Michael Chugani 褚簡寧 - kitchen-table issues|又中又英
Prescription drug prices in the US have soared(risen fast)over the years. A bill(proposed law)that includes issues such as climate change, taxes, and controlling prescription drug prices languished in the US Senate because it didn't have enough votes. But one senator had a change of heart recently and supported the bill. This means the bill is almost certain to pass because the House of Representatives has already approved it. The expression“prescription drugs”means medicine that can only be bought with a doctor's permission. The word“languish”has several meanings but used this way it means to fail to make progress or be successful. If you have a change of heart, it means you change your opinion about something.

After the bill received new support in the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said the bill deserves to pass because it contains many kitchen-table issues. The expression“kitchen-table issue”is used mostly in the US. American politicians often use it when they campaign for votes during elections. The expression means issues or concerns that affect ordinary people. Rising food prices and unaffordable rents are kitchen-table issues. In Hong Kong, having to quarantine after returning from a trip is a kitchen-table issue. Kitchens in US houses and even some apartments are large. Most have a table where families eat their meals. Dining room tables are normally used during special occasions or when there are guests.

When families sit around kitchen tables during meals they normally discuss issues that affect them, like food prices. That's why they are kitchen-table issues. Politicians seeking votes often promise to help voters with kitchen-table issues. A similar expression is“bread-and-butter issues”. This expression means anything that affects people in their daily lives, such as home prices or tax rates. People in Asia normally eat rice with their meals. Ordinary people in the West normally eat bread and butter with their meals. That’s why bread-and-butter issues are issues that affect the lives of ordinary people.

在美國,處方藥物(prescription drug)的價錢多年來一直飆升(soared)。一個包含多個議題,例如氣候變化、稅收和管控處方藥(prescription drug)價格等的議案(bill),在美國參議院因為不夠票數支持而停滯不前(languished)。但一位參議員最近改變了主意(a change of heart),轉而支持議案。這意味着,議案幾乎可以肯定會通過,因為眾議院已經通過了。習語“prescription drugs”即是只有得到醫生處方授權才能購買的藥物。Languish一字有幾個意思,但在這裏是指無法進展又或未能成事。若你有 a change of heart,意即你對某事改變主意。

在議案於參議院獲得新的支持後,眾議院議長南西‧佩洛西說這個議案值得獲通過,因為它包含了許多「廚桌議題」(kitchen-table issues)。習語“kitchen-table issue”多在美國使用。美國政客在選舉期間爭取選票時,便常用到這個習語。它是指影響一般市民的民生議題或一般人會關注的事情。急升的食品價格及難以負擔的房租都是kitchen-table issues。在香港,外遊後回港需要接受隔離檢疫便屬於民生議題(kitchen-table issue)。美國房屋甚至一些單位內的廚房都很大,大部份都會有一張餐桌讓一家人在那裏進餐。飯廳的餐桌則通常於特別場合又或有賓客到訪時使用。

當一家人圍着廚桌用餐時,通常會討論那些影響他們的議題,例如食物價格。因此這些議題便會被稱為 kitchen-table issues。政客在爭取選票時,便常承諾會幫助選民處理民生議題(kitchen-table issues)。

相近的習語是“bread-and-butter issues”,它的意思是任何影響人們日常生活的範疇,例如房價和稅率。亞洲人主餐多會吃米飯,而西方一般人會吃麵包和牛油。因此 bread-and-butter issues就是指影響一般人生活的民生議題。
Michael Chugani褚簡寧