CLASS ELECTION Draft 8 26 September 2011 MediaCorp Raintree Pictures Pte LtdCaldecott Broadcast Centre, Andrew Road, Singapore 299939
FADE IN:1 BLACK 1 Over black, we hear the voice-over of 10-year-old Tan Si Qi. SI QI (V.O.) Some people become friends because of common hobbies. Other people develop a friendship because of common interests. Ah Seng, Jonathan and me, on the other hand, became friends because of fate. We three are all surnamed Tan. CUT TO:2 EXT. SCHOOL, PARADE SQUARE - DAY 2 Reading from a name list, disciplinary master Mr Tay is calling out the names of students. MR TAY Tan Si Qi! Jonathan Tan! Tan Ah Seng! Line up properly! We see Si Qi, Jonathan and Ah Seng’s feet get into a line, one behind another. MR TAY (O.S.) (CONT’D) Wee Tze Min! Jeremy Wong! CUT TO:3 EXT. SCHOOL, BASKETBALL COURT - DAY 3 Reading from a name list, sports teacher Mr Raj Singh is calling out the names of students. MR RAJ SINGH (in English) Tan Si Qi! Jonathan Tan! Tan Ah Seng! You three form one team! We see Si Qi, Jonathan and Ah Seng’s feet huddle in a group. Jonathan’s foot accidentally steps on to Ah Seng’s foot. MR RAJ SINGH (O.S.) (CONT’D) Wee Tze Min! Jeremy Wong! CUT TO:
2.4 INT. SCHOOL, MUSIC ROOM - DAY 4 Reading from a name list, music teacher Miss Wong is calling out the names of students. MISS WONG Tan Si Qi! Jonathan Tan! Tan Ah Seng! Later, you all sing this part! We see Si Qi, Jonathan and Ah Seng’s feet join a chorus line. Jonathan’s foot accidentally steps on to Ah Seng’s foot. Ah Seng’s foot kicks Jonathan’s foot back. CUT TO:5 INT. SCHOOL, SICK BAY - DAY 5 Reading from a name list, a nurse is calling out the names of students. NURSE Next! Tan Si Qi! Jonathan Tan! Tan Ah Seng! We see Si Qi, Jonathan and Ah Seng’s feet shuffle reluctantly towards a door. None of them want to be in front. SI QI (V.O.) From lining up to taking injections to eating to exams, the three of us have always been doing everything together since Primary One. The mess of feet begin kicking and fighting one another in their bid not to be the first in line for an injection. SI QI (V.O.) (CONT’D) Conflicts are of course inevitable. Sometimes, we would even fight. But like dogs and cats living under one roof, we learnt to accept one another eventually. Fussing and fighting, breaking up and making up, our friendship looks set to last forever until... CUT TO:6 I/E. SCHOOL, CANTEEN - DAY 6 We see Jonathan, Si Qi and Ah Seng’s feet seated on a bench in a row.
3. SI QI (V.O.) ... that day when school reopened in Primary Four.Camera pans up to reveal the three kids, all aged 10.Jonathan is a chubby, pampered and spoilt rich kid.Ah Seng is a scowling, skinny and sharp-tongued son of amarket hawker.Si Qi is a pretty, neat and responsible girl.All three of them in the middle of eating noodles in thecanteen.Chopsticks poised in mid air, Jonathan, Si Qi and Ah Seng arestunned. MEI LING (O.S.) What do you all think?On the opposite end of the canteen table, bespectacled classmonitor Mei Ling is holding up a huge and gaudy greeting cardthat says “Welcome”. MEI LING (CONT’D) Nice? I put in a lot of effort to finish this. Hope our new form teacher will like it.Ah Seng’s foot nudges Si Qi’s. SI QI Er, Mei Ling, isn’t it a bit too red? MEI LING Too red? No. Other than red, there are many other colors like blue, green and yellow. I think the colors are combined very well.Si Qi’s foot nudges Jonathan’s. JONATHAN Isn’t it a bit too many? MEI LING Too many? I only made one card. What’s wrong with you triplets today? First day of school reopening, look a bit odd.Si Qi’s foot nudges Ah Seng’s.
4. AH SENG I think you’re better off asking the nurse rather than asking us. MEI LING Nurse? I ask the nurse for what? SI QI, JONATHAN & AH SENG BECAUSE YOU HAVE “CHICKEN POX”!!! Mei Ling gets out her pencil box, lifts the lid and looks into a small mirror under the lid. She sees many red spots all over her face. Mei Ling screams. CUT TO:7 INT. PRIMARY 4C - DAY 7 The class chicken is clucking softly inside a cage in the “Pet’s Corner” of the classroom. It has a bandage on one leg. Disciplinary master Mr Tay and the sagely Principal Wee are looking at the chicken. The former is holding his handkerchief to his nose. He is also armed with a cane. In the background, the nurse is taking the temperatures of the students. MR TAY What do you think, Principal? Do you want me to take it behind the school and - Mr Tay makes a sinister slitting gesture across his throat. Principal Wee does not reply. He continues looking at the chicken. MR TAY (CONT’D) If you feel that the school is not a suitable place, I can bring it to the factory opposite and - Mr Tay makes a sinister neck breaking gesture. Principal Wee is still not replying. He continues considering the chicken. MR TAY (CONT’D) Or how about this, Principal - Principal Wee suddenly stands up straight and talks to no one in particular.
5. PRINCIPAL WEE Chicken essence.Mr Tay is boggled. PRINCIPAL WEE (CONT’D) Mrs Lim will be giving birth next week. To congratulate her, the school will send her chicken essence instead of flowers. MR TAY What about this chicken, Principal? What do you want me to do it? PRINCIPAL WEE Chicken pox is not caused by chickens, Mr Tay.The nurse approaches Principal Wee. NURSE Principal, all the students are fine. Nobody has a fever. PRINCIPAL WEE Although none of the students have a fever now, that doesn’t mean that they are not infected. (sighs) Because of one case of chicken pox, do we send the whole class home or do we wait and observe for a few days? If we send everybody back, it might cause a panic among students from the other classes. But if we do nothing and more chicken pox cases break out later, the school might be accused of being complacent. Hard to either advance or retreat. Left and right - both a dilemma. This is the conundrum of power. Being a principal is the same as being the government. Whatever you decide to do, you will still be criticized. Mr Tay, please watch over Primary 4C until the teacher relieving Mrs Lim arrives. She had to go to the Ministry of Education this morning to settle some paperwork. She should be here soon.Principal Wee leaves with the nurse.Just then, Si Qi, Jonathan and Ah Seng runs over to thechicken cage.
6. JONATHAN I want to feed! I want to feed! AH SENG I also want to feed! SI QI You two always feed him! Today is my turn!Mr Tay slams his cane on a table. The whole class, which hasbeen jabbering and running about, falls silent. MR TAY Silence! Go to your seats! You think this is a zoo?Suddenly, the chicken crows.The kids laugh. AH SENG He says this is a zoo!Mr Tay slams his cane on the table again. MR TAY Silence! Whoever talks again will get a taste of my cane!The children go to their seats. Mr Tay stands in front of theclass. MR TAY (CONT’D) Who is the class monitor? JONATHAN She’s gone home. MR TAY Classes haven’t begun and she’s gone home? Are you trying to con me? SI QI Our class monitor is the one who got chicken pox. MR TAY Oh.The class titters. MR TAY (CONT’D) Silence! Since there is no class monitor, I will appoint one right now. Whose results were the best last year?
