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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

The Gold Standard

  1. FADE IN.

  2. Act 1


  4. Lying in bed, PETER is listening to music nostalgia. "Sunshine, make her mine, Sunshine..."

  5. PETER (V.O): Oh, it was a song I last heard in the early 1960s.

  6. We hear the DJ saying: the Fabulous Echoes...

  7. PETER: (V.O.): Yes, the Hong Kong-based band recorded a number of hits including, A Little Bit of Soap and Dancing on the Moon.

  8. Pausing.

  9. PETER: (V.O.) (Cont'd):But Sunshine was so different. It is the kind of genre that I can compose these days. Who wrote Sunshine?

  10. Pausing.

  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd) I've had a long day today. I'll look it up tomorrow morning.

  12. Act 2


  14. Waking up and grabbing his phone, Peter taps the YouTube icon and types Sunshine by Fabulous Echoes. He sees an image of a vinyl disk and listens to the music.

  15. PETER (V.O.): Yes, sweet music. I was about 10 years old when I first listened to it.

  16. Peter examines the small prints on the vinyl disk image.

  17. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): It was written by F Silva-Kirk and V Cristobal. Are they members of the band?

  18. Tapping other related links on the phone screen, Peter reads texts and watches video clips.

  19. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): The singer of the band was from Sri Lanka, other members were from Philippines and one was from Scotland.

  20. Pausing.

  21. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): No, their names didn't match the composers of Sunshine.

  22. Pausing.

  23. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When the band was performing in US, a Canadian band even accused the band of copying their name.

  24. Recalling.

  25. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Their first record A Little Bit of Soap topped the Hong Kong chart for many weeks.

  26. Peter types A Little Bit of Soap on his phone and sees the hit results.

  27. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): A song by the Jarmels? Another band has made a cover version of it?

  28. Tapping the link, Peter listens to the song.

  29. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The singer sang the word "wash" just like what the Fabulous Echoes sang. It wasn't pronounced the English way.

  30. Pausing.

  31. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When did the Jarmels record the song?

  32. Peter checks.

  33. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh, in 1961. Actually 2 years ahead of the Fabulous Echoes' version.

  34. Recalling.

  35. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It reminds me of the Sound Recordings Statutory Licence Scheme. It permitted the re-recording of others' songs under certain conditions including the payment of a statutory royalty to the copyright owners.

  36. Pausing.

  37. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): The Scheme was meant to facilitate the development of local sound recording industry so that local bands could record cover versions of others' sound recordings.

  38. Pausing.

  39. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): When I was in charge of Hong Kong's copyright policy, I recommended its abolition, as original creativity should be the gold standard of true success.

  40. Pausing.

  41. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The Scheme ended when the Copyright Ordinance 1997 was enacted.

  42. Peter reads the content of another link.

  43. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Years later, the band became defunct and even changed its name.

  44. Pausing.

  45. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): While anybody can sing and perform, there's no substitute to one's creativity.

  46. Pausing.

  47. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Although Sunshine wasn't composed by the band, it wasn't a cover version.

  48. Act 3


  50. Peter continues his research.

  51. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I see. The melody was written by the record company's music arranger V Cristobal. The lyrics was written F Silva-Kirk, the daughter of the record company's boss.

  52. Putting the phone near his ear, Peter listens to the song again.

  53. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I still couldn't get the full lyrics of the song.

  54. Pausing.

  55. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I didn't care about the lyrics in the past. But now, I write lyrics myself.

  56. Pausing.

  57. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I believe lyrics and the singing could be better.

  58. Pausing.

  59. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But that was then. I was just 10 years old. I could only understand the word "Sunshine".

  60. Pausing.

  61. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The song did capture the mood of the pop scene in Hong Kong in the early 1960s.

  62. Pausing.

  63. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Not only that sunshine is like gold on earth, it also warms people's hearts.

  64. Peter listens to Sunshine again.

  65. FADE OUT.

  66. THE END

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