Loung’s oldest brother is eighteen when the Khmer Rouge takes over. The valedictorian of his high school class before the genocide, the kind, soft-spoken Meng had planned to go to France to earn his degree. After being forced to leave Phnom Penh, however, he and Loung’s brother Khouy are sent to a labor camp. At first, he and Khouy are allowed to return to Ro Leap once every three months; they bring life-saving extra rice for the family on these visits, but are eventually prevented from returning. After the Khmer Rouge is defeated, Meng reunites with Loung, Chou, and Kim in the Vietnamese displaced peoples’ camp in Pursat City. Meng later marries Eang and makes arrangements to smuggle himself, his wife, and Loung out of Cambodia and into a Thai refugee camp. There, he is baptized in the hopes of attracting a church sponsor for the family’s journey to America. He is able to get sponsorship and moves to Vermont with Loung and Eang. Despite having no knowledge of American culture, he and Eang are able to secure jobs at IBM and support their growing family in the U.S. as well as in Cambodia. Meng has two daughters, whom Loung cares for as she grows up. Loung believes Meng never stops feeling guilty for not being able to bring the rest of the family to America.
Meng Character Timeline in First They Killed My Father
The timeline below shows where the character Meng appears in First They Killed My Father. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: The Ung Family, April 1975
Chapter 4: Evacuation, April 1975
Chapter 5: Seven-Day Walk, April 1975
Chapter 8: Anlungthmor, July 1975
Chapter 10: Ro Labor Camps, January 1976
Chapter 13: Pa, December 1976
Chapter 18: The Last Gathering, May 1978
Chapter 23: Khmer Rouge Attack, February 1979
Chapter 25: Back to Bat Deng, April 1979
Chapter 26: From Cambodia to Vietnam, October 1979
...dangerous. On the third day of they run into a pirate ship, but Loung and Meng have prepared by hiding their bits of gold inside candies; other passengers swallowed their gemstones... (full context)
Chapter 27: Lam Sing Refugee Camp, February 1980