August 21, 2008

#01-151: Reading Boomtown Chronicles 23

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 wonderful place or experience would you like to "taste the delights of"?

Boomtown Chronicles Part IX - published Monday, August 11, 2008 (cont.)

  • to "taste the delights" of something

taste the delights of something: experience something heavenly, like "taste the delights of true love." That the phrase describes participation in a scheme of "flexible land use" makes its use here amusing.

  • "from 1980 to 1985, Shenzhen bagged 1.28 billion yuan in foreign investment..."

bagged: caught, as in a hunter "bagging game." Its can also describe any capture or gain, as in Olympians "bagging medals" or a job seeker "bagging a position."

  • Criticism of a new land policy was "scotched" after its approval by leader Deng Xiaoping.

scotch: put a definite end to. It likely comes from an Anglo-French word (meaning it was used shortly after the French conquered England in 1066), escocher, which meant to cut a notch in a stick. As the sound was similar to the existing adjective for "of Scotland," it was transformed into that.

  • In 1987, Li Jing tells us, Luo Jinxing became "the man-of-the-hour" after successfully bidding for land-use rights.

man-of-the-hour: person being honored currently, usually for a brief time.

  • Luo says that in the auction he "did not show [his] card" until necessary.

show one's card: reveal one's advantage or strategy This is a reference to playing cards.

  • This auction, we are told, "rejuvenated the country's land system."

rejuvenate: take something old and tired and make it young again. The root juven- means young (compare the Spanish word joven). We see it elsewhere in "juvenile."

  • The Central Government created a "ceiling" on the length of time land could be used.

ceiling: Literally the top of a room, but it can describe any upper limit; it's commonly used in regard to financial regulations (a ceiling on prices, taxes, etc.). We also talk about the invisible limitations placed on women and minorities, for example, as a "glass ceiling."


Read more:

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

  1. bagged
  2. ceiling
  3. man-of-the-hour
  4. rejuvenate
  5. scotch
  6. show her card
  7. taste the delights of

  1. The girls' swim team ________ three trophies in the competition.
  2. A good negotiator won't ________ until it's absolutely necessary.
  3. The city's plan to ________ the park included planting new trees and installing a fountain.
  4. Rob couldn't wait for his vacation, when he would at last ________ a luxury resort.
  5. The committee surprised everybody by deciding to honor a woman as their first ________.
  6. When the project showed signs of running way over budget, management decided to ________ it.
  7. In an effort to balance the budget, management placed a ________ on funds for entertaining clients.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for August 21, 2008

1 comment:

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