Invincible Shan Bao Mei 11: The Letting Go Yam

Lion King!!!

Since the opening of this episode is totally inspired by (*AHEM ripped off of AHEM*) Lion King, I thought I’d post up Hakuna Matata for your enjoyment and my amusement. But computer disobeyed, so goshdarnit!!

(While we’re at it, here’s the opening of Lion King:

(And here, the opening for Shan Bao Mei:

Okay, enough of the self-entertaining comparisons. Let’s get on with the recap (before I fall asleep in front of the computer):

Jane Zhang — Dear Jane (This song totally helped me get through last week.)

How hard is it to put down your guard and turn to friends who will receive you with out stretched arms and open heart? Very, very hard. Between vulnerability and the need to save face, most choose the latter. Not always the wisest choice, but that’s what we do. Yet, life always finds a way to humbles us all. Then eventually, when we have stumbled enough, life redirects us to a chance to stand up again.

Sun Wu Di was given a second chance. This time, he embraced it. After all, having a “family” feels SO good. Especially if you get to eat a bowl of hot and delicious Guang Ji’s famous San Bao Rice after starving for days! No matter how egotistical Wu Di was before, he isn’t blind to kindness. When Shan Bao returns his father’s last keepsake to Wu Di, all fixed and working, his last self-righteousness that has been setting him apart from everyone else dissolves.

He walks out after Shan Bao and hugs her from behind,

Please. Don’t move, don’t turn, don’t say anything. Otherwise, I won’t be able to saywudi1 the things I want to say. I know I’ve been a terrible person to you. From the first time we met in the men’s room, kissing you against your will in front of the police department, broadcasting your embarrassing moment on TV, and even, even coming up with the stupid plan of heiring someone to be your lover for the price of two hundred thousand dollars. I’ve hurt you countless times, but whenever things turn bad for me, it’s always you who shows up and help me get through it.

After I’ve lost everything, I tried every method to run away from you. Because, because I can’t stand for you to see me at my worst. I can’t stand you being so good to me, do so much for me…. Do you want me to owe you, owe you so much that I won’t be able to pay you back even if I spend a whole life time trying, Ah Jiao?

She turns then, surprised that he has found her out. (I would have doubted his intelligence if he doesn’t realize.) “Ah Jiao may be a silly idea,” Shan Bao explains, “But I’ve got a ‘brilliant’ idea to ‘punish’ Wei Qing.”

Speaking of Wei Qing, he finds himself littered with the whatnots associated with taking care of a business that he no longer has the time to look after his little princess Fiona. Tian Qing continues to take her father’s negligence as a sign of abandonment. Miscommunication widens the gap between them, she is left to sulk on her own.

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Shan Bao’s punishment takes the form of a girlish goodbye ceremony wherein she burns Wei Qing’s pictures in a hole on the ground, decorated with autumn leaves and the pale moonlight (or lamplight). When the ceremony is over, she officially forgoes her sadness by symbolically eating the yam buried under the hole. (It takes an hour to bake yams at 450 degrees, unless she has voluminous amounts of pictures to fuel the fire with, the yam won’t be ready for ingestion. Impractical, but good intention nonetheless.) After the ceremony is over, Wu Di and Shan Bao sit side by side beneath the moon to eat their treat — the letting go yam. Wu Di mentions his acquiescence, he no longer feels jaded about Zu An betraying him. He wasn’t a good boyfriend to start with, if being graceful about Zu An’s mistake is the least he can do, then why not let the matter drop? Besides, who would like a useless Sun Wu Di? “I do.” Shan Bao slips out. Wu Di stops eating and turns to look at her. Feeling the scorching presence of his scrutinizing gaze, she turns her head awkwardly and explains, “What I meant to say was… the entire staff of Guang Ji all love you and welcome you.”

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“Then who, out of the entire staff of Guang Li, likes me the most?” Wu Di teases. “It’s… it’s…” Shan Bao looks away hastily, trying furiously to piece together a coherent reply. Wu Di chuckles, “You are really bad at comforting people.” The moment the words slurred out of his mouth, he regretted it. What the notion of comforting another brings is the remembrance of that raining day when Wu Di nearly… nearly taken advantage of Shan Bao’s eagerness to sooth his broken heart by imposing his carnal needs on her innocence. Awkward, Wu Di stutters to change the subject, “The one person that likes me the most in Guang Ji must be… must be… er, um, Chi Xing Jie! Right. Chi Xing Jie. She’s my fans remember?” They both look down at their hands, each avoiding the real answer.

Trying to be open about that night, Wu Di apologizes that if he has done anything to cross her, he wants to get it out in the open so their friendship won’t be tarnished by his foolishness. This topic leads Shan Bao into a convoluted (but hilarious) explanation of how she didn’t really care even though she did care but not really. Eventually, she gives up justifying and excuses herself to go back to her room.

Bright and shine, the next morning, Wu Di gets up early to practice cooking, (mostly meat). Even with the aid of his father’s recipe, Wu Di isn’t satisfied with the finished product. (On a side note, he mustn’t be very poor if he’s wearing American Eagle.) Chief Guang takes one look at the table full of food and solves the mystery: the reason there seems to be something lacking in the dishes is because the recent events have shaken Wu Di’s confidence in his ability to create good cuisine. What he needs to do now is to go to Tian Xiang Lou and learn to get up where he faltered.

Sun Wu Di’s visit at Tian Xiang Lou is undoubtedly a hot topic that makes gossipy bystanders’ blood boil with giddy excitement and the Tian Xiang Lou management personals tremble in nervousness. If anything else, this visit is a confidence free giveaway. Not only does the quality of Tian Xiang Lou’s service lacked discipline, the quality of the food has also degraded since Sun Wu Di’s departure, er, sorry, banishment. Sun Wu Di requests to speak to the chiefs and sharply contrasted the staff’s ignorant snobbery with his clear knowledge of what good cuisine should be like, shaming these men into wide-eyed wonder — when has Sun Wu Di become so professional and, *shock* reasonable?

