The epidemic outbreak in Taiwan has had something to do with our preparedness against COVID-19, thus knowing more about COVID-19 will help us to protect ourselves and others. The Office of Humanistic Culture sponsored an online lecture on May 25, inviting University President Ingrid Liu to share her storybook, entitled Queen Corona Tells the Secret of New Coronavirus. One hundred thirteen faculty members, staff and students, as well as 110 members of Tzu-Cheng and Yi-Te Association and alumni attended. More than that, several small children who were the fans of President Liu also attended. Participants used Google Meet to take part in the session, and those who were unable to attend can watch YouTube later on.
President Liu pointed out that when the outbreak of COVID-19 started in 2020, the public was unfamiliar with technical terms, such as virus, nucleic acid testing, antigen, etc. Therefore, Rhythm Magazine invited her to write a book to convey the technical terms in words that everyone understands, and the magazine editor further suggested that she could try to write it as a storybook. At the beginning, President Liu didn’t think she was capable of doing it, so she declined. But Chia-Hui Hsing, an author of many children’s books, kept encouraging her. In her mind, only several hundred or even thousands of people would read a scientific paper, but a good storybook might affect millions of readers, so she decided to write this book.
Queen Corona Tells the Secret of New Coronavirus is quite easy to read, and uses lively words and pictures to introduce COVID-19. Since its publication in 2020, it has been very popular, so an English version came out later on. We are grateful that members of Tzu-Cheng and Yi-Te Association helped pay the printing expenditures. In attending to the needs of those living overseas, Tzu Chi Charity Foundation decided to share the book, in both the Chinese version and English version, with people living overseas and overseas Chinese schools. Consequently, the Foundation provided many storybooks to the government’s Overseas Community Affairs Council, and asked it to send these books overseas.
Many parents attended the online session with their children, and many children followed the President’s presentation, page by page. President Liu talked about how Corona Queen was created and shared her considerations in writing the book. She intended to break our stereotypical impressions about scientists and viruses, so the character Corona Queen is a female scientist, rather than a male, and all the viruses have cute, bright shapes. To arouse readers’ attention, she let Corona Queen to have a dialogue with a little boy, and they talked about P3 and P4 laboratories, and also chatted about the world of viruses.
”What’s a viral envelope?” “Why can washing hands with alcohol or soap keep viruses away?” “The virus is so tiny. Who discovered it?” “In our history, what other pandemics were also caused by viruses?” President Liu answered everyone’s questions immediately.
A child asked, “Is there any way we can live peacefully with these viruses?” President Liu replied that viruses have been living on the earth longer than we. Some of them stay inside the bodies of wild animals, because we destroyed their habitats, ended their lives, and ate them; so, viruses staying with animals came to us. The best way to live with viruses peacefully is to protect Nature, care for everything, and respect all life.
President Liu stated that from the perspective of scientific research, the epidemic has disrupted the pace of the world. This is the first time in human history that vaccines have been developed so quickly. The University’s faculty members and students have been dedicated to the research and development of a rapid screening reagent. In 2020, when the domestic epidemic was not so severe, the University and Tzu Chi Charity Foundation donated 200,000 Covid-19 Anti-body Test Kits, which were developed by the University, to 7 countries. The law mandates that rapid screening reagents can only be used at screening stations designated by the government, and the University decided to attend to the needs of hospitals by working with manufacturers to provide antigen rapid screening reagents to Tzu Chi Hospitals.
Some of our Malaysian alumni also took part in the session. President Liu shared information from the characteristics and types of the virus, to the spread of viruses among numerous hosts, and the participants acquired more knowledge about viruses, gaining a better understanding of how to take precautions to protect themselves and others.
The University has asked its faculty members and staff to work in their offices for a few days each week, and to work at home for several days. Many of them have not seen each other for some time. Director Yi-Ching Liu of the Office of Humanistic Culture said that this was the first time for his Office to sponsor such an online lecture through Google Meet, and it was a satisfactory one. Throughout the session, everyone took every opportunity to care for each other.
This epidemic may widen our physical distance, but we can shorten the distance by caring for each other. In the future, the Office of Humanistic Culture will offer more online sessions on various topics, such as sports, music, spirit, etc. The Office wishes to be with each person to go through this challenging period.