This blog post was submitted by the Hmong American Student Association (HASA). The mission of the Hmong American Student Association is to promote higher education, serve as a bridge between students, community leaders, and scholars with the Hmong community and the broader American community, address the concerns and needs of students and the Hmong community such as Hmong Human Rights, Students’ Rights and Civil Rights, provide leadership opportunities for aspiring students, serve as a resource for students and serve as a channel to develop, display, and recognize the talents and creativity of the students.
On January 30th, 2014, the Hmong American Student Association (HASA) hosted our Second Annual Mr. HASA Pageant. This was like no other beauty pageant, since typical pageants are usually aimed toward female participants. This was the second year HASA recruited UW-Madison Hmong male students to compete in the Mr. HASA Pageant. The purpose of this event was to promote higher education and cultural awareness; bring Hmong students together to celebrate student achievement; develop, display, and recognize the talents and creativity of the students. Additionally, it raised funds to support the Kaj Siab House, which is a non-profit, mental health care center for Hmong elders in the Dane county.
Mr. HASA Pageant seeks to find Hmong male students who displays leadership, scholarship, and service. He is also someone who displays deep cultural understanding and is a Hmong advocate for social justice in the community. The winner for the Mr. HASA is required to host an education workshop, help promote HASA’s events, and help plan next year’s Mr. HASA Pageant.
The Mr. HASA Pageant consisted of three rounds: platform, talent, and interview round. In the platform round, contestants gave a speech about their views and stance on addressing the Hmong-American culture clash while still maintaining their identity. The contestants blew the crowd away with a variety of hardcore, amazing talents including acoustic guitar, singing, rapping, and storytelling. In the interview round, they gave remarkable, eye-opening speeches about contemporary issue or topic they would present for an education workshop. Our charismatic contestants brought contemporary issues into focus and acknowledged them with insightful strategies on how to improve and advocate for these issues.
Congratulations to the 1st place winner: 2014 Mr. HASA Loua Yang (Junior), 2nd place winner: Tou Vang (Senior), third place winner: Sunny Yang (Sophomore), fabulous participant: Victor Vang (Freshmen), and outstanding participant: Choua Kha (Freshmen). The night ended with giving livestocks (cardboard of course) to the participants for their outstanding display and willingness to share their talents, achievements, and personalities with us!
We could not have done it without our amazing judges: Goodson Vue (PEOPLE program assistant director), Ger Xiong (Asian American Department lecturer), and Dao Yang (representative from the Kaj Siab House). We greatly appreciated our Emcee’s Mr. HASA 2013 Jeffrey Moua and Miss HASA 2013 Navee Lor took the night away and brought laughter and excitement to the wonderful attendees. And special acknowledgement of all the hard work that the HASA pageant planning committee put into bringing this event alive. Overall, the Mr. HASA Pageant raised over $300 to be donated to the Kaj Siab House. Thank you to all who attended and made the night memorable!