UM explores cultures of Asia

Live Kung Fu, Japanese animation and origami cranes have allowed students to experience Asian culture directly, thanks to Asian-American Awareness [AAA] week, hosted by the Asian-American Student Association [AASA] with help from the Indian Students Association [ISA], the Filipino Students Association [FSA] and the Japan Club.
“A lot of the times, people see Asian culture as one-dimensional, whether it be from cheesy Confucius jokes to martial arts flicks,” Cindy Wong, publicist for AASA, said. “Here, our goals are to show students that Asian culture is diverse, whether it be from fashion to film to art and mythology.”
“We’re hoping that once students get a taste of our topics that they will go out on their own and explore more about them,” Wong said.
As part of AAA, Japanese Animation showings were held at the Mahoney/Pearson classrooms on Monday.
“Japanese animation is filled with whack humor, awesome fights, funny perverts and cute characters,” a statement on the AASA website said.
On Tuesday, a fashion show was held and included several pieces from various dynasties of China and emperor and empress robes.
“The turnout at our Fashion Show was pretty great considering how it was the first time we’ve done it – we drew a diverse audience from students to senior citizens,” Wong said. “A few people in the audience were remarking on the intricacies of the fabric and elaborate detailing in some of the headpieces.”
Also as part of AAA week, Wednesday was designated as India Day, and Fusho Taiko Drummers of Dania played traditional Asian-style drumming at the UC on Thursday.
Within the past year, officers for AASA and UM administration have worked together to improve interest and participation at events held by the organization.
“Recently, AASA has had events like the Asian Date Auction and GenerAZN X that have brought new blood [freshmen] to the club,” Wong said. “We hope the tradition continues.”
Today is Asia Day in the UC Patio from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cultural exhibits and crafts will be displayed, and students will be able to eat home-cooked Asian food.
AASA will also be holding a booth where paper origami cranes will be made for wishes. According to a Japanese story, if you make 1,000 cranes your wish will come true. A paper crane is also a symbol of peace.
“What we hope with this process is that anyone can come up, make a wish on the crane and have us or themselves fold it to string up to our collection of cranes we’ll hang on display,” Wong said.
Students will also be able to be in a photo with a cardboard rendition of a Chinese princess or the Chinese god of prosperity. The photos will be posted on the AASA website.
Then, starting at 7 p.m. in the UC Patio, an event entitled “One Night of Asia” will end AAA week with Kung Fu exhibitions, Chinese lion dancing acts and choreographed cultural dances.
“This is the show-stopper of the entire week,” Wong said. “One Night of Asia encapsulates the best performances that all our clubs have worked on up to this day.”
“It’s one night of sheer entertainment and fun for everyone on campus,” Wong said.
For more information about the Asian-American Student Association, visit their website at

Leigha Taber can be contacted at