UIndy celebrates burmese culture

Fibi Kim, Reporter

Engaging and celebrating the Burmese Central Indiana was successfully held at Schwitzer Student Center at University of Indianapolis on Nov.13 between 6 and 8 p.m. This event was sponsored by U of I and the Burmese American Community Institute (BACI), according to the U of I website.

The University came up with the idea to host the celebration, with the theme “Journey,” according to Mrs. Marianna Foulkrod, director of Center for Service Learning and Communicating and Engagement at UIndy. Since her department has a strong partnership with BACI, the idea to host the event together sounded perfect, Foulkrod says. The UIndy just don’t only want to share their journey with others, but they want to bring people together, engage with one another and learn from one another, Foulkrod says.

The main goal of this event was to help students with education and also to give an opportunity to the non-Burmese population to experience the culture, Foulkrod says, as well as learn about the games and dance, the art, taste and flavor from Burma. It was just about giving them a chance to learn Burmese culture while celebrating at the same time Foulkrod says.

According to Foulkrod, she enjoys everything about the event and each one of them has its own unique part. Learning about Burmese language, and the food was really fun, Foulkrod says. She also loves the costume, music and the bamboo dance. One of the big things that made her happy was seeing that people came together, Foulkrod says.

“I encourage everyone to get involved with the people that are different than you and take the time to learn and participate and educate you about where people come from,” Foulkrod said. “This helps diversity in our society and eliminate things like stereotypes and assumptions.”

Senior Zing Hlei Vang is one of the BACI dancers and was also involved in the Bamboo dance. Vang says there are eight people total in the bamboo dance, and students who are in the bamboo dance are from Perry Meridian, SHS and some college students. They practice the dance for only a week and three hours a day, since they already performed the same routine at Sister Indy Festival, Vang says.

According to Vang, this event was held because UIndy wants to learn more about Burmese culture. That’s why they were asked to perform the culture dance. Other activities were a song performed by SHS student, food tasting and other speeches. She had a really good time and enjoyed it because she got a chance to tell others about Chin cultures and costume while teaching them bamboo dance. She also says  they really enjoyed it.

She joined BACI during a 2014 summer research project, according to Vang. They were put in a group, and her group project was based on identifying professionals in the U.S. This project was about finding Burmese and Chin professionals, Vang says. BACI helped her a lot by providing after-school tutoring three days a week from 6 to 8 p.m, including transportation, Vang says.

“For those who didn’t join this year, I want you guys to join it next year, especially when you are in senior because you will find, it was really helpful,” Vang said.

According to junior Ca Men Tial, one of the BACI members, she has been a member since Sept. 2014. One of the activities that BACI did after she joined was visiting colleges and universities. Tial says she had a lot of fun at the cultural show, and one of her favorite parts was when students performed the bamboo dance. Even though she wasn’t a part of the dance, she really enjoyed it,Tial says.

“The benefit of joining BACI is they help us with homework, writing essays and SAT,” Tial said. “I found this program as a really helpful for my education.”