“When people think of Asia, they only think of East Asia-China, Japan, Korea, for example,” said Claro Nunez ’03, treasurer of the Pacific Island and Southeast Asian Students (PISEAS) organization. “Asia is not a homogeneous area, so we wanted to inform the community about its diversity.”
PISEAS was founded by Jannah Manansala ’03 and Joann Nguyen ’03 at the end of their freshman year to provide a resource for individuals interested in learning more about the culture of Southeast Asian nations.
The club has held events that have been well attended. “I loved the Hawaiian Luau they held last year,” said Thanh Tran ’03. “The stick fighting performance was great because I got to see different forms of martial arts than the karate or tae kwon do that we all have gotten used to.”
This semester, PISEAS is concentrating on bringing a noted speaker to campus. “We are inviting Dith Pran, a Cambodian refugee whose life story was depicted in the movie ‘The Killing Fields,’ to come and speak to us on April 2,” said PISEAS Co-Chair Chanta Pou ’04. “I feel that people don’t know much about the Cambodian genocide.”
Pran was a survivor of the Cambodian genocide, a mass killing responsible for the deaths of more than a million people. “Dith Pran was a war journalist for The New York Times when he was left behind and endured starvation and torture in the killing fields,” Pou said. “We need everyone to learn more about what has been going on in the world, especially in light of the events going on right now.”