Culture Night 2022

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Dances of Asia


The music of Samoa


Culture night costumes


Friday evening


Saturday evening


The songs of Tonga


Behind the scenes

ON THE COVER & TABLE OF CONTENTS: Photos by Monique Saenz and Mark Gatus Culture Night videos can be found on BYU-Hawaii and Ke Alaka‘i Youtube accounts. © 2022 Ke Alaka‘i BYU–Hawaii All Rights Reserved 2 KE AL AK A‘I 2022






ice President and Choreographer of the Vietnam Club, Hoang Lan Vu, said it’s a historical time for them as it’s the first time, to their knowledge, that the club is performing at Culture Night. Vu, a senior from Portland, Oregon, majoring in exercise and sport science, said, “Because it’s our first time, we want to share as much as we can [and] we want to make it as cool as possible.” The club has 20 people dancing for Culture Night, she shared. They have seven Vietnamese participants and the rest are from Japan, the Philippines, Tahiti, Indonesia and the U.S. mainland. She said they chose dances that weren’t too hard so more students could participate. Non-Vietnamese students joined their 4 KE AL AK A‘I 2022

performance because they know someone in the club, they love the culture, and “they want to be part of making history too,” shared Vu.

Vietnam through seasons: Winter, autumn and spring Vu said the first part of their presentation is a soloist vocal performance with a guitar accompaniment. The song is called “Nhat Ký Cua Me,” which means “Mother’s Journal” in English. Their performance is divided into three seasons: winter, autumn and spring. She said this first song embodies winter. “The song itself is slower and a little bit more emotional. So, it’s like winter. It feels a little bit cold, but the lyrics actually talk about the love parents have for their child,” she explained.

Club choreographers and presidents share the meanings behind Vietnam, Japan and Thailand performances BY XYRON LEVI CORPUZ She said the second part of the performance is called “Nàng Tho Xu Hue,” which is translated to “Poet’s Muse, Hue” in English. Seven female club members dance in this section and wear a traditional dress called “ao dai.” Vu said this dance is the autumn section, representing growing up and maturation because it’s the season students go to school. “[This] song is a graceful, slower song, but still has a really pretty tune and that even the members of our club who aren’t Vietnamese love it and they sing along a little,” she shared. The third part of the performance, Vu said, includes everyone with a more upbeat song called, “Ngày Xuân Long Phung Sum Vay,” which is the spring section. Vu said it is an excellent song for the Lunar New Year celebration. Springtime in

Vietnam, she shared, is full of celebrations such as Lunar New Year, where everyone is dancing, wishing their grandparents good health and wishing each other happiness. According to, “Tet,” or Lunar New Year, “is the most important national holiday in Vietnam and Tet celebrations usually last up to 14 days. Most people have time off work to travel to their hometown and spend time with family.” At the end of the performance, Vu said, is a pretend mini wedding where a couple wears traditional wedding clothing.

Japan through anime: Fight scenes and “Zatoichi” music Hikari Winchester, a senior from Hokkaido, Japan, majoring in exercise and sport science and the president of Japan Club, said Culture Night has brought their club members together as they gather weekly to practice. For their performance this year,Winchester said Japan Club used almost the same dance and music as they did for Culture Night in 2016. The first part of the performance features iconic characters from various anime shows such as “Naruto,” “Demon Slayer,” “Pokémon” and “One Punch Man,” she shared, and these characters have one-on-one fight scenes.

The second part of the performance comes from a scene in a moving picture called “Zatoichi” made in 2003, she shared, and the timeline of the movie occurred around 1600 to 1800. The music from the scene is called “Festivo,” a piece of energetic music, she shared. Winchester said they perform this dance while wearing traditional clothing called yukata and kimono.

