Asian Games 2018

Asian Games 2018: Jakarta governor orders residents’ flags be re-erected after Asiad gesture initially falls flat

Jakarta governor orders city officials to reinstall flags local residents placed in the street to welcome participating countries

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 4:35pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2018, 5:00pm

The governor of Jakarta hit out at social media users who criticised a goodwill gesture aimed at welcoming the 45 nations participating in the 2018 Asian Games and ordered that their flags be replaced.

The Jakarta Post reported that Anies Baswedan instructed city officials to reinstall the flags, which drew ridicule on social media for their shoddy appearance.

Initially, a district head in Penjaringan ordered the flags, which were installed by local residents, be removed as they quickly drew online ridicule after they were pictured on bamboo flagpoles strung to a wall and sitting crooked. The original plan was to remove them and replace the flags with higher quality ones.

However, Baswedan later overruled the district head and commended the locals on their efforts in welcoming the city’s visitors saying their efforts should be appreciated, and he hoped others would learn from their example.

“Don’t stop the residents [from setting up flags] or belittle them. Let’s allow the residents to sincerely celebrate the Asian Games in any way they can,” Anies said in a statement.

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“I hope the simple bamboo flagpoles and flags can inspire other residents to decorate their villages to welcome guests who will come to Jakarta,” Anies said.

The episode brought to mind the furore over flags at the Rio Olympics in 2016 when a series of incorrect China flags were repeatedly used at the Games.

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Two years ago the flags used in Rio hit the headlines as Games organisers repeatedly used flags with parallel stars as opposed to the smaller stars angling towards the main star during the first days of the event.

China’s flag bearer Lei Sheng carried an incorrect flag at the opening ceremony and the same improper flag was risen as China scored medals on days two and three in Brazil.

The incident sparked widespread criticism on social media in China.