對談：羅晟文 x Jimmy Beunardeau x 劉偉蘋
Jimmy：The very first day when I arrive…because I wanted to make a photo about white bear. Because she has a project. They are very shy, so it is very difficult to make photographs. But I’ll do it. And after that…I forget any difficulty because many people help me a lot to make these condition, to make this project. So I cannot say difficulty.
晟文：For the difficulty for me, the first thing is the finance. Because the finance obviously the project is kind of expensive. Initially I don’t know how much money I will actually spend. I have no idea to execute the project. So at that time in 2014, I was going to do a crowd-funding for the project. But later I realized that it was impossible because everybody think that this is a joke, nobody can do this. So the crowd-funding failed. And I realized that until I really make something, nobody will take me seriously. So I really have to take the first step to make the project. 2014 is the only time that I can do this because several of my friends already lived in Europe, and I can travel to Europe and lived in their locations, lived in their houses, and do the project, and figured it out the way to do it financially visible.
晟文：And they are optimistic at first because I have no experience of how to do this project or to travel in a financially sustainable way. So my first stop is to move to France. At that time I was lived in Paris and I travel to Mulhouse by high-speed rail train. It’s super expensive. And I spent way too much money on first stop and I was totally scared. And later I developed a way to do it in most economical way. Of course for me to do the project, to realize the project is not all about the money. It’s all about balance of three things: it’s money, time and my physical condition. The three elements have to work together in order to make a project… in order to realize the project.
So after the first stop, I began to make a really systematic project on how to travel and travel without going back on forth because that saved at least half the money. And It’s has to be done in very short of period of time. For example I have to go to… maybe 13 locations in 21 days. That’s how I did. The less time I spent, the less money I spent actually. And all I eat… mostly apples and bread. That controlled the food budget. Georny mentioned that sometimes bears also eat apples and bread, and they actually have more. Actually they don’t even want to eat. And apples and bread just float on water or something. So that’s a little part of how I made a row project. After I made the project in Europe, I receive more help from a lot of friends and people who are interested including Georny. Then help naturally come for the project. And now it’s a more sustainable project. So like you just said, if you take the first step, even for me it’s very scary--of course the first step is always scary-- ,but we have to take it and it will develop and help. And the help will all come.
晟文：So you might wonder why Japan is a part (of the project). Because Japan is quite crazy about the polar bears actually. There’re 20 locations in Japan along which has polar bears, and there are roughly forty polar bears in Japan.
And last December I went to 12 locations. Before I did this project in Japan, I did a little research online. I found that the cuteness is the key factor for the collection of zoos in Japan. And in Japan you can see a lot of mascots or very cute puppies. So the two cutest animals for Japanese people, I think is the giant panda and the polar bear. Giant panda is more cute for Japanese people. For example, in the gift shop, there’s an entire shelf for panda toys. And it’s not the same toys… not the same panda. But there’s a pink panda baby, and a one-day-old pink panda. Then it grows, and it will be larger. And semi-pink. So it all different life stages of pandas, they make one toy for each life stage. And everyone will select which one they want. So that’s how things kind of work in Japan. Of course like Jimmy said, when people see the polar bear in Japan, everyone said two words: Kawaii（可愛い）and Sugoi（すごい）. It means cute and incredible. From 5 years old to 90 years old, they speak these words. Five years people said “Kawaii, kawaii”. They are totally absorbed by the animals.
Jimmy: But you think it is different on our culture?
晟文：I think it is a little bit different.
偉蘋：Do you know the culture of “kawaii” how it comes? Because I have learned before. The culture of “kawaii” actually is because the in Japan. I don’t remember how many years ago, but certainly maybe a few decades ago. A group of young people, they tried to use the kawaii culture to against the war. Suddenly Japan become… you know everything about kawaii. Actually there was a starting point.
晟文：I think in other countries, of course there is level of “kawaii” in every country. But not as pronounce I experienced in Japan. In other countries, I think a lot of people are looking at the species…… For example, they look at the polar bears, they look at the really exotic and marvelous species, and something of the species that is attracting people. Or the fearlessness or the strength. So each country… I think is a little bit different. And how they display them also tells the story as well.
Jimmy：I think that’s right. Pandas look very “kawaii”. That’s why a lot of money with panda. “Kawaii”…it’s a cute baby. If it is a but it also any animals I think it’s very “kawaii”.
晟文：It’s very difficult I think. So now there is an execution. Maybe what you care is preservation for ugly animals. Their logo is a blobfish (水滴魚). You know that Blobfish is like a jelly…Like this big and… actually it’s quite cute. And it’s the most ugly animal in the world and it’s endangered. They are really trying to focus on the ugly animals species because this is super difficult. Imagine kind of some ugly insects are going extinct and it is super difficult to conserve. If these insects are super ugly, and it is very difficult to conserve. You need to do something to intervene.
Jimmy: (It’s normal that) They love cute and beautiful thing for many people and children. I think cute could be the key. Because it can attract people more easy maybe to anyone.
Jimmy：It’s a photograph project, and to make more a citizen project. Because in France’s circuses, they use animals. So such a pity. And government of Macron doesn’t care at all about animal cares. Even you care. So I think the circuses will still exist as long as Macron is president. So maybe after all we get this circus are the law(00:40). Because there were dancing bears, circus…middle age. So we can act where are city or villages. So we can put our mayor to make like a law just for the village. So I try on my own to make petition online. And 3,000 people sign the petition. （偉蘋：3,000 people?） yeah. 3,000 people to ban circus in this district. It’s more people live in this district. So I met my mayor, and they didn’t want to listen to me. And they don’t care about the petition. But it post in all newspapers… local newspaper. So I think I successd because we talk about this. So it’s the beginning. And more and more cities are thanks to this petitions, they are banning circus.
