27 October 2016

Photo of Mathieson eating a sandwich alone ignites social media

What’s the big deal?

Netizens are debating a photo of University of Hong Kong (HKU) president Peter Mathieson which shows him eating a sandwich alone on a campus park bench.

The photo surfaced after someone posted it on social media, captioned “Mathieson in solitude”.

Fans quickly turned it viral with Facebook likes and shares, praising Mathieson for choosing to eat lunch alone rather than sit down with controversial university officials, Ming Pao Daily reports.

But critics said it was much ado about nothing.

Some people eat alone in the park all the time and Mathieson is no different just because he is a top university official, they said.

Mathieson has been a vocal supporter of former law dean Johannes Chan for HKU pro vice chancellor.

But last week, the governing council threw out the recommendation of its own search committee to appoint Chan, ending a much delayed process marred by accusations of political interference.

The decision outraged the academic community and caused the council, dominated by government-appointed representatives, to coalesce around the decision.

Pro-Beijing council members reportedly torpedoed Chan’s appointment in a secret ballot.

Mathieson once said he couldn’t rule out the possibility that Beijing was behind the episode.

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