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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Human Engine

  1. FADE IN.

  2. Act 1


  4. Phone in hand, Peter checks his Quora notifications.

  5. PETER (V.O.): How do I see myself giving back in the future?

  6. Pausing.

  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I was young and had nothing, I learned how scarcity was like.

  8. Recalling.

  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): There was not enough to satisfy the basic needs of my family. I felt that strongly.

  10. Recalling.

  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I was in Primary 1 at the age of 6, I got home some plastic flower parts to assemble, hoping to earn a few cents.

  12. Recalling.

  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Since then, I wouldn't miss any earning opportunity like cutting rubber bands for flip flops.

  14. Act 2


  16. Recalling.

  17. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): At the age of 15, I began part-time waiting on Sundays, earning a few dollars for 12- hour work.

  18. Pausing.

  19. PETER (V.O.): As a customer later, I wouldn't demand for service but would tip those waiting reasonably well. I believe such would somewhat lift people up.

  20. Recalling.

  21. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Since I owned my first car in in 1976 at the age of 22, I've never stopped engaging the car-repair service sector.

  22. Reflecting.

  23. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I was a humble civil servant for over 40 years. I worked as a Government lawyer for 30 years. I consider that as part of my giving back to the community.

  24. Pausing.

  25. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And since I got my private practising certificate in 2017, I've been providing pro bono legal advisory service to ordinary people. I'm really happy from what I can give.

  26. Peter sets up his iPad Mini for a Zoom meeting.

  27. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And since 2016, I've been providing volunteering service to HKUST on knowledge transfer matters. And since 2019, I have been contributing more as a Council Member.

  28. Pausing.

  29. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The time I spent on volunteering work is much more than my fee-earning work.

  30. Peter begins to engage with images on his iPad Mini screen.


  32. Arriving in his blue Mercedes, Peter talks to the PROPRIETOR.

  33. PETER: There's something wrong with the door handle and the screen wipers have to be replaced.

  34. PROPRIETOR: Fixing the door handle can be costly, while changing the wipers is easy.

  35. Nodding, Peter notes the proprietor's three EMPLOYEES.

  36. PETER (V.O.): The proprietor needs revenue streams to pay for the costs of the business and to make a reasonable profit. I like to think that I've indirectly created jobs.

  37. PROPRIETOR: Let's also talk about your red Nissan 200SX. We have fixed leaking part of the coolant system. But the rest is still a mess.

  38. PETER: Understood. The car is 32-year old.

  39. PROPRIETOR: The leakage-induced overheating has somewhat damaged the car engine.

  40. PETER: Oh, how can a sports car with a sick engine?

  41. Recalling.

  42. PETER (V.O.): If the sports car is just a toy, or a bicycle, my legs can be the human engine.

  43. PROPRIETOR: The better way is to have an engine overhaul. But it'd be very expensive.

  44. PETER: My family members can't drive stick-shift car. I'm the only one who wants to keep it...

  45. PETER (V.O.): I wish I had money in abundance so that I can afford the new luxury of giving back.

  46. Act 3


  48. Phone in hand, Peter watches TV news inattentively.

  49. PETER (V.O.): I'm not wealthy. The most valuable gift I can give to others is my time.

  50. Pausing.

  51. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): My time has become a scarcity now as I'm not young anymore. I'll never get back the time that I've given.

  52. Pausing.

  53. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): On the other hand, I still have ample energy in creating. My intellectual stuff are in abundance.

  54. Pausing.

  55. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Sharing my wisdom with the Quoran community is also my way to give back to the world.

  56. Checking some statistics in his phone.

  57. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Since July 2019, I've responded to 3.4K questions. I've got 1060 followers and 6.9M content views.

  58. Peter begins to type his answer to a Quora answer request.

  59. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I've been doing this on a daily basis, keeping the world's human engine running.

  60. FADE OUT.

  61. THE END

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