Thursday, 30 June 2016

Huang Yaoshi, the East Heretic

Michael Miu Kiu Wai as the 2017 Huang Yaoshi

Since we have more photos of our Michael Miu as Huang Yaoshi (HYS) these days, I thought a post on Huang Yaoshi’s character is in order. I base this post on the English translation of the LOCH book, which can be found at the Wuxia Society. I also need to reiterate that I LOVE Kenneth Tsang’s portrayal as HYS in the 1983 LOCH, but since I have faith in Michael’s acting skills, I believe I will see another favourite HYS of mine next year. Photos of the rest of the Five Greats and the Old Imp are at the end of the article.

First, Huang Yaoshi is the Mandarin pinyin spelling for the real name of this character (surname Huang, "first name" Yaoshi). The Cantonese Yale romanisation is Wong Yeuk Si, the Hokkien version is Oey Yok Su. The traditional characters are 黃藥師 while the simplified characters are 黄药师.

HYS was first depicted as wearing a green robe. This depiction makes some Indonesian fans always asking why the 2017 HYS hasn’t been wearing a green robe. Well, fair point... but a man can change his wardrobe style. Plus, Jin Yong seems to like green. He dressed Yang Kang and one of the Freaks in green the first time we were introduced to them, and he also had Mu Nianci in a dark green clothing in the last chapter. Anyway, here’s the first appearance of Huang Yaoshi in Book 2 Chapter 13. 

“[Ouyang Ke] was about to strike out at Mei Chaofeng when he saw another person coming from the cliff. He hurriedly took back his strike and studied that person. He saw that the man was slim and tall; he was wearing a green robe and part of his hair was bound with a squared cloth. He looked like any cultured person but Ouyang Ke was unable to see his face clearly.”
Okay, this is not a green robe, but he looks cool...

He was handsome and looked noble (just like Kenneth Tsang and Michael Miu...):
“He was wearing a genuine skin mask; no wonder his face was emotionless like that of a corpse. His true appearance was clear and good-looking, with a hint of sadness. Yet an aura of dignity surrounded him; resembling the image of deity.” (Book 2, Chapter 14)

HYS’s nickname is Eastern Heretic (or East Heretic):
“Huang Yaoshi was called ‘Eastern Heretic’ [Dong Xie] because of his peculiar conduct. He often said that the etiquette and customs of the world were nonsense.” (Book 1, Chapter 10)

HYS was an esteemed martial artisan in the wulin (wuxia community). Even Priest Ma Yu from Quanzhen Sect feared him: 
“Ke Zhen’E and Zhu Cong had already heard of the kung fu of Huang Yaoshi, often in such exaggerated terms that they had difficulty believing in the man's power. The Quanzhen Sect represented the orthodox martial arts. If Ma Yu felt fear regarding Huang, it was evidently something to take into account” (Book 1, Chapter 6)
East Heretic vs Quanzhen's Seven North Stars Formation, from Kaypang Gallery

HYS has excellent qinggong (gravity-defying skill):
“The amazing thing, however, was that Ouyang Ke was unable to hear any footsteps or breathing coming from that man. Even a highly skilled person like Mei Chaofeng would inevitably make some light noises when she walked; but this person was walking casually, as if his body were floating, forming a somewhat ghostly image. It seemed as if nothing would cause him to make any noises while moving.” (Book 2 Chapter 13)

HYS has excellent neigong (internal power):
“Huang Yaoshi saw this and he simply said, “Take this!” He waved his right hand and two sheets of paper gently flew toward Chengfeng. The distance between them was actually more than ten feet, but the papers flew gently like they were hand delivered to Lu Chengfeng. This demonstration of internal energy was even more impressive than flicking pebbles, since the paper was flimsy and more difficult to throw. No one could help but feel very impressed.” (Book 2, Chapter 14)

