2015年10月21日 星期三

madeleines, 'Cliched, stale, money-raking', globetrotting

Marcel Proust’s favourite cake...

Marcel Proust’s favourite cake has mysterious origins, but there’s nothing obscure about its sublime buttery flavour and fluffy texture

《追憶似水年華》的草稿,普魯斯特原本寫的是把「烤麵包」(le pain grillé)浸到茶裡面,後來又改為「麵包乾」(une biscotte),唯有到了最後的定稿才改成大家熟知的「瑪德蓮」蛋糕(les petites madeleines)。

La madeleine de Proust aurait pu être une biscotte

Laos: A Rugged Paradise


With its fledgling infrastructure and rural landscape, Laos is one Southeast Asian nation that's stayed off the radar of most globe-trotting tourists, offering an untouched glimpse of traditional life. Left, a farmer leads water buffalo out of the Mekong River.

'Cliched, stale, money-raking' - Blair not quite the toast of China

· Mixed reviews for ex PM on lucrative lecture tour
· Local media criticise six-figure appearance fees

Ian Black, Vaudine England in Hong Kong and Chris Gill in Shanghai
Friday November 9, 2007
The Guardian

When Tony Blair swept through China this week for a succession of events and speeches, he might have hoped to generate shimmering headlines about his views on the resurgent world power.One of his addresses was, after all, entitled "From Greatness to Brilliance". So it will no doubt come as a rude surprise to discover that some of his hosts were less than impressed with his appearances - particularly the whopping fees reportedly paid to secure his services.

trot (HURRY) Show phonetics
verb -tt-
1 [I usually + adverb or preposition] INFORMAL When people trot somewhere, they go there in a quick or busy way:
She left her purse on the counter, so I had to trot down the street after her.
"I'm in a bit of a rush. I'll give you a ring, " said James, and off he trotted.
Although she retired from politics five years ago, she still trots around the globe, giving speeches and meeting world leaders.
See alsoglobetrotter Show phonetics
noun [C]
someone who travels frequently to a lot of different countries:
Japan last month, New York next month - you've become a regular globetrotter, haven't you?

globetrotting Show phonetics
noun [U], adjective
The Prime Minister's globetrotting has led to accusations that he is ignoring domestic problems.
a globetrotting lifestyle
2 [I + adverb or preposition] INFORMAL to speak or do something too quickly:
She was rather nervous and trotted through her speech a bit too quickly.

'Cliched, stale, money-raking' - Blair not quite the toast of China

Official Chinese media have been abuzz with details of Mr Blair's engagements. A speech in Hong Kong to the General Chamber of Commerce commanded a six-figure sum, according to chamber sources.
An appearance at Dongguan City, near Hong Kong, cost £237,000, said the Guangzhou Daily News. The organisers even threw in a luxury villa worth 38m yuan (£2.4m), though there is no indication that Mr Blair accepted the offer.
But some observers were not sure they got value for money. Mr Blair's Dongguan speech, delivered after a tour of industrial parks and villa complexes in the booming manufacturing centre, dwelt not just on economic growth but on his personal links with the country (his sister-in-law is Chinese. His seven-year-old son, Leo, is learning Mandarin at school).
"China is a very special country, and has a special place in the heart of my family," he reportedly said.
But in the China Youth Daily, Deng Qingbo sneered: "Frankly, we are very familiar with all this - it's just like listening to any county or city official's reports. If so, why pay such a high price to hear the same thing? Is it worth the money? Do these thoughts multiply in value because they come from the mouth of a retired prime minister?"
According to the Guangzhou Daily News, Mr Blair's take-home pay would have been £156,000 after taxes were deducted. It called the Dongguan stop one of his "money-raking" trips in China.
China Youth Daily said the speech was full of pleasantries, cliches and platitudes about the importance of collaboration between government and business, education and the environment, but failed to provide any new insights.
"Is the country to become a market where international celebrities come digging for gold?" the paper asked. "We should exercise less ostentation and vanity. We need more genuinely fresh knowledge - especially when we are spending the taxpayers' pennies."
After Dongguan, Mr Blair continued his hectic schedule and flew to Beijing, where in his role as envoy of the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers he met Tang Jiaxuan, a state councillor dealing with foreign affairs. On Wednesday he spoke to the Business Week Global Chief Executive Officers' Forum. Reporters were barred from the hall and only allowed to listen to the speech via a closed circuit television feed. But transmission was cut during a question and answer session.
That followed the £230-a-head dinner organised by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce at the five-star Marriott hotel. "He was really a great speaker," said one delighted guest. "The crowd loved it. We all felt very upbeat."
A day earlier Mr Blair was in Jerusalem giving a speech at a gala dinner of the Saban Forum thinktank in the prestigious King David Hotel. His keynote address was followed by another by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, with whom he is collaborating in attempts to bring Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table. No fee was paid, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based forum confirmed.
Not all his reviews have been bad. In Washington last month he won three standing ovations at a charity event for a speech that highlighted the danger from Iran and Muslim extremism - one of four which reportedly netted him £300,000.
Still, some believe Mr Blair's relentless globetrotting schedule may be taking its toll.
"He didn't look as polished as he was the last time he was here," said a guest at this week's Hong Kong dinner. "He looked as if he'd been on a lot of planes, and he has - and he forgot he'd been here only a couple of years ago - but he was good, yes."
The money
The cost of one appearance by Tony Blair at Dongguan City
Mr Blair's reported take-home pay from the Dongguan speech after tax
The cost per head of a dinner in Hong Kong at which Mr Blair appeared

More on Tony Blair
10.05.2007: Simon Hoggart on sketchwriting and Blair
10.05.2007: Madeleine Bunting: Cherie Blair, a wife less ordinary
10.05.2007: Six scholars on how Blair will go down in history
10.05.2007: Ten years in office have not changed Blair

Special reports
Special report: Tony Blair
Special report: Gordon Brown
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The Blair years: exclusive video interviews with leading politicians

In pictures
Steve Bell's decade drawing Tony Blair

What he said
Blair's key quotes

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