July 01, 2008

#01-129: Reading Boomtown Chronicles 2

wide view of an urban area with bushes in the foreground, over which is written "READING BOOMTOWN CHRONICLES"
Shenzhen, the Boomtown

Note: Between Lesson #01-128 and #01-207, I wrote 72 lessons explaining expressions in articles published in the Shenzhen Daily. Read more about "Reading Boomtown Chronicles."

Get Ready: What are some of the thorny issues you encounter in your work or in your studies?

Boomtown Chronicles Part I - published Monday, June 16, 2008 (cont.)

  • "an inside story about the establishment of Shenzhen City"

inside story: information available only to insiders, such as Zhang Xunfu, the Party chief who presided over the establishment of Shenzhen City in 1979, and who is quoted in the article.

  • Shenzhen's establishment "heralded a miracle that has evolved over the past three decades."

heralded: a "herald" (noun) was an official of a king's court, responsible for announcing news or carrying messages.

Today, many newspapers have this word in their title, such as the International Herald Tribune. (Tribune, coincidentally, was also a court officer, this time in ancient Rome. He would speak on the behalf of the common people and protect their rights.) Here, the word "herald" is used as a verb, and is synonymous with "announced" or perhaps "predicted."

Example: "The launch of our new product heralds increased profits in the near future."

  • a "gold rush" in Hong Kong

gold rush: like "boomtown," it looks back to several historic events all over the world in the 19th century. But I grew up in California, where gold was discovered in1848. So for me, that is "the" Gold Rush.

While the discovery was in early 1848, most of the miners began to arrive from the eastern part of the country (and, subsequently, all over the world) the following year, so we call them "the Forty-niners," having arrived in 1849. San Francisco became a boomtown, as both a port of entry and the beginning of the miners' "supply chain."

It seems that many people wanted to go to Hong Kong back in the 1970s to "get rich quick."

  • Zhang Xunfu faced "thorny issues"

thorny issues: Thorns are those sharp things we find on the stems of roses. We have to hold a rose carefully, or we'll get stuck. So a "thorny issue" is one that requires careful handling. It is often one that occurs repeatedly or over a long period of time.

Example: "Corporate social responsibility can be a thorny issue for some companies who are trying to maximize profits."


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenzhen

Practice: Choose the correct term to fill in the blank in the sentence below:

  1. gold rush
  2. heralded
  3. inside story
  4. thorny issues

  1. Until we hear the ________ from our representative, we won't know what really happened in the meeting.
  2. Susan's graduation summa cum laude ________ great success in her future.
  3. Maude had to address several ________ before she could launch her company.
  4. The discovery of oil in the area created a sort of ________ of new real estate investors.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for July 1, 2008

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