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Take off one’s hat

刊登日期: 2019.06.22
作者: Grace Tse  

Different cultures have different ways of showing respect to other people. What physical gestures do Chinese people use as a sign of respect? Bowing, shaking hands or a polite smile? In Western countries, men used to take off their hats when entering a church or speaking to a woman or someone who deserved honour. 

This traditional practice was recorded in a collection of histories written by Pero Mexía, a Spanish Renaissance (文藝復興期) writer and then translated into English in 1571. 


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The child is father of the man

刊登日期: 2019.06.14
作者: Grace Tse  

Some psychology researchers are interested in whether one’s personality in childhood can shape their adulthood or not. For example, a cheerful child will become an adult with good social skills. You might have heard of a Chinese proverb that what goes on in a three-year-old child determines how he or she turns out as an adult. A similar proverb in English is “the child is father of (or “ to”) the man” (三歲定八十). 


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Pull Someone's leg

刊登日期: 2019.06.07
作者: Grace Tse  

We all need friends because they can give us support and keep us company. However, do you get annoyed when your friends sometimes pull your leg? 

The phrase “pull somebody’s leg” does not mean that they hurt you by pulling your leg. Instead, it has a humorous connotation, meaning that a person teases or lies to someone as a joke. This is often used in informal conversation rather than formal writing. 


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Down to the wire

刊登日期: 2019.05.31
作者: Grace Tse  

This year, the Dragon Boat Festival will be celebrated on the 7th of June. On this public holiday, what activities do you plan to do? While some of you stay with your family and enjoy eating sticky rice dumplings, some may go to the harbour to enjoy the International Dragon Boat Races. As described on the website of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (香港旅遊發展局), it would be an exciting experience to watch the three-day intense racing going “down to the wire”. 


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Play it by ear

刊登日期: 2019.05.24
作者: Grace Tse  

Nowadays, a lot of jobs, from sales assistants to teachers, require that their staff are able to respond to unplanned situations rather than following pre-set rules or guidelines. In which job do you think that the employees might need to “play it by ear” all the time? 

The idiom “play it by ear” (or “play by ear”) was originally related to music. A London publisher, John Playford, wrote in his book “A Brief Introduction to the Skill of Musick” in 1658: 


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Bury The Hatchet

刊登日期: 2019.05.17
作者: Grace Tse  

Since the China-U.S. trade war began about a year ago, the world has been very concerned when both powerful countries will end the hostilities against each other. In particular, the business community hopes that they will “bury the hatchet” and reach an agreement soon. 


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Alma Mater

刊登日期: 2019.05.10
作者: Grace Tse  

This year, Mother’s Day falls on the 12th of May in Hong Kong. Have you prepared the best gift which your mum will like? In many cultures, the word “mother” carries a variety of meanings. It implies caring love, kindness and nourishment. The image of mother can be extended to describe our former school, college or university. 

The old man has fond memories of his Alma Mater(母校) , Hong Kong Primary School. 


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Spill the beans

刊登日期: 2019.05.03
作者: Grace Tse  

Although the world has fewer monarchs nowadays, it is undeniable that the British royal family continues to attract international attention. Thus, the media are keen to report on their private lives particularly if any of their staff spills the beans. Even we, as ordinary people, easily spill the beans in the contexts of families, friends, or work. Have you ever spilled the beans when you were asked not to? 


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Hook, line, and sinker

刊登日期: 2019.04.26
作者: Grace Tse  

An international company announced that it was committed to the Hong Kong financial market “hook, line, and sinker” after it made huge profits in 2018. The idiom “hook, line, and sinker” means “completely”. In other words, this company is very willing to make investment in Hong Kong. 


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April showers bring May flowers

刊登日期: 2019.04.12
作者: Grace Tse  

What is the weather like in April in Hong Kong? Warm, humid and foggy? In Britain, April is typically a wet and soggy month. However, British weather is so unpredictable that even the month of April in early spring can change from rainy to snowy within a day. That is why British people like to talk about the weather in their daily conversations. 

Young British children may hear their grandparents say, “April showers bring flowers in May”, to encourage them not to be disappointed but to look forward to brighter and sunny weather with optimistic hope. 

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