Couples compete for Mr. and Ms. Asia crown
By Sean Moore
Friday marked the first time the event had taken place since 2009.
Senior Arshad Nuval Othman, master of ceremonies and a member of the MMA Committee, said he was happy to see the event return.
“It was great to have this event again,” Othman said. “I participated in (MMA) in my freshman year, and I’ve missed it the past two years.”
The winners received a $300 cash prize for their student organization and a $100 Barnes & Noble voucher for the couple.
The couple will also be endorsed by the Asian Culture Center to participate in the Mr. and Ms. IU Competition.
Kartiki Sharma and Ankur Chugh of the Indiana Student Association won second place, earning them $200 for their organization and a $50 Barnes & Noble voucher. Saraswaiti Putri and Alberts Hendrajaya of the Indonesian Student Association won a $100 prize for their group and $25 Barnes & Noble voucher for third place.
The Japanese Student Association, the Asian-American Association and the Chinese Student and Scholar Association were also represented at the event.
Senior Heong Weng Mak, head of operations of the MMA Committee and the organizing chairperson, explained the reasoning for having the MMA Competition again.
“We are reviving the event and hope to reignite interest for this event, as it was a highlight for many student associations prior to 2009,” Mak said.
The competition opened with a fashion show that offered the chance for the various student organizations to show the traditional clothing of their choice.
A Q&A session with each couple followed, and the contestants were asked questions regarding their favorite spots in Bloomington, what they like about IU and the one word that best represents their culture.
The competition finished with each couple performing in a talent show.
Acts included dancing, a Bollywood skit, karate, rapping in Korean and duet singing performances.
Audience members and participants said they enjoyed the diverse array of cultural displays.
“It was a great opportunity for various cultures to show what they’re all about,” Othman said.
“The fact that it’s a competition motivates the contestants to do their best and represent their culture.”
Sophomore Laura Markou of the Asian-American Association said she enjoyed participating and educating IU about Asian culture.
“It was really fun, and we had a great turnout,” Markou said.
“This is a great way to raise cultural awareness. I like seeing a lot of people come out and see how diverse we are.”
The Leo R. Dowling International Center, the Asian-American Studies Program, the Asian Culture Center and the Commission of Multicultural Understanding sponsored the MMA Competition.
Othman said he hopes IU students explore similar events more in the future.
“It was a great effort by the international side,” Othman said.
“I’d like to see more students take advantage of events like these. They really are great chances for IU to experience other cultures.”