7. AH SENG Cai Mei Ling! She is the biggest bookworm in class. Her results were the best! MR TAY Classmate Cai Mei Ling! Stand up! JONATHAN She’s gone home.The class titters. MR TAY Silence! Why did she go home too? Who let her go home? SI QI Cai Mei Ling is our class monitor. She is also the one who got chicken pox. So the one who went home is Cai Mei Ling.The class explodes in laughter.Mr Tay slams his cane on the table. MR TAY Silence! (to Si Qi) What is your name?Si Qi stands up. SI QI Tan Si Qi. MR TAY Classmate Tan Si Qi, so you feel this is very funny? IS IT?Jonathan knows Si Qi is in trouble. He signals Ah Seng, whois sitting next to the chicken cage. SI QI No, disciplinary master.Mr Tay slams his cane on the table. MR TAY LOUDER! SI QI No, disciplinary master. MR TAY Do you feel choosing a class monitor is very funny?
8.Surreptitiously, Ah Seng’s hand is inching towards thechicken cage. He lifts the lock. SI QI No, disciplinary master.Mr Tay slams his cane on the table. MR TAY LOUDER! SI QI No, disciplinary master. But even though you asked us twice, you still didn’t know that our class monitor Cai Mei Ling was the one who went home because she got chicken pox. This - I feel - is a bit funny. MR TAY Come out here! You are only 10 years old and you dare to talk back to me? COME HERE!Mr Tay slams his cane on the table.Frightened, the chicken squawks and flies up into the air,causing a commotion among the students. MR TAY (CONT’D) Silence! Who let the chicken out?Mr Tay sees that Ah Seng is the nearest to the cage. MR TAY (CONT’D) (to Ah Seng) Must be you!Mr Tay marches over to Ah Seng and grabs the boy by thescruff of the neck. The disciplinary master hauls Ah Seng tothe front of the class.Jonathan grabs the chicken and sticks it back in the cage. MR TAY (CONT’D) (to Ah Seng) Stick out your hand! Stick it out!Ah Seng sticks his hand out. MR TAY (CONT’D) A classroom is like a country! If we don’t whack and scold, you all won’t be obedient!Mr Tay raises his cane and brings it down hard.
9.Ah Seng’s reflexes are quicker and he withdraws his hand justin time. MR TAY (CONT’D) You dare to dodge! Stick your hand out! You dodge again, you’ll be finished!Ah Seng sticks his hand out.Mr Tay raises his cane and brings it down hard.Ah Seng withdraws his hand just in time again. MR TAY (CONT’D) You come over here!Mr Tay grabs Ah Seng and pushes him over the teacher’s table.The furious disciplinary master is about to whack Ah Seng inthe buttocks when... MDM LUCY (O.S.) WAH!!!Everybody turns to see Mdm Lucy standing at the doorway ofthe classroom. She is holding the welcome card made by MeiLing. MDM LUCY (CONT’D) So pretty! Is it for me?Mdm Lucy walks up to Mr Tay. MR TAY You are the teacher who is replacing Mrs Lim? MDM LUCY I am Mdm Lucy, Primary 4C’s new form teacher. What are you all doing? Rehearsing a play? MR TAY I am My Tay, the disciplinary master. I was just about to choose the class monitor when this rascal let the chicken out of the cage! Good. Now that you are here, Mdm Lucy, please!Mr Tay offers Mdm Lucy the cane. She takes it. MDM LUCY Just now, I thought I heard you say that a classroom is like a country?Mr Tay nods and grunts.
10. MDM LUCY (CONT’D) Which country are you talking about?Mr Tay is boggled. MDM LUCY (CONT’D) A place with only whacking and scolding is not a classroom. It is also not a country. It is a prison.Mr Tay is speechless. MDM LUCY (CONT’D) Thank you for watching over my class, disciplinary master. You can hand this student over to me. I will use my own method to teach him properly.Mdm Lucy returns the cane to Mr Tay. He leaves angrily.Ah Seng is monkeying around and waving Mr Tay goodbye.Mdm Lucy glares at Ah Seng sternly. He stops fooling around. MDM LUCY (CONT’D) Next time, cannot be rude to the disciplinary master. Go back to your seat!Ah Seng scampers back to his seat. Jonathan winks at him. SiQi gives him a thumbs up. MDM LUCY (CONT’D) Okay, where did the disciplinary master stop just now? STUDENTS Choosing the class monitor! MDM LUCY That’s right. Choosing the class monitor. JONATHAN (mischievously) Mdm Lucy, the class monitor has gone home! MDM LUCY Don’t even try! You think I’m like Mr Tay and don’t know that your class monitor Cai Mei Ling has chicken pox and has gone home? I’m not so easy to con!The class laughs, warming up to Mdm Lucy.
11. MDM LUCY (CONT’D) Let me ask you all. How did classmate Cai Mei Ling become the class monitor of Primary 4C? AH SENG Mrs Lim chose her when we were in Primary 1. JONATHAN Mdm Lucy, are you going to choose a new class monitor? MDM LUCY Since classmate Cai Mei Ling has chicken pox, Primary 4C needs a new class monitor. However, I will not be the one choosing. SI QI You’re not choosing. Then, disciplinary master Mr Tay choose? MDM LUCY You all will choose. Students, do you know what an election is? CUT TO:8 I/E. SCHOOL, FIELD - DAY 8 Recess time. Kids are playing on the field. Si Qi, Jonathan and Ah Seng are kicking a ball with three of their classmates - naughty boy Busybody, sly boy Sugarcane and overweight boy Fishball. SUGARCANE I know! An election is like the one where we chose the president! Everybody has to vote and the candidate with the most votes become the president! BUSYBODY (to Si Qi, Jonathan & Ah Seng) Ey, triplets! Last time, the presidential candidates were all Tans. You three are also Tans. Seems like all the Tans in this country like to join election. You three also join the election, lah! JONATHAN I don’t want to be the class monitor. So troublesome. (MORE)
12. JONATHAN (CONTD) Must come to school early, must take attendance. Recess time, must book whoever does not return his plate. AH SENG There’s more! Being the class monitor must also keep shouting “Stand! Bow!” before and after every class. Must help the teacher carry books. Exam time must collect the exam paper. Life is too short! BUSYBODY But be class monitor got a lot of power! Can be like government like that. Everybody has to listen to you. If not, get fined. So glamorous! FISHBALL Eh, Si Qi. Those two don’t want to join the election. But I think even if you want to, you also cannot. You are so bad at kicking ball. How to be class monitor? AH SENG Fishball, what does kicking ball have to do with being the class monitor? FISHBALL When students misbehave, the class monitor must kick their backside, mah! Si Qi can’t even kick a ball, how to kick people’s backside? Just then, Si Qi flicks the ball up into the air and strikes it hard with her feet. The ball slams into Fishball’s stomach. SI QI Since when did I say I want to be class monitor? CUT TO:9 INT. PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE - DAY 9 Mr Tay is talking to Principal Wee. PRINCIPAL WEE She really said that?
13. MR TAY There’s more. She even said a place that whacks and scolds students is not a classroom but a prison. PRINCIPAL WEE Strange. I heard that when Mdm Lucy taught in this school 15 years ago, she was a very fierce teacher. That’s why when Mrs Lim went on maternity leave, I approved Mdm Lucy to come back and teach. MR TAY Principal, how well do you know this Mdm Lucy? PRINCIPAL WEE Not very well. When I was sent here to be Principal, Mdm Lucy had already left the school. MR TAY Why did she leave the school 15 years ago? PRINCIPAL WEE I don’t know. MR TAY I think we should find out. CUT TO:10 EXT. SCHOOL, GATE - DAY 10 School is out. Si Qi, Jonathan and Ah Seng are walking out of the gate. AH SENG What do you think of that Mdm Lucy? SI QI She’s very different from the other teachers, who only know how to whack and scold us. JONATHAN I think there’s something wrong with her. Class monitors all over the world are chosen by teachers. Who chooses a class monitor through an election. There must be something wrong with her head!
