I came across an interesting expression while reading a book that is not commonly used by Hong Kong people. The expression is “for the birds”. It is an idiom that many fluent English speakers use but I don’t think I have heard many Hong Kong people use it. The idiom “for the birds” or “strictly for the birds” is used to describe something stupid or useless. Some local friends have told me the government’s promotion of a night economy is strictly for the birds. They ridiculed the idea of night markets as a barrel of laughs.
The idiom “a barrel of laughs” is used to describe someone or something that is very funny. If a person is always making funny jokes, you can say that person is a barrel of laughs. Some of my local friends ridiculed the night markets as a barrel of laughs because they find it funny the government thinks night markets can boost Hong Kong’s economy. Some ridiculed the prices at night markets, telling me that four fish balls or four pieces of dim sum cost $20. I suppose the government believes some people won’t mind paying high prices to enjoy the atmosphere of night markets.
I haven’t been to Hong Kong’s night markets yet because I don’t enjoy standing up and eating. I prefer sitting down with a whiskey and snacks while enjoying the harbour view. Unfortunately, Hong Kong doesn’t have many restaurants with outside seating by the harbour. I went to night markets in Taipei just to feel the atmosphere without eating anything. Some night markets there had tables and chairs.
我讀某本書的時候，遇到一個有趣的習語，並非香港人常用的。那個習語就是“for the birds”。這是一個許多操流利英語的人會用到的成語，但我不認為我曾聽過有幾多香港人用過。成語“for the birds”或“strictly for the birds”是用來形容某事物愚蠢或無用。一些本地的朋友曾跟我說，政府推廣夜經濟是strictly for the birds ——荒唐可笑，毫無意思的。他們嘲笑舉辦夜市的想法是 a barrel of laughs。
成語“a barrel of laughs”是用來形容某人或某事物很好笑。若一個人很搞笑，常常說好笑的笑話，你便可以說那個人是a barrel of laughs。我的一些本地朋友嘲笑夜市是a barrel of laughs，因為他們覺得，政府以為夜市可以振興香港經濟，實在太可笑了。一些朋友嘲笑夜市貨物的定價，告訴我四粒魚蛋或四粒燒賣索價二十元。我猜想，政府大概認為一些人並不介意付更高的價錢去享受夜市的氣氛。