Something is happening in Hong Kong that bewilders me. Whenever I go out, I see almost everyone wearing facemasks. There are only a few holdouts. What bewilders me is I have never seen anyone wearing the cloth reusable facemasks the government gave to people for free. Nearly three million people applied for the free facemasks when they became available recently. That’s nearly half of Hong Kong’s population. So why have I not seen anyone wearing it? It’s a head-scratcher. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is always wearing one when I see her on TV. But I have not seen other senior officials wearing the government facemasks.
If something bewilders you, it means it confuses you. The noun “holdout” means a person who resists or refuses to do something even when pressured to do it. A head-scratcher is something mysterious, confusing, or very difficult to understand. Why are even government officials not wearing the government’s free facemask? It’s a head-scratcher. I have not applied for the facemask because, like many people, I think it looks like an elderly woman’s underwear. But like most Hong Kong people, I always wear a facemask when I go out. I meticulously remove it and use hand sanitizer when I am walking alone by the harbour-front, where there are not too many people.
But I have noticed that many Hong Kong people are not meticulous at all when they handle their facemasks. To be meticulous means to be very careful and precise in doing something. I am meticulous about never touching the front of my mask because it collects germs to prevent the germs from entering my nose and mouth. Many people I see in the streets touch the front of their masks, constantly press the mask around their nose to tighten it, and even fold the masks to put in their pockets. This defeats the purpose of wearing a mask. The expression “defeats the purpose” means to make something you are doing pointless. It is pointless to wear a mask if you handle it incorrectly.
若某事 bewilders你，即是指它令你困惑，把你弄糊塗了。名詞“holdout”是指一個人即使被人強迫要去做某事，仍堅拒去做。A head-scratcher就是不可思議的、令人困惑的，又或抓破頭也想不通的難題。為何連政府官員也不去佩戴政府的免費口罩？這真是個head-scratcher。我沒有申請領取那個口罩，因為一如許多人所想，我覺得它像極了老婆婆的內褲。但正如許多香港人一樣，我出外時總會戴一個口罩。當我獨個兒在沒有甚麼人的海旁散步時，我會小心翼翼地（meticulously）脫下口罩和用酒精搓手液。
但我留意到，許多香港人處理他們的口罩時，完全不夠謹慎（meticulous）。 To be meticulous是指非常小心、仔細、一絲不苟。我非常謹慎（meticulous）不去觸碰到口罩的前方，因為那兒會收集到細菌，以防那些細菌進入我的口鼻。我在街上所見，許多人都會觸碰其口罩的前方，持續地在鼻樑附近按壓口罩以令它更緊貼，甚至摺上口罩再放入口袋內。這就有違戴口罩的原意（defeats the purpose of wearing a mask）了。習語“defeats the purpose”是指令你在做的事情變得毫無意義，與其初衷背道而馳。若你處理不當，那你戴口罩是毫無意義的。
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