Some time in June 2016, a replica of a Singapore Armed Forces tank was exhibited in a FairPrice Xtra outlet.
The caption that accompanied the exhibit was: "The first tank replica <1-2 scale> ever to appear in a hypermarket".
The image promptly made the rounds internationally after it was uploaded on Reddit.
The Internet sniggered, because this was literally "Put tank in a mall", and it was dank.
And it"s little wonder why the SAF tank became so popular because it was a long time coming for this to literally happen -- an Internet meme literally coming to life:
Finally, making mainstream sense now
If none of this barely makes any sense to you, we"re almost there.
All you have to know is that the arrival of "Put tank in a mall" into mainstream consciousness now is the direct result of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte"s insult of United States President Barack Obama during a Sept. 5, 2016, news conference.
Duterte effectively called Obama "a son of a whore" in his native Tagalog, as he lashed out at the US for raising questions about a "drug war" that has killed 2,400 Filipinos.
The Philippine president said:
You must be respectful. Do not just throw away questions and statements. Putang-ina, mumurahin kita diyan sa forum na iyan. Huwag mo akong ganunin (Son of a whore, I"ll curse you at that forum. Don"t do anything like that to me).
For those who still don"t get it: "Put tank in a mall" = "Putang Ina Mo" = "Son of a whore".
There is no better way to explain "Put tank in a mall" than the following explainer by a English-Tagalog speaker:
“Putang Ina,” <...> is derived from both Spanish and Philippine terms. The word “puta” is spanish for “Whore” while “Ina” is a Philippine word for “Mother.” P.I. is commonly used as shorthand for its longer variant, “Putang Ina Mo,” which in turn is also shorthand for the sentence, “Puta Ang Ina Mo.”
Directly translated, “Puta ang ina mo” means, “Your mother is a whore.”
Therefore, "Put tank in a mall" and "Putang Ina Mo" are obviously homonyms.
Previously, most people"s experience with "Put tank in a mall" most likely stems from interactions with players from the Philippines during gaming online.
But thanks to SAF and FairPrice Xtra for not possibly anticipating the borrowing of Internet slang, "Put tank in a mall" was a thing and mainstream Singaporeans are the better because of it as we all learnt a bit of Tagalog.
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