Singaporean-born British violinist and alpine skier Vanessa-Mae has revealed in a tell-all interview with Britain’s Daily Mail that her mother, Pamela Tan Nichoson often used serious physical violence and humiliation, during her childhood to improve her violin playing.
Mae, now 35, has alleged her mother, who she has had no contact with in the past 14 years, would hit her violently across the face and body regularly for less than perfect performances.
“Everything was geared towards focusing me on my violin career,” Mae has said, “… if I didn’t play a piece perfectly, my mother – and often my music teacher also – would resort to slapping me.’
It was also revealed she was so tightly controlled that she was not permitted to leave her house unchaperoned until the age of 20.
‘I had faced thousands of people on stage and millions on TV, but I didn’t know how to cross the road,’ Vanessa-Mae has said.
The mother and daughter have not spoken in person since Vanessa sacked her as her manager – a day before her 21st birthday, in 1999.
Vanessa’s admissions shine a worrying light on the darker side of the ‘Tiger Mom’ parenting phenomenon – made famous by Amy Chua in her 2011 book ‘Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother’.