又中又英——To wear or not to wear

  One of Shakespeare’s most memorable (worth remembering, unforgettable) quotes is: “To be or not to be”. It is from his famous play Hamlet. This quote is not easy to understand at first glance unless you read Hamlet. Its simple meaning is to die or not to die. Hamlet was so sad because of the murder of his father that he asked himself whether it is better to live or to commit suicide. The expression “at first glance” means seeing something briefly for the first time without knowing more details. Many people have tweaked Shakespeare’s memorable quote to mean different things. Today, I will tweak it this way: “To wear or not to wear”.

  The word “tweak” has several meanings but used this way it means to make a slight change to something to make it more relevant to an issue. After Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor used emergency laws to ban facemasks, the democracy camp challenged the ban in court. A judge decided the ban was unconstitutional but the government appealed the judge’s decision. Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor banned facemasks last October, before a mysterious disease in Wuhan made many people sick. The mysterious disease has scared so many Hong Kong people that many are now wearing facemasks to protect themselves, causing a run on facemasks.

  If there is “a run on” something, it means many people want to buy the same thing at the same time. Many shop owners are price gouging because there is a run on facemasks. The expression “price gouging” means to charge unfairly high prices when many people want to buy the same thing, causing a shortage. To me, price gouging is despicable (hateful, abhorrent). People should boycott shops that do this. The question now is: “To wear or not to wear”. If you wear a facemask, you could be breaking the law if the government wins the appeal. If you don’t wear a facemask, you could be affected by the mysterious disease.

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  莎士比亞其中一句最令人難忘(memorable)的名言是:“To be or not to be”.這是來自他著名的戲劇《哈姆雷特》。這句話乍看(at first glance)並不容易明白,除非你已讀過《哈姆雷特》一劇。它最簡單的意思是,要死還是要生?哈姆雷特很憂愁,因為他的父親被謀殺,他就問自己,應該繼續生存抑或去自殺?習語 at first glance意即乍看某事而並不太了解。許多人都微調了(tweaked)莎士比亞這句令人難以忘懷(memorable)的名言,去表達另一種意思。今天,我就會調整(tweak)這句話,變成:“To wear or not to wear”.

  Tweak有幾個意思,但在這裏是指對某物作出輕微的調整或修改,令它更切合所要說的議題。在特首林鄭月娥引用《緊急法》去禁止蒙面後,民主派陣營就訴諸法庭,挑戰這條禁令。一位法官裁定這條禁令違憲,但政府就法官的裁決提出上訴。林鄭月娥於去年十月禁止市民蒙面,是在武漢神秘疾病令多人病倒之前。這個神秘疾病嚇怕了許多香港人,許多人現在也戴口罩保護自己,導致全城搶購面罩(a run on facemasks)。

  若有“a run on” something,意即許多人同時去搶購同一樣貨物。許多店舖東主因為有面罩搶購潮(a run on facemasks),便抬高售價(price gouging)。習語price gouging意即在許多人買同一物品而導致貨物短缺的時候,不合理地抬高物價。對我來說,這種趁火打劫的抬高物價(price gouging)是卑鄙的(despicable),人們應該杯葛這樣做的商戶。但現在的問題是:該戴還是不該戴?(“To wear or not to wear”.)若你戴口罩,要是政府上訴得直,你就是犯法了;若你不戴口罩,你卻可能會感染這個神秘的疾病。

  中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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