Wei Qing walks out to see what Wu Di is up to. Facing Wu Di’s rightful accusation of dragging down Tian Xiang Lou’s overall standard, Wei Qing brags that if Tian Xiang Lou has indeed become as second class as Wu Di claims it to be, then why did Master Yao give order to host his son’s wedding here in Tian Xiang Lou? The Guang Ji family look from one another, wait, Master Yao… Yao Da Ming? So his son, who is soon to be wedded must be… that Yao Ah Ming? That Yao Ah Ming who never quite grew as tall as Shan Bao; that Yao Ah Ming who told Shan Bao no one will ever fall in love with a girl with strong biceps and smell like roast meat.

Unaffected, Wu Di takes out a 500 dollar bill and waves it in Wei Qing’s face as his tip to Wei Qing, hinting heavily at Wei Qing’s former occupation as a gigolo who survives on the money of pleasure-seeking women.

Walking out of Tian Xiang Lou, Wu Di felt really good. Not only has he regained the support of long term customers for his insistence on taste and quality, he has also realized how lucky he is to be enveloped with the love and encouragement of the Guang Ji family. They walk past a line of street vendors and an idea spurred in Wu Di’s mind. He excuses himself from the rest of the Guang Ji family to “run a private errand”. Being understanding, the Guang Ji four leave him to be. But secretly, their curiosity runs deeper than Wu Di would have anticipated.

They watched as Wu Di stops in front of an accessory vendor and picked out a pair of (cheap and somewhat gaudy) hair clips for Shan Bao, remembering her self-conscious comment about her new hair style. (I so don’t think it’s necessary to get a hair cut. If he wants to buy her something out of affection, he doesn’t really need a legit reason. Similarly, she doesn’t have to burn her hair during the “disappearance” skit in the last episode.)

Unfortunately, the second round of farce cuts right in like a blunt knife. (Oh God. Here comes the stupidity.)

Guang Ji has a visitor. Actually, two.

Yao Ah Ming and his son Yao Xiao Ming
Yao Ah Ming and his son Yao Xiao Ming

(Ok, let’s get this out of the way ASAP.)

So, Yao Ah Ming came with his son to tell Shan Bao that he’s getting married with an 18-year-old Vietnamese high school graduate this Sunday. He wants to tell Shan Bao so she can put down her feelings for him since childhood. (*rolls eyes*) Wu Di listens passively while eating his lunch on the side. A bird egg falls out of the bowl. Wu Di tries to snatch it up with his chopsticks but the headstrong ball refuses and flies to Ah Ming’s open mouth and downs his throat. Gagging uncontrollably, Ah Ming drops to the floor with a faint trace of foam running down the corner of his mouth. The rest are shocked and gather around him. (They are not the only ones in shock. WHO CAME UP WITH THIS?!?) Half dead, Ah Ming goes through a temporary out of body experience in which a voice tells him his time is not up yet, there is “an angel residing in your heart”. (*pukes in the bathroom* Oh the corniness.) He is revived and receives a call from his bride telling him she cannot make it on Sunday due to typhoon in Vietnam. Now Ah Ming is faced with the challenge of finding a bride on the spot for Sunday’s wedding. Naturally, his eyes fall on Shan Bao. (-___-)

Knowing that Shan Bao and her family wouldn’t say yes if he makes his intentions explicit, Ah Ming goes round about and asks Shan Bao to be his wedding planner. (Who starts making wedding arrangements a few days prior the actual date?) Chief Guang agrees, under one condition. That is, to host a cook off between Tian Xiang Lou Wei Qing and Wu Di on the actual wedding day in order to give Wu Di the opportunity to defeat Wei Qing.

After everything has settled, Ah Ming takes the liberty to hog Shan Bao and imposes all bride duties on her. Trying on the wedding gown, picking out the ring, taking his son to classes, etc, etc, etc. Even though the “I don’t want to” sign is written across Shan Bao’s forehead in shiny gold letters, Wu Di pushes Shan Bao to Ah Ming because he refuses to let himself fall in love with Shan Bao. Pride still gets in the way of decision making and Wu Di doesn’t want to get involved until he has regained his wealth and power. (Boy, sit down and do some careful cost and benefit analysis before you do something rash and regret it for the rest of your life.)

Wu Di’s repetitive assertion that he has no feelings towards Shan Bao irks her into antagonizing Wu Di. If Wu Di insists that they are just friends then he should not interfere with what she is doing. But if he considers her more than friends, then let his feelings be known.

There is always fortune hiding in seemingly unfortunate situations.

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Ah Ming’s narcissistic personality makes it possible for Shan Bao to ask about the relationship must-know and faux-pas that she would never get the chance to inquire otherwise. Ah Ming’s replies only solidifies her certainty that she is in love with Sun Wu Di and wishes more than usual for him to return the feeling while contradictorily indoctrinating herself that he could not possibly be in love with her. It’s a complicated world.

11/11, posting episode 11 recap. That’s a lot of 11’s in one day.

Anyway, just found out that Chief Guang’s full name is Hu Guang. That explains why the restaurant is called Guang Ji and Shan Bao’s surname is Hu.

Next episode is going to be an extension of the mess that started in episode. But the one after next should be better in comparison.

Will be crazy busy again for the next two weeks. But, patience is a praiseworthy virtue, isn’t it? 😀 And who knows, I might just suck it up and catch up on the Shan Bao Mei recaps all within this week.

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