(shui3 xie4 bu4 tong1)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
not one drop can trickle through
在英文中，若是一個房間或空間很擁擠，例如在酒吧或地鐵，擠到幾乎不可能穿過人群，我們可以形容這個地方「packed」，甚至是「jam-packed」。我們也可以說人群「packed like sardines」（像沙丁魚一樣擠滿），就像是密實裝在罐頭裡的魚一樣。
(The singer’s fans queued through the night, packing the place out, just so they could get a glimpse of their idol.)
(We thought we’d make use of the long weekend to stroll around, but the streets were packed, and we couldn’t go a step in any direction.)
packed like sardines; jam-packed
The literary form bianwen (“transformation texts”), popular during the Tang Dynasty but in serious decline by the Song, were perhaps some of the earliest examples of vernacular narratives in Chinese literature, and were believed to have been developed by Buddhist monks wanting to spread their teachings in a literature understandable by the masses. The existence of bianwen as a literary form in its own right was unknown until examples were discovered among manuscripts in the Mogao Caves at Dunhuang in China’s Gansu Province in the early 20th century. Generally themed on Buddhist teachings, the bianwen texts also used figures and stories from Chinese history, often adding flourishes and embellishing characters and events for dramatic effect.
The Wu Zixu bianwen, discovered as part of the Dunhuang cache, relates the story of the official Wu Zixu avoiding a trap set by the king of Chu state in the Spring and Autumn period.
The king had imprisoned Wu She on suspicion of plotting rebellion, and forced him to call his two sons to his side in his hour of need. Both suspected a trap: One went, and was executed with his father; the second, Wu Zixu, decided to flee. The king issued an order offering a reward for Wu’s capture, adding that anyone sheltering Wu or helping him escape would be executed, and their entire family put to death. The order was distributed throughout the state and security at the border passes was so impenetrable it was described as 水楔不通, meaning “so tight even water cannot pass.”
The character 楔 (xie4) is homophonic with 洩 and 泄, and it is thought this story may be the origin of the idiom 水洩不通 (or 水泄不通), literally “not one drop can trickle through,“ and meaning impenetrable.
In English, when a room or space is so crowded it is almost impossible to get through the throng of people, such as in a bar or on a subway, we can say the place is packed, or even jam-packed. We can also say the people are “packed like sardines,” as with canned fish tightly packed into a tin.
(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)
It’s difficult to breathe in here. It’s jam-packed.
Let’s not go to Taipei City Hall Plaza for the New Year countdown. We’ll be packed like sardines, and won’t be able to move.
Veteran singer Tarcy Su staged a show at the Taipei Music Center on Saturday last week, becoming the first to hold a large solo concert at the venue since it opened in Taipei’s Nangang District on Aug. 27. After releasing her first album for 13 years in March, Su finally held the first paid concert in her music career spanning three decades since 1990. To celebrate the grand opening of the new multipurpose center, singer-songwriter Kay Huang, the center’s chairwoman, also launched an inaugural concert featuring various artists on Sept. 5. The lineup included Golden Melody Award-winning singer LaLa Hsu, singer
Let’s go for a spin in my new set of wheels (3/5) 坐我的新車去兜風吧（三） A: Whoa, we’re only staying for three nights. What are you doing bringing all that luggage? B: Well, I wasn’t sure what the weather would be like, so I packed for all eventualities. I can put one bag in the trunk and the other on the back seat. A: No can do: the trunk in a Mini is minuscule. The toolkit and the spare tire take up most of the space. You’ll just have to sling one bag on the back seat and keep the other between your feet in the front. B: OK, no problem. A:
Let’s go for a spin in my new set of wheels (4/5) 坐我的新車去兜風吧（四） A: So what do you think of my Mini? B: Well. . . apart from the fact it’s absolutely boiling inside without any air conditioning — and the wind noise is quite loud compared to a modern car — it’s actually pretty cool! It feels a bit like I’m in a go-kart. A: That’s because of the Mini’s ultra-wide wheelbase, which means it handles corners really well. Modified Mini Coopers won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1964, 1965 and 1967. B: Wow! It feels like we’re driving in a piece of automobile history. A: 那麼，你覺得我的迷你車怎麼樣？ B: 嗯……除了車內沒有空調，感覺快被煮熟以外──而且風切聲跟現代汽車比起來有夠大聲──其實真的很酷！有一點感覺像是在卡丁車裡面。 A:
Let’s go for a spin in my new set of wheels (5/5)
坐我的新車去兜風吧（五） A: Can you hear a strange noise? B: Now you mention it, I can hear a faint whirring sound. Also, there’s a slight whiff of burnt rubber. A: Uh-oh! I’d better pull over and take a look... OK, sit tight. I’ll pop the hood and take a look at the engine. B: What’s the prognosis? A: I think the fan belt has worn out and caused the engine to overheat. I’d better call a mechanic... A: 你有聽到一種奇怪的噪音嗎？ B: 既然你說了，我確實有聽到微弱的低沉呼呼聲。另外，我還聞到一點點燒焦的橡膠味。 A: 哦哦！我最好停車檢查一下……。好，你坐穩，我要把引擎蓋打開，看看引擎有沒有問題。 B: 你推斷的病情是什麼？ A: 我想應該是風扇的皮帶破損了，導致引擎過熱。我最好打個電話給維修人員……。 （Edward Jones, Taipei Times／台北時報章厚明譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文: