A celebration of culture

Performers, speakers take stage for Hmong New Year



A dance group performs at the Asian American Student Association’s Hmong New Year celebration on Nov. 12.

Antilica Xiong, Staff Writer

The Asian American Student Association of Madison College hosted a Hmong New Year on Nov. 12. The night consisted of many musical performances including dancers and singers along with an educational guest speaker Xai Soua Vang.

During his presentation, Vang spoke about a video he recorded of his journey to Laos that he called ‘The Hot Wheels Story.’ When he arrived in Laos, he went to all the remote areas and gave hot wheel cars to the local kids.

The idea was inspired from the time Vang spent living in refugee camps as a boy. He had nothing to play with in the camps and always wanted a Hot Wheels car. When he and his wife decided to visit Laos, he ended up looking on craigslist and bought somewhere around 500 to 600 Hot Wheels.

Vang was always motivated to help create opportunities for those who couldn’t create their own, even if it was just with a toy. As the oldest brother of his 10 siblings, Vang said he was “pushed to be an adult right away.”

As soon as he spoke English he had to take care of his parents medical visits and siblings teacher conferences. He says he was always inspired; he just didn’t know where to start because he had to do everything for his family and struggle alone.

Currently, Vang does community work assisting with public relations for the Wisconsin Hmong Association.

When asked if he has any future plans to do something similar to his Hot Wheels effort, Vang said he is planning another trip to Laos. In addition, Vang said that he’s also working on “contributing back to the community,” since growing up he didn’t have someone to help show him that there are opportunities out there.