The expression＂bygone era”means something that belongs to or happened in the distant past. Rickshaws remind me of a bygone era. The expression“take something for granted”used this way means to expect something is always available and you, therefore, don't appreciate its value. A“one-off case”means something that happens only once. What I witnessed at the doctor's clinic was an elderly woman paying her bill after seeing the doctor. The nurse asked her to sign something but she said she did not know how to sign anything. The nurse asked if she could write just a single character but she said she did not know how to write her name.
The kind nurse told her not to worry and gave her a type of ink so she could use her fingerprint as a signature. The nurse then gave her a tissue to clean her finger. I was totally astonished at what I witnessed. I never imagined modern-day Hong Kong still has people who never went to school. But the elderly woman was not embarrassed even though other patients saw she didn’t know how to write. I don’t think what I witnessed was a one-off case because the nurse had a type of ink for fingerprints.
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上星期我在一間私家診所目擊（witnessed）某事，是我從沒想過在今時今日的香港會目睹（witness）的。這令我想起了很久以前的日子（bygone era），那年代可以接受教育是奢侈的，而非像今天我們認為的那麼理所當然（take for granted）。我所目睹（witnessed）的事，令我不禁疑惑，到底那是一件一次性的獨立案例（one-off case），抑或其實有許多類近的情況。Witness一字可作動詞或名詞用。若你 witnessed（動詞）某事，即指你目擊某事，例如一宗搶劫案；那名目睹搶劫案發生的目擊者就是該案的 witness（名詞）。目擊證人（witnesses，名詞）有時要被傳召上庭，講述他們所見到的事發經過。
習語“bygone era”是指某件陳年往事，又或事件屬於或發生於很久以前的時代。人力車就令我想起了已逝去的舊時代（bygone era）。習語“take something for granted”在這裏是指將某事看作理所當然，因此並未懂得欣賞其價值。A“one-off case”是指單單發生一次的特例。我在私家診所目睹（witnessed）的，是一位婆婆在看醫生後繳付診症費用時，護士着她簽署某樣文件，但婆婆說她不懂得簽署。護士問她可否寫個單字，但她說她不懂得寫自己的名字。
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