There is nothing more secure than being able to touch and feel your real estate, whereby the stock market, being as volatile as it is lately, one has very little

Life: What is the worst thing that can happen in life?

Imagine this scenario:

You were born in a working class family, and you worked all the way up to a successful entrepreneur.

You met a like-minded young woman and you fell in love with each other at the first sight.

You got married, and had three kids of your own.

You owned a prospering business of children’s apparel. With the profit, you were able to afford everything you ever wanted, including a $3 million luxury apartment with lake view in a large city with skyrocket housing price.

Admirable, yeah?


One day, while away on a business trip, you got a call, and you were told that the woman you loved, along with the three kids, were killed in a fire, leaving your luxury apartment in ruins.

Wait, there’s more — the fire wasn’t an accident. It was set deliberately by the nanny you hired.

You flew back, hoping it was a joke. Only that it wasn’t. Your three kids and your wife were lying in the morgue, never knowing your sorrow or pain.

This is the worst story I’ve ever heard, the worst thing that can happen to anyone, and the worst pain I wouldn’t even hope to inflict on my worst enemy.

This is the story of Shengbin Lin.

Before June 22 2017, Mr. Shengbin Lin was a proud father of three, owner of a clothing business and happily married to Ms. Xiaozhen Zhu, fellow entrepreneur who aspired to start a traditional Chinese clothing business. Together they lived in a high-rise building facing the West Lake in the middle of Hangzhou, a rich technology capital.

On the morning of June 22, while Lin was away on a business trip, Zhu and the three children were were killed in a fire, leaving the luxury apartment in ruins.

The perpetrator was none other than Huanjing Mo, the live-in nanny to whom Lin had offered a high salary and a private bedroom in the luxury apartment.

Mo was in very heavy gambling debt. She deliberately set the apartment on fire, as an attempt to raise money for her gambling debt. She thought, if she could save the wife and the kids from an accidental fire, Lin would reward her for her heroic act financially, out of gratitude.

Only that things didn’t go as Mo had planned. Within a minute after she ignited a book with lighters in the living room, the fire grew out of control. Mo fled the apartment, leaving the three children and their mother inside the burning apartment. Mo called the police, who took her into custody and interrogated her.

Soon, Mo was convicted for arson and theft. What the investigators found was appalling.

Mo had worked as a nanny for a couple of families before. She was fired by all because of theft. Her former employers reported that she stole valuables from their house and sent them to pawnshops, and then used the money for gambling.

A couple of days before the incident, Lin had lent her $18,000 generously, when Mo claimed that she was in dire need of money to buy a house for her family. But Mo didn’t use the money to buy any real estate properties. Instead, she lost them to online gambling within minutes.

On the evening of June 21, Mo had lost $1000 to mobile phone gambling. On the top of Mo’s search history were automatic lighter explosion, methods to start fire and will arson lead to prison. In addition to the $18,000 Lin had lent her, Mo had also stolen more than $28,000 worth of belongings from the family to pay off her gambling debts, including jewelry and watches.

Mo’s original plan was to set a small, controlled fire which she would heroically put out herself. But she fled the scene when the fire grew out of control. The whole apartment eventually burned down.

During the trial, Mo expressed her remorse in a letter, “If my death will make everything start over again, I’m willing to be sentenced to death.”[1]

Mo was sentenced to death by the Hangzhou City Intermediate People’s court.

For almost a year, Shengbin Lin was immersed in tremendous grief.

He often woke up from dreams of fire, first relieved that it was only a dream, and then he would open his eyes and find it wasn’t a dream at all, but the reality.

He started a blog named “Wife and Kids in Heaven” and the blog was followed by millions.

On Christmas, before the verdict was reached, he wrote:

Christmas this year feels very cold to me — it chills me to my soul.

My heart is filled with sadness as I watch the decorations and the lights in Hangzhou, and the presents hanging on the big Christmas tree at the entrance of the housing compound, and the children with their festive smiles.

Lin attended the sentencing. He was still struggling with the deep emotional pain of losing his wife and children. After the verdict, Lin posted:

The devil has finally received the punishment of the law, the death penalty. I have suffered day and night for the past 200 days, and today finally received the verdict.[2]

What is the worst thing that can happen in life?

It’s not losing a loved one, or two loved ones.

It’s losing every one you’ve loved all at once, while you’re trapped in this world, at a young age, being eaten alive by the deep, tremendous emotional pain. And the murderer is someone whom you have always cared, respected and liked.

If I were Lin, I’d beg Mo to show me mercy by killing me as well. Any attempt to keep me in this world would be cruelty.

That’s why I would rather lose the ability to love or feel, than to bear such emotional pain.


[1] Chinese Nanny Sentenced to Death for Setting Fatal Fire

[2] Nanny Who Set Fatal Fire in China Is Sentenced to Death