14. SI QI Talk fairly, Jonathan. Mdm Lucy was the one who saved Ah Seng from a beating. Besides, I feel it’s better for the students to choose their own class monitor, rather than the teacher doing so. (a beat) So, are you all going to join the election to become the class monitor? AH SENG Please lah, Si Qi. My grades are one of the lowest in class. Who will vote for me? JONATHAN I said already. Being the class monitor must come to school early every day. I always oversleep. AH SENG That’s because you this fat pig loves sleeping the most! Jonathan chases Ah Seng, trying to poke him. JONATHAN Damn Ah Seng! Who are you calling a fat pig? AH SENG Oi, Si Qi! Come and save me from this damn fat pig! Si Qi rolls her eyes at the boys’ antics. SI QI Oi! Are we still going to drink bubble tea? CUT TO:11 INT. SCHOOL, STAFF ROOM - DAY 11 Mr Tay is at his desk. He is spying on Mdm Lucy who is biding some other teachers goodbye. Mdm Lucy leaves. Just then, the old janitor arrives to clear Mr Tay’s wastepaper basket. MR TAY Old Wang, you have been working here very long, right?
15. OLD WANG More than 20 years already. MR TAY Do you remember a Mdm Lucy? OLD WANG Mdm Lucy? Of course! She left this school 15 years ago. But now she’s back. Today is her first day. I saw her just now. But she doesn’t remember me. MR TAY Do you know why she left? OLD WANG I don’t know for sure but I remember Mdm Lucy was known as the fiercest teacher in this school. She was always caning students. I heard some people even say that there was once she caned a boy so bad he went home and drank detergent. The boy’s parents did not press charges for some reason. But Mdm Lucy left the school soon after. Mr Tay is intrigued. CUT TO:12 INT. JONATHAN’S HOUSE, DINING ROOM - NIGHT 12 Jonathan is playing the piano very badly. His mother - Mrs Tan - is seated at the dining table, listening and frowning. The table is piled full of food. JONATHAN I’m very hungry! Can I stop playing? MRS TAN Don’t stop! You never see my friend’s daughter Melissa. Younger than you by a year and can play like a concert pianist. My friend even booked the country club ballroom to let her daughter show off her skills. You - you learn one year already and can’t even play Three Little Mice properly! JONATHAN I don’t have musical talent!
16. MRS TAN That’s right! You only have eating talent! Play properly! Or else I’ll make you go on a diet!Jonathan’s father - Mr Tan - returns home from work. MR TAN Stop playing! So horrible! I could hear it in the car from the main road! Come and eat! MRS TAN He’s not allowed to eat unless he plays that song properly! JONATHAN I can’t play properly if I am hungry. My fingers are so weak they are trembling! MR TAN Aiyah, let him eat first. Play later, okay? MRS TAN No means no! Eat first if you are hungry. MR TAN He’s playing so horribly. How can I eat? MRS TAN Then you wait until he can play this tune finish properly! MR TAN So fierce, you think you are the government, ah? MRS TAN That’s right. In this house, I am the government. MR TAN If you are the government, what am I? MRS TAN You always oppose me, so you are the opposition, lor! MR TAN Why are you the government and I am the opposition? Was there ever an election in this house?
17. JONATHAN My class is going to have an election! Mr and Mrs Tan turn to look at Jonathan. CUT TO:13 INT. JONATHAN’S HOUSE, DINING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER 13 Jonathan is seated at the dining table with his parents. JONATHAN I can’t wake up in time! MRS TAN Yes, you can. I will wake you! JONATHAN I don’t want! I don’t want! MR TAN Stop forcing him if he doesn’t want. MRS TAN You want to have dinner? Jonathan looks at the food on the table longingly and nods. MRS TAN (CONT’D) Then you must listen to me. My friend’s son Matthew is a school prefect. When she brings him to the country club, he is always wearing a tie. So smart! JONATHAN The class monitor does not wear a tie. MR TAN You want him to wear a tie, you can always buy him one. No need to force him to join the election and run for class monitor. MRS TAN Do you know how hard it was to get you into your primary school? Your daddy had to donate 20 computers and I had to volunteer to plant bonsai for your school garden. We thought that if we could get you into this good primary school, you will have a bright future. (MORE)
18. MRS TAN (CONTD)However, your grades have beenworsening recently. At this rate,how are you going to get into afamous secondary school after PSLE? MR TANAt most I’ll donate 100 computers. MRS TANYou think we are the only richpeople in this country? You candonate 100 computers, people alsocan! (to Jonathan)Mummy and daddy will do everythingwe can to help you. But sometimes,you have to help yourself too. Ifyou become class monitor, yourrecord in primary school will lookbetter. And that means your chancesof getting into a famous secondaryschool will also improve. (a beat)The class monitor really don’t weara tie, ah? JONATHANDuring recess time, the classmonitor has to book those who don’treturn their plates. That means Iwon’t have enough time to eat. If Ibecome class monitor, I mightstarve to death! MRS TANWhy are you so disobedient? We wantyou to run for class monitor foryour own good! MR TAN (to Mrs Tan)Looks like this government of yoursis not very effective. MRS TANIf you have a better idea, spit itout. Don’t keep opposing me! MR TANSince you say you are thegovernment in this house, youshould learn from the government.When you want the people to do whatyou want, what must you give them? MRS TANWhat the heck are you talkingabout?
19. Mr Tan smiles. He turns to Jonathan. MR TAN Jonathan. If you are obedient and run for class monitor, daddy and mummy will reward you. During the June school holiday, instead of bringing you to Japan Disneyland, we’ll go to America Disneyland. Jonathan’s eyes widen. JONATHAN Really? You’re not bluffing me? Mr Tan turns to his wife. MR TAN Upgrading - MR & MRS TAN Works every time! CUT TO:14 I/E. MARKET, DRIED GOODS STALL - NIGHT 14 Ah Seng’s parents - Auntie Chilli and Tau Kee Tan - are closing their dried goods stall. Ah Seng is pretending to do his homework. He is actually playing a game on his mobile phone. TAU KEE TAN (in Hokkien, to Auntie Chilli) I heard that Ang Kar Lim won a lot at the casino last week. AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) No wonder he didn’t open his fish stall these few days. AH SENG Are you all done soon? I’m starving. (yawns) I’m going to the toilet. Ah Seng walks off, leaving his mobile phone on top of his textbook. TAU KEE TAN (in Hokkien) I heard he won tens of thousands.
20. AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) So much? Knowing his pattern, he is not going to tell anyone of us. Last time he borrowed money from you to pay his son’s school fees - has he repaid you? TAU KEE TAN (in Hokkien) Aiyah, just a few hundred. Sometimes he give us the fish and prawns he cannot sell finish, he also never ask us to pay. Forget it, lah! AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Forget it? Now that he is rich, not only can he pay his son’s school fees. He can even hire tuition teachers. When you see him tomorrow, ask him to pay you back!Just then, Tur Bak Ong walks by. TUR BAK ONG (in Hokkien) Auntie Chilli, Tau Kee Tan - closing up? AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Wait for you to help us, meh, Tur Bak Ong?Ah Seng’s mobile phone beeps. TUR BAK ONG (in Hokkien) Tomorrow is the market committee meeting. Remember to come if you are free. TAU KEE TAN (in Hokkien) Economy so bad. Where got time to go and hear you all chit chat? TUR BAK ONG (in Hokkien) Economy bad, all the more you should come. Tomorrow, I will be accepting applications for the market bursary. Why don’t you help Ah Seng apply? (MORE)
21. TUR BAK ONG (CONTD) If you don’t, Ang Kar Lim’s son will get it again this year. He has already applied already three months ago. AUNTIE CHILLI (to Tau Kee Tan, in Hokkien) This Ang Kar Lim is really too much! Win so much money still dare to apply for bursary?Ah Seng’s mobile phone beeps again. TUR BAK ONG (in Hokkien) You said who won a lot of money? AUNTIE CHILLI (to Tur Bak Ong, in Hokkien) No, lah. Someone you don’t know. TAU KEE TAN (to Auntie Chilli, in Hokkien) Aiyah, each year at most a few hundred dollars only. Like that you also want to fight with other people? AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) A few hundred? School fees plus books and uniform and transport - at least a thousand dollars! TAU KEE TAN (to Tur Bak Ong, in Hokkien) Eh, Tur Bak Ong, what are the criteria for the bursary? TUR BAK ONG (in Hokkien) The market committee will look at exam results. AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Ang Kar Lim’s son’s studies not very good, right? TUR BAK ONG (in Hokkien) Like your son - not very good.
22. TAU KEE TAN (in Hokkien) If we also apply for Ah Seng, how will you all decide who to give it to? TUR BAK ONG (in Hokkien) If your son and Ang Kar Lim’s son’s results are about the same, we will look at other factors like whether they volunteer in school or whether they are active in charity work.Ah Seng’s mobile phone beeps yet again. Annoyed, AuntieChilli grabs the phone. She sees an SMS from Fishball. Itreads: “Want to win $10? Bet on who will be chosen as Primary4G’s class monitor!” AUNTIE CHILLI (to Tur Bak Ong, in Hokkien) What if Ah Seng is the class monitor?Auntie Chilli passes Ah Seng’s phone to Tau Kee Tan, whoreads the SMS too. TUR BAK ONG (in Hokkien) Like that your son will sure win Ang Kar Lim’s son. Want to apply, remember to come early tomorrow!Tur Bak Ong leaves.Ah Seng returns. He snatches his mobile phone back from hisfather. AH SENG You take my phone for what? (checks his phone) You read my SMS for what?Ah Seng notices his parents looking at him intently. AH SENG (CONT’D) Why are the two of you looking at me like that? AUNTIE CHILLI The more I look at you, the more you look like a class monitor! TAU KEE TAN A thousand-dollar class monitor!
23. AH SENG Huh? CUT TO:15 INT. SI QI’S FLAT, LIVING ROOM - NIGHT 15 Si Qi is doing her homework on the sofa with the help of her mother - Mrs Chen. Her grandmother - Mdm Chen - is watching TV. There is a photo of Si Qi’s deceased father on an altar. MRS CHEN Like this. Now, plus this. Then, times this - SI QI Wrong. Wrong. It’s like this. Times this. Then, plus this. That’s how you do it! MDM CHEN (laughing gently, in Hokkien) Don’t know who teach who! MRS CHEN Mother, primary school mathematics is really difficult these days. It’s not enough to get the right answer. You must use the right method as well. MDM CHEN (in Hokkien) Who cares which method is right as long as the answer is correct. If the schools go on like this, all the children will grow up and become idiots. MRS CHEN Times have changed, mother. Now, everything is science and mathematics. There are rules and you must follow them. You cannot anyhow do what you want. (to Si Qi) Come, let’s do three more, then we go to bed. MDM CHEN (in Hokkien) Last night, the lift alarm was ringing. I couldn’t sleep.
24. MRS CHEN Aiyah, it must be those naughty kids from the seventh floor again. Don’t bother with them, mother. MDM CHEN (in Hokkien) I couldn’t sleep all night because I was wondering if there was someone stuck inside the lift. MRS CHEN This whole block so many people. If someone is really stuck in the lift, other people will save them. You don’t worry and go to sleep. (to Si Qi) So fast. Next question. SI QI What is an election? MRS CHEN What did you say? SI QI What is an election?Mrs Chen panics. She gets up and closes all the windows. MDM CHEN (to Mrs Chen, in Hokkien) What are you doing? Raining and lightning strike, ah?Mrs Chen comes back to the couch. MRS CHEN (to Si Qi) Why are you asking this? Did you meet any new friends recently? Or did you read something on the Internet?Si Qi shakes her head. MRS CHEN (CONT’D) You cannot anyhow talk about this kind of thing. Neighbors hear, no good. SI QI What kind of thing? I only asked you what an election is. MRS CHEN You still haven’t told me - why are you asking this?
25. SI QI My new teacher said she is going to hold an election to choose the class monitor. MRS CHEN An election is an adult affair. You will know when you grow up. Tell you ah, Si Qi. This year I want you to concentrate on your studies. Don’t join any CCA and don’t join the election. Otherwise mummy will be very angry. Other people want to become the class monitor, it’s their business. I want you to devote all of your time to your studies. Okay. It’s nine-thirty. Go to bed! Si Qi leaves. MDM CHEN (in Hokkien) Aiyah, Si Qi wants to join the beauty contest (xuan bee pei cai), let her, lor. After all, my grand- daughter is quite pretty! MRS CHEN Mother! She’s talking about an election (xuan ju), not a beauty contest (xuan bee peh cai)! Mrs Chen goes to the altar and lights joss sticks. She prays to her dead husband. MRS CHEN (CONT’D) Aiyoh, hubby. You are in heaven. You must tell me what to do. Our daughter haven’t ask me about male- female relations, she is asking me about politics! Children these days are too far-fetched! You must help me, ah! CUT TO:16 INT. SCHOOL, STAFF ROOM - NIGHT 16 Mr Tay is trying to open an old filing cabinet. It is rusty and the lock is jammed from years of disuse. He finally yanks the cabinet open. The drawer falls out, scattering old school records of past students all over the place.
26. Mr Tay searches through the pile and sees the records of a student named Tay Cheng Wee. A note attached to the records indicate that he had withdrawn from school. CUT TO:17 INT. JONATHAN’S HOUSE, BEDROOM - DAY 17 The alarm clock rings. Jonathan switches it off. Another alarm clock rings. Jonathan switches it off. Then, yet another alarm clock rings. But before Jonathan can switch it off, three more alarm clocks ring. He wakes up and is annoyed to see six alarm clocks around his bed. He moves to switch the ringing clocks off and notices his parents in his room. They smile at him. MR TAN It’s six o’clock. MRS TAN Be class monitor, cannot be late! CUT TO:18 I/E. LUXURY SEDAN - DAY 18 Jonathan dozing in the back seat. Mrs Tan is driving. Mr Tan is in the front passenger seat. Jonathan’s parents are quarreling. MR TAN Turn! Turn! Turn! Why didn’t you turn down there? I told you already. This way a lot of traffic lights. See! Red light! Tsk! MRS TAN Hello! Am I driving or are you driving? The steering seems to be in front of me, hor! MR TAN You are the driver but I am the co- driver! As the co-driver, I have the right to tell you which route is best in order to get to our destination in the shortest possible time!
