How can you tell if someone is really humble? They say that someone humble is someone who is modest, reverent, and politely submissive. A humble person is someone who is never arrogant, contemptuous, rude or even self-abasing.
In my not-so-humble opinion, I don’t really believe that President Noynoy Aquino is humble. He is so self-aware about the level of his humbleness that he comes across as more arrogant than humble. Truth be told, it can be hard (for some) to tell the real character of the country’s new leader because he is not totally honest with himself and the people around him.
One can be forgiven for thinking that P.Noy is someone who is living two lives. One moment he addresses the rest of the Filipinos by saying, “You are my boss” and then the next thing you know you will be reading about him trying to exact vengeance on people associated with former President Gloria Arroyo even if there are no substantiable charges against them. His beef with Philippine Chief Justice Renato Corona was so well documented weeks before his inauguration and now his beef with Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez is what is keeping him and his secretaries busy in the first few weeks of his term. Humble is not something that can be used to describe his moves.
It’s not like Filipinos even want him to prioritize trivial stuff like the politics behind politics. In fact, most of his critics are waiting for him to talk about his economic plans in greater detail. He is instead telling us in not so many words, not to hold our breath waiting because as he and his supporters keep emphasizing, we have to now lower our expectations because he does not have the answers to all the problems.
Allow me to emphasize here now how the P.Noy mind trick works. P.Noy’s idea of being humble (apart from boasting about not using his wang-wang to get through heavy traffic) is to tell people outright that he cannot solve all the problems in the Philippines, which is of course, contrary to his simplistic campaign slogan “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.” To quote an article from Malaya:
PRESIDENT-ELECT Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino hopes that the Filipino people will have “reasonable” expectations of him as the 15th President of the Republic, saying he is humble enough to admit that he does not have all the answers to the problems besetting the country.
And this from P.Noy himself:
“You have to be humble to say you are not Superman and Einstein combined. You don’t have all the solutions at your fingertips from yesterday. Once you are aware of your limitations, at the end of the day there are certain things to be left to God,” Aquino said.
Aquino said whenever he is confronted with a challenge, “I look back at what they (his parents) managed to do and what how managed to overcome any challenge.”
“I, so far, seem to pale in comparison to what they have achieved. Both of them taught us repeatedly do the best you can and entrust the rest to God,”
I take my hat off to P.Noy and his handlers on how they managed to engineer the lowering of people’s expectations of his upcoming performance for the next six years. His statement actually worked in convincing people not to expect much. If we are to believe again the latest Social Weather Stations survey which states that “Roughly 88 percent of adult Filipinos trust President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III even though only 14 percent believe he can fulfill all of his campaign promises…” then P.Noy’s stint in Malacanang is going to be a walk in the park.
Indeed, a President that does not plan to exceed people’s expectations coupled with an electorate that does not expect much is, shall we say, a match made in heaven.
One can be forgiven for thinking that it was “God’s will” even if God had nothing to do with people’s gullibility. Of course it has to be mentioned that SWS is owned and operated by friends and family members of P.Noy and that releasing such a survey only serves their purpose.
Let me then break down the definition of the word “humble” for the sake of argument. “Modest” is not the word I would associate with P.Noy because he wasn’t very modest during the campaign particularly when he made that speech on his vision for the Philippine economy at the Makati Business Club’s (MBC). When he spoke, I thought he had all the answers to the problem of the country. To quote:
Aquino outlined his concrete plans for the economy, saying that “good governance and the drive against corruption are critical components to the strategy.”
He said that his administration will “encourage free and fair competition in a level playing field. One not need be a crony in order to succeed in the field of business.”
He will also streamline the approval process for setting up businesses as well as for regular transactions such as the payment of taxes. Others goals of his administration are curbing smuggling and reforming the process of tax administration.
“My vision is to transform our country into one where we have lower tax rates enjoyed by all, rather than have some enjoy absolute tax exemptions while we burden the rest of the economy with very high taxes,” he said.
He will order local government units and the government’s infrastructure agencies to cooperate with the private sector to bring about “a public infrastructure program” that would transform “infrastructure projects from sources of waste and scandal into examples of cooperation and efficiency.”
Aquino ended his speech with this quote from the Clint Eastwood-directed film “Invictus,” which depicts the struggle of Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president: “In order to rebuild our nation, we must exceed our own expectations.”
[Text in boldface for emphasis.]
I fail to see the modesty in his statement especially when he said then that he wants to exceed his own expectations. Likewise his talk of leveling the playing field only applies to his own cronies if you look at the number of friends who are now members of his cabinet. And his devotion to reprisals on people even without solid grounds for doing so is turning his term into one showdown after another. I wonder how much real work will get done apart from his futile attempts at getting rid of all those associated with the previous administration?
P.Noy is not even “reverent” simply because he kept dismissing those who are older, wiser and who have held respectable positions in Philippine society. One of them is former President Fidel Ramos who was giving him advice on how to unite the Filipinos and P.Noy’s response was “No thanks.”
It’s not that I want P.Noy to always be “politely submissive”, but he is not even politely assertive. Another article from Malaya recently stated “Aquino totters on brink of diplomatic gaffe.” In a recent statement about policies involving Japan, he was glibly saying that it was hard to deal with a government that always changes its leaders. To quote:
President Aquino yesterday said it is hard for the Philippines to deal with Japan because there is no long-term policy or program due to frequent changes in its leadership.
Aquino was replying to a question from a reporter of Japan’s NHK during a press conference on how the loss of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan in the 2009 upper house elections could affect the Philippine economy.
“You’ve put me on a spot. If I answer that truthfully, I might be causing diplomatic tensions between Japan and ourselves,” he told the reporter.
The DPJ’s setback meant rough sailing for Prime Minister Naoto Kan, the party’s president, who has vowed to stay on his post.
Aquino went on to say that Japan should do something about the frequent changes in its leadership, which affect its policies.
“There was a time when Cabinet ministers served for 10 months on average. So the person (who) was learning the ropes was suddenly out of the job… The Prime Minister would serve for two years, and lately they have not been serving (for that long). That obviously makes it difficult for us to deal with them. There cannot be long-term programs and policies that we can tackle,” he said.
P.Noy seems to be of the opinion that the Philippine government is way better than the Japanese government because Filipino leaders have more staying power notwithstanding the fact that they haven’t done much during their term to alleviate the poverty in the country and even if their stay only results in policies that are made to be broken. His senatorial stint for nine years is a classic example of this.
Hmmm…they say that someone humble is someone who is modest, reverent, and politely submissive. To say that P.Noy is humble is equivalent to saying that former first lady, Imelda Marcos was stingy. No siree, humble he is not. P.Noy is more of a person who is showing the signs of someone who is arrogant, contemptuous, rude or even self-abasing. If you fell for the wang-wang trick, then there’s a lot to be said about you too.