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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

What Is Life?

  1. FADE IN.

  2. Act 1


  4. Waiting at the traffic lights with a phone in hand, PETER sees a new notification.

  5. PETER (V.O.): Here's an answer request: What's life?

  6. Thinking.

  7. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): A simple but deep question.

  8. Peter scrolls down his phone screen.

  9. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): The answer request has attracted over 100 lengthy answers before the question is posed to me.

  10. Pausing.

  11. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Let me think and find an appropriate photo to signify what is life or what isn't life.

  12. When the green man appears, Peter crosses the road with other road users.

  13. Act 2


  15. Peter makes a call a couple of times, but his calls aren't picked up.

  16. PETER (V.O.): I meant to take a DVD player to the repairer now. It didn't occur to me that I wouldn't be able to get in touch with him. I want to check if he could repair it.

  17. Thinking.

  18. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): As my plan is frustrated, perhaps I should check it out myself whether the job is a challenging one.

  19. Peter surfs the web and bumps into some video clips.

  20. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Oh, somebody can actually repair it in 15 minutes by using an ordinary rubber band!

  21. Recalling.

  22. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): The last time I took another DVD player to the repairer to fix more or less the same problem, he couldn't fix it.

  23. Thinking.

  24. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): As it should be a DIY task, why shouldn't I try it myself? The problem may recur.

  25. Peter gets a screwdriver to unscrew the cover of a DVD player.

  26. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Oh, I'd better leave it for the time being, as my another appointment is coming up.


  28. Waiting at the traffic lights, Peter sees a passing tramcar with an iconic image on its body. He captures an image of it.

  29. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): The legend has lived to the age of 33. I'm now 66.

  30. Pausing.

  31. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): In 33 years, he has packed a lot into his short life. And his impact is still being felt in some quarters.

  32. After crossing the traffic lights, Peter enters into a building.


  34. In the attendance of GENTLEMAN#1 and GENTLEMAN#2, Peter is remarking on GENTLEMAN#3.

  35. PETER: Your style of governing the University isn't different from governing Hong Kong...

  36. Gentleman#3 smiles as Gentlemen#1 and #2 are in awe.

  37. PETER (V.O.): He takes matters very seriously. We all want to do some public good, although we aren't young anymore.

  38. Hearing ringing tones from his pocket, Peter goes to a corner, attempting to swipe the phone screen to answer the call.

  39. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Oh, something's wrong with the phone...

  40. Having managed to answer it, Peter then engages in a short conversation.

  41. 'PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): It was relatively important call. Time's the essence. Fortunately, I didn't miss it.

  42. With tea and cakes in front of them, the Gentlemen and Peter continue their discussion happily.


  44. Walking along, Peter taps on his phone screen and other buttons a few times.

  45. PETER (V.O.): The phone is dead. It hasn't been fully functional for a while.

  46. Peter shrugs his shoulders.

  47. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): I've optimized its residual value. Now's the time to buy a new one.

  48. Peter enters a shopping mall.

  49. Act 3


  51. Holding a new phone, Peter waits at the traffic lights.

  52. PETER (V.O.): Life means any being's existence, growing from birth to procreate and function until death.

  53. Pausing.

  54. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Living from the beginning to the end may or may not achieve impact, depending on anticipated or unexpected circumstances.

  55. Thinking.

  56. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Every being's life can be ordinary or extraordinary.

  57. Pausing.

  58. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Non-being that doesn't exist is nothing. Beings that exist are somethings.

  59. Pausing.

  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): To cut the long story short, what's life: is being!

  61. Peter types Life is Being and then inserts an image to a draft on his phone. When the green man appears, Peter crosses the road with other human beings.

  62. FADE OUT.

  63. THE END

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