Despite being the only female in family, Chiao Mei still single-handily cooks, washes their clothes, and does all the work around the house. She takes care of the family and looks after them. However, when Chiao Mei’s brothers go missing, she has no other choice but to rely on her newly-arrived adoptive cousin and platonic love interest, Cheng Chao-an. However, Chao Mei’s problems and concerns are the last thing on his mind when he is promoted in the factory he is working at.
It would seem that the society that Chiao Mei and others hail from emphasizes that only men have the voice of authority, needs to go out to work for money, and provide for the family and women needs to stay home. From this, Chiao Mei doesn’t have the power and experience to go out to look for her brothers herself. Also, since she always relied on her brothers to bring in the money for the household, she is lost in how to go on and live her life. This is probably why, despite catching Cheng at the brothel's entrace, she chooses to turn the other cheek and not make an issue of his infidelity and irresponsibility, if only because she already expects the worse for her family and for better or for worse Cheng is all that she has left to rely on for support and companionship.
When Chiao Mei’s remaining siblings are ultimately killed off by Hsaio Mi’s men, they decide to spare Chiao Mei’s life. This is not because they considered her life of actual value. Her life was only saved for a life of a servant, prostitute or possibly both, depending on how fast Hsiao Mi grows bored of her. It’s unfortunate that Chiao Mei has no other choice but to accept it because she has no power to fight or stand up for herself. She has to accept it as her fate, and just go with it.
Later on in the film, Chiao Mei is saved from Hsaio Mi’s house not by Cheng Chao-An, who, in another glaring display of lack of commitment towards her, takes his time to "get busy" with another prostitute at the Thai brothel, and thereby becoming a willing patron to Hsiao Mi's ring. Instead, she is freed by a disgruntled server of the Boss, showing that not all is hopeless to Chiao Mei, as she can rely on solidarity between females and that it serves as an alternative to the a traditional damsel in distress narrative. She relies on a "hero" figure to come save her from her misfortune, and the "hero" turned out to be someone completely unreliable and fraught with his own vices and inner demons.