Monday, March 26, 2012


“To do nothing,” as Oscar Wilde said, “is the most difficult thing in the world.”

Apparently not to Philippine President Noynoy Aquino, whose “doing nothing” attitude or “noynoying” has inspired the newest word in the local political vocabulary. “Noynoying” has in fact caught fire, the social media picked it up, there’s already a Facebook page and Twitter is buzzing.
Philippine President Noynoy Aquino in his familiar doing nothing
pose. Click link
to view "Noynoying" -- It's more fun in the Philippines.
Students and workers on the streets protesting against fuel price hikes, rising unemployment, the shrinking value of workers’ wages, unaffordable education and the many other problems that beset the nation, are doing their best in imitating the President for his “doing nothing” postures in the face of all these problems.

Obviously, the President’s handlers are annoyed. They responded by plastering the front pages of the daily newspapers with photos of the President working in his office at Malacañang. Others also protested that “noynoying” is so unkind and unbefitting to the office of the presidency. Well, these gripes came from laggards in the government, too.

But this President has the reputation for being a slacker, a couch potato who would rather enjoy wasting time on computer games even when he was just a senator in Congress during sessions. One Filipino columnist wrote that if the President remains focused in impeaching Chief Justice Corona to the exclusion of other more important matters, he may be wrongly accused of being autistic. One of the many signs of autism being the preoccupation with a single television program or a computer toy or game.

For the record, President Noynoy Aquino has done nothing to halt the increase in the price of fuel that drivers and transport workers have decided to take the streets to make known to the President that they’re hurting and he’s not doing anything to help them. Wages of workers have stayed at low levels keeping the lives of ordinary folks at standstill, and the President is not doing anything to consider increasing the minimum wage.

The military has reinforced Hacienda Luisita with more troops at government’s expense to protect the Cojuangco family’s prized possession, yet the President is not doing anything to protect the farm workers from being harassed and brutalized. Military abuses of human rights continue, the whereabouts of many activists who have been missing are still unknown and may never be known, and extra-judicial killings remain unprosecuted. The President’s response? Do nothing.

Going to college is getting more and more expensive, making it unrealistic for poor families to send their children for higher education. What has the President done, so far? Nothing.

Or all the protesters could be wrong. Perhaps, the President’s doing nothing is exactly his strongest suit. It could mean that he’s just being quiet, letting the storm pass, the anger to wane and the heart rate to slow down. In other words, he could be taking stock of all the issues facing the nation and trying to gain perspective, and that really means, doing nothing.
Who said President Noynoy Aquino wasn't doing anything?
There is an Italian expression that best describes this type of attitude: Il dolce far niente. It means the sweetness of doing nothing.

It could be Noynoy’s mindset, an attitude ingrained in his very nature. It’s his way of living freely and enjoying the best life could offer, whether driving a sports car, going to the range to do practise shooting or going out with his classmates from Ateneo (the KKK group—Kaklase, Kaibigan at Kabarilan). So like the Romans, Noynoy has taken this activity of doing nothing to the level of an art form. To him, this is the essence of living. He’s living “noynoying” to the fullest.

It is therefore annoying to President Noynoy Aquino that he should be singled out and criticized for doing nothing.

In the first place, he never wanted to be president. Maybe the Senate should waste no more time in convicting the Chief Justice, so the Supreme Court with a new Chief Justice could reverse the Hacienda Luisita decision or at least pay the Cojuangcos 100 billion pesos in compensation, and allow the election appeal of Noynoy’s running mate Mar Roxas to succeed. With Roxas as the new vice president, Noynoy could now resign, pass the mantle to his new VP and spend more time in doing nothing.

This is what doing nothing can do to the mind. It drives you to a catatonic state, to think of unthinkable things. Noynoy Aquino should have realized it earlier, that leaving the presidency and running away with Grace Lee was the best thing in life. After all, when all the dust has settled, he still has the Hacienda and all the time in the world to roam around with his Porsche or horse the whole afternoon and at night to go home to his trophy wife to make babies who will grow up like him.

With one or two kids on his lap and wife by his side, he can then say to all his critics, “Is this doing nothing?”

1 comment:

  1. Touche, Mr. Rivera. And isn't Malacanang's advisory on the eve of BS Aquino's 10-country trip that the president will monitor developments in the traffic situation during the Lenten Week very telling as to PNoy's sense of hierarchy of critical issues?

    Ricardo Caluen