But his aquatic skills were below Huang Rong’s:
“Growing up on an island in the sea, Huang Rong had been proficient in aquatic skills since she was young. Be it literature or martial arts, there was nothing Huang Yaoshi did not excel at, yet his aquatic skills were far behind those of his daughter.” (Book 1, Chapter 2)

HYS loved his daughter very much, too much, actually:
“His love for his daughter was excessive and he naturally did nothing to control her and allowed her to become arrogant and wilful.” (Book 1, Chapter 10)

And she loved him very much as well:
“Huang Rong’s tears had not dried yet she shouted with joy. She snatched the mask from her father’s hand and placed it on her own face while bouncing up and down and hugging the man’s neck, giggling continuously. The man was indeed the Master of Peach Blossom Island, Huang Yaoshi.” (Book 2, Chapter 14)
Love this father-daughter (Kenneth Tsang, in his green robe, and Barbara Yung, 1983)

But even his daughter Huang Rong considered him a weird and confusing person:
“Huang Rong understood the layout of this garden since her father, Huang Yaoshi, was a master of these formations and would discuss it with her once in a while. She thought the formations in this garden unusual but it was nothing compared to those on Peach Blossom Island, which were weird and confusing, just like its owner.” (Book 2, Chapter 13)
Huang Rong (Li Yitong) and Daddy Heretic (Michael Miu), cropped from Michael's weibo

The East Heretic loved his wife so much (though I read somewhere there was a version of LOCH that had HYS rooting for Mei Chaofeng, hence his extreme anger when she eloped with her lover, and no, I don’t like that version): 
“A Heng, A Heng, you loved me so much that you have used this boy’s mouth to impart the manual to me. But why don’t you let me have a glimpse of you? I’ve played my flute every night for you; did you hear it?” (Chapter 18)
In reality, Michael does love Jaime very much...

HYS was very cruel:
“After the treachery and escape of Chen Xuanfeng and of Mei Chaofeng, Huang Yaoshi, furious, had crippled his other disciples and they had all fled. No others remained on Peach Blossom Island other than some mute servants.” (Book 2, Chapter 12)

But he later regretted his anger (he should be!), though he remained too proud to say sorry:
“Your disability is permanent,” Huang Yaoshi added. “You won’t be able to fight relying on your leg techniques; but if you diligently train, you won’t have any problem walking like normal people. Oh …” He regretted that consumed with anger he had punished his four innocent disciples severely. In recent years he’d racked his brain to create the new ‘Sweeping Leaves Whirlwind Leg’ technique with improved internal energy training methods. His plan was to find his four disciples and bestow this new technique so that they would be able to walk again. He was too arrogant, so even when his heart was full of regret, his mouth was not willing to admit it. Therefore, although this leg technique was entirely a new creation of his, he still used the irrelevant old name; pretending he had not done anything wrong. (Book 2, Chapter 14, HYS to Lu Chengfeng) 

HYS didn’t think highly of GJ in the first place:
“Huang Yaoshi had seen Guo Jing’s martial arts at Cloud Manor; he thought, “This youngster did not know the height of the sky or the depth of the earth, yet he dared to parry Ouyang Feng’s fierce ‘Toad Stance’. If Ouyang Feng had not seen my face and showed him mercy, his bones would have been shattered.” He did not know that the Guo Jing he met at Cloud Manor was not the same Guo Jing as now. However, he acknowledged that Guo Jing had selflessly saved Huang Rong’s life without any regard for his own safety. His hatred towards him was, for the most part, gone. He thought, “This kid really has a good heart and he really loves Rong’er. I can’t give Rong’er to him, but I can certainly reward him by teaching him something.” The rascal in front of him looked rather stupid and the word ‘foolish’ had stirred up anger in him.” (Book 2, Chapter 18)

Though poor Guo Jing took a long time to gain his approval, HYS came to respect the innocent young man later, particularly in the Sword Meet of Mount Hua:

