Thursday, 24 September 2015

Just as you are - a Chor Lau Heung 1984 fan fiction

I don’t own Chor Lau Heung (Chu Liuxiang); Gu Long did. And TVB, cos this story is based on the 1984 TVB’s The New Adventures of Chor Lau Heung starring the dashing Michael Miu Kiu Wai as Chor Lau Heung and the sweet (late) Barbara Yung Mei Ling as Song Siu Ching. This fanfiction is dedicated to my childhood idol Michael Miu and my all-time-favourite actress Barbara Yung, whom I still miss to this date. After the events in the Legend of the Bats (click here to read all episodes), Princess Wing Ching decided to leave the Palace and travelled around with the Lingering Fragrance. They were finally married, but it doesn’t mean that Siu Ching could easily get rid of her insecurities regarding the three smart girls that Chor had adopted and had lived with him for more than a decade. In such circumstances, what should a girl do then?

Song Siu Ching (Barbara Yung) and Chor Lau Heung (Michael Miu), TVB 1984

Just as You Are

Living on a boat with her husband and four smart and beautiful ladies was not an easy feat for Song Siu Ching, a.k.a Princess Wing Ching, but she managed. Living with her husband alone, she had no problem with that, for that was what she wanted. She left the Palace because she realised that she couldn’t live without Chor Lau Heung anyway. She had been happy living on the boat so far, particularly because Chor did show without any reservation that – even though he cared about Sue, Rosie, Sugar, and Wah Jan Jan – Siu Ching was the girl that he loved.

True, there were times when Siu Ching wondered whether her presence was actually needed on the boat. She excelled in the ropes and sails bit, thanks to her tomboy tendency. The rest of the day, while Sugar was cooking or playing music and Rosie collecting herbs, Siu Ching would just joke around with Chor, play chess (she wasn’t the best player on board; Sue was, after Chor of course), or just leaning on his broad shoulder as he read books. But Chor knew how to show her that she was special. For instance, during chess play, he’d still hold Rosie’s hand when she tried to cheat, but he’d just hold it within a reasonable time limit. But with Siu Ching, Chor’s hand would linger much longer than that, causing her to blush and the other girls to smile knowingly. When he taught her about the technical aspects of sailing, he’d position himself behind her and envelope his arms to hers, practically hugging her, as he showed how to tug the rope. He didn’t do that to Jan Jan; he was just standing or kneeling next to her at a close, yet respectable distance, as he showed her some roping technique.

Slowly but surely, Siu Ching was assured that she was indeed the only woman Chor loved. Her problem thus wasn’t about Chor’s questioned affection towards her. It wasn’t about the presence of Jan Jan either, for Chor clearly treated her as a respected friend (despite him still keeping the pink ornament the Huashan girl gave him years ago). It was more of the fact that Sue, Rosie and Sugar were basically Chor’s lifeline in many things. Sue’s excellent disguise skills had saved Chor’s life many times, so was Rosie’s outstanding medical skills. As for Sugar, well, a man cannot complain when he had stomach full of delicious meals while listening to beautiful music, can he?

Then came the day when Siu Ching got bored of just hanging around and doing nothing. She then asked the Lingering Fragrance to train her to improve her fighting skills, in which he gladly did. Having her martial arts skilled improved boosted Siu Ching’s mood. She didn’t really have to rely on her Chor Lau Heung now to protect her all the time when they were travelling. Her intelligence also enabled her to help him in his cases too, for despite living a carefree live, Chor Lau Heung had a knack of stumbling into trouble. During their travel, they also encountered some governance problems like corruption and mismanagement of resources. Since Song Siu Ching still kept in contact with her father and brother regularly, she would report the corruption cases to Emperor Father in the capital. However, for lighter cases of resource mismanagement, Siu Ching often found herself sitting with related authorities to help ease the problems. She couldn’t address all governance problems, nor did she want to. Despite Sugar teasing her, she wouldn’t want to go back to the Palace to do daily governance works like that. Yet, she found some satisfaction in spending time in the rural areas to help the poor whenever she could. As Chor Lau Heung commented one day, Siu Ching had matured and embraced her role as a caretaker of the country despite not residing in the Palace. Chor Lau Heung himself didn’t find it cumbersome to sit down with Siu Ching to explain some basic tax principles or basic produce trade, for his intelligence was more than enough to see through the complicated rural economies of the Ming Empire. On the contrary, he was actually proud of the Princess for being able to make use of her time better.

