Reader question: "There's an English saying for‘推诿’, ‘passing the buck'or‘passing the puck'?"
The buck is not to be mistaken with the puck.
The puck is the ice hockey puck, a round disk made of rubber serving as hockey's game "ball". Players pass the puck to each other on an ice rink till someone is in a scoring position and shoots for goal.
Passing the puck around is good. It may lead to an assist, the final pass that helps a teammate to score.
Passing the buck, on the other hand, is no assist to no one. If you pass the buck, you’re shirking your responsibilities and you are shifting the blame to others. That, in the long run, helps none, not even your self.
Passing the buck came from the card game. In poker, players take turns to deal the next hand. A marker, known as the buck, is placed in front of the dealer till he moves the marker to the next dealer, thus shifting the chore to the other player. In some stories, the marker used in the game of poker in the early days in America is said to be a knife with a handle made of buck’s horn, hence the term.
This, from a story on phrase origins from www.phrases.org.uk:
Poker became very popular in America during the second half of the 19th century. Players were highly suspicious of cheating or any form of bias and there's considerable folklore depicting gunslingers in shoot-outs based on accusations of dirty dealing. In order to avoid unfairness the deal changed hands during sessions. The person who was next in line to deal would be given a marker. This was often a knife, and knives often had handles made of buck's horn – hence the marker becoming known as a buck. When the dealer’s turn was done he 'passed the buck'.
Anyways, over time, passing the buck became synonymous with shirking one's responsibility, especially in dealing with irksome problems.
Buck passing is the forte of career bureaucrats. For them it's understandable (at least I, who's an understanding person, find it understandable) because, one, their pay is relatively fixed (doing more doesn't earn more, so what’s the point of doing all the jobs by yourself); two, red tape increases their sense of self-importance (if someone wants a stamp stamped and it normally takes two minutes to handle if you as the bureaucrat handles it in as many minutes, what does that make you out to be? Well, it suggests you the bureaucrat are a mere rubber stamping machine at the mercy and service of one and all that may need such service. I don't see anything wrong with that, but by lording over clients a bit, by saying so-and-so is responsible for it but he's out of town, by telling clients to come in again next week helps increase the value of the bureaucrat. Besides, by being difficult, the bureaucrat increases the chances of an anxious client in the hopes of speeding up the process handing in a tribute, either token or substantial).
Former US President Harry Truman, on the other hand, had a sign on his desk reading "The Buck Stops Here", meaning it's up to him and he won't shirk the responsibility. Nor would he dawdle. Truman took over the White House in April, 1945 and shortly after the United States dropped the bombs on Japan. Where China is concerned, Truman also launched the Korean War (1950-53), so you could say that in his time, Truman had some difficult decisions to make. "The Bucks Stops Here" motto must have helped him.
For a politician, or any random one from the populace for that matter, Truman's was an exceptional motto, and Truman was often commended for it.
To the vast majority of the public, passing the buck remains the easy way out, whether in dealing with office duties or running one's private lives. And they usually end up having all sorts of problems in their lives so we might as well quit the subject right here (lest further examination should sound like rubbing salt into their injuries).
In short, don't pass the buck, because your life is basically and fundamentally up to you. It's alright. Let the buck stop here.
"But other lousy people are always...," I hear you say.
Never mind other people. It's up to you.
"But other lousy people are always..." Yes, I know. Other people are what they are. Still, it's still up to you. Don't bother what other people do. Don't you realize running your life according to what other people do is allowing them to run your show for you? Don't give that power to other people. Keep that power to yourself.
For a change, I'll provide no examples today. I believe we each can find examples in our own lives for passing the buck.
And, hopefully, learn from the consequences thereof.
Have a good weekend. And come in next week, as any buck-passing bureaucrat might say. Only joking.