Fiddling away while Rome burns


Women were killed through violent falls caused by ferocious bag snatchers. Robbers, burglars, murderers, assassins, gangsters, thugs, rapists and molesters plagued our daily lives.


Nero fiddled while Rome burnt.

Though pedantic (wakakaka) historians have proven that it couldn’t have happened because there was no fiddle (or violin) in the period of the Great Fire of Rome (AD 64), some have suggested it might have been the lyre or the cithara.

There have also been other challenges to the accuracy of the above famous saying (eg. Nero was said to have actually participated actively in the fire fighting), but the belief that Nero fiddled while Rome burnt has been steadfastly popular for the last 2000 years it has now taken a very comfortable place in English idioms.

When we use it in the present terms, say as in, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi fiddling while Rome burns, we mean it to say that Zahid is doing nothing or something trivial (like busybody-ing himself with RoS and DAP) while knowing that something disastrous is happening in Malaysia, as in the frightening escalation of crimes.