For the university newsletter, I've possibly gotten myself into deep waters by attempting to recruit students and faculty as contributors. I was hoping it would serve as a venue for them to express their ideas while opening the doors to talking about issues hovering around the university. I still have this hope, but I believe that in my typical fashion, I've delved into something and failed to realize the consequences. (Perhaps its my inability to fully realize consequences that keeps me from hiding under my covers every morning.)
As I'm sitting here trying to edit a couple submissions, I hold in my hands prime evidence that Khmers don't have a reading and writing culture. Now, I in no way hold this against them or their society. In Cambodia, we hear time and time again that Pol Pot's regime destroyed the education system in Cambodia and rid the country of its intellectual elites. It's a tired mantra, but it's a fact. Some societies express themselves in words, others do so in other ways. But this is a fact that I apparently chose to ignore when I made the decision recruit writers for the newsletter. I'm confident that encouraging these writers will make a healthy contribution to the university, but I failed to realize the globs elbow grease I'll be contributing to the effort. (That's a pretty metaphor, isn't it?)
Despite the fact that I have to edit for English grammar, which is an obvious given, I'm having to really work with the contributors - faculty as well as students - to develop complete thoughts. Ideas that can fit into a 500- to 1,000-word article. Ideas that are logically thought out, have some sense of direction and aren't lifted from a writer of another article or book. (Plagiarism means nothing here.) It's funny, and I think I mentioned this before in this post, but Khmers can say very little in a lot of words. So this channeling and tapering of language is really testing my editorial prowess.