Noynoying – the Philippine president lends his name to the Filipino Condition

The term may be new but the observations go way back. The term “Noynoying” is a new buzzword that hit home run and stuck. Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III after all is the no-results president — the President who so early in his stint in office had already been criticised for his slack work ethic and pakitang-tao (all for show) executive style. Indeed, the only thing about Noynoying that is really remarkable is how such a sticky term only now came to be embraced by a public long jaded by the rapidly fading “Laban” campaign rhetoric of the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan that rules the country today.

Credit for coining and popularising the term Noynoying is claimed by leftist militant group Anakbayan who last Thursday the 16th March used this form of “protest” in their mass action against rising fuel prices…

[…] members of Anakbayan introduced a new form of protest act last Thursday called “Noynoying.”

“Noynoying is the new planking: upo lang walang gagawin kundi papogi at tamad-tamaran,” [Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan national chair] said.

[Tagalog quote translated: “just sit around and do nothing other than try to look good while being lazy”]

It was only a matter of time before Noynoy would come to personify the fundamental collective character of a people who have for so long failed to demonstrate any ability to take control of and be personally responsible for their own fortunes. Noynoying is now symbolised by the hilata pose, which one assumes by half-lying on one’s back, head resting on a hand propped up by one’s forearm. Indeed, what can be a more fitting symbolic stance for the leader of the Filipino people?

It is the position that Filipino folk hero Juan Tamad (John the Lazy) also takes. As such, even in this stroke of viral achievement, Noynoy is not original as the story of Juan Tamad goes way back — a Filipino icon ingrained in lore for almost a hundred years. Juan Tamad is a character in Philippine folklore noteworthy for extreme laziness. He is usually portrayed as a child, although in some interpretations, he is said to be a young man. Arguably, the Juan Tamad story most often told illustrates his utmost laziness to the point of stupidity that it becomes comedic. In it, Juan Tamad comes upon a guava tree bearing ripe fruit. Being too slothful to climb the tree and take the fruits, he instead decides to lie beneath the tree and let gravity do its work. There he remained, waiting for the fruit to fall into his gaping mouth.

So quintessentially Filipino is Juan Tamad that our logo, that of Get Real Philippines itself, owes its conceptual roots to Juan. But we may actually be witnessing today a changing of the guard. The year 2012 may be the year we see Juan Tamad bow out of the role of Filipino quintessence and Philippine President Noynoy Aquino take his place as the embodiment of the Filipino Condition. Indeed, to slap the Noynoying label on the popularly-elected president without considering the character of the voters who elected him does not paint the full picture of what Noynoying really means to all Filipinos. For Noynoying is a condition that afflicts not just the President of this sad republic. It is one that describes the people he governs and, as he and his mob continuously insist, from which he derives his “power” and “mandate”.

Thus fitting it is, that the popular President lends his name to a notion that so easily captures the essence of what it means to be Filipino. Noynoy Aquino can now legitimately call himself the leader of the Filipino people. It takes one to know one after all. It is quite easy to imagine a president who campaigned on a pedigree platform lying around looking to the heavens for guidance as it is to imagine an entire nation of people looking upwards with gaping mouths waiting for their “hero” to produce for them some “results”. What exactly those “results” Filipinos now expect of their president perhaps should have been something they made more specific to themselves and to their candidate at the time they cast their votes.

[NB: Photo courtesy Showbiz Government. Parts of this article were lifted from the Wikipedia.org article “Juan Tamad” in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that governs usage of content made available in this site.]

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33 Comments on “Noynoying – the Philippine president lends his name to the Filipino Condition”

  1. unfortunately, this is true.. .while i did not vote for this president, still,it is sad and embarrassing to admit that many filipinos are guilty of noynoying.

  2. Tamang tamang salita ang Noynoying. Pero ang tanong, bakit ba aabot sa ganito ang lahat? Dalawang taon na halos ngayon lang napansin ng karamihan ang katamaran ng ibinoto nila. Baka naman pati pagsusuri at pagiging mulat sa katotohanan kinatamaran na rin ng karamihan. Ang masama rito hindi lang yung mga nabola ni Penoy ang higit na naaapektuhan ng asal nya, pati na rin tayo. Palaging sinasabi nila na tayo ang magsikap at huwag umasa kay Penoy, karamihan naman sa atin nagtatrabaho, nagbabayad ng buwis at sumusunod sa batas.

    1. unfortunately in democracy, the wise has to suffer with the fools if they(the wise) are but just a few…di ba majority wins?…eh sandamakmak ang mga TANGA sa Pilipinas, kaya magdusa na rin kasama nila pati tayong mga hindi TANGA…

  3. I vehemently disagree with this one in one way and passionately agree with it in another. You see, I don’t think Pinoys are “tamad” at all — with the exception of the “tambay sa kanto” many Filipinos are working hard each and every day, with 10 million of them doing it far away from their families. How can you call Filipinos lazy in terms of, well, manual labor, seriously?

