Night Market Displays Asian Culture

With exotic foods, bright lights and crowds of people, night markets are a staple of the Asian culture. This Saturday, the Asian culture clubs will bring some of the tastes, sounds and sights of Asia to the Academy in this year’s annual Asian Night Market, which will take place in Grainger Auditorium.

This year, the Asian Night Market has been organized and planned under the newly-formed Asian Advisory Board, headed by Japanese language instructor Kayako Tazawa. Under the new leadership of Tazawa, this year’s committee has emphasized and renewed the importance of Asian Night Market as an opportunity for cultural dialogue and exchange. "This event provides a platform for the Asian student community to share their culture with others, and for others to learn about the Asian culture from the Asian student community," Tazawa said.

The event began in 2007, in the basement of Agora and was initiated by students under the supervision of International Student Coordinator Christine Knapp. Now, all of the Asian culture clubs participate and set up booths at the event.

Since winter term, a student-based committee worked with Tazawa and Student Activities to plan and coordinate volunteers from different clubs to take on the duties associated with hosting the event such as cooking food, shopping at the Asian food store H-Mart, cleaning up booths the day of the event and selling tickets. "The students have put a lot of time and effort into the planning and organization of the Night Market so that Asian, international and domestic students can all enjoy the event," Tazawa said.

One of the highlights of Asian Night Market is the variety of Asian food. Each club prepares and sells food that is representative of their country or region’s cuisine. The lineup for this year has a diverse range of tastes, including dumplings, provided by Chinese Student Organization (CSO), spring rolls, Malaysian milk tea, served by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), short ribs and spicy rice cakes, courtesy of the Korean American Society (KAS).

"I hope that people can learn about and experience Asian culture, and also enjoy some good, authentic Asian food in the process," member of the Asian Advisory Board Upper Natalie Ser said.

Asian Night Market will also include entertainment organized by the entertainment sub-committee. There will be Chinese yoga, performances by ITXC as well as Beat of Asia, whom had been involved with the Asian Night Market since its inception. "We want the entertainment portion of event to also have a cultural component so that we can introduce our audience to Asian culture while also entertaining them," lower and committee member Kimberly Dawes said.

Upper and CSO member Lloyd Feng hoped the Night Market would spark interest in Asian culture at Exeter. "I hope that Asian Night Market can introduce new aspects of Asian culture to people and I also hope that people are able to find something new that interests them."

Upper ASEAN head Misty Goh agreed. "Asian Night Market allows us to share our culture directly with the Exeter community," Goh said. "People who come can uniquely experience our culture."

Tazawa also hopes that Asian Night Market will be a chance for Asian and non-Asian students to share and learn from each other, as well as an opportunity for Asian students to come together. "Alongside the educational component of the evening, I also hope that this event can serve as a bonding experience between club members and also between club members and the advisers of these Asian clubs," Tazawa said.

The committee and Asian Advisory Board stressed that Asian Night Market was not only to educate and entertain non-Asian students, but also to bring a taste of home to their Asian peers. "We want to provide new experiences and educate people but we also want this to be a celebration of Asian culture and identity for everybody," Ser said.

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