May set to celebrate Asian Pacific Americans’ past and present
THE SANTA CLARA
April 30, 2015
To celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a parade of cultural events will march through campus in the next two weeks.
“It’s bringing the history, tradition and culture to life,” said Connie Chang, assistant director for Multicultural Learning. “But a lot of students are far removed from that. They are born and raised here. So they really resonate with American culture.”
Exemplifying this blend, the Japanese Student Association kicked off their Matsuri festival with a performance from a traditional taiko drumming group native to San Jose.
The jumpsuited troop sprang around the stage yipping frenetic directions over hollow booms, tight clacks and delicate flute harmonies during the show on April 26.
Immediately afterward, Santa Clara’s elite hip-hop crew, Hipnotik, took the stage.
“It’s tough to sit through a show with only one type of dance,” said freshman Patrick DeGuzman. “Well, not tough, but it’s nice to have a little variety. It gives it a little bit more pizzazz.”
On May 1, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month officially begins, and the Office of Multicultural Learning will host a Celebration Lunch on one of the verdant lawns near the church.
“Everyone is welcome,” said Chang. “We’re giving out free food and putting on tons of student performances. We just wanted to kick the month off right.”
On May 2, “Red Dust,” an original production by international student Chu Chi Pai, will headline an evening of entertainment to include break dancing and martial arts.
“I took the words from an old Chinese poem, and in the poem, red dust was used to imply the common (and) evil world we lived in,” said Pai. “I want to raise awareness that racism is a global issue and, in some cases, it happens even when people have the same skin color.”
The play embellishes the true story of a dishonest business man who is brutally murdered by his partners after they wrongfully think he robs them. His innocence breeds restlessness within his soul.
“There is an ancient saying in Taiwan that the spirit cannot leave the world until it is at ease,” said Pai. “And I wanted to explore that in a modern way.”
On May 9, the festivities come to a close with the Hawaiian Club’s annual luau. During the event, student performances will entertain guests as they dine on the islands’ cuisine. The Hawaiian club’s main dance show follows, with updated takes on traditional routines.
“Dance is a big part of Hawaiian culture, and it always tells a story,” said junior Ally Ogata, cultural representative for Ka Mana’o O Hawai’i. “Traditional styles show what our ancestors did then, and the modern ones are what we do now.”
With a slew of opportunities, students have the chance to learn more about their ancestral roots or the modern version of a culture different from their own.
Contact John Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.