Every year, the Parkside International Club sponsors World Fest, a week-long celebration of world cultures. This year’s lineup of events did not disappoint, as the theme was Acceptance–The Bridge to Equality. The events were overall very educational and well put together; the PIC did a very good job of planning and organizing the entire World Fest.
On Tuesday, a local Capoeira club came to Parkside and demonstrated the elegant art of Capoeira. It is a Brazilian Martial Art with African traditions mixed in, developed in the 1500s. Back then, guns were not allowed, so any fighting had to be civilized and elegant. Because of this, Capoeira is always performed with music and the movements are trancelike, resembling a dance. The music is performed with drums, tambourines, shakers, and chants. If Capoeira is attempted without music, it loses its meaning, because the movements of Capoeira are designed to go along with the music; the unique musical style is as much a part of Capoeira as the movements themselves.
Tuesday night featured a screening of a German movie called Goodbye Lenin. Professor Siegfried Cristoph gave an hour-long background to the film prior to its screening. After World War II, Germany was divided into East and West halves; the capital city of Berlin was divided as well. The West had a highly decentralized government, and embraced capitalism and the spirit of change, while the East had a socialist government and was very resistant to change. However, after many treaties and accords attempted to normalize relations between the two sides, the Berlin Wall finally fell in 1989, uniting the two conflicting sides of Germany.
The film Goodbye Lenin is a parallel film about the conflict between East and West Germany. It was surprisingly hilarious despite the serious themes presented, and also very efficiently taught the viewer a bit about German history. It is a film that a person from any culture could appreciate, as it teaches the values of patriotism, family, and love.
Japanese Beer Industry
Dr. Jeffery Alexander gave an informative presentation on the Japanese Beer industry from the years 1870 to 1970. His primary focus revolved around three Japanese beers: Sappuro, Yebisu, and Kirin, which was formerly known as the Japan Brewing Company. Kirin, when it was known as the Japan Brewing Company, is said to be the oldest of the beer industries, along with Sappuro. However, the Japan Brewing Company moved, so, Sappuro is the oldest one that is still around. Also, Assahi is the most popular beer in Japan.
According to Alexander, Japanese beer is a little stronger when being compared to American beer, but not by much. After writing a book on the Japanese Motorcycle Industry, and since beer is a big thing in America, he thought he would do one about beer, since he is a fan of beer himself.
After the presentation, the people who were at least 21 years old (like myself) were able to sample two of the Japanese beers. We sampled Sappuro and Kirin. It was a great experience, learning about Japanese beer, especially being able to taste it.
Soccer around the world
Professor Kenny “K Diddy” French gave a presentation dealing with soccer in different countries. In his presentation, he covered the majority of Europe and how all of the countries have different traits when it comes to soccer. Two props were also brought in for the presentation: a Vuvuzela (also known as a lepatata Mambu), which is a plastic horn you blow into at the World Cup, and an official soccer ball, they use in the World Cup.
During his presentation, he played videos that showed examples of different countries teams and the strategies they used. One of the examples he showed us was the “Hand of God,” which is an illegal move where you use your hand to make a goal. One of the strategies he showed us involves the Italians faking their injuries. They do this to get the other team in trouble as well as get them a free kick.
Before I left, I asked Professor French who his favorite team was. He responded by saying Fulham, one of the many teams of England. I gained new knowledge about soccer; leaning that team is unique in their own way, whether you are talking about their strategies or traditions.
Revolt in the Middle East
Thursday evening, Professors Nathan Godley and Seif Dana hosted a discussion about the recent Arab unrest in the Middle East and North African regions. They addressed the questions, “Why are there so many uprisings in the Middle East?”, “How does it affect us?”, and “What do they mean?” There were a number of possible answers presented, and not one of them pointed to “Radical Islam” as a reason, contrary to the belief of many Americans today. The uprisings occurring in the Middle East are strictly political, economical, and militant: a battle between nationalism and privatization in the Arabic world. Many Middle Eastern governments are corrupt, have unequal distributions of wealth, and as such, many Western governments believe that the Arabs are incapable of governing themselves peacefully. But, that is precisely what citizens of Middle Eastern countries are trying to obtain: a peaceful, organized government. With the fast-paced globalization of today’s day and age, the world seems to be getting smaller and smaller. It affects us here in the US because these people, like the people of every other country on the planet, are our neighbors; currently, the government of the US and several other countries are assisting Libya in the overthrow of a dictator. Events similar to this one are sure to come in the future.
World Cuisine Dinner
The finale of the week was the magnificent World Cuisine Dinner. It was a somewhat dressy occasion, and, for a reasonable ticket price, the food selection was great. The menu for the evening featured foods from all over the world, and the selection of performers did not disappoint. Escamilla Entertainment opened the event with both traditional Mexican and Aztec dance , and among the other talented acts were Kinsella Academy’s Irish Dancers, Fujima Ryu of Chicago, and Siempre Flamenco of Milwaukee. Many UW-Parkside students also showcased their talents and ethnic pride at the dinner. For aesthetic purposes, the Mahone Middle School Bonsai Society had their beautiful bonsai trees on display before the dinner. The event was very rewarding; it fostered diversity, acceptance, and appreciation for world cultures.