Roar no more: Indonesian military removes mocked tiger statue

The Cisewu army base tiger mascot. Photo: Facebook / Kementrian Humor Indonesia
The Cisewu army base tiger mascot. Photo: Facebook / Kementrian Humor Indonesia

The Indonesian military has removed a statue of a grinning, cartoon-like tiger from outside an army base after it sparked a flood of online mockery.

The tiger is the mascot for the local military but the one at the entrance to the small base in Cisewu — which had a broad grin and cuboid head — quickly became a laughing stock after pictures of it were posted online.

Critics said it looked more a like a cartoon character than a fearsome military symbol, and the web was soon flooded with mocking comments and memes of the smiling beast.

“My head hurts trying to suppress my laughter looking at the memes of the Cisewu tiger,” said one Twitter user Galcit.

With no sign of the furore abating, the military Monday removed the mascot which had stood outside the base on top of a sign for six years. Pictures posted online showed military personnel using hammers and chisels to take it down.

“Tigers should look fierce because they represent bravery and resilience,” local military spokesman Mokhamad Desi Arianto told AFP.

“When some people criticised the statue for looking funny, we couldn’t ignore it.”

He said a new statue of a tiger would be erected in its place.

Web users tweeted “RIP Cisewu tiger” after news emerged of the mascot’s demise, with some criticising the military for overreacting to online jibes.

“I’m so sad that the legendary Cisewu tiger was destroyed, RIP funny tiger,” commented Twitter user Blackvels.

The tale of the grinning tiger has echoes of a story in Spain, where an 82-year-old woman became a global laughing stock due to a botched restoration of a painting of Christ.

Cecilia Gimenez’s attempted restoration of Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), a century-old fresco of Christ painted on a church pillar in Borja, transformed it into an image resembling a pale-faced ape with cartoon-style eyes.

The attention triggered a flood of visitors to the church to be photographed with the artistic disaster.

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