Translated by Christopher Rea
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright May 2019)
A Wenhua Film Co. Production
LONG LIVE THE MISSUS
Starring: Shangguan Yunzhu, Shi Hui, Wang Yi, Zhang Fa, Lu Shan, Jiang Tianliu, Han Fei
Director of Photography: Huang Shaofen
Cinematography: Xu Qi, Ge Weiqing
Sound: Shen Yimin, Zhu Weigang
Set Design: Wang Yuebai
Music: Zhang Zhengjiu
Props: Wu Jianhuang
Makeup: Xin Hanwen
Editing: Fu Jiqiu
Printing: Xu Hexiang, Du Zhenkun
Costumes: Qi Qiuming
Script Supervisor: Xu Jin
Dramatis Personae (in order of appearance):
Chen Sizhen (Jiang Tianliu)
Mama Zhang (Sun Yi)
Old Mrs. Tang (Lu Shan)
Tang Zhiqin (Wang Yi)
Chen Sirui (Han Fei)
Old Mrs. Chen (Lin Zhen)
Old Mr. Chen (Shi Hui)
Shopkeeper (Jin Gang)
Lawyer Yang (Cui Chaoming)
Tang Zhiyuan (Zhang Fa)
Old Zhou (Tian Zhendong)
Ma Linlin (Su Yun)
Shi Mimi (Shangguan Yunzhu)
Deputy Manager Xue (Cao Wei)
Shi’s Elder Brother (Cheng Zhi)
New Friend (Gao Xiao’ou)
Screenplay: Eileen Chang
Director: Sang Hu
[End opening credits]
[At the Tang residence]
Chen Sizhen: Mama Zhang! Mama Zhang!
Mama Zhang: Hey—coming! Yes, young missus?
Sizhen: Go ask madam to come down. Tell her that the candles are lit. Oh no—what a disaster! Didn’t I tell you before that it’s madam’s birthday today and to be extra careful not to break anything?
Zhang: I don’t know what happened, young missus. It just slipped out of my hand, and…
Sizhen: That’s enough of that. Hush. Hurry and pick it up. But whatever you do, don’t let madam find out!
Zhang: Okay! Ouch—I cut my finger!
Sizhen: What is it with you today?
Zhang: It’s no big deal.
Sizhen: Don’t do that! There’s some medicine in my room and gauze in the drawer. Go put a bandage on it.
Zhang: Oh, madam.
Mrs. Tang: What broke just now?
Zhang: Um… Just now…
Sizhen: It wasn’t in our house. Some kid kicked a ball and broke a window across the alley.
Tang: Kids these days are like a gang of little thugs. I can’t stand it. Young missus, should you have children of your own someday, don’t you let them run wild like that.
Sizhen: Ma, where’s younger sister?
Tang: She’s upstairs.
Sizhen: Didn’t she say she was going to take you to see a Shaoxing play for your birthday?
Tang: I have some friends coming over to play mahjong, so I’d prefer to go another day. Say, what play is Yuan Xuefen performing in these days? Let me take a look in the newspaper. Ah, I can’t see clearly without my glasses.
Sizhen: Ma, you don’t need to read the ads—I know: Yuan’s playing Xianglin’s Wife.
Tang: Xianglin’s Wife? Never heard of it.
Sizhen: I hear it’s a new play—a real weepie.
Tang: A tragedy? The more tragic the better—I simply adore tragedies! Mama Zhang, what happened to your hand?
Zhang: My hand…
Sizhen: Oh, it’s just a touch of rheumatism. I put some ointment on it and wrapped it up for her. Ma, let me kowtow my birthday respects to you.
Tang: Hold on—I haven’t even kowtowed myself. Perhaps if I kowtow sincerely enough a couple times I’ll have a grandson by next year. Who did this? Mama Zhang, was it you?
Zhang: Yes, madam.
Tang: So that sound of something breaking just now—it was this?
Tang: Young missus, and here you told me it was the window opposite. Mama Zhang, just look how many things you’ve broken in the few days since you arrived here. Don’t you realize we paid good money for them?
Sizhen: Mama Zhang, you just be more careful in the future. You hear me?
Tang: Humph, young missus, you can’t be so polite with stubborn wretches like her.
Zhang: Old madam, you’d better hire someone else. I can’t do all this stuff.
Tang: What? One light scolding and you’re threatening to quit?
Zhang: It’s just the one of me responsible for this big old house. Maids in other households don’t have to work as hard as I do, but they’re paid more than I am.
Sizhen: Mama Zhang, if you think you’re not being paid enough, you should’ve said something about it earlier.
Tang: Young missus, just why should be raise her wages? We pay for all her room and board.
Zhang: Old madam, are you saying that servants should pay for room and board themselves?
Sizhen: That’s enough of that! Stop talking at once. Take out this broken bowl, quick now.
Tang: Quit if you’re going to quit! You won’t be missed! To start acting up on today of all days.
Sizhen: Ma, don’t let her get you all worked up. I’ll give her a good scolding later on.
Tang Zhiqin [offscreen]: Sister-in-law! Sister-in-law!
Sizhen: What is it?
Zhiqin [offscreen]: Come here. I want to have a word with you about something.
Zhiqin: Hey, sister-in-law, I want to ask your advice on something. Just now I paid my birthday respects to mom and she gave me $50,000. I want to use the money to buy her something to eat. What do you think I should get her?
Sizhen: Hmm, the problem is, I don’t know what she likes to eat.
Zhiqin: Oh, ma.
Tang: Young missus, all this was just sent over by Zhiqin’s adoptive mother. I don’t feel right accepting all of it. What should I do?
Sizhen: Then just accept one gift and send back the ham.
Tang: Mm-hm. Then, how much should I tip her?
Sizhen: Ma, you can decide that yourself.
Tang: Ah, I’m old and the price of everything is going up these days. If I don’t know what I’m doing and shortchange her she’ll say bad things about me behind my back!
Zhiqin: These boxes of apples and oranges by themselves probably weren’t cheap.
Sizhen: I’d say $20,000 would be about right.
Tang: Huh, I don’t like eating either of these types of fruit. My favorite’s pineapple.
Zhiqin: Oh, pineapple’s your favorite?
Tang: Yes. Young missus, does Zhiyuan have a business card?
Sizhen: Yes, I’ll go get it from my room.
Tang: What’s this—you’re going out?
Zhiqin: I’m going shopping.
Sizhen: Mama Zhang, go give this name card to the old madam. Oh, Mama Zhang, come here. In the future, don’t talk back to madam like that. I know you have a lot of work, but if you do it conscientiously…
Zhang: Young missus, I’m not making this up. The price of everything has gone up—only servants seem to be worth less and less.
Sizhen: Mama Zhang, from now on you just take what madam pays you, and I’ll chip in a little extra every month. Here’s $50,000—but whatever you do, don’t let madam find out!
Zhang: Thank you, young missus. You’re so understanding.
Sizhen: Now you go apologize to her, okay?
[Phone call between the Tang residence and the Chen residence]
Sizhen: Off you go. Hello? Younger brother, is that you? When did you get back? Hah, of course I know your voice. It hasn’t been two years since you went to Taiwan.
Chen Sirui: Big sis, I missed your wedding and I haven’t met your husband yet. How about I come pay you a visit now? Hang on.
Mrs. Chen: Today is her mother-in-law’s birthday. You can wish her a happy birthday.
Sirui: What? That was mom talking to me. She was telling me to wish your mother-in-law a happy birthday. I’ll see you soon.
Sizhen: Wait a minute. Did you come back by boat or by plane? By plane? Then you wouldn’t have been able to bring much luggage, right? I was just thinking that since it’s your first visit… How about this: why don’t you go to a local products shop and see if they carry any Taiwan specialties. You could say that you brought it back from Taiwan. Pineapple would be best.
Sirui: Pineapple? Okay, got it. What? Sis wants to know if you’re coming.
Mrs. Chen: I don’t want to.
Sirui: Mom says she’s not coming. Huh? She’s asking if dad wants to come.
Mrs. Chen: You go ask him yourself.
Sirui: Hello? Hold on a sec. Dad.
Mr. Chen: Ahem! Come here. Come here. Eh?
Sirui: Sis wants to know if you want to go over to the Tangs’. It’s her mother-in-law’s birthday.
Mr. Chen: Ah. No. You go.
Mrs. Chen: Hey, Sizhen, dad’s not coming either. You wish her a happy birthday for us. Okay. Bye.
Sirui: Ma, I’m off.
Mrs. Chen: Hey, you watch your mouth at their house, now. Old Mrs. Tang is a strict one!
Sirui: I know, ma. You think I’m still a child, don’t you?
[At a shop]
Sirui: Do you have fresh pineapple?
Shop assistant: Yes.
Sirui: Do you have any bigger ones?
Shop assistant: These ones are all we have left. The others are sold out. They’re hard to come by.
Sirui: In that case, I’ll take the lot.
Shop assistant: Okay.
Zhiqin: I want to buy pineapple too.
Shop assistant: I’m sorry, we’re all sold out.
Zhiqin: Ah! Could you let me have a couple?
[Sirui shakes his head.]
Zhiqin: Couldn’t you just buy a couple fewer? I’m came all this way just to buy pineapple.
Sirui: So did I. These are for a gift. If there aren’t enough it won’t look good.
Zhiqin: You’re so unreasonable!
Sirui: I…I…I’m unreasonable? Why on earth should I turn over things I’ve bought to you?
