… Under the temporary grip of an evil spell in 2003 they bought Household, an American consumer-credit firm that then haemorrhaged losses. On March 2nd they snapped out of it. HSBC’s chairman acknowledged that it was “an acquisition we wish we had not undertaken”, wrote off its cost and promised to run down its book of dodgy loans. Having opened its heart, HSBC felt able to lower its dividend and raise its core tier-one capital ratio to 8.5%, above those of JPMorgan Chase (6.4%) and Santander (7.2%), two more of the Western world’s biggest banks also vying for the title of the safest one.
這裏說，素來以穩健見稱的大笨象，當年決定買Household是「under the temporary grip of an evil spell」，即中了魔咒是也。在廣東話裏，糊裡糊塗、不知怎地做了錯誤的決定，叫作「鬼上身」，傳神之極，想不到英語也有類似講法。開卷有益，又得一寶，以後翻譯可派上用場。
看下去，同段說Household「haemorrhaged losses」（像內出血般虧損），也是神來之筆，比起用到厭的甚麼「sustained heavy/substantial/significant losses」云云，生動得多了！
又，最尾說摩根大通、西班牙Santander銀行與滙豐「vying for the title of the safest one」，即爭做最穩陣的銀行。想當年好境之時，大行爭相拼命借錢、擴張，譏笑穩健的滙豐過份保守，現在反而以安全為尚。輕輕一句，金融危機下市場的慘況不言自明。