Noun Molyna on Pippi Longstocking a decade after co-translating the book into Khmer

Photo: Embassy of Sweden in Phnom Penh

Pippi Longstocking is one of the most famous and best-loved characters in children’s literature created 75 years ago by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. To mark the 75-year celebration, the Embassy of Sweden in Phnom Penh has brought Pippi to Cambodia with the exhibition ‘Congrats Pippi’ at the Swedish residence. 

In a recent update, the Embassy speaks to Noun Molyna who in 2008 worked with Swedish Anna Mattsson to translate the Pippi book from Swedish into Khmer. The same year the book was published by the international non-profit organization and publishing house Sipar. The Pippi Longstocking book in Khmer has now been relaunched in its third edition. 

A decade later, what does Noun Molyna say about Pippi?

“When I first got to read the book, I felt surprised to see a character who is so different from other characters I have ever read about before. Pippi is a smart, bold, and extraordinary girl. She is unpredictable and that makes her not only entertaining but also inspiring. 

She would be someone who makes all the neighbors talk a lot about her, but she would not care and continue to be herself like she always does. I notice that young Cambodians these days are more confident, curious, and able to speak up their mind than before,” Molyna says.

Five years ago, the Embassy featured a special update from Anna Mattsson who was presented with some complicated ethical questions while working on the translation from Swedish to Khmer. This is what Anna Mattsson had to say at the time, “When I imagined Pippi as a child living in Cambodia, being as she is and doing what she does, in a Cambodian context, I was struck by the thought that translating and publishing the story about her might be a counterproductive thing to do,” but in the end, Anna found: “From my point of view, Pippi Longstocking united the best qualities of Swedish and Cambodian ways of dealing with life.”

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