[At the Tang residence]
Sizhen: Brother, you’re here!
Sizhen: Ma, this is my younger brother. He just got back today from Taiwan.
Sirui: Auntie, allow me to wish you a happy birthday!
Mrs. Tang: Don’t be so polite.
Sizhen: Let me introduce you: this is Mrs. Yang, and this is Mr. Yang, esquire. Lawyer Yang is a good friend of my husband’s.
Sirui: Please, sit back down. This is a little local product I brought back from Taiwan.
Sizhen: Really! You can bring things like that on an airplane! What is it?
Sirui: Pineapple. I don’t know if auntie likes to eat pineapple or not.
Tang: What a coincidence—I love pineapple!
Sirui: Is that right? If I’d have known, I’d have brought a few more.
Tang: This is more than enough! Young missus, why don’t you take your brother up to your room. You must have so much to catch up on.
Tang: Oh, Mr. Yang, I’m truly sorry. Zhiyuan is so careless. He invited you here to play mahjong but he himself isn’t back yet.
Mr. Yang: That’s alright. We can wait a bit longer.
Tang: In that case, let’s set up the mahjong table and take it from there.
Yang: Sounds good.
Zhiqin: Mr. Yang, Mrs. Yang. Ma, I’m so vexed. I went to so many shops but couldn’t buy pineapple.
Tang: Ah, don’t get mad. Look—there’s pineapple right here! Your sister-in-law’s younger brother just brought these back from Taiwan.
Zhiqin: If I’d have known you were getting this gift, I wouldn’t have had to go out and do all that running around.
Tang: Hey, he’s upstairs talking with Sizhen. Why don’t you go meet him?
Sirui: Sis, you’ve gotten so skinny. Just look at how much better you look in that picture.
Sizhen: Oh, is that right? I don’t think so.
Sirui: Where is brother-in-law working now?
Sizhen: In a bank.
Sirui: Ugh. Bank work is the dullest.
Sizhen: He’d like nothing better than to change jobs, and he’s got all sorts of plans, but unfortunately he doesn’t have any capital. Oh, sis, you’re back. This is my younger brother, just back from Taiwan.
Zhiqin: What? You?!
Sizhen: What’s this? You two have met!
Zhiqin: I ran into him just now buying pineapple.
Sirui: Sorry about that, just now.
Zhiqin: It doesn’t matter.
Tang: Young missus, go fetch the mahjong set for me.
Sizhen: Okay, I’ll get it.
Tang: Mr. Chen, please have a seat.
Sirui: You sit first, please, auntie.
Tang: You must have had a tiring trip.
Sirui: Not at all. Flying isn’t all that tiring. Just a short trip and you’re there.
Zhiqin: Isn’t flying dangerous nowadays?
Sirui: Aiya! This time was really perilous. We had almost reached Shanghai and it was thick fog everywhere. We kept circling and circling but were unable to land. The plane was almost out of fuel, and everyone was in a panic.
Tang: Amitabha Buddha! How frightening!
Zhiqin: What happened next?
Sirui: Aiya! At that moment, everyone onboard was beside themselves, weeping and wailing. Only I remained calm and wasn’t scared at all. Getting scared doesn’t help a thing, does it? I thought that if we were to crash and my life ended in an instant, wouldn’t that be the heroic way to go?
Zhiqin: Wow! You’re so brave! You’re so great!
Tang: Look at me!—I’ve been so wrapped up in your story that I completely forgot about the guests downstairs. Young missus, if Zhiyuan doesn’t get back soon, you fill in for him.
Sirui: Sis, when did you learn to play mahjong?
Sizhen: Just after I got married.
Zhiqin: I know that Sizhen doesn’t really like to play, but when there are guests she has to play to keep them company. It’s part of her bitter duty as a wife.
Sirui: What she liked to do the most was listen to music. Sis, do you still get the chance to listen?
Sizhen: How could I? What I’d really like right now would be a wireless radio. If I could listen to a record now and again, I’d be content.
Mama Zhang: Young missus, the madam asks you to come downstairs for noodles.
Sizhen: Let’s go down.
Sirui: How could brother-in-law still have not come home?
Sizhen: I have no idea where he is.
[At the Chen residence]
Servant: Young master, the master will be coming down soon.
Mr. Chen: What are you doing here? I know it’s your mother’s birthday, but I have too many things to do here, so I can’t go over.
Zhiyuan: We wouldn’t presume.
Mr. Chen: Sirui is back from Taiwan, so I sent him over to pay his respects.
Zhiyuan: He’s back?
Mr. Chen: Yes, just back today.
Zhiyuan: I made a special trip here today to discuss an important plan with you.
Mr. Chen: A plan? What is it with you and these plans you’re always coming up with? Aren’t you doing just fine at the bank?
Zhiyuan: I spend every day counting dollar bills at the bank, but at the end of the day it’s all someone else’s money. There’s no future in it.
Mr. Chen: Future? Zhiyuan, don’t think I’m chiding you, but if a young man like you doesn’t do his job well, he has no future. My advice to you is to keep your place and do your duty. Don’t get carried away with these harebrained schemes. Eh? Eh.
Servant: Hello? Chen residence. What’s that? You want to talk to the master of the house?
Mr. Chen: Ask what his name is.
Servant: Hello? Your name, sir? It’s a Mr. Lin.
Mr. Chen: Lin, is it? He must be trying to borrow money again. Tell him I’m not home!
Servant: The master went out. Oh, oh.
Mr. Chen: Zhiyuan, I won’t keep you. Today is your mother’s birthday, and you must have a lot of guests at home. Go back and entertain them. Hmm?
Zhiyuan: But I came here today especially to see you. No matter what, I hope that you’ll give my plan some consideration. I want to start a business enterprise specializing in import-export. It’ll be financially secure. Would you consider helping me?
Mr. Chen: Help you? How can you ask for help in doing business? Go solo! A man does what he can based on his own abilities. So you want to start a business enterprise, do you? Swell! But just ask yourself: do you have gold bars? US dollars? Huh?
Servant: Master, Mr. Zhu is here.
Mr. Chen: Ah, Old Yun! You’re such a busy man, thanks for making the time. Come on in and have a seat.
Mr. Zhu: Quite a scorcher today.
Mr. Chen: Boiling! I stopped by your place just now.
Mr. Zhu: Oh? What for?
Mr. Chen: I’ve got too much cash on hand at the moment and wanted to know if you had a use for it. I thought I’d lend you some.
Mr. Zhu: Currency’s depreciating now. It’s hard to lend out just at the moment.
Mr. Chen: That’s as may be, but you’ve got to help me out. Surely you can use a bit extra.
Zhiyuan: Father-in-law, I’m leaving.
[Back at the Tang residence]
Zhang Ma: Young missus, the young master is home.
Sizhen: Why are you back so late? The guests have all left.
Sizhen: You’re stinking drunk. Where were you drinking? [Zhiyuan stirs] I’m asking you: who were you drinking with.
Zhiyuan: By myself.
Sizhen: By yourself?!
Zhiyuan: That’s right. Just now I went to see your dad. Not only did he refuse to help me, but he even went out of his way to scold me. He asked me how many gold bars and US dollars I had. But if I had gold bars and US dollars, why would I be asking for his help?
Sizhen: That’s just the way my dad is. We’ll think of a solution.
Zhiyuan: What solution?
Sizhen: Don’t worry, I’ve got a solution in mind.
Zhiyuan: Don’t think that he’ll listen to you just because you’re his daughter. He has no family feeling. He only cares about money.
Sizhen: Okay, okay, enough bellyaching.
Zhiyuan: Sizhen, bring me the cigarettes.
Sizhen: Hey, what happened to your head?
Zhiyuan: I…uh, when I was drunk just now I was careless and bumped into something.
Sizhen: Does it hurt?
Sizhen: Don’t touch it. I’ll put some antiseptic on it.
Zhiyuan: Sizhen, you’re the only person in this world who’s good to me.
Sizhen: You’re just saying that. Hey, my younger brother is back from Taiwan.
Zhiyuan: I know.
Sizhen: He and Zhiqin talked for a long time together. They seem to really like each other.
Zhiyuan: Oh no, I’m against it.
Sizhen: Against it?!
Zhiyuan: If your dad looks down on us poor people, why should we aspire to marry up?
Sizhen: I’m not talking to you. You’re so grumpy today.
Zhiyuan: Ai, relatives are useless. Only friends are any good.
Sizhen: Only friends are any good? But some friend you are—you invited Mr. and Mrs. Yang over to play mahjong and then disappeared.
Zhiyuan: Goodness! I completely forgot. I’ll go apologize to him tomorrow.
[Office of Yang Naijun, Esquire]
Zhiyuan: Old Yang. Hey, Old Zhou! What are you doing here?
Mr. Zhou: Old Tang, it’s been a long time.
Zhiyuan: Old Yang, I’m really sorry about yesterday.
Yang: Where on earth did you go yesterday? We waited for you for ages and played eight rounds and you still didn’t return.
Zhiyuan: Ach, don’t bring it up. How have you been recently, Old Zhou?
Zhou: Not bad, not bad.
Yang: Old Zhou’s struck it rich. He’s always flying back and forth between Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Zhiyuan: Sigh. It seems that among us old classmates, I’m the only one who hasn’t made good.
Zhou: Old Tang, why don’t you come with me on a trip to Hong Kong? Who knows—maybe you’ll find some opportunity or other there?
