Groups yesterday criticized the Taipei Department of Cultural Affairs’ decision to alter the design of city mascot Bravo the Bear and called for the version used at last year’s Summer Universiade to be brought back.
One should not seek to make changes, even the most minute, to the original creation, Humanistic Education Foundation president Shih Ying (史英) said.
Such changes to the Mona Lisa would not be accepted, Shih said.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and his team are blinded by the arrogance of those in power and cannot see that people have become attached to the original, Shih said.
Ko did not have a satisfactory explanation for the change, director Lin Cheng-sheng (林正盛) said, adding that no culture has ever been created using a standard operating procedure.
The previous version of the mascot is a physical symbol representing the past, and such collective memories should be preserved, Lin said.
Photo provided by the Taipei Department of Information and Tourism
There have been three versions of the mascot: A Formosan black bear was used first, before a gold-medal version was designed after Ko conferred a medal to the mascot at a post-Universiade event. An “ocean” version, named for the color of its nose, was announced as the city’s mascot in April.
A petition — launched by the Save the Universiade Version of Bravo the Bear Alliance — has garnered signatures from athletes, including table tennis player Lee Chia-sheng (李佳陞) and billiards champion Hsu Jui-an (許睿安).
The gold-medal version is what the public remembers and, as such, it represents Taipei well, alliance spokesperson Chiang Wen-yu (江文瑜) said.
Screengrab from Bravo’s fan page
Changing it because getting past trademark issues was an issue and claiming that the mascot was not well-known is absurd, Chiang said.
Chiang said that Trino Creative had avoided an open bid for the project as stipulated by the Government Procurement Act (政府採購法) for all government contracts worth more than NT$1 million (US$32,567) by submitting a proposal at NT$980,000.
Chiang said the Taipei Department of Information and Tourism, having authorized the ocean Bravo on Aug. 2, had failed to obtain trademark approval for the version.
The ocean Bravo was designed because trademark rights for the gold-medal version could not be obtained.
Department of Information and Tourism Director Chen Ssu-yu (陳思宇) could not be reached for comment.
Department worker Hung Yi-chun (洪怡君) said that information on the latest design has been published online.
It is possible that both versions will make an appearance at events marking the first anniversary of the Universiade, Hung said, adding that the Intellectual Property Office was still reviewing a trademark application for ocean Bravo and would have an answer by the end of this month.
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