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Borderline impossible? 几乎不可能

中国日报网 2024-05-10 11:14


Reader question:

Please explain this sentence, with “borderline impossible” in particular: Buying a house is borderline impossible for a young man right now.

My comments:

It is almost impossible to buy a house right now.

In this city, the city of Beijing, it certainly looks like that way, especially if you’re young and working for a salary.

Granted, it is difficult for any young salary worker to buy a house anywhere, but I feel for all the young people who’re struggling to own a house in the capital right now.

Right now, the housing price is still too high, I mean, way too high.

And I don’t want to go into this, knowing it is, as they say, complicated. I just want to say I sympathize with anyone who’s struggling to buy a house without borrowing heavily from the bank or without using the hard-earned money of their parents.

Look, I have been there.

When I was young, I had the same struggle. What’s different is that people of my age were full of hope when we were young.

Today, it seems youngsters are less hopeful than we were back in the day.

Again, I’m not going into this because it is complicated. I just want to say, do not despair. All is not lost.

It’s easy for me to say, I know.

So, let’s talk a little more about “borderline” itself. The borderline between two countries, say, is the line that separates the two. So, if you live near the border, you can say you live on the borderline, being close to both areas.

Figuratively, borderline denotes closeness. In our example, buying a house is borderline impossible means it’s close to being so.

It is possible, of course, but it is close to being impossible.

That’s borderline in a nutshell, i.e., between two different conditions, with the possibility of belonging to either one of them.

And I’m sure you’ll get a good grasp of this by reading the following media examples:

1. Poor old avocado is having a really rough time at the moment.

It’s apparently the reason millennials can’t afford a home down payment, and the avolatte phenomenon has been branded one of the stupidest food trends of all time. Which is fair, because drinking a latte out of an avocado skin is borderline insanity.

As we reported last week, the debate surrounding the link between avocado toast and mortgages has gone global, making Australia an international laughingstock.

Time magazine jumped on board with an avocado toast calculator asking people to enter the details of their city and state to find out how many servings they’d have to skip to be able to afford a home.

“If you’re brunching in New York City or San Francisco, you could be looking at skipping roughly 10,000 and 21,000 avocado toast servings for a down payment, respectively,” wrote journalist David Johnson with amusement.

A journalist at Eater in San Francisco was so moved by the whole situation that she referred to smashed avo as “the devil on toast.”

Eater’s Ellen Fort continues, “somewhere along the way, the buttery fruit that is so deliciously slathered on toast got a real bad rap for being trendy, and expensive.”

But when you do the mathematical breakdown, is it really the avocado’s fault?

- Avocado toast might not be a ripoff after all, NYPost.com, May 30, 2017.

2. Stefanos Tsitsipas has been emphatically knocked out of Roland Garros by Carlos Alcaraz, and former No. 4 Tim Henman described it as ‘borderline embarrassing’.

Tsitsipas was beaten by Alcaraz once again, 2-6 1-6 6(5)-7, and the end scoreline only tells half of the story with the Spaniard having match points at 5-2 in the third set before the Greek fought back.

Henman spoke of how ‘average’ Alcaraz was making the No. 5 and two-time Grand Slam finalist look, “I think sometimes when you see these great players in the early rounds of Grand Slams, yes there can be a big gulf in the level, the quality, the ability of players.”

The former Roland Garros semi-finalist continued, “But Tsitsipas is five in the world, he’s won Masters 1000s, we’re talking about him [potentially] being a Grand Slam champion. And for those first two and a half sets it was borderline embarrassing how average Alcaraz was making Tsitsipas look.”

“Tsitsipas was looking to try and implement his game plan, but he wasn’t allowed – there was just no area of Alcaraz’s game that he could attack.”

Tsitsipas, himself, seemed to imply that the performance was more down to him than Alcaraz, “It wasn’t really that much fun out there in the first two sets. I felt completely off, kind of like sleeping in a way. He played great. I mean, I don’t think he played exceptional, but he played great.”

The 24-year-old spoke about how his sleep has been affected in Paris, and the changes that he is going to make in the future.

“One thing that I’m going to try to avoid in the future is to have melatonin pills and naps before matches because it clearly doesn’t seem to be working,” explained Tsitsipas.

“I wondered to myself why I did not feel the adrenaline and stress. I wondered in my first service game. I was more calm than usual. I tried to nap before the game. About 20 minutes which I usually do not do, actually never done. My start was highly likely down to this.”

He added, “The schedule has been a little bit difficult the last few days. I had some late-night sessions. Not super late, but late enough for me to kind of have my sleep schedule ruined, in a way. Sleep is a very vital important thing, and recovery is the most important thing when competing and playing big Slams like this.”

- Stefanos Tsitsipas’ Roland Garros quarter-final performance described as ‘borderline embarrassing’ by former No. 4, TennisHead.net, June 7, 2023.

3. Move fast and break things.

In the early years of the new millennium, as Mark Zuckerberg was turning Facebook from dorm room hustle into a ground-breaking billion-dollar company, he adopted a motto.

He told colleagues to act first and apologize later. Old orthodoxies should be shattered, rivals dented and establishment egos bruised in pursuit of a project that justified it all.

It became the disrupter’s mantra, a philosophy that could turn a bright idea into a glittering fortune in a twinkle.

Now, Aron D’Souza is making the same offer to the world’s best athletes.

The Enhanced Games has put million-dollar bounties on world records: move fast, break records and you can earn big.

The catch that has hooked headlines around the world is that competitors can use performance-enhancing drugs to do so.

The Enhanced Games, which plans its first edition for 2025, will have no drug-testing. It will be a pharmaceutical free-for-all, with participants free to pump, juice and dope however they see fit.

Plenty say it shouldn’t happen.

Travis Tygart, the chief executive of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, has called it “a dangerous clown show”.

Two-time Olympic champion Kieran Perkins said it was “borderline criminal”. World Athletics President Lord Coe was uncharacteristically (and unrepeatably) blunt when asked his opinion.

Others say that it won’t happen anyway, that the logistics and legalities are insurmountable. They believe the Enhanced Games is a provocation or a publicity stunt, rather than a realistic prospect.

But D’Souza is adamant.

“It will happen,” says the Enhanced Games founder.

“I wouldn’t dedicate my life, years of my team’s lives and millions of dollars from the world’s greatest investors unless we truly believe we can deliver the event, break world records and fundamentally change the trajectory of not just sport, but humanity as a whole.

“We are doing something truly extraordinary, something that is shaping the future.”

- Enhanced Games: The story behind the “doped Olympics”, BBC Sport, March 29, 2024.


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)


The upshot is… 结果


Change their tune? 改弦易辙


Bend over backwards? 竭尽全力


Unvarnished truth? 未加粉饰的真相


One of a kind? 独一无二


Overarching question? 全局性问题

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