Yang: It’s his treat. I’d love to go and have some fun myself but I’m really tied up with work here and can’t get away.
Zhou: Just say the word and we’re off. There happens to be one flight this afternoon.
Yang: Zhiyuan, can’t you request a leave at the bank?
Zhiyuan: Getting leave is no problem, but…
Zhou: Come now, don’t overthink it. Go home and pack your bags. I’ll be waiting for you at the airport in an hour.
[At the Tang residence]
Zhiyuan: Sizhen! Sizhen!
Sizhen: I’m downstairs.
Zhiyuan: Sizhen, I’m getting on a plane immediately for Hong Kong.
Sizhen: Hong Kong! Why?
Zhiyuan: A friend has invited me to go with him. There might be an opportunity to do a little business. Go pack for me, will you? Ma, I’m about to go to Hong Kong.
Mrs. Tang: Hong Kong? How will you go? By air or by ship?
Sizhen: By ship.
Zhiyuan: By ship, by ship.
Tang: By ship is safer. Planes are too dangerous. What is the name of the ship?
Zhiyuan: It’s called…
Sizhen: … Sea Breeze.
Zhiyuan: Sea Breeze, Sea Breeze.
Tang: Sea Breeze? When does it set sail?
Zhiyuan: When does it set sail? Presently. Sizhen, go upstairs and pack my bags for me—the simpler the better.
Sizhen: In a moment, I’ll see you…onto the boat.
Zhiyuan: Good. Call a taxi for me.
Tang: Zhiyuan, you’ve never been far from home before. You take care, now.
Zhiyuan: I know.
Zhiqin: Ma, brother.
Tang: Zhiyuan, you probably haven’t met yet: this is Sizhen’s younger brother.
Sirui: Oh, brother-in-law! I came by yesterday, but you weren’t home.
Tang: Where did you two go?
Zhiqin: We went swimming. He taught me!
Tang: You’re brother’s going to Hong Kong today.
Zhiqin: Oh? By ship or by plane?
Zhiyuan: By ship.
Sirui: By boat? What a trial—slow and uncomfortable.
Tang: Master Chen, one shouldn’t trifle with one’s life.
Sirui: Life and death is in the hands of fate. Going by ship can be risky too, can’t it?
Zhiqin: Well, it’s still safer than going by air. No more riding airplanes for you, alright?
Sirui: All right.
Sizhen: I’ve called a cab.
Zhiyuan: Great. Let’s go wait by the front door. Ma, I’m off.
Sirui: Brother-in-law, I’ll see you onto the boat.
Zhiyuan: No need, bye.
Tang: Zhiyuan, send a telegram once you arrive in Hong Kong.
Zhiyuan: I will.
[Outside the Tang residence]
Zhiyuan: I really don’t like seeing your brother being so familiar with my sister.
Sizhen: There you go, meddling in other people’s business again! Zhiyuan, take a look at this. This is that brooch I keep talking about. Look how well it’s set!
Zhiyuan: When I have the money I’ll buy it for you.
Sizhen: Then again, this type of thing isn’t that useful. If you had the money, it’d be better spent on a wireless.
Zhiyuan: That wireless is always on your mind!
Sizhen: Hey, the cab’s here.
[At the airport]
Zhiyuan: Sizhen, you can go home now.
Sizhen: Zhiyuan, if you don’t find any business opportunities in Hong Kong, don’t be disappointed; just have a good time.
Zhiyuan: I will.
Zhou: Come on up, Old Tang! Goodbye, Mrs. Tang!
[At the Tang residence.]
Sizhen: Hello? Yes? Younger brother, is that you? You want to talk to Zhiqin? Hold on a sec. Sis! Sis—phone for you! She’s on her way. Hey, what are you doing calling her so early in the morning?
Zhiqin: Hello? Yes, it’s me. What’s that? Wait a moment. He’s asking me to go over to your parents’ place and then go out for a picnic. Why don’t you come with us?
Sizhen: But he didn’t invite me.
Zhiqin: Hello? I’ll only come if sister-in-law comes. Hmm? Hold on.
Sirui: Hey, sis. She’s being shy and says that she won’t come unless you do. Be a good big sister and do this favor for me.
Sizhen: No need to get sappy. I’ll come.
Zhiqin: Aiya! We can’t let mom know. Your mom and dad didn’t come on her birthday, so she’s a bit put out.
Sizhen: Okay, then you go first and I’ll join you in a little while. That way she won’t be suspicious.
Zhiqin: Fine, but be sure to come.
Sizhen: I said I would and I will.
Zhiqin: Ma, I’m going out for a bit.
Tang: Where are you heading off to this early?
Zhiqin: To a classmate’s house.
Tang: Have some congee first, before you go.
Zhiqin: No, thanks.
Sizhen: Sis, where are you off to?
Zhiqin: A classmate’s house. Bye!
Sizhen: Bye! Hi, Ma.
Tang: Zhiqin is getting more and more unrestrained. Every day she’s going out early and not coming home till late.
Sizhen: Students are supposed to have fun during summer vacation.
Tang: I’m really ill at ease with Zhiyuan off traveling.
Sizhen: He’s all grown up. What’s there to worry about?
Tang: I didn’t sleep at all well last night.
[Newspaper headline: Disaster at sea: SEA BREEZE SINKS! Ship strikes a reef and sinks on its journey to Hong Kong. Several hundred passengers drown.]
Tang: Young missus, what was the name of that ship Zhiyuan took?
Sizhen: Oh, Sea Breeze.
Tang: Sea Breeze!?
Sizhen: That’s right. I checked the other day when I saw him onto the ship. There were so many people traveling to Hong Kong—the ship was packed! Traveling is such a pain these days. Hey, ma! What’s wrong with you? Ma! Ma! Are you feeling uncomfortable somewhere?
Sizhen: No, ma, no. He didn’t take this ship.
Tang: Don’t lie to me. Which ship would he have taken if not this one?
Sizhen: He didn’t go by ship. He flew.
Tang: Wha…? Now you’re telling me he flew?!
Sizhen: I didn’t want to worry you with the knowledge that he was flying, so I told a fib and said he was going by ship. Actually, I saw him onto the plane myself.
Tang: Hmph! You’re treating me like a little kid! Do you think I’m so easily fooled? Oh, heavens! My son!
Sizhen: Why would I lie to you? He really wasn’t on that ship.
Tang: But didn’t you just say you saw yourself how chaotic it was onboard? It’s because it was overcrowded that it sunk! Aiyo, my heart is breaking!
Sizhen: Mama Zhang! Mama Zhang!
Zhang: Young missus.
Sizhen: Ma, you go take a rest upstairs. Mama Zhang, help her upstairs.
Messenger: Is this the Tang residence? Telegram,
[Upstairs, in Mrs. Tang’s bedroom]
Sizhen: Ma, Zhiyuan’s arrived in Hong Kong. Here’s a telegram from him. I’ll read it to you: Safely arrived in Hong Kong. Will return in three days. You must believe me now.
Tang: Aiya! It’s hard to know what trick you all might be pulling.
Sizhen: This telegram couldn’t be fake!
Tang: Hmph. Zhiyuan might be safe and sound after all, but you almost killed this old lady just now.
Sizhen: Ma, don’t be angry at me. I won’t lie anymore.
Tang: Anyway, you all have played this old lady for a fool enough already.
Sizhen: Ma, I want to go out shopping. If you want something to eat, I’ll bring it back for you.
Tang: You go ahead. I don’t have any appetite.
[At the Chen residence]
Sirui: Why isn’t my sister here yet? Let’s not wait for her any longer. Let’s go.
Zhiqin: That’s no good. We insisted that she come, so we can’t abandon her now.
Sirui: I was just worried that you were tired of waiting.
Zhiqin: It’s okay. Do you have any novels?
Sirui: No. The only books my father has are ones we’re not interested in reading.
Zhiqin: Who is this?
Sirui: This is an old photo of my dad.
Zhiqin: “Portrait of the Master of Orchid-Lover Studio.” Why does he call himself “Master of Orchid-Lover Studio”?
Sirui: Because he once loved a woman named Orchid, who later died. Dad never got over her, so he came up with this name.
Zhiqin: Oh, who’d have thought he’d have such a moving backstory?
Sirui: Yep. Don’t be deceived by what my father looks like today. He used to be quite the dashing, passionate young man! That’s right!
Zhiqin: Sis, why are you so late?
Sizhen: I meant to come earlier, but Ma wasn’t feeling well.
Zhiqin: What?! What’s the matter with her?
Sizhen: Don’t be alarmed. She’s fine now.
Sirui: Off we go. It’s getting late.
Sizhen: You two go by yourselves. I’m beat, and I really don’t have the energy to go.
Sirui: Then why did you come?
Sizhen: I came just to tell you that.
Sirui: We’re off, then.
Sizhen: Off you go. Hey, brother, is dad home?
Sirui: He’s upstairs. What’s up?
Sizhen: Nothing important. See you.
Sizhen: Dad, you’re up and about!
Mr. Chen: Where’s Sirui?
Sizhen: They’ve gone out.
Chen: Then why haven’t you gone out with them?
Sizhen: Ai, I have to go back to the Tangs’ soon. Old Madame Tang is feeling a bit uncomfortable.
Chen: Eh? What’s the matter with her?
Sizhen: Her old complaint—indigestion. Daddy, my mother-in-law is quite an odd one. As soon as she began feeling ill, she started saying she was about to die. She got so anxious that she gave me the key to their safe. She told me that in the safe there are a hundred and eighty gold bars.
