The Greed of Man

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The Greed of Man
大時代
TVB drama greed cover.jpg
Poster
Genre Triad drama
Stock market drama
Created by Wai Ka-Fai
Written by Tsang Kan-cheung, Chan Yuk-ping
Starring Adam Cheng
Sean Lau
Yammie Lam
Vivian Chow
Amy Kwok
Damian Lau
Bowie Lam
Michael Tao
Opening theme Ngo Dik Sang Ming Ngo Dik Ngoi (我的生命我的愛; 'My Life, My Passion') performed by Alan Tam
Sui Yuet Mou Ching (歲月無情; 'Ruthless Life') performed by Adam Cheng
Country of origin Hong Kong
Original language(s) Cantonese
No. of episodes 40[1]
Production
Producer(s) Wai Ka-Fai
Running time 45 minutes each episode
Release
Original channel TVB Jade
Original release 5 October 1992 (1992-10-05)[2] – 27 November 1992 (1992-11-27)
External links
Website
The Greed of Man
Traditional Chinese 大時代
Simplified Chinese 大时代
Literal meaning The Great Times

The Greed of Man is a Hong Kong television series first broadcast on TVB Jade in 1992.[1] The story, spanning three decades from the 1970s to the 1990s in Hong Kong and Taiwan, addresses various social and financial phenomena of the times, from triad violence to corruption in the Hong Kong stock exchange. It featured a top roster cast, including veteran TVB actors Adam Cheng and Damian Lau and award-winning actor Sean Lau. The series is also well remembered for a Hong Kong stock market cultural phenomenon called the "Ting Hai effect".[3]

Plot[edit]

1960-1970s[edit]

Ting Hai and Fong Chun-sun were childhood friends. Ting is a stubborn, uneducated and pathologically self-righteous brute who imagines himself to be a living kong-woo hero, while Fong is an honest, cultured and refined leader of the Asian Stock Exchange. Fong is pressured by some of the most powerful and corrupt bureaucrats in Hong Kong to control the stock market. Immigration officers, police chiefs and government officials all attempt to cash in. Fong manipulates the market such that no one could touch him. The stock guru Yip Tin describes the event as a battle to seize control of the "Mandate of Heaven".

Fong develops strong feelings for Ting's girlfriend Lo Wei-ling, and becomes Ting's rival for her affection. In a fit of fury over Lo's disaffection, Ting cripples Fong, and later, during an ill-advised attempt at reconciliation, kills him. Without Fong's moderating influence, the 1973 stock market crash forces many people into extreme poverty. Stock manipulation is one justification for the creation of the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in February 1974.

1980s[edit]

Ting Hai flees to Taiwan, where his unabatedly violent behaviour lands him a 14-year prison sentence. Back in Hong Kong, Ting's four sons manage to build a powerful triad in their father's absence. The four brothers blame the Fong family for separating them from their father, and they harass them unrelentingly. The eldest son, Ting How-hai, replays his father's relationship with Lo Wei-ling on one of the Fong sisters, and is driven to violence when she rejects him. Ting Hai returns to Hong Kong and is convicted of murder, but is pardoned using a forged certification of terminal illness. All of Fong Chun-sun's three daughters are brutally killed, while Fong's only son, Fong Chin-bok, manages to survive and escape to Taiwan. With help from his two girlfriends, Fong strikes a fortune by gambling on the stock market (not by investing, but via an indirect gambling method) and returns to Hong Kong to avenge his family. At the same time, the Ting family's wealth and power have increased to incredible proportions via the stock market due to sheer luck in the 1987 bear market.

1990s[edit]

The final showdown between the Tings and Fongs is inspired by the backdrop of a war in the Middle East in 1994. Fong Chin-bok's investment company faces the Ting family in a winner-takes-all, last-man-standing stock market epic battle. To raise the stakes, the Tings are financed by international criminal syndicates. Fong wins the support of three of Hong Kong's wealthiest tycoons, who want to return the favour as they built their financial empires with help from Fong's father back in the 1960s. The stock market rises and falls correspondingly with news of American forces entering or withdrawing from the war. Eventually, the Tings make the wrong bet and their entire fortune is wiped out, compounded by ending up in billions of dollars in debt. Ting Hai forces his sons to commit suicide by jumping off from the top of the stock exchange building before following suit himself, but he survives and spends the rest of his life in prison.

