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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Abandoning a Cat

  1. FADE IN.

  2. Act 1


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


  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 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


  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


  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.


  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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