Chen: A hundred and eighty!
Sizhen: And US dollars!
Chen: US dollars!
Sizhen: And stocks!
Chen: Stocks! Coal or textiles?
Sizhen: I’m not sure about that. I never knew until today that their family was so rich! Just think, dad: that old lady is so tight-fisted. She won’t let slip a single penny. Zhiyuan doesn’t make much at the bank, and I can’t tell you how much I’ve suffered trying to keep house all by myself.
Chen: Aiya, what’s with this crying? Do you still have that safe key on you? Oh, she took it back? No matter: all these family assets will eventually fall to Zhiyuan, won’t they? Child, you have better days ahead.
Sizhen: Daddy, you make everything sound so nice. But how are we supposed to get by now without any money? Zhiyuan couldn’t stand it and was forced to go all the way down to Hong Kong to figure something out.
Chen: Why on earth did he go to Hong Kong?
Sizhen: He has a new plan.
Chen: Plan? What plan?
Sizhen: Hasn’t he told you?
Sizhen: I think he wants to start some type of business enterprise.
Chen: Then why didn’t you send him to me? You call him right back. If he needs some capital, your daddy can figure something out for him.
Sizhen: Daddy! Would you really be willing to help him out?
Chen: It’d all be for you, after all, wouldn’t it? That lad Zhiyuan is mature beyond his years. He’s bursting with, uh…um…prospects! That’s it—prospects! When will he be back?
Sizhen: He’ll be in Hong Kong for three days, then he’s coming back.
Chen: As soon as he gets off the airplane, you tell him to come see me.
[At the airport]
Zhou: Let me introduce you. This is Mrs. Tang. This is Miss Ma.
[In front of the Tang residence]
Sizhen: Thank you, Mr. Zhou!
Zhou: See you, see you!
Sizhen: When you went down to Hong Kong there were just two of you. Why are there now three of you coming back?
Zhiyuan: Old Zhou made a packet, so he brought back a woman. As soon as men strike it rich, they start fooling around with women. I find it deplorable. Then again, I’ll never strike it rich.
Sizhen: Don’t lose hope. By the way, I forgot to tell you: my father told me that he considered that plan of yours and thinks it’s a good one. He said that as soon as you’re back from Hong Kong you should seek him out.
Zhiyuan: What’s this? So now he’s willing to help me?
Sizhen: He even praised you. He said that you have ambition and are sure to succeed. Give me your suitcase and go straight over to see my dad.
Zhiyuan: Rickshaw! Rickshaw! Look, Sizhen: that brooch is still there. If I do get rich, I’ll buy it for you.
Sizhen: Don’t be silly. Off you go.
[At the Chen residence]
Mr. Chen: Ah, Zhiyuan—you’re back!
Zhiyuan: I came as soon as I got off the plane.
Chen: Here. Zhiyuan, that plan you told me last time makes a lot of sense to me. Come on, let’s talk it over.
Zhiyuan: Didn’t you say that it was too risky?
Chen: You probably misunderstood me. Last time I was testing you to see if you’d give up, but you didn’t: you went off to Hong Kong to look for opportunities. That shows you have ambition.
Zhiyuan: If you’d be willing to help me out, sir, that would be fantastic.
Chen: “Help you out”—come now! You’re my son-in-law! Of course I’m going to take an interest in your affairs. Here, let’s do the math to figure out how much capital is needed, how many employees, and how much in start-up costs.
[Sign: Prosperity Enterprises Corporation Planning Office]
[Sign: Prosperity Enterprises Corporation]
[Sign on door: Operations Department]
[Sign on door: Deputy Manager]
[Sign on door: General Manager]
[At the Tang residence]
Zhiyuan: Sizhen! Sizhen!
Sizhen: Zhiyuan, were you calling me?
Zhiyuan: Come, look! I bought you that wireless.
Sizhen: Aiya! You really bought it!
Zhiyuan: I know what you’re like. If I’d have given you the money you’d have saved it, so I bought it for you myself.
Sizhen: It’s marvelous, but such a top model!
Zhiyuan: Aiya, if you’re going to buy something, buy the best!
Mama Zhan: Young master, a guest has arrived.
Zhiyuan: Just wait. I’ll have something even better for you in a bit.
Mr. Zhou: Old Tang, I’m here to invite you out to tea.
Zhiyuan: No, thanks. Not today.
Zhou: I came out of my way just for you. You must come! Let’s go, let’s go.
[At a restaurant]
Zhiyuan: Oh, hi Linlin.
Linlin: What took you two so long?
Mr. Zhou: He was reluctant to accept my invitation.
Linlin: Zhiyuan, don’t you play the saint, now. I’m setting you up with someone. What’s wrong with that?
Zhiyuan: Setting me up? Don’t be ridiculous!
Zhou: Where is she?
Linlin: She went to make a phone call. She’ll be back in a moment.
Zhiyuan: Ah, the weather’s been so hot these few days.
Linlin: I’d bet it’s you who’s all hot on the inside.
Zhiyuan: Stop joking.
Shi Mimi [offscreen]: Aiyo, who’s that using my fan?
Zhou: Old Tang, let me introduce you: this is the famous Miss Shi Mimi.
Zhiyuan: Oh, my apologies. Please have a seat.
Linlin: Mimi, did you get through?
Mimi: Aiya, I’m so vexed. Tickets are all sold out at the Grand.
Linlin: The new film at the Majestic is good too. Old Zhou and I saw it yesterday.
Mimi: So you’ve seen it already. It’s be no fun going to see it on my own.
Zhou: Hey, Old Tang, why don’t you take her?
Zhiyuan: Me? I never go to the movies. Then again, if Miss Shi is so keen on it, of course I should accompany her.
Zhou: Mimi, this is quite an honor for you!
Linlin: Old Zhou, the store will be closed if we don’t go over there now.
Zhou: Linlin wants me to go shopping with her.
Zhiyuan: Then you might as well go ahead.
Linlin: Aiyo! I introduced you not five minutes ago and you’re already sick of us!
Zhiyuan: There she goes again!
Linlin: We get the message. We’re off. Bye-bye!
Zhiyuan: It’s still a little early to go see a movie, isn’t it.
Mimi: Mm-hm. We can stay here for a little while.
Zhiyuan: One coffee. Miss Shi, do you often watch movies?
Mimi: I absolutely love watching movies, but I’m absolutely terrified of watching them too.
Mimi: Because whenever I watch a tragedy it reminds me of my own life.
Mimi: Mr. Tang, my life’s been so full of misfortunes that if it were made into a movie, anyone who watched it would weep.
Zhiyuan: I never imagined. So young, but you’ve suffered so many misfortunes.
Mimi: You must think that I’m a soulless woman.
Zhiyuan: No, no, no, no. You’re great. Do you think you could tell me some of your story?
Mimi: Okay, but you’ll have to promise not to tell anyone else.
Zhiyuan: Of course.
Mimi: You have to keep my secret, because… I’ve never told this to anybody.
[At the Tang residence]
Sizhen: You’re back! What was it you said you wanted to give me just now?
Zhiyuan: Oh, I was going to give you that brooch. But unfortunately, someone had already bought it.
Zhiyuan: Such a shame. When I wanted to buy it I didn’t have the money. Now that I have the money to buy it, it’s gone. It’s infuriating. Sizhen, bring me my cigarettes.
Sizhen: I’ve heard that that the film at the Majestic is great. Could you take me sometime when you have the time?
Zhiyuan: But you know I don’t like watching movies, don’t you?
Sizhen: Why can’t you take me just this once?
Zhiyuan: Have my sister take you.
Sizhen: She’s already seen it.
Zhiyuan: Then go by yourself.
[In Zhiyuan’s office]
Zhiyuan: Mimi, go sit over there. It’ll look bad if anyone sees you sitting here.
Mimi: But I like sitting here.
Zhiyuan: Then I have absolutely no dignity.
Mimi: What do you mean, dignity?
Zhiqin: Brother, are you going home soon? We’d like to hitch a ride.
Zhiyuan: Aiya, I…uh…I have to go somewhere else in a minute.
Sirui: Then take the wireless back in your car. It’ll be more convenient.
Zhiyuan: It’s already fixed?
Sirui: Yep. I picked it up for Sis.
Zhiqin: Brother, we’ll be heading home, then.
Mimi: This is the latest model. Mine is out of date.
Zhiyuan: If you like this type, I’ll buy you another one.
Mimi: Buy me another one? You talk like you’re afraid I’ll steal this one. I’m not after your family’s things.
Zhiyuan: Then just take this one. Having it at your place is just like having it at my home.
Mimi: You’re saying all this just to dupe me. Now I know that you don’t really care about me.
Zhiyuan: Hey, Mimi, don’t leave. Mimi! Mimi!
Mr. Yang: Old Tang.
Zhiyuan: Hey, Old Yang, Old Yang.
Yang: I have something to discuss with you.
Zhiyuan: Okay, okay.
Yang: I have a friend who wants me to help him out with an import shipment. I want to know what your procedures are.
Zhiyuan: Okay. I’ll have my deputy manager explain it to you. Please call in Deputy Manager Xue. Aiya, I’ve been so swamped recently that I’ve had to hand over quite a bit to my deputy manager.
Yang: Busy, huh? Maybe. But I’m here to settle accounts with you. How could you take a mistress without even cluing in your old pal?
