Various Asian cultures converged and competed, displaying an array of new skills and talents during the second annual Miss Asia competition.
As a crowd of more than 200 students packed into the Mandela Room, attendees cheered, chanted and called for their favorite country’s representatives Saturday night.
The Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) hosted the competition. Eric Dinh, president of VSA and a junior majoring in biology, said the event was designed to unite the many Asian student groups.
“We wanted to connect Asian [Student Union] groups,” Dinh said. “We had people from the Thai club, China, India, Philippines, Taiwan, Korea and Malaysia.”
This year’s competition featured a multitude of different talents.
“The president last year decided to promote more diversity on campus, but we really only had the options of singing or dancing,” Dinh said. “This year contestants could present whatever represented their culture.”
The change benefited Miss Thailand, who took home first place with a Thai martial arts routine.
“I wanted to show something unique from Thailand,” said Kanyawee Thipthamai, a sophomore majoring in economics. “I wanted to present Thai boxing, Muay Thai. I really just wanted to do what I practiced.”
Even before the results, however, audience members said that they thought the acts that weren’t songs or dances stood out from the rest.
“I love Bollywood-style performances, like Miss India’s,” said Carl-Esther Turenne, a junior majoring in linguistics. “But I thought the Muay Thai was really cool; I didn’t know about it before.”
Allan Lapid, a sophomore majoring in biology, agreed.
“There was such diversity; I wish I’d come last year,” Lapid said. “I liked to see the martial arts. I liked all the performances, but I’m really a fan of the martial arts.”
The competition featured traditional outfit, talent and Q&A categories. Questions ranged from the importance of cultural presence in the Asian community to holidays of importance to issues within the Asian-American community.
After nearly two hours of performances, judges said it was difficult to select Thipthamai as Miss Asia 2013.
“This was a wonderful event, and not just because the food was delicious,” said Mengchen Huang, a judge and Multicultural Resource Center program coordinator. “We almost had a fight to pick someone.”
Nayemai-Isis McIntosh Green, a judge and the vice president of multicultural affairs, agreed.
“The Student Association and ASU did a wonderful job, and it was a pleasure to watch all the different displays. It was so difficult to choose just one,” said McIntosh Green, a sophomore double-majoring in human development and history.
Editor’s Note: Christina Pullano, Pipe Dream’s editor-in-chief and one of the judges at Miss Asia 2013, was not involved in the writing or reporting of this article.