Tigers are a powerful symbol; they embody strength, speed, and cunning. That's why Siliwangi's provincial military command post chose the big cat as their mascot. The choice of a tiger was a good idea, but choosing someone who has no idea what a tiger looks like to sculpt one was a terrible idea.
This statue joined the list of famous fuckups like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the monkey Jesus when photos of its completely disproportionate body and twisted face spread online. Unlike other famous fuckups, the statue didn't survive long enough to become a tourist attraction, the military tore it down out of embarrassment.
Now the hunt is on for similarly bad tiger statues. Colonel Desi Ariyanto, the Siliwangi military spokesperson, said every command center has to reappraise the quality of their tiger mascots.
"Because the previous statue went viral, now we know what a tiger should look like. Every office has its own commander who is responsible for their jurisdiction," said Desi.
Captain Eko, a retired serviceman, was the the sculptor of the original viral tiger. It went up seven years ago, but the statue was torn down last weekend and 'preserved' after it became the butt of jokes online. All statues that have received attention online are to be re-evaluated, they haven't announced which statues are considered sub-par.
This policy will affect a large number of military offices. In West Java and Banten alone, there are about 400 command centers. It seems like many tiger statues won't make the cut and will have to be replaced.
When asked what they consider a proper statue, Desi pointed to the tiger at Cisewu's command post. The base was given a new 300 kilogram, four meter statue by the district head of Purwakarta, Dedi Mulyadi.
"It's my way of showing solidarity with the military, it's only right I help," said Dedi after traveling 125 kilometers to Garut to symbolically hand over the statue.
Desi said tigers are a source of pride for the soldiers. Tigers are chosen as mascots in Siliwangi because of a popular folk tale in West Java. It was said that Prabu Siliwangi, an ancient king, had a tiger as a sidekick. "Because of that, tigers have been projected as a symbol for wisdom, courage, and prowess in Siliwangi," he said.
Most of the statues were done independently by active soldiers or those who have retired, the amateur look of many of the statues comes from the genuine amateurs who made them.
Desi thinks it's a matter of restoring the honor of tigers. "We appreciate people caring about the National Military, but it would be wrong to let our symbol become the butt of jokes."