Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Thursday, July 30, 2015

When First We Practice To Deceive....

"[Their high school] was the perfect community for a student like Jennifer. A social butterfly with an easy, high-pitched laugh, she mixed with guys, girls, Asians, Caucasians, jocks, nerds, people deep into the arts. Outside of school, Jennifer swam and practised the martial art of wushu."
"Jennifer's parents assumed their daughter was an A student. In truth, she earned mostly Bs -- respectable for most kids but unacceptable in her strict household. So Jennifer continued to doctor her report cards throughout high school. She received early acceptance [to Ryerson University in Toronto] but then failed calculus in her final year and wasn't able to graduate The university withdrew its offer. Desperate to keep her parents from digging into her high school records, she lied and said she would be starting at Ryerson in the fall. She said her plan was to do two years of science, then transfer over to University of Toronto's pharmacology program, which was her father's hope. Hann was delighted and bought her a laptop. Jennifer collected used biology and physics textbooks and bought school supplies. In September, she pretended to attend frosh week. When it came to tuition, she doctored papers stating she was receiving a (student) loan and convinced her dad she'd won a $3,000 scholarship. She would pack up her book bag and take public transit downtown. Her parents assumed she was headed to class. Instead, Jennifer would go to public libraries."
"Ultimately, it's a horrible crime. But because so many people have gone through the experience of growing up like Jennifer, it's not unfathomable to them that someone would just break."
"The more I learned about Jennifer's strict upbringing, the more I could relate to her. I grew up with immigrant parents who also came to Canada from Asia (in their case Hong Kong) with almost nothing, and a father who demanded a lot from me. My dad expected me to be at the top of my class, especially in math and science, to always be obedient, and to be exemplary in every other way. He wanted a child who was like a trophy -- something he could brag about."
Karen Ho, reporter, Toronto Life magazine

"This story did a number on me, because my life used to resemble hers. I come from an Asian family, with a lot of that immigrant parent mentality. I was an exceptional student in high school, getting scholarships for university and having my pick on which to attend. And then it went downhill from there."
"[My parents] gave me everything, sacrificed so much for my success and this was the result. I accepted those conditions from my parents to fix my life ... I don't have any sympathy for Jennifer Pan because I feel like I was in her shoes. After her parents found out, her dad reacted similar to mine, so did her mom."
"I used the opportunity to get my life back, she used it to wreck hers."
Anonymous Reddit respondent

"It's so easy to blame immigrant parents. The danger of highlighting cases like Jennifer's is that they contribute to a misconception that all Asian-American kids experience this extreme pressure and are mentally unstable."
"Jennifer's parents certainly had a role in making her feel trapped, but I think there's a broader discussion to be had about the expectations that teachers, peers and institutions place on people like Jennifer to fit that stereotype of the exceptional Asian-American student."
Jennifer Lee, sociology professor, University of California, Irvine, specializing in "tiger parenting"

All parents dote on their children, imagine them to be highly intelligent and many parents pressure their children to attain excellence in school work, insisting they have it in them to be scholars, to go on to university from high school and to distinguish themselves, ultimately to work in a prestigious, well remunerated profession whose standing in society is guaranteed. All of which makes parents immensely proud of their offspring.

There is a public perception that young people of Asian, East Indian, Jewish heritage are genetically endowed to be outstanding students, geared by their culture and their ethnic origin with its emphasis on status and education to strive for perfection. In this instance, perfection as outstanding students capable of achieving grades and recognition to fulfill aspirations for the future that their parents have invested in emotionally. The pressure on these young people to succeed, if the will to do so is not internally self-directed, can be overwhelming.

And so, it seems, it was for young Jennifer Ho who lived with her mother and father, Bich Ha and Huei Hann Pan and her brother Felix in a middle-class neighbourhood in the city of Markham, Ontario, north of Toronto. Jennifer was an excellent student, attending a Catholic school. That is certainly true, but she became skilled in gilding the lily to portray herself to her proud parents as a straight-A student to whom scholarships and early acceptance to college came easily.

One of her classmates at Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School in north Scarborough decided to look deeper into the background of her former classmate who had been charged by police of planning the murder of her parents, feigning innocence, her mother's death the result of a violent home invasion. In fact, Jennifer Ho had hired a trio of young men to plot her parents' death, promising to pay them $10,000, ostensibly to come to her through inheritance.
Torstar News Service    Jennifer Pan is shown in court in Newmarket during her murder trial in the death of her mother.
Jennifer Ho's gilded post-secondary education that was to have landed her excellent employment opportunities began to unravel when a series of events alerted her parents to the unsavoury truth that their daughter had been lying to them about her scholarship successes. Their daughter informed them they couldn't attend her graduation from University of Toronto since tickets were in critically short supply. And they began to follow their daughter surreptitiously.

When they realized that their daughter had deceived them for years, they confronted her and she confessed. Her parents had restricted her social activities in favour of having Jennifer and her brother Felix concentrate on academic success. Jennifer's extracurricular school activities included figure skating, piano, martial arts, swimming, and most satisfying to her parents, late nights of study. She was forbidden to attend parties, and dating was just not on for her.

Once Jennifer's parents understood fully that all their restrictions and firmness had been wasted, they undertook to impose upon their now-adult daughter even further restrictions, denying her any kind of personal independence. Her laptop was taken away, her clandestine meetings with boyfriend Daniel Wong, were forbidden. Jennifer brooded over her stifling life and imagined the freedom that would be hers with her parents dead.

So with her boyfriend's help she hatched a plot to kill her parents who forced upon her a life of "house arrest". They planned a double murder scenario disguised as a robbery where events got out of hand. Jennifer herself became a 'witness' to the robbery, unable to do anything to help her parents when they were attacked, because the violent invaders had restricted her movements, locking her into her bedroom.

The three people hired to perform the vicious deed, David Mylvaganam, Lenford Crawford and Eric Carty ended up shooting her mother fatally, while her father was severely wounded. Jennifer dialled 911, hysterical with grief. Police investigating the case soon reached the conclusion that the shooting by random burglars was an elaborate scheme, and that Jennifer was involved in her mother's death. An Ontario court found her and her three co-accused, including her one-time boyfriend Daniel Wong, guilty of first-degree murder and of attempted murder.

Each was given a life sentence.

David Mylvaganam, Eric Carty, Daniel Wong and Jennifer Pan
Police arrested and charged (from left) David Mylvaganam, Eric Carty, Daniel Wong, Jennifer Pan and Lenford Crawford (not pictured) with first-degree murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. (Images: court exhibits)

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet