又中又英——“take a cue from”

  In my previous column I said senior government officials should take a cue from Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor who has promised to answer English questions from reporters. The expression “take a cue from” means to follow the example of or to be strongly influenced by someone or something. Not only senior government officials should take a cue from the chief executive. Other people should do it too. Even large companies in Hong Kong don’t give a damn about English anymore. If you say you “don’t give a damn”, it means you don’t care about something. The MTR manages the building where I live in Tseung Kwan O. Whenever the MTR sends out notices about the building, they are only in Chinese.

  I received such a notice in my mailbox last week. I have what it says because it is all in Chinese. If you say you have no clue about something, it means you are totally unable to understand or even guess what something is about. I have no clue about what the MTR notice says because I don’t know how to read or write Chinese. The MTR is a huge (very big) company that provides train services, builds large housing projects, and manages buildings. How can it only send out notices in Chinese to residents of the buildings it manages? Does it not understand that some residents cannot read Chinese?

  Last week, I received my electricity bill from CLP Power. The bill included a leaflet about renewable energy. A leaflet is a printed sheet of paper containing information or advertising. The CLP leaflet I received was in Chinese with just a few words in English. How can I learn more about renewable energy if I have no clue about what the leaflet says? CLP provides electricity to Kowloon, the New Territories, and Lantau. But it doesn’t give a damn about providing information in English. Wellcome and Market Place supermarkets are owned by Jardines but they always use Chinese for their receipts when customers pay. I have complained many times but they don’t give a damn. English is dying in Hong Kong.

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  在上一篇專欄中我說到,特首林鄭月娥已經承諾會回答記者們的英語提問,各政府高官們好應借鏡(take a cue from)。習語“take a cue from”的意思是學習他人的榜樣,或受某人或某事的巨大影響或啟發。不但是政府高官們應借鏡(take a cue from)特首的做法,其他人也應這樣做。現在連香港的一些大公司都對英語不屑一顧(don’t give a damn)。若你說你 don’t give a damn,即是說你對某事毫不關心、毫不在乎。我在將軍澳住的大廈,是由港鐵管理的。每當港鐵就大廈事宜發出通告,統統都只有中文。

  我上星期就在信箱中收到這樣的一則通告,我對通告上面所說的內容毫無頭緒(no clue),因它全是中文。若你說 you have no clue about something,即是說你對它一無所知,完全茫無頭緒。我對港鐵通告到底在說甚麼,完全是茫無頭緒(no clue),因為我不懂讀或寫中文。港鐵是間非常大(huge)的企業,提供鐵路服務,興建大型屋苑計劃,又管理樓宇。它怎麼可能向它所管理的大廈的住戶,只發中文的通告?難道它不明白,有些住戶是看不懂中文的嗎?

  上星期,我收到中電寄來的電費單,帳單還附有一張談及再生能源的小單張(leaflet)。A leaflet就是印有資訊或廣告的傳單。我收到的那張中電的小單張(leaflet),上面寫的是中文,另附寥寥數句英語。若我完全搞不懂(no clue)單張上的內容,我又怎能對再生能源了解更多?中電為九龍、新界和大嶼山提供電力,但也不在乎(doesn’t give a damn)是否要用英語提供資訊。惠康和Market Place超市由怡和集團所擁有,但它們給予客人的單據永遠也只得中文。我曾經投訴過許多遍,但他們也都毫不在乎(don’t give a damn)。在香港,英語正在消亡之中。

中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧

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