Today is Christmas Eve. Tomorrow is Christmas Day. Hong Kong people celebrate many festivals, including Christmas, Easter, and Lunar New Year, which is Hong Kong’s biggest festival. I like all festivals but Christmas is my favourite. As I said in my previous column, this Christmas will not be a joyful one. Bars will be shut and restaurants can only stay open until 6 pm. Those in the food and beverage industry expect many bars and restaurants to “go under”, which means they can no longer survive. It is surreal to see bars shut in Lan Kwai Fong on Christmas Eve. When something is “surreal” it means it is strange and doesn’t seem real.
I have been racking my brain deciding what to do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. To “rack your brain” means to think very hard about something or try hard to remember something. Some people use “wrack” instead of “rack”. Previously, I spent Christmas with local friends or with relatives who visit Hong Kong. Social distancing rules, including the rule for restaurants to close at 6 pm, have made celebrating Christmas with local friends impossible unless it is at someone’s home. But we should avoid large home parties. It is also not possible for relatives to visit Hong Kong unless they are local residents. Even then, they must stay in quarantine hotels for two weeks.
Life can only return to normal when vaccines are globally available. But that is not likely to happen until at least late next year. A vaccine is the only way to break the back of the coronavirus. The expression “break the back of” something means to solve the hardest part of a problem, making it easier to solve other parts. Developing a vaccine is the hardest part of fighting the coronavirus. Several countries have broken the back of the virus by developing vaccines. After racking my brain, I will stay home tonight, Christmas Eve, and tomorrow, Christmas Day, eat dinner by myself, and listen to Christmas carols.
今天是平安夜，明天是聖誕節。香港人慶祝許多節日，包括聖誕、復活節和農曆新年，這些都是香港的大時大節。我喜歡所有的節日，但聖誕是我的最愛。正如我在上一個專欄中所說，這個聖誕將不會是個愉悅的節日。酒吧會關門，食肆只能開放堂食至傍晚六時。餐飲業中人預料，許多酒吧和餐廳將要“go under”，即像船隻沉沒入海般，它們將撐不下去而要倒閉。在平安夜看見蘭桂坊的酒吧盡皆關門，實在很 surreal。說某事是 surreal，意即它感覺很超現實、荒誕。
我一直在 racking my brain，去決定到底平安夜和聖誕節要做甚麼。To “rack your brain”意即絞盡腦汁去想某事，又或努力去回想、記起某事。有些人會用“wrack”而非“rack”。以往我會跟本地的朋友，又或是來港的親人歡度聖誕。社交距離措施，包括食肆不得在六時後提供堂食，令我不可能與本地朋友慶祝聖誕，除非是在某人的家中吧。然而，我們應該避免在家辦大伙兒的派對。親友來港也是不可能的，除非他們本身是本地居民；即便如此，他們也需要在檢疫酒店中待兩星期。
只有當全球也有疫苗供應，生活才能重返正軌。但恐怕至少要到明年下半年，這才有機會發生。疫苗是唯一可以重創新冠肺炎要害（break the back of the coronavirus）的方法。習語“break the back of” something意即解決一個問題最艱巨的部分，令它的其他部份都能迎刃而解。研發疫苗是對抗新冠病毒最艱巨的一環，好幾個國家已經透過研發疫苗，切中病毒的要害（broken the back of the virus）。絞盡腦汁（racking my brain）過後，我決定今晚平安夜，和明天聖誕節，都會獨個兒吃晚餐，聽聽聖誕歌。
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