubbly, but the odds were against us. Because we were two illiterate country bumpkins. On our second try, a friendly store clerk lifted the mystery for us. Their country’s water bottles have three colors: The bubbly red. The less bubbly green. The non-bubbly blue. If you don’t like carbonated water, go for the naturale blue.

The next morning, armed with a 24-hour unlimited ticket (110 kc), we set out to explore the city.
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