‘បញ្ហា? អត់បញ្ហា។ ’ — សំ មន្នី
‘Problem? No problem.’
Monny Som, Phare Ponleu Selpak
Normally I don’t struggle with writing but trying to describe the recent ISTA Connect festival is an exception. This festival makes words seem so small as if no amount will be enough to truly express how we all felt during the three days which completely altered and changed our minds and perspectives about the arts and the power of it. An experience which left us crying for days and talking for hours on end because we didn’t want it to end.
I first took part in ISTA last October 2017 at the Bangkok TaPs. It was during the opening ceremony that I realised that it was going to be an experience that I would always remember and need days to recover from once it had ended. After the festival finished, I could barely wait for the next ISTA event which was going to be at ISPP. At the time I didn’t know what type of ISTA festival it would be – I just knew I wanted to be a part of it. Then Ms Hodge (our phenomenal drama/theatre teacher) was looking for translators for ISTA because ‘local artists would be participating’ as well. That was basically the beginning of this fantastic experience. Sandra (Ly who is also featured in this issue. Editor’s note) and I volunteered to be translators for the extra three days artists would be training prior to the actual festival, not even thinking about the amount of days we would be missing from school (a week in total).