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Philippines: Government Fails to Stop ‘Noynoying’

What started as a substitute to the now banned planking protests is now the latest hit sensation in the Philippines. As a protest pose, ‘Noynoying’ simply involves sitting around, lying on the ground, or staring on empty space, and doing nothing.

Activists first coined ‘Noynoying’ to describe Philippine President Noynoy Aquino's inaction on the soaring prices of oil, tuition and other school fees, and other basic goods and services, rising inequality, and poverty, among others.

Government fails to stop Noynoying

Government efforts to stop the growing popularity of ‘Noynoying’ have all failed miserably. The term became even more popular after the Palace released several photos showing the president supposedly “at work” to counteract the charges of ‘Noynoying’. These were quickly photoshopped and uploaded online as Internet memes.

The latest ‘Noynoying’ images showed the president together with Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) officials who also became notorious last year after they edited photos of themselves to make it appear that they were “working” on a Manila Bay wall destroyed by a typhoon.

Here are some samples of noynoying memes now circulating on the Internet:

‘Noynoying’ now has its own entry in Wikipedia, which has expanded from a simple one short paragraph description to a lengthy treatise on the origin of the term.

On Noynoying's growing popularity

Taken from the president's nickname Noynoy, ‘Noynoying’ has been widely embraced by the public to mean doing nothing in the face of pressing matters that need action. Filipino netizens have been discussing why ‘Noynoying’ gained its present popularity.

A member of the Aquino regime's cabinet called Noynoying an “annoying” publicity gimmick by government critics:

It is a sub-plot to a more prolonged campaign against the government by its political enemies. Because these people are having a hard time attacking government policies, they resort to ad hominem attacks on PNoy, stooping so low as to question his mental condition.

Blogger Teo Marasigan replies that the rise of Noynoying is not just the work of a few activists:

Pumatok ang Noynoying dahil sapul nito ang sentimyento sa pangulo ng mga mamamayan. Sa likod ng masasayang ngiti at masasarap na pangako ng pangulo, ramdam ang pagtindi ng hirap at gutom ng mga tao.

Noynoying became popular because it summed up the sentiments of the people about the president. Behind the happy smiles and sweet promises of the president, the worsening poverty and hunger are felt by the people.

John Marcel Ragaza meanwhile blogs that Noynoying, annoying as it maybe for the president and his officials, is not just an attack on the president's person.

Noynoying is a symbolic protest that goes beyond criticism of the president's character. The public and even Malacanang should not misconstrue Noynoying, and any act of creative protest for that matter, as a plain assault to person of Aquino. Rather, it is an insult directed at the kind of governance that is being espoused not only by Aquino but even by his predecessors, to the elite rule that has long dominated the country, to a leadership that sadly contributes to the suffering of marginalized Filipinos through the protection of elite interests. Noynoying is just a catchy verb, but it nevertheless pierces and offends because it is truthful.

The bottom line for the endurance of Noynoying, Like a Rolling Stone observes, is the Aquino government's willful disregard for people's issues:

It is Aquino and his officials who appear to be living in a different world, a place where there are only happy mall-goers, rosy stock market indices and busy construction sites that point to economic growth. In this world, oil prices are not a problem no matter how high they get. Poverty is just a state of mind and unemployment is fiction.

Be thankful Mr. President that today’s protests are still tinged with humor. There might come a time when there will only be anger over your government’s inaction.

Lastly, youth activist leader Vencer Crisostomo lists down some concrete steps that the Aquino regime can do, instead of mere photo releases and denials, to stop accusations of Noynoying:

Stopping oil price hikes, implementing genuine land reform, significantly raising wages, imposing a moratorium on tuition and other school fee increases, ending impunity and human rights abuses, standing up against US intervention, and ending foreign plunder and mining of the country's natural resources, among many others.

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