One of Baat Gwaa's girlfriends was hysterical the other day.
"We're finished," Lisa wailed.
I asked if her hubby was having an affair.
Bursting into tears, she said: "It's worse. No more expat packages. We have to downsize."
Her husband's company has offered him a semi-local remuneration package. Instead of getting a housing subsidy, he will receive a HK$30,000 monthly allowance. That means they will have to move out of their HK$50,000 plus village house.
A human resources friend says employees can no longer expect a huge expatriate package and Westerners are not the favoured candidates for Asia's top jobs, especially in banking.
Industry watchers fear that expatriate packages are disappearing as there are more incentives to hire locals because of lower salaries.
Expatriates are hired for a transitional period to train local staff. At the end of the day, the job will always go to the most qualified person. And if he or she is a local, it's even better.
Still, Baat Gwaa believes, Western or not, talent will always cut across borders.