Wang Tao - [Ruler of Waves]

Created by Dominik Platen, The Pitch 2019

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Hong Kong, 2049. It has been 2 years since the country lost its autonomy from China. In an attempt to control population growth, the Governor - General Wang - seeks to prevent all Hong Kong women from giving birth to male children, subjecting them to mandatory screenings and abortions if they are found to be carrying a son. 23 year-old Suki Wong is one of those women - having hidden her pregnancy from the authorities, with the father imprisoned for treason, she gives birth to a son. She must risk everything to save her baby by securing passage to Saipan, where she has family. Suki finds a sailor who smuggles people out Hong Kong for a price, but can only afford passage for one. Making a heartbreaking decision, she hands over her baby to the smuggler, who brings him aboard a military ship with General Wang and his infertile wife among its passengers. As the ship sets sail, the General’s wife hears a muffled cry from one of the cabins and discovers Suki’s son, deciding to keep him for herself rather than let him meet a terrible fate on the mainland. She names the boy Wang Tao - Ruler of Waves

Biblical Connection

What attracted me to Exodus 1:1-2:10, detailing the Birth of Moses and his escape from slaughter, is the emotional core of the story - a mother's love for her child. This element in particular makes it a universal tale I can translate to near-future Hong Kong, an environment that works as effectively as Ancient Egypt and allows for an examination of China's one-child policy and the current state of the special administrative regions which wants to keep its autonomy. The Israelites suffered under Pharaoh in the same way as the Hong Kongese people are oppressed in my adaptation by the Chinese Communist Party's regime. Suki Wong has a similar role to Jochebed, Moses' mother, trying to save her child from certain death. Instead of travelling along a river, Suki's son is faced with a treacherous ocean separating Hong Kong from Saipan. Whilst Moses is named by Pharaoh's daughter - she "drew him out of the water" - General Wang's wife gives Suki's son a Chinese name, Wang Tao, which roughly translates to "Ruler of Waves". This not only refers to the waves of the Pacific Ocean, but also a name that could be given to Moses for parting the Red Sea.