27. MRS TAN You think we are sitting Singapore airlines, ah? I got hear plane has co-driver. But I never hear before car got co-driver! MR TAN Other car may not have a co-driver but this one has. You know why? MRS TAN I can’t be bothered. MR TAN Because I bought this car! Green light already! Green light already! MRS TAN I know, lah! You so clever, you drive tomorrow, lah! CUT TO:19 EXT. SCHOOL, PARADE SQUARE - DAY 19 Students are lined up orderly for the flag-raising ceremony. Si Qi and Jonathan are already there. There is an empty spot between them. Ah Seng arrives, panting and sweating and stands in the empty spot. AH SENG (to Jonathan) Wah! The world has changed. So early today? How did you this fat pig manage to wake up? Jonathan makes a face at Ah Seng. The national anthem strikes up. CUT TO:20 INT. PRIMARY 4C - DAY 20 The students are running about the classroom, playing. Mdm Lucy enters the class. To the students’ surprise, Jonathan shouts out. JONATHAN Class! Stand!
28.Everybody stands. STUDENTS Good morning, Mdm Lucy!Mdm Lucy smiles. MDM LUCY Good morning, students. Please sit down.As Si Qi sits down, she shoots Jonathan a quizzical look.Jonathan does not return her gaze. MDM LUCY (CONT’D) Yesterday, we talked about choosing a new class monitor. And the method we are going to adopt in order to achieve this is called - STUDENTS An election! MDM LUCY Very good. First of all. Can anyone tell me what is an election?Busybody’s hand shoots up. BUSYBODY I know! I know! MDM LUCY This classmate. What is your name? BUSYBODY I’m called Huang Shi Hao. But everybody calls me “Busybody”!The class titters. MDM LUCY “Busybody”... Sounds like you know a lot of things. BUSYBODY An election means everybody has to vote and the person who gets the most votes wins. MDM LUCY Very good. Classmate Huang Shi Hao is correct. An election is a political device in which citizens vote to choose the person they want to represent them. (MORE)
29. MDM LUCY (CONTD) Elections are a special feature of democratic countries. Can anyone tell me what is the opposite of democracy?Busybody’s hand shoots up again.Mdm Lucy points at Sugarcane. MDM LUCY (CONT’D) This classmate - what is your name? SUGARCANE I’m called Fang Guo Qiang. BUSYBODY But he’s so skinny so everybody calls him Sugarcane! SUGARCANE If a democratic country has elections... Then, the opposite of a democratic country is a country with no elections! FISHBALL Idiot! Of course, lah! Still need to say? MDM LUCY Quieten down, everyone. Classmate Fang Guo Qiang is not wrong. The opposite of a democracy does not have elections. Such a political system are known as -To Si Qi and Ah Seng’s surprise, Jonathan raises his hand. JONATHAN My house!Everybody laughs. MDM LUCY Why do you say that, this classmate? JONATHAN In my house, my mother is the government. Everything she says, everybody has to do, including my father. A system like my house is not a democracy. It is a dictatorship! MDM LUCY Dictatorship. That’s the opposite of a democracy. (MORE)
30. MDM LUCY (CONTD) A long time ago, most countries around the world were dictatorships. But as times changed and people wanted to play a bigger part in the planning and running of their lives, dictatorships gave way to democracies. (a beat) Yesterday, I said the class should have an election to choose a new class monitor. This morning, before class started, I approached the student with the best handwriting to go on the Internet, do some research and write the class constitution. He will now read it out to you. Classmate Yam Ah Bee.A small-sized boy with Brylcreemed hair called Yam Ah Beestands up. He reads from a jotter book titled “ClassConstitution”. YAM AH BEE (reading in a deadpan voice) Pursuant to Chapter One, Paragraph One, Sub-Section A of the Class Election Act. Every student of Primary 4C is entitled to run for the post of class monitor. All candidates must present their details to Mdm Lucy by eight o’clock next Monday. This will be known as Nomination Day. Starting tomorrow, a series of debates will be organized in which interested candidates can present their own positions and question their opponents. All debates must stop the day after Nomination Day. The day after Nomination Day will be known as Cooling Off Day. Students are to use the Cooling Off Day to think about which candidate he wishes to vote for in a calm and logical manner. The day after Cooling Off Day, all students are required to cast their votes for the candidate he or she wishes to elect as the class monitor. This day will be known as Polling Day. Voting is secret and compulsory. The candidate with the most number of votes will serve as the class monitor of Primary 4C for this year!The students applaud.
31. Just then, Mr Tay walks past the class. He peeps in, frowns at what he is hearing and leaves. MDM LUCY Thank you, classmate Yam Ah Bee. You spoke very well. (to the students) Until we elect a new class monitor, there are many things that still have to be done. For instance, taking attendance, wiping the blackboard and keeping the classroom clean. During recess time later, classmate Yam Ah Bee will let you draw lots to see which task you have been assigned to. (a beat) Although Nomination Day is the day after, can I find out how many students are interested in joining the election? The students look at one another. Slowly, Jonathan raises his hand. Si Qi is stunned. Then, Ah Seng raises his hand. Jonathan is stunned. CUT TO:21 EXT. SCHOOL, BASKETBALL COURT - DAY 21 Recess time. Jonathan and Ah Seng are arguing. Si Qi looks on. AH SENG Didn’t you say yesterday that you didn’t want to be the class monitor? So why did you raise your hand just now? JONATHAN Then what about you? You also said you were not interested yesterday. You also raised your hand just now. SI QI What’s wrong with the two of you? I thought we had all agreed yesterday that none of us was going to join the election!
32. AH SENG I said being a class monitor is troublesome. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t want to join the election! JONATHAN You are just twisting facts! AH SENG Then what about you? You were saying that you couldn’t possibly be the class monitor because you always oversleep! JONATHAN It was you who said that you didn’t want to join the election because your grades are no good and no one will vote for you! SI QI Enough!Jonathan and Ah Seng shut up. SI QI (CONT’D) So, you two have really decided to join the election?Jonathan and Ah Seng nod. SI QI (CONT’D) Even if that means you will fight and not remain friends?Jonathan and Ah Seng are silent. SI QI (CONT’D) I’m not bothering with you two anymore!She stomps away. JONATHAN Why must you fight with me? AH SENG It’s you who want to fight with me. JONATHAN No compromise? AH SENG I won’t withdraw. JONATHAN Fine. See you at the election.
33. The two leave in separate directions. CUT TO:22 INT. PRIMARY 4C - DAY 22 The class is drawing lots from a box in front of Yam Ah Bee. They make faces when they find out which tasks they have drawn. Busybody and Sugarcane go over to Jonathan, who is trying to work out a complex mathematical problem. BUSYBODY What did you draw? SUGARCANE Me and Busybody has to help carry Mdm Lucy books. JONATHAN Don’t disturb me! BUSYBODY Oh, someone has to collect the class funds! SUGARCANE Eh, Jonathan. Your mathematics is so lousy. Can you cope or not? JONATHAN Go away, lah! Ah Seng draws a lot. His face darkens. Fishball goes up to him. FISHBALL What did you draw? Ah Seng shows Fishball his slip of paper. Fishball laughs and makes a clucking noise. FISHBALL (CONT’D) At first, I thought sweeping the floor is suay (unlucky). This is even more suay! JONATHAN (O.S.) Everybody! Please listen to me! The class tones down and turns to look at Jonathan. JONATHAN (CONT’D) I have to collect this month’s class funds. (MORE)
34. JONATHAN (CONT’D) This will be used to buy food for the chicken and change the old rags to new ones. According to my calculations, everybody has to pay 56 cents this month. BUSYBODY Last time we paid only 50 cents every month. How come now increase? JONATHAN Eh, wait a while. I forgot to count the plastic wrapping paper for the books in the class library. Sorry. Everybody has to pay 65 cents - Eh, wait. I counted wrong. Oh, no! I forgot to count the class present for Mrs Lim! Anybody has a calculator? SUGARCANE Wah lao! You go home and count properly first, then tell us, lah! Your mathematics is really crap! AH SENG Ya, lor! One moment say 56 cents. Then, increase to 65 cents. Eh, Jonathan, don’t come back tomorrow and tell us we have to pay one dollar, okay? We are not rich like you! Think you can be like that Youth Olympics. The cost keep going up, up, up like a balloon, is it? Jonathan shoots Ah Seng a poisonous look. CUT TO:23 INT. PRIMARY 4C - DAY 23 After school. The students are leaving. Still engrossed with calculating the class funds, Jonathan leaves. Over at the pet’s corner, Ah Seng is looking at the chicken inside the cage. It is dirty and smelly. He winces. Fishball walks by on his way out of the door. FISHBALL Remember to clean properly, hah? Fishball makes clucking noises as he leaves.
35.Ah Seng sees Si Qi leaving. AH SENG Oi, Si Qi! You’re not going to leave me in the lurch, right?Si Qi leaves angrily.Ah Seng is alone in the classroom.He opens the cage and pulls out the soiled newspapergingerly.In his haste and disgust, he fails to latch the door of thecage properly. AH SENG (CONT’D) Wah lao! So smelly!He sees that the wastepaper basket is across the room. Heruns over and dumps the dirty newspaper.Ah Seng gets his fingers dirty. AH SENG (CONT’D) Yee!!!Looking around to make sure no one is looking, Ah Seng wipeshis dirty hand on the wall.Meanwhile, the chicken is pushing at the door of the cage.Ah Seng turns to go back to the cage but he sees that thesoiled newspaper he had carried earlier to the wastepaperbasket had left a wet trail on the ground. AH SENG (CONT’D) Wah!Ah Seng tries to rub out the dirty spots on the ground withhis shoe but it doesn’t work.He goes back to the wastepaper basket and retrieves thesoiled newspaper. He bundles it up and tries to use thecleaner side to wipe the floor.To his horror, the soiled newspaper leaks and creates evenmore dirty spots on the ground.Frustrated, Ah Seng dumps the soiled newspaper back into thewastepaper.He spots a quilted scarf reading “Primary 4C” hanging on theclass project board. He rips it of the board and uses it towipe the floor.Satisfied, Ah Seng turns back to the cage.
36. He gasps in horror. The chicken is missing! CUT TO:24 I/E. SCHOOL, CORRIDOR - DAY 24 The chicken walks down the corridor. It stops under a notice board. On the notice board is a geography project featuring the map of Malaysia. The chicken studies the map intently. It zooms into the Johor Straits separating Singapore from Malaysia. The chicken zooms into another chart with instructions on how to swim. CUT TO:25 I/E. SCHOOL, STAIRS - DAY 25 The chicken is about to approach a flight of stairs when it suddenly stops and hides behind a wall. Principal Wee is leading two policemen down the stairs. PRINCIPAL WEE Thank you, officers, for coming to our school and giving a crime prevention talk! Our students found your talk very informative and educational. POLICEMAN 1 You are most welcome. Please contact us whenever you want us to come down again. PRINCIPAL WEE You all don’t need to catch crooks, ah? Got so much time? The policemen laugh as they descend the stairs. The coast is now clear. The chicken emerges from behind the wall and continues on its way. CUT TO:
37.26 I/E. SCHOOL, CORRIDOR - DAY 26 Ah Seng is scouring the corridor, looking for the chicken. He makes clucking noises. CUT TO:27 I/E. SCHOOL, BOYS’ TOILET - DAY 27 The chicken is past the toilet. Suddenly, it sees Ah Seng approaching. The chicken turns back and enters the toilet. Ah Seng arrives, still making the clucking noises. He stops for a moment and, to his surprise, hears a cluck coming from the toilet. Ah Seng approaches the toilet door carefully. CUT TO:28 INT. SCHOOL, BOYS’ TOILET - DAY 28 The chicken is panicking. As the toilet door creaks open, the chicken enters a cubicle. It uses its beak to push the cubicle door close. Ah Seng enters the toilet. Inside the cubicle, the chicken looks around frantically. It spots an open window. Outside the cubicle, Ah Seng is looking around carefully. He spots a trail of wet chicken feet marks leading to the closed cubicle door. Ah Seng walks forward. He places his hands on the cubicle door. But just as he pushes the cubicle door open, he hears a loud flapping noise. BANG! The cubicle door opens. Ah Seng sees chicken feathers floating down from the open window.
38. The chicken is gone! CUT TO:29 INT. SI QI’S FLAT, LIVING ROOM - DAY 29 Si Qi returns home. Her grandmother - Mdm Chen - is resting on the sofa. SI QI Ah Ma! I’m home! MDM CHEN (in Hokkien) Si Qi, come back already, hah? Have you eaten? I cooked fried bee hoon. SI QI I’m not hungry. MDM CHEN (in Hokkien) How can you not eat? You are going to join a beauty contest, right? If you don’t eat, fall on the stage, how? Ah Ma go and get you some fried bee hoon. Mdm Chen goes into the kitchen. Si Qi sits down on the couch and looks at the photo of her deceased father. Her mobile phone rings. She sees that it is Ah Seng calling. She rejects the call. Mdm Chen comes back with a plate of fried noodles. Si Qi begins to eat. SI QI You want some, Ah Ma? MDM CHEN (in Hokkien) You eat. Ah Ma ate already. Mdm Chen looks at her grand-daughter and smiles happily. MDM CHEN (CONT’D) (in Hokkien) Si Qi has grown up already. Very pretty now. Going to join a beauty contest! SI QI Ah Ma, what was my father like when he was young?
39. MDM CHEN (in Hokkien) Your father? He was very handsome. He was also very hardworking. After you were born, he was working as a life guard. One day, when you were still a baby, he saw a little boy drowning and jumped in to save him. The pool was too shallow and he hit his head. In the end, your father managed to save the little boy but he died in the hospital from his head injury. After that day, your mother never read the newspaper and never watch TV again. She says she just wants to mind her own business and take good care of you. SI QI So my father liked helping people? MDM CHEN (in Hokkien) Yes, he loved helping people. In fact, when he was in school, he was the class monitor every year! CUT TO:30 INT. JONATHAN’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - DAY 30 Jonathan and his parents are seated around the coffee table, watching an accountant working out the class funds problem on a sophisticated calculator. JONATHAN Can or not? MRS TAN Don’t worry. Your father got his company accountant to come and help you. Sure to settle. ACCOUNTANT Mr and Mrs Tan, even applying the most complicated banking and high finance calculations, to pay for everything from the chicken feed to new rags to plastic wrapping to a present for your son’s former teacher who is due to deliver soon - each student still has to pay 70 cents. JONATHAN Die! Last time is 50 cents. People will blame me for any increase!
