Stories Behind Popular Sayings
While international studies have shown that Hong Kong students perform well in reading, mathematics and science, the " spoon-feeding " approach in the education system is still a great concern.  Literally speaking, to spoon-feed someone means to give them food with a spoon. This expression normally applies to babies and toddlers, who only need to swallow the food on the spoon.  Its figurative use was first found in a poetry collection by an English poet, Robert Browning, in 1864.  " So, minds at first must be spoon-fed with truth. "  Nowadays this term is widely used in the domain of education to describe mechanical drilling, rote memorisation, and passive learning. To spoon-feed students means to give them information and answers to the extent that they do not need to do any analysis or exploration but only memorisation of facts.  There are different views on the spoon-feeding culture. While some people think that taking initiative and critical thinking are in children's best interests, some argue that spoon-feeding of learning materials may lead to better exam results. What do you think?  國際研究顯示,香港學生在閱讀、數學和科學表現良好,可是,填鴨式(spoon-feeding)的教育制度依然令人十分關注。 從字面意義來說,to spoon-feed someone的意思是用匙子給他們餵食物。這個說法通常適用於嬰幼兒,因為他們只需吞下匙子上的食物。 這個字的比喻意義首次見於1864年英格蘭詩人羅伯特.白朗寧所撰寫的詩集。 “So, minds at first must be spoon-fed with truth.”  今天,這個術語在教育領域廣泛用來形容機械式操練、死記硬背和被動學習。To spoon-feed students的意思就是倚重給予學生資料和答案,以至於他們無需做任何分析或探究,而只需記誦事實。 人們對填鴨式灌輸的文化持不同意見。一些人覺得積極主動和批判思考能力才是符合兒童的最佳利益,但是有些人卻認為填鴨式灌輸學習材料或能帶來較佳的考試成績。你有甚麼看法呢?     捐款支持公教報  http://kkp.org.hk/donation
Stories Behind Popular Sayings
New Year's resolutions
Happy New Year! What is your New Year's resolution? Do more physical exercise, start a new hobby, or do more housework? The custom of starting the New Year with a resolution can be traced back to about 4,000 years ago in Babylon (known as Iraq nowadays).  The Babylonians celebrated the coming of a new year in March, not in January. The celebration included promises to the gods to repay their debts and return borrowed objects. The Babylonians believed that if they kept to their word, their gods would give them rich harvests and good fortune in the year ahead. Scholars consider these promises the earliest New Year's resolutions in human history.  The first mention of the English word " resolutions " during the New Year was made by Scottish writer Anne Halkett in 1671.  On 2nd January, she entitled her diary page " Resolutions " and wrote several pledges taken from the Bible, such as " I will not offend any more " .  It is better late than never. If you have not made your New Year's resolution yet, try to set one now.  新年快樂!你的新年計劃是甚麼?做更多的體育運動、開始新的嗜好或做更多的家務?  在新一年訂下計劃的習俗,可以追溯到大約4000年前的巴比倫(今稱伊拉克)。 巴比倫人在3月而非1月慶祝新一年的來臨。慶典包括向諸神許諾償還債務並且歸還借來的物件。巴比倫人相信,如果他們信守承諾,諸神會在來年賜予他們豐收和好運。學者認為這些承諾是人類歷史中最早的新年計劃。 在新年期間用英文字「resolutions」是首次由蘇格蘭作家安妮.霍爾基特在1671年作出的。當年的1月2 日,她將一頁日記的標題訂為「計劃」,並且寫下多個取自《聖經》的許諾,如「我以後不再作惡」。 遲做總比不做好。如果你還沒有訂立新年計劃,現在就試試訂立一個。       捐款支持公教報  http://kkp.org.hk/donation
If you were...
What would you do if you were Gianna?
No one knows how long the summer vacation will be for this year since there is a lot to catch up at school after the pandemic(大流行病). Everyone is facing different changes and challenges in life, students or adults. There may be summer classes throughout(貫穿)July. Gianna used to join the yearly(一年一次)summer camp organized by her parish(堂區)for the altar servers(輔祭員). Each camp in the past still brings her the best memories of all because she could be with her best friends from church, people who serve(事奉)Mass with her for a few years. Three whole days away from families, playing at the retreat campsite meant a lot to youngsters(年青人). Whether it rained or shined, each summer camp turned out to be wonderful.  As Gianna is a longtime(老資格) participant in the Altar Servers Summer Camp, she is being requested to be the game coordinator (協調人)for this year. She is thrilled(興奮)to try because she knows the soul(靈魂)of a camp is how the games are conducted(進行). They have to be fun yet(而)meaningful(有意義). It will take her a lot of time to think of something that will work well. Also, while planning, she needs to talk with a few other coordinators on the venue limitation(場地限制) ,duration(時間), age of the participants and so on...  Gianna takes pride in(感到自豪)being accounted(被認為)as capable(有能力). Yet, she was told that she needed to get all things planned, but there is a high possibility(可能性)that the camp cannot be held due to the Covid 19 preventive measures or availability(有空)of students who have shortened(縮短)summer holidays. This dampens her enthusiasm(潑冷水)to help.  What would you do if you were Gianna?  I'd reject to take up the post because my hard work would be wasted, which meant my time and effort would be for no use. Let someone less busy do it.  I'd gladly come up with the most appropriate games. Even if the camp would be cancelled in the end, my talent is from God, doing the planning this year could keep me well equipped (裝備)to serve Him in upcoming camps or other activities. 
Stories Behind Popular Sayings
The best thing since sliced bread
Bread is a very important staple food in many parts of the world. While the earliest bread was made more than 22,000 years ago, sliced bread is a fairly new invention.  The first commercial bread slicing machine was invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder in 1928. A jeweller as well as an optometrist, Rohwedder used his skills to develop an automatic bread slicer. He sold it to the Chillicothe Baking Company.  Historians suggested that today's popular saying “the best/greatest thing since sliced bread”(最棒的東西 /事情 /人)may come from a newspaper advertisement made by the baking company in 1928:  “The Greatest Forward Step in the Baking Industry Since Bread was Wrapped a fine loaf sold a better way SLICED.”  With this new invention, the bread was sold in uniform and thinner slices. People found it more convenient and ate bread more frequently.  Eventually, similar expressions appeared in the baking industry. In 1934, Bell Bakeries’manager promoted the new Bell Vitamin B white loaf. “This is the most progressive step … since sliced bread was introduced, …”  Richard Bernard“Red”Skelton, an American comedian, is believed to be the first one to make the expression popular. During a 1951 interview, he described television as “the greatest thing since the sliced bread”.  Note that this phrase sometimes can be used in a humorous or ironic sense.  Wow! This new mobile phone is the best thing since sliced bread!  The winner of the singing contest is so boastful. She thinks that she is the best thing since sliced bread.  Glossary Staple food  主食 Sliced bread  切片麵包 Commercial  商業上的 Optometrist  驗光配鏡師 Automatic  自動的 Uniform  均勻 Humorous  幽默的 Ironic  諷刺的