November 11, 2008

#01-182: Reading Boomtown Chronicles 52

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 #01-208, I wrote 72 lessons explaining expressions in articles published in the Shenzhen Daily. Read more about "Reading Boomtown Chronicles."

Get Ready: Do you believe a "Cinderella dream" could happen to you, like going from factory worker to famous entertainer almost overnight?

Boomtown Chronicles Part XIX - published Monday, November 3, 2008 (cont.)

  • Dai Jun, a popular entertainer, credits Shenzhen's performance stage with "the dawning of a new life for him."

dawn: the beginning of a new day; sunrise. Figuratively, the start of any new enterprise, such as Dai Jun's life as a performer.

  • Dai "shrugged off working on an assembly line..."

shrug off: to rid oneself of something, or at least to disregard it. Dai shrugged off a job; others may shrug off an insult, or a setback, or anything else that is undesirable.

  • Dai became "an overnight sensation."

overnight sensation: a sudden celebrity. In many cases, so-called "overnight success" involves years of effort, but in Dai's case, the term almost seems to be literally true!

  • Dai "realized the Cinderella dream of millions of people..."

Cinderella dream: You probably know the story of Cinderella, a character from Grimm's Fairy Tales. On one day, she is a poor step-daughter doing all the housework while her step-mother and step-sisters abuse her; the next day she marries a prince. Now that's overnight success! We would also describe Dai's life as "a Cinderella story."

  • Shenzhen is "fertile ground for emerging careers..."

fertile ground: a good place for growing plants or, in this case, careers.

  • The Dajiale Stage in Luohu had become "shabby."

shabby: in poor condition. It's related to the word "scabies," a skin disease of sheep and cattle (and sometimes humans) that leaves the sufferer with a ragged, unkempt appearance.

  • "Infrastructure construction was going on like wildfire throughout the city."

wildfire: a fire burning out of control. Such a fire will spread quickly through a wilderness area and is difficult to put out. You can see the connection between that and the rapid rise in building starts.


Read more:

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

  1. Cinderella dream
  2. dawn
  3. fertile ground
  4. overnight sensation
  5. shabby
  6. shrug off
  7. wildfire

  1. Sometimes a "secret" will spread like ________.
  2. Paris in the 1930s was ________ for writers.
  3. Sometimes we just have to ________ criticism and do what we think is best.
  4. If possible, we shouldn't wear ________ clothes to a fancy restaurant.
  5. When the Beatles arrived in America, they were an ________.
  6. The Beatles' arrival was the ________ of a new era in American rock and roll.
  7. Meeting the Beatles in person would have been a ________ for many of their fans.

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for November 11, 2008

1 comment:

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