40. ACCOUNTANT Of course I can apply the laws of depreciation and amortization. But I think that will be not very suitable for a classroom environment. MR TAN Just apply! The accountant taps on his calculator. ACCOUNTANT The best I can do is 64 cents per student. MR TAN (to Jonathan) Sixty four cents - can or not? JONATHAN Is that the lowest? ACCOUNTANT Any lower and it will be illegal. (to Mr Tan) I think your son is too young to be selling derivatives to his classmates. Mr and Mrs Tan smile weakly at the accountant. CUT TO:31 I/E. MARKET, DRIED GOODS STALL - DAY 31 Ah Seng arrives at his parents’ stall. He sees his mother talking to a scary loan shark. LOAN SHARK (in Hokkien) Auntie Chilli, don’t learn other people play mahjong if you can’t pay up! AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Aiyoh, you all Ah Longs really more punctual than the utility bill! Can’t you give me three days more? I guarantee you I’ll get you the money in five days. LOAN SHARK (in Hokkien) Eight hundred, you know! Not eighty! (MORE)
41. LOAN SHARK (CONTD) How much chilli, tau pok and tau kee must you sell to make eight hundred dollars in five days? AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Aiyah, I am going for a meeting later. I will be getting at least a thousand dollars very soon. Don’t worry! LOAN SHARK (in Hokkien) Okay, ah. Don’t try to con me. Three days’ time. Eight hundred. Otherwise, I’ll get rough. AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Okay, okay, lah!The loan shark leaves.Ah Seng goes up to his mother. AH SENG Who was that guy? AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Customer. Why are you so sweaty? AH SENG I want chicken. AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) What?! AH SENG I’m serious! I want chicken! AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) You are only 10 years old! How can you want something like that? AH SENG I lost the class chicken! I need to find another chicken to replace it! AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Oh! Say earlier, lah! Scare me to death! What’s the big deal about your class chicken? Lose, lose, lor! (MORE)
42. AUNTIE CHILLI (CONTD) Government lose a terrorist also never scared until like you like that! AH SENG Cannot! If my classmates know I lost the chicken, they will surely not vote for me to become the class monitor. AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Wah, like that I sure let that loan shark kill! Come! She leads Ah Seng away. CUT TO:32 I/E. MARKET, CHICKEN STALL - DAY 32 Auntie Chilli brings Ah Seng to Kah Li Kuay’s chicken stall. KAH LI KUAY (in Hokkien) Auntie Chilli, so free bring your son look at chicken? AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Your mouth don’t so foul! We want to buy one chicken. KAH LI KUAY (in Hokkien) Up to you to choose! Ah Seng looks at the chickens. AH SENG None of them look like the class chicken! AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Wah lao! Chickens got look different one, meh? AH SENG My class chicken is lame in one leg. It walks funny. KAH LI KUAY (in Hokkien) Aiyoh, so simple. Uncle take any of these chickens, break one leg and give you!
43. AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Thank you! Thank you! Kah Li Kuay picks a chicken and is about to break one of its legs with the back of a cleaver when Ah Seng stops him. AH SENG Don’t! AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) What do you want? AH SENG Forget it. I’ll just tell my classmates the chicken escaped. AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien) Suddenly, want. Suddenly, don’t want! So troublesome! I go back to the stall! Auntie Chilli leaves. Ah Seng spots the loan shark passing by. He follows. CUT TO:33 I/E. MARKET, GENERAL AREA - DAY 33 Ah Seng is following the loan shark but loses sight of the man. Ah Seng is about to give up and go back when suddenly, the loan shark appears from behind a pillar. LOAN SHARK You follow me for what? AH SENG My mother owe you how much? LOAN SHARK Oh, you are Auntie Chilli’s son! Eight hundred. You want to help your mother pay? You so small, got money, meh? AH SENG I don’t have money. LOAN SHARK No money nevermind. How’s your drawing skills?
44. The loan shark brings out a can of spray paint. LOAN SHARK (CONT’D) If you help me draw some pictures, I can forget your mother’s debt. AH SENG Let me think about it. How do I get in touch with you? The loan shark takes Ah Seng’s mobile phone, punches in his number and returns it to him, before walking off. CUT TO:34 INT. SCHOOL, STAFF ROOM - NIGHT 34 Mdm Lucy is working at her desk. She is alone. Suddenly, there is a noise. She turns and looks. There is nobody in the darkened staff room except for her. She goes back to her work. Something creaks. Mdm Lucy spins around. Nothing. Roving POV and horror music starts. Something is creeping behind Mdm Lucy, spying on her. She gets an uneasy feeling. A noise. Mdm Lucy turns and sees a swivel chair behind her spinning slightly, as if someone has just brushed it. The chair stops spinning. Mdm Lucy turns back to her desk and screams! Perched on her desk is Mr Tay, holding a cane in his lap. MDM LUCY Scared me to death! MR TAY So late still haven’t gone home? MDM LUCY I am planning this semester’s syllabus. MR TAY Oh, haven’t you finish already? I was walking by your class this morning. You seem to already know what to teach your students.
45. MDM LUCY What do you mean? MR TAY They are only 10 years old. Don’t you think they are a bit young to be discussing politics? MDM LUCY Oh, you are talking about the class election. Let me ask you, Mr Tay, in your opinion, how old should students be before they can discuss politics? MR TAY When they are 21 years old and eligible to vote. MDM LUCY Don’t you think that’s a bit too late? Waiting till they are in the pool and then starting to learn how to swim? MR TAY Why did you come back to this school, Mdm Lucy? MDM LUCY I’m tired and it’s late. I’m going home. See you tomorrow, Mr Tay.Mdm Lucy makes to leave but Mr Tay raises his cane, blockingher way. MR TAY I don’t know why you suddenly came back after 15 years, Mdm Lucy. I also don’t know why instead of controlling your students, you are filling their minds with nonsense. As the discipline master, I will be watching you very carefully. (smiles suddenly) So, have a good night and rest well!Mdm Lucy walks away from Mr Tay. She stops at the doorway andturns back. MDM LUCY Oh, did you hear, Mr Tay. People say that 15 years ago, I caused the death of a boy in this school. Do you think that, like me, he is back here too?
46. She smiles and leaves. Mr Tay snorts derisively. He slams the cane on Mdm Lucy’s table and flips through her papers. Suddenly, there is a noise. Mr Tay smirks. MR TAY Want to scare me back, is it? A creak. MR TAY (CONT’D) Not so easy! I am not easily scared! Silence. Mr Tay turns around. Nothing is there. Suddenly, something rushes over the surface of Mdm Lucy’s desk and knocks Mr Tay’s cane to the ground. Mr Tay looks. Something drags his cane under the desk. Frightened now, Mr Tay backs away from the desk. MR TAY (CONT’D) Are you.. Are you... Are you Mdm Lucy’s student from 15 years ago? Silence. Slowly, Mr Tay squats down to look under Mdm Lucy’s table. He sees a pair of red eyes. Before he can scream, something feathery leaps towards his face. Squawking. Mr Tay screams! CUT TO:35 I/E. PICK-UP TRUCK - NIGHT 35 Ah Seng is in the pick-up truck with his parents. They are going home from the market.
