SEA Nite serves up slice of Southeast Asian culture

Dani Chung

Five Southeast Asian student groups hosted the ninth annual Southeast Asian Nite in Parkes Hall on Saturday evening.

The night included Southeast Asian cuisine, Valentine’s Day-themed performances and short films. Cili Padi, the Malaysian student group; Kaibigan, the Filipino student group; Thai Club, Northwestern University Singaporeans and Friends and the Vietnamese Student Association collaborated on and hosted the event. About 85 people attended.

“We know of each others’ presence on campus, but SEA Nite brings community and increases cross-cultural collaboration,” Cili Padi President Fiona Teo said.

Admittance was free, and food tickets were 50 cents each. Proceeds went to a Red Cross fund for the October tsunami victims in Indonesia.

The show was organized by country, starting with a presentation by Cili Padi. In adherence with the theme “Sea of Love,” a love story was enacted through a traditional shadow puppet performance about a princess and a warrior in love.

In addition to performing a Thai pop song, Thai Club, representing Thailand, made a comical movie trailer about a love tested by an unhealthy addiction to a video game.

Singapore, represented by NUSAF, showed a short music video to a song called “Ice Kacang,” an ice dessert popular in Singapore.

Kaibigan performed a traditional danceand acted out a skit of Filipino folklore about the relationship between the sun and the moon, the origin of stars and the connection between the moon and the tides of the ocean.

“I really liked how many people showed up,” said Weinberg freshman Elaine Wang, who co-hosted the show. “I thought it would be all the people in the clubs and some friends, but more people came.”

During the show, all the groups served traditional food dishes representative of their respective countries.

Cili Padi sold a sweet, glutinous rice bowl dish and a curry chicken dish. Kaibigan served Filipino spaghetti, a noodle dish made with tomato paste and banana ketchup, and lumpia, or spring rolls. Thai Club sold bubble tea, a drink with tapioca balls, and glass noodle salad, a dish named for the clear thin noodles.

“The groups represented here are pretty small, and we don’t have a big presence on campus, but this allows you to test food from different places,” said Weinberg junior Sasijaree Rianterawongs, a member of Thai Club. “You can’t get Southeast Asian foods in Evanston. This night is a good opportunity for people to see what’s on the other part of the world.”

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