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Op-Ed: Lin versus Magnotta: a lesson in contrasts

By Sherene Chen-See     Jun 9, 2012 in Crime
Jun Lin and Luka Magnotta: they will be forever linked but they could not be more different. Aside from being attractive gay men in Montreal, they had little in common, it seems.
We may never know what brought Magnotta and Lin together that fateful day on May 24. Some say they were in a relationship but there is no evidence that this writer has seen to that effect. Neither Magnotta nor Lin mentioned each other to friends or online, as far as we know (other than an 'anonymous source' that no one other than the journalist he talked to can verify).
While Lin started out this debacle referred to mainly as the 'body parts victim,' Canadians are starting to pay more attention to the wonderful person that he was. By all accounts, he was a quiet, humble, helpful, reliable man with a loving family and close friends. His mother was overcome with emotion when she arrived in Montreal with the rest of Lin's family. His friends were so close to him that they noticed his absence from the first day he went missing. He has over 40,000 messages of condolence on his Weibo account.
Lin worked hard for everything he had. He saved money for years in China so he could come to Montreal and get a Canadian education. An engineering student at Concordia University, Lin maintained straight As while working part-time to continue paying his way through school. He helped fellow students who were struggling with their courses. And he never missed a day of work, until the day he was reported missing.
Lin was a landed immigrant who was interested in eventually buying a house in Montreal. There is little doubt that, had he survived, Lin would have finished his studies and settled into a successful engineering career in Canada.
In contrast to Lin, it appears Magnotta has no family in his life. While a number of family members exist in Peterborough, either they or Magnotta cut ties years ago. His parents seem to have completely distanced themselves from him and the only family member who agreed to talk to the media - his aunt - said she didn't trust him and he was a 'ticking time bomb.'
Ex-girlfriends say he is cold and creepy, and they are glad he didn't kill them, which makes this writer wonder why they dated him in the first place. Childhood, high school, and current friends have not said much about him.
While Lin had aspirations and dreams, it seems Magnotta aspired mostly to look perfect. In a recently released video of Magnotta auditioning for a plastic surgery show on Slice, he said he would work every day to save money to pay for all the things he wanted to do to improve his facial features. It seems sad and pathetic, actually, that someone would channel that much passion into their looks when there is so much more they could be doing in the world.
And of course there is Magnotta's notorious Internet presence. From (allegedly) killing cats to murdering and dismembering Lin on camera, and possibly taunting the police on video saying hi to his fans, it seems there is nothing he wouldn't do to achieve Internet fame. As he sits in his little solitary cell in Germany tonight, this writer wonders if he is going a bit crazy (more crazy?) not being able to check himself out on the web.
Lin had better things to do than drum up notoriety on the Internet.
Memorial planned; fund and award set up
There has been an outpouring of support from the Montreal community and all across Canada, with citizens contacting Concordia University and the Chinese Consulate asking how they can help the Lin family. A large memorial is being planned by the university in response to the enormous amount of support shown by the public.
To honour Lin and help fulfill his family's wish to bring something positive out of this tragedy, Concordia has set up a fund and an award in his name. The fund, originally begun by Concordia's Chinese Students Association, will raise money for the Lin family's travel expenses. The award will honour an outstanding Chinese student at Concordia.
This is a touching way to remember the man who was on his way to a successful and happy new life in Canada.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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