(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.
The 58th Golden Horse Awards will take place at the National Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall on Saturday. “Drifting” is currently leading the nominees with 12 nods, closely followed by “The Soul,” “The Falls” and “Till We Meet Again” with 11 nods each. All the four movies, along with “American Girl,” are nominated for the prestigious Best Feature Film. The Golden Horses are also known as the Oscars of the Chinese world. This year, nominees for Best Leading Actor include Cheng Jen-shuo, Chang Chen, Roy Chiu, Francis Ng and Kai Ko; nominees for Best Leading Actress include Chen Shiang-chyi, Alyssa Chia, Gingle
A: One memorable moment for me was when we got lost and chanced upon that old fishing harbor. B: That was strange, wasn’t it? One minute we were riding along busy main roads, and then we took a wrong turning and ended up in a tranquil harbor, with not a single soul in sight. A: It was like a place that time forgot. I wish we could have just stayed there. A: 對我來說很難忘的是，那個我們迷路以後無意間走到的老漁港。 B: 真是不可思議，對吧？上一分鐘我們還騎在交通繁忙的主要道路上，然後我們轉錯彎，就到了一個靜悄悄的海港，半個人都沒有。 A: 就像是到了一個被時間遺忘的地方。真希望我們能就這樣待在那裡。 (Paul Cooper, Taipei Times ／台北時報林俐凱譯) Audio recordings for Speak Up! dialogues will be suspended until further notice due to the pandemic.
That was tough going (4/5) 這段路還蠻難騎的（四） B: I can see why you liked resting in the quiet fishing harbor, but I much preferred the bustling port we biked through on the third day. A: I wasn’t so keen on that. B: I know you weren’t. You were paying so much attention to the boats, you rode straight into the railings and fell headfirst into the water. A: It wasn’t funny. I could have really hurt myself. B: 我可以理解你為什麼喜歡待在那個安靜的漁港，可是我比較喜歡第三天行程我們騎車經過的那個熱鬧的港口。 A: 我不太喜歡那裡。 B: 我知道你不喜歡。你一直在看船，結果撞到欄杆，倒栽蔥跌到水裡。 A: 這一點都不好笑。我可能會受重傷欸。 (Paul Cooper, Taipei Times ／台北時報林俐凱譯) Audio recordings for Speak Up! dialogues will be suspended until further notice due to the pandemic.
B: You know, you’re right. It was all about the journey. It’s been a great trip. A: We’ve seen all kinds of scenery, from craggy coastlines to tranquil fishing ports to wonderful vistas in the mountains. B: So now we can just sit back and enjoy this beautiful scenery as the sun goes down. A: We can’t stay too long. This might be the symbolic end to the trip, but we still have to ride down from the mountain, and the light is fading fast. B: 你知道嗎，你說的沒錯，重要的是過程。這趟旅程真的很棒。 A: 我們看遍了各種景色，從崎嶇陡峭的海岸，到安靜的漁港，還有山間的美麗景色。 B: 那我們現在就可以好好坐下來，享受夕陽美景。 A: 我們不能待太久啦。這雖然是象徵性的終點，可是我們還得要騎下山，天色很快就要暗了。 (Paul Cooper, Taipei Times ／台北時報林俐凱譯) Audio recordings