World’s Tallest Statue

Apr 18th, 2007, in News, by

Plans to build the (almost) tallest statue in the world have North Sumatra on the brink of religious war.

The regent of Tapanuli Tengah (Tapteng), in North Sumatra, Mr Tuani Lumban Tobing, plans to erect a statue of Noah, of Noah's Ark fame, (referred to as the prophet Nuh/Noh by Muslims), as part of a hotel development project in the area. The hotel is going to be built in the shape of a boat, hence the Noah statue to accompany it. The Noah statue will be built to a height of 80 metres, which some claim will make it the tallest statue in the world hariansib (although the builders will need to add another 20+ metres, as the Ushiku Amida Buddha statue near Tokyo is said to be 100 metres high endex).

The regent hopes the hotel and its interesting statue will become a tourist attraction. The hotel and tourist complex will cost 450 billion rupiah to build, with Balinese investors being the prime movers in the project, on 835 hectares in Bukit Anugrah Bonan Dolok, Sitahuis, Tapteng, and will have 150 rooms, possibly with views of the giant Noah statue, which has been designed by a Balinese artist, Nyoman Nuarta. Construction begins, in a nationalist spirit, on or near August 17th 2007, the first stone to be laid by president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Tuani Lumban Tobing
Tuani Lumban Tobing.

Hasrul Azwar, the head of the Medan branch of the United Development Party, Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP), however says the Noah statue will greatly distress Muslims because in Islam prophets may not be depicted in artistic form.

Showing the faces of prophets and Muhammad is strictly forbidden in Islam.

What was worse for Hasrul Azwar, presumably, is that the statue is planned to function as a lift.

We can't let this happen.

Azwar advised regent Tuani Lumban Tobing, who is presumably a Batak Christian, to become more of a nationalist leader and not pander to the interests of only certain groups in society. Azwar alluded to allegations that the regent had won the election putting him in power by dubious means.

Hasrul Azwar
Hasrul Azwar, not happy.

He demanded that the regent cancel the Noah statue plans or else Muslims would "go down" to Tapteng and make their feelings known in a direct way, with the possibe result that the area would become a Poso Mark II, he said, ie. a scene of Christian-Muslim war. republika

Meanwhile chairman of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) in Medan, Ngadiman, said the MUI had already given a verbal instruction that the statue construction was not allowed, if it used the name of Noah. However if Noah's name was not used the MUI did not object. waspada


20 Comments on “World’s Tallest Statue”

  1. avatar Ihaknt says:

    Well, I don’t have issues with statues, but why spend the money on this and not the rakyat? If the idea is to bring tourists in then maybe should start by securing national stability first?

  2. avatar Andrew says:

    The hotel isn’t a public place by definition, it is a private investment. If they can reject the plan (to build the statue) on the basis of a religious belief, I’m sure soon the same will spread like a disease. I have a feeling that statues of Jesus in churches and cemeteries won’t stay there for a very long time.

    It is disturbing that some are using their religious fanaticism as a legitimate mean (or excuse, I should say) to oppress others, and that trend is growing. Indonesia is still the same vast, beautiful place, but the minds of its people are shrinking constantly. It takes a big heart and a broad open mind to accept differences, and it is not happening in this country.

  3. avatar Odinius says:

    Ok, first off, I think the statue is a stupid idea and wll probably be hideously ugly.

    However, this is total hypocrisy.

    Azwar advised regent Tuani Lumban Tobing, who is presumably a Batak Christian, to become more of a nationalist leader and not pander to the interests of only certain groups in society.

    What is azwar doing, then?

  4. avatar Yunir says:

    Hi Andrew, you said,

    I have a feeling that statues of Jesus in churches and cemeteries won’t stay there for a very long time.

    Churches have a legitimate excuse for putting up the statues. One based on their religion.

    But the hotel? It’s just a publicity stunt.
    There is no historical, grographical, cultural background as to why the statue of Noah or even his ark, should be erected in the first place.

    In any case, it’s only going to be an eyesore. Definitely out of place and out of style.

    On the contrary, the Ushiku Amida Buddha was appropriately built in a place that was meant to be a historical landmark.

  5. avatar orgindo says:

    Something that is interesting is how they are quick to judge.

    First of all, I agree that it is a private investment and we also need to know where the statue is erected. I don’t think that they can reject the statue just because they don’t like it. If that is the reason, then I think the mosque have to start revamping themselves and stop those morning call.

    Furthermore, the attitude of Hasrul is so childish. Threatening to do it “direct way”. No sympathy with me. These are the kind of people that is showing the world how dumb are the people he is representing and how uneducated of course.

  6. avatar Rambutan says:

    What a ridiculous idea. A hotel shaped like Noah’s arch and a 80m high (!!!) statue of Noah. This is obviously typical Bupati-thinking: The larger the proyek, the larger the kickbacks.

  7. avatar Janma says:

    Maybe it’ll be good, if there is another tsunami everyone can just hop on the boat…. two Muslims, two Christians, two Buddhists and two animists, so that when the water goes down they can hop off and continue fighting where they left off.

    Janma.
    *Bought to you by Ouchies, those prickly toys you bathe with*

  8. avatar Peter says:

    lol @ Janma

    I think that although it is a private development, the builders should be sensitive to the sentiments of local people. And erecting such a statue would be extremely offensive to Muslims. To completely disregard such feelings would not be a wise move.

  9. avatar Arema says:

    Peter, well said. I agree completely with you. Tolerance is very important in a multi-everything country like Indonesia.