Cast[edit]

Ting family[edit]

Cast Role Description
Lai Hyun Ho Chin
何賤
Ting Hai's mother. She is old and has health problems. As she was the wet nurse for the Fong family, she always sees the Fongs as her extended family, despite the rivalry between the two families.
Adam Cheng Ting Hai
丁蟹
A stubborn, uneducated and pathologically self-righteous brute who solves his problems through violence and intimidation. He is not exactly intelligent, but has amazing streaks of luck.
David Siu Ting How-hai
丁孝蟹
The boss of the Ting family triad. He is considered to be the most compassionate of Ting Hai's sons. He becomes cold and ruthless later. The character is based on Crying Freeman.[4]
Michael Tao Ting Yik-hai
丁益蟹
A cruel, vulgar and unforgiving triad member.
Ng Kai Ming Ting Wong-hai
丁旺蟹
A smart but corrupt lawyer who spends his time making money through unscrupulous means.
Derek Kok Ting Lei-hai
丁利蟹
An unethical doctor.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ho Chin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ting Hai
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ting How-hai
 
 
Ting Yik-hai
 
 
 
Ting Wong-hai
 
 
Ting Lei-hai

Fong family[edit]

Cast Role Description
Damian Lau Fong Chun-sun
方進新
A premiere stockbroker who attempts to rid the stock market of corruption. His first wife is killed by a car driven in the wrong direction near a supermarket. He raises his four children with the help of Ting Hai's mother.
Yammie Lam Lo Wai-ling
羅慧玲
Ting Hai's ex-girlfriend. She seeks protection from Fong Chun-sun after discovering Ting's brutal ways. She helps Fong raise his children like a stepmother, even though she is only a few years older than them. She is driven insane eventually after witnessing the destruction of her family at the hands of the Tings.
Sean Lau Fong Chin-bok
方展博
Fong Chun-sun's only son. He enjoyed a privileged childhood when his father started off a wealthy man. However, he falls into despair and idleness after his father's death and his family's descent into poverty. When he returns to financial stability, he becomes an aggressive stock holder and vows to avenge his family.
Ng Wing-hung Fong Fong
方芳
Fong Chun-sun's eldest daughter. She is emotional but clear-minded. She is the most "ordinary" of the Fong siblings, but is overwhelmed by events beyond her control.
Loletta Lee Fong Ting
方婷
She is beautiful and intelligent enough to earn a good life for herself. Unfortunately, she falls in love with Ting How-hai, the son of her father's murderer and a triad boss. She realises her mistake and tries to end her relationship with Ting, but is unable to escape the disastrous consequences.
Carol Yeung Fong Man
方敏
The youngest of the Fong siblings. She is the brightest and most innocent of the four. She commits suicide by jumping off a building after being raped by Ting Yik-hai, who promptly had the incident publicised.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fong Chun-sun
 
 
Lo Wai-ling
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fong Chin-bok
 
 
Fong Fong
 
 
 
Fong Ting
 
 
Fong Man

Others[edit]

Cast Role Relations Description
Vivian Chow Yuen Mui
阮梅
Fong Chin-bok's love interest She is a neighbour of the Fongs and witnesses their joys and tribulations. She is sweet, down-to-earth, pure and faithful, but extremely frugal in spending.
Amy Kwok Lung Kei-man
龍紀文
Fong Chin-bok's love interest; Lung Sing-bong's daughter She meets Fong by chance and fall in love with him. She is emotional, impulsive, educated and smart. She is a clear contrast to Yuen Mui, her opponent in the love triangle.
Kenneth Tsang Lung Sing-bong
龍成邦
Lung family patriarch A corrupt sergeant-major in the Royal Hong Kong Police Force. He flees to Taiwan in 1973 to escape from Hong Kong stock market corruption charges.
Kong Ngai Chan Man-yin
陳萬賢
Chan To-to's father Founding leader of the Asian Stock Exchange, who is utterly corrupt and ruthless. He has good stock instincts but not skilled or lucky enough to compete with the Fong and Ting families.
Bowie Lam Chan To-to
陳滔滔
Chan Man-yin's illegitimate son A stock market expert who unseats his father from the stock exchange leading position. He leaves New York and returns to Hong Kong after the Fong family is murdered and swears vengeance.
Law Lok-lam Yip Tin
葉天
Fong family friend An honest stock market guru, who fantasizes about being the god of Wall Street. He is the right-hand man of Fong Chun-sun during the 1960s and becomes the mentor of Fong's son in the 1980s. He has the right formula to winning the stock market, but is mentally unstable.
Lau Kong Chow Chai-sang
周濟生
Lung Sing-bong's old close ally A drug cartel chief and highly respected elder of the triad community. He escapes to Taiwan together with Lung and falls from power. He has an unusual penchant for Hangzhou cuisine.