Thailand: Fighting and flirting Club President Sahapoom (Upper) Suriyachan, a senior from Bangkok, Thailand, majoring in marketing, said the male members present Thai boxing or Muay Thai, for the first part of their performance. He said he wanted to show the real and unique aspect of Muay Thai for this year’s Culture Night performance. “It’s not just only for punches or kicks, but it’s more of elbows and knees,” he added. He said this section is accompanied by an upbeat modern song that match the movements. Suriyachan said the second part of the performance is a mixture of boys and girls, and they use a song called “30 Yung Jaew.” Suriyachan said, “The meaning of the song is about a man flirting with a woman and telling her that she looks beautiful no matter how old

she is. The song’s dance is a modern-day dance mixed with the dance from the ‘50s.” The vibe in this section is from around the 1940s to the 1950s in Thailand, where people dance with colorful clothing, he said. The third part is also performed by both boys and girls and the song is called “Jojaja,” which has a cute vibe, he added. The song’s meaning is a man sings how he likes a woman’s movements and invites her to dance with him, Suriyachan said. The fourth part, he said, is based on a traditional festival in Thailand called “Loy Krathong.” According to, “Loy Krathong Festival, known as Thailand’s Festival of Lights, is an annual traditional Siamese festival celebrated by Thais to pay respect to the Goddess of Water and the Buddha.” It is a nationwide celebration where Thai people meet around rivers, lakes and canals to float “krathongs,” which are “lotus-shaped rafts decorated with banana leaves, flowers, and candles,” says the site. • Top to bottom: Students from Vietnam Club dance their autumn section; members of Thailand Club dance along to music from the ‘50s; Japan Club dances while wearing traditional clothing. Photos by Leung Yui and Munkhbayar Magvandorj.





Samoan Club vice president hopes to send messages of lineage, unification and honor Samoan culture with their songs BY PAIGE PETERSEN & AMANDA PENROD


oloi Fidow Vaiouga, a senior from Samoa majoring in social work and vice president of the Samoan Club, said she hopes the music and dancing performed at Culture Night reminded those with Samoan heritage who they are. “Wherever in the world you are, and whether you’re half, some, or full Samoan, you’ll know who you are.” Tifaga Dennis Faanunu, a junior from Samoa majoring in IT, said the entrance song is a sacred piece belonging to his family and “includes values of us not wanting to be defeated or looked down on.” He said the song also expresses love for family, hard work and effort, love and respect, and “the continuous traditions taught to all generations.” Vaiouga said history and ancestry is shared in the song, as well as the responsibilities of the people within their village. She said the graceful lyrics and upbeat rhythm emphasize “the Samoan way.” The Maulu’ulu song was next, which is one of the “slow songs,” usually performed by women, Vaiouga explained. However, this year, both men and women danced during it. She said the Maulu’ulu song

Samoan Club members perform traditional Samoan songs and dances. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos and Marwin Jay Villegas.

is meant to showcase what their community values and principles have been since childhood. “The female knows where to stand, her responsibility in the house, outside of the house, and the community-even the meals.” The song also talks of the respect expected to be given, whether it be to their elders, their culture, or the hierarchy, Vaiouga said. She shared it is an important value within their community that is expressed within the song. The Sasa song and dance were also performed by both men and women and is done while sitting, kneeling, or standing, Vaiouga explained. Levi Fuaga, a senior majoring in English from Honolulu, Hawaii, who is a member of the Samoa Club said the music during the Sasa is unique. “There’s so much energy that goes into it. … It’s a kind of energy you don’t get to express every day.” According to Vaiouga, “Every movement of this performance indicates to us your choice back home,” whether it be doing your chores, outside activities, cooking, or other movements. They are all portrayed to create the song for this dance, shared Vaiouga. •


CULTURE NIGHT COSTUMES The Aotearoa Club costumes represented the symbolism of animals in their culture, says the club president BY LEVI FUAGA

