又中又英——Flogging a dead horse

  Whenever there is a crisis, such as the coronavirus pandemic, governments should be proactive rather than reactive. Most governments have been reactive rather than proactive in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Mainland China tried to cover it up and then became reactive when too many people got infected and died. The US and other Western countries at first didn't take the pandemic seriously and became reactive when infections shot up. India was somewhat proactive by ordering everyone to stay at home for 21 days. Taiwan, and to some extent Singapore, were the most proactive.

  The word "proactive" means taking action by making changes instead of just reacting to something when it happens. The word "reactive" means reacting to something, such as a crisis, instead of doing something first to control the crisis. Most Hong Kong people feel our government has been too reactive and not proactive at all in dealing with the coronavirus crisis. When it first started in Wuhan, Hong Kong people asked the government to shut all borders with the mainland. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor refused. She then agreed to shut only a few borders. She shut most border crossings only after nurses went on strike.

  She flip-flopped on shutting bars and karaoke lounges. At first she said she would shut bars, then flip-flopped and allowed bars to remain open. Now she has shut them. At first she refused to shut karaoke lounges. Now she has flip-flopped and shut them. To "flip-flop" means to refuse to do something and then suddenly doing it. Many Hong Kong people say trying to make Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor listen to public opinion is like flogging a dead horse. The expression "flogging a dead horse" means to waste time and effort doing something that is impossible. The word "flog" means to hit someone with a whip as a punishment. It is a waste of time flogging a dead horse because the horse will feel no pain. Many people feel Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor doesn't listen to public opinion. That's why asking her to listen is flogging a dead horse.

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  每當有危機發生,例如全球大流行的冠狀病毒,政府都應先發制人(proactive)而非被動反應(reactive)。大部份的政府應付全球大流行冠狀病毒時,都是被動反應(reactive)而非主動出擊(proactive)。中國內地嘗試掩藏疫情,到大多人受到感染和死亡時,才作出反應(reactive)。美國和其他西方國家一開始也沒有認真看待這場全球大流行疫症,在感染人數暴增時才有反應(reactive)。印度下令所有人留在家中二十一天,算是稍微積極主動(proactive);台灣,以及某種程度上的新加坡,就是最主動出擊的(proactive)。

  Proactive一字是指主動求變,作出行動,而不是等到事情發生了才去反應;reactive則是對某事例如一個危機,作出反應,而非先着手去控制危機。大部份香港人都認為我們的政府在應對這冠狀病毒危機上太被動反應(reactive),完全不夠積極主動(proactive)。當它於武漢開始爆發時,香港人要求政府關閉所有與內地連接的關口,特首林鄭月娥拒絕。她然後同意關閉僅僅幾個口岸。她只是在醫護罷工以後,才去關閉大部份的口岸。

  她在關閉酒吧和卡拉OK酒廊的政策上翻來覆去(flip-flopped)。她原初是說會關閉酒吧,然後又反口(flip-flopped),容許酒吧繼續營業,現在她又已關閉了酒吧。她最初拒絕關閉卡拉OK場所,現在她又出爾反爾(flip-flopped)要關閉之。To“flip-flop”的意思就是變來變去,說不做某事又突然去做。

  許多香港人都說,要嘗試令林鄭月娥聽取民意就像 flogging a dead horse。習語flogging a dead horse意指白費力氣,浪費時間在一些不可能的事上。Flog是指鞭打某人作為懲罰;鞭打一隻死馬(flogging a dead horse)是浪費時間的,因為那隻馬不會感到一絲痛楚。許多人認為林鄭月娥不會聆聽民意,因此叫她聆聽,實在是徒勞無功的(flogging a dead horse)。

中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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