The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday defended one of the contenders in the party’s mascot selection competition, whose design has received wide publicity due to its resemblance to a rubber chicken toy and incorporation of elements perceived to be sarcastic toward the KMT, saying that the designer did not mean to troll the party with her work.
The mascot in question, designed by an 18-year-old named Wu Ching-ping (吳婧萍), looks like a yellow chicken man with what appears to be a blue worm with the face of a baby on its chest and the KMT’s party emblem on its rump.
It was one of 10 designs chosen by two judges, who were on Aug. 3 invited by the KMT Youth Department to evaluate the competition’s 108 valid entries.
Photo courtesy of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)
The department is to choose the top three designs next month based on the results of Facebook and street polls.
The “chicken” mascot design received attention from the moment the department launched the Facebook poll on Monday. As of press time last night, it had received more than 16,000 likes and been shared 3,200 times, compared with only hundreds of likes and dozens of shares for the other designs.
According to the competition’s rules, each like in the Facebook poll will be translated into one point, while designers are to receive five points for each share.
Some netizens said they believed that the “blue worm” is a direct reference to the demeaning nickname “blue maggot” (藍蛆) that some critics have used for KMT supporters, while others said that it was designed to insinuate that the KMT is a “parasite.”
Defending Wu’s design, department director Weng Shao-hui (翁紹輝) yesterday said that the designer is 18 years old and feels misunderstood by the public.
“That is absolutely not a blue maggot,” Weng said when asked whether he agreed with netizens’ interpretations of the mascot’s design.
He added that Wu is grateful that the KMT did not cave to public pressure and take her design down.
Weng said the “chicken” mascot’s popularity has its merits, given that some of the party’s candidates in the Nov. 24 local elections have approached Wu to ask for authorization to turn her design into a life-size cardboard cutout, including KMT Taichung mayoral candidate Lu Shiow-yen (盧秀燕).
In a video published online on Friday by the Chinese-language China Times, Wu said she chose the design because it has more potential to be funny and quirky than animals that are traditionally considered adorable, such as bears.
As for the “blue worm,” Wu said she wanted to combine elements of a chicken and a human being, so she decided to draw a human figure with blue curly hair, as blue represents the KMT.
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