HAWAII Robert Lono Ikuwa from Honolulu, Hawaii, is the cultural director for the Hawaiian Club for Culture Night. He said members of the Hawaiian Club wore a “kihei,” which is a rectangular tapa garment worn over one shoulder and tied in a knot. They wore red, white and blue, he added. In Hawaiian culture, the color blue represents the life-giving force of water to both land and mankind, explained Ikuwa. He said the theme of the performance was “Ola i ka Wai,” which translates to “water gives life.” For the first number, he said the performers did a chant called “Aia i hea ka wai a Kane,” which means “Where art the water of Kane,” describing the water cycle in its different forms. Ikuwa shared the color white represents the purity of truth and how truth will conquer. “We believe in the principle of reciprocity and righteous redress. Our intent is pure and based on truth.” Red symbolizes “the fire within” and the passion and loyalty to “ali’i” and “kupuna,” said Ikuwa. “The fire grows as we continue to educate ourselves and bring warmth to the soul and destruction and healing from past wrongs.” The final number described the ongoing fight for justice and peace for Hawaii, he added.

SAMOA Samoa Club President Julia Sio said the girls wore a blue and black “puletasi,” a two-piece outfit consisting of a top piece and skirt called a “sulu.” The words “pule” and “tasi,” she added, mean power or authority and being one. The puletasi represents one’s ownership over the body and how they dress, she shared. Sio, a senior from Samoa majoring in information technology, said the puletasi is the traditional dress that women wear for certain occasions such as funerals or attending church. She said it is worn to protect the important parts of their body and to show respect to their families. In addition, she said girls will be wearing an “ula sisi,” or shell necklace, and a “sei,” or flower, in their ears, representing their love for and desire for sharing their culture with others. The boys wore the same print as the girls: a black and blue “ie lavalava,” said Sio, which was tied and tucked in underneath their belly. The way it is tied is called “sulu faasigiki” and represents the way it’s normally worn in Samoa while doing everyday tasks, she added. “The whole theme of our Culture Night performance and costumes links to the … meaning we are from Samoa [and] trying to remember the culture we were raised in and grew up with.” Sio shared the boys also wore “ula lauti,” “tauvae,” or tea leaf necklaces and the “ula nifo,” or tooth necklace. The ula lauti and the tauvae are worn to protect the body from the heat of an “‘umu,” or earth oven, and from the sun, she added. Growing up, Sio said she was taught by her grandparents to use what the land provides to protect themselves. In Samoa, Sio said people chase a lot of pigs and wild animals because their ancestors figured out they could carve pig’s teeth and then use as a necklace. “Our strength is [our] creativity of [using] different things that we get out of the land. We wear them to embrace our culture.”

AOTEAROA Aotearoa Club President Devon Beatson said their costumes reflected different animals, their symbolism and links to their culture. The green in their dresses and adorning pieces, she said, represents the “haka,” which is about a green gecko. Beatson, a senior psychology major from Ahipara, New Zealand, said performers wore black feathers with a white tip for their opening number, a dance which told the story of a “toroa” bird, or albatross. Beatson explained, “In our culture, these represent leadership and mana, which is something we hope all of our club members will take out with them.” •

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FRIDAY HIGHLIGHTS 14 clubs celebrate their cultures on the first night of Culture Night BY PAIGE PETERSEN & AMANDA PENROD


hile it can take more than two days to fly non-stop around the earth, BYU–Hawaii students were able to make 27 stops all over the world during the two-night 2022 annual Culture Night. Held on March 18 and 19, Culture Night is a celebration of the university’s mission, cultural diversity and the promotion of peace internationally as students from campus clubs celebrated their cultures on the floor of the Cannon Activities Center.

Hawaii The Hawaiian Club traditionally is the first club to perform at Culture Night, and this year wearing red, white and blue, club members said they danced in honor of the life-giving force of water to both land and mankind.

Hong Kong Members of the Hong Kong Club presented traditional lion and dragon dances for Culture Night. Two sets of lion dancers performed together on the stage before a lighted dragon wound around the floor chasing a blazing ball that represents a “pearl of wisdom,” says the China Family Adventure website.

Melanesia Yellow grass skirts swayed back and forth as the drums played for the Melanesian Club’s performance. A miniature replica of a sailboat was carried to the front of the stage floor and served as a focal point for the performers. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos and Marwin Jay Villegas.

