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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Information Overflow

  1. FADE IN.


  2. Act 1


  3. INT - STUDY - DAY


  4. PETER checks his phone.


  5. PETER (V.O.): Here's an answer request from a Quoran: Why does my theatre professor have so many books (poetry, prose and drama) in his room?


  6. Pausing.


  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I don't know about his professor.


  8. Pausing.


  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's pretty common that people of the older generations have many books in rooms.


  10. Pausing.


  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The student questioner obviously finds it strange to read ink on paper when there's information overflow on the web.


  12. Pausing.


  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): That explains why the question is posed in the first place. Storing mass volumes of books is extraordinary to the young.


  14. Pausing.


  15. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I'm not young. But I read information on screens but not books these days.


  16. Act 2


  17. INT. STUDY - CONTINUOUS


  18. Recalling.


  19. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I was a high school student in the late 1960s, I only bought school-prescribed ones.


  20. Recalling.


  21. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I borrowed books from public libraries. But for those I could borrow, they're of marginal relevance to my studies.


  22. Recalling.


  23. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Having no money, I didn't have other options. I had to work part-time to support myself.


  24. Pausing.


  25. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I began my matriculation class in 1971, I was thrilled when the School allowed me a book grant of $200. I could buy a few books with that then.


  26. Recalling.


  27. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In 1976 when I began reading Philosophy all by myself, I bought any recommended books available in Hong Kong as I was already working full-time.


  28. Pausing.


  29. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I also asked my wife-to-be and friends to buy some books for me while they were visiting London.


  30. Recalling.


  31. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I got dozens of them. Many were classic works of philosophers. I placed them nicely in bookshelves to please myself.


  32. Pausing.


  33. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I tried to read them all, but some were really difficult to understand. I preferred to develop my own philosophical systems, even though they're raw.


  34. Recalling.


  35. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In 1981, I sat my degree exams and I passed alright. Since then, nearly all of my Philosophy books have been staying where they're until recently.


  36. Peter takes a look of the Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy near him.


  37. PETER (V.O) (Cont'd): I couldn't resist the impulse to buy the handy copy around 10 years ago. I used to read volumes of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy at the Hong Kong Polytechnic Library from 1980-1981.


  38. Pausing.


  39. PETER (V.O) (Cont'd): When I began to study law in 1981, I bought dozens of expensive law books. I nearly read them all in my 365/year studying routine.


  40. Peter takes a look of law books all over the place, including some on the floor.


  41. PETER (V.O) (Cont'd): They're dated as the law is developing fast. But they were as dear to me as my wife way back when. I find it hard to disown them.


  42. Peter then focuses on a pile of leadership books under the TV set.


  43. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): When I worked as a lawyer-administrator in the intellectual property context, I became interested in creativity, innovation and leadership.


  44. Recalling.


  45. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): I went to Book Fairs to buy cheap ones. I felt satisfied just in acquiring them.


  46. Recalling.


  47. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): I only skimmed through them. I haven't disposed of any of the them, believing that I might need to refer to them someday.


  48. Pausing.


  49. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I travelled to English-speaking countries, I would also buy books at airports.

  50. Reflecting.


  51. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Isn't it hoarding even if it's books?


  52. Act 3


  53. INT. STUDY - CONTINOUS


  54. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): For most of the information I need, I can mine them from the web including law.


  55. Pausing.


  56. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Contents in books are dated. They've passed the best-before date even before they're printed.


  57. Pausing.


  58. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Upon retirement, I thought about writing books as I didn't have any books written and published by me on my bookshelves.


  59. Pausing.


  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But who would invest the time to read them? Even if they're given away free.


  61. Pausing.


  62. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): The reasons why the theatre professor having so many books in his room might be similar to mine.


  63. Smiling.


  64. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The professor, like the student, has lots yet to explore.


  65. Pausing.


  66. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In any case, books don't change people, paragraphs, sentences and words do.


  67. Peter types a few words and sentences on the phone.


  68. FADE OUT.


  69. THE END


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