[The Disguiser] Biography — Bright as Ah Cheng

Translated by: Evey
Edited by: Joyce & Eleanor

With permission from 凤凰天使剧评社 (Cassie Yong Chongchong), we have translated her Weibo post about her thoughts on Ming Cheng, Wang Kai’s character from The Disguiser.

(Translator’s note: ‘Ming’ in Chinese means “brightness”, Ah Cheng is Ming Cheng’s nickname)

I do not know what feelings I should have when writing about Ming Cheng.

This character has changed my long-standing stereotypes against Chinese dramas. The main reason I could not bear using plain language to depict him is that, this man, reignites a crazed passion, which I thought would be lost forever, towards an actor and the character he plays.

I vividly recall the scene of his debut: Hong Kong, a man with bright and steady eyes completed his assassination mission with perfect agility; this mission came as a huge blow to No. 76 (Wang Jingwei’s puppet government’s intelligence office) and Nantian Yangzi. This is also the scene that captivated many viewers with Ming Cheng, who would call himself ‘a servant’ in a fit of temper, would sometimes make mistakes on impulse, but can also foresee situations, be pre-emptive and is intelligent and capable.
Ming Cheng – Major Adjutant in JunTong (the Bureau of Investigation and Statistics), the Shanghai Intelligence Agency of the KMT. Ill-treated by his adoptive mother at a young age, was later rescued and adopted by Ming Jing and Ming Lou and became part of the Ming family. Through their dedicated upbringing, Ah Cheng grew to be a brilliant person who has ideals and beliefs, a person who was capable of standing beside Ming Lou as an equal.
However, just as he thought he was no longer entangled with his dark childhood, Aunt Gui, his adoptive mother intruded once again into his life after having transformed into a Japanese spy with the codename “Lone Wolf”.
There is not much information given about his life story. As for whether to continue this unhappy mother-son relationship, Ah Cheng had his own struggle. Those painful memories kept haunting him but he still felt a sense of compassion towards his poor and helpless adoptive mother.

Perhaps deep down in his heart, there is a simple wish: to have a family. Even though he vents his anguish to his most beloved elder brother without reserve, when it came to the moment that Ming Jing and Ming Lou were about to send her away for the sake of his feelings, Ah Cheng decided to set aside his hatred and let her stay. 

The Ah Cheng I love is this kind-hearted man with a cold blank mask.  

But that is not all about this jade-like man*

[*Editor’s note: *A man who is elegant, gentle, courteous and refined.]

Mysteriousness and transparency make this man. You think you are one step closer, but in fact you are drifting further away. You want to break away from him, but you have nowhere to go. I believe those whom he made acquaintances with, like Liang Zhong Chun and Nantian Yangzi would share the same idea.
While Ming Cheng is not wholly part of the Ming family and from an outsider’s view, he was nothing but a housekeeper, taking care of family business, be it socialising or running errands for Ming Lou. However, was he really a person of little importance, like what others saw from the outside?
He stayed alert and remained calm when trying to save Ming Tai from Juntong without Ming Lou’s permission. He was able to sense that Ming Tai was in trouble through only a short exchange. Though this operation failed due to Ming Tai’s refusal to cooperate, his decisiveness and intelligence was fully demonstrated. Knowing he would be heavily reprimanded by Ming Lou afterwards, he was still determined to go out on a limb. Here, Ming Cheng was independent, was someone who had individual thoughts and could make decisions on his own.
However, when things would happen to his most beloved and respected elder brother, he lost his calmness. To get rid of evidence against Ming Tai [that would also possibly incriminate Ming Lou] in front of Nantian Yang Zi, he fell into a trap that almost exposed his identity. Here, Ming Cheng is impulsive, confused and irrational.
When associating with Nantian Yangzi and Liang Zhongchun, he played it by ear. Here Ming Cheng is mature, rational and well versed in social skills.
When Ming Jing and Ming Tai were in danger, he was still able to calmly give orders, make arrangements, and enter the fray himself even when he was torn with anxiety. Here is a thoughtful Ming Cheng who leaves no stone unturned
It is this Ming Cheng who promised Ming Lou that he would save Ming Tai at all costs when Tai’s life was at stake.

It is this Ming Cheng who places the safety of his family as the top priority. He turned violent and pointed a gun at the puppet government’s agents, requesting Ming Jing’s release when she was captured.

It is this Ming Cheng who values love and loyalty the most. He took care of Ming Jing and shed tears with her in the pouring rain when Ming Lou had to put on the ‘family falling-out’ show.

The Ming Cheng you see, is an important player in the game between powers. Ming Cheng, is Ming Lou aide, loyalty and resilient, working in perfect co-ordination with his commanding officer. He is also an accomplished soldier, regardless of whether he’s on the frontline or behind enemy lines, he seamlessly and effortlessly shifts between his roles.

The Ming Cheng you see, is one who has a dark childhood and one who cannot reveal his true identity, melancholic and forbearing. He manages to separate personal feelings from work and strives to discern the truths from lies in the smog of reality and chaos.

The Ming Cheng you feel in your heart, is the one you most want to believe in, the most truthful one. Passionate, loyal, not intimidated by death, he would aim for the best even if reality were tough and harsh. 
Ming Cheng is an irreplaceable part of the four Ming siblings. He is seen more in the TV adaptation, which made the character Ming Cheng, in this sense unique. Ah Cheng loves everyone in the Ming family, and when have the Ming’s not loved him in return? Ming Lou was outraged when Ah Cheng called himself a servant. Ming Jing treated him as her own younger brother, trying to set up dates for him. Ming Tai always teased him but these tricks often backfired in the end. None of them ever saw Ah Cheng as an outsider, let alone a servant. In each other’s eyes, they are each other’s dearest family.

The olive branch given to Nangtian Yangzi was but an act required for the circumstances. For the family that gave him a second chance at life, that is whom he’ll follow no matter whether in life or death. Perhaps this is his destiny as well as the destiny of this whole family.

This is Ah Cheng from the Mings, with bright eyes and bright aspirations, a sincere heart and an honest person.*

This is also Ah Cheng’s family, who will go to great lengths for their beloved ones and lay down their lives for their beliefs.

*Translation and editor’s note: The author played with words here a bit. Here is the original Chinese sentence with the meanings of the words as well. 

Zhè jiùshì míng jiā de ā chéng. Míngmóu míngzhì, chéngxīn chéng rén

This is Ah Cheng from the Mings, with bright eyes and bright aspirations, a sincere heart and an honest person. 

明 – bright, clear
诚 – sincerity and honesty
明眸 – clear eyes
明志 – clear aspirations
诚心 – sincere heart
诚人 – honest person

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