Facing left and right

City Talk | Siu Sai-wo 19 Aug 2019

At this eventful time in Hong Kong, even being the head of a university is not easy. Apart from school administration, there are also social, students and alumni issues to tackle.

The university heads who have spoken out displayed different styles.

University of Hong Kong president and vice-chancellor Zhang Xiang, for example, has left a deep impression as he stands firm against violence while debating with alumni.

People who have spoken to him told me Zhang, a scientist, is from Nanjing where there are two famous poultry dishes - the salted duck and the pressed duck. Salted duck is peasant food; pressed duck is expensive and ordinary people can’t afford it.

The pressed duck’s meat in tough and salty, and you have to learn to like it.

But Zhang has never had it, so he probably didn’t come from a rich background.

Zhang grew up in Nanjing, and later furthered his studies in the US before coming to Hong Kong to join the education field.

He is a martial arts fan, so naturally an important part of the Hong Kong he first came to know was Jin Yong’s martial arts novels. Among the master’s works, The Legend of the Condor Heroes is his favorite. Apart from the main characters Guo Jing and Huang Rong, he also likes "Old Imp" Zhou Botong.

Zhang found Zhou’s "ambidexterity" skill of having his left hand fighting with his right extraordinary.

He thinks it shows that Zhou has reached such a high level that he can’t find a worthy opponent and has only himself to fight with.

And to be able to create such a character, Jin -- real name Louis Cha Leung-yung -- must be highly imaginative.

As a novel lover, Zhang wonders if serialized fictional stories have disappeared altogether from newspapers these days.

Apart from reading, he has also attempted to write novels, which shows that Zhang is himself also very imaginative.

That’s probably why one of his scientific researches is the "invisibility cloak," which has a rather sci-fi feel to it.

Siu Sai-wo is publisher of Sing Tao Daily

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