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Mr. and Miss Asia spreads culture

POSTED AT 12:18 AM ON Mar. 25, 2013  (UPDATED AT 12:20 AM ON Mar. 25, 2013)

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Couples representing four different Asian nationalities strutted down the Willkie Quad auditorium stage Saturday night in traditional cultural attire.

For the second year in a row, representatives from the Vietnamese Student Association were named the winners of the Mr. and Ms. Asia competition, an event that allows Asian student organizations to display their talents and culture while vying for cash prizes.

The pageant was organized by the Asian Student Union and Kappa Eta Phi, a business fraternity. Freshmen Mai Ngo and Vu Bui claimed this year’s titles, along with $300 to benefit their student organization. The Chinese Students and Scholars Association won second place and $200, and the Asian American Association came in third, winning $100.

After a jazz dance performance by the X-Power dance team, the contestants each presented a medley of traditional and modern performances for the talent show portion of the pageant.

The Asian American Association, represented by freshmen Alice Park and Kenneth Kim, sang Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat’s song “Lucky” and transitioned into a choreographed routine with several backup dancers. Fusing Chinese tradition with modern hip hop, freshmen Amanda Wei and Usher Wang used chairs and elaborate fans to entertain the audience and display their cultural heritage. The Vietnamese Student Association also provided a fusion of genres with a comedic skit and traditional Vietnamese song.

The Malaysian Student Association, represented by seniors Rabiatul Abd Patah and Yi-Yang Chua, closed the talent portion of the show with a partner dance routine that reflected both Malaysian culture and 1950s Western rock and roll.

The only non-freshmen performing in the event, Patah and Chua said they wanted to make sure their organization was represented, since the Malaysian Student Association did not participate in last year’s event.

During the fashion show and question-and-answer portion of the pagaent, each couple presented cultural attire from their respective countries.

Bui said he was excited to win the title of Mr. Asia for the Vietnamese Student Association and said he appreciated the opportunity to display the diversity present in the Asian community at IU.

“We don’t have a lot of Vietnamese people here, so it’s really great to represent our country and spread our culture,” Bui said.

The Mr. and Ms. Asia event has been held at IU since 2003, with the exception of 2010 and 2011. This year’s event was directed by junior Phoena Chong, a Malaysian international student and vice president of the Asian Student Union.

Chong said the event has been growing consistently in recent years and it benefited from this year’s collaboration with Kappa Eta Phi.

The representation of student organizations changes every year, depending on who signs up to participate, Chong said. The Indonesian Student Association was scheduled to perform in this year’s event but couldn’t make it due to an illness. Last year’s event also included the Indian Student Association and Japanese Student Association, groups that were not present this year.

James Tokuda, external relations director for Kappa Eta Phi, said the planning committee marketed Mr. and Ms. Asia to all types of students in efforts to expose them to the diversity of IU’s Asian population.

“It’s a fact of life there’s an Asian community on campus,” Tokuda said. “We’re not trying to segregate ourselves. We’re just trying to introduce our culture to people who aren’t familiar.”

 

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