Campus Life

Stockton celebrates Asian and Caribbean cultures at Phoenix Night Market

Written for The Argo by Esmeralda Rivera

On Friday, April 7, the Asian Student Alliance (ASA) of Stockton collaborated with the Caribbean Student Association (CSA) and the Pilipino-American Students Association of Stockton (PASAS) to celebrate a variety of unique cultures at the Phoenix Night Market.

Students gather in the Campus Center Event Room for the Phoenix Night Market.

At the market, there were various tables set up for students to buy merchandise or play games offering prizes. Video games were also included. It was an opportunity for different cultures to get to know each other better and unite in harmony. One of the clubs featured at the event was the Eastern Brush Painting Club, which offered supplies for students to make bookmarks and a riddle game in which the students could win a prize.

The guests also had the privilege of tasting food from different Asian cultures. Traditional foods like sushi, biryani, and lassi were served. It proved a big hit, with a long line of people forming to try the different meals. Mango lassi was served in bottles, which was also very delicious. Lassi is an Indian and Pakistani drink made from yogurt, milk, water, and sugar.

The guests were entertained by many musical talents and groups based in Stockton. Stockapella, Stocktones, and Stockata made appearances, along with Stockton Music Union. ASA’s president was also part of Stockton Music Union, playing the saxophone. The PASAS band also performed, being the finale performance for the musical section of the event. Some of the bands included the audience and invited them to sing along.

Mehki Davis, a sophomore student and member of the Stockton Music Union, was happy to have the chance to perform at the Phoenix Night Market. “Performing, singing, and playing for everybody; it’s just a blessing, and this was amazing. As I say, I don’t ask questions, I just have fun!” Davis said.

The PASAS Band plays remixes of popular songs. Photo courtesy of Esmeralda Rivera.

Later, students cleared the dance floor and surrounded the area to watch performers highlight different parts of Asian cultures. Famous pop, hip-hop, and K-pop songs were played for the dancers, to the pleasure of the crowd. One of the groups in attendance was the Dynesty Alliance dance group, a team of dancers of all ages, who were one of the most impressive. They are invited by ASA every year to attend the Market and entertain the guests with their talent.

The group even performed a Squid Game remix, using costumes and music from the famed Netflix show. The references were entertaining and accurate to the show, with our favorite characters appearing through the dancers.

Vice President and choreographer, Tiffany Giang, was happy to attend the annual event. It was a great way for students to know about their non-profit organization, which is based in Atlantic City. “We love to work with the youth and be able to teach them cultural dances to be able to keep those roots stemmed into the kids as they grow up. We focus on building character and showing leadership to the kids so they can grow up and give back to the community,” Giang explained. She was grateful to ASA for their invitation and had a lot of fun dancing with her fellow members.

Dynesty’s final performance of the night. Photo courtesy of Esmeralda Rivera.

Stockton students and club members also brought their taste in art to the dance floor. The Stockton Sahana dance club participated, showing off their skills and opening interest for students to join. Some of the performances included comedic elements to entertain the viewers. One student, Andrew Ngo, performed a solo dance that was at first delayed by technical difficulties, but proved itself worth the wait.

As a final performance, Dynesty performed a dance including the iconic Chinese dragons seen very often in Chinese cultural celebrations like the Lunar New Year. The group included the audience by taking a selfie during the dance and encouraging them to sing along to the song playing through the speakers. All their presentations were received with loud applause.

Mitchell Jun Ming Tam, the president of the Asian Student Alliance, was satisfied with the result of the 2023 Phoenix Night Market. “Everything went good! [This event was created] to have everyone come together and share our culture. [Everyone] had fun as well,” Tam commented.

Keep a lookout for more events celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!