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又中又英|Annus horribilis

又中又英|Annus horribilis

2022-01-03

Happy New Year! In the US, people say Happy New Year’s with an apostrophe followed by the letter “s”. New Year’s is a shortened form of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and should only be used on those two days. When I am in Hong Kong I usually go to the Foreign Correspondents Club ball or Lan Kwai Fong for New Year’s Eve. But I was holed up at home on New Year’s Eve in 2020 because of the pandemic. I was holed up at home in Manhattan this New Year’s Eve too because of the Omicron virus. I had hoped to go to Times Square to watch the famous Ball Drop and fireworks but got cold feet and did not register to go.

Only 15,000 revelers were allowed to go this year because of the pandemic. They had to be fully vaccinated and wear facemasks. Normally, about 60,000 revelers celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square. If you are holed up, it means you are hiding in a safe place. I was hiding from the coronavirus on New Year’s Eve in 2020 and 2021! If you get cold feet it means you suddenly become too frightened to do something you had planned to do. Some people get cold feet on the day of their wedding and do not go! I got cold feet and didn’t go to Times Square on New Year’s Eve because the Omicron virus is spreading with blinding speed in the US and some other parts of the world.

If something is spreading with blinding speed, it means it’s spreading very fast. Both 2020 and 2021 were an annus horribilis. The Latin expression “annus horribilis” means a terrible year. Will the coronavirus make 2022 an annus horribilis too? No one knows for sure but many disease experts now believe the mild Omicron variant has a silver lining, which means something positive or hopeful from a sad or unpleasant situation. I hope 2022 will have a silver lining.

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