又中又英——run-of-the-mill

  There was an amusing headline in The Guardian newspaper last week, which made me chuckle. The headline used an expression I had never heard before. Headlines are a crucial(very important)part of news articles. A headline has to be either amusing or eye-catching for readers to want to read the article. A run-of-the-mill(ordinary, unexciting) headline will not make readers want to read the article. If something is amusing, it means it is entertaining and funny. To chuckle means to laugh quietly. If something is eye-catching, it means it is immediately noticeable. The headline in the Guardian newspaper was both amusing and eye-catching. That's why I read the article.

  This is what the headline said︰ "Chinese city's ban on "Beijing bikinis" leaves men hot under the collar」. I didn't know what a "Beijing bikini" was until I read the article. A bikini is a two-piece swimming costume for women. But a "Beijing bikini" is what expatriates say when they see men who have rolled up their shirts or T-shirts up to their chests so that their whole stomachs can been seen. It is common in mainland China for men to do this when the weather is very hot. I had seen Hong Kong men do this when I was a young boy but I seldom see that now.

  The headline said the mainland city of Jinan had issued a diktat against men rolling up their shirts to show their stomachs. The city's government said such behavior is uncivilized. A diktat is an order that is forced on the people by a ruler or government. It is of German origin and comes from the word "dictate". If you are hot under the collar, it means you are angry or embarrassed about something. The men in Jinan were hot under the collar because they were angry and embarrassed that the city government issued a diktat against men rolling their shirts up to show their stomachs on hot days. I would never roll my shirt up to show my stomach because my belly (stomach) is getting too big from the wine I drink!

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  上星期,《衞報》有一則很引人入勝的(amusing)新聞標題,令我暗自發笑(chuckle)。那新聞標題用了一個我從未聽說過的習語。標題是新聞報道至關重要的(crucial)部份。一個新聞標題,要不就是有趣的(amusing),要不就得引人注目(eye-catching),令讀者想追看那篇報道。一個平平無奇的(run-of-the-mill)標題,不能吸引讀者繼續看下去。若某事是amusing,那即是它富娛樂性又好玩。To chuckle即是低聲輕笑。若某事是eye-catching,即是它能立即引起人注意。《衞報》的那個新聞頭條既有趣(amusing)又吸睛(eye-catching),使我細讀那篇報道。

  那則新聞標題是這樣寫的:「Chinese city's ban on "Beijing bikinis"」 leaves men hot under the collar」。我看那篇報道前,從不知道「Beijing bikini」是甚麼。A bikini就是女性所穿的兩件頭比堅尼泳衣。但當外籍人士見到男人捲起襯衫或T恤到心口處,光着肚皮,就會稱之為「北京比堅尼」(Beijing bikini)。天氣非常炎熱的時候,這種做法在中國內地就很常見。我年少的時候,也曾見過香港男人這樣做,但現在已很少見了。

  那則新聞頭條說,內地的濟南市發出強制規定(diktat),禁止男人捲起上衣以露出肚皮。市政府說,這樣的行徑很不文明。

  A diktat就是一個統治者或政府強制要求人民遵守的命令,這字來自德語,由「dictate」一字演化出來。若你是hot under the collar,即是說你對某事感到很生氣或困窘。濟南市的男人都是hot under the collar,因為他們對於市政府發出命令(diktat),不許他們在炎夏捲起上衣露出肚皮散熱,感到既生氣又窘逼。我永不會捲起我的上衣露出肚皮,因為我喝酒喝太多,肚腩(belly)已變得很大了!

mickchug@gmail.com

中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧

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