又中又英——Siamese twins

  Former chief executive Leung Chun-ying used an interesting expression last week to describe the democracy camp and radical protesters who used violence. He said the democracy camp and radical protesters were joined at the hip. If two people are joined at the hip, it means they are very close to each other and spend a lot of time together. The expression can be used to describe very close friends who are often together, or married and unmarried couples who have a very close relationship. A similar expression is “soulmates”. This word can be used to describe two people who have a very close and special relationship, either as close friends or romantic partners.

  When Leung Chun-ying said the democracy camp and radical protesters were joined at the hip, he meant the two sides were very close to each other because they shared the same political ideology and agenda. The expression “joined at the hip” is believed to have originated to describe very rare cases when twins are born with parts of their bodies joined to each other. Such twins are known as conjoined twins. Even though conjoined twins can be joined at the hip, chest, or other parts of their bodies, the expression “joined at the hip” originated from conjoined twins. Such twins were called Siamese twins in the 1800s but that term is now considered racially offensive. Thailand was formerly called Siam.

  The term “Siamese twins” originated in Siam (Thailand) after the birth in 1811 of conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker, who were joined at the chest. They were brought to the US in 1829 and made money doing tours in the US and Europe for Western audiences to see them. They later became American citizens and adopted the surname Bunker. Even though they were conjoined twins, they married, had children, and when one died in 1874, the other died too because they shared some of the same organs. In those days medicine was not advanced enough for surgery to separate them. I am not sure if the radicals and the democrats will agree they are joined at the hip.

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  前特首梁振英上星期用了一個挺有趣的習語,去形容民主派及使用暴力的激進示威者。他說民主陣營與激進示威者已經是joined at the hip。若二人是joined at the hip,意即他們就像連體嬰般非常親密,常常在一起。這個習語可以用來形容出雙入對的密友,又或關係緊密的已婚或拍拖的情侶。類似的習語是“soulmates”,這字可以用來形容兩個人有非常親密而又獨特的關係,不論是知己抑或熱戀中的情侶。

  當梁振英說民主派與激進示威者是joined at the hip,他的意思是兩者彼此關係密切,因為他們擁有共同的政治理念與主張。習語“joined at the hip”相信是來自形容非常罕見的連體嬰個案,就是身體有些部份相連在一起的雙胞胎。這些雙胞胎又稱為conjoined twins。雖然連體雙胞胎(conjoined twins)或許是在臀部、胸部又或身體其他部位連在一起,但習語joined at the hip就是來自於連體雙胞胎(conjoined twins)。在一八○○年代,這些雙胞胎會被稱為暹羅雙胞胎(Siamese twins),但這個名稱現已被認為對種族有所冒犯。泰國從前就被稱為暹羅。

  Siamese twins一詞是來源於暹羅(泰國),就是一八一一年誕生的一對連體雙胞胎(conjoined twins)恩.邦克和昌.邦克,他們二人是胸腔相連的。他們於一八二九年被帶往美國,並在美國及歐洲等地巡迴表演給西方觀眾觀看,以此賺錢。他們後來成為美國公民,取姓氏為邦克。雖然他們是連體雙胞胎(conjoined twins),他們仍有結婚,生兒育女,而當其中一人在一八七四年離世時,另一位也隨着去世,因為他們共用某些器官。在那個年代,醫學並不那麼昌明,未能替他們進行分離的手術。我不肯定激進派與民主派可會認同他們是那麼密不可分(joined at the hip)呢。中譯:七刻

mickchug@gmail.com

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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