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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

My Elder Daughter

  1. FADE IN.


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. STUDY - DAY


  4. PETER is selecting images from his phone.


  5. PETER: I want to find an image capturing my elder daughter going to college.


  6. FLASHBACK


  7. EXT. CUL-DE-SAC - NIGHT


  8. Peter gets inside the passenger seat of a car. Peter's SON is at the driver seat.


  9. SON: My elder sister has passed her N1 level test in Japanese Language proficiency...


  10. PETER: Great! Let me congratulate her!


  11. As Son is driving away, Peter types on his phone and inserts a Shibu Inu Emogi.


  12. PETER (V.O.): She might love our family pet more than me. I haven't had direct contact with her since Dec 2019.

  13. Pausing.


  14. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I sent her my Happy Birthday wishes months ago and she didn't even respond.


  15. Pausing.


  16. PETER (Cont'd): Anyhow, it's really great that her Japanese is proficient enough to facilitate her Japanese-related career development.


  17. Act 2


  18. EXT. MOVING CAR - CONTINUOUS


  19. Peter continues to speak.


  20. PETER: Your sister is a thoughtful person. Let me tell you a story.


  21. Pausing.


  22. PETER (Cont'd): At her kindergarten graduation day performance, she was the only one in her class in the audience.


  23. Pausing.


  24. PETER (Cont'd): And I asked her why.


  25. Pausing.


  26. PETER (Cont'd): She said that she found it meaningless to play the roles as suggested to her classmates.


  27. Pausing.


  28. PETER (Cont'd): So she chose not to be on stage, rightly or wrongly.


  29. Pausing.


  30. SON: There's no right or wrong whether to perform or not.


  31. PETER (Cont'd): Accepted. The significance was that she had independent thinking, even when she was a kid.


  32. Pausing.


  33. PETER (Cont'd): It wasn't hard for others to feel her difference eg in the CUHK admission interview.


  34. They arrives at a car park.


  35. EXT. CAR PARK - CONTINUOUS


  36. Checking his phone screen, Peter looks surprised.


  37. PETER (V.O.): A video call from my elder daughter? We've never done that before...


  38. Peter accepts the call.


  39. PETER: Can you see and hear me?


  40. DAUGHTER (from phone): Not quite. The connection isn't good.


  41. PETER: We're at the car pack.


  42. DAUGHTER: I'll get back to you when you're home.


  43. INT. HOME - LATER


  44. Phone in hand, Peter is directing the camera at KAJI, the family pet, Peter's WIFE and their son.


  45. DAUGHTER (from phone): I've studied Japanese much harder than I studied for my DSE exams.


  46. Pausing.


  47. DAUGHTER (from phone) (Cont'd): For several months, my daily activities were just from home to college and return. I didn't visit even the nearby Hakata Ward.


  48. PETER (V.O.): Wow, she maintained laser focus on learning Japanese. Before departing for Japan in Sept 2019, she passed the easiest level at N5. In December 2020, she sat the test at the most difficult level, at N1.


  49. Peter smiles.


  50. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And she's made it!


  51. DAUGHTER (from phone) (Cont'd): With my N1 pass, I can now look for jobs.


  52. PETER: But it won't be easy during pandemic times. You might consider reading a Master degree or beginning your own business...


  53. DAUGHTER: I prefer to find a job that I can apply my linguistic competence in both English and Japanese.


  54. PETER (V.O.): True.


  55. PETER: You've my full support in whatever you choose to do.


  56. PETER (V.O.): The harder she works and tries, the luckier she is.


  57. Act 3


  58. INT. SLEEPING ROOM - LATER


  59. Peter goes to bed.


  60. PETER (V.O.): My elder daughter's proven competence in Japanese is the 1st piece of good news to my family in 2021.


  61. RETURN TO PRESENT


  62. Seeing an incoming call, Peter takes it.


  63. SISTER (From phone): Brother, I've learned from the news that COVID-19 is attacking your estate.


  64. PETER: Yes, just 2 blocks away. I had a test days ago and the result was negative.


  65. Pausing.


  66. SISTER: (From phone): Is your elder daughter still in Japan?


  67. Pausing.


  68. PETER: Yes, while Hong Kong was under attacks, she was making the most of her time in Japan. She has just passed her Japanese Language Proficiency Test at the N1 level...


  69. PETER (V.O.): I'm so proud of her. I should write about this.


  70. Ending the call, Peter types on his laptop and inserts an image.


  71. FADE OUT.


  72. THE END


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