July 31, 2008

#01-142: Reading Boomtown Chronicles 14

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: Do people think of you as having charisma?

Boomtown Chronicles Part VI - published Monday, July 21, 2008 (cont.)

We conclude Part II of the profile of Yuan Geng, leader of the reform in Shenzhen's Shekou area.

  • The writer refers to Yuan Geng's "charisma."

charisma: "giftedness" or perhaps "charm." It's rare for a leader to have both administrative ability and charisma; Shenzhen was fortunate to have an early leader with both of these qualities.

  • There was "a hiatus of about two decades" between Yuan's election plan and a 2008 discussion regarding elections.

hiatus: a break. It comes from a word meaning "an opening" or "a gap."

  • Yuan Geng's economic reforms have had a lasting legacy.

legacy: from the name of an office, "legate," which was usually held by appointment. (Compare the word "delegate" as a noun and verb). As the office was "given" to the legate, so the legacy is something given (or left behind) to those who follow, as Yuan Geng has left us the community of Shekou.

  • The author refers to Yuan's "stewardship" of the China Merchants Group.

steward: one who manages the property or affairs of others; Yuan Geng was taking care of Shekou for the people.

  • Yuan founded modern China's first non-government bank, China Merchants Bank, in an "unprecedented" move.

precede: come before; something which is unprecedented, then, has nothing (of the sort) coming before it.

  • Ping An Insurance Company was making a "bold foray into the overseas financial market."

foray: a fast raid or sudden attack, related to the word "forage," which is to seek provisions. Thus the goal of a "foray" is to gain goods or wealth of some kind.

  • Yuan's success made possible "many rags-to-riches stories."

rags-to-riches: a fixed expression meaning that someone has gone from poverty (wearing "rags" instead of proper clothing) to riches. The attraction of the phrase is partially based on the alliteration (repeated initial sounds) of "rags" and "riches."

  • This success has seen the companies' stocks "snowballing over the past several years."

snowball: to grow larger and larger. Have you ever seen images (perhaps in cartoons) of snow rolling down a hill, with the ball of snow getting bigger and bigger as it goes? This is the image represented by the verb "to snowball."


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

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

  1. charisma
  2. foray
  3. hiatus
  4. legacy
  5. precede
  6. rags-to-riches
  7. snowball
  8. steward

  1. The new science building will serve as a respectable ________ for our principal's administration.
  2. A good salesperson needs plenty of ________ if she wants to be successful.
  3. Our school takes a ________ every summer, when it's too hot for classes.
  4. Preparation must always ________ success.
  5. Once the company established a good reputation, their sales started to ________.
  6. Our CEO began in the mail room and worked her way up, a real ________ story.
  7. Each one of us must try to be a good ________ of the planet.
  8. Our company's first ________ into the digital market was a great success!

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for July 31, 2008

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. b; 2. h; 3. c; 4. a; 5. d; 6. f; 7. e; 8. g