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The ‘UST Good Luck Tiger’ phenomenon looks fun, but it also shows the extent students go through to cope with studies

Last month, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) unveiled its new tiger statue, an upgrade since the new statue now closely resembles a real tiger. Located at Plaza Mayor inside the premises of the university, the Bengal tiger statue has recently gone viral after students used it as sort of a “wishing well,” leaving an assortment of items inside the tiger’s mouth or base–from coins, sticky notes, bills, and even packs of pancit canton–in the hopes of attracting good luck for the preliminary examinations.

There were even reports of students offering their debit or credit cards to the tiger, perhaps with the notion that the higher the amount, the higher their grades would be.

Funny, yes. Weird, also yes. Whether it’s a favorite sock or a little trinket, we all want to believe that there’s something out there that can give us luck when we need it. But this thing that’s happening to UST isn’t exactly unfounded in its nature, as humans are just superstitious beings by design. Although lucky charms are just superstitious beliefs, there have been studies that found that people who believed their luck is boosted experience greater “self-efficacy”—belief of being able to accomplish goals—and that belief boosts mental and physical performance. The boost in performance gives us confidence to set higher goals, expectations, and to persist longer at a task resulting in better performance, almost functioning as a switch or trigger to execute a goal.

However, UST Facilities Management Office director Fr. Dexter Austria O.P. went online to express his opinion on Facebook regarding the matter, reminding students that the figure “is not an object of devotion,” and stating that “more than our moral obligation to take good care of our properties in UST, Catechesis is urgently needed if we want to be faithful to the Church teachings as Thomasians.”

Fr Austria added to “pray to God through the saints for intercession instead. #justsaying.”

Filipinos on Twitter had mixed reactions to the post, with some agreeing with the director about staying true to tradition and religious practices of the church and maintaining the sanctity of their faith.

via Twitter

via Twitter

Others, including students, argued the tiger statue doesn’t deserve the seriousness people were showing it, stating that there was an understanding that it was merely a joke or a meme, or perhaps a coping mechanism on full display.  The UST tiger statue, in some ways, has given stressed UST students a wholesome respite, a momentary source of fun and distraction in a difficult examination week.

via Twitter

via Twitter

Since then, the items that were previously left at the statue had been collected and the tiger statue has been barricaded with stanchion barriers to prevent students from leaving any kind of item, effectively ending the UST tiger statue’s wishing-for-good luck myth. But apparently sudden urban legends are a common thing in the university.

UST Tiger

via Twitter




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