Cantonese through News Stories: Carrie Lam’s Apology

Capture_Carrie LAm Apology FOUR_18 JUN 2019

After the second huge protest march in Hong Kong on Sunday 16 June, Carrie Lam decided to make an apology “to every single resident of Hong Kong”. As the TVB reporter 張家灝 Jēung1 Gāa1 Houh6 makes clear, however, she stopped short of agreeing to that word of the moment, 撤回 chit3 wùih4 = to “withdraw”, preferring instead to replace it with 暫緩 jaahm6 wuhn6 = to postpone temporarily. But will this be enough?


12 new words:

召開記者會 jiuh6 hōi1 gei3 jé2 húi6*2 = to call a press conference
(引起)爭議 (yáhn5 héi2) jāng1 yíh5 = (to spark) controversy
向 . . . 道歉 heung3 … douh6 hip3 = to apologize to (someone)
cf. 致歉 ji3 hip3 = to apologize
重啟 chùhng4 kái2 = to restart
問責團隊 mahn6 jaak3 tyùhn4 déui6*2 = accountability team
cf. 問責 mahn6 jaak3 = to call to account
反省fáan2 síng2 = to do some soul searching
紛爭 fān1 jāng1 = dispute; wrangle
書面致歉 syū1 mihn6 zi3 hip3= a written apology; an apology in writing
暫緩 jaahm6 wun6 = to postpone temporarily; to defer for the time being
重申 chùhng4 sān1 = to reaffirm; to reiterate; to restate
貿然 mauh6 yìhn4 = hastily; rashly; blindly
衷心 chūng/jūng1 sām1 = heartfelt



The Chief Executive Carrie Lam called a press conference in order to apologize to all the people of Hong Kong for the controversy in society sparked by the amending of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance.

She said that she must take the biggest share of the responsibility, and she emphasized that before the controversy is resolved, she will not rashly restart [any] amending.

She also hoped that society would give her and her accountability team a[nother] chance.

(Main story)

[There has been] controversy over the past four days about the amending of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance / [but] it was only at [her] second press conference that Carrie Lam apologized to the public.

  • 林鄭月娥 Carrie Lam speaks:

After two consecutive large-scale Sunday demonstrations, the people of this city [市民 síh5 màhn4], through peaceful and rational means, have expressed [their] concern [憂慮 yāu1 leuih6] over the amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, and [their] dissatisfaction with, and disappointment in, the government, and especially [their] dissatisfaction with and disappointment in me.

Note: The expression 透過tau3 gwo3 is used to express the means one uses to achieve a certain purpose (here, the expression of dissatisfaction and disappointment). Since the basic meaning of 透tau3 is “to penetrate”, “through” in English often makes a good translation.

I have listened to all of them, one after another, and I have conscientiously reflected on the controversies of the past few months and done some soul searching: [these controversies] came about because there were inadequacies in the way the government of the Special Administrative Region handled the work of amendment.

Note: 由於 yàuh4 yū1 means “owing to; thanks to; as a result of; due to”. It is generally followed by a noun phrase rather than a whole clause.

I personally must take on board a good deal of the responsibility for this.

This matter has sparked social contradictions, disputes and anxieties.

Note: The term 矛盾 màauh4 téuhn5 literally means “contradiction”; it can also be translated as “conflict”.

Here, I would like to offer my sincere apologies to every single resident of Hong Kong.

And on Sunday, eh, I also issued a written apology.

I completely approve of this important matter.

Note: I think she is referring to the issuing of her apology here.

The Chief Executive must also take on the greatest share of the responsibility, and ought to apologize to the people in person and in a very solemn [manner].

Now, today is the earliest opportunity to do so.

Protesters chanting slogans:
Withdraw [the Ordinance], Withdraw [the Ordinance]

Last Saturday, the government announced that it would “temporarily postpone” the Ordinance.

Carrie Lam reiterated on several occasions this time that the work of amending the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance had as of that day come to an immediate stop.

The government has no timetable to restart the Ordinance, but from start to finish it has never said that the Ordinance has already been withdrawn.

  • 林鄭月娥 Carrie Lam speaks:

I can promise that, if we cannot properly handle these disputes and contradictions, we will not, we will absolutely not, absolutely not rashly restart the process [程序].

  • Reporter 張家灝 Jeung1 Gaa1 Houh6 asks:

Are you able to say the words chit wui (“to withdraw”) “with your own mouth”?

  • 林鄭月娥 Carrie Lam replies:

I must ask everyone to understand and to comprehend that, with regard to the issues [surrounding] these words, there is nothing more to be added [to what has already been said].

If the amendments cannot be completed before the end of the current LegCo term [立法會會期] (?) in July next year, the government will accept this fact.

Footage of people shouting slogans:
Carrie Lam, Step Down

With regard to whether anyone [else] in the accountability team must take responsibility, she said that she hopes that the various sectors of society will give the government [a second] chance.

  • 林鄭月娥 Carrie Lam speaks:

Officials who are part of [作為] the accountability team must take responsibility for their work, especially me, as the Chief Executive. Even more than other I must take on a very large share of the responsibility.

Note: Here, Carrie Lam uses 尤其是 yàuh4 kèih4 sih6 = especially. Often, the 是 sih6 is left out.

However, our current position is [that we] hope to continue to serve the society of Hong Kong.

I hope that the various sectors of society also approve of giving us this chance to continue to do our work.

It is my heartfelt hope that those people who were hurt in the events which Hong Kong has passed through will make a speedy recovery, and that the social cracks [社會嘅裂痕] can be mended as soon as possible.

Note: The word 盡快 jeuhn6 faai3 is a common one in Cantonese news stories, and can be translated in a variety of ways, including “as soon as possible”. Also, 修補 sāu1 bóu2 = to mend; to patch; to repair; to revamp.

Carrie Lam acknowledged that in what is left of [her] term in office [任期 yahm6 kèih4], difficulties in governing would emerge, but she promised to continue to expand [拓展 tok3 jín2] the economy and improve the lives of the people.

Report by TVB News reporter Jēung1 Gāa1 Houh6



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