CelebrAsian Food Bazaar and Talent Show Celebrates Asian Identity

Pictured above, Arno Min ’19 amd Natalie Shen ’20 performed BTS’ “Fire” during the CelebrAsian talent show.

Dancing in unison on the stage of Kemper auditorium, K-Pop Club’s performance was just one of many weekend activities taking place during the annual CelebrAsian event. Hosted by the Asian Society, the CelebrAsian Food Bazaar and Talent Show took place last Saturday afternoon in the Underwood Room, completing the night in Kemper Auditorium.

Natalie Shen ’20, one of the co-heads of Asian Society, hoped that this year’s CelebrAsian weekend would provide other students on campus with the opportunity to learn more about Asian cultures. Shen was also proud of the work she and the other members of the club put into organizing the events.

“I feel like it’s a weekend to basically celebrate and empower all of the Asian kids on our campus as well as share a little bit of us in a way that’s authentic and not borrowed. So I think hopefully it’s fun, we’re not trying to force people to do anything but I think it just shows a lot of our passion,” said Shen.

Shen continued, “I think seeing everything come together [was my favorite part], because we have this image of what’s going to happen…It’s just a lot of scrambling to get everything done. We just pray that everything works out.”

For William Yu, Teaching Fellow in Physics and Asian Society Faculty Advisor, CelebrAsian was a fun way to celebrate and recognize different Asian cultures and cuisines; however, he also noted the need for more opportunities to celebrate Asian and Asian American identity on campus.

“It makes a little bit sad that it’s just a one set time to celebrate Asian and Asian American identity. I think it’s something that is incredibly important to have pride in your own heritage, pride in your identity…Although I would want it to be more often and not just a single event in the year in the spring, I think it’s a great time just to appreciate all of our respected backgrounds, share some things that we’re very proud of, mainly our food and later our talent,” said Yu.

The Food Bazaar gave students had the opportunity to showcase their country’s authentic cuisine. From Korean Bulgogi to Pad Thai to dumplings, the bazaar represented food from many different Asian countries. Brian Ko ’19 enjoyed the event because he had the opportunity to eat traditional Asian food not usually served in Paresky Commons.

“I came here today mainly because I like supporting these groups of people. This isn’t something that happens very often, like we don’t see a lot of Asian food in Commons. So I think being able to come out here and support Asian people and being able to have this big gathering of Asian cultures, especially the food, is such a big deal for this community,” said Ko.

The evening concluded with a student talent show featuring solo performers along with groups such as Footsteps, an Asian dance group on campus. The talent show included a wide variety of performances ranging from Japanese dance to singing and playing guitar.

Hannah Chen ’20 said, “I think it helped also seeing like people go on before me and seeing the audience react to them. It was just really supportive and then I was just really excited.”

Minji Shin ’20 performed Hwasa and Loco’s “Don’t,” a Korean R&B song, with Kaitlin Lim ’20 rapping.

Shin said, “I was nervous, but then the atmosphere that [the audience] fostered was family-like, and it was more friendly than strict, talent-show vibes. I think I enjoyed the time on stage.”

She continued, “I think CelebrAsian is important because…this is an event in a year that you can really celebrate and shows our Asian identity to the rest of the school.”

Editor’s Note: Kaitlin Lim ’20 is an Arts Editor for The Phillipian.