講 者：謝宏濱 助理教授
Zoos and museums are fun and interesting places. The first place most of us were taken to for fun and entertainment as a child was probably the zoo. Then once we were in grade school, one of the first places our teachers would take us to for a school trip would have been a museum, be it an art museum or a science museum. Most of us have been lifetime museum goers.
Then it begs the question: What do a zoo and a museum have in common? Well, quite a lot actually. A zoo is a place where animals are kept and put on display for the sake of entertainment, education and wildlife preservation. At the same time, a museum is a venue where artifacts and objects of historical and/or scientific value are put on display for general viewing. According to unofficial statistics, there are a total of more than 55000 museums worldwide, while there are roughly 10000 zoos (this includes aquariums and aviaries) attracting more than 500 million visitors annually. These figures seem to carry geopolitical significance with them.
Meanwhile, however, they both come with their respective controversies. As we know it, zoos are often slammed for their treatment of animals, whereas museums are constantly derided and reprimanded for the legitimacy and the provenance of their exhibits kept in their vaults. The controversies concerned, in my opinion, boil down to the dichotomy of human rights versus animal rights.
What is the main cause of these problems? I guess I have a theory. Over the years, I have noticed some museum/zoo signs that featured inadequate translation, which may have defeated the purpose of having the museum or zoo at all in the first place. It is my belief that the controversies that seemingly come with museums and zoos may be lessened—if not totally eliminated—if their signs and publications could be more sensibly translated.