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在马来西亚“猫城”古晋寻访猫的足迹

The Asian city obsessed with cats
在马来西亚“猫城”古晋寻访猫的足迹

Sitting in the taxi on my way into town from the Kuching airport, I could already see that I was going to get along fine in this Malaysian city. After all, I’m a cat person.

坐在出租车上从古晋(Kuching)机场前往市区,我已经可以看出,自己一定能很好地融入这座马来西亚城市。我是个喜欢猫的人。

Everywhere I looked I saw felines. A giant white cat waved at me from a roundabout just outside Chinatown. A family of robot-like cats stared from the side of the road close to a mosque. Spray-painted alley cats slunk around the sides of buildings in the form of street art.

无论走到哪里,都看得到猫的踪影。一只巨大的白猫在唐人街外的交叉路口向我挥动爪子。几只猫静立在清真寺旁道路的一侧,凝视着四周,像机器人一样一动不动。而另外几只脏兮兮的野猫四窜于建筑物的各个侧面,犹如街头艺术。

古晋到处都看得到猫的踪影
“The city’s cat obsession really stems from its name,” said Amir, who works at the city’s Cat Museum. “The word ‘kucing’ means ‘cat’ in the Malay language.”

"从古晋这个城市的名字来看,就可以知道古晋对猫有多么的痴迷。"在古晋猫博物馆工作的艾米尔(Amir)说。"在马来语中,"kucing" 一词就是指猫。"

Housed in the North Kuching City Hall, the Cat Museum is without a doubt the best place in the city to learn all about felines and their relationship with this city in Malaysian Borneo – a part of the world more commonly associated with orangutans.

马来西亚婆罗洲,很多时候人们会自然地将其与猩猩联系起来,猫博物馆位于古晋北部市政局(Kuching North City Hall),这里无疑是了解所有关于猫科动物及其与这座城市关系的最佳地点。

Standing among a medley of objects – from mummified Egyptian cat remains to contemporary paintings to porcelain figurines – that traced the history of cats back 5,000 years, Amir explained several theories behind why his city was named after the cat.

这里有木乃伊一样的埃及猫遗体,也有当代绘画以及瓷俑等,借以追溯 5000 年之前与猫有关的历史,艾米尔站在中间,解释了为何城市以猫命名背后的几种说法。

Some believe that when the first Rajah of Sarawak, an Englishman named James Brooke, arrived in Kuching around 1839, he pointed to the settlement and asked what it was called. A local, mistakenly thinking he was pointing at a passing cat, told him it was called ‘Kucing’.

位于古晋北部市政局的猫博物馆展示了 5000 年以来猫的历史
有些人认为,首位砂拉越拉者(Rajah of Sarawak),英国人詹姆斯·布鲁克(James Brooke)于 1839 年左右到达古晋时,他指着落脚点,问这是哪里。一位当地人错误地认为他指着一只路过的猫,于是告诉他这是"kucing"(猫)。

Others claim that the city was named after trees that once grew throughout the area, bearing small fruit called mata kuching, or ‘cat’s eye fruit’, that’s similar to lychee. The last theory is that the unusual name was chosen when residents discovered short-tailed cats living along the banks of the Sarawak River which flows through the city.

也有人声称,古晋名称来自于一种曾经在整个地区生长的树木,这种树能结出名为龙眼的小果实,或称之为"猫眼水果",与荔枝类似。最后一种说法是,当居民发现了生活在砂拉越河岸的短尾猫时,选择了这一异乎寻常的名字。

After visiting the museum, I was keen to discover more about the relationship between cats and the residents of Kuching.

参观博物馆后,我非常希望了解更多的猫和古晋居民之间的关系。

I’d arranged to meet Harris, a local guide who could show me some more of the city’s more famous cat imagery. Kuching is home to a diverse population made up of Malays, Chinese and Indians, as well as local tribespeople such as the Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu and Melanau. As we walked, Harris explained that cats are significant to each group. To the Chinese, for example, they’re a symbol of good luck. And cats have been respected in Islam for hundreds of years. I even found out that the Prophet Muhammad had a cat named Muezza, whom he cared for greatly.