Zhiyuan: Mistress! It’s nothing as serious as your making it out to be.
Yang: Old Tang, don’t just take it from me. You have such a beautiful wife at home. Why on earth would you go seek another outside?
Zhiyuan: People are incorrigible like that. No matter how pretty the wife is, she’ll never be as good as a mistress. Ah, this is Mr. Yang. This is Deputy Manager Xue.
Mr. Xue: Mr. Yang.
Zhiyuan: Then, I’ll leave you two to it. I have another matter to attend to. Oh yes, when you’re done, fetch that form out of the safe for me.
Zhiyuan: See you tomorrow, Yang.
Xue: Please have a seat, Mr. Yang.
Yang: I have a friend who wants to order some goods through your company.
Xue: No problem. Whatever your instructions, Mr. Yang, we’re at your disposal.
[At Mimi’s apartment]
Maid: Miss, Mr. Tang is here.
Mimi: I didn’t think you’d be here so quickly.
Zhiyuan: Look, and I brought you that wireless.
Mimi: Who wants it!
Zhiyuan: Who’s this?
Mimi: It’s, uh, my brother. He just arrived by train from the countryside. He was exhausted, so I let him take a nap. Brother, this is Mr. Tang, who I was telling you about.
Zhiyuan: Please, have a seat.
Man: Thank you, no. I have to go out for something. Sis, what time is it?
Mimi: Zhiyuan, what time is it?
Zhiyuan: It’s, uh, ten to five.
Man: Mr. Tang, that’s a fine watch you’ve got there. Where did you buy it?
Zhiyuan: My father bought it and gave it to me.
Man: I see. Goodbye.
Zhiyuan: Mimi, are you still mad at me? Just look: After you left, I couldn’t do any work and I hurried straight over.
Mimi: You’re incorrigible! If I hadn’t gotten mad at you, you might not have come.
Zhiyuan: So, you’re saying you wanted me to come, then.
Mimi: Stay here tonight, okay?
Zhiyuan: I can’t. I do have to go home tonight. But I’ll spend more time with you in the daytime. Isn’t that just as good?
Mimi: Forget it! You might as well go home and be with that wife of yours. If you’re so afraid of her, why did you take up with me?
Zhiyuan: Hey, Mimi, Mimi! I’m not afraid of her; I’m just afraid of causing trouble.
Mimi: Doesn’t it amount to the same thing? If you’re not afraid of her, then why don’t you just out and out tell her about us?
Zhiyuan: Is that necessary?
Mimi: I don’t want to keep sneaking around like this. I want to get married and be your legal wife. Divorce her!
Zhiyuan: Mimi, why are you putting me in an awkward position? Aren’t things good now? She’s not in the least suspicious.
Mimi: Is that right? Not in the least suspicious? In that case, your wife really is clueless! [Surreptitiously makes lipstick marks on handkerchief and slips it into Zhiyuan’s coat pocket.]
[At the Tang residence]
Zhiyuan: Sizhen, why haven’t you gone to bed yet?
Sizhen: I’m not tired.
Zhiyuan: Well, I’m exhausted. I played sixteen rounds of mahjong with Old Zhou and that bunch. Aiya!
Sizhen: Zhiyuan, just remember to come home earlier tomorrow. My dad wants to have us over for dinner.
Zhiyuan: Oh? What’s up?
Sizhen: Nothing important. He just hired a new cook he’s extremely pleased with, and he wants us to put his dishes to the test.
Zhiyuan: Oh? Hand me my cigarettes.
Mama Zhang: Young master, will you be taking a bath?
Sizhen: Wait a minute, Mama Zhang. Zhiyuan, your clothes. Hand me the dirty ones.
Zhang: Young missus, is this handkerchief yours?
Sizhen: Oh, yes, it’s mine. I’ll wash it myself.
[At the Chen residence]
Servant: Master! Master!
Mr. Chen: Huh?
Servant: It’s getting late. Shall we serve dinner?
Chen: Let’s wait a while longer. Why on earth isn’t Zhiyuan back yet?
Mrs. Chen: Sizhen, did you tell him to come?
Sizhen: I did. He’s just really busy at his company, so he might be a bit late.
Mrs. Chen: He really works too hard.
Sizhen: Yes, he’s so busy he’s been losing weight.
Zhiqin: Sis, I can’t hold it in any longer. I have to tell you: my brother is having an affair.
Mrs. Chen: Sizhen, is this true?
Sizhen: Impossible. Impossible! Sis, just where did you hear this? Your brother is an honest person. I can’t vouch for anything else, but I know he would never do such a thing.
Zhiqin: Aiya, you really are clueless! I saw it with my own eyes.
Chen: What? You saw with your own eyes? That’s absurd!
Sirui: I saw it too! The other day we went round to brother-in-law’s office and saw some vamp there cozying up to him.
Chen: Indeed! Dare to mistreat my daughter, will he! Intolerable! Eh!
Mrs. Chen: Sizhen, how could you be so clueless? How could you have no idea that he’s been fooling around with another woman? Eh, what’s come over you?
Sizhen: Ma, I’ve known for a long time. But I thought that if I didn’t confront him he’d stay within bounds, but if I did everything would burst out in the open, and then there’d be no going back. I thought that if I pretended I didn’t know, maybe he’d gradually come around by himself.
Mrs. Chen: You really think a man will come around by himself? Ridiculous! Once when your father had a kept woman, I had to go over there and raise a fuss in order to get rid of that woman. If I hadn’t, he still might not have come around even now!
Chen: You…You’re crazy! How…How could you bring that up again?
Mrs. Chen: You know Sizhen’s temperament well enough. She’s too timid to stand up for herself—we need to do it for her. That’s right—you just go over there and fetch Zhiyuan back. At least he’s still somewhat afraid of you.
Chen: Of course he’s afraid of me!
Mrs. Chen: It’s just that we don’t know where that woman lives.
Sirui: Ask the driver; he’s sure to know.
Chen: Alright, I’ll go right over there and give him a darn good scolding!
[At Mimi’s apartment]
Zhiyuan: Linlin, with Old Zhou away from Shanghai these past few days, you must be feeling lonely.
Linlin: Forget him! He and I are quits.
Linlin: Think about it: this time when he gets back from Hong Kong, he’s sure to bring another woman with him.
Mimi: So why don’t you introduce Linlin to a new friend?
[At front door]
Mimi: Who are you looking for?
Mr. Chen: Tang Zhiyuan.
Mimi: This isn’t the Tang residence. Hey! Just what are you doing? Who do you think you are?
Chen: I’m Zhiyuan’s father-in-law. Just what in the heck are you?
[In Mimi’s apartment]
Chen: So, this is your little love nest, huh?
Mimi: What d’you mean, “love nest”? This is my home! You get the hell out!
Chen: Zhiyuan, you’re coming home with me!
Mimi: How dare you grab him! If his wife can’t deal with him, her father should just mind his own business!
Zhiyuan: Mimi, don’t get worked up.
Linlin: If a gentleman like you has something to say, he should sit down and talk it over. Isn’t it just as good to talk sitting down?
Chen: Zhiyuan, you should still take my advice and go home. You’ll see that this old man is right.
Linlin: “Old man”! Look at you, flaunting your age like that! You don’t look all that old!
Chen: How old would you say I am?
Linlin: I’d say…no more than forty.
Chen: Don’t joke. I was forty twenty years ago!
Linlin: You can’t fool me! Anyway, I’ve always preferred older men. Young men these days—not a single one is reliable!
Zhiyuan: If mother-in-law knew about this, she’d be sure to scold me.
Chen: She wouldn’t dare to interfere in my affairs! If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a jealous wife!
Zhiyuan: Does Sizhen know you came here?
Chen: Huh? Sizhen? Oh, I should make a call to put her mind at rest. [On the telephone] Hello! Hello? Oh. Eh, Sizhen? Sizhen! I’ve found Zhiyuan. I gave him a good scolding, I said: “You’re being completely ridiculous, to let some woman instantly bewitch you.” Eh? He admits he’s totally in the wrong. You listen now while I chide him. Zhiyuan!
Chen: No more of this ridiculous behavior, you hear me?
Sizhen: Daddy, that’s enough. Zhiyuan’s got a bit of a stubborn temper, and he won’t be able to stand it if you chew him out too harshly.
Chen: Okay. If you’re willing to forgive him, that’s just great. I’ll send him home in a minute to apologize to you. [To Zhiyuan] Go home and say a few words to smooth things over, and that’ll be the end of it. If you’re going to go out and enjoy yourself, you have to know how to fob off your wife with the right words. You should know that much!
[At the Tang residence]
Zhiyuan: Sizhen, Sizhen! Don’t be angry. I’ve done you wrong. I’ve taken your father’s scolding to heart, and I promise never to see that woman again.
Sizhen: If you don’t go see her anymore, won’t she come looking for you?
Zhiyuan: No way. We made everything clear while your father was there. I’ve given her the apartment and the furniture, but from now on I’m making a clean break from her.
Sizhen: A clean break? Zhiyuan, I feel like a change has come over you recently.
Zhiyuan: I haven’t changed!
Sizhen: Hello? Who? Oh, yes, wait a moment. It’s a Mr. Wang. He’s already called for you quite a number of times.
Zhiyuan: Mr. Wang? Oh, it must be Wang Jinzheng. He’s probably calling to borrow money again. You tell him I’m not home.
