Some people spit nails all the time. I used to spit nails too but have learned to control it. Some very senior government officials told me Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor sometimes spits nails during the so-called morning prayers. I cannot confirm if she really does this because I am not allowed to attend morning prayers. The actual meaning of morning prayers is to pray in the morning. But in the Hong Kong government, the expression means the daily morning meeting of the most senior government officials with the chief executive. The expression is a throwback to colonial days when the governor met with top officials every weekday morning to discuss important issues.
The word “throwback” used this way means something that has similarities to an earlier time. The word “spit” means to force out saliva from your mouth. But the American slang expression “spit nails” means to be extremely angry at something. I would spit nails if I accidentally dropped my mobile phone into the toilet bowl. A similar British expression is “spit blood” or “spit venom”. The word “venom” means a poisonous liquid that some snakes or insects have when they bite people. But “venom” can also mean an expression of hate or anger. I used to spit nails, spit blood, or spit venom when I was young. All those expressions mean to get very angry at something.
But I now understand spitting nails is pointless. If you get angry at other people, they will also get angry with you. Some will openly get angry at you but others, who are not senior people, will get angry at you secretly. Bosses should avoid senior or junior staff secretly hating them because hated bosses can never do their jobs properly. Very senior government officials told me previous chief executives never spit nails during morning prayers. They would privately talk to senior officials who are not doing a good job. Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor should learn from them if she really spits nails during morning prayers.
一些人常常破口大罵（spit nails）。我過去也時常口出惡言（spit nails），但已學懂了要管好自己的嘴。一些非常高級的政府官員曾告訴我，特首林鄭月娥在那個所謂的「早禱會」（morning prayers）上也會破口大罵（spits nails）。我不能證實她是否真的這樣發怒，因為我不獲許出席早禱會（morning prayers）。Morning prayers的真正意思是在早上祈禱，但在香港政府裏，這個習語是指最高層的政府官員與特首每朝早的例行會議。這個習語可追溯（throwback）至殖民時代，港督在每個工作日的早上與高官們會面，討論重要議題。
Throwback在這裏解作某事物帶有往昔某個時代的特點，有着從前的影子。Spit即是從口中吐口水；但美式俚語“spit nails”是指對某事勃然大怒。要是我意外跌了手機進馬桶，我就會破口大罵（spit nails）。相近的英式俚語是“spit blood”或“spit venom”，“venom”是一些蛇或昆蟲叮咬時所分泌的毒液，但“venom”也可以指表達厭惡或憤怒的惡言。我年輕時就時常spit nails、spit blood或spit venom——這些習語都解作大動肝火而口出惡言或出口傷人。
但我現在明白到，破口大罵（spitting nails）是無意義的。若你向別人發怒，他們也會被觸怒，對你惡言相向。一些人會公開地向你發怒，但其他地位不夠高的人則會私底下發怒。老闆好應避免高級或低級的員工私下討厭自己，因為被憎惡的老闆永不能好好辦事。一些非常高級的政府官員告訴我，歷任特首從不在早禱會（morning prayers）期間出口傷人（spit nails），他們會私底下督促那些表現不佳的高官。要是林鄭月娥真有在早禱會（morning prayers）上怒斥（spits nails）官員，她便好應向前任特首們學習。
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