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,

It is getting really warm when I am writing this letter.  Hopefully, the heat will help kill the COVID19 virus and enable us to take off our masks and gather in bigger groups soon.  Hong Kong people have done an outstanding job in preventing the further spread of the virus, but we must all stay vigilant till we win the war against the pandemic.

The past few months have been tough for most of us. The pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to our economy, resulting in a lot of businesses closing down and job losses.  Many of us have experienced a completely new kind of stress, that is, to be taken captive in our tiny homes 24/7 with our increasingly cranky kids who thirst for some space to run around.  How we miss the routines before the pandemic took control of our lives!

Indeed, routines seem essential in our lives.  We groan about our long working hours but we don’t want to be left idle not knowing how to spend the day either.  We complain about the never-ending homework assignments of our kids, but neither do we want them to have nothing to do but have their hands on electronic games indefinitely.  We drag going to work, but somehow we miss the ‘contact’ with acquaintances or even strangers we meet on the long suffocating commute.  We miss these routines as they have somehow given us an identity and a purpose in life.

When routines are gone, many of us find our lives in disarray.  A friend of mine retired from his civil service position of 35 years.  Bored to death, he found himself walking all the way from his home in Kwun Tong to his former office in Tsim Sha Tsui during rush hours on a Monday morning, finding satisfaction from rubbing shoulders with other pedestrians.

Pathetic my friend’s story sounds, his experience isn’t that uncommon.  Many of us live ‘in a trance’, completing our daily schedules without any reflection of what we are actually doing.  What are we really trying to achieve aside from staying alive?  What are our deepest desires?  What gives us lasting satisfaction in life?

When these questions aren’t asked, let alone pondered or answered, we go through the motions of commuting to work, doing chores or helping our kids with their schoolwork, then going to bed exhausted every day. When a pandemic forces us to stay home, we are suddenly at a loss, and we experience acute identity crisis, as we don’t see our worth or purpose in life.

In the same token, our kids feel irritable not only because of boredom but a loss of direction.  If they have completed their schoolwork simply to satisfy their parents rather than crave for knowledge or enjoy the mastery over a subject, read to regurgitate in tests to get high marks rather than get continually curious about the world around them, they won’t take the initiative to read quietly on their own.  Without routines, they would merely slip into indolence and ignorance.

You may be thankful that such idleness may finally come to an end when the routines are reinstated as our kids go back to school next month.  But it is time that we helped both ourselves and our kids stop living in a trance.  Help them understand why they miss going to school and what joys they can derive from learning.

Stop going through the motions but stay mindful in life!

Yours sincerely,

Clive Chan