又中又英 ｜Culture Shock
In my previous column I asked readers to suggest topics to write after a reader emailed to say I was writing too much about food and restaurants. I want to thank the many readers who emailed with diverse (very different) suggestions. The suggestions included writing about proverbs, idioms, American sports, subways (MTR) in different cities in the world, food and culture, homelessness in America, and even the upcoming 45th anniversary of the death of singer Elvis Presley. It is an exhaustive list of suggestions. The word “exhaustive” means complete and thorough. Do not confuse it with exhausted which means very tired.
I will try to write about these topics but today I will write about homelessness in the US. I briefly mentioned homelessness in my previous column, saying even though the US is a rich country it still has many homeless people. It is a timely topic because voters in California made clear in primary elections last week they want elected leaders to solve the problem of homelessness, especially in Los Angeles. The word “timely” means happening or doing something at the right time. Foreigners who visit US cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, where there are many homeless people, get a culture shock when they see people in rags sleeping on the streets.
They wonder why there are people in rags sleeping on the streets when the US is a rich country. The expression “culture shock” means a confused feeling by people who visit a place or country they don’t fully understand. The word “rags” used this way means torn and dirty clothes. There are two types of homeless people in the US. One type are people in rags who sleep on streets. They either have mental health problems or are drug users. The other type are people who have jobs but cannot afford home rents. They sleep in tents or public transport. Many US businesses such as supermarkets and restaurants want to hire staff but some homeless people choose not to work.