Sizhen: Hello? Mr. Tang hasn’t returned home yet. That’s right
[At the Chen residence]
Mr. Chen [singing]: “Don’t be a flirt! Don’t be a flirt! You’re quite a naughty thing. Don’t be a flirt! Don’t be a flirt! You’re quite a naughty thing.”
[Outside Mimi’s place]
Linlin: You look even younger in a western suit!
Mr. Chen: Aiya! I haven’t worn a suit in years—it feels so awkward!
[In Mimi’s apartment]
Mimi: Zhiyuan isn’t here.
Chen: We’re not here for Zhiyuan; we’re here for you.
Linlin: That’s right. He wants to take us out dancing.
Chen: Mimi, I just learned the conga. Y’know, the one that goes chicka-chika-bump!
Mimi: What? Haven’t you heard? There’s been trouble at Zhiyuan’s company.
Chen: There’s been trouble at Zhiyuan’s company.
Linlin: Trouble at Zhiyuan’s company!
Chen: What trouble?
[Newspaper headline: Prosperity Enterprises Corporation Suddenly Goes Bankrupt. Deputy Manager Embezzles Massive Sum and Absconds without a Trace. Creditors Already Suing for Restitution.]
Chen [reading]: “Deputy Manager Embezzles Massive Sum and Absconds without a Trace. Creditors Already Suing for Restitution.” The…The…The…This is outrageous! That’s all my money! What is Zhiyuan going to use to pay me back?
Mimi: That Tang Zhiyuan is finished. Now he’s in debt to lots of people.
Chen: Zhiyuan’s been acting absolutely ridiculous—that’s what’s brought on this disaster.
Linlin: That’s why I say that young men aren’t reliable.
Chen: Go to hell! I’m off to find Zhiyuan.
Linlin: Don’t go!
Chen: Go to hell!
Mimi: Linlin, just let him go. Just the sight of anyone from their family makes me sick.
[At the Tang residence]
Chen: Where is Young Master Tang?
Zhang: The young master hasn’t returned home yet.
Chen: And the young missus?
Zhang: The young missus went out shopping.
Chen: How about the old madam?
Mrs. Tang: Oh! It’s our relative, Mr. Chen! How are you?
Chen: How am I! My dear relative and madam, you should know: Zhiyuan’s company has had a disaster.
Tang: I know! Zhiyuan is in a state!
Chen: Where is he? I went to find him at his company but he wasn’t there.
Tang: His must have gone to the lawyer’s office.
Chen: That little bastard Zhiyuan really messed things up. He completely neglected his company and spent all his time fooling around with a mistress.
Chen: What? You didn’t know? Their little love nest isn’t far from here.
Tang: Oh? Have you been there?
Chen: Ha…Have I been there? Of course I have! I went to set him straight. I told him to stop fooling around like that. But even still, disaster struck!
Tang: Mr. Chen, even if Zhiyuan did have a mistress, you couldn’t blame him. It’s your daughter’s fault she hasn’t gotten pregnant.
Chen: Fine, fine, fine. My dear relative, everything you say is absolutely right. But let’s set this aside for the moment. My purpose in coming here today was to settle accounts with Zhiyuan.
Tang: Settle accounts?
Chen: That’s right. Let’s sit down to discuss it. I lent Zhiyuan money to start his business. Now that it’s bankrupt, I need him to pay me back.
Tang: Zhiyuan is your son-in-law. When he’s in dire straits you should support him. You shouldn’t be putting the screws on him.
Chen: Son-in-law? Don’t be ridiculous. I didn’t lend him money because he’s my son-in-law. I lent him money because of you, my dear in-law.
Tang: Because of me? Did I ever ask to borrow money from you?
Chen: Of course you didn’t. You’ve got plenty of gold bars. Why would you be borrowing money from me?
Tang: Gold bars? Since when do I have gold bars?
Chen: Don’t come to me with that poor act. You’d only need to cash in a couple to pay off Zhiyuan’s debts.
Tang: My dear in-law, I really have no idea what you’re on about.
Chen: Do I really have to spell it out for you? You remember that day your son went to Hong Kong? You got sick? You thought you were going to die, so you handed over the key to your safe to your daughter-in-law and told her that you have one hundred and eighty gold bars? My daughter told me all about it.
Tang: Have you gone crazy, wishing I were dead? Where on earth would I get one hundred and eighty gold bars?
Chen: You don’t? Could Sizhen have lied to me?
Tang: That’s right. That daughter of yours is extremely capable. All she does is lie to people!
Chen: She’s my daughter alright. But since she married your son she’s one of your family now. Now she’s lying to me to swindle away my money for your family’s benefit. You’re all liars.
Tang: You’ve got some nerve saying that! Just ask yourself: how did you end up raising such an unprincipled daughter!
Chen: What’s that? You say my daughter’s unprincipled? How about your daughter? You just tell her to stop seducing my son with her womanly wiles.
Tang: Nonsense! Your son’s the one who’s been chasing her. Smooth-talking, smarmy-faced good-for-nothing!
Chen: Oh, really!
Chen: Sizhen, tell me: why did you lie to me and say that this old lady had one hundred and eighty gold bars?
Tang: Young missus, tell me: just why did you lie to this old dotard and tell him that I was on the brink of death?
Chen: Sizhen, you just let your younger brother know that I forbid him to have any more dealings with that little vixen in the Tang family.
Tang: Come here. You just tell that dear brother of yours not to come around here anymore. If he does, I’ll throw him out!
Chen: Ay, it’s me who’s the loser here. What use is there in talking about anything with you women? I’m off to find Zhiyuan.
Tang: Oh, I meant to ask you: What do you mean by wishing me dead? Never mind, I don’t have the energy to take you to task just now. Go upstairs and tell Zhiqin to come down. I have something to say to her.
Sizhen: Ma, you…
Tang: Go! Tell her to come down.
[Upstairs at the Tang residence]
Sizhen: Sis, what’s wrong?
Zhiqin: I heard mom and Old Mr. Chen yelling at each other just now. Mom was furious and said that he and I can’t see each other anymore!
Sizhen: Don’t cry!
Zhiqin: Sis, you’re the only one who can help us.
Sizhen: Don’t worry, I’ll help you. Mom is asking for you downstairs. Whatever she says to you, just grin and bear it for now. We’ll figure out something eventually. Go! [To Zhiyuan] You’re back! Did you run into Mr. Yang? Why aren’t you answering me? What’s wrong?
Zhiyuan: What’s wrong? Mom told me that your father was here just now.
Zhiyuan: Oh. Is that what you told your dad: that my family was hoarding gold bars and pretending to be poor?
Sizhen: N…No! I only told him that story about the gold bars so that he’d lend you money.
Zhiyuan: Oh! No wonder! All of a sudden the old man changed his tune and was willing to lend me money. That took me completely by surprise. Know what else? This is all your fault. If he’d never given me that accursed loan this disaster would never have fallen on my head! Now my company’s bankrupt—isn’t this all your doing? You Chens…the dad throws his weight around, and his daughter is nothing but a liar. I want a divorce!
Sizhen: Yes, I did lie…but I was lying to help you! I never imagined you could ever say something like that! If you want a divorce, we’ll divorce!
Zhiyuan: Cry, will you? What do you have to cry about?
Zhang Ma: Young master, Lawyer Yang is here.
[Downstairs at the Tang residence]
Yang: Sorry, Old Tang. I wasn’t at home just now.
Zhiyuan: Aiya, it’s a mess. Our Deputy Manager’s run off.
Yang: I know all about it. Have you informed the police?
Zhiyuan: I want your advice on what measures we should take.
Yang: First thing is to report the crime to the police. Let’s go.
Sirui: Brother-in-law! Mr. Yang! Oh, Mr. Yang, where is your office located? I might have something to see you about. Oh, Mama Zhang, is Zhiqin upstairs? Call her down, will you? [to potted plant] Zhiqin, there’s something I’ve been meaning to say to you. I’ve got to just come out and say it now. Zhiqin, I want to you to be my partner for life. Zhiqin, will you marry me? Zhiqin…
Zhiqin: You should go. My mom is upstairs. If she finds you here, she’ll throw you out.
Sirui: I just want to say one thing. Once I’ve said it, I’ll leave.
Zhiqin: Did you know that your dad and my mom had a fight?
Sirui: That’s exactly why I’m here. I figure that since they’re all against it, we’ll have to go behind their backs. We’re both of legal age. Let’s get married in secret and get a lawyer to make it official.
Zhiqin: Marry in secret? That’s…That’s not the best way, is it?
Sirui: My only worry is that it’s not fair to you.
Zhiqin: Not fair to me? Don’t worry about that.
Sirui: Then, you accept?!
Sizhen: You two are having a chat—I won’t interrupt.
Zhiqin: Sis! Don’t go, we have something to discuss with you. You help us decide something.
Zhiqin: Just now, he said to me…that he wanted… You tell her!
Sirui: No, you tell her!
Zhiqin: You tell her!
Sirui: I just told her that I wanted…
Mrs. Tang [from upstairs]: Mama Zhang! Mama Zhang!
Sizhen: Mom’s probably about to come downstairs. You’d better hide for the moment. It wouldn’t be good if she found you here just now.
Zhiqin: That’s right. You go now. We’ll have plenty of time to talk things over.
Zhiqin: I’m so frustrated!
Sizhen: What was it he said to you just now?
Zhiqin: He said, he said…
Mrs. Tang: Mama Zhang! There was a guest here just now. Who was it?
