This past Saturday, Chinascope hosted its annual banquet, Dragon Night. This cultural celebration included an extensive variety of entertainment, games, giveaways, Chinese food and tributes to Chinese culture. Some performances included opera by Chenfu Zhu, a visiting associate professor of Chinese opera at the Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera, FLOW, the Lion Dance by BU Kung Fu and a dance and skit by the Chinascope Executive Board. Each of these events honored Chinese culture, while also incorporating some contemporary elements. Victoria Sheung, educational and cultural chair of Chinascope and a junior double-majoring in Chinese studies and comparative literature, spoke about the nature of the night’s itinerary.
“We try to have different elements of traditional and modern Chinese culture, and mash them together,” Sheung said.
Sheung described the complexity of the culture, and the club’s efforts to showcase this diversity in Dragon Night.
“It’s so diverse and so multilayered, you can never guess what is behind a Chinese person’s appearance,” Sheung said. “If you think about all of the countries, the history, the arts that [are] connected with this group of people, which are kind of viewed [as] homogeneity, to be honest. Like on campus and around the world.”
The event would typically take place as close to Chinese New Year as possible but was pushed back a bit due to the delayed semester start. Despite challenges to accommodate the date, as well as lack of time for planning, the night was successfully executed through a collaborative effort by Chinascope’s members, who actively collaborated in the entertainment and functioning for the night. It was clear that in addition to celebrating Chinese culture, the group aspired to give the audience a good laugh through their skit, game of charades and overall upbeat tone of the night.
The decorations and setup of the Mandela Room transported guests to a different place. The lantern centerpieces were impressive and there were photo opportunities throughout the room, which maintained the theme of Chinese culture. It was clear through these efforts that the event coordinators really sought to provide guests with an immersive experience, which was further enhanced by the delicious array of Chinese food.
Although the night was fun and inclusive, there was underlying stress on the tolerance and celebration of Asian culture. In a climate of racial insensitivity, particularly regarding anti-Asian hate, members of Chinascope stressed the importance of learning about Asian culture and understanding the value that it holds. Hong Hui Yu, president of Chinascope and a senior majoring in political science, expressed the significance of the night and how events like these stand to confront the hate that the Asian community experiences.
“Embrace Chinese culture. Enjoy Chinese culture. Because I feel like right now, Asian hate, hate [crimes] against Asian people, has been very prominent and is still on the rise in the [United States],” Yu said. “I think events like this really can demonstrate how amazing of a culture we have, and I just hope people can see that and understand that, and hopefully they stop being so violent against my people.”
By participating in events like Dragon Night, individuals can find value in either their own culture, or find a newfound respect for others. Oftentimes people develop preconceived ideas or choose to stay uneducated about topics that have not previously seemed relevant to their own lives. However, there are often great opportunities like Dragon Night to come together, have a good time with friends and develop an appreciation for the diversity that exists on campus.
“Cultural celebration is so simple — it’s just to be proud of who you are and to celebrate who you are, that’s it,” Sheung said. “And that encourages other people to accept and embrace themselves. Which encourages them to accept and embrace other people. And then you start expanding your worldview this way.”