By Gel Santos Relos
"Noynoying" has gone global, having been featured in Wikipedia, Wall Street Journal, and France24 L’Actualite Internationale. What does this say not only about PNoy, but also about the people who make this caricature of the president? And how should PNoy respond to this?
"Noynoying". It started as a buzzword that soon trended in the social media in the Philippines, and eventually among kababayans worldwide. And because people are buzzing about it, it was, of course, picked up by mainstream media, and has now been subject of an article in an international publication, The Wall Street Journal.
Read the excerpt from the Wall Street Journal Article written by James Hookway:
“In retrospect, maybe planking – the hipster practice of lying face-down in odd areas, often as a form of political protest – wasn’t quite so bad.Now antigovernment protesters in the Philippines have found a new way to poke fun at President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. They call it “Noynoying.”
Noynoying plays on the widespread perception that Mr. Aquino – who is widely known by the nickname Noynoy – might not be the most hands-on president to have led the Philippines. Since being elected in a landslide in 2010, Mr. Aquino has sometimes been caught laughing it up with celebrities instead of attending to the impact of typhoons and other disasters. It also taps into old Philippine folk tales about Juan Tamad, or Lazy Juan, who manages to get by doing the least amount of work to get by.
Mr. Aquino, though, isn’t taking accusations that he sleeps on the job lying down, as it were. The media affairs team at the Presidential Palace has been issuing a series of photographs of the president at work to counter the notion that he is goofing off. The shots show him doing paperwork, inspecting sites and holding meetings.
Mr. Aquino addressed the issue himself at the weekend, telling reporters in Baguio City that some people just don’t want to recognize his achievements, and pointed to record highs at the Philippine Stock Exchange as proof that his administration is having an impact. Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad, meanwhile, predicted that the craze for Noynoying would soon die out.
It’s unlikely that political activists will give up on Noynoying just yet, though. Given the number of people routinely loitering around public buildings in the Philippines on any given day, Noynoying seems an easy way to trick people into thinking their protests are larger than they really are.”
Now here is the Philippines’ latest contribution to the Wikipedia-- the global online encyclopedia, the entries of which may be written, edited, modified, by any contributor.
Wikipedia on “noynoying” states:
"Noynoying is an internet meme that defines an effortless pose, or activity consisting of sitting or standing around, in an unconcerned manner. It is also recognized as "doing nothing when in fact you have something to do."The word is derived from President Benigno Aquino III's nickname, Noynoy, and the suffix -ing, to describe the act of being Noynoy. It is a parody of his work ethic as President of the Philippines.”
President Aquino hit back and said this “noynoying” buzz is just a product of people who have nothing good to say.
“Hindi kailangang pansinin. Papaano mo ipapakita sa ayaw tumingin? Paano mo iparirinig sa ayaw makinig? Kung masaya silang ginagawa nila iyun, nasa kanila na iyon...Kapag sinasabing wala akong ginagawa, at pangit ang nangyayari, e di anong conclusion duon?...Basta gagawin ko ang palagay ko ay tama at palagay ko may resulta na nangyayari,” he said.
Critics of Aquino say the fact that “noynoying” is being talked about in the social media, that has, in fact, gone mainstream, speaks volume of what they say as “perception” of our kababayans about PNoy being a “do-nothing” chief executive of the country.
They say Aquino’s “huwag pansinin” response to the issue strengthens their argument that Aquino does not do anything when a lot needs to be done, and does not even acknowledge the people’s cry for more action from their President.
PNoy’s supporters, on the other hand, argue that the fact that mainstream media, including the international publication “The Wall Street Journal” has reported on “noynoying” does not necessarily mean all those who talk about the issue agree that President Aquino is a “do nothing” president.
Technically, that argument is true -- other than hard news, media now also reports on what is being talked about, much like how the “abnoy” issue had controversially made it to the headlines in the 2010 Philippine presidential election campaign season.
Also, we know how topics can be promoted to trend, either to help sell a product or a cause-- and conversely, to disparage an idea, or advocacy, or a person for whatever reason some people may deem fit.
This supports the theory that the more people hear about something, a half-truth or even a ‘lie’ may eventually be the truth for some undiscerning people. Their minds have been conditioned, their opinions molded according to the goals of the communication campaign.
To be fair, such a sweeping statement about the President may be more of a caricature. The truth is, there are some problems and issues that can't be solved overnight, or simply just beyond the control of the president.
Perhaps, the best way to counter any negative perception such as “noynoying’ is by consistent, visible, and decisive actions that bring about results on issues and problems he has control on.
Filipinos are more than convinced President Aquino can move heaven and earth to make good his promise to make the corrupt and erring officials pay for their transgressions against the country--- how about PNoy channeling the same boldness and fire in making his own people be as equally accountable to the country?
How about demonstrating the same passion in supporting and passing bills that have been pending in Congress for so long-- like the Freedom of Information Bill, and the RH Bill?
How about being proactive in attending to emergency needs of the country, and being seen and heard from more in a timely manner, when the Filipinos afflicted by disasters need the reassuring presence and action from their President?
They say in politics, “perception is reality”. Maybe the president needs to communicate better in words and in action, all his plans and programs, the process and results. He needs to make his case with the Filipinos that there is no truth to “noynoying”, and the word will die a natural death.
(Asian Journal column article, March 21, 22, 23, 2012)