又中又英——inside dope

  Most of my friends assume that, as a journalist, I have the inside dope on many things. They often ask me for the inside dope on future government policies. Recently, they asked me for the inside dope on whether the central government will fire Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor or if she will resign to take responsibility for her failed handling of the extradition bill. My friends also asked me for the inside dope on what the chief executive's endgame is to bring calm back to Hong Kong. The word“dope”has several meanings. It can mean a stupid person or illegal drugs. But it is also a slang word that means information. Inside dope means inside information, or information that most people don't have.

  Only senior government officials have the inside dope, or inside information, on confidential discussions between them and mainland officials on how to deal with the extradition bill controversy. The endgame is the last stage of a chess game, with only a few pieces left on the chess board. But the word“endgame”can also mean the final stage of a process. When my friends asked me what Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's endgame is regarding the extradition bill controversy, they meant how she will try to end the controversy. I tell my friends that journalists don't always have the inside dope on what government officials are thinking.

  It is part of my job as a journalist to talk with senior government officials. But such discussions are often off-the-record, which means I must keep them confidential. I sometimes have the inside dope on some but not all issues. Government officials will not share all their confidential information with journalists, even in off-the-record discussions! I do not know what the chief executive's endgame is regarding the extradition bill controversy. I don't think she even has an endgame. There are rumours she offered to resign but the central government refused her offer. I don't have the inside dope on whether that is true.

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  許多朋友都假定,我身為一個新聞工作者,一定有許多事情的內幕消息(inside dope)。他們不時會問我有關政府未來政策的內幕消息(inside dope)。最近,他們就問我可有秘密情報(inside dope)知道,中央政府到底會不會因為特首林鄭月娥處理引渡修例的失敗而炒掉她,抑或她會為了問責而辭職。我的朋友們也問我可有內幕消息(inside dope),知道特首將會怎樣為平息香港的紛爭而收拾殘局(endgame)?Dope有幾個意思,可解作笨蛋或者毒品;但它也是一個俚語,解作消息;inside dope即指內部消息,或秘密的情報。

  就着怎樣處理引渡修例的爭議,政府高官與內地官員有過甚麼機密的討論,只有他們自己才會有內部消息(inside dope)。The endgame是一盤棋賽到了尾聲,只剩下幾隻棋子的殘局。但endgame也可解作一個過程的最後階段。當朋友們問我,關乎引渡修例爭議林鄭月娥的endgame是如何?他們的意思是她會嘗試怎樣收拾這個激烈爭議的殘局。我跟我的朋友們說,政府官員到底有甚麼打算,新聞工作者並不總是有內幕消息(inside dope)的。

  身為新聞工作者,我的工作之一是去跟政府高官談話,但這樣的討論通常都是off-the-record的,即是說這些都是私底下、非公開的,我必須保密。我有時會有某些議題的秘密情報(inside dope),卻不是所有議題都有。政府官員不會跟新聞工作者分享他們所有的機密情報,即使在私底下(off-the-record)的討論!我不知道特首會怎樣處理引渡修例爭議的殘局(endgame)。在我看來,她甚至沒有甚麼「終局之戰」(endgame)。外間傳言她曾提出請辭,但中央政府拒絕讓她離職。這個傳言是真是假,我也沒有內幕消息(inside dope)。mickchug@gmail.com 中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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