Cambodia Dressed in glimmering gold headpieces, women dancers used head, arm and intricate figure motions to begin the club’s performance. A group of men in the club did a monkey dance. Their portrayal of monkeys drew laughter and smiles from the audience.

Kiribati Skirts of black moved to upbeat music as the women of the Kiribati Club came first on floor to dance. The men joined the women and performed together.

Western Country Wearing denim jeans and cowboy boots, members of the new Western Country Club formed neat lines across the floor as country music began playing and they began line dancing. The dancers then broke into pairs for swing dancing where partners were lifted and swung into the air.

Aotearoa With quaking hands and wearing facial tatoos and feathers in their hair, members of the club started by singing to the audience. The men came forward at one point and met the audience’s eyes to perform a haka by chanting and sticking out their tongues.

Taiwan Performers portraying a couple touring Taiwan served as the narrators for this performance. A new song and dance were S PECIA L ISSUE 11

performed at each stop on their journey. A mascot came out and greeted the audience tossing candy to the crowd.

Hip-Hop Dancers heads and hair bounced with each upbeat movement to the music. At the end of the performance, the dancers gathered together and threw colorful powder into the air that floated down into their white shirts.

Hapkido Wearing white robes with various colored belts, the members of the Hapkido Club put on a display of marshal artistry. Then a figure in black stood in the spotlight, slowly drew out a sword and showed the audience how quickly he could maneuver it.

Australia In the dim blue lighting, the sound of a didgeridoo began to fill the void of silence surrounding the stage. With the introduction of a drumbeat, performers dressed in red began to sing and chant in unison, performing a traditional dance of one of the oldest civilizations.

Indonesia A song was sung in the darkness, leading to the illuminating of figures from different backgrounds dressed in black standing linked together. Surrounding them were colorful representations of cultures found in Indonesia.

Singapore & Malaysia Vibrant skirts sparkled as the women moved in their brightly colored fabric pieces and golden headpieces. The men, dressed in colorful attire, rose and fell in a line.

Samoa Club members flooded the floor dressed in an ocean blue. The men danced and chanted first then the group sat cross legged covering each inch of the floor to present the energetic Sasa. •

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Performers are all winners for sharing their cultures, says student BY XYRON LEVI CORPUZ & RAHEL MEYER


he showcasing of cultures continued during the second evening of Culture Night 2022, with performances from Pickleball to Fiji. The desire of each group was to represent their cultures making everybody winners that night, said Nefi Krisubanu, who performed with the Indonesia Club. Cheers and clapping filled the Cannon Activities Center as each of the 13 clubs waited for their turn to take the stage that night.

Pickelball For 10 minutes, two student teams competed in a pickleball match to win a $50 voucher. Cheered on by the crowd, the players engaged in a head-to-head game, which was analyzed by two commentators.

Vietnam Dressed in all-white costumes, dancers used their conical hats as an accessory to perform a traditional dance. At the beginning of the performance, a club member said the white costumes resembled the school uniforms worn by students in Vietnam.

Latin America The stage was filled with female performers wearing vibrant, colorful Folklorico dresses embellished with bright ribbons. The men did a traditional Mexican dance wearing black sombreros.

Thailand Wearing white hand wraps and shorts, male dancers performed an intricate

Photos by Leung Yui and Munkhbayar Magvandorj.

choreography of the Muay Thai. The martial arts fighters did several stunts that involved tricks like flips, kicks and high jumps.

Mongolia A contortionist dressed in a black twisted her body into unusual, flexible positions. Mongolian dancers performed a lively choreography and smiled throughout their performance while implementing the difficult, high-energy-filled moves.

Japan The audience cheered as performers dressed as famous anime characters, among them Naruto and Pikachu, stepped on the stage. The club members, dressed in colorful traditional Japanese wear, mastered unison choreography through their synchronized dance.

