Letters in Chinese

李察通訊 Letters in Chinese


The Eating Robot


John is not a robot. He is a man working in a factory. The factory rents lots of robots to work. Robots come to work every day, and they will go back to their service center to recharge every night. The worse thing is that the robots use public transport. Public transports are always cheaper. And it was confusing, as the towns people can hardly know which one is robot and which one is not.


John is the head of robots. His job is to make the robots work according to orders. And the robots are very much the same look like a man, people nearby always confuse John as a robot. They would punch him or pinch him or molest him from time to time.  John is annoyed.


Every day after work, he would go to the nearby pub to drink, and sometimes he would drink overnight, and back to work the next day. The work place is for robots,  there is very little light and not enough fresh air. He is not happy.


And he would think: What is the difference between me and the robots. He had tried many ways. He would put on decent clothes and shaved his face. But it makes him more like the robots and brings him more trouble.


Then he finds out the difference. Robots do not eat and do not smoke. From then on, he would hang a cigarette on the corner of his lips whenever he goes out. And that makes a difference. He is happy again.


Towns people would kindly say hi to him. When he goes into the nearby coffee shop, the waitresses would flirt with him, thinking he is real.


One day, when he was inspecting the working lines as usual, he was very angry all in a sudden. He found, among the working line of twenty robots, one of them was smoking, with a cigarette hanging on the robot's mouth.


He shouted, "Hey, you, get out!"


No one was responding, as they were confused which is the one to take the order.


And that made him angrier. He said: "How dare you smoke in my factory!"  He went into the production line to fetch the robot. He wanted to beat the robot and give the robot a lesson.


The robot eased his tension with a simple responding line: "Sir, do you know how much I will cost if you break me?"


John was stunned as he heard it. He knew it perfectly well it would cost him his annual income if he broke the robot. He was trembling with a highly controlled voice: " Please tell me why are you smoking! "


And the robot said, "I need not tell you, it's not in the work orders."


John was trying to find something to retort, the robot continued: "It is none of your business and it is only between me and my creator."


John went to the pub that night, as he knew he could not sleep peacefully. He would drink for the night to settle his mind.


How much would be my cost! And it is easy to count. If a robot costs him his annual income, then a hundred of the god-damn-robots would be his own cost. Though he knew it quite well he cannot work for a hundred years.


Thoughts were dangerous.


He was in the roof of the two-hundred-stories high factory building now. He wanted to jump. As he could not settle his mind in peace.


He looked up at the sky, and thought, "If the robot can have arrangements with their own creator, what about me! And what is my value!"


The sky was white and very bright. No answers were coming down yet, though he had been there for three hours.


The roof door was quietly opened.


Two female robots, with a small tray of drinks and refreshments entered.


The first female robot said in an attractive soft voice: "Sir, will you take a seat, we have brought you the old man." As the second female robot arranged the table and drinks, an old man entered the roof top garden.


The old man said, "Hello John, we are glad to have your question and I would like to take this opportunity to give you the answer. "


John was a little surprised. The old man continued: "You have asked about the value of a human being, and that was a very good start. We would give a raise to anyone who have come up with that question. " It was in this moment, John was happy again. He wanted to know how much more he would earn in the coming months.  But he only said: "Yes?" and looked at the old man.  


The old man said simply, "The value is, Know the difference of a man and his creator."


John felt puzzled. "What do you mean, Sir?"


The old man said with a smile: "Your creator wants you to grow and he has encouraged humans and animals to compete and fight with each other to make progress. That is why you always have wars and fights and you are not happy. Now you humans need to have your own way to grow. Can you try to compete with each other peacefully and not fighting anymore?"


John was confused, "What do you mean, Sir?"


And the old man said: "that meant wisdom. If you have wisdom, you don't have to ask the creator anymore. "


As the old man left, John was deep in his thoughts to think, whether the old man was a human, or just simply another better made robot, or the old man was the creator.


And John did have a raise next month. He was happy. 


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