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One-trick pony

刊登日期: 2018.04.27
作者: Grace Tse  

An investment weekly magazine writer is concerned that Hong Kong is becoming a one-trick pony because it is heavily dependent on the financial sector. 

The expression “one-trick pony” describes someone or something that has only one skill or expertise. In other words, the writer thinks that Hong Kong is limited to only one capability, which is financial services. 

“Pony” means a small horse. Do you think that the phrase “one-trick pony” is related to horse racing? Its earliest written form was related to the topic of a travelling circus in an American association announcement in 1905. 

That kind of circus was popular in small towns of the USA in the late 19th century. Also known as the “dog and pony shows”, these small, shabby circuses used performing dogs and ponies to do simple acts. For example, a pony could perform only one trick, which was just enough to make children laugh. 

This expression is normally used in a negative way to describe a limited ability. 

The dancer is a one-trick pony (只有一個本領)and can perform only folk dance. 

The new company has lost a lot of money because it is a one-trick pony (只有一個強項)and has invented only one product. 

However, some people argue that it is not very bad to be a one-trick pony if the skill is an impressive one. So, which one do you want to be, a jack-of-all-trades who can do many different jobs but is not particularly skilful at any of these jobs, or a one-trick pony who has only one talent? 


Glossary

Financial 金融
Expertise 專長
Capability 才能
Travelling circus 巡迴馬戲團
Announcement 公告
Shabby 簡陋的
Impressive 令人印象深刻
Jack-of-all-trades 雜而不精的人

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