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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Staying Righteous

  1. Act 1

  2. FADE IN.


  4. PETER's WIFE puts dishes of food on the table. One dish catches Peter's attention.

  5. PETER: Is that Soy Sauce Chicken?

  6. WIFE: No, it's 3-Cup Chicken.

  7. As Peter looks curious, his wife takes a photo of the dish.

  8. WIFE: There was a story about this dish. A prison warden cooked something good with limited resources for Wen Tianxiang before his chosen execution.

  9. Looking excited, Peter can't wait to taste the dish.

  10. PETER: Wow, that's yummy...

  11. Peter's wife looks delighted. Peter begins to surf the web on his phone.

  12. PETER: Wen was only 47 - born 1236 and died in 1283.

  13. WIFE: He could fight and he could write.

  14. Pondering.

  15. PETER (V.O.): He has everlasting honour too...But would any dish taste good before one's execution?

  16. Act 2

  17. WIFE: I studied his poetic works in my primary school days.

  18. PETER: Of course, we learned to recite quite a lot of poems when we were young.

  19. WIFE: Wen wrote great lines in "Passing Lindingyang":"...人生自古誰無死?留取丹心照汗青. (Who can escape death since time immemorial? Let my heart stay true in history with no sorrow.)"

  20. PETER: Oh yes, that's from him.

  21. WIFE: Wen also wrote: "正氣歌"(The Righteous Song).

  22. PETER: I remember I studied that in my matriculation years.

  23. Finding the Righteous Song on the web, Peter recites it, as his wife corrects his pronunciations.

  24. PETER: I recall no public exam question on that piece was set from 1973-1974. I scored relatively well in Chinese Literature though.

  25. They continue to enjoy the 3-Cup Chicken dish.

  26. PETER (V.O.): If I didn't withdraw my role as a domain name dispute panelist in two matters, today was the deadline date for me to issue my decisions to the parties.

  27. Pausing.

  28. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): If my decisions weren't in favour of the same respondent, he threatened via hiredkiller12 to kill me - the first time I got such an outrageous threat.

  29. Pausing.

  30. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): For the perpetrator and conspirators, it was a straight and short path to hell because of the evidence trail. They might be doing such wrong things all the time, rendering them seemingly insignificant.

  31. Pausing.

  32. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But how meaningless it is if I was to die just to do justice between some third parties' disputes, primarily over money matters!

  33. Pondering.

  34. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): This meal shouldn't be my last one...

  35. Pausing.

  36. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's a memorable dinner at home, nonetheless. I should like to document it.

  37. Peter uses his phone to take a photo of the half-finished dish.

  38. WIFE: No, that's a misrepresentation of my dish. I let you have mine.

  39. Immediately, his wife taps on her phone and Peter gets a WhatsApp message with a photo of the dish.

  40. Act 3

  41. INT. STUDY - DAY

  42. PETER (V.O.): I'm staying alive alright. I'll stay as righteous as I can in my context.

  43. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Seizing the coronavirus-scare opportunity, I've more time to do things I like to do. I'll write more songs with righteous themes. Whether they would be appreciated or not or can stand the test of time, I wouldn't know. While I'm willing to be little, I'll try to leave a possible legacy of staying righteous.

  44. Reflecting.

  45. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Yesterday was the first time that my wife and I had a dinner that blended food with literary flavour.

  46. Pausing.

  47. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): That I believe was what Chinese Kings and Queens did in the old days!

  48. FADE OUT.

  49. THE END.

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