March 10, 2016

NDLOVU | Highlights of Asia Night: The Journey 2016

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What were you up to this weekend? Besides the occasional mini panic attack over prelim season (which has finally come upon us) and carefully planned procrastination schemes, which I will regret later this week, the highlight of my Saturday night was actually doing something constructive and worthwhile – attending “Asia Night: The Journey” hosted by Cornell Asian Pacific Islander Union’s (CAPSU) in Duffield Hall on March 5th from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. As a freshman, this was my first time attending this annual event dedicated to showcasing diverse Asian cultures. I will definitely be attending Asia Night next year, and so should you!

The event was alive with many people in Duffield taking the opportunity to visit the myriad of booths, drink bubble tea, savor different foods and learn more about on-campus organizations such as Business Asia Journal and Cru Cornell. The colorful traditional attires, posters and on-point sound system made Asia Night a memorable event where Cornellians could unite to take pride in and share their heritage.

The lively MCs entertained the audience with their quirky humor, especially during the raffle draws, when one lucky contestant walked away with the selfie stick grand prize and celebrated by taking a victorious selfie with the MCs. That could be you next time! But what I enjoyed the most was the performances, and the heart of these showcases was the performers themselves. I have never seen so many talented people in one place. Go Big Red! The first performance was by Shimtah, a traditional Korean drumming group spearheading the charged atmosphere that would pervade the entire evening.  Watching the different groups perform, such as the duet by the Cornell Vietnamese Association, I realized how music could bridge cultural and linguistic barriers: even though I didn’t understand the language, I was still moved to tears by the gentle emotion present in the mellow love songs. Just as awe-inspiring were the other choral groups, such as FantAsia Acapella, a group of individuals whose impressive vocal skills had everyone cheering. Additionally, the dance groups brought energy to the stage with their meticulous choreography. The hip-hop dance performances by Kappa Phi Lambda and Pi Delta Psi, the traditional Korean dance performance by HanChum and the various K-Pop performances by dance crews like Shim Koong and E.Motions drew in hundreds of people. What I loved most was how these groups all welcomed anyone with a passion for learning about a culture different from their own, so there were diverse performers in each group.

With so much to see, experience and gain, I definitely recommend putting Asia Night on the top of your “Things To Do At Cornell” list. Asia Night exemplifies the ideals on which Cornell was founded – “… any person … any study.” – and promotes intercultural dialogue. Thank you CAPSU for continuing this wonderful tradition!

Yvette is a freshman in Arts and Sciences who is unapologetically Undecided. She can be found shivering down the arts quad in a giant brown coat (don’t be afraid to say hi!) because she is from Zimbabwe which has all year round summer and was voted the best climate in the world by UNESCO. In a few years she will be found on the NY Times Bestsellers list, with a Pulitzer Prize in her purse and her book series on screen. Her blog appears alternate Thursdays this semester. She can be reached at [email protected]