Invincible Shan Bao Mei 10: The Turning Point

A long, long time ago, there was a boy and his father. They loved each other very much. But before the dad could watch his son grow old and the son watch his dad grow older, this little boy’s father was washed away and washed out of the boy’s life forever. It’s not until many years later did the boy finally receives the unreceived gift from his old man.

But before long, even this gift was smashed into pieces…

JJ Lin’s Dark Warrior, from his Sixology album:

“There is nothing that can’t pass, as long as you remember to smile.” — Cheng Xiao Shi‘s famous motto that formulated the basis for her even more famous Smiling Pasta, is going to be the first of three tricks that the kidnap dummy pair plan to employ in order to stimulate Sun Wu Di into normalcy. (Where normalcy in this case entails being mean, cranky, egotistic, and fastidious. 😀 )

The logic behind the first trick, the so called Smiling Lunch Box is to discourage Wu Di into giving up the life of a vagabond by presenting him with awful tasting, expired lunch boxes. Since Wu Di’s exceedingly sensitive taste bud is advertised to be just as widely acclaimed as Dae Jang Geum‘s, he is sure to detect and detest the disgusting food he must endure as a hobo. A change in behavior is sure to be observed in order to avoid the aversive stimulus of the repugnant food. (Does positive punishment light a bulb?)

Good try, but it didn’t work.

Don’t sweat, the dummy pair has trick número dos ready, in case número uno fails. (Which it did.)

Trick two is code named Bull Fight Handicap, Yes or No. How does it work? Well, first, the two dummies were to take Wu Di to see a man with disability who works hard for a living. The handicapped man is supposed to inspire and shame Sun Wu Di into doing something about his life rather than wandering aimlessly on the streets.

So how did the plan go? Well, well, well. Sun Wu Di squinted his eye at this man who claims to be deaf, blind, AND half paralyzed but knows how to plug in wires to hook up a large speaker and make random gestures of what we should buy in as sign language. (*rolls eyes* real sign language is both expressive and beautiful.) Not another second of scrutinize wasted, Sun Wu Di walks up and grabs the charity money this fraud has collected from sympathizers, thus enraging and consequently exposing the lack of physically impairment of this physically impaired man.

Seems like plan B fails too.

That’s okay. There’s always plan C.

This one is straight forward. Let fate decide. Using the money Wu Di took (by brute force) from the fraud, buy a decent meal, beer included (totally giving up on plan Smiling Lunch Box now). After a semi decent feast, play truth or dare truth by rolling the empty beer bottle. (Now you see why beer is so important? Ah right, we need it to communicate with a supreme power.)

So the plan is in action, only fate decides to have a little fun, just as it intervened with Ji Cun Xi and Chen Xin Yi‘s formally separated lives. (Er, no, we’re not having our little gay moment here, despite what the post- photoshop promotional posters may suggest. Although…)

The first question to the game is: what is the most regretted thing you’ve done? The bottle on the table finds the direction Dummy #1 sits and orients itself towards him. #1 drops his jaw. The rule is the rule. Half unwillingly, he laments wasting his youth joining a gang. When he’s finally done bemoaning the twists and turns of destiny, a second round of bottle spinning ensues. Annnnnnd the bottle choses… dummy #1. He points a finger at the bottle and yells, “Are you doing it on purpose?!” The bottle only stared back. Swallow hard, he starts on a second round of gang-related complaint.

But three times is a charm. Since this is the third and last plan, there must be a third and last bottle spin to go with whatever superstitious inclination there is towards the number three. So there, it goes. This time, the bottle points from one person to the other, carefully choosing its target, and spins a quarter of an inch backwards to project its unequivocal aim at Sun Wu Di. The rule is the rule.

The question was: what was your father like?

My father was the founder of Tian Xiang Lou. He was gentle and kind. A very good chef. Before he left, he told me to think about the reason he named me “Invincible”, and to continue Tian Xiang Lou, keep it at the top of the fine cuisine world.

For the first time in my life, I’m glad that he wasn’t alive to see this. Tian Xiang Lou may still be at the top, but it no longer belongs to me…

When the revelation is over, Sun Wu Di quickly wraps himself around in layers after layers of thick veil to conceal his vulnerability. But once alone, he cries out to his father, completely lost and scared.

Leo Tolstoy once wrote “happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”. Wei Qing had thought revenge and wealth will bring salvation to his family, he was utterly wrong. To Tian Qing, nothing is as important as being with her father. Plastic surgery, money, and power, they only seclude her from him.