Almost a good year after Siu Ching left the Palace for a boat life, after sensing that Siu Ching had truly adapted to a wanderer’s life and that they truly could make this work, Chor Lau Heung finally proposed to her. She accepted wholeheartedly, knowing that Chor was true to his heart. He’d protect her and cherish her. He wouldn’t stop being nice to women tho, nor could he stop women flocking around him; that was just the way he was. Siu Ching had accepted that side of Chor as he accepted her own flaws. They took the trouble to go to Mt. Wutang for their simple wedding, for they felt the need of a familiar priest to bless their union. They invited only a bunch of their old friends, including Beggar Clan Leader Mr Siu, Monk Clear Sky (a.k.a. former assassin Yat Dim Hung, who came all the way from Purity Temple), the smelly Wu Tit Fa (who deigned to take a shower before the ceremony), and Master Dik Chan of Hua Shan (formerly known as Koh A Lam, who seemed to made her peace with Wu Tit Fa). As the Wutang Clan leader Master Yuen Hung led the wedding ceremony, Chor Lau Heung would steal glances at the red-veiled beauty standing next to him. The Lingering Fragrance couldn’t take his eyes off Song Siu Ching since she entered the wedding hall. The red veil couldn’t hide Siu Ching’s happiness either. After such a long emotional journey that required both of them transcending their barriers, they would be husband and wife soon.

After the ceremony, Chor Lau Heung and his wife returned to the boat to sail down the Han River. Siu Ching wanted to go to the Capital incognito to inform Emperor Father that she had married Chor, and her husband supported the idea. The four ladies took a different route. Wah Jan Jan decided to visit the Purity Temple and Mt Huashan, thus the other three girls tagged along. They would meet the newlyweds again in a month’s time at the Capital. En route the Capital, Siu Ching was happy to have the whole one month just with Chor Lau Heung. She did ask whether he didn’t miss the presence of the other ladies, and since honesty was Chor’s trait, so he did say yes. But before a layer of grey cloud marred Siu Ching’s beauty, Chor added that he had no trouble staying away with them for a while, for he had a lovely wife with him. “One of them is my good friend, the other three are my sisters. Of course I miss them,” he said with his mesmerizing voice. “But you’re my wife now, Siu Ching. In one month, the girls will join us again. But now, it’s just the two of us, and I want it no other way. I want to share it just with you, and no other.”

Thus, Song Siu Ching enjoyed a month of happy living with her husband alone. Chor was a good sport and, surprisingly despite his reputation as a ladies’ man, he was also a good husband. He was romantic, funny, smart, and always managed to make Siu Ching laugh. They visited some nice towns with good food. Chor would buy her some lovely treats and took her to some nice secluded places. But then, came the day he wanted to catch fish; which he did successfully before handing her two large fish to cook for dinner. Then “disaster” happened: one fish was burnt because Siu Ching, being a princess and despite having lived in a boat for a year, still had no idea how to grill fish (too much dependency on Sugar has its price). After grimacing and trying to supress his laughter to no avail, Chor finally said it was good that he actually caught two fish instead of one. That night, for the first time since meeting him, Siu Ching witnessed and tasted Chor Lau Heung’s cooking skill. It wasn’t the best grilled fish ever, but was definitely edible.

