Of all of Luong’s siblings, Chou is the most important to her development. The sisters are close in age but opposite in temperament. Chou’s weakness puzzles and worries Luong, who has decided that strength is the only way to survive the Khmer Rouge. When Chou is happy to be sent to the kitchens, a demotion in the world of the work camp, Luong cannot understand why she would want to be looked down on by the others. For Chou, however, being hidden from view is a benefit. Chou presents an important alternative to Luong’s own model for surviving. Despite their differences, the sisters are often depicted holding hands, a physical representation of their deep emotional bond. When Luong sets off on her journey to America, Chou is the sibling she struggles most to leave. When she returns to Cambodia in the epilogue, Chou’s tears, which had so frustrated Luong in childhood, help the sisters begin to reconcile as they once again hold hands.