Date
20 August 2017
Lan Kwai Fong Group chairman Allan Zeman (left), University of Hong Kong vice chancellor Peter Mathieson (middle) and Chinese University of Hong Kong vice chancellor Joseph Sung (right) made headlines during visits to protesters. Photo: HKEJ
Lan Kwai Fong Group chairman Allan Zeman (left), University of Hong Kong vice chancellor Peter Mathieson (middle) and Chinese University of Hong Kong vice chancellor Joseph Sung (right) made headlines during visits to protesters. Photo: HKEJ

Who are the real negotiators we can count on?

Forget those negotiators who have been asked to make peace with the demonstrators by a government that used tear gas on them just days ago.

What we need is a local version of Ban Ki-moon who can speak — and give face — to both sides, so they can meet halfway.

Or we could have Peter Mathieson and Joseph Sung.

Mathieson and Sung, vice chancellors of the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, respectively, emerged as a surprise team when they visited Tamar Park on Tuesday night.

They didn’t say much or stay long, but their presence inspired the crowd. They left with cheers ringing in their ears.

Who would have known they’d have such an effect on the protesters?

The duo spoke volumes by not making any political statements, merely telling the protesters to remain calm and restrained and wishing them well.

And they did not wear out their welcome by leaving at just the right time.

That Mathieson is a foreigner helped underline the cross-cultural dimension of the Umbrella Movement. As two of Hong Kong’s leading academics, Mathieson and Sung represented reason and the proverbial cooler head. 

Two other gweilos made headlines.

District councilor Paul Zimmerman attended an official China National Day ceremony on Wednesday under a yellow umbrella as a sign of protest.  

And Allan Zeman, who made Lan Kwai Fong trendy and famous, visited Admiralty to see for himself why it had suddenly become hip in the few days he was away in London.

Hong Kong celebrities including “Gambling God” star Chow Yun-fat and “The Grandmaster” hero Tony Leung weighed in by criticizing the police for using  tear gas and pepper spray on the protesters.

We are not sure how all this is coming across to Hong Kong’s business tycoons who last week were treated to a high-level reception during a visit to Beijing, including a meeting with President Xi Jinping.

Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong’s wealthiest man, has not been heard from since the protest began, neither have any of the others in the elite delegation.

There’s no word from Cheng Yu-tung, although he might have something to say about reports that a third of his Chow Tai Fook jewellery chain was closed during the past few days.

But there are certain people the protesters would want neither heard nor seen. 

They are high-profile allies of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Most of us know why Fanny Law, Regina Ip and kung fu star Jacky Chan are not welcome.

– Contact us at [email protected]

BK/JP/RA

Allan Zeman, who made Lan Kwai Fong trendy and famous, poses with a protester in Admiralty. Zeman wanted to know why Admiralty had suddenly become hip. Photo: Facebook


EJ Insight writer

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