Shops, businesses, and hotels are going bust because of the Wuhan coronavirus. But supermarkets are cashing in. Supermarket owners are laughing all the way to the bank. They must be hoping that the bulk-buying will continue for a long time. They must also be laughing at the stupidity of Hong Kong people. Supermarkets have raised the price of some items but Hong Kong's stupid people don't care. Before the coronavirus outbreak, Hong Kong people used to look at prices. They used to pick up items, examine them carefully, and even smell them before deciding whether or not to buy. But now they just bulk-buy whatever is available in supermarkets. The coronavirus outbreak has exposed the ugly underbelly of Hong Kong people.
If a shop or business is going bust, it means it is losing so much money it has to close down. To "cash in" used this way means to take advantage of a situation to make a lot of money. If you are laughing all the way to the bank, it means you are making a lot of money very easily. To bulk-buy, as I explained in my previous column, means to buy a lot of something. The word "underbelly" used this way means the hidden part of something. The expression "ugly underbelly" means this hidden part is ugly or unpleasant. Selfish Hong Kong people bulk-buying rice, toilet paper, kitchen towels, and other things, making it impossible for others to buy them, has shown there is a hidden, ugly side of Hong Kong people.
I cannot understand why Hong Kong's supermarkets don't stop people from bulk-buying. It is very easy to tell people they can only buy one bag of rice, one packet of toilet rolls, and one packet of tissue paper boxes. This will enable everyone to buy what they need. A big supermarket chain in Singapore has stopped people from bulk-buying after Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged people not to bulk-buy. Singaporeans listened to their leader. It is Hong Kong's tragedy that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor doesn't know how to lead.
因着武漢新型冠狀病毒，商店、生意和酒店都要垮掉（going bust）了；但超級市場則可從中獲利（cashing in），超市店主都要賺翻了（laughing all the way to the bank）。他們一定是希望這種「爆買」（bulk-buying）狀況可以延續好長的時間。他們一定也在取笑香港人的愚笨。超市已經將一些貨品的價格調高了，但香港的蠢人並不在意。新冠病毒爆發前，香港人都習慣看清楚價錢。他們都習慣拿起物品、仔細審視，甚至嗅一嗅，才決定要不要買。然而，他們現在只會大量購買（bulk-buy）任何超市貨架上有的貨品。新冠病毒爆發，揭露了香港人醜惡的陰暗面（ugly underbelly）。
若一間商店又或商業公司正going bust，意即它蝕本、破產，要關門大吉了。To “cash in”在這裏的意思就是從中獲利，賺個盤滿鉢滿。若你是laughing all the way to the bank，意即你輕而易舉便賺大錢。To bulk-buy，正如我在上一篇專欄中解釋的，就是大量購買某物。
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