Joys of Life

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Joys of Life
Joys of Life intertitle.jpg
Genre Period drama
Written by Seah Choon Guan
Lim Gim Lan
Tan Ai Heng
Directed by 黄光荣 (ep 1-10)
高淑怡 (ep 11-16)
谢益文 Edmund Tse (ep 17-26)
卢燕金 Loo Yin Kam (ep 27-35)
Starring Chew Chor Meng
Alien Huang
Rui En
Chen Liping
Zheng Geping
Chloe Wang
Kate Pang
Andie Chen
Huang Wenyong
Lin Meijiao
Zhang Yao Dong
Opening theme 珍惜 by Power Station
Country of origin Singapore
Original language(s) Chinese
No. of episodes 35
Producer(s) Winnie Wong
Running time approx. 42–46 minutes
Original network MediaCorp Channel 8
Original release 26 June 2012 – 13 Aug 2012
Preceded by Yours Fatefully
Followed by Don't Stop Believin'
Related shows Wok of Life (1999)
Springs of Life (2002)
Together (2009)
A Tale of 2 Cities (2011)
Devotion (2011)
It's a Great, Great World (movie)
Your Hand In Mine (2009–2010)
External links

Joys of Life (simplified Chinese: 花样人间) is a Singaporean Chinese drama which was telecasted on Singapore's free-to-air channel, MediaCorp Channel 8. It made its debut on 26 June 2012, consists of 35 episodes, and will be screened on every weekday night at 9:00 pm.

The series was produced to celebrate 30 years of Chinese language drama being broadcast in Singapore. Set in post-World War II Singapore, the story line spans the decade between the end of the Japanese occupation and the HDB's clearing of squatters during the late 1950s to early 1960s.[1] It is the first on-screen pairing of Rui En and Alien Huang.


In an old tenement house at Huaxiang Street, several families live together and play out the acts in life every day. The story revolves around six friends - Zhao Mingxing (Ailen Huang), Qian Yiduo (Zhang Yaodong), Han Yongyong (Rui En) and her sister Rourou (Chloe Wang) and Sun Zibin (Andie Chen) and his sister Lianjing (Kate Pang) - and their families as they go about their lives in post-World War II Singapore.

True to his name, Zhao Mingxing "Star", dreams of becoming a star. He is raised by his father, a movie billboard artist. Zhao Dagou (Chew Chor Meng), who has lived through the horrors of the Japanese Occupation, is a master storyteller. He and the ordinary-looking Sun Zibin are old friends. Zibin, who works in the office of the TV station, has a leftist younger sister, Sun Lianjing. His mother Cai Shuxian (Pan Lingling) married Uncle Roti (San Yow), a bread seller, through an arranged marriage. Shuxian often gripes that she is a victim of a feudal marriage. Han Yongyong is the adopted daughter of Han Jianren (Huang Wenyong), a cook whose love for women and booze forces his wife Liu Daiyu (Lin Meijiao) to be the breadwinner of the family. The couple had wanted to adopt a boy after Daiyu failed to conceive, but the child was swopped. Yongyong grew up being raised as a boy. Thereafter, they gave birth to three daughters. One of them, Han Rourou, is the beauty of Huaxiang Street. She is every man's dream girl, but her heart is set on marrying a foreigner.

The tenement house is owned by bakery owner Qian Caifa (Zheng Geping) and his wife Jin Yinjiao (Chen Liping). The couple has three sons. Qian Yiduo often leaves any dirty job to his indignant younger brother Qian Erduo (Romeo Tan)while he goes off to gallivant. This family occupies the big unit above the bakery. The other occupants are Caifa's cousin Qian Caiguang (Chen Guohua), the latter's wife, Wang Limei (Lin Liyun), who works in a charcoal shop, and their daughter Qian Meihua (Adeline Lim). The mean Caifa took them in only because he feels guilty of having schemed against his cousin to possess the bakery. Although Caifa is prosperous, his marriage is not entirely blissful for he has never gotten over the fact that Cousin Caiguang once embraced Yinjiao. Instead, he is a secret admirer of Shuxian who has more class.

Mingxing loses heart after several unsuccessful attempts to be a star search finalist. He decides to study acting in Japan. While openly opposing it, Dagou nevertheless secretly tries to raise money for his son's overseas education. Moved by this, the filial Mingxing eventually gives up the opportunity to study abroad. When Mingxing finds out that Lianjing is a closet fan of stars, the quarrelsome pair who shares a common interest start dating each other in secret. Dagou saves Zhang Xiaoyu (Apple Hong) who suffers from amnesia. While Mingxing is eager to pair his father with Xiaoyu, Dagou is against the idea.

