From the days when Hong Kong was a “barren rock” to today, many from all parts of the world, and through sheer hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit have become great success stories and real Hong Kong Belongers. We who live here know who they were and who they are.

Somewhere along the long march that’s made Hong Kong the city it was and the city is have been those who’ve been recruited to Hong Kong under “expat packages”.

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Yes, there were sometimes a real need to import foreign talent unavailable in Hong Kong and pay them handsomely for what they brought to the table, but too many have enjoyed the perks that come with these packages despite being hugely overrated and overpaid opportunists who have got very rich through the fat of the land.

Opportunist Thefts on Increase

What’s ironic is that despite all this talk about “localisation”, this same practice/ritual, call it what you will of hiring many from “the West”, many very often with incredibly bad track records “back home”, continue to land in Hong Kong- and many other countries in the region- under these “expat packages” where they’re paid to live the life of Reilly and a pukka lifestyle not that far removed from those colonial days of the Raj.

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The question is this: Why? Why do so many of those “locals” who have complained long and hard about these hires continue to turn the other cheek and are prepared to play subservient second class citizens and become simpering, whimpering Tonto to Kemo Sabay?

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Of course, most of those bringing in these hires on expat packages are very often those ON expat packages. One can only guess that it’s lonely at the top, and loneliness, or whatever the hell it is, loves company, which means many- too many- leading middle-income existences “back home” suddenly finding themselves in the playgrounds of, especially, Singapore and Hong Kong, where part of these packages include membership to private clubs, a domestic helper, a chauffer for two company cars and an apartment or house that very soon doesn’t become a home.

Gaining “class” overnight is like overnight success in that it’s hard to handle and gets tougher when caught up in the “social struggle” of keeping up with the Joneses- and pretences.

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Anyone still remember the lightweight ad executive from Chicago who, after being transferred to Hong Kong on one of these expat packages as Managing Director, and given a penthouse suite and the other keys to his new magical kingdom, immediately hired, for himself and his wife, a young, attractive British female chauffer despite her being new to Hong Kong and dazed and confused as to how to get from Causeway Bay to Central, let alone puttering down the Golden Mile?

After being found giving more than a ride in the back of the limo to the agency’s creative director, she was on her bike.

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The advertising industry, along with the banking and entertainment industries have been particularly kind to those with nothing going for them “back home” other than the gift of the bag brought in to fill executive positions that could easily have been taken up by local talent.

These days, at least Hong Kong, one is finally seeing the dark side to the lifestyle that these expat packages buy.

In recent months, well-heeled bankers with their houses and apartments on the Peak and Repulse Bay have gone on record about the drug abuse taking place in their social circles.

Murder, sex, suicides, fake marriages and so much more are being revealed almost on a daily basis

Cocaine in Hong Kong – THE CABIN HONG KONG

Daughter of British insurance executive who fell to her death in Hong Kong had never attended school – SCMP

Will this mean an end to these ridiculous expat packages where second and third rate hires are obscenely overpaid? Probably. But this will be closing the barnyard door after the horse- and horses- have bolted.

So many have raped, pillaged and robbed their companies dry, and have left Hong Kong with their golden handshakes singing, “The Good Life”, or took the opportunity to feather their nests when the going was good and are still enjoying their good life. Where are they to go? Blighty? Oz? And do what?

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In Singapore, despite all the talk of “nationalistic pride”, the country is still about mad dogs and Englishmen out in the midday sun- way too many losers from the UK, Australia, Europe, and other points West living it up with the wife and kids around for corporate reasons and “trophy presentations” while leading a double life.

This double life starts by being affected with an immediate and serious bout of “yellow fever” upon arrival, which always results in having a Sarong Party Girl on the side and a marriage so much on the rocks, it’s the Titanic.

Whereas one can see slowly- too slowly- reining in these expat packages, Singapore has become the new land of milk and honey for very average “Western” talent- especially in the television industry, something started out two decades ago by a certain music channel that became a playground for some of the most overpaid and overrated talent who swanned around the world, always travelling first class and with a succession of Neros who fiddled while Rome- and the channel- burnt.

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This “grand tradition” of Singapore-based television channels and media houses continue, something seen whenever watching all those cable channels on six hour loops with programming repeated four times a day.

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To complete this picture, those “hard working” executives gather once a year in Hong Kong to discuss what a marvellous job they’re doing while laughing all the way to the bank.

Wall Street bailout

It- and the cast of characters- would have made a brilliant Robert Altman movie.