“Several stances later Huang Yaoshi was astonished. “How did this dumb kid reach this level? If I held back, not only I might not be able to defeat him in 300 stances, I might even lose in his hands.” In a battle between martial art experts one cannot let back even half a step. Because initially Huang Yaoshi was only using 70% of his strength, he fell under Guo Jing’s control. He started to feel alarmed, and busily launched the ‘luo ying shen jian zhang’ [falling flower divine sword palm technique], his body floating around at full strength. But Guo Jing now was not the same as Guo Jing then. Huang Yaoshi had used dozens different palm techniques, yet it was still difficult for him to gain an upper hand. After about one hundred moves Huang Yaoshi suddenly launched a trick move. Guo Jing did not expect him to make such move; he was almost kicked down by Huang Yaoshi’s left leg. Frantically Guo Jing retreated two steps and steadied himself. Because of this Huang Yaoshi managed to even up the battle situation. Huang Yaoshi took that opportunity to take a deep breath. “Amazing!” he secretly praised.”  (Book 4, Chapter 40/last chapter)

And he eventually wholeheartedly blessed Guo Jing and Huang Rong together.

“[Huang Yaoshi] turned his gaze to Jing and Rong couple and said, “Jing’er, your parents have passed away, the closest relative to you would be your Da Shifu Ke Zhen’e. Why don’t you come along with us to the Peach Blossom Island and ask your Da Shifu to act in your parents’ behalf to preside at your wedding with Rong’er?” (Book 4, Chapter 40/last chapter)

Last but not least, like his daughter, HYS’s loyalty was definitely with the Song Empire:

“Huang Yaoshi answered, “This place is close to Lin’an, but if we inform the royal government they won’t necessarily believe us; even if they did, it will take a long time for them to react. This is an urgent matter; your little red horse is swift. Leave for Xiangyang today. If the garrison commander is willing to cooperate, help him defend the city. If not, kill him and lead the troops and the people to fight the Mongolians. Rong’er and I will wait for you on the Peach Blossom Island.” (Book 4, Chapter 40/last chapter)

So, with all those characteristics, can our Michael Miu portray Huang Yaoshi that will leave a permanent impression on me the way Kenneth Tsang portrayed the East Heretic? I believe so. Sadly, the trailers containing HYS won’t come in the next few months, and the series is still in the making, so we will just have to wait.


The official photos of the Five Greats have been released by the 2017 LOCH weibo account, thanks to AiYRong from SPCNet. Eastern Heretic's official photo is the second photo in this post above. The rest are as follows:

North Beggar Hong Qigong (Zhao Lixin)

Western Poison Ouyang Feng (Zhang Yonggang)

Central Divinity Wang Chongyang (Han Dong)

Southern Emperor Yi Deng (Ray Lu Liangwei)

And although Zhou Botong (Old Imp, Chow Pak Tong) was not one of the Five Greats, I often consider him the replacement of Wang Chongyang, the Central Divinity. Plus, we love him so much so here's the Old Imp. He is played by the actor who played as Emperor's brother in Nirvana in Fire.

Old Imp Zhou Botong (Ning Wentong)

Update 1 July 2016:

Michael uploaded the poster below today (or perhaps last night?), on him and his "daughter" Huang Rong (Li Yitong). 

According to the translators in Kaypang Gallery, tomorrow (2 July), there will be a live show to promote the 2017 LOCH series. To attract both oldies (like me) and new generation viewers, they chose Michael Miu with his Huang Yaoshi and Li Yitong with her Huang Rong in the live show. Not sure what channel, but it's 12:30 local time (Shanghai time, perhaps?). If there's such a show, I will make a new post about it.

Update 11 July 2016

No news of that live show yet... but here I have more photos of Michael as HYS, also with Li Yitong's Huang Rong and Yang Xuwen's Guo Jing:

This is when HYS is looking for his daughter

Michael taking a break between shoots (Thanks Wina!)

With Li Yitong

Being a dork with Huang Rong and Guo Jing

Again, being such a dork...
Selfie with "daughter"

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