Yiduo is unaware that he is being elbow out by Erduo. He meets with danger on several occasions, only to be saved by Yongyong who seems to be able to connect in mind with him. Yiduo grows fond of her. Zibin becomes an overnight sensation when he covers for a DJ on medical leave. Suffering from an inferiority complex, he pushes Mingxing to impersonate him to meet his fans, as well as to let Mingxing experience what it is like to be in the limelight. Yongyong takes up employment as a domestic help in a Caucasian family. A keen learner, she seizes the chance to learn English, and catches the fancy of Master Johnson (Bobby Tonelli). Envious and jealous, Rourou worms her way into the household, also as a domestic help, to get close to Johnson who has eyes only for Yongyong. Refusing to admit defeat, Rourou throws herself at Peterson (George Young), Johnson's friend, but is abandoned by him after she gets pregnant. Daiyu pretends to be the one pregnant so as to protect Rourou from shame, but the latter gives birth to a baby of mixed race. Thereafter, rumours spread, with everyone gossiping behind Rourou's back. Only Zibin stands steadfast beside her.

The getai business is at its peak. The three buddies start Xin Hua Xiang Stage Company. Recognising Dagou's talent as a standup comic, Xiaoyu encourages him to perform at getai shows. Just as Daogou's feelings for Xiaoyu grows, a Japanese by the name of Yamaguchi (Rayson Tan) appears claiming to be Xiaoyu's husband. Dagou is jolted to his senses. Mistaking Xiaoyu for a Japanese, he starts to distance himself from her, however, he feels anguish seeing how she is mistreated by Yamaguchi. The intense competition in the getai business compels Xin Hua Xiang to consider joining the bandwagon in offering striptease acts, to Zibin and Lianjing's objections. Song and dance versus striptease act, the former emerges as the loser.

Mingxing and Lianjing breaks off due to irreconcilable differences. Yamaguchi puts pressure on Xiaoyu to perform striptease to earn a living but she tearfully refuses. Unable to contain his anger, Dagou stops Xiaoyu from going on stage. Mingxing takes her place but is exposed by the audience. Their business suffers. Dagou and the witty Uncle Roti salvage the situation by taking centrestage. Surprisingly, they are a hit with the crowd, thus saving Xin Hua Xiang. Uncle Roti stands tall in front of his wife who has always despised him.

1963 sees the advent of the television. Rourou starts life afresh and drags Yongyong to participate in Talentime on TV. Mingxing invites them to perform at his getai, and they become the singing sensation of love ballads. Yiduo falls for Yongyong, but just as he is about to woo her, he discovers to his horror that Yongyong is his twin elder sister. It turns out that Yinjiao had a difficult labour and was unaware that she had given birth to twins. Yongyong was sold away at birth. When Jianren finds out that Caifa is Yongyong's biological father, he creates a ruckus by demanding his money back. Yongyong remains filial to her adoptive parents. On finding out that Caifa has given her up for Shuxian, the jealous Yinjiao flies into a rage and wants to drive her family out.

Set up by Erduo, Yiduo and Lianjing end up in bed together in a drunken stupor. The odd couple are forced to tie the knot. Xiaoyu regains her memory out of a sudden. The truth is revealed that Yamaguchi is the culprit behind her unfortunate state. After Yamaguchi is driven away, Dagou picks up courage to express his love to Xiaoyu. However, he is stunned when Xiaoyu reveals that she is a majie who has vowed celibacy. Meanwhile, Mingxing and Yongyong begin to appreciate each other's virtues, and their feelings for each other grows.

Unhappy that Yongyong is more popular than her, Rourou quits as a singing duo to go solo but fails to earn an audience. For the sake of money, Rourou resorts to performing striptease but is driven to perform in Kuala Lumpur following a police raid. Zibin stays faithfully by her side. When Rourou retires from singing and plumps herself in the bakery, Erduo sets fire to the shop out of resentment. Not only did he die in the fire, but the tenement house is razed to the ground. All the neighbours chip in to rebuild the house. Yongyong shoulders the heavy responsibility of re-opening the bakery. Under Mingxing's support and encouragement, the bakery rises like a phoenix from the ashes.

