“The Tenants Downstairs” by Giddens Ko

By Tai Winnie

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  “The Tenants Downstairs” is a story that takes place in a strange and mysterious apartment for rent. The novel begins with a man who inherited an old apartment from his uncle three years ago. He renovated the apartment and decided to rent out. He installed hidden cameras to spy on his tenants. The tenants include the divorcee Mr. Wang Ming Kai and his daughter; Ms. Chen Min Hui, an office worker who uses her body for financial and benefits gain in workplace; Mr. Chang, a divorced gym instructor who enjoys peeping on his neighbor and is infatuated with Ms. Chen; a gay couple, Kuo Li and Ling Hu; Bo Yan, a college student obsessed with the idea of having superpowers; and a mysterious woman Ying Ru. Each tenant has their own features, interests and……Of course! Secrets.

  The Landlord who has voyeurism spies on his tenants with the hidden cameras. He figured out his tenants’ routine of life but he couldn’t figure out Ying Ru’s. One day, he decided to investigate this strange woman. So, the Landlord sneaked into her apartment. Ying Ru’s apartment was stacked with many suitcases. When the Landlord wanted to check out what was inside the suitcases, Ying Ru returned unexpectedly with a man. The Landlord hid down her bed and saw Ying Ru poisoned the man, and then tied him up in the bathtub. For several days, Ying Ru tortured the man to death. The Landlord confronted Ying Ru and took her words to heart as she said that she cannot accept a life without change.   

  After Ying Ru’s secret was discovered by the Landlord, he started to orchestrate events aimed to bring out the worst part in everyone in the apartment and push them to commit unspeakable acts. The tone is overwhelming as hapless victims succumb to mental meltdowns and indulge in atrocious behavior such as raping, murder, and many more. Everything starts with a loss key. The Landlord shattered his tenants’ lives. Giddens Ko used the Landlord’s sight to write the whole story and ended it up with him telling the police detective about “a story of imagination”. The Landlord had been considered as schizophrenic or good at disguising. No one believes what he said because there is no such person as Ying Ru in the world.

  In 2016, filming of “The Tenants Downstairs” was released. It is a 2 hours Taiwanese black comedy-mystery-drama film. The response to “The Tenants Downstairs” was prodigious. Many were excited to watch the film. The whole film is covered with the atmosphere inside Ying Ru’s chamber of horror. Six rooms, eight tenants, one landlord, unknown secrets and desires. The film production of “The Tenants Downstairs” is a wonderful movie with black humor, horror, fantasy, thriller, violence and reasoning. Simon Yam’s performance as the main character is psychopathic and expectedly amazing. The full-blooded performance makes the film succeed. Audiences are taken into the world from a voyeuristic perspective. 

  Giddens Ko Ching Teng has published more than 60 books and “The Tenants Downstairs” is one of the books which have been adapted as film. This Taiwanese novelist writes under the pseudonym of Nine Knives. Nine Knives is popular in many Asia countries including Malaysia. His arrogant, proud, confident and inexplicable brushstrokes attracted many fans to read. Netizens call him “Big Knives” and this shows the worship of his fans. In the novel “The Tenants Downstairs”, Giddens Ko shows his writing skills and commits crime in the story. He wants to give a more complete characterization and the reason why they are abnormal. They are not imitators, they are just doing the wrong thing when they are finding their own ways to obtain what they want. In fact, The Tenants Downstairs still has deep meaning in both novel and film.

  “You Are the Apple of My Eye”, “The Killer Who Never Kills”, “Till We Meet Again” and so on. Every story shows the passion and brushstrokes of Giddens Ko. He is really a famous novelist and filmmaker. Even the Hollywood studio bought the rights of his story in 2011. At the age above 40, many of his books have still topped the best-seller charts. Until now, he is a father of a daughter and his books are still inspiring many people in many ways.

By Tai Winnie


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