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.

Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century:

1.       Do not obey in advance.

2.       Defend institutions.

3.       Beware the one-party state.

4.       Take responsibility for the face of the world.

5.       Remember professional ethics.

6.       Be wary of paramilitaries.

7.       Be reflective if you must be armed.

8.       Stand out.

9.       Be kind to our language.

10.    Believe in truth.

11.    Investigate.

12.    Make eye contact and small talk.

13.    Practice corporeal politics.

14.    Establish a private life.

15.    Contribute to good causes.

16.    Learn from peers in other countries.

17.    Listen for dangerous words.

18.    Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.

19.    Be a patriot.

20.    Be as courageous as you can.

-       Timothy Snyder, “On Tyranny”

 

Dear parents,

We are celebrating the start of a new school year, and it is my sincere wish that your children be educated in a nurturing and inspirational environment so that they gain not only knowledge but also wisdom in discerning the truth.

My heart has been heavy lately as it was devastating to see 13 young people who tried tirelessly to defend the rights of forcibly displaced villagers for no personal gain being sent to prison for 13 months after duly completing the initial penalty of a community service order.

While pursuing my master of social work degree years ago, I worked as an intern in a training centre for young offenders aged 14 to 17.  The inmates there were real criminals, being sent to jail for theft, robbery, drug trafficking, rape and even manslaughter.  What crime has these 13 young activists committed? They were trying to break open the door to the Legislative Council Building in order to stop the passing of the bill funding the North East New Territories New Development.  

Many people simply look at what these young activists did at that juncture and say what they did was unlawful.  However, most of the law-abiding citizens do not even know any background to the disagreement between most peaceful protesters and the authorities on this issue. 

The proposed development of the North East New Territories New Development was incubated years ago when Tung Chee Wah was the Chief Executive.  When developing former new towns like Shatin and Tuen Mun, the Government amalgamated pieces of land, planned and rezoned land uses, then sold the different land parcels by auction or tender.  On the contrary, the Government foreshadowed the North East New Territories development plans to major developers who then used all kinds of ruthless measures to force out villagers without proper compensation or buy land at bargain prices.  Seeing the plight of displaced villagers, these young activists, some of whom university students, organized petitions, marches, rallies and consultation meetings with the authorities over the past few years, but to no avail.  What they saw was a development plan that would mainly benefit the ultra-rich developers but not the poor villagers.  To them, it was sheer injustice, and the passing of the funding bill despite their repeated peaceful efforts was understandably the last straw that triggered their seemingly violent act.

While condemning violence displayed by the activists, we should not turn a blind eye to the immoral acts of some developers, such as intoxicating the originally arable land, blackmailing and sending legal letters in order to evict some long-time residents. What is more, these 13 young people took responsibility for what they had done by serving the community service order rightfully given by the judge at the first court.  They did not intend to hurt anyone, and I see no reason why they should be put behind bars with those real criminals who intend bodily harm on others.

These young people could have stood aloof to the predicament of the villagers, but as Timothy Snyder said in his book, they chose to stand out for the poor after investigating and digging out the truth. To me, they are heroes rather than criminals.  I don’t condone violence but I urge you to investigate the background to the few recent ‘violent’ incidents in our society.  Do your own research rather than simply listen to hearsay or propaganda. You may be shocked after discovering the truth.


Yours sincerely,


Clive Chan