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,

As an educator, I have to say I treasure order and stability, and a good example would be a class run according to my lesson plan with every student actively engaged in what I desire them to do.  After more than twenty years of teaching, I dare say I know the way to success very well and have indeed helped those students who are willing to cooperate with me to do well in exams and get into the studies and careers they aspire.

Of course, the world has never been ‘perfect’, otherwise it will be utterly boring.  There have been students who don’t appreciate my way of teaching, who indulge in their own thoughts or who simply squander time on their smartphones.  I could have easily branded them as deviants or ‘failures’ who are doomed to be ousted from climbing the social ladder when they are grown.  However, I often ask myself the following questions.  Does my way to ‘success’ suit every student? Is there anything wrong with our current education, economic and even political systems?  Why don’t we have more diverse avenues to ‘success in life’?  Why should these ‘deviant’ students follow the mainstream if they can find true happiness and fulfillment in other ways?  Does our society have enough tolerance of diversities in thoughts and behaviour, and give equal opportunities to the poor and disadvantaged so that they can also have a better life?

To my dismay, it seems that few people at my age would ask the above questions.  Many of my affluent mid-aged friends would rather lead a quiet life in a stable political and economic environment, and they have become intolerant of unconventional voices in society because these voices seem to uncover their blind spot or challenge their belief systems.  In their eyes, young activists campaigning for universal suffrage or fighting for the underprivileged  are naive and impulsive, simply venting their angst and causing dilemmas and even chaos in society.

Yet, these contented and settled grown-ups must provide satisfactory answers to the probing questions asked by these courageous young people.  Why have our property prices become the most expensive in the world whilst our wealth gap continues to widen?  Why does the Government always have to displace some powerless villagers for a new development as in the cases of the High Speed Rail and New Territories Northeast Development Plan whilst the 172-hectare golf club in Fanling which is enjoyed by only a few thousand rich people is absolutely unmovable? While the Government says we have limited land and must adhere to a strict immigration policy, why does it give 55,000 one-way permits to immigrants from Mainland China every year, many of whom aren’t professionals or highly educated but are here to drain our public housing or social welfare?

My heart aches as these pressing questions remain unanswered while many of these brilliant youngsters like Edward Leung Tin Kei have been put behind bars after they have boldly questioned the authorities for the sake of the defenseless rather than their own.

Most of us crave for stability and security, but when such safety is attained by turning a blind eye to injustice, I would rather stand by these ‘disobedient’ young people who dare to challenge those in power, sometimes at the expense of their freedom and future.

Yours sincerely,

Clive Chan