Taiwan’s first lady shares stories with Auckland students

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, CNA

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, CNA — Taiwan’s first lady Chow Mei-ching visited a middle school in New Zealand Monday and shared stories about Chinese traditions with the students there. Chow’s visit to the ACG Parnell College, a private school that offers an international grade 1-13 curriculum, was a part of her six-day tour of the country for the purpose of cultural exchanges. The first lady told two stories — one about the Chinese zodiac and the other about a “Mouse Wedding.” She spoke in English and Mandarin to a class of around two dozen students, most of whom had been learning Mandarin for two years. Before the 30-minute storytelling session, the teacher introduced Chow and briefed the students on Taiwan’s geographic location. One of the students, 17-year-old Webber Chen of Taiwan, presented Chow with an oil painting that he said he had done last year and wanted to give to “someone special.” “There’s no better person to receive this painting than the first lady,” said Chen, who has been studying in New Zealand for the last two and a half years and aspires to be an architect. “It’s a great pleasure to have Ms. Ma, the first lady of Taiwan, here today,” school principal Larne Edmeades told the class. Chow “appreciates and understands young people” very well because she’s the mother of two daughters, Edmeades said. Since President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008, the first lady has embarked on several such cultural exchanges that have focused primarily on students. She is scheduled to visit other schools during her tour of Auckland from March 13-18. Chow is in the New Zealand city with U Theatre, a renowned Taiwanese dance troupe that was invited to perform at the Auckland Arts Festival 2011. Chow has also personally endorsed many Taiwanese artists and cultural groups and accompanied them on performance tours abroad