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.

In this meaningless life of mine I have seen both of these: the righteous perishing in their righteousness, and the wicked living long in their wickedness.

Ecclesiastes 7:15

Although a wicked person who commits a hundred crimes may live a long time, I know that it will go better with those who fear God, who are reverent before him.

Ecclesiastes 8:12

For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:14

Dear parents,

I hope you have been staying safe and healthy amid the third wave of the COVID19 pandemic. Home is the safest place, so I strongly discourage you from letting your kids go out unless absolutely necessary.  To relieve their possible boredom, don’t simply resort to electronic devices and those media in which your kids are simply passive recipients.  Engage them in active reading to stretch their imagination, get them to retell the stories to sharpen their articulation, and play some boardgames like Monopoly, Scrabble and Pictionary to enhance your communication with them.

Indeed, I still relish those childhood years when I hung out in the community library to read fairy tales, detective stories and science fiction, and play chess and other board games with my friends after school.  We grew up learning to play fair and strive hard against all odds to attain success, knowing that ‘the good will always prevail and the wicked be penalized’, and ‘those in power are always wise and impartial’.

Such righteous ideas had been deeply implanted on my young mind until I first got disillusioned when my new umbrella was ‘mistakenly taken’ by another child at the umbrella rack outside the library.  I told the librarian who kindly posted a notice for me but to no avail, so I decided to peruse all the umbrellas left outside the library on other rainy days, only to give up in the end.  For a few times, I had to resist the temptation to take a better umbrella to replace the broken one that ‘forgetful’ child had left for me, and I was glad that I didn’t err in the end.  This childhood trauma has taught me that people are sinful by nature, and we strive to do good not because we will have rewards in the end but we would rather not perpetuate harm and hatred among us. 

As you can imagine, I had many more childhood ordeals which were in discord with the teachings I acquired by reading and listening to my parents and teachers.  The other one happened when I was about 6 or 7.  I remember going out on my own (it was safe in those days) to buy some snack with a fifty-cent coin in my hand.   A much older and taller girl in the neighbourhood asked where I was up to and what I was holding in my hand, and as I innocently opened my hand, she snatched the coin and took to her heels.  I did chase but she soon disappeared in the midst of the crowd. I don’t remember if I shed any tears but I kept looking out for her the next few days, vowing to avenge her wickedness.  I did run into her with my family one other day, telling my parents and staring at her.  I vividly remember her nervousness probably emanated from her guilty conscience, which I believe will live with her for the rest of her life.

In fact, being robbed wasn’t a big distress at all compared with being wronged.  It happened at the end of the school Christmas party when I was in grade 6.  I was busy helping another teacher moving some equipment after the party while my homeroom teacher was distributing the gifts we brought for exchange.  Frustrated that I wasn’t there when she called out my name numerous times, she pounded the gift on my head when I finally appeared in front of her.  (You would have reported this to the authorities now, but not 40 years ago.)  Since then, I have learned that those in power may abuse it, may not be wise or fair at all time, and may hide their blunders rather than admit them.  For some years after grade 6, I had had nightmares which involved that teacher. 

It had taken me some time to completely get over those childhood traumas, but my resilience grew with my Christian faith and realistic understanding of the world.  Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot more injustice and absurdity now than in the past, and the wicked seem to prevail rather than perish.  Such dissonance may create a lot of bewilderment on the minds of your children, and it is our job to help develop their resilience to cope with their disappointments.  I would recommend that besides reading fairy tales to impart some virtuous thoughts, you should read some historical accounts with your children, as some people like Hitler and Stalin were seen by many people as heroes rather than villains in their lifetime.   Such knowledge will nurture a critical mind and an unyielding spirit as they come to firmly believe that justice will ultimately be done!


Yours sincerely,

Clive Chan