Center For Southeast Asian Studies

University of Wisconsin-Madison
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2004 SEASSI Comes to a Close

(Posted: August 3, 2004) The summer began with 160+ students gathered from around the world ready to study Southeast Asian languages, but after eight weeks of intensive language learning, the 2004 session of SEASSI is drawing to a close at UW-Madison.

In addition to language learning, the eight language groups (Lao, Indonesian, Khmer, Filipino, Vietnamese, Burmese, Hmong, and Thai) gave students the opportunity to study culture through music performances, "traditional food" events, field trips, and more.

SEASSI also provided extracurricular events for students. Two courses, Javanese Gamelan and Film of Island Southeast Asian, were offered as additional classes. A lecture series led by Anna Gade (Religion Department, Oberlin College) gave students a better understanding of Islam in Southeast Asia. A weekly film series screened both documentary and feature films from and about the different languages. On July 24, the annual SEASSI Student Conference was held. 23 papers were presented by undergraduate and graduate students focusing on specific interests in SE Asia.

But not everything was academic. For the sixth consecutive year, SEASSI held a summer-long volleyball tournament. Students and faculty used the tournament as an opportunity to meet students outside of their language group and strengthen the friendship bonds within their respective groups. The tournament ended with Hmoob-Peevxwm (Hmong) defeating the Hanumaniacs (Khmer) in the championship match, giving the Hmong their third title in a row and cementing their place in the annals of SEASSI Volleyball as the "Hmong-opoly".

On Saturday, July 31, SEASSI students, faculty, and staff gathered at the Lowell Center to celebrate a successful summer. Divided by their languages of study, the eight language classes entertained the crowd with their different presentations.

The Khmer started the evening with their eclectic blend of traditional and modern song and dance, as well as performing a humorous skit. Lao and Indonesian classes both gave cultural dance and song performances. The Filipino group offered a slice of pop journalism in the Philippines. The Hmong performed a re-creation of the lives of early Hmong refugees in the U.S. highlighted by a refugee song. The Vietnamese acted out the marriage process in Vietnam and incorporated a song written by instructor Bac Hoai Tran. The Burmese chanted an original poem written in traditional style (than-jat). The Thai class acted out a day-in-the-life of a Thai student and ended with an expression of gratitude to the Thai teachers.

The banquet concluded with the presentation of awards: first, to the Hmong for their domination in the volleyball tournament and second, to the nominees for the Usha Mahajani Memorial Prize for the outstanding graduate student at SEASSI. After the nominees for each language were listed, Mya Gosling of the Thai program was announced as the winner for 2004. The other nominees, in no particular order, were: Sokhieng Au - Burmese, Denise Cruz - Filipino, Pa Kou Hang - Hmong, Mara Henderson - Indonesian, Kannika So - Khmer, Charles Matthew Carroll - Lao, and Christine Cao - Vietnamese.

Thanks should be given to the SEASSI faculty and staff: the language instructors are some of the world’s best and the administration worked extra-hard to make sure the program ran smoothly, but in the end, the success of SEASSI 2004 belongs to the students. It is their commitment to language study that makes SEASSI possible and gives SEASSI its well-deserved reputation.

To find out more about SEASSI, please visit the SEASSI homepage.

Banquet Photos:

The Indonesian class performs a traditional dance.

A Lao student dances, while her classmates sing.

The Filipino class stages an interview

The Burmese class delivers their poem.

The Vietnamese stage the marriage process.



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Center for Southeast Asian Studies
University of Wisconsin-Madison
207 Ingraham Hall
1155 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1397
phone: (608) 263-1755
fax: (608) 263-3735
e-mail: seasia@intl-institute.wisc.edu