Pippi Longstocking is one of the most famous and beloved characters in children’s literature created 75 years ago by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. To mark 75 years of celebration, the Swedish Embassy in Phnom Penh brought Pippi to Cambodia with the exhibition “Congratulations Pippi” at the Swedish residence.
In one recent update, the embassy speaks to Noun Molyna who, in 2008, worked with Swedish Anna Mattsson to translate the book Pippi from Swedish into Khmer. In the same year, the book was published by the international non-profit organization and publishing house Sipar. The book Pippi Longstocking in Khmer has just been relaunched in its third edition.
A decade later, what does Noun Molyna say about Pippi?
“When I first read the book, I was surprised to see a character so different from other characters I’ve heard of before. Pippi is a smart, daring and extraordinary girl. She’s unpredictable and that makes her not only entertaining but inspiring as well.
She would be someone who would get all the neighbors talked about her a lot, but she wouldn’t care and continue to be herself as she always does. I notice that young Cambodians these days are more confident, curious and able to express themselves than before, ”says Molyna.
Five years ago, the Embassy presented a special update from Anna Mattsson who faced complicated ethical questions while working on the Swedish to Khmer translation. 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 idea that translating and publishing the story about her might be a counterproductive thing to do, “but in the end Anna found:” From my perspective, Pippi Longstocking has brought together the best qualities of manners Swedish and Cambodian people to manage life. “