High horse?

中国日报网 2016-09-13 09:54



High horse?Reader question:

What does it mean when people say “he should get off his high horse”?

My comments:

They mean to say that he should be humble.

In a nutshell, that’s about it.

In other words, he should not talk or act like he’s someone riding a horse while others are walking on foot.

You see, in the olden days, when horses were a means of transport instead of cars and sedans, those people who could afford horses, and high (tall) horses at that, were usually of a higher social status, or simply richer than those who were too poor to be able to afford one.

In Chinese folklore, too, this is the case. In old-time stories, all flamboyant officials and businessmen seemed to be riding a high horse (Gao Tou Da Ma, or high-headed big horse).

In any event, a lot of people riding their high horses must have given the impression that they were better than and superior to the rest of the population otherwise the metaphorical meaning of “high horse” would not have been created in the first place.

Or the impression would not have been able to stick, after all, automobiles have replaced horses in the West for something like hundred years and, yet, “high horse” as a metaphor is still alive and well today.

Again, when someone gets on a high horse, they tend to appear haughty and to speak in a manner that is condescending, arrogant and self-righteous, something like that.

They should, of course, get off their high horses and act like normal.

In reality, a lot of people today are asked to do just that – get off their proverbial high horses and leave their moral high ground, so to speak.

Whether correctly or incorrectly is another matter. Here are a few examples for you to judge:

1. Happy New Year to you, and let’s hope it stays that way for hockey fans and the NHL.

It is unlikely much will be heard about the NHL collective bargaining negotiations until the season is over, and probably well into the summer, even though the current agreement is due to expire. That is the nature of the negotiating beast: Time pressures breed results.

Both sides have been told by their leaders to keep it quiet. Not a bad idea. The less friction created in the press between the league and the players’ association, the better hope for a timely settlement.

One thing is clear. The players do not want a work stoppage. While most will not go on record, the player leaders know they have a good thing going and want it to continue. Most also agree that the salaries cannot possibly continue the degree of upward spiral we have seen over the past five years.

One of the NHL player leaders is Brett Hull. His willingness to be candid and up front regarding issues surrounding the game he loves is always refreshing and notable. He speaks not just for himself but reflects, in his own beguiling and intelligent way, the opinions of most fellow players.

We talked this past week about his personal feelings regarding the collective bargaining process and what he believes will happen.

Will the league be shut down next year? “I hope not,” Hull said. “I’m trying to stay positive. If that happened, that could be the end of Brett Hull, and I don’t want that,” he says with that big Hull grin, but with a note of sheer honesty as well.

So how does the deal get done? Said Hull: “Both sides have to get off their high horses. There’s got to be some salary control for the owners. Let’s be honest — the owners have to take control of their situations. We’ve got to realize as players that our TV contract doesn’t allow revenue to come in to support the owners to pay the high salaries.

“We have to have — let’s not call it a salary cap — a number your highest player can be paid, which would be a very generous number. If you have a superstar player you want to pay that to, you can. A team doesn’t have to have a player with the salary, but they could.”

- Hull: ‘Both sides have to get off their high horses’, USAToday.com, January 1, 2004.

2. During remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Barack Obama said that all religions had grappled with radical elements attempting to co-opt its spiritual messages, a rebuke to those who want him to more forcefully condemn what they consider a violent extremism inherent in Islam.

“From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terrorists perpetrated by those who professed to stand up for their faith, professed to stand up for Islam but in fact are betraying it,” Obama said, citing ISIS.

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout history,” Obama continued, “and lest we get up on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

Obama also named slavery and Jim Crow as examples in America, along with religious intolerance “that would have shocked Gandhi” in India.

- Obama Warns Against ‘High Horse’ on Religious Extremism: ‘Terrible Deeds Done in Name of Christ’, MediaITE.com, February 5th, 2015.

3. The controversy surrounding Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the National Anthem seems like we won't hear the end of this debate for awhile. Some might argue that we are driving this story way too much into the ground, and that the realization of the lack of sensibility to focus on other pressing issues that drastically affect America and the world today is jarring.

But to continue this discourse, one of Muhammad Ali’s ex-wives has now given her two cents about Colin Kaepernick’s protest. Khalilah Camacho Ali, who was the iconic boxer’s spouse from 1967 to 1976, told TMZ Sports that she believe Kaepernick is “not heroic” for his protest, he should apologize for his actions, and that he needs to “get off his high horse.”

“What he’s doing right now is not heroic,” Khalilah suggested. “I would love to meet with him or talk to him on the phone to help share his message in a better way,” she added.

Khalilah also claims that she was her ex-husband’s adviser during the time he had refused to enlist in the U.S. Army and fight in the Vietnam war, which got his boxing license revoked from March 1967 to October 1970.

“I helped Muhammad decide whether he was going to the army or going to jail,” she says. “He listened to my every word. You see the impact that had on our nation? Colin could absolutely have the same impact if he made the right decisions to really make a difference.”

Camacho Ali even has a plan if given the opportunity to meet up Kaepernick, and detailed what she would say to him.

“The first thing I would do is ask him about his stance on humanity ... what exactly is he trying to improve and how is he going to make that happen? Next, I’d have him make a retraction for his actions against the American flag. He needs to apologize. I will help him meet the groups that will fight with him, donate to charities of all people— not just minorities— because we cannot single anyone out. If he wants isolation to end, he needs to prove that he cares about all people, and not just his people. If he is willing to get off his high horse and humble himself, we could do a lot of good together.”

- Muhammad Ali’s Ex-Wife Says Colin Kaepernick Should “Get Off His High Horse” and Apologize, Complex.com, September 4, 2016.


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.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)

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