雞同鴨講──當我們對時局感到絕望…的英文是？｜A Chicken Talking To A Duck By Chatterbox
Political advocates pushing for Hong Kong’s independence have stirred up a severe political storm both in Hong Kong and China. Things came to a boiling point recently which prompted a top mainland official to issue a warning saying it could rock the city’s stability, or worst, bring calamity to China.
Senior Chinese official Zhang Dejiang effectively told these independence advocates off in the most direct way possible while meeting a pro-Beijing activist who actively campaigns against Hong Kong independence.
The word “calamity” is a heavy-duty word which means disaster or catastrophe. In every day life we often come across situations in which we feel hopeless and may come close to even feeling it’s a disaster. There are many ways to express such desperation. But first off, let’s look at ways to describe situations when our personal safety is threatened or simply related to safety in general.
To describe a disaster that nearly happened, you can say it’s a “close shave” or “by a hair’s breadth”. The latter means you managed to escape from a danger by a tiny margin. Phew!
But if you say “the coast is clear” it means you are totally safe or that nobody can see you. You can use it in a very casual situation. For example, you want to leave work early and are worried that the boss might see you leaving, so you ask a colleague to check on your behalf and your colleague comes back and say “the coast is clear”, which means you can head off without being spotted by your boss.
How about “dicey situation”, “dicing with death” and “fraught with danger”? You might have guessed that they all have the element of danger. Dicey means dubious, risky and unpredictable; dice with death means doing something that puts your life at risk while fraught with danger can be used to describe a situation full of serious difficulties or risks.
Other useful phrases to depict putting yourself in danger are “put your head on the block” and “risk life and limb”.
But if something is “in safe hands” it’s being taken care of by a reliable person. If you want to tell someone to be “on the safe side” it means you are advising them to be extra careful and take precaution to avoid or minimise risks. It has the same effect as telling someone “to watch their step”.
Going back to what we were discussing in the beginning on how to describe desperation. How about when something “goes pear-shaped”? It means things have gone wrong producing undesirable results.
“When the going gets tough” can also put anyone in a desperate mood and when you “grasp at straws” it shows an equally despairing situation that has little chance of success in finding a solution.
Okay enough of being “down in the dumps” and all of that negative talk. We should be thrilled because it’s the weekend. Have a nice break and see you all next week.
要描述在一場差點發生的災難中死裡逃生，可用到「close shave」或「by a hair’s breadth」，後者更有以毫釐之差脫險的意思。
不過，如若你說「the coast is clear」，則代表想做事情的你狀況安全，沒有人的目光注視到你，大可放心去做。這句話適用於不少輕鬆的場合，例如想早點下班，卻怕碰到上司看見你離開的時候，你大可請同事幫忙「睇水」，聽見「the coast is clear」時，就是離開的時機了！
那麼，「dicey situation」、「dicing with death」及「fraught with danger」又是甚麼意思呢？或許大家都猜到了，它們都有危險的元素在內。「Dicey」有可疑、具危險性及不可預測之意，「dice with death」則指做一些押上性命的事。至於「fraught with danger」，可用來形容充滿嚴重困難或危難的情況。
描述自己身陷危險的短語，還有「put your head on the block」及「risk life and limb」。
相反而言，如果某事被形容為「in safe hands」，代表它已被可靠的人打理、接管。而若然你想叫某人「be on the safe side」，代表你建議他們小心翼翼地行事，盡量減低風險，這與「to watch their step」有相同意思。
「When the going gets tough」 也可形容某人處於絕望當中，若然他「grasp at straws」，則代表他成功找出解決方法的機會，已是微乎其微了。
「Down in the dumps」之類的負面言論，今天談夠了。難得周末，還是保持興奮的心情較好吧。祝你有個愉快周末，下周見！