又中又英|Cracking the whip

2024/04/26 12:12:04 網誌分類: 生活
26 Apr

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu promised tougher fire safety laws after Legislative Councillors Michael Tien Puk-sun, Tony Tse Wai-chuen, and Vincent Cheng Wing-shun said Hong Kong's current laws were outdated. The government should have updated the law long ago, but better late than never. The three legislators were right on the money in demanding tougher laws. I said in a recent column the government has failed to safeguard multi-storey buildings erected in the 1960s and 1970s. The New Lucky House fire in Jordan that killed five people on April 10 may have been prevented if the government had modernized the laws.

The three legislators must now force the government's hand by cracking the whip. To be right on the money means to be completely right. To force someone’s hand means to make that person act sooner or make someone do something the person doesn’t want to do. To crack your whip means to use your authority to make someone work harder or to do things more efficiently. I know Tien Puk-sun well. He knows how to crack the whip. Media reports said after the fire that the owners of the 60-year-old New Lucky House had ignored a fire safety order issued in 2008. The safety order by the Buildings Department required the owners’ corporation to improve the building’s fire safety.

Owners hired consulting companies in 2015 and 2020 to handle the safety orders. The Buildings Department sent reminder letters, but the owners did nothing for 16 years. Fire officials said that could have partly caused the tragedy. The Buildings Department should have taken tough action to enforce the safety order instead of just sending reminder letters.

當立法會議員田北辰、謝偉銓和鄭泳舜指出,香港現行的消防安全條例已經過時後,行政長官李家超承諾,會修訂更嚴厲的法例。政府好應在很久以前就更新法例,不過遲到總比不做的好。三位立法會議員要求更嚴厲的法例,是完全正確的(right on the money)。我在最近的專欄文章中亦指出,政府未能保障那些建於一九六零及七零年代的多層樓宇。要是政府之前就將法例現代化,四月十日佐敦華豐大廈導致五人喪生的火災便大可以避免。

三位立法會議員現在必須鞭策(cracking the whip)政府,迫使其採取行動(force the government's hand)。To be right on the money是指完全正確。To force someone’s hand是迫使某人加快步伐去做某事,又或令某人去做一樣他原本不想做的事。To crack your whip是把鞭子甩得劈啪響,意即運用你的權力去使某人做得勤快些,或做得更有效率。我熟悉田北辰,他知道如何施威(crack the whip)。傳媒在火災後報道指,這棟有六十年樓齡的華豐大廈業主們,忽視一個二零零八年發出的消防安全指示。那個由屋宇署發出的消防安全指示,要求業主立案法團改善大廈的消防安全措施。


Michael Chugani褚簡寧

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