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When Wabi and Sabi Meets Medvedica Ingrid - Slovak Representative Couple Shares the Joy of Reading with Local Children

Tainan City Government teamed up with Slovak Economic and Cultural Office Taipei and organized a children's books reading event at Zuozhen Library on December 11. Slovak Representative Martin Podstavek introduced his home country and his wife Mrs. Chen Liang Podstavek did a lively reading of the storybook Medvedica Ingrid for the children. Medvedica Ingrid is the first picture book to be translated from Slovak to Mandarin Chinese and was translated by Mrs. Podstavek herself. The young audience was captivated by her animated interpretation. The City Government team also picked out a book to read at the event since Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che is dedicated to transforming Tainan into a children-friendly city. They read the illustrated storybook Wabi and Sabi to share the importance of protecting the environment with the children.
Deputy Mayor Sue Wang arrived at the event to greet Representative Podstavek. Wang expressed that she is grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Podstavek for coming to Zuozhen Library and sharing picture books with the children, and hoped that the children will never forget this Slovak story they heard when they were young and the day they learned about the country with a lot of castles.
The Deputy Mayor further remarked that this event is significant not only to the children, but to Tainan City as well. Tainan is more than happy to welcome people from different countries and backgrounds; and everyone, regardless of where they are from, can share their stories, histories, and experiences and become friends. Just like sharing stories and ideas through children’s books. Hopefully Tainan will have the opportunity to visit other places and let more people know about the city.
Representative Podstavek remarked that Taiwan is the center of Asia, just as Slovakia is the center of Europe, thus is very meaningful for the two countries to have interactions. He is honored to come to Zuozhen to spend time with the children. During his first visit to Zuozhen Library, Podstavek was very impressed. He did not expect to see such a modern library in a place so far from the city center and deeply felt Taiwan’s dedication to children's education.
Tainan City Government team chose to read the picture book Wabi and Sabi at the book reading event. This book was written by the late children’s literature writer Hsing Jia-hui, who was also from Tainan. The book talks about the importance of protecting the natural environment, which echoes the concept in Medvedica Ingrid. Tainan hopes this book can be a starting point for more interactions with Slovakia.
The Department of Information and International Relations mentioned that during the national holidays, Mr. and Mrs. Podstavek had already visited Tainan City Zuojhen Fossil Park and Zuozhen Library privately. Impressed by what they saw, the couple suggested that they can visit Zuozhen regularly to read Mrs. Podstavek's translated picture books to the local children. This idea gave birth to the reading event on Dec.11. Representative Martin Podstavek came into office in September, 2017. A seasoned diplomat who is very familiar with East Asia affairs, Representative Podstavek has facilitated many cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Slovakia during his two years in office. Mrs. Chen Liang Podstavek is a children's picture book translator. Recently, she has been actively translating Taiwanese picture books into Slovak and publishing them in Slovakia. She also translates Slovak children's books into Mandarin Chinese for publication in Taiwan.