Sizhen: No one. I was just chatting with Zhiqin.
Tang: Young missus, since when do you smoke?
Sizhen: I have a touch of indigestion. I heard that smoking would help.
Tang: Mama Zhang! Mama Zhang!
Tang: I’ve been calling you for ages. Where have you been hiding?
Zhang: Young Master Chen was here just now. I was fixing something in the kitchen. He was just here—why did he leave so soon?
Tang: Zhiqin! Was he here looking for you?
Sizhen: No, it was me who asked him here.
Tang: I know you asked him here—you asked him here to meet Zhiqin.
Zhiqin: No, no—ma!
Sizhen: They just happened to bump into each other.
Tang: Maybe they did just happen to bump into each other. But a visit from a relative should be open and aboveboard. Why on earth are you sneaking around behind my back? Does that dear brother of yours think I really do have one hundred and eighty gold bars and wants to swindle them away as a dowry? I’ve never seen such a set of in-laws: they’re not just after my money; they want me to throw in my daughter as well!
Zhiqin: Ma, that’s going too far!
Tang: You little fool! You’ve been duped and you don’t even know it.
Sizhen: Sis, go upstairs and take a rest.
Tang: Hmph. Here, take this upstairs and wash it. Oh, and Mama Zhang, from now on you’re going to have to be a bit more frugal on the daily necessities. Soap is expensive, so don’t waste it.
Zhang: If I use less soap, just don’t you go blaming me when the clothes aren’t clean.
Tang: Hey, I was only telling you to be a bit less wasteful. I bought a box of soap last month and now there are only two bars left. How could it have been used up so fast?
Zhang: You mean you think I stole it, then?
Tang: I mean someone might have stolen it; I never said it was you.
Zhang: Who could it have been besides me?
Sizhen: Mama Zhang! Don’t you speak to the madam like that!
Zhang: I won’t stand for her accusing me of stealing things! I quit!
Tang: Well, good riddance! This one has no conscience: no sooner does she discover we’re poor than she quits.
Zhang: I told you I was going to quit long ago. If the young missus hadn’t been treating me so well and paying me a little extra on the side, I would have left long ago.
Tang: What?! The young missus has been paying you extra on the side?
Sizhen: Mama Zhang, don’t speak nonsense! Go.
Tang: Is this true, young missus? How much have you been giving her every month?
Sizhen: I…I’ve just been giving her a tip now and again, not a regular monthly stipend.
Tang: Just fine. You keep playing me for a fool behind my back! Here I’ve been scrimping and saving to provide a little extra for my son, and now you’re being the magnanimous rich lady!
[At Mimi’s apartment]
Man: Goddamn it! How dare he treat you like that—abandoning you all of a sudden? Have I become a cuckold for nothing?
Mimi: Aiya, don’t make it sound so bad!
Man: Well, we can’t let him off so easy! He needs to know that we’re not to be messed with!
Mimi: But he’s broke! What can we do if he doesn’t have the money?
Man: If he doesn’t have the money, he’ll have to get it! We can’t just let him off the hook!
[At the Tang residence]
Sizhen: Huh? What exactly is this debt he owes you?
Man: Call him downstairs and I’ll speak to him face to face.
Sizhen: He’s really not home. If you have something to say, you can say it to me.
Sizhen: Please, have a seat. Where are you from?
Man: Zhiyuan’s wife sent me.
Sizhen: His wife?
Man: His wife—Shi Mimi! I’m her elder brother.
Sizhen: Shi Mimi? Didn’t Mr. Tang break up with her a while back?
Man: Break up with her? Is that what he told you? Not so fast. My little sister’s pregnant.
Man: That’s right. If he doesn’t cough up some money, we’ll sue him for being a deadbeat dad!
Sizhen: Money? How much do you want?
Man: Two hundred million, at the very least.
Sizhen: Okay. I’ll make sure Mr. Tang gets the message.
Man: No dice. I’m not leaving here without that money.
Sizhen: Don’t be so unreasonable. You know his company just collapsed. He doesn’t have any spare cash on him. He can’t come up with it just like that.
Man: In that case, you have him come to my sister’s place tomorrow morning. I’ll speak to him in person.
Sizhen: I’ll be sure to tell him.
Man: If he doesn’t show up tomorrow, you just tell him to watch his back! [Leaves]
Zhiyuan: He’s gone?
Sizhen: You heard everything? Didn’t you tell me you’d already broken up with her?
Zhiyuan: I do mean to break up with her now.
Sizhen: Now? You’re deciding this now? So everything you said to me before was a lie?
Sizhen: Her brother told me that she’s pregnant! You must know that.
Zhiyuan: That’s a complete lie—I was with her just the day before yesterday! Why wouldn’t she have said anything to me?
Sizhen: Oh! You were with her the day before yesterday. You…You…
Zhiyuan: Sizhen, what’s the use in crying now?
Sizhen: He wants you there tomorrow. How do you plan to deal with him?
Zhiyuan: I’m not going.
Sizhen: You don’t have to go. Just pay him twenty million.
Zhiyuan: Twenty million! How could I come up with that much? We’d better think of a way to deal with him.
Sizhen: Oh, you get yourself into a fix and you want me to get you out of it.
Zhiyuan: There’s just no way I can go there tomorrow.
Sizhen: If you don’t, he’ll come looking for you here.
Zhiyuan: Then…Then, could you go there tomorrow instead of me?
Zhiyuan: You’re the only person who can solve this type of problem. Sizhen, if you get me out of this fix now, I’ll do anything you ask me to do in the future.
Sizhen: Okay. I have an idea, which I’ll try out tomorrow. But I don’t know if it’ll really help you in the end.
Zhiyuan: In the end? What do you mean, “in the end”? In the future, I’ll need your help with lots of things!
Sizhen: Huh! I don’t think I’ll have the opportunity to help you again in the future.
[At Mimi’s apartment]
Man: Hello? Oh, wait a moment. Phone, Mimi!
Mimi: Hello? Yes, it’s me. Oh, hi, Linlin.
Linlin: Mimi, I have a new friend to introduce to you. Hey, he’s absolutely loaded! Are you free today?
Mimi: Aiya! Today I don’t! Little Tang is coming over in a moment. Yeah, I need to wrap things up with him. Okay, tomorrow then! See you tomorrow! [Hangs up] Linlin has a new friend to introduce me to.
Man: That’s right. You do need a new line. I’m not sure I can keep on eating bitterness with you like this.
Mimi: Aiyo! Look at you: you’ve got it made and have the nerve to get grumpy with me!
Man: Leave it! Save your sweet-talking for other fools. I can’t swallow it.
[At the door]
Man: So, it’s you. Where’s Little Tang? Too afraid to come himself?
Mimi: What’s wrong with him? Is he afraid I’m going to eat him?
Sizhen: Oh, this must be Miss Shi!
Man: Hey, did you bring the money?
Sizhen: I want to talk with Miss Shi.
[In the living room]
Sizhen: Miss Shi, I’ve been wanting to meet you for so long but never had the chance. Today… [spots brooch, then wireless] Miss Shi, you’re pregnant now, and the old missus has always wanted a grandson. She’s worried about you being out on your own and sent me over to bring you back home.
Mimi: Me, go to your house?
Sizhen: That’s right.
Man: What’s this? You didn’t bring the money, and now you want to take her away instead?
Sizhen: We’ll take good care of her. Miss Shi, although Zhiyuan had this setback, at our house there’s always rice to eat, however bitter.
Mimi: What? Me go to your house to eat bitterness? What kind of a fool do you take me for?
Sizhen: Miss Shi…
Mimi: Get out. I’m in no mood to continue bantering words with you.
Sizhen: Come now, the car is waiting downstairs. Just grab some clothes for the road and we’ll be off.
Man: What nonsense is this!
Sizhen: Oh, well then I’ll help pack for you. Wow, you have so many pretty outfits! What a beautiful coat! Zhiyuan hasn’t been willing to buy a coat like this for me. At your wedding I’ll borrow this to wear so that I can make a splash, okay?
Man: This woman never shuts up. What a pain!
Mimi: Don’t you touch my things!
Sizhen: Such a childish temper. No wonder Zhiyuan likes you—such [giggle] romantic naiveté!
Mimi: Me, romantic naiveté! You’re the one who’s got a screw loose.
Sizhen: Forget it, let’s go!
Mimi: Like hell! Why on earth would I want to go suffer at your place?
Sizhen: You’re right. It is more comfortable over here. It would be better for us to move over here.
Mimi: You move over here?
Sizhen: That’s right. We could sell the house. And living here would save on expenses.
Man: Ah, so your entire family would be taking up residence here!
Sizhen: There’s plenty of room. We could put a cot here for the old lady. Our maid could sleep on the floor. Zhiyuan…Zhiyuan…we could let Zhiyuan sleep on the sofa. You and I could sleep together on the bed. Since you’re pregnant, you’ll need someone to look after you at night.
Mimi: Pregnant! Pregnant! You’re so annoying! Who said I was pregnant?
Sizhen: What? You’re not pregnant?
Man: That’s it, I can’t stand it anymore. Grand missus on high—you get the heck out of here.
Sizhen: You’re only her elder brother! She may not like it, but she’s stuck with the family she’s married into. She belongs to us Tangs.
Man: Say what? Belongs to the Tangs, indeed. She belongs to me!
Man: That’s right. She’s my wife! Get the hell out!
