August 25, 2008

#01-152: Reading Boomtown Chronicles 24

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 "nice" ways to say words like die, died, death, etc.?

Boomtown Chronicles Part X - published Monday, August 18, 2008

  • Title: Birth of tourism titan OCT

titan: any extraordinarily large or powerful thing. In Greek mythology, the Titans were the children of the original gods. Being of divine origin, they were giants. Shenzhen's Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) has dominated the tourism industry since the city's early days, and is thus a "tourism titan."

  • Subtitle: OCT is a "magnet for overseas Chinese."

magnet: an object used to attract metal. It can thus be used metaphorically for anything that attracts something by its very nature OCT was designed to attract overseas Chinese who wished to return and resettle in the motherland, as well as investment by those who chose to remain overseas.

  • "compatriot"

compatriots: people from the same country. We have often encountered com- and its variations, meaning with, as in "companion," "constructive," etc. The prefix combines here with "patriot" (root patria, meaning "father" or "fatherland.") (It is an oddity of English that we still use "compatriot" in a nation that refers to its home as "the motherland".) By the way, with a slight variation in spelling, and the use of the prefix ex- meaning "from" or "out of," we see the same root in the word "expatriate," more commonly abbreviated to "expat," one of which I am.

  • Returning compatriots brought with them "the money and advanced technologies that the country craved."

craved: a strong word for "wanted." It may once have meant "begged (for)," though etymologists trace "crave" back to the Old English word crafian that meant "demand by right."

  • Liao Chengzhi, the official who conceived the bold plan for OCT, "passed away" before his plan was realized

pass away: die. This is a common euphemism, a word which means the "use of a favorable word in place of an inauspicious one." The roots of this practice lie in avoiding saying anything unlucky. As in Chinese culture, Westerners often find death an uncomfortable subject. So whether for politeness' sake or for the avoidance of bad luck, we often use euphemisms ("passed away," "left us," "gone to a better place") in place of "died."


Read more:

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

  1. compatriots
  2. crave
  3. magnet
  4. passed away
  5. titan

  1. Robin can't come in to the office today; her mother-in-law ________ last night.
  2. Someone told me that if you ________ chocolate, you should eat an orange.
  3. We mourn today the passing of Liz Faraday, a ________ in our industry.
  4. It's always nice when ________ run into each other in a foreign country.
  5. The politician's behavior made him a ________ for criticism.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for August 25, 2008

1 comment: