(si1 ma3 zhao1 zhi1 xin1 lu4 ren2 jie1 zhi1)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Everyone knows what’s on Sima Zhao’s mind
佩德羅‧卡爾德隆‧德‧拉‧巴爾卡（西元一六○○～一六八一年），是西班牙文學黃金時期的劇作家及詩人。他被認為是西班牙最重要的劇作家之一，也是世界文學中公認最優秀的劇作家之一。德‧拉‧巴爾卡有一部名為《El Secreto a Voces》的喜劇，英文譯做「The Noisy Secret」 或「The Secret Spoken Aloud」。一七六九年，義大利劇作家卡洛‧戈齊將該劇翻譯成義大利文，並將其命名為「Il Pubblico Secreto」，意為「公開的秘密」（英文為「a public secret」或「an open secret」）。「an open secret」一語，十九世紀在英文中成為廣泛使用的說法，意指某些應該加以保密的事或資訊，實際上卻是有很多人知道，因此雖然叫做秘密，但對於保密是無濟於事的。因此，你可以說某位名人的出軌是個「open secret」：他們尚未正式承認緋聞，事情也還沒報導出來，但無論如何大家都心知肚明，至少在該行業或媒體圈內。然而，「an open secret」一語本身並沒有有負面的含義──那個「秘密」也有可能是件好事。
「司馬昭之心，路人皆知」這句話的字面意思是，「街上的每個人都知道司馬昭心裡在想什麼」），其意跟「an open secret」似乎相近，但其適用範圍較為限縮。
(He keeps saying that he has no intention of standing for high office, but everyone knows what he’s thinking: he’s been planning this for a long time.)
an open secret
Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600 – 1681), was a dramatist, poet and writer of the Spanish Golden Age. He is counted among Spain’s foremost dramatists, and is also regarded as one of the finest playwrights of world literature. One of de la Barca’s comedies was called El Secreto a Voces, variously translated into English as The Noisy Secret or The Secret Spoken Aloud. In 1769 Italian playwright Carlo Gozzi translated the play into Italian, giving it the name Il Pubblico Secreto, meaning “a public secret” or “an open secret.” The latter term, an open secret, came into general use in English during the 1800s, with the meaning of a fact or snippet of information that is supposed to be secret or confidential, but which in reality so many people know about that it’s futile to call it a secret at all. Thus, you could say that a certain celebrity’s infidelities are an open secret: their affairs have not been officially acknowledged or reported, but they are common knowledge anyway, at least within industry or media circles. The term doesn’t have to carry a negative connotation, however: the “secret” could just as well be a good thing.
In Chinese, the phrase 司馬昭之心，路人皆知, literally “Everyone in the streets knows what’s on Sima Zhao’s mind,” might appear to have a similar meaning, but it is used in a very specific way.
Sima Zhao (211— 265) was a military general and politician of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period. There was a power struggle between the Wei emperors and the powerful Sima clan. The fourth emperor, Cao Mao, ascended the throne while still in his teens. After a rebellion against Cao Mao and the Sima clan was crushed, Cao Mao wrote a poem entitled qianlong shi (Ode to the Hidden Dragon), which perhaps gives some insight into his feelings of helplessness despite his elevated status:
The desolate dragon is trapped; He cannot leap from the Depths;
He cannot rise to the Heavens; He cannot descend to the fields below.
The desolate dragon fell into the deep well, where even catfish dance before him;
He hides his teeth and talons and sighs; How like this dragon am I.
The gaogui xiang gongji (Annals of the Duke of Gaogui) in weishu (Book of Wei) in volume 4 of the sanguo zhi (Record of the Three Kingdoms) records how Cao Mao attempted to enfeoff Sima Zhao as King of Jin, to stem his obvious ambition to usurp the imperial throne, and how Sima Zhao had declined the offer. Frustrated, Cao Mao shouted out 司馬昭之心，路人所知也。吾不能坐受廢辱，今日當與卿自出討之 (Everyone knows of Sima Zhao’s intent. I can no longer sit by and accept this shame. Today I and my officials will go and deal with him.) And he did. Cao Mao armed himself and went, accompanied by his imperial guard, to kill Sima Zhao. He was killed himself, however, by a spear to the chest during the fighting. From his frustrated words 司馬昭之心，路人所知也 he bequeaths us the idiom 司馬昭之心，路人皆知, sometimes shortened to just 司馬昭之心, used when referring to someone with obvious ambition to secure power for themselves.
(Paul Cooper, Taipei Times)
You should perhaps try to be a little more discrete. It’s an open secret that you’re after the boss’ job.
Growing calls for the world to come to grips with the many ways that global warming affects human health have prompted the first day dedicated to the issue at crunch UN climate talks starting this week. Extreme heat, air pollution and the increasing spread of deadly infectious diseases are just some of the reasons the World Health Organization has called climate change the single biggest health threat facing humanity. Global warming must be limited to the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius “to avert catastrophic health impacts and prevent millions of climate change-related deaths,” according to the WHO. However,
Thanksgiving Day in the US is a day for family, fun and, most importantly, feasting. No Thanksgiving spread would be complete without a massive roasted turkey at its center. This bird’s association with the holiday is so strong that it has become one of Thanksgiving’s main symbols and even spawned its nickname Turkey Day. What makes the turkey so iconic to this particular celebration? Unlike other popular livestock such as chickens, cows or sheep, turkeys are exclusively native to North America. Although it’s unlikely that the first Thanksgiving feast between pilgrims and Native Americans included a turkey, these large fowl gained
This May, Tainan was shaken by a tragic incident: a left-turning vehicle struck a mother and her child crossing the road, claiming the life of the three-year-old and leaving the mother critically injured. This event emphasized the urgent call for traffic reform, which had already been highlighted by CNN’s classification of Taiwan as a “pedestrian hell.” What exactly is responsible for Taiwan’s traffic nightmare? Sidewalks, narrow and filled with vehicles, leave pedestrians with little choice but to venture onto roads, where they often compete for right-of-way against vehicles. Compounding this chaos are the prevailing and flagrant disregard for traffic regulations, risky
A: What’s the plan for this winter? Do you want to travel somewhere? B: Let’s go to Hong Kong Disneyland. World of Frozen, the world’s first “Frozen”-themed park, opened last month. A: Great! I’m a fan of the blockbuster “Frozen” series, too. B: Tokyo Disneyland will launch similar facilities next year, but Hong Kong’s theme park will remain the largest in the world. A: Maybe we can go to Hong Kong this winter and Tokyo next winter. A: 今年冬天有什麼計畫？想去哪旅遊嗎？ B: 我們去香港迪士尼吧，全球首座《冰雪奇緣》園區上個月剛開幕。 A: 好啊！我也喜歡《冰雪奇緣》電影系列。 B: 東京迪士尼明年將推出類似設施，但香港的主題園區還是全球最大。 A: 那我們今年冬天去香港玩，明年冬天再去東京吧。 （By Eddy Chang, Taipei Times／台北時報張聖恩）