又中又英|Death traps

2024/04/20 00:11:48 網誌分類: 生活
20 Apr

Whenever I walk past multi-storey buildings in Hong Kong built in the 1960s and 1970s, I wonder if they are death traps. Most have illegal structures, guest houses, and subdivided flats. Many years ago, I lived on Austin Road near the Kowloon Cricket Club with my mother and other family members. Many of us later settled in the US but I returned so I could cover the 1997 reunification. My elder sister was visiting Hong Kong from the US in November 1996 when the Garley Building fire tragically killed 41 people.

The building was a few minutes from our Austin Road family flat. I no longer lived in the flat but went to see my elder sister there the day after the fire. We went to see the burnt-out Garley building. The sight affected the pit of my stomach. The pit of your stomach is an area in or near your stomach where you feel fear or nervousness. A death trap is a dangerous building, vehicle, or place that could cause death.

Our Austin Road flat is near New Lucky House at the corner of Nathan Road and Jordan Road where a fire killed five people on April 10. Residents should thank their lucky stars the fire didn’t kill more people. To thank your lucky stars means to be grateful. I knew that old building could be a death trap. The government has done too little to make these buildings safer. Firefighters found faulty fire doors and illegal structures after the fire. Building owners had ignored a fire safety order for 16 years because of a legal dispute among them. Why didn’t fire officials take tough action to enforce the order?

每當我經過香港那些一九六零和七零年代建成的多層大樓,我都會暗忖它們是否「死亡陷阱」(death traps)。那些大樓多數是非法建築、賓館和劏房。許多年前,我跟母親和其他家人住在柯士甸道,就近九龍木球會。我們家中有許多人後來定居美國,但我卻回到香港,以報道一九九七回歸。我姊姊也於一九九六年十一月從美國回到了香港,那時恰恰發生嘉利大廈大火慘劇,造成四十一人喪生。

那棟大廈跟我們以前一家人住在柯士甸道的單位,僅僅幾分鐘的路程。我不再在那兒居住,但火災發生翌日我去了看望我姊。我們一同去看那燒毁了的嘉利大廈。當時我目睹的情景實在翻動 the pit of my stomach——the pit of your stomach是指你的胃裏,又或附近胸口處感到驚恐或緊張的部位,意即心裏一陣緊揪、難受。A death trap是會構成生命危險的大樓、車輛又或場所。

我們在柯士甸道的單位距離彌敦道與佐敦道交界的華豐大廈亦很近,它於四月十日發生大火,奪去了五人的性命。居民好應慶幸(thank their lucky stars),這場大火沒有更多人喪生。To thank your lucky stars是指慶幸自己運氣好。我知道舊樓可以是致命的危險場所(death trap),政府在樓宇安全方面所做的實在太少。消防員在火災後發現損壞的防煙門以及違規的建築。而因為大廈業主之間有法律爭拗,以致他們一直忽視一個消防安全指示長達十六年。為甚麼消防官員沒有採取嚴厲的行動,強制執行指示?

Michael Chugani褚簡寧

又中又英|Death traps
 又中又英|Death traps 
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