Derawan, mascot for the 2018 Asian Games, is to be redesigned following public criticism ©OCA

Public opposition has forced Indonesia's Government to scrap the mascot for the 2018 Asian Games and choose a new one. 

Derawan, a bird of paradise dressed in uniform used in Indonesian martial art pencak silat, was unveiled last week but immediately drew fierce criticism from across the country.

The design was selected following a competition process, conducted by Indonesia's Youth and Sport Ministry and which attracted hundreds of participants.

The arts community, however, claimed it looked old-fashioned, while many Indonesians claim it resembled a chicken rather than an exotic bird. 

Indonesia's Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi has now ordered the Indonesian Olympic Committee and the country's Creative Economy Board (Bekraf) return to the drawing board to come up with a new idea.

A meeting has been scheduled for this week to begin the new process to find the object to represent the Games, which are due to be shared between Indonesia's capital Jakarta and Palembang, capital city of the South Sumatra Province.

"We will continue coordinating with Bekraf so that within two months at the latest, we can create a new mascot,” Gatot S. Dewa Broto, a spokesman for Indonesia's Youth and Sport Ministry, said. 

Image title
Three sibling seals were the popular mascots for the last Asian Games at Incheon in 2014 ©Incheon 2014

Since Waidi, a dachshund dog, was chosen as the first official Olympic mascot at Munich in 1972, they have become a popular ambassadors for almost every multi-sports Games. 

The first Asian Games to introduce a mascot was Delhi 1982 when Appu, an elephant Indian officials claimed represented fidelity, wisdom, and strength, was chosen. 

At the last Asian Games, in Incheon in 2014, three spotted seal siblings called Barame, Chumuro and Vichuon, meaning wind, dance and light in Korean, were chosen.

According to officials, the mascots were chosen as symbolic to the future peace between South Korea and North Korea.

One of the other main criticisms of Derawan was that it had no story behind it or really represented anything about Indonesia's culture or heritage.