Love abounds when these men and women cross paths. Will lovebirds Mingxing and Yongyong end up as a blissful couple? Will Rourou's heart be melted by Zibin's accommodating nature and sincere love? Will the antagonistic pair Yiduo and Lianjing be together till their twilight years? As for Dagou and Xiaoyu, will there be a surprise ending for them?


Main Cast[edit]

Zhao family[edit]

Cast Role Description Episodes Appeared
Chew Chor Meng Zhao Dagou Mingxing's widowed father
Movie billboard artist and storyteller
Jialing's husband
Xiaoyu's boyfriend
Alien Huang Zhao Mingxing
"Gou Zai"
Dagou's son
Have a dream of being a star
Lianjing's ex-boyfriend. Yong Yong's boyfriend
Singer and actor of the stage company.
1-10, 15-20, 22-35

Han family[edit]

Cast Role Description Episodes Appeared
Huang Wenyong Han Jianren
"Chou Pi Ren"
Daiyu's husband
Lin Meijiao Liu Daiyu
"Chou Pi Sau"
Jianren's wife
Yongyong and Rourou's mother
Rui En Han Yongyong Jianren and Daiyu's adopted daughter
Caifa and Yinjiao's biological daughter
Yiduo's biological twin sister.Mingxing's girlfriend
Chloe Wang Han Rourou Jianren and Daiyu's second daughter
Yongyong's sister
Had a child, Yaoyao, with Peterson.
Zibin's girlfriend.
1-23, 28-35
Vina Lim Han Zhuzhu Jianren and Daiyu's daughter 1,2,11,12-22,26-35
Lorraine Koh Han Meimei Jianren and Daiyu's daughter 1,2,8,11,12-22,26-35

Qian family[edit]

Cast Role Description Episodes Appeared
Zheng Geping Qian Caifa
Yinjiao's husband
Owner of a bakery
Yongyong's biological father
2-4, 6-21, 23-35
Chen Liping Jin Yinjiao
"Towkay Neo/ Fei Po Jiao"
Caifa's domineering wife
Yongyong's biological mother
1-21, 23-35
Rui En Han Yongyong Jianren and Daiyu's adopted daughter
Caifa and Yinjiao's biological daughter
Yiduo's biological twin sister.Mingxing's girlfriend.
Zhang Yaodong Qian Yiduo
"Da Long"
Caifa and Yinjiao's eldest son
Yongyong's biological twin brother
Rourou's ex-boyfriend. Lianqing's husband
Romeo Tan Qian Erduo
"Lao Er"
Caifa and Yinjiao's second son
Main Villain
Became mentally unstable in episode 35
Ivan Lo Qian Sanduo
"Xiao Long"
Caifa and Yinjiao's youngest son 2, 6-8,11-13,20-35
Bryan Chan Qian Caiguang Relative of Qian Caifa
Died in episode 33
Lin Liyun Wang Limei Qian Cai Guang's wife 2-4,7,10,13,15,28-35
Adeline Lim Qian Meihua Qian Caiguang and Wang Limei's daughter 2-4,32-35

Sun family[edit]

Cast Role Description Episodes Appeared
Yao Wenlong Sun Yaping
Xian Ya's Husband
"Roti" (bread) seller
Pan Lingling Cai Shuxian
Yaping's wife
A school teacher
Andie Chen Sun Zibin
"Sun Zi Bin Fa"
Xian Ya and Yaping's son
Worked for a radio company
Kate Pang Sun Lianjing
"Lian Qing Qing"
Xian Ya and Yaping's daughter
Initially Mingxing's ex-girlfriend
Yiduo's wife


Cast Role Description Episodes Appeared
Apple Hong Zhang Xiaoyu Yamaguchi's legal wife
Dagou's girlfriend
A ma-jie
11-22, 25, 28-35
Rayson Tan Yamaguchi Hideo
"Yama / Yama-san"
Xiaoyu's abusive Japanese husband
Caught by police in episode 34
20, 22, 25, 28, 29, 32-34

Supporting cast[edit]

