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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

What Sums Up Life?

FADE IN.


  1. Act 1


  2. INT. SITTING ROOM - DAY


  3. PETER is watching TV news.


  4. PETER (V.O.): Oh, a senior Wuhan doctor has died from coronavirus. He was just 51.


  5. Pausing.


  6. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): What sums up life?


  7. Phone in hand, Peter taps the screen to insert images to an App.


  8. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Since I turned 60, I've been travelling at least once a month. I have always wanted to document them. Building the contents of my new Wix Apps motivates me.


  9. Pausing.


  10. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I can re-trace where I've been by finding the right photos or videos.


  11. Pausing.


  12. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But since I've been travelling frequently, my photos and videos are digitally scattered. Moreover, what is past is past and I should move forward.


  13. Reflecting.


  14. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But am I wasting my life, if I don't bring up my memories and my feelings associated with them to the present and the future?


  15. Wondering.


  16. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Many people dream to do things they really like after retirement. I'm privileged to have the opportunity, and I shouldn't waste the good old times.


  17. As some images appear on the phone screen, Peter looks excited.


  18. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Oh yes, I've been there. And it all began in May 2014.


  19. Act 2


  20. FLASHBACK


  21. INT. LECTURE THEATRE - DAY (Spring 2014)


  22. Peter sits among the AUDIENCE following a lecture by a lady PROFESSOR (70s).


  23. PETER (V.O.): It was very nice to hear her speak again. The last time was in the summer of 1996, at Tsinghua University.


  24. Having heard an MC (30s) saying something, Peter looks excited.


  25. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): A reunion at Tsinghua in May?


  26. Conference ends. Peter gets to talk to the MC.


  27. PETER: If the dates in May haven't been fixed yet, I suggest the latter part of May, as I can make it!


  28. Peter smiles as the MC gets his message.


  29. END FLASHBACK


  30. INT - STUDY - DAY


  31. PETER (V.O.): So my first trip after retirement in May 2014 was to Beijing. The University made a special arrangement for us to visit a village. I don't even know how to pronounce its name.


  32. Remembering.


  33. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The student guide was creative. We've the same passion in making music.


  34. Pausing.


  35. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): We corresponded for a while until she joined the financial sector.


  36. FLASHBACK


  37. INT. TSINGHUA UNIVERSITY - DAY (1996)


  38. Sports centre. Matured dance LEARNERS and young PARTNERS. Under the direction of an INSTRUCTOR (20s), Peter is dancing with a pretty GIRL (20).


  39. END FLASHBACK


  40. Peter (V.O.) (Cont'd): Our class photographer took one photo of us. And when my fellow classmates saw it, they all responded with a "Wow!"


  41. Remembering.


  42. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): We didn't keep in touch after our dancing lessons ended. We had our own priorities.


  43. Reflecting.


  44. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): How old is she now?


  45. Counting fingers.


  46. PETER (V.O.): She's 43 now. But in my mind, she's always 20. It would be nice to know how she's doing...


  47. Pondering.


  48. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd) Even if she was to appear before me, I might not be able to recognize her.


  49. Sighing.


  50. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Just like my memories of my late wife. What was, still is. She's always 36. She appears in my dreams. The recent one was in colour too.


  51. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In general, when things or people are out of sight, they are out of mind too. Distancing in both space-time makes us forgetful. Is that a way of wasting our lives? Or am I out of my mind?


  52. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But when one's life comes to an end, there's no body and no mind, and so, no moments and no memories, no emotions and no feelings too.


  53. Peter is in deep thoughts.


  54. Act 3


  55. INT. SITTING ROOM - NIGHT


  56. Peter is having screen time.


  57. PETER (V.O.): Haha, I'm making use of the Google Photo App to retrace where I've been since May 2014.


  58. Peter pencils down something on a piece of paper.


  59. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): For the first time, I've got a full list of places that I've been to. All is not lost!


  60. Checking the clock.


  61. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Wow, I don't know I've been immersed in this for hours...Yes, I enjoy fond memories at the same time.


  62. Head up.


  63. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): As I'm still alive, I look forward to feeling more good moments and memories. That sums up what life is, as I approach the autumn of mine.


  64. FADE OUT.


  65. THE END


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