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A feeling for a "soft touch"

[ 2009-04-08 13:49]     字号 [] [] []  
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A reader raised a query during the week regarding the phrase ‘soft touch’. It came up in the example below,

“With Moscow eager to boost its battered prestige, Reginald Dale, a CSIS Europe scholar, said Obama can't afford to employ the soft touch with Russia.”

In most cases someone is a ‘soft touch’ is easily persuaded or taken advantage of. This idiom is often used in relation to giving away money. For example, Ask Bob the banker for a loan - he's always a soft touch.

The expression also has other connotations that we need to be aware of, still connected to the first definition, though implying a ‘soft touch’ is a person who is gullible.

I think it is with this latter example that Reginald Dale was referring to Obama.

Quite likely he is of the opinion the Russia is not as open or democratic or law abiding as the USA so he feels Obama shouldn’t be seen smiling or being seen friendly towards his Russian counterpart.

If we think back to GW Bush he was less than friendly to Russia and tried to surround it with lots of NATO missiles.

This antagonistic policy Obama is now rethinking, and for Hawks of the previous Bush administration (policy makers who prefer more aggressive militaristic stances) being a ‘soft touch’ is not effective.

Words related to ‘soft touch’ that could be used in its place are sucker, fool, chump, dupe, victim and mug

I think compared to my wife I am a ‘soft touch’ particularly when it comes to shopping at the local market.

I find it very tiresome trying to bargain for a discount and usually end up paying twice often three times more than local Chinese.

Alas, as long as I get what I want, less pain the better – though my wife wouldn’t agree. She gets really angry and says I am “meat under the butcher’s knife” or “tu fu dao xia de zhu rou”, meaning I am easy to be chopped up and exploited.

I like Obama and I have no problem with Russia, so if being a ‘soft touch’ means less nuclear weapons and better security – well perhaps we could all be a little less hard with our neighbors.





About the author:

A feeling for a

About the author: Brendan has taught at universities, high schools and primary schools in Japan,the UK, Australia and China. He is a Qualified Education Agent Counsellor and has extensive experience with International English Language Examinations. In the field of writing Brendan has been published in The Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, Inflight magazines and the Asia News Network. He can be contacted at brendanjohnworrell@hotmail.com.