Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat

Season 1 Episode 6

Harvest Festival Race / The Foolish Magistrate's New Robes

Aired Weekdays 3:30 PM Sep 10, 2001 on PBS
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Harvest Festival Race / The Foolish Magistrate's New Robes
"Harvest Festival Race"

It's the day before the Harvest Festival. The magistrate goes into town to announce the event. Scene cuts to Sagwa, Dongwa and the alley-cats racing. Sagwa beats Dongwa and the alley cats. He tells Sagwa that the trick to winning the race is to have good balance. Later, back in the palace, Sagwa sees Dongwa standing on a rock on one back leg. He tells Sagwa that he's been doing so for 3 hours. Sagwa tries doing so. Dongwa then tells Sagwa to stand as long as possible. He then goes in for lunch with the family while leaving poor Sagwa outside. Scene changes to the inside of the palace. The family was having lunch sans Sagwa. Nai-nai tells Dongwa that the secret to winning is to exercise and sleep well. Just then, Sagwa walks in, soaking wet. Nai-nai askes Sagwa what she was doing. Sagwa explains that she fell into the pond, then tells Nai-nai what Dongwa told her. Dongwa gets a warning. Later that night, Dongwa tries to disturb Sagwa's sleep, but fails. Cut to next morning. We see that his plans had backfire, and he's the one who didn't get enough sleep because he stayed awake all night trying to disturb Sagwa. We cut to the festival. The magistrate and the reader were trying very hard to have fun. The scene cuts to the cats. Nai-nai was breifing them on the rules. The race then starts. Dongwa, being exhausted, falls, and gets left behind. Out of frustration, he breaks the first rule - do not use shortcuts. He manages to catch up, then pushes Sagwa so that he can overtake her. He wins. Naturally, Sagwa and the alleycats are now giving him the silent treatment. Scene cuts to the reader. It seems that he's not having any fun at all. But the Magistrate encourages the reader - telling him that the important thing is to have fun. We cut back to the cats. Dongwa now has the remorse syndrome, and apologizes to Sagwa. He also gives prize to Sagwa. Scene cuts back to the Reader and the Magistrate, taking part in a 3-legged race. They run into a barrow of crops. The magistrate gives a speech that stresses again that the most important thing is to have fun. Tai-tai comes and gives him a dirty look. They dig in to the harvests. The end.

"The Foolish Magistrate's New Robes"

A slightly modified variant of the classic story "The Emperor's New Clothes". The magistrate was having a meal of noodles when the reader comes in and tell the magistrate that there are two tailors outside who claims that they can make fine clothes out of magic thread. The emperor dismisses it. But Tai-tai overhears it, and being the fashion victim that she is (and being like her namesake: Tai-tai means something along the lines of "stupid" in Hokkien, a Chinese dialect - yes, I'm Chinese :P ), convinces the magistrate to let them in. He argues with her, but when he accidentally drops some of the noodles on his current robes, he knows he's at the losing end. So, he half-heartedly agrees. The tailors are led in. They spin their story, and the palace residents buys it. The tailors are given a room with the required tools. When the coast is clear, we hear the conmen leak out their evil schemes for the first time. Sagwa was passing by, but she does not understand them. Scene changes back to the magistrate. He wonders how the robes are going on, and under the pressure of Tai-tai, sends the reader to check things out. Naturally, he sees nothing. But, to uphold his dignity, he pretends that he does see it. The cook is next to go have a look. Like the reader, he sees nothing, but he has to uphold his dignity. So, like the reader, he too pretends that he can see it. All this pretend stuff that they were spinning causes Tai-tai to wants to see it too. No surprise on what comes next: she can't see it because like her name suggests, she's stupid. No, actually, she can't see it because there isn't anthing there. But like the rest, she too has to uphold her dignity. So, she pretends that she too can see it. All this time Sagwa was "visiting" these conmen with them, and all this time she can't see anything, either. So, she has a talk with her parents. They decide to check things out, and unearths the truth. Finally, the day has come to unveil the "robe" to the magistrate. The magistrate is convinced that he's stupid because he can't see anything. But, like the others, he plays along. He "changes" into it, and emerges wearing only an undergown. The public cheers for him, fearing that they'll be deemed stupid. Still worried, the Magistrate calls upon Sagwa to paint a portrait of him in his "new robes", reasoning to himself that at least he'll be able to see how it looks like with it painted by someone who can at least see it (The magistrate may be foolish, but he certainly is not stupid - ed). Sagwa is now in a bind: if she paints what she sees, she might get into trouble. But if she doesn't, she'll just be lying. Her mom tells her to do what she feels right. So, she does the right thing: paint what she sees. Tai-tai thinks that Sagwa's stupid, but as the others began to confess that they actually saw nothing, she too confesses. The magistrate figures out the truth, and fines the conmen, in addition to making them work (this time, on normal thread, and under heavy supervision). The magistrate then thanks Sagwa. The end.moreless

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