The second “disaster” happened when the couple found a nice waterfall to take a shower. In delight, Chor saw a very nice cave for them to take a rest, and perhaps to enjoy some intimate moments with his wife in the evening. However, at that time, Siu Ching just had an idea to sing a song. The Lingering Fragrance recognised the song as a romantic song from the Capital that Siu Ching’s brother, the Crown Prince, helped popularised. However, the way Siu Ching sang it made him cringe and – despite himself – giggled. Siu Ching was offended and left the scene in a hurry, ignoring her husband for a good few hours. The Lingering Fragrance didn’t think that Princess Wing Ching would take such a French leave, hence he didn’t realise it until a good half an hour. It looked like this drama effectively destroyed Chor’s romantic plan with his wife, for he had to look around to find her. Chor finally found her in a tea house in a village nearby, sulking into her tea cup.

Caressing a strand of his own hair, his lips forming his heart-stealing smile, Chor approached Siu Ching and opened a tea cup to serve himself some tea. “What’s the matter, Princess?” pouring himself some tea, he asked her in jest. When they were alone, Chor had gotten used to calling his wife “Princess” to annoy her. He had checked the surroundings to make sure no danger was imminent before calling her that name. Despite having destroyed the Bat Clan, he still had some enemies who might take his wife as a hostage if they realised she was a princess. And make no mistake, people had heard that the famous Chor Lau Heung had married the Princess. Despite Siu Ching’s improved martial arts, the Lingering Fragrance preferred to err on the safe side. Hence, he would only use the “Princess” moniker when they were alone, mostly to tease her.

Siu Ching looked up and turned her back at him. Gone were the days he’d kneel down in front of her in such a formal manner, addressing her as one would address a royalty (and thus drawing the line for their relationship). These days, she knew he called her “Princess” just to tease her. Receiving nothing from her, Chor tried again, “Are you really mad that I laughed at your singing?”

“Of course I am mad!” Siu Ching snapped. “I’m your wife; I was trying to sing something for you, and then you laughed at me!”

Swallowing his tea and his laughter at the same time, Chor said, “But darling, your voice was off the beat! It wasn’t really in synchrony with the tempo. Nothing wrong with your voice though – it was the beat, pitch and tempo.”

“Oh, now you are an expert in singing too?”

“No, I know I am not an expert in singing. Your brother is, though, and a good one at that.” Caressing a strand of his hair, Chor grinned and raised his index finger. “Perhaps he can teach you a lesson or two.”

And this was where Chor realised that, despite his reputation as a ladies’ man, he should have known better not to tease his wife like that. Glaring at him, Siu Ching rose from her chair and left the tea house. But before she left, Chor caught a glint of tears in the corner of her eyes. Now the Lingering Fragrance realised that he was indeed in trouble. He hurriedly paid the bill and chased his wife. He easily caught up with her at the village end, by the trees. Receiving cold shoulders, he held her arms and turned her to face him. Welling tears told him that he was going too far with the teasing this time. 

“Siu Ching... I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you cry...” Gently, he wiped her falling tears with his thumb. “I’m sorry. I didn’t realise this song was very important to you. You must have missed your brother when singing the song?”

“No, it wasn’t the song!” Siu Ching sniffed her red nose and wiped the tears with the back of her hand in anger. “It was my attempt to sing for you that you laughed at!”

Chor’s eyes darted between Siu Ching’s red eyes before he sighed and pulled her into his embrace. She didn’t pull away, but she didn’t embrace him back either. Gently, Chor Lau Heung caressed Siu Ching’s long hair as he inhaled the faint chrysanthemum fragrance of her hair. “I understand now, darling... I know now. I’m sorry that I laughed. It was inconsiderate of me...” He embraced her for some time before pulling her away to check her. She was still sad. “Is there something else?” he asked gently. When she hesitated, he touched her chin gently and turned her face towards him. He stopped saying anything, just gazing gently into her big eyes. Encouraged, Siu Ching finally admitted that she was feeling insecure because she couldn’t sing and couldn’t cook.

