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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

"May I?"

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

  1. FADE IN


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. LIFT/FOYER, HKUST - 09:20


  4. PETER is at the back of a lift. On a floor, the lady PRESIDENT, the PROVOST and a VICE-PRESIDENT enter.


  5. PETER: Good morning.


  6. OTHERS: Good morning.


  7. As the lift door opens on the 7th floor, The lady President exits. The gentlemen follow. Approaching a door leading to the foyer, Peter observes something.


  8. PETER (V.O.): Oh, the lady President is opening the door and holding it for us.


  9. PRESIDENT: May I?


  10. PETER (V.O.): I'm not used to that. But it's cumbersome to do otherwise.


  11. As the gentlemen pass through first, we hear them saying "Thank you" to the President.


  12. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Her humility is one hallmark of leadership.


  13. Act 2


  14. INT. FOYER, HKUST - CONTINUOUS


  15. Peter is having some dim sum at a corner.


  16. PETER (V.O.): "May I?" is a polite way to ask for permission.


  17. Pausing.


  18. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Using "may I" acknowledges a person has the power to grant or deny the request.


  19. Pausing.


  20. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I accept the favour as I think it expedient in the circumstances.


  21. Pausing.


  22. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It should help establish a more cordial interaction specially with me since I'm a volunteer.


  23. Pausing.


  24. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I'm in a lift with others, I always let women exit first, and most of the time, other men.


  25. Reflecting.


  26. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I may be showing off how "gentleman" I'm in front of the others.


  27. Pausing.


  28. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But the situation has changed since the pandemic...


  29. MONTAGE OF PETER'S "LADIES FIRST" PRACTICE


  30. A. Lift. Peter lets WOMAN#1 exit the lift first.


  31. B. Lobby. Following her, Peter sees the woman#1 using a foot to kick open a door.


  32. C. Door. Peter gives a hand to keep the door open.


  33. END MONTAGE


  34. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I felt bad if I didn't do that as I didn't mean to let the woman opening the door for me.


  35. Pausing.


  36. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I've tried another way to maintain my "gentleman" practice.


  37. MONTAGE OF PETER'S "GENTLEMAN" PRACTICE


  38. A. Lift. Peter lets WOMAN#2 exit the lift first.


  39. B. Lobby. Following her initially, Peter cuts her way from behind, opening the door for woman#2.


  40. C. Door. We see woman#2 looking shocked and ungrateful.


  41. END MONTAGE


  42. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I might have overdone it. But it's what I was willing to do.


  43. Peter enters Council chambers.


  44. INT. ESTATE CLUBHOUSE - 20:00


  45. At a lift going from G/F to 1/F, Peter waits.


  46. PETER (V.O.): I save my energy for swimming.


  47. Entering an empty lift, Peter hears "Wait!" from a distance. Pressing the "door opening" button, he sees a uniformed STAFF entering.


  48. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He must be in a hurry.


  49. As the lift door opens on 1/F, Peter waits until the staff gestures him to exit first.


  50. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's only fair to ask of others what one is willing to do it oneself. But it seems that few care.


  51. Act 3


  52. INT. ESTATE LIFT LOBBY - 21:15


  53. A wet-haired Peter is waiting.


  54. PETER (V.O.): This morning, when I said "good morning" energetically to my relatively new neighbours, they didn't care to respond.


  55. Pondering.


  56. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I've been wondering should one allow others to be one's priority while allowing others to be their option?


  57. Wondering.


  58. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And if I'm to influence others to do things otherwise they wouldn't do, should I say eg "may I say good morning to you?"


  59. Peter is smiling.

  60. FADE OUT


  61. THE END




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