2016年6月2日 星期四

blob, ho-hum, angst, dollop, focuson, unfocused, sexy 'betel nut beauties'

In every city you see them. The young men with nowhere to go and nothing to do. They are not unique to London, or Paris or Rio; they are the world's problem demographic

A new play looks at the epidemic of raw, unfocused youth

Empathy and Angst in a German City Transformed by Refugees

Christmas edition archive: The downsized male. Agonising about the male predicament has become a fashionable hobby for both men and women. Just reading the dizzying list of titles devoted to the subject is enough to provoke anxiety. With a big dollop of generalisation, male angst can be reduced to three grievances http://econ.st/1fInQYa

378 people bought coffee for a stranger.

Hundreds of Strangers at This Starbucks Paid for Each Others' Coffee for a Day

Remember that ho-hum movie with Kevin Spacey, "Pay It Forward"? Well it sort of happened in real life in Florida

The Blob in Eindhoven
On ’18 September Square’ in the old city centre of Eindhoven, you will find a futuristic building that stands out among its neighbours. It is called 'The Blob' and was designed by the Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas. The organically shaped glass and steel structure serves as the entrance to the wonderful 'The Admirant' shopping mall.
More information: http://bit.ly/1gU4Yuf

Chinese workers swap angst for anger

He was chewing betel from a lacquered box on the table, and thinking about his past life.

focus (sth) on/upon sb/sth

Lenovo Refocuses on China With New Leadership
Lenovo is replacing American CEO Amelio with Chairman Yang and bringing back co-founder Liu to head the board, putting the struggling personal computer maker firmly back in the hands of Chinese executives.

focus (sth) on/upon sb/sth phrasal verb
to give a lot of attention to one particular person, subject or thing:
Tonight's programme focuses on the way that homelessness affects the young.
When the kitchen is finished I'm going to focus my attention on the garden and get that sorted out.

Syllabification: (dol·lop)
Pronunciation: /ˈdäləp/

  • a shapeless mass or blob of something, especially soft food:great dollops of cream figurativea dollop of romance here and there

verb (dollops, dolloping, dolloped)

[with object]
  • add (a shapeless mass or blob of something) casually and without measuring: Chekov stopped him from dolloping sugar into his coffee


late 16th century (denoting a clump of grass or weeds in a field): perhaps of Scandinavian origin and related to Norwegian dialect dolp 'lump'

be • tel
[名][U]《植物》キンマ:東インド産, コショウ科.

betel nut
[C][U]ビンロウジ(檳榔子):ビンロウの果実. ▼インド・東南アジアでの風習で, これをキンマの葉で包んでかみ, 唾液とともに吐く.
betel palm
《植物》ビンロウ, ビンロウジュ(檳榔樹):熱帯アジア産のヤシ科の高木.


A feeling of anxiety or apprehension often accompanied by depression.

[German, from Middle High German angest, from Old High German angust.]


Syllabification: (angst)
Pronunciation: /aNG(k)st, äNG(k)st/

  • a feeling of deep anxiety or dread, typically an unfocused one about the human condition or the state of the world in general:adolescent angst
  • informal a feeling of persistent worry about something trivial:my hair causes me angst


1920s: from German, 'fear, anxiety'

Sexy 'betel nut beauties' push addictive snack, boosting age-old industry and raising debate
Feb 02, 2009 04:30 AM


