The largest and most authentic culmination of Taiwanese culture, the annual Night Market, is coming to McCarthy Quad today. An annual event hosted by the Asian Pacific American Student Assembly, the Night Market is designed after a traditional Taiwanese night market, featuring carnival-style games, music, shops and performances.
“One of our goals is to educate the campus on different Asian Pacific American issues,” said Alison Chang, assistant director of APASA.
APASA hopes to accomplish this by providing as authentic an experience as possible for Night Market-goers. There will be games and activities, including the ever-popular street food, Mahjong booths and traditional performances including one from USC Kazan Taiko. One lucky market-goer will even win concert tickets to see Frank Ocean and Mac Miller.
“One of the coolest parts of this event is that we get to serve the entire USC student body with a night of games and fun, not just another boring culture lecture,” Chang said.
APASA is a cultural assembly under the USC Program Board and serves as an umbrella organization for smaller and more specific Asian Pacific American clubs and organizations on campus. Each club and organization under APASA will participate and showcase their culture by running different booths at the market.
“This is one of the events where member organizations [under APASA] get to really get involved,” Chang said. “It’s a really great opportunity for them to interact as a constituency.”
Asian Pacific American organizations have the chance to showcase not only their own cultures, but also the ways in which their cultures interact and meld with other Asian Pacific American cultures.
One of the new installments at the Night Market is a new photo campaign, which Chang is especially excited about.
“This is something we’ve never actually had before and I think it’s going to be really awesome,” Chang said. “I’m excited to bring more personal awareness instead of strictly culture to the event.”
For the photo campaign, each student will have his or her picture taken and complete the sentence “I’m passionate about…” and a unique statement to complete the phrase. Each picture will be displayed along with the answer for the rest of the market-goers to see.
While the APASA Night Market has been around for several years, Chang is encouraging even more authenticity this year, while incorporating ways to learn about Asian American culture.
“I’m pushing for Taiwanese music and more authentic games and food, I’ve been to really great night markets and I love them so I really want to bring as much of that as possible to USC to be able to share it with everyone here,” Chang said.
The booths will provide different cultural experiences at every turn. One booth in particular Chang is excited for the USC community to see is the the Asian Pacific American trivia booth. Chang hopes the USC population will learn more about Asian culture than stereotypes and statistics.
“I feel like a lot of the student body might not know much about Asian American culture because, since we make up over a quarter of the student body, we aren’t actually seen as a minority.” Chang said. “However, in the scope of America, we really are a minority and people don’t know much about our culture.”
Chang’s love of Taiwanese culture is one of her inspirations for the Night Market. The opportunity for her and the other members of APASA to put this event together sparks memories from her home. To recreate those memories is something she’s excited to share and expose to the USC community.
“I am Taiwanese American … Any of my friends will tell you that I’m obsessed with Taiwan … Night markets are one of the biggest parts of Taiwanese culture,” Chang said. “Whenever I go back to visit, night markets are definitely my favorite part … This event brings a piece of my home culture and something that I’m totally in love with to USC.”
The Night Market is a free event that will take place at McCarthy Quad tonight from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
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