Blog entry by Joanne Chuang

Anyone in the world

我們經常會說 '20/20 hindsight 事後諸葛/後見之明' 。這表示回顧過去一年(當個事後諸葛) ,很容易看清事實 (你會有20/20的好眼力-註:20/20為英語表達視力度數的方式)。剛結束的2020年為 '20/20' 這個片語下了新的註解。我們可否形容2020年是 'hindsight 事後諸葛 ' 的一年?
We often talk about having '20/20 hindsight'. This means it is easy to see perfectly (you have 20/20 vision) when you are looking back over the year (you have hindsight). The year 2020 that just passed offers a new meaning to this '20/20' phrase. Was 2020 the year of 'hindsight'?

英國首相 Boris Jonson 決定不像台灣那樣關閉機場、也不提倡普遍戴上口罩,這些決定造成的後果事後看來相當糟糕。英國和台灣一樣是個島嶼,且與中國相距更遠 - 為何我們不能像台灣這樣成功地抑制病毒 ? 台灣或許得益於 SARS的經驗。不過 Jonson 樂天的個性並未認真看待這個病毒,英國現在為此付出了慘痛的代價。
UK Prime Minister Boris Jonson's decision to not close the airports in the way that Taiwan did, or not to advocate for widespread mask wearing are decisions that, with hindsight, seem pretty awful now. The UK is also an island, like Taiwan, and further from China - why could we not have had similar success to Taiwan containing the virus? Taiwan perhaps had the advantage of the experience from SARS. But Jonson's optimistic personality did not take the virus seriously, and the UK is now paying a terrible price.

中國現在也可能後悔在大流行之初掩蓋病毒消息,此舉已嚴重損害中國國際聲譽,'With hindsight ' 以事後諸葛的觀點看來,當初若早點揭示相關消息可能會更好。
China may also now regret covering up the news of the virus at the start of the pandemic, which has done great damage to its international reputation. 'With hindsight', it might have been better to be more open about it earlier on.

鑑於美國近日發生的暴動,許多人都說其實不需要等到事後才能預見這問題發生。民眾多年來一直都認為川普是個危險人物,許多人已經眼見美國右翼極端主義和國內恐怖主義興起。的確,右翼所謂的 'patriots 愛國者' 對美國構成的威脅並不是什麼新聞,而且已經成為無數電影和電視影集如: 'Designated Survivor 指定倖存者' 的題材。川普幾個月來一直在散佈有關選舉的謊言、激怒他的支持者,他在對手 Joe Biden 正式確認勝選的當天,召集大批民眾來到首都。接下來發生的事或許自然無法避免,這點不需要事後諸葛才能預見這種情況。
With the recent insurrection in the US, many are saying that you did NOT need 20/20 hindsight to see this problem coming. People have been saying Trump is dangerous for years, and many had seen the rise of right wing extremism in America and domestic terrorism. Indeed, the idea that right wing so-called 'patriots' are a threat to America is not new, and has been the subject of countless movies and TV shows like 'Designated Survivor.' Trump has been spreading lies about the election for months, angering his supporters. He summoned a crowd of thousands to the capital on the day when his opponent, Joe Biden, was having his election win confirmed. What happened next was perhaps inevitable. No hindsight required to see that coming.

People who make mistakes often blame their critics by pointing out it is easy to be right with 20/20 hindsight. After all, if you knew what the future was when you made a decision, you would never make a wrong decision. But when you do not know the outcome, it's much harder to be right. Sometimes this is fair, but sometimes the decision makers should have known better what would have happened.

So yes, 2020 was the year where we wish, with 20/20 hindsight, we could change many things. Many lives could have been saved. But, equally, perhaps many of the problems were predictable, with no hindsight required. What do you think? Were the problems this year avoidable, now that we have 20/20 hindsight?