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Not on my watch? 只要我在,这事就没门

中国日报网 2022-09-27 13:46


Reader question:

Please explain “Not on my watch” in this: “I won’t let you do that. Not on my watch.”

My comments:

Someone asks the speaker for permission to do something, something terrible, apparently, something that sounds terrible to the speaker at least. And the speaker won’t allow it.

Not on my watch, says he or she.

Here, watch doesn’t refer to a timepiece, such as a wristwatch. Here, “watch” refers to keeping watch, i.e. keeping a watchful eye. If you have ever done babysitting, you’ll have no problem understanding what it means to keep watch, that is, to look or observe attentively and carefully, lest anything wrong happens to the baby.

On one’s watch, then, means that’s when one is on duty. If it’s on your watch, then you’re on duty. It’s your job. It’s your responsibility.

In our example, “Not on my watch”, therefore, means not while I’m here and have any say over the matter. It means that the speaker is going to do their duty and stop you, stop you from doing something they don’t think you should do. They think it’s their duty to stop you and they’re not going to shirk their responsibility.

All right?

All right, here are recent media examples of “on your or my or someone’s watch”:

1. While the Wallabies are dreaming of ending a 20-year Bledisloe Cup drought, there’s a flipside. Imagine being the All Blacks skipper who sees the trophy slip through the fingers for the first time in two decades.

Amidst a season of inconsistent performances from the Kiwis there is a belief in these parts that the Wallabies might be able to finally muster a breakthrough win – although the two Test series does them few favours.

All Blacks captain Sam Cane admits his team is motivated by fear of losing and granting Australia something they cherish.

“Winning and losing are both strong motivators but in different ways,” Cane said on Wednesday in Melbourne.

“Yeah there’s a fear of losing it, there’s the pressure, but you look at that in a positive spin too, it’s something that motivates us to make sure it’s not on our watch.

“The way we view it is no one’s holding the trophy, when it comes up for grabs again each year it’s on the line. And this year both teams have a good chance of winning it, so it’s up to us to get out there and take it.”

- ‘Not on our watch’: All Blacks motivated by fear of 20-year first as backrow battle ground brews, TheRoar.com.au, September 14, 2022.

2. A retired NYPD officer saved a woman who drove into Lake Norman Wednesday afternoon, according to Mooresville Fire.

Around 3:00 p.m. near Williamson Road across the street from Eddie’s, Mark Mistretta was eating with his wife and friends when he witnessed chaos begin to unfold.

“Out of nowhere, we heard this loud kind of crash, and people yell,” Mistretta said. “I looked up and saw this car in the water.”

Officials say the woman veered off the road into the lake, and that’s when Mistretta jumped in to help.


This wasn’t the first time Mistretta had run towards danger to save a life.

In August of 1991, a young officer Mistretta saved a Rabbi and his son who were getting beaten in the Brooklyn race riots.

“I knew what I was up against, I knew that I could make a difference, so I was going to do that,” Mistretta said.

The citizen that saved the driver’s life will be recognized during a town board meeting in the future, Mooresville Fire said.

“There’s an old saying at NYPD, not on my watch if I can help it,” Mistretta said. “I tried to make a difference today.”

- ‘Not on my watch’: Retired NYPD officer saves woman that drove into Lake Norman, QCNews.com, September 22, 2022.

3. Thanks to Donald Trump, secrecy is big news these days. However, as political pundits and legal experts race to expose the layers of document-related misdeeds previously buried at his Mar-a-Lago estate, one overlooked reality looms large: despite all the coverage of the thousands of documents Trump took with him when he left the White House, there’s been next to no acknowledgment that such a refusal to share information has been part and parcel of the Washington scene for far longer than the current moment.

The hiding of information by the former president, repeatedly described as “unprecedented” behavior, is actually part of a continuum of withholding that’s been growing at a striking pace for decades. By the time Donald Trump entered the Oval Office, the stage had long been set for removing information from the public record in an alarmingly broad fashion, a pattern that he would take to new levels.

In fact, during his time in office, Trump virtually transformed the very exercise of withholding information. In place of secrecy in the form of classification, he developed a strategy of preventing documents and records from even being created in the first place.

Three months into his presidency, Trump announced that the White House would cease to disclose its visitor logs, citing the supposed risk to both national security and presidential privacy. In addition to hiding the names of those with whom he met, specific high-level meetings took place in an unrecorded fashion so that even the members of his cabinet, no less the public, would never know about them.

As former National Security Advisor John Bolton and others have attested, when it came to meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump even prohibited note-taking. In at least five such meetings over the course of his first two years in office, he consistently excluded White House officials and members of the State Department. On at least one occasion, he even confiscated notes his interpreter took to ensure that there would be no record.

Congress, too, was forbidden access to information under Trump. Lawyers in the Department of Justice (DOJ) drafted memos hardening policies against complying with congressional requests for information in what former DOJ lawyer Annie Owens has described as “a policy that approached outright refusal” to share information. In addition, the Trump administration was lax or even dismissive when it came to compliance with the production of required reports on national security matters. Note as well the reversal of policies aimed at transparency, as in the decision to reverse an Obama era policy of making public the number of nuclear weapons the U.S. possessed.

But don’t just blame Donald Trump. Among the most recent examples of erasing evidence, it’s become clear that the Secret Service deleted the text messages of its agents around the president from the day before and the day of the January 6th insurrection. So, too, the phone records of several top Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials were wiped clean when they left office in accordance with directives established early in the Trump presidency. Similarly, the phone records of top Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security officials were scrapped. In other words, recent reports on the way Trump regularly shredded documents, flushed them down the White House toilet, and generally withheld presidential papers – even classified documents, as revealed during the Mar-a-Lago search – were of a piece with a larger disdain on the part of both the president and a number of his top officials for sharing information.

Erasing the record in one fashion or another became the Trump administration’s default setting, variations on a theme hammered out by his predecessors and taken to new levels on his watch.

- What Trump’s Document Grab Tells Us About the Privatization of Secrecy, CounterPunch.org, September 22, 2022.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣   编辑:丹妮)


Finger pointing? 公开指责


Jump through a hoop? 赴汤蹈火


Edge of your seat? 兴奋得坐不住


Unequal to the task 不能胜任


Here to stay? 留在这里

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