To "nod off" means to briefly fall asleep unintentionally. Some people nod off while watching TV. Speeches by some world leaders at the yearly United Nations General Assembly meeting can make listeners nod off too. A reporter covering the recent UN General Assembly meeting said long and scripted speeches can turn into a snoozefest. The reporter said some long speeches take the cake. The slang word "snoozefest" means an extremely boring event. The word "snooze" means a short, light sleep during the day. The word "fest" comes from the word "festival", which can mean a celebration or an organized set of events such as musical performances. The word "snoozefest" is a humorous way to describe people snoozing during a boring event.
The expression "take the cake" means the worst of its kind. If someone continues to lie even though everyone knows he is lying, you can say he really takes the cake, which means he is the worst person of his kind. The reporter asked readers to guess which General Assembly speech was the longest ever and who gave it. I guessed wrong. The longest speech was 7 hours and 48 minutes in 1957 by India's ambassador to the United Nations. After five hours he collapsed and was rushed to hospital but returned to speak for another two hours and 48 minutes.
演說可以是沉悶的，也可以是有趣的，視乎演講的是誰。我長年當新聞工作者，聽過許多沉悶的演說。英殖時期的立法局，所有議員都是政府委任的，演說都沉悶得令許多人打瞌睡（nodded off）。我那時候還是個年輕的記者，不得不承認我有時也會打盹（nodded off）。後來當立法局與立法會議員是直接和間接選出之後，演說就變得較為有趣了。許多民主派議員會用演講去斥責（berate）政府高官，甚至向他們扔擲物件。但當特首和財政司司長發表《施政報告》和財政預算案時，仍然令許多人打瞌睡（nod off）。
To "nod off" 意即打盹、無心之下小睡片刻。有些人在看電視的時候會打瞌睡（nod off）。每年的聯合國大會上一些世界領袖的演說，也會令聽眾打盹（nod off）。最近一位報道聯合國大會的記者說，冗長而有講稿的演說，可以演變為「小睡盛會」（snoozefest）。那名記者說，一些冗長的演說真是悶得超乎想像（take the cake）。俚語「snoozefest」意即悶得令人發慌的場合。Snooze是指白天短暫的小睡；fest則來自「festival」一字，意即節慶，或一連串節目的安排，例如音樂節。「Snoozefest」是個幽默的說法，形容人們在一個沉悶無聊的場合中打盹兒（snoozing）。
習語「take the cake」意即最壞、最糟的。若某人不停說謊，即使人人都知道他在撒謊，你便可以說he really takes the cake，意即他真是糟透的人。那位記者叫讀者猜猜哪一次的聯合國大會演說時間最長，又是誰說的？我猜錯了。最長的演講足足有七小時四十八分鐘，是一九五七年由印度駐聯合國大使所發表的。說了五小時後他不支暈倒，急送醫院，但過後他又回去，續說了兩小時又四十八分鐘。[email protected]
Michael Chugani 褚簡寧