Cast Role Description Episodes Appeared
Cai Jun Pao Bing Shui-Ge Iceball seller 1,19,26
Yak Yilin Yun Yun 3,16-23,30-35
Silver Ang Gong Bao Zhu Rourou's friend 5,9,11,12
Hu Yi Xiang Mi Fen-Sao Beehoon seller 5,10,15,19,26
Dick Su Malay film producer 5,7
Bobby Tonelli Johnson Mary's son. He was in love with Yongyong. He left for England in ep 30. 7,9,11,12,14,16,26,27,30
George Young Peterson A record executive of a company. Accidentally, after a one-night stand, he is the father of Rourou's baby. They were planning to get married but disappeared as their marriage was rejected by his father as of ep 21. 12,13,16-19
Candyce Toh Chen Mei Guang Singer of Xin Hua Xiang Stage Company. 16-19, 23, 30-35
Brandon Wong Wang Xia Ex-comedy actor of Xin Hua Xiang Stage Company. He plays Skinny. He left for Malaya as he need to take care for his sick mother and act there as well. 16-19, 23
Wu Jian Hua Yan Feng Ex-comedy actor of Xin Hua Xiang Stage Company. He plays Fatty. He left for Malaya to join Wang Xia. 16-19, 23
Joey Feng Meng Na A dancer of Lulu's performances. She was also partly responsible for tearing Lulu's dress during her performance in ep 23. 23, 24, 29
Jessica Tan Lu Lu Singer of Wan Li Hong Stage Company. 17, 19, 23, 26

Special Appearance[edit]

Cast Role Description Episodes Appeared
Jacelyn Tay Lee Ling Hua Movie celebrity 1
Moses Lim Tan Ah Kong Lee Ling Hua's godfather 1
Tan Junsheng Tan Ah Teck Tan Ah Kong's grandson 1
Florence Tan Liu Jialing Dagou's ex-wife who died. 2,4,9,10,17
Zhou Quanxi Gan Shu Worker of the bakery 2,4,8,13
Chen Tianxiang Hui Shu Worker of the bakery 2,4,13
Lina Ng Little Trumpet She is one of the cast in a radio drama. 3,6
Li Wenhai Wu Ren Bi Blind fortune teller. 5,8,12
Tracer Wong Mary Han Yongyong's towkay when working at the Caucasian family; Johnson's mother. 6,7,9,11,13,14,16,27,28
Cai Ping Kai Qi Po/Er-gu 6,13
Darren Lim Cai Nan Film producer 7,8
Wang Yuqing Gui Li Qiang Villain
A loan shark and local bully
Lulu's man
Shot dead by police in episode 28

30th Drama Anniversary Highlights[edit]

Joys of Life was filmed in conjunction with MediaCorp's 30th anniversary of local drama. It is a star-studded mid-year blockbuster drama which continues the legacy of famous getai works “Wok of Life” (福满人间) and “Springs of Life” (春到人间). Set in the ’60s to ’70s when mobile getai was all the rage, the story will allude to well-known entertainers of the day such as Sakura Teng and comedy icons Wang Sha and Ye Feng.

Chew Chor Meng makes a comeback after a brief absence due to illness alongside fellow veterans Chen Liping, Zheng Geping, Huang Wenyong, Lin Meijiao, Pan Lingling and Rayson Tan. The cast also includes younger local household names Rui En, Zhang Yao Dong, Andie Chen and Romeo Tan and Taiwanese idols Cynthia Wang and Alien Huang (Xiao Gui). Former artistes such as Cai Ping Kai, Chen Zhonghua, Lina Ng, Tracer Wong, Jacelyn Tay, Moses Lim and Darren Lim made special appearances.


This drama is the first drama in almost 10 years to be filmed at the previously closed Tuas TV World.[2] It was used by the SBC and TCS and is now a training ground for police specialist training. Scenes of the main street and town were filmed there while the rest were filmed at the studios, on the compound of MediaCorp's Caldecott Hill headquarters and nature areas.[3] Another drama was initially planned but was scrapped and "merged" with Joys of Life instead. Filming began on 6 February 2012[4] and ended on 16 May 2012, and trailers started airing from 29 May 2012. It was directed by 4 directors in different episodes.

This was the third "人间" (period drama-comedy) produced by MediaCorp after Wok of Life (福满人间) and Springs of Life (春到人间). Only Chew Chor Meng has starred in all three.


