The contrast was striking. The man who just weeks before exuded confidence as he hosted his first public event as Equal Opportunities Commission chairman yesterday barely met the eyes of the journalists surrounding him. In that last meeting, a reception for friends of the commission, Michael Wong Kin-chow spoke with ease, joking with reporters, ensuring guests were taken care of and even taking to the stage with fellow commissioners and Secretary for Home Affairs Patrick Ho Chi-ping. Yesterday, when Mr Wong finally emerged from his office to face reporters and photographers, the mood was markedly different. As he walked out to face the cameras, the former Court of Appeal judge meekly submitted to calls for him to come closer to the microphones and cameras. His head bowed to the piece of paper in his hands, Mr Wong, 67, looked his age as he read word for word from the three-paragraph statement in Cantonese, and then quietly walked away as reporters yelled out questions in a vain attempt to provoke a comment. What began as questions about the employment contract of a top aide being rescinded less than two weeks ago has now taken on a life of its own, involving Mr Wong's family, the government and even the judiciary. It is certainly not the kind of treatment judges are accustomed to.