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Kick sth.when it's down

[ 2010-08-12 13:39]     字号 [] [] []  
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Kick sth.when it's down

Reader’s question:  Obama administration kicking construction when it's down

Nearly a quarter of the nation's construction workers are unemployed and contractors are facing a series of government mandates and proposals that will only serve to kick the industry while it's already down.

Could you explain “kick someone/something when it is down”?

My comments:

Here, it is suggested that the Obama Administration’s new policies will be unfavorable to US construction workers. In normal circumstances, that’s okay.

That’s not okay, OK?

OK. In normal circumstances, that’s bad. These days, it is worse, compounded by two years of recession and all the hardships construction workers have suffered because of it.

That’s why the administration’s policy proposals are likened to “kicking someone when they’re down”.

In normal circumstances, to be knocked down in, say, the boxing ring is ok.

It’s no okay (I got you). In normal circumstances, to be knocked down in a fight (any fight) is bad. To be kicked then (when you’re on the floor and powerless to fight back) is worse.

The equivalent Chinese expression is “dropping a piece of rock into the well after seeing someone falling into it.”

A lot of people are very good at doing that.

Bad, I mean. They’re very bad.

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Go to Zhang Xin's column


About the author:

Zhang Xin 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.