July 14, 2008

#01-134: Reading Boomtown Chronicles 7

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: Has anything dramatic ever happened to you that you could not have foreseen?

Boomtown Chronicles Part III - published Monday, June 30, 2008

Part III gave a first-person account by a Dr. Larry Donnithorne, an American university president who came to Shenzhen back in 1981 for a brief visit, and returned this year (2008).

  • Dr. Donnithorne is "stunned" at the changes.

stunned: If someone struck you on the head, so that you couldn't speak or even move for a moment, you would be literally stunned. We usually use the word figuratively to mean "amazed" or "awestruck" or "very, very surprised." This is a great, figurative use of the word. Imagine seeing Shenzhen in 1981 and again today, and you will know exactly what we mean by "stunned."

  • Dr. Donnithorne "could never have foreseen" Shenzhen's development

foreseen: The "fore" in the word "foreseen" is like "before," so to "foresee" something is to see it before it happens, similar in meaning to predict (tell the future).

  • Dr. Donnithorne and his wife were "curious about the mysterious mainland China..."

mystery: We often think of the word "mystery" as having to do with detective stories. But the word has several shades of meaning, all based in its original Greek sense of "a secret rite" or a person initiated in such a rite. Here it simply means that China was unknown to the outside world after several decades of relative isolation.

  • Dr. Donnithorne described the changes in Shenzhen as "dramatic."

dramatic: notable or obvious. This is another word of Greek origin, coming from a verb meaning "to perform" in the sense of doing something (performing a task). But here, with a nod toward the "dramatic" plays and movies we've seen, it refers to the big changes that had happened in 27years.


That's all we'll say about Dr. Donnithorne's visits. I would like to mention, however, that each segment of the series ends with a timeline. Part 1 showed significant events of 1979, Part 2 showed 1980, and Part 3 showed the events of 1981, the year Dr. Donnithorne and his wife first visited Shenzhen. In that year, work began on the first 20-story skyscraper, and Shekou port opened to shipping. A different world indeed from today's vibrant city!


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

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

  1. dramatic
  2. foreseen
  3. mystery
  4. stunned

  1. If she could have ________ that he would become an alcoholic, she wouldn't have married him.
  2. Why any woman would love a man like that is a ________ to me
  3. Who could have known there would be such a ________ change in his personality?
  4. Everyone was ________ at how much he changed.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for July 14, 2008

1 comment: