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Online flap forces review of Asian Games mascot

AFP-JIJI

Indonesia said Monday it was reviewing a recently unveiled mascot for the 2018 Asian Games after netizens derided what was supposed to be an exotic, jungle-dwelling bird for resembling a chicken.

The country’s sports ministry last week revealed a grinning bird of paradise named Drawa as the mascot for the games, which Indonesia will host.

But the creation quickly sparked an online flap, with critics saying it was impossible to distinguish from a common farmyard fowl, particularly as much of its distinctive, colorful plumage was covered by a sports outfit.

Birds of paradise are found in the jungles of remote eastern Indonesia, as well as Papua New Guinea and Australia, and are considered some of the most beautiful birds on earth.

“Chicken is the mascot of the Asian Games? Chicken is not an iconic animal of Indonesia,” said Devi Eko Wibowo on Twitter.

“The 2018 Asian Games mascot is a rooster,” lamented Vikry Pristian on the microblogging service, while other users said the mascot could be mistaken for a penguin or even a dolphin.

Sports ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto said a review had been launched following the outcry.

“Unfortunately there has been such a response from netizens and on social media to the mascot,” he said.

Dewa Broto said the mascot would not be completely changed from a bird of paradise, but alterations may be made to the design.

The mascot kerfuffle is the latest problem to hit Indonesia’s Asian Games preparations after the Olympic Council of Asia last month raised concerns about slow progress, particularly with the construction of the athletes’ village.

Indonesia is racing against time to get ready for the games — the world’s biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics — as it was awarded to them later than usual after original host Vietnam withdrew.