Thursday, 20 February 2014

#Talk 4: The perfect representation of the Black Belly Boss

   If you can understand a person by what they eat, then my tastes are most perfectly captured by cupcakes. Hong Kong prices their cupcakes ridiculously from $4 to $6, when in Singapore, a great cupcake is $3 to $4. This was pretty horrific news to me since I eat cupcakes by the dozen. But, I succumbed eventually, and like to buy cupcakes from sift and kisses in Hong Kong. The cupcake above is an extraordinary ferrero rocher cupcake! 

   Oh yes, I'm supposed to talk about Black Belly Bosses. Haha. In my opinion, the equivalent of a cupcake in c-novels is the black belly boss and silly employee comedic novels! It's pretty contradictory because I can't stand stupid female leads, but they have become my favourite trope to read. To be honest, sometimes after I finish a normal standard boss-employee novel, I don't even remember reading it, but they always have a sweet aftertaste. 

   In case, anyone is not familiar, c-novel readers usually describe a male character as 腹黑 (Fu Hei) which is literally translated as black belly to capture the black, often sadistic, humour of the male lead, who likes to bully and laugh at the girl. Classic black belly characters are Feng Teng in Come Eat Shan Shan, Dong Hua in The Pillow Book (probably the most popular one?) and about every male lead in my modern recommended list (see sidebar).

   The classic black belly boss and silly employee plot goes like this: 

  • A cute young female lead who just graduated from a less prestigious university is struggling to find a job 
  • Her one talent is eating and sleeping 
  • She usually encounters the boss in a funny unexpected setting before the interview (eg, in Come Eat Shan Shan, she donates blood to Feng Teng's sister - they both belong to a rare blood type) and catches his attention 
  • She decides to interview at a super prestigious company and has about 0.00001% chance of getting hired --- but manages to because the BIG boss noticed her (sometimes he just wants to take revenge on her because she embarrassed him in abovesaid unexpected setting haha) 
  • The boss then usually forces the employee to do random errands for him - eg, preparing his lunch, coming to his house and cooking for him 
  • The boss starts to do atypical things for the employee but the employee will think the boss is torturing her 
  • The employee, usually suffering from low self esteem, won't believe the boss likes her. 
  • The boss and the employee will have some fight or stupid misunderstanding - perhaps by a botched work task or a very pretty girl who likes the boss 
  • The employee will go home and the parents will think their hopeless daughter needs to get married since her work is hopeless. The employee will go on a match-making date!
  • The boss will either find out about the matchmaking date and rush down or somehow coincidentally be present and RUIN the date 
  • After the date, the boss will usually kiss and confess to the silly employee 
  • They date! They marry! They give birth to babies that are either intelligent like the dad or silly like the mum. 
  • The End. 
   I have just about described the plot of every other black belly boss and silly employee novel. And yet, I still love to read them! Haha. It's kind of like how red velvet cupcakes are my standard orders at bakeries all over the world? Even if they vary in quality, they still taste pretty good. 

   Do share with me if you have any black belly boss or silly employee novel you like to read. *Gasp* I think I may have read almost all of the novels of this trope in SSB. And, the reason I wrote this entry actually is because I have found my ideal archetype of the black belly boss. 

   Hyun Bin: 



   I saw this picture from Mookiehyun's blog and immediately thought, eh that's every black belly boss in my head. I've decided that if I ever write a black belly boss and silly employee fiction (I might heh for the fun of it), I have only one description - the boss looks like hyun bin. 


  1. Wahaha, I love to read abt black belly boss! I think you forget to put usually they'll XXOO when the girl is drunk/tipsy:P Actually I do have another bbb story but I'll only tell you after you rtn home bcos I know you've a lot to do but will not be able to resist the temptation, lol. It must be from Secret Garden to make you feel Hyun Bin is the epitome of a bbb. Wait till I tell mookie abt it, lol.

    Oh, you've Bai Qian & Ye Hua as your header now. Yes, I know most of the pictures well:P

    1. Heehee you are right but I purposely omitted that part because I don't think a successful black belly boss & employee novel necessarily needs a mustard scene. Also, I really dislike it when they consummate their relationship when it's unclear if the female is making a rational choice. I make it a point to only recommend novels in which the female party, regardless of how silly she is, is still able to be an independent agent. So, when the mustard scenes happen in unclear context, I feel uncomfortable.

      Heheh! You know me so well. Plus, I'm still suffering from flu :( sobs. Not reading any c-novels now, finishing up some writing.

      Yes! I love Secret Garden. Heheh he was such a black belly boss - emotionally manipulative, verbally abusive, all no-nos in real life, but fun to read and watch as a fantasy construct.

      Yes, yay! It's so pretty and doesn't get blown up when I posted it as a header. Whew.

  2. Hi decembi! Happy new year!<3
    I am just browsing through your blog to spend my tasteless new year holiday. lol. I love this topic about black-bellied boss. I really love Shan Shan and her black-bellied Big Boss. lol. Some of the black-bellied boss characters that I love in Kdrama are from Master's Sun and also Noble, my love. and of course secret garden too. as chinese novel,I might read some of them but can't seem to recall it now. The first one i know about BBB is from a novel title black-bellied boss don't run. Hihi.
    Have a nice holiday! ^^

    1. Happy new year nardstar! <3

      Sorry for the late reply. Awwww. I absolutely love Master's Sun!!! It's my favourite. I also really liked Secret Garden when it was broadcasted and like it a bit less now, but my love for Master's Sun just keeps growing. I have re-watched it three times?!

      Happy holidays <3