Joys of Life was the highest-rated drama of the year in terms of viewership ratings with some 993,000 viewers for its finale, until Don't Stop Believin' overtook the record by breaking the 1 million mark for its finale in September 2012.[5]

See also[edit]


  • This drama is one of two produced in conjunction with MediaCorp's celebration of 30 years of local Chinese drama and is Channel 8's 49th anniversary drama.
  • Six songs were used for singing for the getai (歌台) scene, which was sung by Rui En, Chloe Wang, Candyce Toh and Xiao Gui. The Songs are "给我一个吻","说不出的快活","如果没有你","牵挂","蝴蝶花" and "新桃花江".
  • In conjunction to the show, a closed-door "Cha-Chum Bom" dance party event was held on 15 June 2012. This event is organized by Mediacorp Entertains and Channel 8. A roadshow was held at Eastpoint Mall on 16 June 2012.
  • Lina Ng's role Little Trumpet appeared in episodes 3 and 6. The role was coincidentally played by her too in the sitcom Right Frequency.
  • Episodes 17 and 32 of this drama does not have commentaries for News Tonight during credits reel.
  • After the end of each episode, bloopers will be shown during the credits reel, without audio, after the details of the song titles. Due to overruns in these bloopers, they will be shown immediately after the last few episodes.
  • Local colloquialisms and abbreviations are used frequently in dialogues for period authenticity. The main characters are often referred to by their nicknames (e.g. Mingxing is usually called "Gou Zai", which means "Dagou's son", by the adults and Han Jianren, Yongyong's father, is almost always called "Chou Pi", which means "Smelly Fart"). Hokkien abbreviations and terms are often used, for example, "ah chek" is Uncle and Caifa and Yinjiao are often called "Towkay" and "Towkay Neo" which means "boss" and "lady boss" respectively.
  • In Episodes 23 and 24, Yinjiao (Chen Liping) suffers a concussion and thinks she is Wang Baochuan (王宝钏), a dan character in Chinese opera. Wang Baochuan and her lover Xue Pinggui are the subject of the romance folktale Wujiapo (武家坡).
  • The drama features Taiwanese singers Alien Huang (Xiao Gui) and Chloe Wang in their first and second Singaporean drama respectively.

Overseas broadcast[edit]

This drama is one of the first dramas to be broadcast exclusive in Malaysia after its first telecast of two weeks. But have possible plans to broadcast worldwide.

Country of Broadcast Broadcasting Network Debut Finale Preceded by Followed by
 Malaysia Astro Shuang Xing 12 July 2012 at 4.30pm, weekdays
(encore on 13 July at 3.30pm, weekdays)
29 August 2012
(encore on 30 August)
Code of Honour Don't Stop Believin'
Asia-wide MediaCorp 8i 14 November 2012 at 8.00pm, weekdays 1 January 2013 Yours Fatefully
 Malaysia Astro AEC 21 December 2012 at 8.30pm, weekdays 7 February 2013 Code of Honour


Joys of Life bagged 3 out of 13 nominations in the Star Awards, including Best Theme Song. It also won a "Highly Commended" award for the Asian Television Awards, which Kate Pang won for Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominee / Work Award Accolade Result
Lorraine Koh Jia Xin 许佳欣 Star Awards 2013 Show 1
红星大奖2013 亮闪八方
Young Talent Award
《珍惜》 sung by Power Station 动力火车 Best Theme Song
Loo Yin Kam 卢燕金 Best Director
Seah Choon Guan 谢俊源
Lim Gim Lan 林锦兰
Tan Ai Heng 陈海兴
Best Screenplay
Lee Heng Soon Tommy 李兴顺 Best Drama Cameraman
Xu Ying Ying 徐盈盈 Best Costume & Image Design
Zheng Kai Hua 郑凯华 Best Music & Sound Design
Alien Huang 黄鸿升 Favourite Male Character
Alien Huang 黄鸿升
Rui En 瑞恩
Favourite On-screen Couple (Drama)
Chew Chor Meng 周初明 Star Awards 2013
Best Actor
Huang Wenyong 黄文永 Best Supporting Actor
Romeo Tan 陈罗密欧 Nominated
Kate Pang 庞蕾馨 Best Supporting Actress
Asian Television Awards 2013 Best Actress in a Supporting Role Highly Commended


  1. ^ In the last episode, the characters were discussing about the government (HDB) taking over squatters and letting them choose their flats.
  2. ^ A visit to Tuas Movie City on MSN Video
  3. ^ "TV World in Tuas sees lights, cameras and action again". AsiaOne. 15 March 2012. 
  4. ^ #joysoflife 年中大戏 – 花样人间 – 人物介绍 Part 2 + 开镜仪式!
  5. ^ "Don’t Stop Believin’ crosses the million mark". 12 September 2012.