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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Sage Advice

  1. FADE IN.

  2. Act 1


  4. PETER is checking a draft.

  5. PETER (V.O.): A wise Quoran has asked my view regarding Benjamin Franklin's sage advice: "Whatever that is begun in anger ends in shame".

  6. Pausing.

  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): While I've a preliminary view of his observation, I want to understand the person more.

  8. Researching.

  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Benjamin Franklin is considered as a polymath - a person who knows a lot of a lot of subjects.

  10. Recalling.

  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In one primary school lesson, I learned about his kite experiment on his theory of electricity.

  12. Pausing.

  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And he's known for inventing the lightning rod.

  14. Act 2


  16. Reading.

  17. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He was grown up by the Charles River.


  19. A. In a cold morning, Peter leaves the Harvard Business School apartment, walking past the river towards Harvard Kennedy School.

  20. B. In a cold evening, Peter leaves Harvard Kennedy School, walking past the river to return to Harvard Business School apartments.


  22. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The Charles River flows through many municipalities including Cambridge. I lived in the area for one whole month.

  23. Recalling.

  24. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I was then taking a leadership course at Harvard Kennedy School as a Senior Executive Fellow.

  25. Reading.

  26. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh, Benjamin Franklin's schooling ended when he was 10. But he didn't let schooling interfere with his education. He kept on reading.

  27. Reading.

  28. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And at the age of 12, he became his brother's printing apprentice.

  29. Reading.

  30. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Later, he became a successful printer and a wealthy publisher.

  31. Thinking.

  32. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When money wasn't a problem, he could do whatever he loved to do, from scientific experiments to chess playing.

  33. Reading.

  34. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And he went on missions to London, Paris, Edinburgh and Dublin.

  35. Reading.

  36. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In 1753, when he was 47, both Harvard and Yale awarded him honorary Master of Arts degrees. And in 1762, when he was 56, Oxford University awarded him an honorary doctorate.

  37. Reading.

  38. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): On decision-making, he devised the pros and cons balance sheet, considering carefully their relative weights, before taking actions.

  39. Thinking.

  40. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I do that in my mind. Depending on the urgency and importance of the matter, I make my decisions in a few minutes or days.

  41. Recalling.

  42. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Yesterday, I watched face-off news stories concerning US v North Korea, US v Russia, and US v China.

  43. Thinking.

  44. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I don't know if all parties have analysed the pros and cons and their weights before determining their respective positions.

  45. Reading.

  46. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Benjamin Franklin wrote about "Rules by which a big empire may be reduced into a small one."

  47. Researching.

  48. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He uses the simile that "a great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges."

  49. Pausing.

  50. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He was the 1st American chief diplomat.

  51. Peter notes something.

  52. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh, his work was published on September 11, 1773.

  53. Act 3


  55. Recalling.

  56. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Benjamin Franklin is right: "Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame."

  57. Thinking.

  58. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Anger is actually the mask of shame. Shame isn't the guilt feeling of doing something wrong, but the self-recognition that one is actually no good.

  59. Pausing.

  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When the desire to hide or escape is expressed or done via anger, what remains is still the same shame.

  61. Pausing.

  62. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When diplomats speak, they speak on behalf of their countries.

  63. Pausing.

  64. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Few presidents can leave a legacy. Benjamin Franklin was no president. but his legacy is visible and tangible.

  65. Taking out US$100 bills, Peter captures an image.

  66. FADE OUT.

  67. THE END

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