TAIPEI–Lee sits on a bar stool in a Plexiglas box near a highway off-ramp in central Taiwan. It's late afternoon and the 29-year-old is dressed in a red negligee, a fake rose planted between her breasts.
"I work from noon to midnight, and it's psychologically tiring," she says. "Furthermore," she adds, pointing to her husband a few metres away, "he takes all the money."
Lee isn't selling her body. In fact, she's using her body to sell a spicy, addictive snack called betel nuts.
Lee, who won't give her first name, is a "betel nut beauty," one of thousands of women along Taiwan's highways who sell the datelike fruit of the areca palm to truckers and mostly working-class customers.
The practice has been cheered by male customers, condemned by feminist groups, decried by health professionals and studied by sociologists keen to understand the island's "betel nut culture."
The aggressive sales tactics are credited with jump-starting a ho-hum industry: After rice, betel nuts have supplanted sugar cane as Taiwan's second-largest crop.
Chewed in parts of Southeast Asia, India, Pakistan and the South Pacific, the betel nut is a stimulant popular as a hunger suppressant, breath freshener, tobacco substitute or for delivering a mild buzz similar to cigarettes.
On the downside, chewing betel nuts can lead to red-stained teeth, drooling, red-splotched sidewalks and oral cancer.
The nut's history dates to China's Six Dynasties period (A.D. 220-589), when it was a gift for royalty. Taiwan has moved this royal indulgence down-market to include betel nut soap, liquor and chicken feed.
But the main seller is on the roadside, where packages of betel nuts go for a dollar or two.
"Basically, men are randy," says taxi driver Cheng Chunho, dipping into a plastic bag of "Hi Class Beetle Nut Crispy & Tasty."
"I don't even like the stuff. But after a long day of driving, buying it provides a bit of excitement."
Outsiders often think the betel-nut industry is a cover for prostitution. Some cases might exist, but pulling 12-hour shifts in a plastic box isn't conducive to the world's oldest profession, amply served by barber shops and escort services.
Most betel nut stands feature glaring neon lights and a mirror to draw attention to the women.
Many women recruited by booth owners are school dropouts, single parents or runaways from lower socio-economic backgrounds, says Christian Wu, an artist and scholar and unofficial "Minister of Betel Nut Beauties," declared by Taiwan's Art Critic magazine for her long-standing work with the community.
"The average age is 14 to 17," Wu says. "By 20, you're often too old."
The businesses are legal, but many are owned by gangsters who bribe police to alert them to raids, allowing them to hide underage workers.
A commission system allows the women to decide how they want to dress, and some earn $50,000 (U.S.) a year. This has prompted a debate over whether the industry empowers women or exploits them.
Betel nut beauties say owners give new recruits basic tips on how to dress and act, but, ultimately, the women develop their own style. Competition gets fierce, but selling is about more than just looks.
"If a new girl with a beautiful face shows up but she's stupid, there isn't much competition," says a former seller. "But there are a fixed number of drivers coming by. And if she's got good sales skills, she can steal away 50 per cent of the business."
The origin of betel nut beauties is uncertain. According to one story, in the early 1990s, two good-looking sisters started selling nuts on the roadside, wearing sleeveless outfits. They sold more than their older competitors and spurred copycats.
In 1997, Wu travelled to central Taiwan, looking for the sisters. "But wherever I went and asked, everyone there claimed they were the original beauties," she says.
As the industry has become more successful – by some estimates earning hundreds of millions of dollars annually and employing 2.5 million people – it has drawn more criticism and calls for regulation.
"There used to be a lot more betel nut girls," says a seller in a black bikini. "But two years ago the police started cracking down on us for wearing too little."
Health concerns also have grown: Oral cancer cases in Taiwan rose to 4,750 in 2004 from 1,790 in 1994, an increase the government blames on betel nut use.
A study by the World Health Organization in 2003 linking betel nut use to cancer prompted officials to call for warnings on packages. Today, some bags have warnings, but the rule is not always enforced.
Critics also worry about moral implications.
"There's an element of treating women like toys," says Wang Julu, a sociologist at National Tsing Hua University.
Others counter that scantily clad women sell things everywhere, including designer clothes.
"These things exist in any society," says Hwang Shu-ling, a sociologist at Taipei's National Defense Medical Center. "After all, the U.S. has topless bars.
"The thing that makes Taiwan's betel nut industry different is that it's more extreme and it's all out in public."
All the gawking can also create problems, Cheng says. "Guys are so busy looking, they crash."

Remember that ho-hum movie with Kevin Spacey, "Pay It Forward"? Well it sort of happened in real life in Florida


Line breaks: ho-hum
Pronunciation: /həʊˈhʌm/

Used to express boredom or resignation.
ADJECTIVEBack to top  
Boring:a ho-hum script
1920s: imitative of a yawn.