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Tian Ho ’25 Appreciates Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Tian Ho ’25 Appreciates Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May 23, 2023

Having the month of May designated as Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month means a lot to Tian Ho ’25.

Ho, who is majoring in Sports Business Management with a minor in Communications, is from Englewood, Florida. However, he has Asian ancestry because his father immigrated from Hong Kong, China.

Tian Ho Lantern

“I think observances like Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month are extremely important to highlight the vast number of cultures and the differences between them,” Ho said. “There are so many different ethnicities even within the countries of the Asian continent that go beyond just being Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, or Thai just to name a few. Having a month to celebrate and spread awareness that these cultures and differences exist, while also bringing people together to celebrate them, is a great opportunity.”

Ho credits the Florida Southern College Asian-Pacific Islander Student Association (APISA) and his father for helping him to learn more about his culture.

“I wasn't in touch with my Hong Konger heritage as much as I would've liked to be prior to finding an organization like APISA,” Ho said. “I was always appreciative of the tips about culture my dad taught to me, but I've begun to celebrate it a lot more since joining APISA because I've met a lot more people of Asian descent since joining.”

Ho is currently the vice president of FSC APISA and next year he will be the president of the organization.

“I think people, especially we of Asian descent, benefit from clubs and organizations like APISA because they help us find a sense of community and bring light to various topics,” Ho said. “People who came before me like Grace Sill ‘23, Brian Pham ‘22, Amy Clark ‘22, Isabel Arcusa ’22, Zoe Perkins ‘21, Kayla Dumon’20, as well as our advisor Dr. Loh helped develop this community and I cannot thank them enough for giving me this experience and helping me find people that I had long been searching for. If anyone is ever looking to find a community on campus to learn about or embrace API heritage, APISA is the place to be.”

One of the main things Ho wants people to know about his father’s home country is that Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997. It was transferred to China on July 1, 1997, after 156 years of British rule. Hong Kong is now a special administrative region of China.

Tian Ho Purple Panda

“It was considered to be the gateway to the West for a long-time, which many people do not realize since it is governed by China,” Ho said. “I personally don't speak much Cantonese despite having tried to learn it, but my dad and his parents speak it, which is very important because some people call it a dying language. The food there (in Hong Kong) is often considered some of the most famous Chinese regional cuisine and has such a unique spin on it because of the British influence.”

Ho wants everyone to be aware of the diversity that exists within Asian-Pacific Islander groups.

I wish people knew how different the ethnicities, communities, regions, provinces, and cities are in China as well as beyond,” Ho said. “For me I love being able to associate with people who are Chinese as well as other Asian ethnicities, but I also love belonging to such a unique community that has shared such a different history compared to the rest of China, which deeply influences their way of life to this day.”

Ho works with FSCTV, the College’s broadcast journalism channel and has always been an avid athlete between soccer, running, and going to the gym, but he absolutely loves to cook.

“I've always cooked with my family,” he said. “My Dad owned a really successful Cantonese restaurant when I was super young, and I took four years of culinary classes in high school. I've since used these lessons to learn how to cook a variety of cultures' cuisines, but I can never resist making regional Chinese dishes and learning the proper techniques that give each one the attention it deserves.”

May being officially recognized as Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month highlights both the similarities and differences that exist and make each group special.

“I have so much more to learn myself, but that's what Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month is all about,” Ho said. “There isn't really a specific celebration, but I personally take it as a time to learn about my heritage as well as learn about other's heritage. Learning about Asian and Pacific Islander heritage doesn't have to be a one-month thing.”

Tian Ho APISA Group Photo