Phanna Lim: “Don’t call me an old lady” reflects my feeling about our society

Phanna Lim is a psychologist and writer. She graduated a master’s degree in psychology and a bachelor degree in accounting. She is well-known for her songs, “Don’t call me an old lady” and “New year is approaching and I still can’t find a husband.” She catches the attention of the readers for her new novels on Sabay Enovel “Don’t call me an old lady.” She engaged in volunteer works when she studied undergrad. She found her passion for writing when she was a high school student.

Phanna Lim receiving an award on the Bookfair in Phnom Penh in December 2018 (Photo provided by Phanna Lim)

Q: Hello Phana! How are you doing these days?

Phanna: I am doing well.

Q: Are you busy these days?

Phana: I am quite busy these days. I just returned from Siem Riep for a conference meeting there.

Q: You are a psychologist and a writer? Are you busy with your works?

Phana: I work full time and spend my spare time writing when people hire me to write the novels or songs for them.

Q: That is interesting that you work as a psychologist and a writer. How do you start working in these two professions though?

Phana: I like writing when I was in high school, but I didn’t realize that. I love reading the novels when I was a high school student. I was so excited about the content of the stories. I thought if I were a writer, I would want to write about this and that based on my feeling. I learned how to write novels, and then I realized that I like it.

Q: What are the differences between these two works?

Phana: I studied psychology. It is about analyzing people’s personality and characters. When I write a novel, it helps me to understand the nature of the characters whom I write. I found my works relate to each other, not too far different because psychology studies about the people and society and it is relatable to the content of a novel.

Q: What do you like the most? What do you dislike the most?

Phanna: Sometimes I get stuck on some of the content of a story. A story needs idea and creativity. I couldn’t imagine or think about it sometime. I want to keep it aside and do something else.

Q: How many novels have you done?

Phanna: I have written about ten stories.

Q: What stories do you like the most?

Phanna: I like my latest novel “Don’t call me old lady” that was just released on Sabay.

Q: Why do you like that story the most?

Phanna: I think my previous works were still young in term of quality of writing. I don’t like them so much when I read them. However, I have a different feeling in my last story. I learned a lot from my previous works to make “Don’t call me an old lady” more appealing. It also reflects my real feeling about our society. It reflects the situation of women in Cambodia these days, so it wrote it from my heart.

Q: Have you been disappointed about being a writer?

Phanna: Sometimes, I am disappointed. I am still young in this sector. Sometimes, people engaged me in the scriptwriting process for a movie. I engaged with them and wrote stories. Then, I haven’t heard anything from them. I feel that those people do not respect me.

Q: Have it happened a lot to you?

Phanna: It often happens to me.

Q: Have you thought about giving up?

Phanna: Sometimes I wanted to give up. However, when I worked with the people who have high responsibility, I feel more energetic. They respect me and call me to work based on the contract.

Q: Why does it happen to you?

Phanna: I don’t know about it. I am not sure whether it is because I have less experience in the field or because the quality of my writing is not yet met their expectation. However, I need a response. If they don’t have a fund to support the film, I want to be informed about that.

Q: I want to ask you about your new song, singing by Meas Soksophea, “New year is approaching; still I can’t find a husband.” How long did it take you to write it?

Phanna: It took me two weeks to write it. I have heard a lot about the discussion of being single ladies in society and on social media. I think it should be good content for my new song. It took me less time because it was a topic that I wanted to write. I was so excited about this song because this was the first time that a famous singer sang my song. Also, it was not just a song. I wrote it from my heart, and I made more effort to write it.

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