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.

The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity.  The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

~ Winston Churchill

Dear parents,

It has been a difficult time for most of us.  We all suffer as a result of this Coronavirus pandemic, and it is truly distressing to see long-standing businesses closing down, workers being made redundant and schools being suspended for an overly extended period while homebound students get increasingly bored and agitated.  Though the novel coronavirus seems less deadly than SARS 17 years ago, the current situation seems to be worse in many ways.

Apparently, we are better informed and prepared this time, so to date, the numbers of confirmed infections and deaths are much lower than that of SARS, but people seem far more paranoid than last time as shown in the ways they have scrambled for facemasks, all kinds of cleaning and sterilizing aids, even rice and toilet rolls.  Facemasks have proven to be exceedingly difficult to acquire, and the resulting hike in their prices has further escalated people’s antipathy towards the authorities as most of us find it hard to come to terms with Hong Kong swiftly degenerating into a police state while our Government insists on upholding a free economy by refusing to control the prices of this basic necessity, the prices of which are beyond reach of the masses, especially the underprivileged.

People’s apprehension and the resulting craze stems from a pervasive sense of helplessness.  Contrary to the expectations of the authorities, scapegoating and condemning protesters who were initially peaceful, repeating empty pledges at press conferences and hollow propaganda in the mainstream media have failed to regain public trust.  Those who can afford to leave the city for good are busy making plans for their exodus, and those who can’t have come to be aware that they can only count on themselves to survive any crisis in this city.

In this light, I find it hard to convict those ‘self-seeking’ individuals who have chosen to pile up rice and even toilet rolls at their homes.  Their overreaction has been a result of deep-seated insecurity accumulated from continued disappointments and even disillusions.  Such powerlessness is predominantly felt by people living in war zones where they feel that resources can disappear overnight and no one can really offer them any genuine protection should they be exposed to any danger.  It is indeed heartbreaking to see Hong Kong, once a free society governed by the rule of law, rapidly decay to such an extent.

Highly disturbing the situation may sound, it is not all negative, however.  Contrary to the Government’s ‘non-intervention’, businesses and individuals have taken the initiative to source and sell affordable facemasks to the masses.  Charitable organizations like Post Crisis Counseling Network (PCCN) of which I am one of the advisors, have been distributing facemasks to the materially deprived and physically or mentally challenged, thanks to the philanthropy of a lot of people.  My more affluent friends have also told me they would not compete with others for the much less expensive facemasks sold to people lining up overnight at chain stores while some always carry a few more masks to give to the elderly and needy they meet on the streets.

Darkness only prevails when our hearts are weak.  The circumstances are challenging, but we needn’t be disheartened.  It is time for us to look out for one another because things are never adequate when we all amass more than we need, whereas we will have enough when we all share.   It is definitely not easy for us to stay in our tiny home most of the day, but it is also a rare opportunity for us to train our patience and communicate more with our family members.

May your heart stay strong!

Yours sincerely,

Clive Chan