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Asian American Fundraiser To Support Tsunami Victims

Ranjani Saigal

Like many others in New England, Sarinna Chiang was shocked when she heard about the Tsunami disasters. She was saddened to see the devastation it had caused in many South Asian countries. She felt an urgent need to do something to help and she did. She lead a team of Asian Americans who put up a spectacular culture show on Saturday, January 29th at the John Hancock Hall  featuring dance and music from five countries from the Asian subcontinent and raised $60,000 which they donated to the Red Cross Tsunami relief fund.  In the process they formed a new organization called the New England Asian American Community.

Why a new organization? “When I tried to organize the fundraiser I realized that our community is very fragmented. There are Cantonese people who helped build China town. We have people from Mainland China who run the Newton Chinese School, the China Cultural Association in Cambridge and the Joslin School in Boston  The Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association has people from Taiwan. We formed the new organization as an umbrella organization so that we have a way to work together especially when such calamities occur,” says Chiang.

The show had a wide variety of presentations. Chinese dancers presented different styles of Chinese dancing. These included classical, folk and martial arts. The costumes and choreography was very professional and the dance movements were subtle and graceful. Thai dancers presented a beautiful rendition of “The White Monkey and The Merrmaid”, a little known tale with a Thai twist on the story of Hanuman and his affair with a Kanya from the ocean who he meets during the building of the bridge to Lanka.  Peter Wyeth as Hanuman was spectacular. Indian dancers, Amrita Saigal, Vinisha Patel, Komal Patel and Nivedita Muralidhar presented “Tarangam” in the Kuchipudi style which was very well received by the audience.

The musical presentations ranged from music played on traditional Chinese instruments to Western classical instruments including the piano and the Trombone. There was a fabulous rendition of a song from the Opera Carmen. The event was put together rather quickly. Within the short span of three weeks, they formed the association and put together a fantastic show that raised a reasonable amount of money.

What was the secret behind their success? “I attribute our success to the fact that so many people came together and worked really hard. It showed clearly that  if we work together we can accomplish a lot. We hope that this event is just a beginning. I hope this organization will be a vehicle for Asians including Chinese, Indian, Phillipinno, Vietnamese, Thai and others from the Asian continent to come together and work together” said Chiang.



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