MANILA, Philippines – The term “Noynoying” has gone viral, and even the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has taken notice of the term coined by protesters to describe President Benigno Aquino III’s supposed laziness.
“Basically, ‘Noynoying’ involves sitting around staring into space, much like Mr. Aquino supposedly does instead of running the country, at least according to some of his critics,” wrote WSJ’s James Hookway for a largely Southeast Asian audience Tuesday, March 20.
Protesters recently did ‘Noynoying’ in front of the Supreme Court and in other venues, Hookway noted.
“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,” he said.
In an interview with reporters Wednesday, for his part, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda downplayed the Noynoying tag anew.
“The Malacañang Press Corps is fully aware of the schedule of the President so it’s another attempt at putting down the President, but regardless, we will continue to do our job. The President will continue to do his job,” Lacierda said.
Like ‘Juan Tamad’
Meanwhile, Hookway recalled instances when the President was caught “laughing it up with celebrities instead of attending to the impact of typhoons and other disasters.” An example is when Aquino attended a Christmas party with actress Valerie Concepcion in the aftermath of tropical storm Sendong.
“(Noynoying) 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,” the WSJ writer added.
Aquino’s spokespersons, on the other hand, have defended the President from accusations of “Noynoying.” One of them, Presidential Communications Operations Office Sec Herminio Coloma, explained the President’s work in the context of disasters last week.
“It’s unlikely that political activists will give up on Noynoying just yet, though,” Hookway said. “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.” – Rappler.com