Naked zodiac statues put on swimwear after 'offending' netizens in Vietnam

By Giang Chinh   March 27, 2018 | 08:43 am PT
Naked zodiac statues put on swimwear after 'offending' netizens in Vietnam
Stone sculptures of 12 zodiac animals with human bodies in Vietnam's northern city of Hai Phong have been dressed up with swimwear after being criticized for showing off private parts. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Chinh
The company that owns the statues is seeking a more aesthetically pleasing way to cover their private parts.

A Vietnamese tourism company rushed to dress up stone sculptures on Tuesday after photos of them naked took the internet by storm.

Many netizens found the statues "offensive" as they featured heads of Vietnamese zodiac animals with bodies of grown human adults with either male or female private parts out on display at a popular beach spot in northern Hai Phong City.

They called the line up featuring all 12 zodiac animals "uncultured" and some went as far as to urge the municipal tourism department to have them removed from the Hon Dau tourism area in the coastal district of Do Son.

Statue of the cat with a womans body dressed in a swimsuit. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Chinh

Statue of the cat with a woman's body dressed in a swimsuit. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Chinh

"We never received any complaints about these statues before; people actually liked to touch them so much that some parts have gone shiny," said Hoang Van Thieng, director of Hon Dau International Tourism company which put up the statues a decade ago in a spot apparently open only to visitors aged 17 or over.

But many social media users claimed otherwise, saying they had taken their children there while also condeming the adults who touched the statues' private parts "just for fun".

Following the online backlash and recommedations from the culture department, the company decided to dress the statues in swimwear, Thieng said. 

Another wave of criticism soon followed as social media users were unimpressed with the new "uglier look". But the company has no intentions of removing the statues while it looks for a solution to satisfy the masses in a country that is heavily influenced by Confucian social mores. 

The city authorities are expected to issue an official statement on the matter on Wednesday, said Hai Phong People's Commitee spokesperson Nguyen Kim Pha.

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