The Southeast Asian clubs of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand banded together for a night of dancing, fun, and camaraderie Oct. 27 at the Aloha Ballroom. The multicultural event included musical numbers, a new game of tag, and authentic Malaysian food.
“Putting aside differences and helping people understand we are fun and we are enjoyable. The number one thing I hope everyone can know and experience is… we love to come together,” Said Sharon Yeap, a sophomore studying biochemistry and president of the Malaysia Club. She went on to explain, “We are a small section of an already small school. I really think people can learn a lot about how we are as a people from coming today.”
The night consisted of talents acts, which included a few individuals and some groups performing songs and other activities from their native countries. Everyone who attended participated in a small dance, with a large amount of energy shown by all.
Justin Lee, a freshman from Malaysia studying psychology and helped cook the food for the event, said his favorite part of the evening was the dinner at the end of the event. “The food from Malaysia is the best food in the world. The dishes we made are all about fusion and bringing out the flavors of the dish. One thing about Malaysian food is it takes a long time to make, but it is worth it.” The dishes included coconut rice, pineapple curry, and chicken.
Along with the games that were held, much of the night was spent socializing and gaining an appreciation for other cultures. “It is most important [that] we all learn from one another. In Southeast Asia [and the world] we need to learn from each other things we didn’t know before,” said Kris Krisanalome, a music performance major from Thailand and president of the Thailand Club.
Lyon Almanda, a junior studying finance from Indonesia and president of the Indonesia Club, said he felt that gathering together shows the strength of people. He said as people came together and shared their knowledge of what they know, the group can grow and become more understanding together.
“Gathering together like this with these different countries and diverse cultures makes us more united. This is important because back at home, we don’t always like Malaysia. In this setting, we just want to have good relations because we love everybody.
Yeap expressed, “Being from Malaysia is tough here because we are so small and there are a lot of Polynesians in this community. They are so nice and so fun, and we want people to know we are like that as well. ”
Likewise, Krisanalome said, “People seem to think we are from the Philippines a lot, but we are not. We have our own culture, our own alphabet, and our own language. I hope people can learn where we are, we always smile, and that we are such fun people.”
Nikita Ramos, a student from North Pole, Alaska studying cultural anthropology and international peace building, said, “The best part about this was no one from any of the countries here were making fun of anyone else’s culture, there was zero friction. This overall experience was great, and I hope people will not just observe, but will come and participate as well.”
Almanda said, “The best thing is not just about being Indonesian, but being here. Back home in Indonesia, almost 90 percent of the country is Muslim. Being home, I never saw members [of the Church]. But here, I’m so proud that we can come and adjust ourselves.