[At the Tang residence]
Sizhen: So, I’ve cleared up this whole affair for you. They’re unlikely to come looking for you in the future.
Zhiyuan: And in the future we won’t have any more misunderstandings. We’ll be just as we were before.
Sizhen: Matters of the heart aren’t that simple. We’ll never be same as we were before.
Zhiyuan: What? You still haven’t forgiven me?
Sizhen: Whether I forgive you or not is not the problem.
Zhiyuan: What do you want me to do, then?
Sizhen: Didn’t you agree to do anything I asked if I cleared this up for you?
Zhiyuan: Of course, of course. You tell me: what do you want me to do?
Sizhen: I want a divorce!
Zhiyuan: Divorce! Divorce…you…you’re kidding!
Sizhen: I’m serious!
Zhiyuan: You really want to divorce me!
Sizhen: I admit I failed. I’m not a born liar. I only tried to do my best, but the more I tried the worse things got. At this point, I’m just exhausted. I won’t lie anymore. But I don’t want to be your missus anymore either.
Zhiyuan: Is there no way to save it?
Sizhen: I’ll sleep at my parents’ tonight. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll wait for you at Lawyer Yang’s office. We’ll file for an amicable divorce, and that’ll be that.
Zhiyuan: You’ve really thought it through.
Sizhen: I’ve been thinking it over for several days now. I didn’t come to this type of decision suddenly, but having come to a decision, I won’t change my mind.
Zhiyuan: Fine. If you insist on doing this, I won’t stand in your way.
Sizhen: Oh, I need to return all the keys for this house to you. Here.
[At Mimi’s apartment]
Mimi: You! What have you come back for?
Zhiyuan: I’ve come back to ask for a small favor.
Mimi: What is it?
Zhiyuan: Please return that brooch to me.
Mimi: Ah? When you left I didn’t ask for a penny from you. And now you’re here asking me for things.
Zhiyuan: That brooch isn’t worth much. But I had originally planned to give it to my wife. Now she’s planning to divorce me, and I feel I owe it to her. I want to give it to her no matter what.
Mimi: How disgustingly sappy! I don’t have the energy to waste words with you.
Zhiyuan: In that case, I’ll buy it from you, okay?
Mimi: You want to buy it from me? How much will you pay for it?
Zhiyuan: I…I only have this much.
Mimi: What, you think a brooch like this is worth that little? Forget it!
Zhiyuan: I really don’t have any more. Just take it.
Mimi: Aiya, go find a beggar to give it to.
Zhiyuan: Well, no matter what you’re giving me that brooch.
Mimi: And if I don’t, just what are you going to do?
Zhiyuan: If you don’t give it to me…I’ll take by force!
Mimi: You’re crazy! You thief! You…
Zhiyuan: You scratched my face! How could you!
Mimi: Hmph! Consider yourself lucky I’m not reporting you to the police. Now get the hell out! Scram! Beat it!
[In the hallway outside Mimi’s apartment, Zhiyuan encounters Mimi’s husband. The two pass, but Zhiyuan then suddenly turns around and, in mime, offers to trade his wristwatch for the brooch. The man nods agreement and enters the apartment, returning to make the trade. In the interim, Zhiyuan hears the following from the hallway, followed by the sound of a struggle and Mimi being slapped.]
Mimi: No, I won’t! You! You!
[At Lawyer Yang’s office]
Sirui: Sis, what are you doing here?
Zhiqin: Anyway, you’re too late! We’re already of legal age, so you can’t interfere.
Sirui: That’s right. We’re already legally married, so even if you wanted to interfere, you’d be too late.
Sizhen: Oh, I already know. I came here specially to congratulate you!
Zhiqin: Sis, you’re too good to us!
Yang: Hey, Old Tang!
Sirui: Eh? Brother-in-law’s here too?
Sizhen: He’s here to congratulate you too.
Zhiqin: You scared the heck out of me. For a moment, I thought mama had sent you to force me to come home.
Sizhen: Don’t be silly! Your brother has always been on your side.
Sirui: Brother-in-law, thank you, thank you! It’s getting late. We have a train to catch.
Yang: They’re going to Hangzhou for their honeymoon.
Sizhen: Off you go, then. Don’t miss your train.
Sirui: Okay, we’ll be going then. Thank you, Lawyer Yang. Brother-in-law, goodbye. Sis, we’re off.
Zhiyuan: What’s this? They came here in secret to get married?
Yang: You didn’t know? Didn’t you say you’d come here to congratulate them?
Yang: Hey, they forgot something!
Zhiyuan: Why did you say we were here to congratulate them? I don’t oppose their getting married, but I don’t approve of them eloping like this.
Sizhen: I know. I told another lie. But it’s the last time, and I did it for you.
Zhiyuan: For me?
Sizhen: Because if you didn’t approve it wouldn’t stop them, and you’d just be harming your relationship with your sister. Besides, today is the happiest day of their lives. I wouldn’t want to ruin it by having them know we came here to get divorced.
Yang: What? You’re here to get divorced?
Zhiyuan: Ai, Old Yang. It’s a long story.
Yang: You’ve got me completely flummoxed.
Zhiyuan: It’s all her idea.
Yang: Mrs. Tang, I’d suggest you think this over again carefully. I don’t mean to offend you, but in my experience, in divorce it’s usually the woman who suffers the most.
Sizhen: I’ve already had my share of suffering. I’m not afraid of suffering from divorce. Lawyer Yang, I’ll trouble you to prepare the divorce papers. We’ll sign them immediately.
Yang: In that case, will this be an amicable divorce? You both agree to it?
Sizhen: Of course.
Zhiyuan: No. I don’t agree.
Zhiyuan: I’ve given it some thought, and I don’t want to get divorced.
Yang: Looks to me like you two should go home and talk it over.
Sizhen: Mr. Yang, there’s no need. My mind’s made up to divorce him. Zhiyuan, what’s come over you? Having regrets now? Be rational. Don’t come to the lawyer’s office just to make a fool of yourself.
Zhiyuan: Fine. I have nothing else to say. Old Yang, do as she says.
Sizhen: Mr. Yang, kindly prepare the documents for us.
Zhiyuan: Sizhen, do you remember: there was a brooch you really liked, but when I went to buy it it had been sold? I just saw an identical one at a different shop, so I bought it for you. I know, it’s already too late. But you should take it anyway. That way I won’t feel so bad.
Sizhen: You went to her place to get it back, didn’t you?
Zhiyuan: N…N…No, I bought it at a store.
Sizhen: Hey, what happened to your forehead?
Zhiyuan: I got drunk and carelessly bumped into something.
Sizhen: Nonsense. You couldn’t have hurt yourself so badly just by bumping into something. Just to get this brooch back, you got your face all scratched up. Don’t touch it! Mr. Yang, do you have any antiseptic?
Yang: Antiseptic? Yes.
Sizhen: Sit down. You’re such a fool. Why risk your neck for a silly brooch? What if she had hurt your eyes? That woman is a vindictive one.
Zhiyuan: Sizhen, you’re the only person in this world who’s good to me.
Sizhen: In the future, you’ll have to take better care of yourself.
Zhiyuan: In the future? What kind of future do I have?
Sizhen: How could you say that?
Zhiyuan: Without you, I really don’t want to go on living. I hate myself. I despise myself. Don’t cry. It’s time to sign. Sizhen, I’ve thought things through. By staying together with you, I’ll only do you wrong. So we’d be better off apart. Here.
Sizhen: No. I refuse to divorce him!
Zhiyuan: I insist on divorcing her! Sizhen, what’s come over you? Having regrets now? Be rational.
Yang: Old Tang, why don’t you just make a sincere apology to your wife? Wouldn’t that be the end of the matter?
Zhiyuan: No, no, no, no. I insist on a divorce.
Yang: Alright, alright. That’s quite enough of this foolishness. Even if you two do decide to get divorced, I won’t certify it for you.
Zhiyuan: Look at her: crying one moment, laughing the next. Hey, let’s not come to the lawyer’s office just to make fools of ourselves, alright?
Yang: Old Tang, I can’t tell you how many times we lawyers see people making fools of themselves. Today, we should be celebrating! I’ll take you two out, how about it?
Zhiyuan: Absolutely not—it should be me who treats.
Sizhen: Naturally, it should be you who treats!
Zhiyuan: How about we go to Fragrant Hills Café?
Sizhen: Why does it have to be Fragrant Hills Café? It’s so expensive!
Yang: You see—she’s trying to save you money again!
Zhiyuan: You’re so frugal! Sizhen, Fragrant Hills Café is the place I first started to go astray. Now, I want to turn over a new leaf, so I want to start from there.
Yang: We can talk it over at the restaurant. Shouldn’t we be going?
Zhiyuan: It’s still too early, it…
Sizhen: Hey, where’s your watch?
Zhiyuan: My…My watch…
[At Fragrant Hills Café]
Yang: Old Tang, bottoms up!
Mimi: Ha ha ha ha ha! It’s still early. Why are you in such a hurry?
Man: Miss Shi, do you often watch movies?
Mimi: I absolutely love watching movies, but I’m absolutely terrified of watching them too.
Mimi: Because whenever I watch a tragedy it reminds me of my own life. It’s been so full of misfortunes that if it were made into a movie, anyone who watched it would weep.
Man: Then, do you think you could tell me some of your story?
Mimi: Okay, but you’ll have to promise not to tell anyone else. You have to keep my secret, because… I’ve never told this to anybody!