Michael Chugani 褚簡寧 - give it up|又中又英

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This well-known proverb is simple to understand. It means if you fail to achieve something the first time, you should try until you succeed. I failed in my first driving test for a licence but I tried again and passed. Students sometime fail in a subject but they can pass if they study harder and try again. This proverb was meaningful for the Hong Kong government during the first few waves of the coronavirus pandemic. It tried to succeed with its dynamic zero strategy to end the pandemic. It succeeded for a while at first but failed when new variants of the coronavirus spread in Hong Kong.

Yet the government still believes in the proverb if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. My suggestion is give it up because the strategy is not working. To give it up means to ask the audience to clap hands if they enjoyed a show. But to give it up also means to stop trying to do something. Tens of thousands of Hong Kong people were being infected daily during previous waves of the pandemic. Thousands are now being infected daily again. Instead of if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, Hong Kong needs a new playbook. The whole world except for mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan has already decided to give it up and live with the coronavirus.

The word “playbook” means a sports team’s plan for a game but used this way it means a plan or strategy to achieve something, such as success in a political campaign or a business. It is similar to “game plan” which means a plan for achieving success. A virus is much smaller than a human eye can see but as the coronavirus has shown it can be smarter than humans. We should not try to be smarter than a virus. We should just try to control it with vaccines and medicines and learn to live with it.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. 這句知名的諺語很簡單,容易理解。它的意思是若你想達成某事,第一次不成功,便應再接再厲,直至成功。我的第一次駕駛考試失敗了,但我再試一次,最終通過並取得車牌。學生們有時會有某些科目不及格,但他們若能努力溫習,再試一次,亦能通過考試。這句諺語對於香港政府在頭幾波新冠病毒疫情期間是有意思的,政府嘗試在清零政策上取得成功,遏止疫情。它一開始的時候確實成功了一段時間,但當新冠變種病毒在香港蔓延時就失敗了。

然而,政府至今仍然相信這句「一次不成,再試一次」(if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again)的諺語。 我的提議是give it up,因為這個策略根本行不通。To give it up本身是指若觀眾認為一個表演好看,就請為其鼓掌;但to give it up也指放棄做某事。在之前幾波疫情期間,每天有數以萬計的香港人受到感染,現在每天又有數以千計的人受到感染。香港與其「一次不成,再試一次」(if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again),不如要本新的playbook吧。除了中國內地、香港、澳門和台灣以外,全世界都已決定放棄(give it up),與新冠病毒共存。

Playbook一字是指一隊體育隊伍參賽的戰術攻略手冊,但在這裏是指去達成某事的計劃或策略,例如在政治運動又或生意上取勝。它跟“game plan”的意思相近,後者是指取勝的計劃。病毒比起人類肉眼所能看見的要微小得多,但新冠病毒亦展示了它可以比人類更聰明。我們不應嘗試比病毒聰明,好應嘗試用疫苗和藥物控制它,同時學習與它共存。中譯:七刻
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