atans1

The origin of “move on”?

In Uncategorized on 09/11/2010 at 6:31 am

The phrase “let’s move on” and its variants (like “moving on”) has long been associated with the governing party even though it has not moved on (i.e. out of power) since 1959. Among countries that hold free elections, only UMNO in M’sia (since 1957) has been longer in power. And LKY has not moved on. He is still in the PAP.

I cannot remember who in PAP first used or popularised the phrase, or even when it was first uttered.

If the phrase or a variant was first uttered or popularised by MightyMind, then perhaps the late Mrs Lee Kuan Yew may have drawn this verse to her husband’s attention, inspiring his use of “move on”.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

As we know she loved the classics of English Literature, she is likely to have read the Edward Fitzgerald translation of the  Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the Persian astronomer, poet and sufi master. To be fair to her husband, he may have been aware of the poem. It might have been taught in RI.

(The  Fitzgerald translation is a classic of English literature, and a favourite of mine. I must admit that I’m so stupid that I did not associate the PAP phase with this verse until earlier this year. And it’s a poem I read regularly, and I can recite some verses from memory.)

Sometime back, an editor from MediaCorp’s freesheet, did a piece saying S’pore must name sumething- anything- after her, while another Today reporter tried to link her to a book on orchids: the links were a link too far.

I think the continued use of “move on” is a worthy tribute to her, if she gave MightyMind the idea to use or popularise the phrase. Where would S’pore be without “move on”?

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  1. not sure i get the point. are you saying “let’s move on” and its variants are uniquely, identifiably, Singaporean? I’ve heard this phrase used in other cultures such as Britain, notably in business and political circles.

    As an aside, the Rubaiyat is a gem but they weren’t teaching it in RI when I was there. Also, being married to a woman who shares my tastes in books, I am bemused by the nugget that Mrs Lee is a fan of Kipling, Austen and Shakespeare while Mr Lee’s tastes runs to John Grisham and Tom Clancy.

    • “Moving on” while not unique to S’pore, has become a bit of catch-phase here (at least in my circles) to mock the PAP habit of not admitting mistakes, brushing away inconveniences.

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