Only, Wei Qing doesn’t understand. What he considers the “best” thing for Tian Qing — sending her away to America with a bunch of strangers — is an act of abandonment to Tian Qing.

Sun Wu Di on the other hand, has better luck with life. A fan girl spots him and encourages Wu Di, giving him a sense of self-importance and belonging, as well as a bun to stuff his half empty tummy with. The girl touched a tender spot in Wu Di’s heart. Like her, after his father drifted down the stream, he ended up eating meals all by himself. The taunting loneliness haunts him still. For that, he decides to grant the girl’s wish — dance for her.

For the first time since Wu Di left Tian Xiang Lou, he smiled. Shan Bao watches in a distance, happy for Wu Di’s temporarily happiness, sad for all that has happened to him since their acquaintance. More and more people start to recognize Wu Di and take out their cameras to snap a shot of yesterday’s star and today’s homeless man. He runs away to preserve the last remains of his pride.

After watching a helpless Sun Wu Di and feeling her heart breaking into pieces, Shan Bao decides to do something. But what? It’s Da Dao who enlightens Shan Bao with his monotonous, yet forever wise preaching.

The end result: this Barbie dollie here named Ah Jiao.

Just in case this few days of homeless life doesn’t blind Sun Wu Di enough into not recognizing Shan Bao, she hangs a plaque with her alias written wide across it and stuffs her bra to the fullest so the flat-chest label typically associated with Shan Bao can be peeled off in the blink of an eye. Wu Di does recognize her as Shan Bao. Although hanging a name tag across your chest isn’t something a typical sane person would do, the upgraded cup size definitely helps Wu Di believe this girl in front of him is not Shan Bao, no matter how alike.

As it turns out, this Ah Jiao has anterograde amnesia where no new knowledge can be stored in memory. Her memory span lasts approximately three seconds. In other words, by the fourth second, she has forgotten everything that had happened before. (“Before” indicates the events occurred after the onset of the brain damage that caused anterograde amnesia.)

Ah Jiao begs Wu Di to take her to Guang Ji roast shop. He refuses at first, but Ah Jiao begs and begs and begs and begs. (She was soooo cute begging him.) Finally, he gives in and takes her to Guang Ji.

Sitting in front of Guang Ji, Wu Di reveals his sorrow and his unsaid apology to Shan Bao. This only confirms Shan Bao’s determination to bring Wu Di out of his depression.

The next day, Ah Jiao orchestrates a little accident in which a fire is implied to have taken her [life] away. Wu Di breaks down into tears after finding a piece of Ah Jiao’s clothes near his father’s broken banner. The past few day’s anguish swell up at once, a shine tear trickles down Wu Di’s cheek.

He looks down to the banner and discovers, to his astonishment, an engraved poem on the underside of the banner — if the banner weren’t broken, the poem is likely to be concealed forever. The poem is written by his father, which conveys the idea that to become truly invincible, one must win over people’s hearts and treat others with kindness first. Wu Di gives an airy gasp. In all twenty years of his life, he has been wrong. He has tried to live up to his father’s expectation — to be truly Wu Di. But Wu Di doesn’t mean invincible. The name is taken from the first line of the poem, which says that there is no need to form enemies. In other words, the reason Sun Yi Qun named his son Sun Wu Di is to teach Wu Di “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Wu Di meant no enemies.

A wave of emotion washed over him as his father’s last words to him crystallizes. Sun Wu Di crumbles onto the floor. A large hand pats him on the shoulder and says, “Sun Wu Di, come to Guang Ji with me.” Wu Di looks up, there he is, Chef Guang, standing beside him and smiling encouragingly.

Chef Guang hands him Wu Di’s father’s cook book, passed to the Chef himself years ago. Holding the book and trembling, Wu Di feels close to his father for the first time in a long time.

Well, this is it. As you can see, to make up for the delay, I’ve taken the extra mile to put up pictures. 🙂 You can click on them to enlarge.

You all know how I feel about this drama, so I’m not going to waste saliva discussing the various automatic eye-rolling reflexes I’ve encountered while watching it. At least, the relationship part is finally going to solidify in the next episode, although I’m actually interested to see Wu Di redeem himself and make friends with his enemy. Speaking of which, the recap for the next episode may still be delayed.

6 thoughts on “Invincible Shan Bao Mei 10: The Turning Point”

  1. Hey–holed up in a hotel in Bellingham Washington–just moved back from North Carolina. Apartment not ready ~sigh~
    Drove cross country with boyfriend–no casualties. Hope your exams and classes are going well.

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