A group of Hong Kong residents and a group of mainlanders fought in front of a bag shop in a street in Hong Kong, throwing water, bottles, milk powder and even bags, till the police came and they dispersed. But don't get scared. It's only a scene from a new TVB serial called Inbound Troubles (Laobiao, Ni Hao Ye).
Inbound Troubles stands out among other TVB serials of our time for incorporating realistic topics. By telling the story of two cousins, the comedy reflects the cultural differences between Hong Kong and the mainland. But the show's characters have caused opposition from both sides with some people saying the show brings shame on them.
"We were thinking about a comedy when the conflict between mainlanders and Hong Kongers became headline news, so we put it in," Wong Wai-sing, executive producer of the show explained to the media, "But we don't mean to satirize any side."
The cousins of Inbound Troubles are Cai Xin and Ng Ka-yee. They had never met until Cai went to Hong Kong. Cai is from Dongguan, Guangdong Province and he goes to Hong Kong to pursue his dream of becoming a singer. Cai's cousin Ng is a Hong Kong native who owns a travel agency and relies on the fat wallets of mainland visitors for his livelihood.
Cai feels the cultural clash many times the minute he sets foot in Hong Kong. And a series of troubles happen around the two cousins highlighting the differences between Hong Kong and mainland people. But finally Cai and Ng manage to adapt to each other and Cai successfully blends into the local life.
Cai's image as a mainlander includes scenes of him parking illegally, running a red light and littering. Ng is shown persuading the mainlanders to shop more just so he can make more money.
Though a comedy, the show includes many realistic topics. The notorious incidents that happened last year were incorporated in the show, such as the "D&G incident" caused by mainlanders who took photos in front of Hong Kong's famous shop, and the "tour guide Zhen incident" in which a Hong Kong tour guide forced mainland tourists to shop and cursed at them for not spending enough.
One scene shows a group of Hong Kongers singing the "Locust" song in which they belittled mainlanders who go to Hong Kong to purchase milk powder or come to give birth to babies only to establish the child's residency there.
"It is rare to see such a realistic TVB show," Shao Jingjing, a drama critic, told the Global Times, "It is a bold attempt and a breakthrough."
She said that the production of the show is average, lacking subtle descriptions of interpersonal relationships, but she added that she needs to "watch the whole show to evaluate it properly."
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