【WHY NOT BOLD】Interviewing Pearlmi Tam – Screenwriter of “Drive My Cube” A highway towards Growth

A Female Driver who is also a Good Driver

Pearlmi Tam walked into the studio with a confident smile, dressed in an apricot jumpsuit dress, black leather shoes, and floral socks. Her wheat-colored shoulder-length hair framed her face perfectly, and she looked ready to take on the world. She is the screenwriter of the script ‘Drive My Cube’.

In the script of “Drive my Cube,” the protagonist Ana refuses to sell her late father’s Nissan Cube. To experience the same scenery her father saw from the driver’s seat, she learns to drive. Whenever Ana faces a near-crash, she unexpectedly unlocks her own supernatural ability and sets out on various fantastical journeys. She is meeting the first female driver in history, rescuing a mysterious sheep, becoming the first Russian woman astronaut to land on the moon, and even encountering her father as a child.” (Excerpt from the description of “Drive my Cube”)

The script ‘Drive my Cube’ presents a fascinating exploration of gender roles and family dynamics through the eyes of its protagonist, Ana. In this story, the car serves as a symbol for the father, and Ana grapples with the challenge of emulating her father’s behavior while also questioning traditional male gender norms. Pearlmi Tam, the screenwriter, offers a unique perspective on this male-dominated world by approaching it from a female point of view. As Ana embarks on a series of adventures, she discovers new aspects of herself and finds emotional release, while also deepening her understanding of the bond between father and daughter. Ultimately, ‘Drive my Cube’ is a poignant and thought-provoking portrayal of self-discovery and personal growth.

If we hope to truly see another person, we have to start by looking within ourselves.

 – “Drive my Car”

Pearlmi shared a humorous anecdote about her connection to the car that inspired the story behind ‘Drive My Cube’. Initially, she had only intended to rent a parking space, but ended up purchasing the car that was already parked there. While the ‘Cube’ was not her dream car, she gradually grew attached to it and even after a traffic accident, she opted to invest a significant sum of money into repairing it rather than replacing it. This amusing incident inadvertently served as the inspiration for ‘Drive My Cube’, a testament to the unexpected ways in which inspiration can strike.

Some female drivers are skilled and have different personalities

Pearlmi Tam

“I believe that driving is 70% experience and 30% natural talent.” She has inherited her family’s passion for driving. With a grandfather who drove tourist buses and a mother who was also skilled behind the wheel, she has a natural sense of direction and mechanical intuition that only adds to her driving abilities. During our interview, she expertly navigated through traffic with her beloved Nissan Cube, which she affectionately refers to as “Cube”. Her sharp turns and precise handling skills were a testament to her exceptional driving abilities, breaking stereotypes about female drivers and proving that she is a skilled and confident driver.

I think it’s a matter of the person, not gender.

– Pearlmi Tam

Despite common stereotypes that depict female drivers as “road bombs,” Pearlmi strongly disagrees with such negative labels. “I don’t agree with that!” she declares. Pearlmi firmly believes that gender should not determine a person’s driving skills or attitude. Instead, she suggests that impulsiveness, competitiveness, and a lack of focus are more significant contributors to traffic accidents, which can occur in both men and women.

As a female driver and screenwriter, Pearlmi saw an opportunity in writing ‘Drive My Cube’ to redefine the identity of female drivers and speak up for their abilities. She hopes to dispel any misconceptions about female drivers and demonstrate that women can take the wheel and be excellent drivers, just like men. Pearlmi’s words and actions serve as an inspiration for female drivers everywhere, encouraging them to break down stereotypes and take pride in their driving abilities.

Since childhood, Pearlmi has never been particularly interested in things considered “feminine.” She possesses a rebellious streak that has made her question society’s gender stereotypes. Pearlmi firmly believes that everyone, regardless of gender, possesses diversity, and asks, “Why should our natural tendencies be constrained by gender stereotypes?” This is why both of her works, ‘My Heaven’ and ‘Drive My Cube’, explore gender issues. “I’m 28 years old this year, and I’ll soon be officially labeled as ’29+1.’ I feel that the period between 23 and 28 is a transition from being a girl to a woman. Perhaps it’s because of this personal growth that I want to speak more about gender issues.”

Towards the end of the interview, she was asked if she had a choice, which gender she would choose to be. Without hesitation, she answered, “Man.” However, she also expressed a desire, “I also hope that my soul can come to a conclusion after experiencing both male and female.” 

“When I want to relax, I will take you to the Gold Coast to feel the breeze. If we go for a drive along the Castle Peak Road, I will definitely take the route through Ting Kau, Sham Tseng, and Tsing Lung Tau because it is the most Japanese-like road in Hong Kong! Both sides of the road are filled with cherry blossoms and there are mountains and the sea in front. Looking up, you can see the moon. The sky is so wide and beautiful!”(Excerpt from “Drive my Cube”)

The play reading performance of “Drive my Cube” was organized by “Play-Reading in the bookshop” and held at the independent bookstore Hiding Place. While this type of activity is not yet widely popular in Hong Kong, the screenings of “Drive my Cube” were extremely popular, with tickets selling out quickly and additional showings required. The actresses Ami Lee and Ceciia Lau, both graduates of the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, brought the various characters to life in a charming and infectious manner. The on-site sound effects and scenery were kept simple, allowing the audience to focus on the script. The subtle connection between the sheep and the human, the language transition at the turn of the era, and the silent yet seemingly audible voice-over were all left open for interpretation and appreciation by the audience. Overall, even for those experiencing a reading performance for the first time, it proved to be an engaging and accessible experience.

Data source: “Drive my Cube” script, Play-Reading in the bookshop, “Drive my Car”

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