First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers Characters

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers Character List

Pa (Sem Im Ung)

Pa is a high-ranking government official in the city Phnom Penh. He is very kind and caring to his children and always makes sure to explain to them what is happening in the city. After leaving the city he is wise to keep the family surviving. He lies about his job and disperses the family so that everyone will have a better chance of survival. Soon, however, the soldiers learn of his identity. He is taken away and never heard of again. It is easily inferred that he was killed by the Khmer Rouge soldiers.

Ma (Ay Choung Ung)

Ma is known for her beauty. Described by the narrator, Ma is more concerned about her children's behavior. In the city, she watches how her children act and is quick to condem them for acting impolite. She is fondest of her youngest child, Geak. In the labor camps, she is very quiet and becomes even more silent after Pa is taken away. Soon, she is murdered by the Khmer Rouge with Geak

Loung Ung

As narrator of the story, we can see her growth throughout the story. In the city, she is very childish and relies on her parents. When taken to the labor camps, she learns to show bravery and self-resiliency. She survives the Khmer Rouge.


Loung's oldest brother who was sent to the labor camps. He endured hunger and physical labor. Meng survives and takes Loung to America.


Loung's second oldest brother. The narrator often remarks how much the children feared Khouy. Had a black belt in karate back in Phnom Penh, but he changed much through the story. Khouy married a girl in the labor camps so that he does not have to serve in the Khmer Rouge Army.


Loung's ten year old brother who is known as "Ma's little monkey." To bring home extra food for his family in the camps, he plays with the chief's sons. However he gets beaten by the boys, but he must continue to play with them in order to get food. Becomes the head of the family after Pa dies because the other two brothers are at labor camps.


Loung's 14 year old sister. She is sent to a labor camp but soon gets sick and dies. She is the first that dies from the family.


Chou does not play a huge part in the story, but she does help to explain events to Loung.


Geak is the youngest of the family. She shows extreme malnutrition because of the small amount of food and is murdered with Ma by the Khmer Rouge.

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