The Little Nyonya( Chinese : 小娘惹) is a 2008 drama serial on Singapore's free-to-air MediaCorp TV Channel 8 . The storyline, which circles around the biographical flashback of an extended Peranakan family in Malacca, is set in the 1930s and spans to over 70 years and several generations of three families. The series was partly sponsored by the Media Development Authority of Singapore. It debuted on November 25, 2008 and concluded its run on January 5, 2009.
Produced by MediaCorp in commemoration of the channel's 45-year anniversary (45?光芒·8方?台?), the series has been acclaimed by viewers and critics, and raked the highest viewership in the country in 14 years. The success ofThe Little Nyonyahas led to the show being broadcast internationally. The series became the first ever Singaporean Chinese drama to be dubbed in Malay and aired on Malay-language channel Suria.
The story spans over 70 years, from the 1930s till the present day.
Huang Juxiang is born into a large Peranakan family where her mother is a mistress. She is gentle, beautiful and a fantastic cook. Due to a serious illness when she was 9 years old, Juxiang becomes a deaf-mute. Because of her handicap, she is ostracized by people. Right before the Japanese Occupation in Singapore , she is forced to marry Charlie Zhang, a rich Peranakan, and become his concubine. Juxiang resists the marriage and runs away from home. She then meets Yamamoto Yousuke, a young Japanese photographer. After overcoming many obstacles, they finally get married and Juxiang gives birth to a daughter Yueniang. During the World War, Juxiang is injured and she and her husband die, leaving behind their 8-year-old daughter.
The orphaned Yueniang eventually walks to her grandfather's house on her own. Her grandmother rejoices for her presence. Under the supervision of her grandmother, she learns to cook Peranakan dishes and sewing. She grows up looking exactly like her mother and is exceptionally beautiful. After the war, her maternal relatives who sought refuge in England return home. Yueniang ends up leading the life of her mother – always discriminated against, beaten up, blamed and tortured. She puts up with this mistreatment to protect her grandmother.
Yueniang's beauty incurs jealousy from her cousins and attracts the attention of many rich Peranakans. However, she only has eyes for the penniless driver Niuzai, who claims that he has 10 younger brothers and sisters to look after. Chen Xi,(his real name) actually comes from an educated and wealthy family. Yueniang's kindness, purity and persistence move Chen Xi and he falls deeply in love with her. He hides his identity to be with Yueniang. Unfortunately, their relationship is filled with many obstacles and difficulties. Under pressure from his family, Chen Xi is forced to marry Yueniang's cousin, Zhenzhu, instead. Yueniang is then married to a butcher, Liu Yidao. Many things happen after this and it is revealed that the Huangs use misunderstandings and mistakes for granted and resort to off-board measures.
Yueniang is unwilling to accept the fact that she is always manipulated by others and decides to end her life. Her strong personality impresses Liu Yidao and they become sworn siblings instead. Yueniang decides to choose her own path in life. She begins learning how to run a business and, in the process, she is framed and ousted from her business. Despite the odds, she manages save her declining family business. Soon, she marries the lawyer, Paul. She has two miscarriages. So, she adopts Yuzhu's son as her own and names him Zuye. Zuye has two sons and a daughter. The daughter's name is Angela, in the present time. She has her business and sells cosmetics from overseas. However, Yueniang soon succumbs to intestinal cancer,and dies.