The icon of Bogor - Mr Unchal

Meet Mr Unchal! I saw him standing at a corner of one shopping center in Bogor. Honestly, I forgot to ask if Unchal was a male or female but since it had horns, it must be a male. So I added a "Mr" in front of him. He is cute, right?

Well, don't worry I am not too crazy to talk about a standing promotional doll. He can not say nor hear nothing. The only reason for me taking its picture was because it was interesting (at least for myself) to see such figure. 

Let me tell you why such simple design of promotional tool mean to me. I will start with the name of "Unchal". I bet you won't find it in any dictionary in the world. Don't waste your time to try. It may sound like English word but it is not. You should ask to Sundanese people. However do not pronounce it like you pronounce "uncle", nobody will understand. "Unchal" is not actually a proper word in Sundanese, the correct word is "uncal". I salute the creator because he makes the name looks modern even though the word comes from a vernacular in West Java. 

Now, please guess the meaning of "uncal". Hey, it is so easy because the name represents the character itself. Uncal means "deer". The character is a trademark of T-shirt made in Bogor by a person called as "Mang Uncal" or "Uncle Uncal/Deer".I really don't know his real name because when I opened his website www.unchalbogor.com, I could not get enough information about who he is or they are.Their name is just Mang Uncal.

Anyway, if you ask about what is the relation between "deer" and Bogor, then I know the answer. You can not separate Bogor and deer or uncal. I can say that Bogor is , besides associated with Taro and rain, also associated with deer. What is the reason? It is simply because you can find easily deer in the city. In fact you can find them in the center of the city. If you haven't come to Bogor, you may be confused about this because in the center of the city there is no forest nor meadows. So how can deer live in the city of concrete and cement?

No, they can't and don't. The deer in Bogor still live in a meadow. Even it's not a vast one but it is a meadow. Please take a look at the front yard of the Bogor Palace. It's a small meadow. Yes, the deer in Bogor I mentioned on the above live here. In the front yard of the Palace. More than 500 deer live here. Now I heard the population reaches more than 600.

Mr Unchal's ancestors have started their living in the yard back to 1814. It was when Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles decided to establish a hunting ground in the Bogor Palace. He imported a deer species named as Chital from other British colonies at that time. The deer, (I will call it Mr Unchal's family/relatives) has other names too such as Axis axis or Indian spotted deer as there are white spots spread on their body. You can call them whatever you like because actually the names refer to the same species.

Their long history and appearance in Bogor has made them an icon of Bogor. It can not be separated anymore from Bogor history and Bogor citizens are proud about it. In 1995, the deer is announced to be the animal figure representing Bogor. That's why you can easily find many figure imitating the deer in Bogor. From a housing complex like where I live in upto public park such Kencana Park put statues of Mr Unchal's family.

How close are Mr Unchal's family with Bogor Citizens? Very close! Haha.. Feeding a deer has been a favorite of many families in Bogor, especially families with toddlers. It can be done on the west fence of the Palace, on the  Juanda Street pavement. The deer , accustomed with human existence around them are not afraid to approach the visitors. Their attitude has given a chance for Bogor people to feed him and touch
them. It is like a zoo there every Saturday or Sunday.

I used to bring my "little frizzy" (my son) here when he was still a toddler. I liked to see his face when a deer approach him, scared but excited. I believe many people who bring their children here should have the same feeling like mine. After feeding deer, usually we took a trip surrounding Bogor Botanical Gardens  by Delman. He is a teenager now, so this activity is no longer interesting for him.

Anyway that is the story why Mr Unchal attracted my attention. Yes, it is yet just a simple character and not a famous Rudolph, the red nosed reindeer but it represents something that I love. It represents Bogor, the city I love and brings back some beautiful memory to my mind about my "little frizzy".

So why don't you come here and see Mr Unchal and his family directly ? and of course make nice memories of your own here, in my city.

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About Anton Ardyanto

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