First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia by Loung Ung

By Loung Ung

One of 7 teenagers of a high-ranking executive professional, Loung Ung lived a privileged lifestyles within the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh until eventually the age of 5. Then, in April 1975, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge military stormed into the town, forcing Ung's family members to escape and, ultimately, to disperse. Loung used to be proficient as a toddler soldier in a piece camp for orphans, her siblings have been despatched to exertions camps, and people who survived the horrors wouldn't be reunited until eventually the Khmer Rouge used to be destroyed.

Harrowing but hopeful, Loung's robust tale is an unforgettable account of a kinfolk shaken and shattered, but miraculously sustained by means of braveness and love within the face of unspeakable brutality.

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The manager there, Peter Rouse, was ambitious and he already knew me as he'd remortgaged my house: he was ready to make the loan, but he had to get all the right boxes ticked on the form for his bosses to approve the loan. He helped me write a business plan and together we made adjustments to comply with the bank's lending criteria. Needless to say I'd never written a business plan before, but I didn't find it all that hard. It was easy to calculate the income, and the costs were fairly straightforward, too: if I had x residents, I'd need y staff and they'd get paid the going rate, a figure I found out by looking at the situations vacant in the paper.

That won't be necessary,' he told me in a particularly patronising way. ' He relented and asked his manager to join us. A few minutes later, a short, bald bloke walked in smoking a cigarette. He was the kind of middie-class snob I'd never had any respect for, and 1 knew he'd be a waste of space. He was a stroppy little berk who clearly 78 A N Y O N E C A N DO IT GOING IT ALONE 79 didn't rate an uneducated ice-cream vendor very highly. He told me that I didn't have any 'sector expertise' and without it he couldn't see how I was going to make any money.

They introduced a new policy that gave all unemployed people an entitlement to housing. And the best bit about this is that the government started paying £46 a week directly to landlords. Now a lot of people wouldn't want to rent to DSS tenants, but as far as I could see I was effectively renting to the government, so my rent was guaranteed. I started converting terraced houses into bedsits and renting them out. I picked up the houses for about £10,000 each and made a 30-50 per cent return on my capital each year in rent.

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