Most countries have already ended their mask rules now that the coronavirus, which killed millions around the world, is fizzling out. South Korea recently became the latest country to end its mask rule and Japan plans to do the same soon. Taiwan ended its outdoor mask rule a month ago, but Hong Kong is still grappling with its mask rule. Masks served us well during the pandemic but should we now part ways with them? If something fizzles out, it means to gradually end, especially in a weak way. The expression “grapple with” means to try to deal with a difficult issue or problem. To part ways with means to end something, such as a friendship.
I believe we should part ways with wearing masks once it’s safe to do so. It’s not natural to wear masks. I am now in Taipei on an extended holiday and have noticed that almost everyone, except foreigners, still wears a mask outdoors even though the government ended the outdoor mask rule over a month ago. It’s not normal for young children to wear masks and to grow up seeing people wearing masks. It makes them unable to recognize people. Sooner or later, we need to tell ourselves Covid is not going away like SARS. SARS was the first 21st century pandemic.
It began in mainland China in November 2002. I had just returned to Hong Kong after many years in the US and was scared to death. If you are scared to death, it means you are very frightened. SARS fizzled out after eight months. Covid won’t fizzle out, but we must live with it without masks.
奪去全球數以百萬計人性命的新冠肺炎病毒現在既已逐漸終止（fizzling out），大部分國家都已結束了他們的口罩令。最近南韓成為最新一個結束口罩令的國家，日本也計劃快要如此實行。台灣在一個月前便已結束了其戶外口罩令，但香港則仍與其口罩令艱苦扭鬥着（grappling with）。疫情期間，戴口罩確實於我們甚有幫助，但我們現在是否應與其分道揚鑣（part ways with）了呢？若某事物 fizzles out，意即它會逐漸消失，通常是微弱地悄悄滅沒。習語“grapple with”是指去努力對付一個難題、拚命搏鬥。To part ways with是指去分道揚鑣、結束某件事，例如一段友情。
我認為，只要在安全的環境下，我們應割捨（part ways with）戴口罩這回事。戴口罩本就不自然。我現在於台北，度過我那延長了的假期，我留意到在戶外地方，除了外國人之外，差不多所有人都還在戴口罩，即使在一個月前政府已經結束了戶外口罩令。對於小童而言，要戴口罩以及在成長期間看着別人戴口罩，都不是正常的，這會令他們無法辨認他人。或遲或早，我們需要跟自己說，新冠肺炎並不會像沙士一般消亡。沙士是二十一世紀的首個大流行疫症。
它於二零零二年在中國內地首先爆發。當時我剛從久居多年的美國回港，真是 scared to death——若你是 scared to death，意即你非常害怕、嚇得要死。沙士於橫行八個月後悄悄消亡（fizzled out）。新冠肺炎並不會悄悄消失（fizzled out），但我們必須不戴口罩的與之共存。