A risk assessment expert used an interesting quote to describe last week's arrest by national security police of nine people for allegedly planning terrorist attacks. Most of those arrested were teenagers. The expert, former police senior superintendent Steve Vickers, said on an English language radio station Hong Kong was "on the cusp of a modest and small-scale insurgency" involving small groups of locals. The word "cusp" used this way means the dividing line between two very different things. The expression "on the cusp of" means at the point when a situation changes into another, very different, situation. For example, you can say your friend, a not so famous actor, is on the cusp of becoming a movie star.
The noun "insurgency" is used to describe an occasion when a group of people use force to try to overthrow a government or take over a country. When Vickers said Hong Kong is "on the cusp of a modest and small-scale insurgency" he meant Hong Kong is now changing from a situation where there was no attempt to overthrow the government to a situation where there is now an attempt by small groups to overthrow the government using terrorist attacks. But he said last week's arrest showed the police were "on top of" the situation. The expression "on top of" can be used in different ways.
If you have studied hard for an exam and are confident you will pass, you can say you are on top of it. When Vickers used the expression he meant last week's arrest of nine people showed the police were in control of the situation. He said the arrest showed the police had nipped in the bud that particular group's alleged attempt at insurgency. The expression "nip in the bud" means to stop something at an early stage to stop it from becoming worse.
一名風險評估專家引用了一句有趣的說話，去形容上星期警方國安處拘捕了九名涉嫌企圖策動恐怖襲擊的人，被捕人士之中大多為年輕人。該專家史提夫‧維克斯是前高級警司，他在英語電台上說，香港正「處於一個適度而小規模暴動（insurgency）的風口浪尖上（on the cusp of ）」，而當中牽涉一些本地人的小群組。Cusp在這裏解作兩樣非常不同的事物之間的分界線；而習語 "on the cusp of" 則指由一個狀況轉變至另一個極不同狀況的轉捩點或關口。譬如你可以說，你一位本身不很有名的演員朋友，正處於蛻變成電影明星的轉捩點（on the cusp of）。名詞insurgency是用來形容暴動、叛亂，就是當一群人以武力嘗試推翻政府或佔領奪取一個國家的政權。當維克斯說，香港是 "on the cusp of a modest and small-scale insurgency"，他的意思是，香港正在由一個從無意圖推翻政府的情況，轉變成現時有一些小群組企圖使用恐襲推翻政府。然而他說，上星期的拘捕行動，足證警方是 "on top of" 這個狀況。習語 "on top of" 可以有很多用法。
若你為了考試用功讀書，有信心自己會通過考試，你可以說you are on top of it，可謂勝券在握。當維克斯用這個習語時，他的意思是上星期拘捕九人，反映局勢在警方的掌控之中。他說，這次拘捕行動顯示警方是防患於未然（nipped in the bud），阻止特定組織涉嫌企圖引發暴動（insurgency）。習語 "nip in the bud" 即在某事發展初期，已消滅於萌芽狀態之中，防止其惡化下去。firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