Asian Pacific American Heritage Week aims to 'redefine'
First event features YouTube star Clara Chung
October 16, 2011, 10:33 pm·
On Monday, the 19th Asian Pacific American Heritage Week will attempt to “redefine” stereotypes.
“We wanted to look at what it means to be an Asian American in this day and age,” College sophomore and APAHW Logistics Chairwoman Nishat Shahabuddin said. “What it means to be Asian American has changed over those 19 years.”
While some Asian-American students follow “traditional” parent-approved career paths such as pre-med and pre-law, “we want Asian Americans to break away from that mold and encourage students to explore other careers or interests,” College junior and APAHW Programming Chairwoman Florence Sit said.
“The events bring out the Asian-American community at Penn,” Shahabuddin said, adding that the events would highlight the performing arts and alumni, among other topics.
The Heritage Week has predated other organizations on campus, Wharton senior and APAHW Executive Chairwoman Jenny Fan said.
An essay contest prior to the week asked students and alumni to describe how they have redefined themselves, Fan said. This Friday an alumni networking event hopes to ensure that students have a network they can take with them after graduating, she added.
“‘Redefined’ allowed us to change up the week in a good way and introduce new types of events and implement new things,” Fan said.
These new events will include performance from YouTube singing sensation Clara Chung on Monday. Chung’s online video went viral and has received over one million hits in the last 10 months. Inviting Clara C — as she is known to YouTube users — to campus for APAHW was a student recommendation, Shahabuddin said.
“We wanted to ask, ‘How are we breaking through to the media and the public?’” Shahabuddin said. “We were looking at different ways that performers break out and YouTube is a relatively new form,” she explained.
Sit said YouTube was an alternative medium for Asian Americans to show off their performing skills, instead of the Hollywood scene.
On Tuesday, the 19th Annual Extravaganza will take place in the Hall of Flags. Sit said that different Asian-interest groups at Penn are encouraged to bring food and games from their different cultures. She said the event will showcase many “unique cultures you don’t see often.”
On Wednesday, APAHW will collaborate with the South Asia Society to present comedian Hari Kondabolu. Kondabolu has been featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live, HBO Comedy Arts Festival and Live at Gotham.
“We hope students can taste what Penn has to offer as for cultural and heritage events,” Fan said.