    But unlike bees working hard to systematically nurture a hive Pinoys are like rats scampering and scurrying around trying to get what little they can for their effort. We were born into a rat race and we live that rat race the rest of our lives.

    If Pinoys are guilty of laziness, it’s not physical laziness that we’re guilty of, it’s intellectual laziness — which totally undermines our physical industriousness. Concrete action without the intellectual effort leads to ‘achievements’ like “sending all my nieces who don’t give a shit about me to nursing school” and “buying junior the cellpown he’s asking for” with little thought for long term solutions or action that would truly make a difference.

    So, to reiterate my statement in other places, it’s not that Noynoy is lazy. He’s not. He’s just incompetent. Just like the rest of us.

    1. Indeed, the worst kind if laziness is intellectual laziness. In fact physical laziness is but a mere symptom of intellectual laziness, because physical laziness indicates a failure to imagine a better use of one’s time.

      That Pinoys toil as OFWs overseas trapped in a prison of neediness and desperation is an outcome of generations of intellectual laziness, where rather than develop our resources into long term sustainable productive assets, we merely harvested and exported them raw. That is the colossal failure of imagination on a national scale that is the Philippines today.

  4. the noynoying philosophy of life

    sex – a cigarette is better

    work – it’s only for poor people

    marriage – too much like hard work

    eating – employ a food taster

    politics – being paid not to achieve anything. perfect job

    fashion – wear the same style and colour. less decisions is good noynoying

    hair – less hair, less work

    relaxation – the pursuit of perfection

    “a lazy person condemns himself to second hand thoughts and second rate friends”
    cyril connolly

  5. The Mexicans have a version of this caricature. Mexicans are featured in caricatures, with huge “sombreros” , their backs leaning on a Cactus Tree; sitting and taking “siestas”. Their “sombreros” covering their faces, as they snore in their “siestas”…
    Some of my Mexican friends are offended and angry at this caricature of themselves. I know many Mexicans are hardworking in the U.S.; the same as many immigrant Filipinos.
    Noynoy Aquino was born with a “silver spoon” on his mouth; to a rich family. He does not have to struggle, like most of us do. He has many servants, tenant serfs, etc…always ready to serve his needs.
    Unfortunately, Filipinos elected him thru the SMARTMATIC machine, as President. Hoping, he will be a good worker. It did not happen, because the Guy is not used to working …so he is prone to:Noynoying…he is a natural born loafer…it is also because, he is suffering from Depression…this is one of the symptoms of this Mental Illness..

  6. When Ronald Reagan, an actor by profession, was president of the United States, he was relentlessly ridiculed for sleeping on the job and taking little interest in the details of government. Jimmy Carter worked like a dog, a brilliant man by any standard. Today, Reagan is recognized as having done a superior job. Carter, a nothing job.

    I rather think it is not the daily activity that matters so much, but how well organized and led the Cabinet is, how major decisions shake out, and a great deal of luck. It is also wise to wait a few years to judge a President’s entire impact.

    So “Noynoying” to me will mean “Reaganesque”. I shall enter that definition into the Humpty Dumpty New World Dictionary. It is rather like Wiki but more imaginative than what mundane lexicographers, or commie pinkos, come up with.

    1. “I rather think it is not the daily activity that matters so much, but how well organized and led the Cabinet is, how major decisions shake out, and a great deal of luck. It is also wise to wait a few years to judge a President’s entire impact.”

      You mean you want to wait until his term is finish before criticising him? That’ll be too late.

      Define a well organised Cabinet? Are you talking about the miscommunication team who conduct trial by publicity and his other secretaries embroiled in controversy like Naguiat, De Lima and Puno? Corruption and defiance of the law comes to mind when I hear their names.

      1. Angela, I think it is absolutely fair and responsible to criticize President Aquino’s specific decisions, speeches, acts, positions on laws if you disagree with him. And, I think be forthright enough to recognize what the investment community sees: a more stable Philippines. I think extremist calls for his impeachment or the rumored coup conversations or anything but waiting patiently for his term to end are irresponsible and cast the Philippines in the continued mold of unstable “banana republic”. A lot can happen in four years, and I’m saying don’t prejudge or become irrationally extreme. One thing I’ve noted is that Filipinos tend to focus on incidents, or trees in the forest, without seeing the broader picture. That picture won’t be formed until a few years after the President’s term ends.

        1. translation: “hey you guys! let’s try to look stable and ideal for foreign investments so that we can dupe the heck out of the international community and bring some money in! they won’t realize what they got themselves into until a few years after my idol’s term ends anyway.”

    2. I’ve googled this one –

      “president reagan sleeping on the job”

      – and the result is:

      Impormasyon Walang mga resultang natagpuan para sa “president reagan sleeping on the job”.

      I even googled – reagan being ridiculed

      No sleeping on the job item.

      Dishonesty again?

      Then this dud played it at both ends –

      “Today, Reagan is recognized as having done a superior job.”

