任睇No.1
  • 27º
  • 90%
  • 2022年10月1日 星期六

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧 - To take a stand|又中又英

I recently explained why I began this column years ago. My aim was to point out English errors politicians and government officials made without embarrassing them. I later transitioned (changed, adjusted) to writing about idioms, wine, food, travel, and other topics. I used these topics to explain English words and expressions. I rarely took a stand on the issues I wrote about. To "take a stand" means to strongly express an opinion or to support an issue. You are taking a stand on free speech if you believe in it and are not afraid to express your opinion about it.

But today I will take a stand after reading about a Hong Kong secondary school student who was ordered by his school to cut his long hair. The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has agreed to investigate his complaint but insisted its job is to mediate, not determine right from wrong. This mealy-mouthed statement is why I never had much faith in the EOC. To be mealy-mouthed means to be afraid to say directly or honestly what you mean. Mediation is, of course, the best option but if mediation fails the EOC has a duty to determine right from wrong.

The school is wrong in my opinion. I have always believed in free expression. When a Hong Kong TV station hired me as a young reporter many years ago, I told my boss I will not cut my shoulder-length hair. He said I could keep my long hair even though I had to appear on TV. US courts have regularly ruled against schools that ordered students to cut their long hair because free expression is an important part of the US Constitution. There is nothing wrong with male students keeping their hair long if the hair is clean and tidy. Legislator and school principal Tang Fei indirectly warned the EOC against siding with the student. The Sikh religion requires males not to cut their hair. Will Tang Fei expel a Sikh student with long hair if the student chooses not to wear a turban?
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我最近解釋過,多年前為何會開始寫這個專欄。我的目的是去指出政客與政府官員們所犯的英語錯處,而不使其難堪。我後來轉變至(transitioned)寫成語、美酒、食物、旅行及其他題目,透過這些題目去解釋英文字詞和習語。關於我寫的題目,我很少會 took a stand——to "take a stand" 是指去採取一個堅定的立場或去支持一個議題。我若你相信言論自由,也不害怕直抒己見,那你就是力挺(taking a stand)言論自由。

但今天,當讀到一個香港中學生被學校勒令要剪去長髮,我要表達一個強烈的意見(take a stand)。平等機會委員會同意調查他的投訴,但堅持其職責只是去調解,而不是去判斷誰對誰錯。這種mealy-mouthed的說法,是我從未對平機會有甚麼信心的原因。To be mealy-mouthed是指說話轉彎抹角、委婉不直率的。當然,調解是最佳的做法,但若調解失敗,那平機會便有責任去判斷當中對錯。

在我看來,學校是錯的。我總是信奉自由的表達。許多年前一間香港的電視台聘我為初級記者時,我跟老闆說我不會剪掉我那長及肩膊的頭髮。他說,雖然我要出鏡,但我應該保留我的長髮。美國法院就已恆常否決學校勒令學生剪去長髮,因為自由表達是美國憲法的重要一環。只要頭髮保持整潔,男學生要留長頭髮根本沒有問題。立法會議員及校長鄧飛間接地警告平機會勿站於那位學生的一邊。錫克教要求男性不能剪短髮。若一名留了長髮的錫克教學生選擇不去包頭巾,鄧飛是否又要將他逐出校?中譯:七刻
mickchug@gmail.com
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧

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