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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

On X'mas Eve

  1. FADE IN.


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. SITTING ROOM - MORNING


  4. Sitting on a sofa, PETER works on his laptop.


  5. PETER (V.O.): Today's X'mas Eve. But I'm still waiting for something so that I can complete an unfinished business.


  6. Pausing.


  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Disruptive intervening events might have happened.


  8. Pausing.


  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Compulsory dispute settlement is a zero-sum game. The gain of a party is equivalent to the loss of the other, so the net change in benefit is zero.


  10. Pausing.


  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Success at work used to be my priority. But I've worked long enough. My whole person requires more good life-work balance.


  12. Looking through the window, Peter sees sunshine and blue sky.


  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd):Have I flown back from Tokyo a year ago today?


  14. Act 2


  15. INT. SITTING ROOM - CONTINUOUS


  16. FLASHBACK


  17. EXT. BANNA-JI TEMPLE, ASHIKAGA - MORNING


  18. Sunshine and blue sky. Peter walks along a road parallel to a moat, leading to a Buddhist temple.

  19. PETER (V.O.): When we checked in a nearby hotel last night, it was already dark. When I woke up this morning, I saw this temple and wanted to check it out.


  20. Strolling around the temple precinct, Peter takes some photos.


  21. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I prefer seeing temples than churches. Here's tranquil and beautiful.


  22. END FLASHBACK


  23. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Let me learn more about the history of the temple now.


  24. Peter surfs the web with his phone.


  25. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Ah, it was originally the site of a fortified residence of the Ashikaga clan in the mid-12th Century. That's why to this day the temple is surrounded by a moat.


  26. Pausing.


  27. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Due to the current pandemic, every country is fortified with travel restrictions. The global village has disappeared.


  28. Recalling.


  29. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): What did I do after visiting the temple?


  30. Peter taps Google Photos on his phone screen.


  31. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): We drove back to Tokyo. My wife and two daughters checked in a hotel. I accompanied my younger son to return to Hong Kong on X'mas Eve.


  32. Checking the sequence of photos.


  33. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): My family waited for an hour for a steak lunch in a Tokyo's Gyukatsu - motomura.


  34. Recalling.


  35. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Then, my wife and I reckoned that I might not have sufficient time to return the rental car before boarding the fight home. So she accompanied us on our way to Narita.


  36. Recalling.


  37. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): It turned out that our hunch was correct. Tokyo traffic was heavy. Time was only good for us to go direct to the Narita Airport.


  38. Checking his phone photos.


  39. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): So, for the first time, my wife saw us off at the Narita Airport before her returning the car to the car rental.


  40. Recalling.


  41. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Days earlier, on Dec 21 2019, while we're at Aomori, my wife volunteered to drive at night to the Aomori Airport to pick up our elder daughter arriving from Fukuoka to join us.


  42. Pausing.


  43. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Yes, it was raining that night. But I had driven long hours during the day already.


  44. Pausing.


  45. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): I believe my wife had the urge to see our elder daughter. I visited her Fukuoka home just a month ago, in Nov 2019.


  46. Pausing.


  47. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): And since X'mas Eve last year, I haven't met my elder daughter. I meant to visit her in Fukuoka in March this year, but the trip was cancelled due to the pandemic.


  48. Act 3


  49. INT. SITTING ROOM - CONTINUOUS


  50. Pausing.


  51. PETER (V.O.): Dec used to be the only month when we could have a family tour.


  52. Pausing.


  53. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Knowing that, I declined work last Dec so that I wouldn't miss the family tour. It was the wisest decision that I had ever made!


  54. Pausing.


  55. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Now, only our elder daughter is still overseas. Her Japanese should be very good now.


  56. Pausing.


  57. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When will I see her again?


  58. Pausing.


  59. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Even Santa isn't coming to town this year.


  60. Pausing.


  61. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): What is a non-zero game on X'mas Eve this year is that we all have an overlapping interest - a silent night.


  62. FADE OUT.


  63. THE END


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