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Tiger's skeletons

[ 2009-12-08 14:42]     字号 [] [] []  
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Tiger's skeletonsReader question:

Please explain “skeleton” in this passage (How Tiger Woods could rehabilitate his image now, by Jay Busbee, Yahoo! Sports, December 2, 2009):

Hopefully for Tiger, it can’t get much worse than this -- the first revelation of infidelity is far, far worse than any possible subsequent ones -- so now that the first skeleton has tumbled out of the closet, it’s time to haul out any more that may still be in there.

My comments:

“The skeleton in the closet” is an idiom referring metaphorically to a person’s past secrets, often dark and shameful secrets that they do not want others to know about. In this case, it refers to Tiger’s secret trysts with at least one, probably more women other than his wife.

Tiger’s “first skeleton has stumbled out of the closet” means that his once secret affair is now exposed. That’s why the author of the above article suggests that Tiger come clean on all other such “transgressions” – the word Tiger used in an open letter of apology to his wife – now that it is pointless to hide them.

In other words, tell the salivating media all, Tiger.

Ah well, that’s all for Tiger’s woes. Here are a few more media examples of skeletons in the closet, or cupboard, or wardrobe:

1. skeleton in the closet:

In this long anticipated movie written and directed by award winning director Dante Lam, Richie Jen plays a renowned top shooter, named Hartman or Fang Ke-ming, in a special unit of the HK police force.

Behind the legend though, lies a skeleton in the closet: his former teammate and superb marksman Lincoln or Ling Ching (Huang Xiaoming). Lincoln was jailed four year ago for accidentally killing a hostage and has just been released. With only vengeance on his mind, Lincoln determines to take on Hartman and his team, believing they are the real culprits for his fall.

- The Sniper, ChinaPost.com, July 10, 2009.

2. skeleton in the cupboard:

“I appeal to Rehman Malik [Interior Ministry chief], to the Prime Minister, if these are non-state actors, why should we sacrifice the interests of Pakistan in order to protect them. If there are skeletons in the cupboard, we must throw them out. We must come out fully, transparently and completely. We must proceed to prosecute [the perpetrators] and ensure that Mumbai is not repeated again,” he said.

- Cover-up will not work, SAFMA tells Pakistan, The Hindu, February 4, 2009.

3. skeleton in the wardrobe:

“It (Supreme Court) should stand and act really supreme and continue to be under the leadership that can be trusted for truth, fairness and even-handedness; which will not compromise on the priority of putting the call to duty first always.

It must be a leadership that has no skeleton in the wardrobe, which may be exploited externally as a bargaining chip in times of difficulty to try to bend the court.”

- Appellate courts not immuned from corruption, Biafranigeriaworld.com, January 25, 2005.



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.


Cheap shot

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Par for the course

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑陈丹妮)