By Abigail Wooldridge
The cold, gray weather couldn’t put a dampener on the energy of Asian Culture Night on Saturday, Sept. 12. Delicious food, exciting performances and a slew of engaging activities made the event, hosted by the College’s Barkada, both an excellent introduction to the enthusiasm and dedication of the organizations for prospective members as well as a fun get-together for current members.
The event was held in the Lion’s Den, which was buzzing with laughter, music and lively conversation from the crowd. Most organizers commented that the turn- out was as good as, if not better than, last year. This was quite a feat considering the unappealing construction that discourages passersby from entering the Brower Student Center. Additionally, Barkada Vice President and senior psychology major Alicia Lalicon noted that this year more people were “actually staying and getting involved in the different activities, instead of just passing through.”
Represented alongside Barkada, which focuses mainly on Filipino culture and heritage, were the majority of the College’s Asian culture organizations, including the Chinese Student Association (CSA) and their traditional dance ensemble, Dragonflies. Also represented at the event was Taiko, a Japanese ensemble drum team, and the Asian American Association.
Much of the event was centered on the various routines and activities from the different organizations on campus.
Six members of Taiko, in ceremonial hapi coats and tabi shoes, performed a complex drum routine that had the crowd cheering.
“We’re really a team,” Taiko Presi- dent and senior marketing major Julianna Hessel said of the group, which is small but highly committed.
Later on, members of Barkada performed the tinikling, a folk dance involving two painted bamboo sticks, placed parallel on the floor, which function somewhat like jump ropes. The sticks are slid and clapped together in rhythm as dancers jump in and out in a rapid, intricate routine. Members did one main performance to music, and then invited bystanders to try. Amidst much laughter and even more mistakes, the audience learned enough to make a go at it. It’s clear that doing this dance well takes a lot of practice.
Additionally, there was Chinese lantern making at the CSA booth, some improvisational tutorials on dancing with fans and scarves at the Dragonflies booth, and, at the end of the night, a big group line dance. Line dancing is very popular in the Philippines.
In between performances and activities, visitors could enjoy a streaming of last year’s “Mystique of the East,” an annual multicultural show sponsored by the Pan Asian Alliance.
For food, the Asian American Association booth offered tasty dumplings and fortune cookies, while CSA had sweet doughnuts that went quickly. Barkada brought trays of “puto,” a spongy rice cake that is a popular Filipino snack, in two delectable flavors: “ube,” or purple yam; and “pandan,” or aromatic leaf.
Yet the true highlight of the evening was not the delicious food, exciting performances or even engaging activities, but rather the warm, welcoming atmosphere. The College’s Asian culture groups are all marked by dedication, enthusiasm, and familiarity, and these excellent sentiments were reflected in the event’s ambiance.
Barkada’s mission statement is to “create a sense of friendship and family among their members and with other organizations,” and this promise was certainly evident in Asian Culture Night.