  10. avatar pj_bali says:

    It will probably be a hideously ugly statue. Having said that Indonesia has a tradition of building hideously ugly statues – just look at Jakarta. Now here is what I am wondering. Granted imagery is not allowed in Islam. You won’t find any statues inside a mosque. But I don’t think that the owners of this hotel are setting up any sort of islamic shrine to Noah. Given that I don’t see a problem for the Muslim community. If it’s outside the islamic community why would the MUI feel obligated to pass rulings against it. If they want to pass rulings about images of noah then they would also be obligated to pass rulings about images of Jesus in Christian churches. Why don’t they (MUI) just pass a ruling that Muslims are forbidden to worship the statue.

    Incidently the largest mosque in europe is located right next to the vactican in rome. Rome is full of statues religious or otherwise. Apparently the Muslims there are not bothered by all the statues.

    Cheers

  11. avatar Janma says:

    PJ Bali says;
    “Why don’t they (MUI) just pass a ruling that Muslims are forbidden to worship the statue.”
    Yes! send out a fatwa! That’ll do it…. I mean the likelihood of anyone worshipping it will be slim. that sort of problem happened alot in the old days when islam was first established, I don’t think it’s a problem so much now. but they do get feisty and like to protest on the smallest pretext…. so to avoid trouble probably better not to do it. cause we all scared or them.

  12. avatar Oko says:

    Hasrul Azwar, the head of the Medan branch of the United Development Party, Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP), however says the Noah statue will greatly distress Muslims because in Islam prophets may not be depicted in artistic form.

    I have two questions:

    1. Is Noah a historical prophet?

    2. Who sanctions Muslims to have an exclusive claim to that “literary figure”?

    Ignorance condemns us to engage in much ado about nothing.

    Salam

    Oko

  13. avatar Peter says:

    I think it would not be such a big deal to the locals if it wasn’t such a massively tall statue that will be seen from miles away.

    And it is not so useful to draw analogues from Europe because Europe and Indonesia are completely different places.

    The builders of this statue should meet with community representatives and discuss ways to build a statue that everyone could be satisfied with. All that is needed here is dialogue. This really wouldn’t be such a big deal if people would just talk to each other in a civil way in order to come to an agreement.

  14. avatar Saipul says:

    It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. North Sumatra, with 5 million Christians, has the largest Christian population in Indonesia. Was there a similar uproar when Suharto built the statue of Jesus in East Timor?

  15. avatar Andrew says:

    Those people shouldn’t have made it a big deal. Who said it was Noah, it was the statue of Captain Nemo!

    😀

  16. avatar Abul says:

    Let common sense prevail.

    First of all, it would be just a waste of money. 0.5 trillion rupiahs for stupid statue for f*ck’s sake. Better spend n allocate the dough to other things more important. Geez, when will these people learn that building ‘mercusuar’ projects is just so last-century and out of whack with time? It seems that folks in developing countries are racing to build the grandest project ever nowadays, the tallest building! The biggest shrine! What the f*ck, how about the most widely available education for its citizens? Less sexy, but surely serves the most good. At least I can hope that in the future I won’t have to worry some pr*cks will blow my existence off when indulging myself with the so-called vice activities with my own god-damn hard-earned fulus!

    Secondly, I understand the feeling felt by my moslem fellows regarding this statue plan. Think it this way, I won’t appreciate either if my moslem fellows build some statues of, say, crucifixion scene in which we can see Jesus watching simon of cyrene or judas the apostle that gets crucified instead of him, you get the point.
    And having said this, yes I’m a Christian, probably I know bible better that most of you empty-headed church-goers.
    Let’s cause no hurt to our neighbors. mr bupati surely still have other means to channel his good intention, especially with that much of money! 🙂

    I’m not in any way condoning that pr*ck named kibul, bisul, or whatever his name was. Bringing some mujaheeden-wannabes to wreak havoc in sumatra is out of the question of course. It’s not civilized, being civilized means you can talk dirty anyway you want over weighty topics but somehow still able to do it with style. 😀
    Talking is not everything of course. 😉
    I’ve had my share being surrounded by FPI bastards on motorcycles with machetes wielded like teenagers shown off their pimples, not a pretty sight. It’s just sick, barbaric and certainly not civilized.

  17. avatar Abul says:

    I’m not in any way condoning that pr*ck named kibul, bisul, or whatever his name was. Bringing some mujaheeden-wannabes to wreak havoc in sumatra is out of the question of course. It’s not civilized, being civilized means you can talk dirty anyway you want over weighty topics but somehow still able to do it with style. 😀
    Talking is not everything of course. 😉
    I’ve had my share being surrounded by FPI bastards on motorcycles with machetes wielded like teenagers shown off their pimples, not a pretty sight. It’s just sick, barbaric and certainly not civilized.

  18. avatar Marie Antoinette says:

    It will probably be a huge tourist attraction … for about three months.

  19. avatar Molisan Tono says:

    Did anyone see that statute pic?

  20. avatar Dragonwall says:

    National development has to start with investments. It is the chicken or egg, so you take your pick which one to come first. If you want the egg there will be chicken then egg then chicken then egg and so on endless, but if you want the chicken there will be no egg and no more chicken.

    If you want the people there to prosper they will let the project proceed like Bali when it first started.

    I can bet anyone the project will go on with regardless whether who he is the uelamas. Any threats he made will rendered useless because he is trying to cause attraction by distracting. People like him should be put into jail for life for national security threatening to spur a riot.

    Literal interpretation is that if that benefits him everything will be okay. But Batak will not see eye to eye with Muslims especially uelamas. There were no basis to their claim, in other words if they say this rock is from a certain holy person they will take that for real and if it is cow dang that he claims was sh*tted from some holy person every one will start to pray at it.

    What nonsense. These are people who are a hindrance to national development.

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