（偉蘋：They are discussing … more and more discussion.）
晟文： So Georny ask me about the project about… I did in Netherlands. So when I study in Netherlands …about 4 years ago. And at that time I was quite surprise when I arrive, I see a lot of cows eating grass on the farm which is something that I’ve never seen in Taiwan. Because all the cows are living in rolls in Taiwan, because of the temperature condition. So I was quite surprise that the cows kind of live outdoors at these four years. In Netherlands I was later even more surprise that there is a certificate logo on the milk bottles that certify the cows produce this milk. (The cows) lives outdoors (can produce) at least 120 liters every year. So that’s a … for me is very surprise because in Taiwan, all the logos on the milk carton is about food safety and about the quality, and the condition and the price. There’s no such logo in the Netherlands actually. But there’s a logo about cows in degrease in the outside. So I was kind of surprise and the Dutch people are obviously quite proud of it because that’s kind of national identity. That’s the national animal for the Netherlands. Especially we even have the milk powder. The milk in Fryslân is a region in the Netherlands. So it’s a part of national animal.
(Jimmy: Holstein, it’s a species of cow.)
晟文：Holstein Friesland yeah. That’s a type of cow. Actually introduce to Taiwan, I think during the colonialization period of Dutch Taiwan … introduce the black and white cow into Taiwan. So it’s a national animal.
晟文：The problem is that I found most of the Dutch people they trust the certificate and the government very much. They … yes it’s true that they have the high standard food safety, but we know that in Taiwan, people also use to trust the certificate and the government. But something happened in food safety and the trust never regain after that event. But the Dutch people they have never experience that before. So they don’t know that there’s a potential issue if you really trust the certificate and the government without making questions, without being curious.
晟文：So at that time I don’t know what to do, but the only thing I can do is to actually be a curious consumer as see will happen. Because I don’t want to make a documentary about it. Because there are so many documentary about their industry. So I want to do something different. I don’t know what. So I ask questions to the people who are responsible for this certificate. At first, they are quite friendly and tell me how this work and how everything work. But later, I ask them a question that is this certificate says all the cows are outside for 120 days per year? Is this certificate… does this verification process has a scientific back ground? I mean how can you know that all the cows are outside for 120 days almost all the farms in Netherlands? How was that done? How is that even possible to test this process scientifically? And the two companies responsible for making this certificate, they kick my questions. The company A want me to ask company B. And the company B decided that they want to ask company A. So they kick me around. I said okay fine. I ask the second question: is there a way for me to join one of your inspectors to see how it works, how it communicated with farmers? And again they kick my questions. The company A want me to ask company B. They kicked me around again. When I said okay. So I send one e-mail to both company at the same time. I said that you’re asking me to communicate to each other. So now here I am. What should I do? And I never got any e-mail.
晟文：So I thought this is a bad end. But after a few days, When I was on the train. I realize that this is actually a math problem. That I mean 120 days… if you want to check 120 days is like testing the quality assurance … is like testing 120 apples. How many apples or how many days will you have to sample in order to have a statistically confidence level let this farm is obeying what the certificate says. So this became a statistic problem. And luckily the math is well establish in quality assurance. So I can calculate whether the certificate is scientifically now by myself. So I did calculation because there are 20,000 farms in Netherlands. In comparison… I mean there are 20,000 farms for that company alone. In comparison the largest producer in Taiwan which is 味全, they have about 500 farms. So it’s 40 times besides of 味全 conveying in Netherlands… besides about 40 times. And according to my calculation you need about 1,000 inspectors working for 24 hours per day in order to make that value scientifically possible. But that is obviously not the case. So the certificate after all is not really scientific.
晟文：So later I put up with the camera app concept that a consumer can use the camera app to verify when they pass to a farm. If they know the schedule of the farm, they can actually use the camera app to report whether the farm is obeying the certificate. So the citizens are … or the consumers can actually play a role with photography. Actually photography for me is not a … is not really just a tool for myself, but maybe it’s also a tool for everyone because now almost everyone has a camera phone. Everyone has a camera. So the power of tongue maybe it can be deliver to the audience to the consumer. And in that case if the consumer uses this camera app to do the verification, in my calculation you need 1% of the Dutch population to do the report once per year. Then the math is okay for the certificate.
偉蘋：So you actually develop an app?
晟文：I made a dummy app because to develop it you need the schedule of all the farmers which something that the farmers couldn’t agree the moment. But for me, this is a concept that I wish to keep developing. But I have to say one thing that this app should not be like a police app. It’s not like intending to do… . I mean it not an app for citizens to become a citizen police. I mean it not like a reporting the farmers or something. It should also… it also has a function to report good behavior of the farmers as well. And the most important thing is not proof that the farmers do bad thing. It’s a warn actually. Because it’s maybe raining. So the cows are inside. It’s so totally natural to go against the schedule sometimes. But it kind of like a guide for the inspector to see that this farm get multiple report. Maybe that there is a problem there and they can … they will know where to look in more efficient way. I want to do this.
Jimmy：The inspectors out there are basic a company or basic a government?
晟文：For… At the time I was doing the project, it was hired by both the company and independent institution. So there’s a level of self-inspection as well. The company can do inspection of it own farm as well and the inspecting company can also do it. Because they do it like a joint effort to make this possible. But now the Dutch government, they are trying to make it into law. The cows should be outside at least 120 days per year. So the development of the industry is actually going faster than my project. So if this certificate is turning from the certificate into a law … into a law, then you must have scientifically to proof it. Otherwise the law doesn’t work.