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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Raniscero (I'll Be Reborn)

  1. FADE IN.

  2. Act 1


  4. PETER and his WIFE are watching TV news.

  5. WIFE: Italy has over 100,000 coronavirus cases and over 11,000 deaths.

  6. PETER: Yes, I hope the crisis there would soon be under control.

  7. Pausing.

  8. PETER (Cont'd): But for the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the deceased could have lived much longer.

  9. Peter reads something on his phone screen.

  10. PETER (V.O.) : The virus isn't a living organism but a DNA protein molecule. Absorbing them by our cells would covert our cells' genetic code into aggressor and multiplier cells.

  11. Pausing.

  12. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Those who take survival as a matter of course has become uncertain as the number of deaths due to the pandemic has been mounting up.

  13. Act 2



  16. Peter is consulting a DOCTOR (50s).

  17. DOCTOR: Have you considered not coming to the Clinic as scheduled?

  18. PETER: No. I'm not that fearful of the coronavirus... My daughter's COVID-19's test result was negative.

  19. The doctor listens with interest.

  20. PETER (Cont'd): But I feel bad that people might die in days because of the coronavirus infection. Do you have to help out?

  21. DOCTOR: Yes. I also visit wards of coronavirus patients...We've to keep our engagement short. If I'm infected, I don't want to spread it over to you.

  22. The doctor passes Peter some chits.

  23. DOCTOR (Cont'd): I'll see you again after 22 weeks...the coronavirus saga should be over by then.

  24. Peter nods.

  25. PETER (V.O.) : Yes. There's a chance that I might visit US in October.


  27. Peter wakes up when morning hasn't broken.

  28. PETER (V.O.) : I've dreamt of my late Grandma...For the first time since her death in 1972, my family will skip visiting her grave in the coming Ching Ming Festival.


  30. Behind his computer, Peter works intensely.

  31. PETER (V.O.): As an administrator of my late wife's estate, I want to respond to the Collector of Stamp Revenue today.

  32. Pausing.

  33. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): If I get infected with the coronavirus, I couldn't discharge my duties.

  34. After re-reading a draft letter on the computer screen, Peter clicks SEND.

  35. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Done! I'm relieved. Whatever that's within my control, I'd control them. That's what I've been trained. I act timely.

  36. Pausing.

  37. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Today is the last day of March and I haven't travelled this month.

  38. Pondering.

  39. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Since May 2014, I've been travelling at least once a month. But my routine is neither urgent nor essential. Due to the pandemic, whatever social engagement that can be stopped has to stop.



  42. Peter checks a shared video clip entitled: Rinascero, Rinascerai.

  43. PETER (V.O.): What is that?

  44. Peter taps on the play icon and we hear music and non-familiar lyrics. Peter surfs the web.

  45. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I see. It's Italian not Spanish. Rinacero means I'll be reborn, and Rinascerai You'll be reborn.

  46. Pondering.

  47. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I know what it means metaphorically. But literally, it's quite scary. They aren't denying untimely death, are accepting what is happening and hypnotizing themselves with afterlife.

  48. Pondering.

  49. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Assuming reborn is possible, what's the point of reborn if the relationships etc aren't the same? Can I have my same Grandma and same first wife?

  50. Reflecting.

  51. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Is there any point to be reborn, and feel safe and warm by oneself?

  52. Pausing.

  53. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Anyway, it won't happen...

  54. Act 3

  55. Peter's wife gets a phone message.

  56. WIFE: Our younger daughter wants to have baked pork chop rice for brunch.

  57. PETER (Promptly and energetically): Let me buy it for her.

  58. WIFE (Surprised): She wants the one from that fast-food chain.

  59. PETER: Not a problem.

  60. PETER (V.O.) : I'm more than delighted to do anything for anyone who holds my heart as long as I can. Furthermore, she is still subject to quarantine.

  61. Happily, Peter exits.

  62. A Beat.

  63. Peter returns with the takeaway cheerfully.

  64. PETER (V.O.) : Surprisingly, I find the errand even more enjoyable than going for a routine travel alone.

  65. Reflecting.

  66. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I won't even let our maid or my wife to do that. I've been reborn in that sense.

  67. Pondering.

  68. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): There's actually no need for anyone to be reborn if all would abide by public morals including hygiene. We can simply live on.

  69. FADE OUT

  70. THE END

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