Long-winded and Tight-lipped: How Oxymoronic of You

It's been my experience so far that Cambodians like to talk. I've had strangers off the street will come up to me and ask personal questions. One of the guards at the school once talked at me for literally 40 minutes straight without coming up for breath. And the Prime Minister -- boy are his speeches long-winded! But with all this chatter, not much is being said. (Do you feel venting coming along? Please bear with me.)

So I've been in charge of creating, writing, editing and publishing "The U.C. Bulletin," a PR friendly publication to give friends and supporters of the university an idea of the "goings on" around campus. While it's cool to be able to single-handedly put a publication together and take part in the recording of university history, the stories I have been producing aren't exactly the most exhilarating.

Why? Because Cambodians are tight-lipped.


The president, Dr. Kao, wants me to write an update on the radio station that the university owns. Simple enough, right? I contacted one of the managers at the station who was able to answer a few of my questions, but suggested I talk to the CEO to get more details on other things. So for the past week and a half or so I've been trying to get in contact with him, and I e-mailed him these questions so he'd have an idea of what sort of general information I wanted to know:

1. How was the radio station started and how is it funded?
2. What are your most popular programs? Are these programs produced locally or are they syndicated?
3. Are all the programs in Khmer or are there some in English?
4. How many staff work at the station?
5. What is the main goal of the station?
6. What are future plans for the station? Do you have any ideas you will be implementing?
7. How are students currently involved at the station?
8. The TV station is expected to launch in May 2009. How far along are you in the development of the programming?

Pretty basic stuff. Nothing that I found too unbearable to answer.

Well, I guess I was wrong. This afternoon I received an e-mail chain where apparently the CEO said that some of these questions "affect the confidentiality" of the station. Seriously?! All I wanted to do was write a simple "We are UC. We have a radio station. We are amazing." snippet and all of a sudden I'm a dreaded investigative reporter!

What's even worse is that all this talk about me is going on behind my back and no one cares to say anything to me about the situation. AND Dr. Kao is telling the CEO to meet with me still. Gah! Why do people have to make things so complicated?!

See what I mean about three steps forward, two steps back? (I'm supposed to have this newsletter finished by the end of the month. We'll see how cooperative my subjects are.)

1 comment:

Crys said...

Geez, those questions are really tame compared to some of the questions I've fired at university officials. he he. Good luck trying to get your story!