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Asian Night aims to break Asian stereotypes

Freshman Sarah Spears gets a henna tattoo done by sophomore Courtney Vetch at Augustana’s Asian night this past Saturday, January 12, 2019.

On Saturday, Jan. 12, the Asian Student Organization organized Asian Night in the Wilson Center.
Asian Night is an annual event in which people from various Asian countries collaborate and represent their cultures with presentations and performances. Augustana students were welcomed to present their climate, types of clothes, food habits and other cultural aspects.
Games like Chopstick Challenge and Kahoot were played during the event, and traditional Asian foods, such as Crab Rangoon, Chicken Samosas and Pad Thai were catered by the CSL.
The room was decorated with traditional lanterns and red flower petals spread over the tables, and the night was closed with K-Pop music videos.
Unlike previous years, the ASO is trying to shift the focus from mainly Chinese culture to representing all different kinds of cultures of students from all around Asia.
Senior Daniel Warren is a recruitment chair of the Asian Student Organization.
“A lot of times when you hear about Asia, people have stereotypes – you know, just China, Japan. But Asia is a big continent with a lot of countries. We want to make sure they get equal representation.
“Different from last year, we’re trying to focus more on countries in South, South-East Asia. So, we’re having students come from Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Malaysia, India and Sri Lanka. We want to make sure they are represented too,’’ Warren said.
Besides just looking at all the cultural differences between the different countries, students also looked at what values and aspects their cultures had in common.
“One of the focal points is that although culture is a different thing depending on where you go, people experience culture differently in different communities and areas,” Warren said.
“One of the things they do have in common though, is music and food, so that is the focal point we want to touch on this event. We want people to talk about the different kinds of food that there are, since food is a thing that brings people together, and so is often music and dance.”
At Augustana, it is easy for students with no relations to Asian culture to think in stereotypes or think of Asia as one big whole. Sophomore Samridha Rana, the vice president of the Asian Student Organization said, “Stereotypes exist in literally everything. We are trying to highlight the minor differences, for example we’re doing dress-types.”
“People in Laos wear a shawl, which looks like a dress-up for a kimono in Japan. Those minor differences are being highlighted so that we can be like ‘Hey, yes, it’s kinda similar, but it’s not the same’. We’re basically just showing the minor differences that go unnoticed in the global picture.”
With a large community of international students at Augustana, events like Asian Night can help bring different students with diverse backgrounds together.
Emma Samatas, senior, attended the event: “Just learning about different cultures is something that’s important. We have so many different events like this that you can go to. Not only was the food great, the energy was great and I learned a lot about Asian culture,’’ Samatas said.
Featured Photo: First-year Sarah Spears gets a henna tattoo done by sophomore Courtney Veitch at Augustana’s Asian Night. Photo by Alia McMurray.

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Asian Night aims to break Asian stereotypes