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15+ quotes from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung

Quotes from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

Loung Ung ·  238 pages

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“I think how the world is still somehow beautiful even when I feel no joy at being alive within it. ”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“In my heart I know the truth, but my mind cannot accept the reality of what this all means.”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“I have to go to the toilet,” I tell Ma urgently after dinner.
“You have to go in the woods.”
“But where?”
“Anywhere you can find. Wait, I’ll get you some toilet paper.” Ma goes away and comes back with a bunch of paper sheets in her hand. My eyes widen in disbelief, “Ma! It’s money. I can’t use money!”
“Use it, it is of no use to us anymore.”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“On previous trips the pirates have stolen valuables, killed people, raped and abducted girls...the women work frantically to ugly themselves up by smearing black charcoal paste on their faces and bodies. With ashen faces, some of the younger, prettier girls reach into the bags we have vomited into and scoop out handfuls of it to smear on their hair and clothes. ”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“Why are they doing this, Pa?” Kim asks. “Because they are destroyers of things.”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“When I ask Kim what a capitalist is, he tells me it is someone who is from the city. He says the Khmer Rouge government views science, technology, and anything mechanical as evil and therefore must be destroyed. The Angkar says the ownership of cars and electronics such as watches, clocks, and televisions created a deep class division between the rich and the poor. This allowed the urban rich to flaunt their wealth while the rural poor struggled to feed and clothe their families. These devices have been imported from foreign countries and thus are contaminated. Imports are defined as evil because they allowed foreign countries a way to invade Cambodia, not just physically but also culturally. So now these goods are abolished. Only trucks are allowed to operate, to relocate people and carry weapons to silence any voices of dissent against the Angkar.”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“As Pa speaks, I know he thinks someone in our family has stolen the rice. The story of the rat is not true and everyone knows it. Convinced that he realises it was me, I hide my eyes from him. Shame burns my hand like a hot iron branding me for all to see; Pa's favourite child stole from the family. As if to rescue me,Geak wakes up and her screams of hunger interrupt the incident.”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“in Cambodia people don’t outright compliment a child. They don’t want to call attention to the child. It is believed that evil spirits easily get jealous when they hear a child being complimented, and they may come and take away the child to the other world.”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“Pa tells us we will all live with Uncle Leang and his family in their house. Uncle Leang and his wife have six children, so with the nine of us it makes seventeen under one thatched roof. Their house would not be called a house by city people’s standards. It looks more like one of those simple huts poor people live in. The roof and walls are made of straw and the hut has only a dirt floor. There are no bedrooms or bathrooms, just one big open room. There is no indoor kitchen, so all the cooking is done outside under a straw roof awning.”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“In Phnom Penh, it seems that the more money you have, the more stairs you have to climb to your home. Ma”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“No one knows how precious you are. You are a diamond in the rough and with a little polishing, you will shine,” Pa whispers softly.”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“The only way to tell if someone is a bodiless witch is by the deep wrinkle lines around her neck. At night when these witches go to sleep their heads separate from their bodies. Dragging their intestines along, they fly around to places where there’s blood and death. The heads fly so fast that no one has ever seen the faces, only their shiny red eyes and sometimes the shadow of their heads and entrails. Once she finds a dead body, the bodiless witch nestles against the corpse all night.”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“This is what the war has done to me. Now I want to destroy because of it. There is such hate and rage inside me now. The Angkar has taught me to hate so deeply that I now know I have the power to destroy and kill.”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“Keav tells me the soldiers claim to love Cambodia and its people very much. I wonder then why they are this mean if they love us so much”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


“Dear gods, Pa is a very devout Buddhist. Please help my Pa return home. He is not mean and does not like to hurt other people. Help him return and I will do anything you say. I will devote my entire life to you. I will believe you always. If you cannot bring Pa home to us, please make sure they don’t hurt him, or please make sure Pa dies a quick death.”
― Loung Ung, quote from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers


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About the author

Loung Ung
Born place: Cambodia
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