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Slow season

[ 2010-04-13 14:38]     字号 [] [] []  
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Slow seasonReader question:

Please explain “slow season” in this sentence: it seems like January through March has been a slow season for news and other events.

My comments:

It simply means that not much has been happening. There’s not been a whole lot going on in the months of January through March.

If January through March were seen as a season, as in “four seasons of the year”, then these months would be the time of the year when business slackens, the days are short and cold (in the Northern Hemisphere), people stay at home a lot – in short, nothing (news-worthy) happens.

Anyways, slow season is (primarily) a business term, in contrast to the height of the season when most sales are made.

If you go to the Summer Palace in Beijing the next few days, for example, you’ll notice that the entrance price will have been raised by a big margin because the upcoming summer time is the travelling high season. That is, more people visit the Palace from April to October than during the winter months. Hence they raise the gate price for summer time, reducing it once again come winter.

Beidaihe in Hebei Province, for another example, is also known as a summer resort. That means this past winter, a particularly cold one, has been a “slow season” for locals. In terms of business, it’s been their “downtime” in terms of making money from crowding tourists.

In two months time however, the seaside city will be bustling again. The beaches will be thronged with travelers. Hotel rooms will be at a premium (more expense than usual) and competition for seats at restaurants will be fierce. For the locals? Hectic and busy but easy money to be made again from gullible tourists from everyplace.

You can imagine how locals hate the “slow winter” in Beidaihe – when there’s not a lot of activity (businesswise especially), even the days seem “slow”.

Anyways, here’s a media example of “slow winters” in contrast to hectic summer seasons. I’m pasting this following short story in full because it’s a good-news story, a real feel-good story, something that’s hard to come by in the Western media:

For the last four years, Canadian couple Al and Leslie Anderson have dedicated countless hours to raising money for a local food bank. Westerly News reports, the Andersons sort recyclables, which they redeem for cash to sponsor the food bank.

“It’s a great thing because the community donates their stuff and some campgrounds donate too, which we’re grateful for because it’s money for the food bank,” Leslie [Anderson] said.

With tons of donated recyclables, the Andersons spend their spare time patiently dividing the goods into the appropriate categories. In the summer, when nearby campgrounds are bustling, the couple can sort and redeem about C$1,000 worth of recyclables. Leslie Anderson estimates she spends about 15 hours each week during the summer sorting bottles, cans and other items. The hectic summer months are balanced out by slow winters, where few recyclables are dropped off for the couple to sort. All told, each year, the Andersons raise about C$10,000 to fight hunger in their community by supplying the Food Bank on the Edge.

- Leslie and Al Anderson Raise Thousands For Food Bank By Sorting Recyclables, HuffingtonPost.com, April 8, 2010.



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.


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