47. TAU KEE TAN (in Hokkien)Did you see Ang Kar Lim’s face whenwe said we also wanted to apply forthe market bursary? He looked likehe wanted explode! AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien)We must get the bursary no matterwhat this time round. TAU KEE TAN (in Hokkien)Aiyah, should be no problem. TurBak Ong said that if Ah Sengbecomes class monitor, we have ahundred per cent chance of gettingthe bursary! AH SENGWhat if I don’t win the election? AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien)Why won’t you win? Because of thatchicken, is it? I told you to takeone from Kar Li Kuay’ stall thisafternoon already. But you didn’twant. Now so late, where do youwant me to find a chicken for you? TAU KEE TAN (in Hokkien)Actually, he did the right thing.Even though Ah Seng lost thechicken, if he can explain properlyto his classmates tomorrow andadmit his mistake, they will beimpressed with his honesty. This isbetter than getting another chickenand pretending. If you get foundout doing something like that, thenyou will lose the election forsure! (to Ah Seng)Don’t worry, Ah Seng! I supportyou! AUNTIE CHILLI (in Hokkien)You have a point there. (to Ah Seng)But remember - admit your mistakeopenly and sincerely. But don’tdwell on it too long. (MORE)
48. AUNTIE CHILLI (CONTD) Once you sense that your classmates have accepted your explanation, move on and focus on your opponent. Highlight his weak spots in a simple, direct manner. That way, you can shift the attention away from the lost chicken to your opponent’s weaknesses. CUT TO:36 INT. SI QI’S FLAT, BEDROOM - DAY 36 Mrs Chen is sleeping. The lift alarm rings. Her door opens. It is Mdm Chen. MDM CHEN Is someone stuck in the lift? MRS CHEN It’s those naughty kids from the seventh floor, mother. Go to sleep. Mdm Chen closes the door and leaves. The lift alarm rings. And then stops. CUT TO:37 INT. JONATHAN’S HOUSE, BEDROOM - DAY 37 Jonathan’s six alarm clocks ring, startling him awake. CUT TO:38 I/E. LUXURY SEDAN - DAY 38 Jonathan is dozing in the back seat. Mr Tan is behind the wheel. Mrs Tan is in the front passenger seat. MR TAN (to Jonathan) Remember! Explain to your classmates that the best accountant in Singapore has looked at your class funds and the lowest you can collect is 64 cents.
49. MRS TAN Speak in an open and sincere voice. Remind your classmates that costs have risen. Remember what the accountant taught you? Explain every single thing to your classmates. Use those words he taught you - depreciation and amortization - but don’t adopt a superior tone. Always be humble. Speak slowly and clearly. That way, they will see that you are methodical, organized and responsible. They will then realize that you’ll make a good class monitor.Suddenly, Mrs Tan slaps the back of Mr Tan’s head. MR TAN Oi! You hit me for what? MRS TAN You went the wrong way! This direction is going to the airport! The school is in the other direction! MR TAN I know! You think I’m stupid, ah? I heard the news of the radio this morning that there is an accident on the highway in the other direction! I’m going this way to go around the jam! Am I driving or are you driving? MRS TAN You are driving but today I am the co-driver. My job is to slap you if I think you are falling asleep! MR TAN But I’m not falling asleep! I’m avoiding a jam! MRS TAN I say you are falling asleep, you are falling asleep! Even if you want to avoid the jam, this route will take 20 minutes longer! Jonathan will be late for school! MR TAN You so clever, you drive tomorrow! CUT TO:
50.39 EXT. SCHOOL, PARADE SQUARE - DAY 39 Students are lined up orderly for the flag-raising ceremony. Si Qi and Ah Seng are already there. There is an empty spot behind Ah Seng. SI QI Where is Jonathan? AH SENG That fat pig must have overslept again! Like that how to be class monitor? SI QI Don’t talk about Jonathan like that! Jonathan arrives, panting and sweating and stands in the empty spot. Jonathan ignores Ah Seng. Just then, Mr Tay walks past, his face full of small bandages. The national anthem strikes up. CUT TO:40 INT. PRIMARY 4C - DAY 40 The class is in an uproar over the missing chicken. Mdm Lucy starts the debate between Jonathan and Ah Seng. MDM LUCY Quieten down, classmates. I know everybody is very upset by the disappearance of the class chicken. As far as I know, classmate Tan Ah Seng was in charge of cleaning the chicken cage yesterday. Everyone will have a chance to hear his explanation in a while. In addition, as part of today’s class monitor debate, classmate Jonathan Tan will also talk about his task - the calculation and collection of the class funds. Let’s invite classmate Tan Ah Seng to start first. Some students boo.
51. AH SENG Good morning, teacher and classmates. My name is Tan Ah Seng and I want to be your class monitor. Yesterday, I was tasked with cleaning the chicken cage. While I was performing my task, the chicken broke out of the cage and went missing. While I did not lose the chicken deliberately, I hereby acknowledge that it is my fault. I should have been more careful. I have learnt from this incident and will ensure that as class monitor, I will be more diligent and careful than before. Thank you for everybody’s kind understanding and forgiveness.Ah Seng bows.The class is pretty impressed. MDM LUCY Very good. Any classmates have any question for classmate Tan Ah Seng? FISHBALL If you are elected as the class monitor, will you anyhow beat people? AH SENG As class monitor, my job is not to beat other classmates. My job is to advise classmates who are breaking the class rules not to do so. A class monitor is equal to the other classmates. He is the recipient of the students’ trust and support. In return, he must not reward that trust and support with violence of any sort. MDM LUCY Classmate Jonathan Tan, it’s your turn. JONATHAN Good morning teacher and classmates. My name is Jonathan Tan and I am joining the election to become the class monitor. The task I drew yesterday was to calculate the class funds that everybody has to pay this month. Yesterday, I was not able to do an accurate job. (MORE)
52. JONATHAN (CONTD) The reason is because there were many new items contributing to increased costs. I had to check the prices of these items and apply the appropriate calculation methods. After school yesterday, knowing that it is my job to be as accurate as possible, I consulted a professional accountant. After applying the rules of depreciation and amortization, I am pleased to announce that this month’s class funds is 64 cents per student. The 14-cent increase from the old monthly class fund is due to two reasons: rising costs and the need to buy Mrs Lim a present. While these factors are out of my control, I have done my best to minimize the increase. I have here the detailed mathematical calculations. Everyone is welcome to inspect them later. As the class monitor, I feel it is important to understand economy and to safeguard our class funds and ensure that they are spent in a responsible way. Thank you everyone for giving me a chance to contribute to the class. MDM LUCY Thank you, classmate Jonathan Tan. Anyone has any questions for him? BUSYBODY If you are chosen as the class monitor, your job will be to book students who break the class rules. Who will book you when you break the class rules? JONATHAN As a class monitor, I intend to set an example for the rest of the class. I will try my best to observe the class rules. But, like everyone else, I am human and humans make mistakes. So, since I am chosen by the classmates to be the class monitor. If I break any of the class rules, I hope that the classmates will book me. The class monitor is not above the class law. He is merely helping to uphold the class law.The class seems impressed.
53. MDM LUCY Very good. Now that the class has asked our two candidates questions, it is time for the two candidates to ask each other questions. Classmate Tan Ah Seng. AH SENG You said you calculated the class funds with the help of a professional accountant. Why can’t you do something so simple yourself? Are you simply shirking your responsibility? JONATHAN As class monitor, I am not perfect. It is more important to know your shortcomings rather than your strengths. I know that my maths is not strong. Hence, I thought it is best to get the help of a professional accountant, especially when something as important as the class funds is involved. (a beat) Now let me ask you a question back. You have admitted that the missing chicken is your fault. But your admission does not change the fact that the pet’s corner is now without life and color. Apart from asking for forgiveness, do you have more practical ways of making amends to the class? AH SENG Yes, I do. If the class allows me to, I will use my own savings from past Chinese New Year to buy another chicken for the pet’s corner. This way, I will be able to make amends for my carelessness and bring back life and color to the pet’s corner! MR TAY (O.S.) No need!Everyone turns to see Mr Tay walking in carrying the runawaychicken. MR TAY (CONT’D) I found him in the staff room last night.Mr Tay puts the chicken back into the cage.