Reading Comprehension


The Sunday Morning Post is online these days and the letters page serves, as always, to keep track of the pulse of Hong Kong.

Confused by Patten

I never met Chris Patten, so he has no reason to try to confuse me, as he attempts to do in David Evans' interview in Post Magazine (24 Hours, July 23).

I'm sure that Patten was rubbing his hands together and cackling "Muahahahaha! Selikoff is confused! My work here is done!"

Patten confides that he normally wakes up around 7am.

But then he comes up with a statement that makes me wonder what happened to that logical world I thought I was in a moment before: "So quite often," he says, "like this morning, even though I didn't get up until seven, I woke up around six." Really? Well, if you have any idea what he means by that, I'm all ears.

A friend told me, "Well, he woke up at 6, and stayed in bed until 7." I have no idea how my friend knows that.

Your friend knows that because he is capable of reading plain English, unlike you, Mr. Selikoff. The distinction between "woke up" and "got up" is pretty clear and not a secret code or a disturbing habit of the upper classes.

Then, he said he "glances" at the Financial Times and the International Herald-Tribune. My friend tells me Patten meant he reads both quickly.

Again, this is plain English: dictionary search for 'glance'.

Patten also says he doesn't get too much time to relax, but later says he reads a lot and is taking "the whole of August off to stay at our house in France".

Reading is not necessarily a relaxing activity. He may be reading work-related materials or similar. Also, taking one whole month off if you've been working weekends isn't excessive.

Oh, well. What do I know? The answer may lie in all those egg tarts.


Shorter Art Selikoff: "Chris Patten said something I don't understand so there must be something wrong with him."

This is one of the stupidest letters I can remember seeing in the SCMP since, well Patkin's last missive.

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This page contains a single entry by dave published on July 30, 2006 12:38 PM.

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