Ming Li




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Identity   Interpreter
Former known boyfriend : Kai (1988)

Profession : Dancer


Tamlyn Tomita :
May 24 1988 (# 960) to September 08 1988 (# 1035)

It is thanks to Andrea Bedford's work, within the association directed by Major Phillip Hamilton, that for the first time the character of Ming Li can be guessed. Files after files that she works on, Andrea realizes that the portrait of a young Eurasian would correspond with Cain Garver's story about his lost love, Soo Li. After checks, Andrea acquires the certainty that Ming Li is well the daughter of Cain and Soo Li, the young woman with whom he had an affair whereas he was a soldier in Vietnam.

So it is in Bangkok, at the Lizard Lounge, a sordid striptease club located into the heart of the poor districts of the city, that Cain finds the trace of his daughter. Exceeded by all the events, Ming Li will hide her true personality behind a whole pallet of feelings, going amongst other things from anger to jealousy. And it is only when all her lies will get cracked that the real Ming Li will appear. At the time of her first meeting with Cain, Ming Li explodes of anger and rage, accusing him and her mother to be responsible for all her problems : here, she is nothing. Only the daughter of a prostitute who sold herself to an American soldier... But despite all the arguments deployed by Cain, Ming Li does not want to follow him to the United States embassy so that she obtains a visa. Under Ming Li's youth can be found the discomfort of a whole generation lost between two cultures and which does not manage to find its place.

Eager to end with her sordid life and to leave this country where she does not find her place, Ming Li decides to take her destiny and ends up accepting Cain's proposal. Ming Li dreams like every girl of another more glorious destiny, of this myth of the American Dream which tightens its arms to her... Then, she does not hesitate to lie, and to become the one Cain believes she is : his daughter, not realizing that this first lie will call others and that it will be the bars of her prison. And after having succeeded in obtaining a visa with the help of Major Hamilton, Ming Li flies away for the United States.

Arrived in Santa Barbara, Ming Li's discomfort is therefore not erased as a miracle. Quite the contrary. Confronted to the shock of cultures which fully strikes her, to the disappearance of her Asian roots, the very new authority of Cain, the young woman defers anger and frustration on Andrea. This latter becomes the incarnation of her discomfort. And following a new argument between them, Ming Li runs away and takes refuge at the Orient Express. Then the teenager, lost in a zone of shade, crosses the way of Phillip Hamilton, her second potential father (he had also an affair with Soo Li during the war). Invited at his place, Ming Li feels naturally attracted and in confidence with this man who lives following the Asian style and who feels trapped between the American culture and the one of his ancestors.

At Phillip Hamilton's contact, Ming Li will reveal her true face. Very quickly, he discovers that Ming Li is not the one she claims to be : she is not Soo Li's daughter and even less Cain Garver's. Catch in the trap of her own lie, Ming Li does not have other choice to only obey the Major. Transformed into an instrument of revenge to break the couple Cain/Andrea, Ming Li is obliged to seduce Cain, if she does not want her secret to be revealed. Ming Li, time after time rebel or jealous, will make her best to break their couple. And even if she will not hesitate to kiss Cain, she will not be able to make them break.

Harassed by the Major, Ming Li finds comfort at Kai, the soldier's assistant, who agrees to lie for her. Fallen in his trap (Phillip is not dupe of their lies), Ming Li does not have any other alternative than to run away in company of Kai. Indeed, following these new lies, Phillip Hamilton swears that he will make her repatriate in her original country. At the last time, Ming Li is honest with the one who loves her like his daughter, by acknowledging all the truth to him : she is not her daughter, nor Soo Li's. She swears that she did not want to hurt anybody, she just wanted to obtain a visa for the United States and to begin a new life. Without more explanations, Ming Li will go away from Santa Barbara in company of Kai, for more clement skies.

Thereafter, no more allusion will be made about Soo Li and Cain's child. Deeply wounded by the lies surrounding the one he believed to be his daughter, Cain will take refuge in alcohol, rather than to leave to the research of his child. It should be also noted that the intrigue around the character of Ming Li is part of the everyday life for considerable American hearths. As a proof, the presence of a child born of an American soldier and a Vietnamese woman can be found in the soap The Young and the Restless, with the character of Jack Abbott.

Portrait written for this site by Lilian

Press article
The oriental charm of Tamlyn, 1998
The photos of Ming Li
Tamlyn Tomita

Ming Li and the others