又中又英——topsy-turvy

  No one could have imagined just a few weeks ago that the whole world would suddenly go topsy-turvy. It is like a nightmare come true. The coronavirus, which started in Wuhan, has now spread its tentacles to the whole world. People are dying. There is global panic. Stock markets around the world are in a freefall (falling very quickly).

  Countries have closed their borders to each other. Businesses, especially airlines and hotels, are going bust. It is as if World War III has arrived. But this is not a world war with countries fighting each other. This is a war with the whole world fighting an invisible enemy that doesn't use bombs or warplanes to fight against us. It uses our coughs, sneezes, and dirty hands to invade our noses, eyes, and mouths.

  It is like a science fiction movie but it is very real. Even though the world has gone topsy-turvy, I urge everyone to stay calm and fight the enemy together. United we stand, divided we fall. The expression "topsy-turvy" means upside-down. It is used to describe confusion or disorder. A tentacle is a long, thin arm of a sea creature such as an octopus. The expression "spread its tentacles" means to extend those arms everywhere to control things. If a company "goes bust" it means it is losing so much money it has to close down. The expression "united we stand, divided we fall" means if we all join and fight together, we will succeed, but if we fight against each other we will fail.

  Well-known Hong Kong disease expert Yuen Kwok-yung has warned many times that people on the mainland should stop eating wild animals such as civet cats and bats to avoid new diseases. He repeated that warning again last week in a newspaper column but was criticized by the pro-Beijing camp for being a traitor and a US supporter. Yuen Kwok-yung was pressured into withdrawing his article. Those who pressured him should remember the expression "united we stand, divided we fall".

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  僅僅幾個星期前,沒有人會想像得到,全世界會突然天翻地覆(topsy-turvy),就像一個噩夢成真一般。這個起源於武漢的新冠病毒,現已將它的觸鬚伸延至(spread its tentacles)全世界,不斷有人死亡,全球陷入恐慌。世界各地的股票市場正像自由落體般急瀉(freefall)。各國都已互相封閉邊境。商業尤其是航空及酒店業,都要完蛋(going bust)了。這就像第三次世界大戰來臨一樣。然而,這不是各國互相攻打的世界大戰,而是全世界在抗戰一個隱形的敵人,它不用炮彈又或戰機去攻擊我們,而是用我們的咳嗽、噴嚏以及髒手去侵略我們的鼻、眼和口。

  這活像科幻電影,可這一切都是真實的。雖然全世界變得亂七八糟(topsy-turvy),我仍力勸各位保持冷靜,一同抵禦敵人。團結則存,分裂則亡(united we stand, divided we fall)。習語“topsy-turvy”意即顛倒了,是用來形容混亂或無序的狀態。A tentacle是海洋生物的幼長觸角;習語“spread its tentacles”意即伸手至各處去掌控事情。若一家公司“goes bust”,意即它虧蝕了許多錢,要破產而倒閉了。習語“united we stand, divided we fall”就是說,若我們團結一起,我們就會成功;反則若我們互相攻擊,那我們就會失敗。

  知名的香港傳染病專家袁國勇已多次警告,內地人應當停止進食野生動物,例如果子貍和蝙蝠,以避免新型疾病出現。他上周在一報章專欄中重複這個警告,卻被親北京陣營批評為「漢奸」和親美人士。袁國勇受壓而撤回了文章。那些對他施加壓力的人,好應記住這個習語:「團結則存,分裂則亡」(united we stand, divided we fall)。

中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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