Sabrina (Wanchen) Li

Fish Hook without a Barb

Mentor: Bob Krut

My project will be a novella based on my experience of getting tele-scammed of a large amount of money during a period of two months as a Chinese international student. I hope to dig into the nuanced feelings I felt along the way which reveal essential parts of me. The themes I intend to address may include trust and lies, vulnerability of rationality, and deference to authority. The swindlers claimed to be the Chinese policemen who found me entangled in a huge transnational laundering case. During the two months’ process, I became more and more cooperative without telling anyone else since it was a “top secret case”. Looking back, I find the lie obvious and feel deeply fooled. However, there were so many psychological layers in me that the swindlers were able to manipulate in order to cloud my rational thinking.  There are already abundant works that primarily focus on the swindlers or the police. For this novella, the most essential focus will be on the psychological portrait of the “victim” who participates in the scam. I hope to include some past episodes about my (or other victims’) education, family environment, and social background to explain how they underlie the complex and conflicting psychological reactions.

Read the opening chapter of Sabrina’s novella Fish Hook without a Barb