Photo credit: Justine Cha

Every year the Amerasia Organization hosts ones its largest and most anticipated events known as Amerasia Week. The popularity and success of this program over the years has been attributed to its diverse showcase of the various Asian cultures found on the Fresno State campus. On different nights throughout the week, student organizations are given the opportunity to highlight and share their rich heritages with the community.

This year, Amerasia Week featured Hmong Culture Night on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 which was hosted by the Hmong Student Association (HmSA). HmSA organized a cultural talent show called “Hmoob Lub Suab”, which translates in English to ‘sound of Hmong’.

The Masters of Ceremony (M.C.) for the evening were Paula Yang, who is a student at Fresno State, and Tou Houa Yang, who is a well-known talk show host for KBIF 900 AM radio station. The event itself was coordinated by Julie Her and Payeng Thao, who both serve as the Culture Chairs for HmSA this year.

Julie, who is a third-year Fresno State student majoring in Liberal Studies, shared that, “Payeng and I teamed up and coordinated a Hmong dance for our members in the club to learn and perform for this event. Our committed members put it so much time and effort to help the both of us put up a talent show for the week of Amerasia, showcasing the many talents that our Hmong brothers and sisters have. We scouted many talented individuals and groups to perform for us that night, and held many rehearsal dates prior to that evening.”

The event showcased an array of talents from both the organization and the community. There were various styles of dances performed by HmSA members, dance group Ntxhais Sam Xeeb, Brandon Moua, John Vue, and McLane High School students. The group Suab Hmoob Txuj Ci even performed a traditional Hmong dance and musical performance called dhia qeej. There were also musical performances by Moua Vang, who played the violin, and Charles Yang, who played the guitar.

The event also had several singers who performed an array of both English and Hmong songs. These performers included Sandy Lee, Payeng Thao, 3rd Floor Band, John Her, Pazao Lor, Mong Lor, Mina Xiong, Jeannie Lee, and Kou Yang. Special guests, Kevin Yang and MaiLia Yang, were also invited to sing for the talent show.

Julie also expressed that she hopes that this event was not only entertaining for the audience, but enlightening as well.

“I really hope that the audience was able to grasp an understanding of our Hmong culture, language, and talents. I also hope that the audience will take in what they thought was interesting and share it with their friends and family. I really enjoy doing these kind of things that express who the Hmong people are and for sure I will continue to do more events and activities like these in the future!”

Julie and Payeng also wrote and directed a play last semester called “Khiav Hluav Taws”, which translates to ‘Flee from Fire’. It is a coming of age story about a young Hmong man who learns to overcome the different struggles that the Hmong people faced during the Secret War. The play was performed by HmSA members and can be viewed online through YouTube.