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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Papaya Trees

  1. FADE IN.

  2. Act 1


  4. A wet-haired PETER is driving his numeric-blue SMART into the Tuen Mun area.

  5. PETER (V.O.): Having parked it under the sun for an hour, my car is still hot. It seems that the Tuen Mun District is hotter than elsewhere.

  6. Pausing.

  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): From 1980 to 1981, I worked in the District Office here as a Land Executive. Part of my duties was to resume land to make way for the Tuen Mun highway and to develop the Tuen Mun District.

  8. Driving past Hung Shui Kiu, Peter stares at the hills on his right.

  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I can see the catchment area. There wasn't anything like that in the early 1960s.

  10. Recalling,

  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I used to play in a pool near here before or after school. I just walked here from my home. A single trip would take 30-45 minutes.

  12. Peter drives towards NT North.

  13. Act 2


  15. Taking out the wet swimming brief and hat from his car, Peter goes to the backyard and hangs them on a stem of a small papaya tree.

  16. PETER (V.O.): I didn't ask my gardener to grow this papaya tree. It might have grown by itself. I don't mind at all.

  17. Recalling.

  18. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In the 1960s, I grew papaya trees at home. It was so easy to grow them from seeds. They grow best in hot areas.

  19. Pausing.

  20. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Eating papaya can be quick, But it takes a couple of months for the papaya trees to bear fruits.

  21. Pausing.

  22. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Furthermore, papaya trees fall easily during typhoons.

  23. Pausing.

  24. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): That's why I don't grow them by design anymore.

  25. Peter enters his house.


  27. Peter deposits two small garbage bags near the gate.

  28. PETER (V.O.): I've been decluttering, little by little.

  29. Seeing papaya trees several houses away, Peter captures a photo of it.

  30. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's my artistic choice.

  31. Pausing.

  32. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I take the tall one as me and the short one as my elder son.

  33. Pausing.

  34. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I like to eat papayas. Papaya a very healthy food. My elder son and I had a lot in the old days.

  35. Pausing.

  36. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Papayas have been in season and I buy them regularly.

  37. Recalling.

  38. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): For the past couple of weeks, whenever my elder son comes home for dinner, I'd prepare a papaya for him.

  39. Pausing.

  40. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's late. I'd better go back to my urban home.

  41. Later, Peter drives away his signal-red S13.


  43. Peter is driving in the fast lane.

  44. PETER (V.O.): This is the second time I drive it since the last repair. I thought this 32-year coupe was beyond repair.

  45. Peter checks the dashboard gauges from time to time.

  46. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The temperature is steady. No more overheating.

  47. Thinking.

  48. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I won't return to my NT home for a while. I'll have to appear in court next week, among other things.

  49. Pausing.

  50. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And tomorrow, after driving my wife to the office, I plan to go swimming in Shek O or Big Wave Bay...

  51. Peter remembers something.

  52. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh! I've forgotten to get back my swimming brief and hat!

  53. We can hear Peter's breath.

  54. Act 3


  56. PETER (V.O.): I was focused on the father-and-son relationship - a fruit in season at all times.

  57. Pausing.

  58. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I've many other swimming gear. I'm just concerned if my laundry would impact on the growth of the papaya buds.

  59. Pausing.

  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I trust my gardener wouldn't tolerate that. But should I expect my gardener to collect my laundry?

  61. Thinking.

  62. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I plant papaya, I shouldn't expect mangoes...

  63. FADE OUT.

  64. THE END

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