March 27 2008
MILR Culture Night 2008
For the third time the annual MILR Culture Night brought together students, professors, staff, friends, and family informally in a unity of colors, sounds, and tastes from around the world. The event was organized by IGSA and GSA and took place on 6 March 2008 at the ILR School.
The guests enjoyed nine presentations from different countries and U.S. states and celebrated the diversity characteristic for the ILR School in a relaxed atmosphere. Two energetic hosts, Ji Yeon (Catherine) Lee from Korea and Mohammad (Faisal) Khan from Pakistan, dressed in their countries’ traditional clothes, good-humouredly held the attention of the audience throughout the night. They explained that Catherine was dressed in a hanbok, a traditional Korean dress, and Faisal in shalwar and kameez, which he said can be seen across Pakistan worn by men from different areas. Their statement that the “MILR students come from fifteen countries all over the world” drew enthusiastic applause.
The MILR volunteer chefs prepared meals from around the globe. The buffet included everything from Korean jabchae and dried pollack fish soup to panang, the Taiwanese chicken specialty, and Japanese sushi. To the irresistible assortment in the room added the Chinese chicken dumplings and Kung Po chicken, the Vietnamese spring and meat rolls, the Indian vegetable pakora and special kheer, an Indian sweet dish made from milk, rice, and nuts.
Chia Ming Chan, president of the IGSA, and Jared Glasbrenner, president of the GSA, welcomed the guests and thanked the Graduate school and International Programs for co-sponsoring the event. Professor William Sonnenstuhl, director of Graduate Studies, addressed the audience and expressed his satisfaction that the Cultural night is becoming a MILR tradition.
Kyung-Bok Song, MILR ’09, presented the Korean drinking culture. He enthusiastically explained that dining in Korea starts with two rounds of drinks before and after dinner, followed by karaoke and a third round of drinks and continues well into the night! He presented a variety of drinks and cocktails and the drinking etiquette in Korea (dos and don’ts when drinking with Koreans) only to conclude that not all Koreans like drinking. Ana Stojanovic, MILR ’09, presented Serbian tradition and tourist attractions, architecture, and art from the region. With help from the hosts, she demonstrated a Serbian traditional dance, kolo, at the beats of a Serbian brass orchestra. The guests had a chance to learn about the cultural icons, history, and life in two U.S. states, Rhode Island and Ohio, through the presentations of Alexander Feltham and Jared Glasbrenner, respectively, both MILR ’08.
“The culture night was an intense learning experience for me. Although I thought I knew enough about where most of my friends came from, I realized you can never know enough,” said Maliha Qadri, MILR ’09, who presented her home country Pakistan. “It is a great way to get acquainted with other cultures," she added.
Maliha and Faisal presented Pakistan through colorful clothes, traditional food, sports, wedding traditions, dances, and breathtaking photos of natural beauties. Aya Taniguchi, MILR’09, showed the audience beautiful pictures from Japan and spoke about traditional Japanese events for children – the Doll Festival (Hina-Matsuri) and Children’s Day. The room was filled with laughter when Giang Nguyen, MILR ’09, gave his presentation on funny everyday sights in his home country, Vietnam. His presentation was suitably called “Laughing into tears”.
Chun-Nan (Tony) Liu, Pei-Tseng (Kay) Yin and Wenhui (Jacqueline) Hu, all MILR ’09, presented the religious culture of Taiwan explaining how “ghost busting” works in everyday lives of the Taiwanese people. They presented the ritual performed when someone is “possessed by a demon” explaining that “psychics combined with incense and a religious mind bring about peace.” Anthea Chow, Leo Chan, Fei Ye, and Mei Zhong, all MILR ’09, started their presentation with things that one must know when visiting China and Hong Kong. Unwanted items include green hat, books, shoes, clocks, which because of their negative meanings when given as a present, might offend the host. We also learned about eight different Chinese cuisines, as well as about traditional Chinese apparel, art, and architecture and how one can spend a fun day in Hong Kong. Mei Zhong sang Jasmine, a beautiful Chinese song, which took everyone’s breath away.
Michael Farley, MILR ’08, said: "I thought Culture night was the most interesting event hosted by the MILR program all year. It was a great way to learn more about the backgrounds of classmates outside of class. The presentations were entertaining and the food was excellent. I wish the event was held earlier in the school year, or once a semester. If I had known more about it, I would have created a presentation about Michigan "
~ Contributed by Ana Stojanovic, MILR '09