Jennifer H. Lau was born in Cambodia in 1970, the third of seven children. She was only five when the Khmer Rouge forcibly relocated her family, friends and neighbors to live and work in one giant concentration camp. She endured four long years of living in perpetual fear, under constant threat of execution, disease, and starvation. Her daily survival often depended on finding the next drop of water, the next grain of rice.
Finally arriving in America at age twelve, illiterate and traumatized, Jennifer forged on – neither willing to accept these setbacks nor to let her former oppressors dictate her future. In addition to working full-time alongside her family to contribute to a fragile new beginning, she also pursued her education with great fervor, endeavoring to learn how to survive the enigmatic first-world challenges of her new country. Her keen understanding of the harsh realities of a struggling nation served her well in her studies at the University of California, Irvine, where she earned dual degrees in Chinese and Chinese Literature, and Economics.
Today, as a Certified Public Accountant, Jennifer Lau owns and runs Topp & Lau, Inc., an accounting firm, where she is proud to contribute to society by assisting individuals, businesses, and charitable organizations. She lives in Orange County, California with her architect husband and their two children, a daughter who was freshman class president, and a son who became freshman class vice president two years after and enjoys playing basketball and creating animation.
Having early on been deprived of education herself, Jennifer contributes both time and money to her immediate and extended communities to combat illiteracy. She hopes her story of sorrow and survival inspires readers from all walks of life in their own struggles and successes. She provides this firsthand account of the Khmer Rouge atrocities for future generations to study in the hope to shed light into a dark time. Her greatest fear is that history will repeat itself if we don’t learn from it. Revolution just doesn’t happen overnight.
Jennifer Lau is an active board member and donor of the Savong Foundation, a nonprofit organization registered in the United States that supports underprivileged youth in northern Cambodia. The Savong Foundation sponsors tuitions and, when necessary, provides food and accommodation to eligible students so they may attend a private school with the ultimate aim of completing a university education. They accomplish this by soliciting donations from international supporters who agree to cover some or all of the student's costs. You can learn more about the organization and donate here.