又中又英——“a far cry”

  Today is Lunar New Year’s Eve. Some prefer to call it Chinese New Year. Others call it the Spring Festival because the New Year is celebrated not only in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan but also in places such as Vietnam, where it is called Tet. Restaurants and homes are normally bustling with family gatherings on New Year’s Eve. But this year is a far cry from previous years. Restaurants won’t be bustling because the government has ordered they must close at 6pm to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Many restaurant owners say this is silly because the virus spreads all day, not only after 6pm.

  Closing restaurants at 6pm means there will be more end-of-year dinner gatherings at home today. I think conversations at some family dinners will be subdued (quiet, sad) because of the pandemic but other dinners will have spirited discussions about Britain’s offer to allow British National (Overseas) passport holders to live there. The word “bustling” means very busy, crowded, or full of activity. The expression “a far cry” means very different from something else. This year’s Lunar New Year celebrations will be very different, or a far cry, from previous years. The word “spirited” used this way means very lively, full of energy, or determination. I think some family dinners on New Year’s Eve will have lively discussions on using the BNO passport to move to Britain.

  I usually go to the bustling Victoria Park flower fair on New Year’s Eve but won’t go this year because government restrictions will make it far less busting. Instead of having an enjoyable New Year’s Eve, I have to go to my dentist in the late afternoon for a crown. The word “crown” has several meanings. The most common is something worn on the head by a king or queen made of expensive metal with diamonds and other precious jewels. But a crown can also mean an artificial covering for a damaged tooth. I don’t mind doing a crown on New Year’s Eve because my dentist is a nice guy.

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  今天是年三十晚,農曆新年前夕。有些人會叫它做中國新年,另一些人則會叫它為春節,因為不止中國內地、香港、澳門和台灣會慶祝新年,另一些地方如越南,也會慶祝他們稱為元旦節(Tet)的新年。在年三十晚,食肆與每家每戶通常都是熱熱鬧鬧的(bustling),有許多家庭團聚。然而,今年的農曆年跟往年的大相徑庭(a far cry)。食肆都不再是熙來攘往的(bustling),因為政府已下令,晚上六時後不得經營晚市堂食,以防止病毒散播。許多餐廳的東主都說,這實在愚蠢之至,因為病毒不是六時後才散播,而是全天候的。

  六時後就沒有晚市堂食,意味着今天會有更多人在家吃團年飯。我認為,在團年飯桌上,一些議題會因為疫情而變得沉寂(subdued),但另一些家庭聚餐將有熱烈的(spirited)討論,是關乎英國開放給英國國民(海外)護照的持有人可以居英。“Bustling”是指繁忙、熱鬧、熙來攘往的。習語“a far cry”則指相距甚遠、大相徑庭的。今年的農曆新年跟往年相比將會非常不同,或說“a far cry”。“Spirited”字在這裏是指非常活躍、熱烈、充滿活力又或決心的。我相信,年三十晚的一些家庭團年飯,在透過BNO護照移英的議題上會有熱熾的討論。

  我通常會在年三十晚去逛熙來攘往的(bustling)維園花市,但今年不會去了,因為政府的規限措施會令它變得遠遠不及往年般熱鬧(bustling)。我在年三十下午稍晚時候,要往牙醫處做牙套(a crown),而非享受一個愉快的除夕。“Crown”一字有幾個意思,最常見的就是國王或王后頭上戴的皇冠,是用名貴金屬鑲嵌鑽石和其他珍貴珠寶所造的。然而,crown也可以指修復受損牙齒的人工牙冠或牙套。我不介意在年三十晚做牙套(crown),因為我的牙醫是個好人。

  [email protected]

  中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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