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Gold dust

[ 2010-12-23 09:07]     字号 [] [] []  
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Gold dust

Reader's question:  

If ever we doubt that sporting values still hold in the mercenary modern era, then the last weekend before Christmas was gold dust.

Could you explain "gold dust"?

My comments:

Gold dust literally refers to the fine gold particles lying in, say, any river bed. There are people who make a living from filtering out these small precious pieces using a pan, a pan with tiny holes at the bottom that allows water to run through but keeps silt. They then wash the silt in running water again and again till most sand, mud and other small objects are washed off so that they can spot the remaining yellowish glistening stuff they've been looking for.

All that glisters is not gold, unfortunately, as the old tiresome saying goes. Copper, which is much less valuable for instance, produces a similar sparkle. The long and short of it is, even though sand and mud are everywhere around, gold dust is not easy to find and to filter out.

Hence figuratively speaking "gold dust" means something that's valuable but rare.

In the above story (Andres Iniesta: Barcelona's Once-in-a-Lifetime Guy, by Rob Hughes, New York Times, December 19, 2010), what happened "last week" was that Espanyol fans give most of their applause to Andreas Iniesta, a player from not their own but the visiting team, and not just any visiting team but their bitter rich cross-town rivals FC Barcelona.

That's a rarity these days, or "a once-in-life thing", as the author puts it.

Iniesta, of course, is a "once in a lifetime kind of guy."

You can read the story in full via this link (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/20/sports/soccer/20iht-SOCCER20.html).

Related stories:

Frugality fatigue

Red flag

Foregone conclusion

Call balls and strikes

Stare in the face

Cyber Monday

With a grain of salt

Drive home

Out of nowhere

Shove it under the carpet

the sky is the limit

hit it off

get my rib in my heart

With bells on

No harm, no foul

Pick up the slack

length and breadth of

get up to speed on something

Borrowed time

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.