Front and centre

2021/06/24 04:12:57 網誌分類: 生活
24 Jun
          Democracy was front and centre (center in American English) during the recent meeting by the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy democracies. There are several ways to use the expression "front and centre". It can be someone or something that is easy to notice or see. You can say a handsome man or beautiful woman was front and centre at the party. But it can also mean of the greatest importance. Democracy was front and centre at the G7 leaders'meeting because it was the most important issue discussed. US President Joe Biden made it a front and centre topic at the Cornwall meeting hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

          Biden used the expression "step up" to stress that free societies must protect democracy. This was what he said: "How we act and whether we pull together as democracies is going to determine whether our grandkids look back 15 years from now and say, 'Did they step up? Are democracies as relevant and powerful as they have been?'" The expression "step up" used this way means to take action when necessary or doing something that is very important. What Biden meant was democracy's future will be decided by what leaders do now. If democratic leaders do nothing or do not "step up", their grandchildren will ask if democracy is as important as it is now.

          In the game of baseball "step up to the plate" has a somewhat different meaning. The word "plate" in the game means a five-sided flat white rubber stuck to the ground. It is called the home base. When it's a player's turn to bat, the player must "step up to the plate" by standing next to it to hit the ball thrown by the pitcher. The pitcher is the player with the opposing team who throws or "pitches" the ball to see if the batsman can hit it. Pitchers are skilled at pitching fast or curve balls to make it difficult for the batsman to hit them.


          七大工業國組織(G7)由發達民主國家組成,在最近的高峰會上,民主是front and centre(美式英語串法為center)的議題。習語 "front and centre" 可以有幾種用法,它可解作最顯眼、很容易看得見的人或事物;你可以說,一位英俊的男士或漂亮的女子,在派對中就是front and centre,會吸引全場的目光。但此習語也可以解作最為重要的。「民主」在 G7領袖高峰會上是front and centre,因為它是最重要的討論議題。由英國首相約翰遜主持的康沃爾會議上,美國總統拜登就將民主定為舉足輕重(front and centre)的議題。

          拜登用了一個習語 "step up",去強調自由的社會必須捍衞民主。他是這樣說的:「我們今天如何行動,可有從民主國家的本位出發而同心協力,將決定了我們的兒孫十五年後回望時說:『他們可有step up? 這些民主國家可有像從前一樣,切合民主的樣式且仍具影響力?』」習語 "step up" 在這裏是指在有需要的時候挺身而出,採取行動,或去做某些非常重要的事情。拜登這番話的意思是,民主的未來取決於這些領袖現在怎樣行事。若民主領袖甚麼也不做,又或說不去 "step up"、挺身而出,那他們的兒孫就會問,民主是否像今天的那麼重要?

          在棒球賽事中,"step up to the plate" 卻有不一樣的意思。在棒球賽中,"plate" 是指一塊貼在地面上的五邊形白色橡膠板,它叫本壘板。當輪到一位球員擊球時,那位球員就必須 "step up to the plate",就是站於本壘板旁擊打pitcher投出的球。The pitcher就是敵對球隊負責投球(pitches)的投球手,看看擊球手能否擊中發球。投球手(pitchers)都是精於投擲快速或曲線的球,令擊球手難於擊中投球。

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        Michael Chugani 褚簡寧

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