Philippines The Philippine Club told a story of two Philippine native tribes; one wore a touch of red and the other wore a hint of blue. The two tribes who were


fighting each other came together in peace through the two lovers from each tribe. The couple was a bridge to unite the groups through love and understanding.

Tahiti The stage was filled with shades of white, brown and red as men and women from the Tahiti Club wore their tribal traditional clothing with smiles on their faces. Both men and women danced with grace and energy as the crowd cheered them on.

South Korea The performance of the South Korea Club was a combination of both traditional dance and K-pop. Dancers wearing colorful long-sleeved clothing swayed in the air using fans. A vigorous dance followed with lively music in the signature style of K-Pop.

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The India Club performance was a mixture of dances such as Indian Pop music, traditional dances and Bollywood moves. The different dance formations, bright colorful costumes and smiles on the dancer’s faces made it fun to watch.

The stage was filled with red when Tonga Club presented. Not only did the club members dance with passion and energy but also delivered a heartfelt performance dedicated to their mother island which was devastated by a recent natural disaster. The performers’ plea was to #PrayforTonga. The crowd answered by lighting their phones in the dark as a sign of their support for Tonga.

China The China Club’s performance felt like traveling back in time to ancient China because of the traditional dances and choice of music. Its presentation was not only about how well they danced but also about the amazing traditional clothing they presented with different styles, colors and design. At the end of the presentation, they gathered as a group and waved a massive Chinese flag..

Fiji The Fiji Club concluded the Culture Night 2022. Fiji’s presentation was all about the small details of their clothing from their face paint, necklaces, Fijian fans and skirts, showing the countless of hours they did for this performance. With vigorous dancing, the club gave the audience a wholehearted performance. •





Tongan Club pays tribute to those who have been affected by the recent volcanic eruption and shares a message of hope, strength and faith BY PAIGE PETERSEN & AMANDA PENROD


ith the recent tragedy striking Tonga, the Tongan Club members wanted to use their Culture Night performance as an opportunity to pay tribute to the people and the islands of Tonga who have been affected by volcanic eruptions and tsunami, shared Talamonu Tupou, president of the Tongan Club. “When you go through hardships and hard times, you mourn, you’re sad about it, but when it’s done, it’s done.You get up, you fight, and you move on to face the next challenge,” Tupou said, who is a senior from Tonga studying business management. Tupou said they also wanted to recognize their ancestors during the performance. The girls danced to a song called “Hala Kuo Papa,” which means “a path well trotted,” Tupou shared. He said the song was composed by the late King George Tupou I and refers to how, when one uses a certain ground as a walkway for a long time, it then becomes a pathway for all to use. Tupou explained this song is meant to be a tribute for their ancestors, as well for their first king. King George Tupou I “never once gave up Tonga to any foreign the friends of the English people,” Tupou shared. “That is something unique, and it’s something that we Tongans take pride in: We have never been colonized.” Ember Lusinde, a freshman from Indiana majoring in biochemistry, took part in the Tongan Club Culture Night performance and said the songs the they sang together was “a testimony of blessings and goodness from the people of Tonga.” “It is a very uplifting hymn when sung as a group,” she shared. “You can feel the unity of the people as you sing and feel their testimony. Filled with “energy, optimism, and aggression,” the boys then performed the “Taufakaniua.” Tupou said “tau” means “war” and “niua” is the name of one of the Tongan islands. This performance is meant to be loud, with lots of noise and big movements as it is a war dance, Tupou expressed. Towards the end of the performance, a Tongan hymn that means “little island somewhere in the sea” was sung. Tupou said their land may be small, but “something to recognize is it is a powerful thing to come from the oceans.” He said he hopes the song ties them back to not just their home on land, but also their ocean as well. Brooke Dutro, a freshman from Utah majoring in hospitality and tourism management, was also able to perform with the Tongan Club and said her testimony grew a lot while singing the hymn. “The love I felt as I performed was incredible,” Dutro continued. “I developed so much love and respect for the Tongan culture, and I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to participate.” •

Tongan Club members perform traditional Tongan songs and dances. Photos by Uurtsaikh Nyamdeleg, Leung Yui, Munkhbayar Magvandorj.

