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.

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” ~ T.S. Eliot


Dear parents,


A few days ago, I received the sad news of the closing down of Book Depository, my favorite online bookstore founded by a former Amazon employee in 2004, then acquired by Amazon in 2011.  The company was apparently successful at the start, but as the interest for reading has continued to dwindle while the electronic media have become increasingly dominant over the years, the closures of most bookstores, real or online, have become inevitable.

Imaginably, all the stakeholders share a sense of gloom over a terminated business, with some readers posting being ‘heartbroken’, ‘lost’ and even ‘depressed’ in response to the devastating news.  Indeed, it is never easy to bid farewell because saying goodbye to an established enterprise often signifies a change of the macroeconomic, social and cultural environment.  For an individual, parting with friends, family, a job or a usual place of residence often involves some unwarranted adjustments to a longstanding habit or lifestyle, failing which could lead to some unease and unhappiness.

On the other hand, as aptly described by T.S. Eliot, an end is also a beginning that we can look forward to with excitement and expectation. I shared this sentiment when I left Hong Kong and my counseling profession for an MBA on a full scholarship and a new career in Australia in 1990. At the business school, I met many ambitious and highly intelligent people from different backgrounds, surviving immense cultural shock before successfully acclimatizing to the various new groups and communities there. What I was most proud of, however, was that my core life values, such as righteousness and kindness, hadn’t really changed, as I was awarded “the most trustworthy counselor” prize by my classmates at the graduation dinner.

Indeed, I have witnessed a similar journey undertaken by some good friends who have chosen to leave Hong Kong the past few years.  As anticipated, they have to adapt to the weather, language and social environment but most of them seem to have settled well despite some initial hiccups. Indeed, as opposed to most of my friends who are retirees, life is harder for young people who have to make a living as language and cultural barriers can make it difficult if not impossible for them to find work in their original professions, but most of them are content with a slower pace of life, better living environment and freer social atmosphere in their new homes.

Thanks to advanced telecommunication, we can now easily be connected with family and friends who live in other parts of the globe.  Notwithstanding, our different daily life circumstances and experiences are still drifting us apart, with which most of us would gradually come to terms.  What we can rest assured, though, is that most of our core values are going to remain intact, and they are the keys to sustaining our relationships or friendships. 

Therefore, despite some inescapable separation anxiety, a farewell unleashes a beginning for all the parties involved, so we can all journey to the unknown future with confidence and anticipation, and if we hold on tight to our values, we can all continue to thrive and look forward to a jubilant reunion.

Yours sincerely,

Clive Chan