This past Saturday was the Asian Student Association Asian Expo. Many different students of Asian heritage performed a variety of performances to highlight their ethnicities. Things such as a Vietnamese fan dance, a south-Asian fusion dance, a Japanese song and a Chinese “Family-Feud” skit graced the stage of the Villanova Room in the Connelly Center.
In addition to all of these, the ASA put together a series of faux-campaign commercials for one of their members, Henry Ouyang. In the commercials, Henry is running for the position of “President of Asia.” All of the commercials were truly funny and included interviews with random students, declarations of what Henry would do for the continent and a number of other random things that incited laughter from the crowd.
The continent of Asia is home to billions of people and consists of over 40 countries, all of which have a unique culture. But this video, and the entire Asian Expo, showed that to many Asian students here at Villanova, there is not too big of a difference that they can’t all find something in common about their shared Asian heritage.
The Asian Expo was a process that began as far back as the end of the last school year, as Jessica Luo was appointed as Expo Chair on the ASA Executive Board. Then, at the beginning of the fall semester planning began, and the committee heads started working on all of the different aspects of the show as the fall semester came to a close.
“The work is divided into different committees,” performance chair sophomore Myra Villas says. She helped plan the show alongside Luo.
“There is decorations, a fashion show, entertainment, food, public relations, commercials. A lot goes into it to get everything ready for the day of the show.”
When the day of the show finally came around, it was clear that the members of ASA and any other volunteers who were taking part in the show were well prepared.
The basic premise of the show was that Waldo’s friends Wenda, Wizard Whitebeard and Woof the dog were traveling around the world trying to find Waldo. When they got another “clue” on what country Waldo might be hiding in, they would travel to that country. A group of students would then perform a dance, skit or song from that country.
While this did not have much actual effect on the show and was not the main idea behind it, the Waldo concept was a way that they were able to tie in all of the different acts and create a cohesive narrative throughout.
Standout performances included “Ao Dai,” a traditional Vietnamese fan dance, ’NovaNASSA south-Asian fusion dance team, the fashion show and Anjelica Cervantes’ rendition of “Bumitaw,” which was the song “Let It Go” from Disney’s new animated movie “Frozen” sung in Tagolog, a native Filipino language.
It was not only members of the ASA that took part in the show, however.
“Other Asian groups on campus get involved as well,” Villas says. “The Chinese classes volunteer a skit, KSA has a performance and the Japanese classes put together a performance too.”
“I am not even part of ASA usually, but I have some friends in the group and they got me to walk during the fashion show,” Sophomore Neil Patil says. “It ended up being a lot of fun and I was happy I got involved.”
One of the performances from these peripheral members was done by some of the Japanese classes. They did a Japanese song and then a fun dance. After being asked by the students, the entire crowd actually stood up and joined in on the dance for the final verse and followed along with the directions of the students and the videos on the big screens.
After an intermission when food was provided by a number of different local Asian eateries, the crowd retook their seats for the second act of performances which culminated in a Filipino tinikling dance, a fast-paced folk dance in which the dancers must navigate throughout bamboo poles being slapped on the ground in rhythm, where Waldo was finally found.
As Asian Expo 2014 came to a close, it was clear that it was a success.Obviously, it was a fun night with good food and great performances throughout. There is one other aspect of it that truly makes it special.
“Villanova is primarily a Caucasian school,” Villas says. “While that doesn’t mean others of different races can’t interact with each other in an enjoyable manner, it can often be difficult to relate to each other with such differences—especially for new students. Villanova has an Asian population of about six percent and so ASA serves as an umbrella for all ethnicities of Asia to come together and celebrate their similarities and differences in culture.” As the commercials with Henry Ouyang with him running for “President of Asia” and the performances from all different Asian cultures showed, Asian Expo 2014 celebrated both the differences in Asian cultures and the similarities across Asian culture as a whole.