By Christina “ICON” Shin, Staff Writer
Culture is more than just skin-deep. It involves knowledge, customs, beliefs, art, and morals. Culture is one of the elements that defines us, having taken in what we learn and creating traditions to pass onto future generations.
The month of May paved way for Asian American and Pacific Islander (APIA/AAPI) Heritage Month so we asked sisters to share their cultural heritage and tell us why they are proud of their culture, flipping the script on this month’s Ask-a-Sister.
“The Korean culture has taught me discipline, beauty, pride, and family values. My culture, although I may not be the most well-versed in it, is steeped in traditional values. While independence and paving your own path is encouraged in the American culture, I’m glad I have the Korean culture to ground me with my family. Of course, Korean culture encourages innovation and being the best, which meshes well with the American culture. In addition, there is such pride in the Korean culture that if you are Korean, you are automatically prideful of your nationality. To be Korean is to be a part of the best. In order to be the best, we must continually strive to be in that position. This is not to say Korean is better than other nationalities–this is to say that even if we were scraping bottom, our attitude towards bettering ourselves will make us behave as if we are the best–and like a self-actualizing prophecy, we become better. The beauty of the Korean culture is in its rich history and traditions. When looking at pictures, grace and beauty permeate them. My culture is a bright beacon that has guided me throughout my life, and continues to mold me today. It, of course, clashes with my upbringing in America at times, which is what most 2nd generation children go through, but it continues to make me into a better person when I might have gone in a different direction. I will be forever grateful for my culture and my upbringing.”
-Christine “ECKO” Ho, University of Georgia
“I’m proud of my culture because it’s the thread that makes up the fabric of my life. Everything that happened centuries and even just decades ago in Vietnam has resulted in the comfort food I love going home to, the meaningful ceremonies and rituals that I cherish, and the values that make me someone I’m proud to be. Because of my culture, I get to enjoy my grandma’s homemade bánh tét and bánh bột lọc. Because of my culture, I get to wear gorgeous áo dài. And because of my culture, I get to be a chị hai. My culture represents the struggles and triumphs of a people that know the meaning of hard-work and perseverance. We were able to beautifully weave together the cultures of the French and Chinese, who once ruled us, to become what is now uniquely Vietnamese. For these reasons and so many more, I am proud of my culture.”
-Elizabeth “Vérse” Pham, University of Central Florida
“I am proud of my culture because it gives me a sense of history, knowing and understanding my culture’s past. I want to make my ancestors proud of me and how far I have come. They worked hard and sacrificed a lot so that future generations will have it easier than they did. I’m proud to be a part of something so much bigger than myself.”
-Emily “Ryūma” Miller, University of West Florida
Featured Image: NY Photographic via The Blue Diamond Gallery