(Jiao3 ta4 liang3 tiao2 chuan2)
Photo: Huang Liang-chieh
To straddle two boats
成語「腳踏兩條船」出自晚明哲學家暨歷史學家李贄〈西元一五二七到一六○二年〉的《藏書》。李贄又名李卓吾，他在《藏書》中寫道：「世間道學，好騎兩頭馬，喜踹兩腳船。」這段話的意思若譯成英文，就是to sit on the fence，意為心意不決或逃避做決定。
這段話到了清朝演變為今日常見的「腳踏兩條船」，意同英文的to have a foot in both camps。
英文的to have a foot in both camps意指某人同時和兩個不同的陣營或個人建立關係。這樣的做法，依據敘述的角度，可以是正面而務實的，也可以是負面、投機取巧的。
(Politicians often attempt to have a foot in both camps by simultaneously wooing voters on both the left and the right.)
( He is a playboy and a habitual cheater, Don’t be fooled by his sweet words.)
英 文 練 習
To have a foot in both camps.
The idiom 腳踏兩條船 first appeared in a written work entitled Cangshu by the late Ming philosopher, historian and writer Li Zhi (1527–1602 AD, also known as Li Zhuo-wu):
“In this society, there are scholars who love to ride two horses and straddle two boats at the same time.” In English, this original meaning of the idiom could be translated as “to sit on the fence,” which means to hold no fixed opinion or to avoid making a decision.
By the Qing dynasty the idiom had evolved into its present form, which in modern Chinese has come to mean “to have a foot in both camps.”
In English, the phrase “to have a foot in both camps” means to maintain an interest in two parties or sides at the same time. Such behavior could be described as either pragmatic (positive) or opportunistic (negative) depending on one’s point of view.
In modern Chinese 腳踏兩條船 has also taken on another meaning: to have two lovers at the same time. In English this is also called “two-timing.” In Chinese, there is also an alternative way to describe two-timing, 劈腿, which literally means “to do the splits.”
(Edward Jones, Taipei Times)
I have got a foot in both camps with investments in both equities and real-estate.
He is a very pragmatic man and always tries to keep a foot in both camps.
Taiwan is celebrating the anniversary of the same-sex marriage bill, which officially took effect on May 24 last year. According to Ministry of the Interior statistics, a total of 4,021 same-sex couples had married as of May. Last Friday, the Rainbow Equality Platform released an opinion poll about Taiwanese’s attitude toward same-sex marriage. Among the respondents, 92.8 percent said same-sex marriage does not affect them personally, and 50.1 percent of them said such union does not affect Taiwan’s society. However, 74.1 percent of them said it is acceptable to see straight couples kissing in the street; the figure dropped to 48.2
Astronomers believe they may have found the first direct evidence of a new planet being born. A dense disc of dust and gas has been spotted surrounding a young star called AB Aurigae, about 520 light years away from Earth. Using the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT), located in Chile, the researchers observed a spiral structure with a “twist” near the center, which suggests a new world may be in the process of forming. The swirling disc was one of the telltale signs of the star system being born in the constellation of Auriga, the scientists said.
The Dunhua Eslite branch is to shut up shop at the end of this month. During a news conference held on the afternoon of April 23, Mercy Wu, chairwoman of Eslite Spectrum Corp, spoke candidly about the bookstore founded by her father Robert Wu, and about how it stirred up emotions inside her still. She also spoke of her decision, made in this very store, not to study overseas, and instead to stay in Taiwan to run the store with her father. When speaking about the special place the bookstore had in her heart, she compared it to the rose