A friend sent me a WhatsApp news article a few days ago which said the Covid XBB variant is spreading very fast in Singapore and had reached Japan. I feared Hong Kong would be next. I was gullible to fall for it even though my common sense told me news of XBB spreading in Singapore was hard to swallow. The friend who sent me the news article also fell for it. To be gullible means to be too willing to believe everything others tell you. To fall for something means to be tricked into believing something that is not true. The expression “hard to swallow” used this way means difficult to believe.
An XBB pandemic in Singapore was hard to swallow because there have been no other media reports of it except for the article my friend sent me. The new and efficient Pfizer XBB.1.5 vaccine also became available in Singapore last month. I read the article again and quickly realized it was fake news that circulated last year. The news didn’t make sense because it said XBB.1.5 doesn’t cause Covid symptoms. There is so much fake news on social media nowadays that, as a journalist, I always research things that are hard to believe.
I believed in the article at first because it worried me. I had planned to take the XBB.1.5 Pfizer vaccine in the US but it only became available in mid-September, two days after I left for Hong Kong. The vaccine is still not available in Hong Kong even though it is already available in Singapore and Japan. It seems Hong Kong is always falling behind nowadays.
幾天前有一位朋友傳給我一篇WhatsApp新聞報道，說新冠病毒XBB變種株，於新加坡傳播得非常急速，還傳到了日本。我害怕香港將會成為下一個感染地區。我實在很易受騙（gullible），信而為真（fall for it），雖然我的常識告訴我，XBB在新加坡肆虐的新聞難以令人置信（hard to swallow）。那位傳報道文章給我的朋友同樣信以為真（fell for it）。To be gullible是指太容易受騙，別人說甚麼就信甚麼。To fall for something是指很容易上當，對某事信以為真。習語“hard to swallow”在這裏是指難以相信的事情。
XBB疫情肆虐新加坡這一消息並不足信（hard to swallow），因為除了我朋友傳給我的文章，便再沒有其他傳媒的任何相關報道了。而且，新而有效的輝瑞XBB.1.5疫苗上個月亦已在新加坡推出。我再讀那篇報道，很快便意識到那是一則上年便流傳的假新聞。那則新聞並不合理，因為它說 XBB.1.5並不會引起新冠病毒的徵狀。今時今日，在社交媒體上實在有太多的假新聞，而我身為新聞工作者，對於難以置信的資訊我總會做調查。