天地民心 Tian Di Min Xin/ The Hearts of the Citizens

This is my virgin LJ post *blush*.  I decide to finally jolt down what piques my interests any given moment and sends me to couple seconds to hours of OMFG raptures. lol

ATM I’m watching 天地民心 for multiple reasons: the obvious one is my loverboy Yuan Hong, but I’m also a serious book-owning fangirl of writer Zhu XiuHai 朱秀海 of 乔家大院(Qiao’s Grand Courtyard :my absolute favorite historical Cdrama).  The most decisive one is my folks are visiting and they are addicted to CCTV8 historical dramas.  I love them to bits and installed some Chinese satelliteTV thingy (which maybe illegal…) for them to get their CCTV fix.

The hero of the drama is scholar Qi Jun Zao (祁隽藻). Story is set in the mid Qing Dynasty, at the brink of its devastating decline. He lasted 4 emperors and was the tutor of 3 of them. Anything Qing dynasty is my thing, (in essence it’s a colonial rule parallel in my silly head HK had under the British and now the PRC), let alone that exact time of the Qing dynasty when it’s a pressure cooker erupting: Manchu (a minority, as foreign, culturally as the ‘blond blue eyes’ ) is ruling the majority Han populace, ethnically segregated, prosperity and stability weighed ridiculously heavily on a competent authoritative government which did miraculously existed and lasted for almost 3 emperors’ (a century in real time) long. Widely considered great rulers, they emphasized reading and scholarly pursuits for heirs, understanding and assimilating as much as possible the Han Chinese culture. Alas, at the turn of the 19th century, the Qing emperors are getting more and more impotent by advancement of age and each subsequent succession, officials getting increasingly corrupted by the day, the bad weaning out the good, civilian rebellions in regions farthest fr the central government have been time bombs seeded fr the previous Ming dynasty, the West are crackling at the Qing’s isolationist policy, wanting their piece in the lucrative trade. The West eventually got way more than they bartered for in colonies.

I’m fr HK, which essentially has 170 years or so of bookable history, the whole colonization of that quiet tiny fishing town, with the ‘Hong’ in the Kong meaning ‘fragrant’, ie the Chinese *wink* polite way of saying a stinky shxthole in 1841 fascinates me to no end, I was schooled in a Girls’ school that was founded in 1860 by a Bishop’s wife for orphans and ‘destitute’ Chinese girls. I had to thank 2 Opium wars, an unfair treaty and brutal occupation stemming from greed for my education. Occupied by the Japanese during WW2, there are still remnants of war w/in my school walls, sprouting numerous ghost stories we’re fascinated w/ as schoolgirls…the exact walls being torn down and build anew at this very moment to my HORREUR. Heritage conservation consciousness in HK (I can extrapolate to the greater China)is used toilet paper thin. I digress.

But this drama is right at the dawn before these tumultuous  storms. The emperor is still casually, comfortably pondering what to do w/ the foreigners his court is looking down on as barbarians in the beginning episodes. But nth is casual in how cutthroat (no pun intended) life is for the Han scholars working just under the emperor’s roof whom only way of life, climbing up of the social ladder or earning a measly living is to get a post in the forbidden city through rigorous studying, competitive public exams…yet all can end tragic w/ a word you spoke, a friend or foe you had or just merely existing when ur head is an emperor’s ‘nay’ or ‘yay’ whichever way his wind blows. The young Qi JunZao (played by my loverboy Yuan Hong) is a child prodigy who would’ve a Mensa membership before he’s legal if born this century. He’s the 5th son of a middle class Han scholarly family, with couple generations of well respected virtuous government officials preceding him. We met the happy family at a dinner all giggly and that can only mean shit hits fan SOON. YIKES. Tragedy strikes the Qi family and his best bud’s, the Peng family (fared way worst… *sigh*) and he’s hardened, jaded and soured to the whole idea of studying stringed to the life goal: get a post in the court, and ‘serve the citizens’.

He screwed that and tried out being a farmer,

then a stable boy,

apprenticing under another jaded scholar who has abandoned his books conveniently in the stable JunZao is crashing in. We then follow JunZao through his trepidations, how he eventually becomes a revered scholar having an influential power to shape the minds of 3 emperors to boot. Sounds simple enough (and cliched) but it is tightly, gloriously directed w/ impeccable acting. Simple scenes that pull punches. At ep 6, I sobbed many times already.

Only gripe, the voiceover of the old, full of histrionic JunZao should not be used as liberally.

This is not for fangirl droolzing (or a big maybe?) This half bald long braid look do scare off 99% of hair loving fangirl. (If nth else to be proud of I’m one stubborn, unwavering fangirl!) I actually do dig this look on guys I find very attractive and has that sophisticated, scholarly air to carry it.

Or better yet trap him in middle of gorgeous billowing willow field, and him turning his head slowmo towards camera ie moi ❤ yeah

OR even better, make him kneel in rain, soaking wet and insert kid brother.

Oh, I do get a lovely heartbreaking OTP in fangirly scenes w/ TOUCHING and HUGS! (OT3 if by me: both Peng Huai Yi (JunZao’s bestbud) and girl1 Fu Lun Jin (Princess Han Dai) ❤ JunZao, I’m a bromance fiend).

It begs for capping when I have time. I just want to put this out somewhere in the stratosphere because this drama will never ever be subbed, it’s also never designed to appeal to a broader audience. It’s main goal to achieve is appease the wrath of scholars and historians and be as historically accurate as possible with insanely solid acting and an unlimited government-subsidized budget. I’ve read numerous raves of Yuan Hong’s performance, but there will be no milking it, it’s all pre-produced, he’ll only be in the first 18 episodes of the 40. 😦

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