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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

A Mantis Wants To Stop A Chariot

  1. FADE IN.


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. SITTING ROOM - DAY


  4. Sitting on a sofa, PETER hears his WIFE yelling.


  5. WIFE: A mantis-fly has entered from the window!


  6. PETER (V.O.): Yes, she fears insects.


  7. Going to her rescue, Peter sees a green mantis-fly. He takes a photo it.


  8. Pausing.


  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I haven't seen a mantis for decades. How can it get here? Probably from the roof top.


  10. Recalling.


  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I was a child, I caught mantises for our pet birds.


  12. Using a piece of paper, Peter attempts to convey the mantis-fly.


  13. WIFE (Cont'd): Set it free!


  14. Art 2


  15. INT. SITTING ROOM - CONTINOUS


  16. PETER: It isn't moving. Looks like a dead one.


  17. WIFE: Then, you dispose of it quick.


  18. Peter attempts to pick up the mantis-fly with his hand.


  19. PETER: Oh, it's forearms are still moving. It pretends to be dead!


  20. Catching the mantis-fly, Peter throws it out of window. We see it flapping its wings before disappearing.


  21. EXT. ROADS - DAY


  22. Peter drives, listening to the car radio: ... plead guilty to charges of organizing and taking part in an unauthorized assembly...explain the value of freedom to the world...


  23. PETER (V.O.): Do they know nowhere in the world allow for unregulated freedom?


  24. Recalling.


  25. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In the mid-1980s, I studied International Protection of Human Rights. I understand the non-absolute ambit of freedom.


  26. INT. STUDY - DAY


  27. Phone in hand, Peter checks new Quora notifications.


  28. PETER (V.O.): Here's an interesting answer request: What realities are better to realize earlier in life?


  29. Pausing.


  30. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Overconfidence. Unwarranted confidence ie not supported by actual knowledge and competence leads to many biases, bad decisions and wrong actions.


  31. Pausing.


  32. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Egocentric people can never swallow straight-up facts that negative their cognitive biases.


  33. Pausing.


  34. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd):This is particularly so when highly narcissistic people seem powerful - the feeling of superiority, entitlement and urge for admiration make them take great risks.


  35. Pausing.


  36. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): As a result, they've to learn the lessons the hard way.


  37. Pausing.


  38. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's already lenient that they're tried in a Magistracy court.


  39. The TV breaks news: ... They pleaded guilty...are being remanded...


  40. Recalling.


  41. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I remember a Chinese proverb called: 螳臂擋車 ie a mantis wants to stop a chariot.


  42. Pausing.


  43. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But I've forgotten the story.


  44. Surfing the web with his phone, Peter reads.


  45. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The King of Qi State goes hunting in a chariot. On his way, he sees an insect raising its forearms, attempting to stop the chariot. The King asks the charioteer what insect is that. The charioteer replies that it's a mantis. It overrates its ability and underrates the obstacles. It advances blindly.


  46. Pausing.


  47. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's primary school stuff, telling the Chinese wisdom. All should have learned the moral of the story.


  48. Peter types his answer on the phone.


  49. Act 3


  50. INT. SITTING ROOM - DAY


  51. Peter looks out of the window, thinking.


  52. PETER (V.O.): Nowadays, even the insect of mantis has evolved. Rather than confronting me with its forearms, it pretends to be dead so that it might survive.


  53. Recalling.


  54. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Times have changed. After the deaths of my grandparents, we set our caged birds free.


  55. Pausing.


  56. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And now, we don't intent to harm the trespassing mantis-fly.


  57. Pausing.


  58. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But when mosquitoes bite and suck my blood, my conditional reflex is to stop them.


  59. Pausing.


  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Unregulated freedom threatens the very roots of freedom in any rule-based society.


  61. Pausing.


  62. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): To allow the natural condition of humankind eg without any law enforcement agency can make life nasty, brutish, solitary, poor and short.


  63. Pausing.


  64. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Any abuse of the right freedom has to be sanctioned.


  65. FADE OUT.


  66. THE END


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