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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Abandoning a Cat

  1. FADE IN.


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. SLEEPING ROOM - DAY


  4. Sleeping with the family pet, KAJI, PETER acts as the big "spoon", cocooning it.


  5. EXT. ROADS - LATER


  6. Driving, Peter listens to the radio. We hear:... the recommended fiction to read is Abandoning a Cat...What I Talk About When I Talk About My Father...by Haruki Murakami (村上春樹).


  7. PETER (V.O.): Days ago, I heard in another program the recital of "Retreating Figure" (背影) by Zhu Ziqing (朱自清). I studied the literary work when I was young.


  8. Pausing.


  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Although my Dad has passed away for a decade. he lives in my inner world.


  10. Pausing.


  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): As a father of two sons, our relationships are developing. We care about each other.


  12. Pausing.


  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I'm interested in stories about father-and-son relationship.


  14. Pausing.


  15. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): What did Haruki Murakami talk about his father?


  16. Act 2


  17. INT. STUDY - LATER


  18. Peter researches.


  19. PETER (V.O.): About Abandoning a Cat. Riding at the back of his father's bicycle and holding a box with a cat in it, Haruki Murakami went with his father to abandon a cat.


  20. Reading.


  21. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When they're home, they're surprised to find the "abandoned" cat welcoming them home. Haruki Murakami remembered well his father's response to the incident.


  22. Reading.


  23. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Thus, they kept the cat.


  24. Recalling.


  25. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd):I had also sit at the back of a bicycle being ridden by my Dad. We loved dogs and cats. We never thought of abandoning any of them.


  26. Reading.


  27. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Another matter Haruki Murakami talked about his father was his dedication to his morning prayers.


  28. Reading.


  29. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd):As a Japaneses conscript in WWII, his father survived the War. But his father never talked about his combat experience.


  30. Reading.


  31. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He speculated that his father had killed many people directly or indirectly, and had witnessed others got killed. And so, he prayed for them.


  32. Reading.


  33. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In those war years, young conscripts were encouraged to kill prisoners of war and civilians in public.


  34. Recalling.


  35. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In a Quora World History Space, I saw a photo of a young Japanese WWII soldier with a Japanese sword, posting proudly before 4 dozen decapitated human heads on the ground.


  36. Pausing.


  37. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): How cruel and inhuman it was? How worthless humans could be in war time!


  38. Recalling.


  39. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I was a kid, I heard about many war-time stories. I wondered why peoples and nations couldn't be peace-loving.


  40. Recalling.


  41. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Whenever I prayed then, I prayed for world peace.


  42. Pausing.


  43. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): For decades in Hong Kong, there was relative peace.


  44. Pausing.


  45. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But in the latter part of 2019, Hong Kong was hell. And only days ago, I saw people gathering at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court...


  46. Pausing.


  47. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I believe they have got spoiled with peace and order.


  48. Act 3


  49. INT. STUDY - LATER


  50. Listening to TV, Peter researches.

  51. PETER (V.O.): Let me find and study Zhu Ziqing's biography to understand more about his loving relationship with his father.


  52. Peter discovers something.


  53. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh, here's a backstory to Zhu Ziqing's "Retreating Figure". Zhu Ziqing and his father weren't on good terms?


  54. Pausing.


  55. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): His father was very parental and they had different value and lifestyles.


  56. Reading.


  57. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It was only when Zhu Ziqing got a short note from his ailing father that Zhu recalled the scene of "Retreating Figure" that happened eight years ago and wrote about it.


  58. Thinking.


  59. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): People forget and forgive, not to mention father and son.


  60. INT. SLEEPING ROOM - NIGHT


  61. Peter goes to bed. Kaji isn't shy to lick his nose and lips.


  62. FADE OUT.


  63. THE END


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