      But with a clincher –

      “So “Noynoying” to me will mean “Reaganesque””

      Pathetic…

      1. “Although the President is regarded as an unusually effective campaigner, he has never acquired the energy-saving ability to snooze on the plane between stops. That continues to surprise some aides, since Mr. Reagan, by his own account, occasionally nods in Cabinet meetings and visibly drifted off in a meeting with Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1982.”

        New York Times, November 20, 1985

        1. @Joe America

          Annoying Noynoying has a lazy style of leadership. He doesn’t get the job done. That is why we call him the sleeping president. Take the campaign of the military in Mindanao. His slogan of “all out justice” is already asleep. The Islamo-Fascist Moro Islamic Liberation Front(MILF) is still safe within its Base Camps. This is considered as MILF territory. They have a tactical alliance with the Communist Party of the Philippines(CPP), New People’s Army(NPA). You may not know it but the CPP-NPA-NDF infiltration of the government, educational and other sectors is still ongoing. The portals of election, appointment, hiring and integration are very open to communist infiltration. A communist coup could happen along the lines of the Nepal or Indonesian(Night of the Generals) scenario. The Chinese communists are interested in the Spratly’s and may still be undetected as they also infiltrate the Philippines. They might support a communist coup. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

      2. If this dud is honest and has no intention of misinforming the comment readers, he could outrightly post his last comment about Reagan’s snoozing.

        Let’s see the difference –

        His comment before:

        “When Ronald Reagan, an actor by profession, was president of the United States, HE WAS RELENTLESSLY RIDICULED for sleeping on the job and TAKING LITTLE INTEREST IN THE DETAILS OF GOVERNMENT.”

        His comment after being cited quoting the NYT:

        “Although the President is regarded as an unusually effective campaigner, he has never acquired the energy-saving ability to snooze on the plane between stops. That continues to surprise some aides, since Mr. Reagan, by his own account, occasionally nods in Cabinet meetings and visibly drifted off in a meeting with Pope John Paul II in Rome in 1982.”

        But then, this dud, as I have been saying, has a different definition of dishonesty.

        Little by little, the word ideologue is also starting to creeps into my mind.

        1. See, this dud can’t even refute me calling him a dishonest.

          And he is civil and respectful according to him. Heh…according to him:

          “When Ronald Reagan, an actor by profession, was president of the United States, HE WAS RELENTLESSLY RIDICULED for sleeping on the job and TAKING LITTLE INTEREST IN THE DETAILS OF GOVERNMENT.”

          When was he relentlessly ridiculed for sleeping on the job and taking little interest in the details of government?

          Again, in flagrante!

    3. There are several terrible presidents in US, Buchanan, Nixon and Jimmy Carter are often in the list NOT Reagan. How can you even compare Reagan to PNoy, and even consider Carter more hardworking than Reagan. Reagan the man famous for calling out USSR leader Gorbachev to tear down the wall of Berlin will not be an icon of conservatism if he wasn’t a hard working president and a successful one. During Jimmy Carter’s last year in office (1980), inflation averaged 12.5%, compared to 4.4% during Reagan’s last year in office (1988). His success in improving the US economy gave birth to the term REAGANOMICS. And you all know why the term NOYNOYING came to be.

    4. Are you effing serious about that man? Those critics are mostly left-leaning and liberals who oppose the free-market principles of Reagan. Did he really do nothing? Think SDI; think modernization of the military; think of the tougher stance to Soviet aggression all the while campaigning for nuclear disarmament.

      Pretty lame comparison dude

  7. Nakahilata at tinatamad does not really capture the character of the clown in Malacanang. Noynoying, to really reflect his character, should mean “to look busy doing nothing”.

  8. This is actually a wake up call for all of us…we should stop this culture of mediocrity…”okay na yan”…”pwede na yan”…bahala na. Let begin to teach our children to practice and strive for excellence all the time with every endeavor they undertake.

  9. Noynoying is a perfect term for the present administration. It does not only apply to Noynoy but to everyone in the cabinet as well. They are all lazy to think for themselves, they are all lazy to submit themselves to the will of their own leader. No one dares challenge the president. What all of them can do is only appear to be doing something. Doing by publicity. When the tern Noynoying hits the media, what the did was shoot Noynoy in the office as if like he is doing something seriously. Reading, signing documents. To them this is enough, to them this will change the minds of the simpletons.

    I think all of us are guilty of Noynoying, simply because we don’t do something about this Noynoy. What we can do perhaps is challeng Noynoy and his subordinates collectively either on the streets or in any forms.

  10. It’s amazing how Malacañang PR has gone gung-ho against this “Noynoying” phenomenon. They are so stung by it for some reason…hahaha.

    Their damage-control is not working at all. People are not buying it. Even their ever-biased media and bandwagon-builder Pulse Asia could not control the growing popularity of “Noynoying,” they might as well stop this over-preoccupation with image-building and simply do some actual work—i.e. not just for the benefit of the oligarchy, his yellow supporters, or his KKKKs, but for the whole country.

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