Reception[edit]

The first episode of The Greed of Man starts in medias res with Ting Hai hurling his four adult sons from the top of the stock exchange building after losing his fortunes in the stock market. Upon the show's initial run in 1992, the audience found the scene so disturbing that the resulting torrent of complaints forced TVB to make several adjustments to the programme. The drama was moved from the 7 o'clock timeslot to the 9 o'clock timeslot after the first week of airing, and several sensitive scenes were cut. Scenes that have been edited out include Ting Hai trying to wash blood off his hands with his own urine, the rape and suicide of Fong Man, and the triads throwing the remnants of the Fong family down from the roof.[5] No domestic version, including later reruns and VHS and DVD releases, contains the full unedited The Greed of Man; however, the North American VHS version, being shipped before the programme was aired and edited in Hong Kong, is considered to be the complete uncut version.[6]

The April 2015 rerun, aired after a massive spike in the Hang Seng Index, drew an average of 360,000 viewers, a record for late night television in Hong Kong. The controversial opening scene itself drew 410,000 viewers. Young viewers watching the classic soap opera for the first time dubbed it a "divine drama" (神劇, meaning a highly acclaimed drama) on social media.[7]

Legacy[edit]

Ting Hai effect[edit]

Main article: Ting Hai effect

The series, which centers on the bustling stock market during the early 1990s, has been studied by international stockbrokers for its peculiar effect on the global stock market trend. A phenomenon is observed, that whenever a television drama starring Adam Cheng, the actor for the character Ting Hai, is aired, the stock market will fall for an unexplainable reason.[8] In 1992 when the series made its debut, the Hong Kong stock market dropped by 1200 points in one month. In 2009 when Cheng starred in The King of Snooker, the Hang Seng Index fell by 600 points again.[2]

Others[edit]

Sean Lau's character Fong Chin-bok was involved in a love triangle with Yuen Mui and Long Kei-man, played respectively by Vivian Chow and Amy Kwok. Fong married Yuen eventually in the series, but in reality, Lau dated Kwok and married her in 1998.[9]

Yammie Lam, who played Lo Wei-ling, became mentally unstable like her character in the series. The Hong Kong media has since speculated that she has been possessed and cannot get out of her role.[10] In September 1998, Lam lost control of her car while driving at Repulse Bay, and was admitted into hospital. Her mental illness was announced in the following year.[10]

Future film director Derek Kwok was so inspired by a quote spoken by the actor Law Lok-lam in episode 8 that he quit his original job as a graphic designer and started to study screenwriting in order to become a director.[11]

Sequel[edit]

In 2000, TVB's rival station ATV produced Divine Retribution, as a sequel to The Greed of Man. Both its Chinese and English titles, as well as its characters, were modified to avoid association with The Greed of Man. It was directed by Wai Ka-fai and featured Adam Cheng and Sean Lau.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dianying.com. "Dianying.com." The Greed of Man. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  2. ^ a b Sina.com. "Sina.com." 香港股市現“丁蟹效應” 鄭少秋喊冤:股民又賴我. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  3. ^ Sina.com. "Sina.com." 丁蟹效應累恒指瀉663點. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  4. ^ "娛樂蘋台 - 即時新聞 - 20150421 - 【狂煲大時代】「孝蟹」邵仲衡炒股過來人「似食鴉片,始終輸凸」". Apple Daily. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  5. ^ "秋官激讚藍潔瑛好戲 韋家輝憶首播狂收投訴 剪掟落街戲". olmingpao.com. 
  6. ^ "丁蟹吊頸自殺 方敏跨窗跳樓曝光網民要求還原《大時代》足本". mingpaoweekly.com. 
  7. ^ "Rerun of TVB stock market soap Greed Of Man draws record ratings, Hang Seng index rises". straitstimes.com. 
  8. ^ Big5.Chinanews.com. "Big5.Chinanews.com." 何謂“丁蟹效應”. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  9. ^ HKHeadline.com. "HKHeadline.com." 結婚10年屢傳不育 與郭藹明助養孤雛 劉青雲拒談生育大計. Retrieved on 2009-08-11.
  10. ^ a b Sina.com. "Sina.com." 蓝洁瑛 靓绝五台山,癫狂一阕梦. Retrieved on 2009-08-12.
  11. ^ "「你搵到你的世界未?」經典對白敲醒郭子健". mingpaoweekly.com.