Asia Fest, a yearly event held by the Asian Pacific Islander Student Association (APISA) and co-sponsored by the Office of Student Involvement and the Intercultural Center, was held in the Fine Arts Building this past weekend. The long-running program aims to provide opportunities for students who are interested in or deeply attached to Asian culture to perform traditional or modern music, dance, fashion or any other forms and express their unique experiences.
Asia Fest invites people from different backgrounds to experience and appreciate Asian culture, and to have fun. The audience includes staff and faculty members, students, community members, families of K students, and anyone who shows up with a good heart to experience Asian culture. The performers not only include Asian international students or Asian descent, but also anyone who has a certain degree of understanding of Asian culture and has the ability to present it.
For this year’s Asia Fest, Li Li Huynh ‘20, member of APISA, took the role of director. With the help of her mentor/co-director/coordinator Joy Lim ‘19, Huynh arranged 13 performances and created a special theme for Asia Fest 2018: Asia’s Got Talent. The theme settled the show into a light-hearted competition atmosphere. Huynh explained that the audience could vote for their favorite performance; the Asia Fest crew plans to encourage those with the most votes to return for next year’s show. Among the performers, there were a number of visiting international students and an alumni guest performer, Hannah Kim ‘17.
At the end of this year’s show, the planning committee treated the audience with some delicious Asian cuisine, including dishes from Chuancai Fang and Saffron. There are several performances that are featured in Asia Fest every year, including the Fashion Show, in which APISA and K-Desi worked together to showcase and represent their multifarious heritages, and Kpop Dance, in which students from various backgrounds perform dance covers of Korean Pop songs. Visiting international students mainly participated two performances. Zichen Yu (VI) led the song “One of My Taoist Num Friends” with Yu Shang ‘19, Qiwei Jiang ‘19, and Xiu Cai ‘20’s accompany of traditional Chinese instrument and piano. Toshifumi Yagi (VI) and Naoya Nozawa (VI) performed “Kimishidai Ressya” by One Ok Rock. They engaged the audience by running off the stage and giving high-fives, which lit up the atmosphere with enthusiasm.
Furthermore, there were two outstanding performances by Justin Elloran ‘18, who sang a song written by himself and his high school friend Randy about their high school crushes, and by Abigail Dickstein ‘21, who performed a Chinese love song named “Mouse Loves Rice.” There are more to mention, such as poetry performances by Paige Chung ‘20, Hanna Jeung ‘20, and Yasi Shaker ‘20, and Sydney Kowalski ‘20 to share their experiences, Kpop Band performance by Elina Choi ‘18, Jack Xu ‘19, Joy Lim ‘19, Sydney Kowalski ‘20, and Huynh ‘20, as well as Lion Dance by Khang Nguyen ‘21, Maya Hernandez ‘21, Phillip Tham ‘20, Gabriel Ugarte ‘20, and so on.
Asia Fest 2018 was widely considered to be a success. Huynh described it as a “fun, vibrant, colorful event filled with talents and laughter,” while Lim ‘19 noted that she appreciates everyone who came to watch the show; despite the bad weather and three-day long weekend, Dalton Theater was almost full. Besides Asia Fest, APISA will also be participating in AFDS, Afro-Fiesta-Desi-Soul, an event in which a variety of student organizations join together and to share culture and dishes from home, and World Night, another show coming up in Spring 2018.