“And I have no medical skills at all! What if something happen to you and I can’t help you?!”

Chor Lau Heung had to admit that it would be useful for Siu Ching to have a modicum of medical knowledge; the incident where the girl prescribed a heart pill that backfired almost three years ago came to mind. However, he still shrugged. “We have Rosie for that, so you don’t need to worry.”

“But she’s not going to be around all the time, Chor tai-gor! What if you are injured and you need help?”

“Then you can learn a bit from her, perhaps, about medical skills?” Chor suggested before he saw cloud passing by Siu Ching’s face again. Ah, now he got it. It wasn’t about medical skills per se, or singing skills or cooking skills for that matter. Gently, he prodded again,

“You’re still comparing yourself with the girls, aren’t you?”

Her silence answered his question. He sighed and kissed her forehead. “Siu Ching,” gently the Lingering Fragrance said, “I love you. I am very blessed that, despite our vastly different background, you chose me to be your husband, as I chose you as my wife. I married you because I wanted to be with you. I didn’t want you as a cook or a doctor or a musician who live with me. I don’t see Sue, Rosie and Sugar as those either. I just see them as my sisters who happen to have those skills.”

Still receiving silence, he continued, “It does not matter to me that you can’t cook well, or you can’t sing, or you have no medical knowledge. I love you, just the way you are.”

“Despite my cooking skills?”

“Yes. As you have seen, I know how to cook too, although Sugar is much better than me.”

“Despite me not knowing any medicinal herbs?”

“Yes, despite that. And it can be improved, only if you want to.”

“And me cannot sing?”

He grinned this time. “Really, it doesn’t matter. We can play chess instead. And you are still good at playing zither, so that works too. Also...” he added an afterthought, “You’ve matured a lot since you left the Palace. These days I feel like I learn a lot from you for your passion to help the poor. I don’t need you to be another person. I just need you to be you.”

Slowly, Siu Ching lifted her head. One corner of her mouth twitched into a subtle smile. “Okay... fine... I forgive you...”

Sensing the trouble had passed, Chor Lau Heung smiled and pulled his wife into his tight embrace. He was relieved to have her embracing him back this time. “I love you, Song Siu Ching, just as you are...” Then, with a naughty flash on his eyes, he added, “Still, it would have been nice for you to take some singing lessons from your brother before you left the Palace tho!” and thus receiving a hit on his chest. Chor Lau Heung laughed, pulled his wife back and kissed her cherry lips. She replied in kind. It seemed his plan for a nice evening by the waterfall might work after all...

Author’s note:

I'd like to acknowledge the posters of for having some discussions that eventually triggered the idea for this fan-fiction. Spelling of names is in Cantonese instead of Mandarin because the 1984 Chor Lau Heung series was produced by TVB HK. The 40 episodes of this series can be found at, and here I'd like to profusely thank the subbers and uploaders of this drama. Without you guys, I wouldn't have gotten my precious childhood memories back...

According to Wikipedia, Liuxiang (Lau Heung) means "lingering fragrance", hence I used it for Chor's moniker. I made up the Buddhist/Taoist name for Yat Dim Hung cos I didn’t know his spiritual name. I originally linked Chor Lau Heung’s time period with the Song Dynasty (960-1279) for the Emperor mentioned how he had to spend a lot of budget for some defence efforts to ward off the northern invaders, which I would link with the Jins or the Mongols. However, I then learned that the Wutang (Wudang) sect was not founded until the early Yuan Dynasty. Hence I now place CLH timeline in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); not that it bears any impacts to the story. I could be very wrong, so any input about Chor Lau Heung’s time frame is greatly appreciated for the sake of knowledge. No beta, hence the faults are all mine.

Update 15 Jan 2017:

click this for the mature scene of Chor tai-gor joining Siu Ching's lake bath... (and I mean, this link is for mature audience).

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