Friday, September 2, 2011

Daegu World Athletics Championship Mascot Escapes

'Dangerous Character'
The mascot of the 13th IAAF World Championships, which is being held successfully in Daegu, has escaped sparking a major manhunt. The mascot, which was drawn in Korea, had complained about long working hours, poor salary, and sexual harassment in the workplace.

CCTV images which were released by organizers show the mascot, who is known as 'Sarbi', escaping the Daegu Athletics complex wearing a wig, but he is expected to be easily recognizable on the streets of Korea, because despite being drawn in Korea, he reportedly "looks different". The authorities have urged citizens to report sightings of Sarbi, but not to approach him, as he may be dangerous. Police believe he may try and make contact with foreign characters living in Korea.

Shaggy-haired characters like Sarbi were persecuted during Japan's colonial occupation of Korea, when soldiers killed them for their warm coats, and the other 99% died in the widespread famine that occurred during the Korean War, though now it is generally agreed that Japan must share the blame equally for the character's demise. Games organanizers hoped to use the event to remind Japan of its evil past and present, but many Japanese visitors were seen buying Sarbi-dolls in Daegu, apparently oblivious to their role in attempted genocide. Their ignorance has been blamed on distorted Japanese history books, which make no mention of Sarbi.

By the 1980s, only eight shaggy-haired characters were left in Korea due to wise policies implemented by Korea's visionary military government, which believed the look to be anti-social and possibly pro-communist. Recently, remorseful long and shaggy-haired US veterans apologized to Korea for burying toxic chemicals, such as Agent Orange, on military bases in the 1970s in an unsuccessful attempt to poison this country's indefatigable national spirit. Now there are fears that the shaggy-haired Sarbi may be trying to form a union or engage in some other left-leaning populist activity.

Before the event began, Sarbi was described as a "lovable and friendly dog", and the Championships were described as the most successful ever, but there appear to have been some glitches in the organization of the event since it opened. Authorities were said to be disappointed that 3,000 foreign reporters arrived in Korea to attend the event, when accommodation and minders had only been arranged for 650. Faced with a choice of arresting the extra journalists or housing them in the love motels which officially do not exist in Daegu or anywhere else in Korea, organizers chose to avoid an international incident, re-designating the facilities as 'smaller hotels' and any journalists that threatened to complain about staying in them as 'foreign sex tourists'.

Then on Sunday, foreign journalists - who are not aware of the kind of restrictions placed on the Korean media - were locked in the main press center in an attempt to prevent them reporting that the men's 100-meter final was not won by a Korean. But with most of the local restaurants only open to VIPs, journalists have been forced to spend most of their time in Korea foraging for nutrition rather than writing about the Games. Tins of cat-food are said to be sold out in marts across the city.

Last year, visitors to Korea's first Formula One race in Korea also had to be housed in love motels, in a situation that officials admitted resulted in an embarrassing screw-up.

Related Links
Sarbi, a Lucky Mascot for the Athletics World Championships in Daegu
Daegu athletics meet going astray
Remorseful US veterans apologize for burying toxic chemicals
Korea’s 1st F1 hits lots of speed bumps
Watchdog’s guidelines on sexual harassment
Minimum wage to rise 6% in 2012
Workaholic Koreans Have 'Difficulty Taking Vacation'

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