Painter CHENG PANG KIU (WONG HE) heads for Yangzhou to look for job opportunities, where he meets two writers, KAM NONG (MOK KAI YIU) and WONG SUN (MAK BAU). KIU believes that with his talent and wisdom he will achieve fame one day. But sometimes success is really the luck of the draw. KIU has lived under the rule of three kings in succession, namely, KANG XI (CHUN PUI), YONG ZHENG (TSANG WAI KUEN) and QIAN LONG. After years of striving for accomplishments, he has finally secured a government post to become a prominent official, which is what he has always wanted. However, the problem of corruption in government is growing serious, which has left KIU disappointed. KIU cannot make a go of his political career. Neither does he have a happy love life. When KIU first arrives in Yangzhou, he meets a stunningly beautiful prostitute WONG YAT TSE (LAI CHI, GI GI). They have soon become lovers and have an intention to get married. Unfortunately when KIU asks for permission from TSE’s mother, he is given the cold shoulder. He is thrown into despair and eventually, though reluctantly, decides to marry TSE’s maid, CHUI (CHAN CHUNG LING, NADIA). CHUI is a good wife. Her love and care for KIU have deeply touched him. KIU has come first in the civil examination and plans to return home to see CHUI, who is on the verge of death, just for the sake of saving her husband. Before she dies, she encourages KIU to marry another maid NG MUI (WU, MYOLIE). KIU is later on framed by TSE and caught in trouble, and it is MUI who has bustled around trying to rescue him. KIU has spent half of his life serving his country but got nothing in the end. Being downhearted, KIU writes QIAN LONG a few words – I’d rather be a fool – and leaves for home with MUI.