Mr Clive Chan, Headmaster

Mr Chan has extensive experience in teaching English to people of all ages and abilities. He returned to Hong Kong after spending years studying and working in Australia. He has taught English in different secondary schools and Business English at a university in Hong Kong.

Dear parents,

I love pets, especially dogs, who are mostly loving and loyal.  On the other hand, I am not particularly fond of cats as they are generally individualistic, and some of them would cause damage by scratching things with their sharp claws.  In any case, I would not consider having a pet at home at the moment as it calls for as much time and commitment as in raising a kid.  Some people may buy a pet home on impulse only to regret later.  Maybe that is one of the reasons why we have some stray dogs and cats in the area I live.

A stray cat had been particularly annoying as it loved resting on the bonnet of my car, sometimes leaving fur and marks on the car when jumping up and down.  In winter, the cat loved the warmth of the bonnet of my car that had just been run, and in summer it would sleep on the roof to escape from the heat outside.

When we did see each other in the carpark, the cat’s friendly purr would meet with my enragement as I had to clean the marks from time to time, and I worried that it would leave irreversible scratches on my car.  I wrote to the management office and contacted the Agricultural and Fisheries Department which attempted to catch the cat but gave up in the end after they found the cage with bait broken by other cat lovers not just once. 

In the end, I had to come to terms with the stray cat wandering in the carpark and relaxing on my car from time to time.  But it seemed to have noticed my dismay and has stopped resting on my car.  From time to time, I see some neighbours feeding the cat, talking with it lovingly while the cat reciprocates with its welcoming and affectionate meow.  Apparently, the cat has been able to build some relationships, and I have started to understand why some residents would dare breaking the law by damaging government property.

This insight aside, I have also discovered that my fear of the cat leaving scrapes on my car had been unnecessary.  A friend who has three cats at home has advised me that the cat won’t leave scratch marks on my car unless it is in anger or fear when it sticks its claws out to defend itself.

We often feel threatened when our property or rights are being infringed.  I had been focusing my attention on my new car rather than the plight of the stray cat who got abandoned by its owner.  Had the Agricultural and Fisheries Department successfully caught the cat, it would probably have been put to sleep.  Thanks to other cat lovers, a life has been saved.

In the same token, we may hold some biased views towards some people groups such as new immigrants from China, asylum seekers from South Asia and Africa or people who have a different sexual orientation.  Maybe we should ask ourselves if our prejudice is truly justified.  Take time to understand their situation and you may be able to discover their beauty and have compassion on them.

Yours sincerely,

Clive Chan