BEHIND -THE- SCENES Students and staff spent countless hours preparing for Culture Night with the success of the clubs as their motivation BY NICHOLE WHITELEY


ulture Night showcases the hard work clubs have put into their performances, and the entire production would not be possible without all the students working behind the scenes, said Savaira Veikoso, a senior from Fiji majoring in business management, who is the student manager of Clubs in the Student Leadership and Service Department. “We are accustomed to thinking it is only for the cultural clubs, but we forget that the definition of culture is the way of life for a group of people,” said Veikoso. She added one of the aspects of preparing for this year’s Culture Night was making it more inclusive for all clubs. For example, this year the Pickleball Club performed along with the cultural clubs. Student Leadership, Media Productions, the Service Center, Seasider Sports & Activities, Office of Honor, Campus Safety and Security, Media Productions, University Communications and other departments have been preparing since the end of last year for Culture Night. Many of these departments are student-run and Veikoso said they all must work together to put Culture Night together and ensure it runs smoothly. Meet the directors of Culture Night Those in Student Leadership were the directors of Culture Night. They coordinated all the tasks, ensuring other departments worked together and ensuring whomever was assigned to specific jobs got it done. They helped clubs find places to practice, coordinated

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the photoshoots and videos to show at Culture Night, put together the advertising for Culture Night and more. There are eight club leadership team supervisors as part of Student Leadership, and each person was assigned eight clubs to supervise. Veikoso said these students worked tirelessly to ensure their clubs were prepared to perform on Culture Night. Student Leadership worked closely with Media Productions to create the videos played prior to each clubs’ performance. Conor Lunt, Media Productions manager and a BYU–Hawaii alumnus, said the videos allowed each club to “share any special meanings behind their performance.” In the weeks leading up to Culture Night, Veikoso said, mediation is a vital part of their job. During this stressful preparation period, she said it can be challenging to work through disagreements. Veikoso said, “We have to be comfortable with making uncomfortable decisions.” She said this is often emotionally draining because they did not want decisions to affect their relationships with their peers. But she said as a team they prayed about important decisions and counseled together on how best to move forward and benefit all students. “I’m very grateful for my team and our department. It’s not easy … We’ve seen his [the Lord’s] hand a lot in our work. “Culture Night is meant to be, and it’s going to happen, and it’s meant for everyone to come together,” Veikoso shared.

Meet the behind-the-scenes volunteers The Service Center worked behind the scenes with the help of over a dozen clubs that volunteered to help. The clubs and those working at the Service Center ushered, cleaned and swept the stage, monitored the

changing rooms, helped with check-in and conducted bag checks. Sydney Gwilliam, a senior from Utah majoring in business management, who is a Service Center supervisor, said some of these clubs included: Professional Accounting, Embody Love, Real Estate and Pickleball. The Service Center began holding evening training meetings during the Fall 2021 Semester to ensure the volunteering clubs knew their roles. Gwilliam said the months of planning, training is all worth it because, “We just love

seeing our students have a great time and helping to live up the traditions of this wonderful university.” Meet the team behind the broadcast and tech Media Productions’ team of 15 people were in charge of broadcasting Culture Night for everyone to view.They operated cameras, worked on graphics, did video control and more. Lunt said both Culture Nights were broadcast from its TV studio. Four hours before Culture

Above and opposite page: Students and faculty work countless hours in preparation for Culture Night.

Night began, the team met to set up cameras, run cables, go through graphics, troubleshoot any potential technical issues and complete a test run. Lunt said the most challenging part of Culture Night is anticipating any technical issues that may arise in the middle of the show. “Broadcasts are fun for our team, but it can be a high-stress environment when equipment doesn’t work properly.” He said Media Productions puts all its effort into making sure the timing for each performance is correct so it’s less stressful for the clubs. •



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