我安排与一名当地导游哈里斯(Harris)见面,他能够更多地向我展示这座城市中最有名的猫图像。古晋是不同人口的家园,其中包括马来人、中国人和印度人以及当地部落人群,如伊班、拜迪乌、欧兰乌卢和马拉诺族。我们一边走,哈里斯一边解释说,猫对于各群体均非常重要。例如,对中国人来说,这是好运的象征。在伊斯兰教文化中,猫享有很高的地位,伊斯兰教是婆罗洲土著部落的主导信仰,已有数百年的历史。我甚至发现先知穆罕默德拥有一只名叫米埃扎(Muezza)的猫,并且对它倍加关护。

Meanwhile, Borneo residents have long valued cats because they help control pests. Harris told me that in the 1950s, authorities attempted to use chemicals to combat malaria-carrying mosquitos and rats. After the chemicals negatively impacted the region’s feline population, the British Royal Air Force parachuted 14,000 cats into rural Malaysian Borneo in a mission known as ‘Operation Cat Drop’.

同时,婆罗洲居民长期以来一直很重视猫,因为它们有助于控制老鼠及鼠疫。哈里斯告诉我,在二十世纪五十年代,当局曾试图用化学品来消灭携带疟疾的蚊虫和鼠类。化学品对这一地区的猫产生了负面影响。之后,英国皇家空军在一次任务中将 14,000 只猫伞投至马来西亚婆罗洲农村,这被称为"投猫行动"。

We walked past a family of giant polychrome cats standing on top of a fountain and some playful felines cast in bronze down by the waterfront. Harris explained that references to the animal are everywhere: students learn at I-CATS – the International College of Advanced Technology Sarawak – and the local radio station is Cats FM. He showed me the city’s crest on top of a tall pillar: a pair of justice scales and a golden cat, with four white cats flanking the bottom. “You see, the cat is deeply ingrained into the fabric of our city, from our history to our modern-day culture,” he said.

几只色彩斑斓的大猫立于喷水池顶部,我们走过它们的身边,海滨旁还有一些用青铜铸造的俏皮的猫。哈里斯解释说,随处可以见到猫的踪影:学生们在 I-CATS(砂拉越国际高等工艺学院)学习,当地广播电台是 Cats FM。他指着巨柱顶端的城市饰章:一对正义天平和一只金色的猫,下面还有四只白色的猫。"你看,从古至今,猫已深深地融入我们的城市。"他说。

At the end of our tour, I had amazingly yet to see a real cat, so Harris took me to meet his friends at the Meow Meow Cat Café, located just more than 5km south of the Cat Museum near the Sarawak River. The cafe’s owner and founder, Janet, felt that she had to open a cat cafe to pander to the residents who couldn’t keep one at home.

在我们游览结束时,我非常希望去看一些活生生的猫,所以哈里斯带我去喵喵猫咪咖啡馆(Meow Meow Cat Café)见他的朋友,喵喵猫咪咖啡馆位于沙捞越河附近的卡特彼勒博物馆以南 5 公里。这家咖啡馆的主人和创始人珍妮特认为,她必须开设一家猫咖啡馆,来慰藉那些无法在家里养猫的居民。

“We currently have six cats here of all different species,” she said.

"我们这里目前有六只猫,并且属于不同的种。"她说。

I watched Janet’s other customers: A girl lounged on the sofa with Kiwi, a large white fluffy cat, stretched out beside her; a man sat on the floor playing with Suria, a regal-looking Bengal cat; and a young couple were waving a piece of string in front of Honey, a wide-eyed Persian.

我看着珍妮特的顾客们:一位女孩躺在沙发上,一只名为奇异果(Kiwi)的毛茸茸的大白猫在她旁边伸展着四肢;一名男子坐在地板上与一只帝王一样的孟加拉猫苏里亚(Suria)玩耍;一对年轻夫妇在睁大双眼的波斯猫甜心(Honey)前面舞动着一根细绳。

I don’t believe felines bring me luck or have spiritual meaning. But as I sat there, a grey long-haired cat named April purring on my lap, I felt that I was getting along fine in Kuching.

我不相信猫会带来运气或能寄托精神意义。但当我坐在那里时,一只名叫四月(April)的灰色长毛猫,在我的腿上呜呜地叫着,我感觉自己已经很好地融入了古晋。
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