Each week, Alastair Forbes presents image for a writing prompt. The goal is to write a 150 word or less short story based upon the picture. Anyone is invited to join this group of intrepid writers. Please visit Alastair’s page to see the other stories people have written. http://alastairsphotofiction.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/sunday-05th-may-2013/
My story is a cautionary tale. It begins after Alastair’s picture below.
Genre: Dystopian SciFi
Word Count: 150
The Great Mistake
“That’s an oil refinery, hun. They still use it to make petrol to run their cars,” he said.
“That’s stupid!” Said youngest daughter. “Everybody in the world uses electric cars.”
“Not everybody. Some backwards nations use the old ways.”
“But why don’t they use the new technology like everybody else?” Asked oldest son.
“They waited until after oil became too expensive to be usable. Their economy crashed. Now, they are too poor to afford any newer technology.”
“They don’t sound very smart,” commented youngest daughter.
“They are smart, actually. So don’t be rude to them,” he said glaring at his children.
“Do they have internet at least?” Groaned eldest daughter.
“In the hotel, yes.”
“Can they speak Chinese with us, Daddy?” Asked youngest daughter.
“Yes of course, Jia Ying. They all must learn Chinese in their schools. Now remember, the Americans are poor, but they were once proud. Be nice.”
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Brilliant!! I love that twist at the end 😀
Thanks, dude. I can’t resist a good twist.
Yeah, I love doing a twist. I was expecting Amish or something like that lol
Twist indeed. If as you say ‘cautionary.’ We should be respectful of what we have as well as other peoples. We are all differently-able to various degrees. At least with your story it appears the birth constraints have been removed to allow siblings…
In China, you can have multiple kids if you pay the fee. That fee is really high and can’t afford it. In reality, China is getting wealthier every year. Imagine a future China where most of the population is affluent. That would change everything.
You have a very interesting prediction about “They all must learn Chinese in their schools.” My twins are turning 5 and I plan to enroll them in Chinese after school programs because our public kindergarten here in Northern California only runs 4 hrs a day. My French speaking Belgium born husband is against the idea. He says: Chinese is too hard of a language to become as popular as English. What does he know?! Or, he has a point?!;-) BTW, the Chinese written language was invented for the elites and was never intended for the mass population to communicate with each other. The current government went as far as simplifying the written language, hoping more people can read and write. Still, illiteracy rate remains high in China today. I see waiters in Chinese restaurants write 九 (nine) for 酒 (wine), taking our order, because the two words pronounce the same in Mandarine. China must send more people to Chinese schools first.:-)
With China as the #2 economic power in the world, I think it’s a really good idea to learn Chinese if you can. My little story is only a “possible” future and I think an unlikely one.
Even so, I am very certain China will be a strong economic power in the decades to come. I think the illiteracy rate you mentioned will get smaller as affluence in China increases. I expect economic activity between the US and China will increase, and that will obviate the need for people that speak both languages. People who can do this will have great paying jobs guaranteed.
In my very humble opinion, I think you should let your kids learn Chinese (Mandarin, I presume) if at all possible. Their future would be set. If you’re a native speaker/writer, it’ll make that all the easier. And young kids learn languages far easier than adults. It’s an opportunity worth considering.
My twin daughters are definitely going to learn Chinese. Besides the written part, Mandarin Chinese actually is fairly easy to learn because we don’t conjugate verbs. There is only one tense in Chinese.:-)
an unexpected twist. but it could happen in the future.
It could, but I seriously doubt it. I think we’re smarter than that. It’s just a piece of doom and gloom to remind us of what “could be” if we don’t think carefully.
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
Nicely done. We are, however, converting the ocean into power. So we and China can go to war over oceanic rights. 🙂
hehe. I hope not. Alternative power is a good move for both the US and China. As it stands now, we may end up in a fight over oil. But there’s some cool ideas out there that may change the equation. The future will be interesting to say the least.
Nice work, love the twist at the end
Thanks so much!
Love it! Made me laugh out loud at the end seeing “Americans” (I am one and can totally appreciate this!!!)
Thank you much! I am too. It’s a story I hope never comes true. Just a little poke to keep us on our toes.
Neatly worked story.
As a Scot, I am unconcerned by this view of the future.
We have oil, and also wind and wave power.
Pity we can’t use the rain!
Yeah, you Scots came up with an ingenious way to use wave power. I really like that one. I hope we start using it.
Thanks so much for visiting and commenting.