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Cater one thing to another

[ 2009-10-09 15:01]     字号 [] [] []  
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Cater one thing to another

Gil writes:

I am very happy that I am once again plucking up the courage to write a message to you again. Please explain what this sentence – Make sure you cater what you wear to what you’re doing – means. Thank you very much.

My comments:

I don’t understand why one should need any courage to ask an innocuous question like that. Perhaps I’ve been taking things for granted.

Or perhaps you dare not ask a question for fear of me not being able to answer it competently.

Fear not. Just fire away, and be secure in knowing that if Xin cannot answer a question, he’d ignore it.

Joking aside, it’s good to understand that the best approach to life is to live in the moment and not worry about the past or the future. You may have had some questions go unanswered in the past. I’m sorry about that but no apology. I did not intend that to happen. It just happened – I’m simply not equipped to answer all questions. That’s just a fact of life we both have to learn to face and deal with. What I’m saying is this: Do not let past letdowns stop you from doing what you want to do – that is, asking another question.

In other words, please understand that in asking your question you’ve achieved your goal, with or without getting a satisfactory answer. Leave that part – answering it or not answering it, as the case may be – to me because, as a matter of fact, that is my business, not yours. In asking your question therefore you’ve already completed your mission. Get on with your life. Do not let expectations of an answer stop you from moving on (and hopefully to better things).

In other words, live in the now and be a happy Gil.

Alright, let’s move on to your question (^_^) – hope you’ve not been so distracted that you do not remember what it is.

“Cater to”, just in case, is the phrase in question. Originally if you cater, you provide (food) for people. A restaurant catering 500 guests is one that is capable of serving 500 people at the same time. “Catering industry” hence represents food businesses in general. By extension, if you cater one thing to another, you do one thing to serve another purpose.

Therefore, when you’re asked to “make sure you cater what you wear to what you’re doing”, you’re merely advised to wear the right clothes for the right occasions.

If you are, say, athletic and active, you’d better be seen donning body-fitting flexible sportswear a lot rather than, say, wearing a stiff formal suit all the time.

If on the other hand you’re going to a wedding, a tuxedo suits the purpose.

On National Day, President Hu Jintao wore a Mao suit, which is actually originally named after Dr. Sun Yat-sen who first introduced it after the founding of the Chinese Republic. I thought that was an excellent choice. It suited the occasion superbly.

Hu looked very smart on October 1, don’t you think?



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


Play hardball?

To a fault?

To a fare-thee-well

To each his own