Talent, in Hong Kong, appears to be suffering from Acquired Nationality Syndrome. Find a person to do a job within Government, with the right credentials and potential for the future, make the appointment and then - oops, get told that the candidate is unsuitable because of their passport; because they are "obviously not loyal" to Hong Kong. What are we thinking of - does it actually matter what nationality a person has, acquired or otherwise, if he or she is willing to devote their energy and efforts to further the prosperity and well being of Hong Kong? If they are standing for the post of Chief Executive or another senior Government position then, yes, there is a case to be made for ensuring that the potential candidate is politically correct, but at deputy minister level?
This is not a debate about the credentials of the people chosen for the roles, nor is it a debate about salaries - it is the principle behind the idea that is being questioned. The money, frankly, shouldn't matter a great deal anyway - Hong Kong's civil servants have always been right up there in salaries with the business community, so by all means pay people for the job they do - and judge them by the results. If that means firing them too - so be it.
Maybe I am not a good example, but I have a British passport. Does it mean that if I am able to contribute something to Hong Kong that might help, I should keep quiet? I received a question from the Hong Kong media some months ago, after my "appointment" as Adviser to incoming Korean President Lee Myung Bak was announced, when they asked why I had not helped Hong Kong; I responded, tongue in cheek, that I had not been asked. Of course I don't think I need to be asked, and I believe that I have in a number of very small ways been of some help to Hong Kong through involvement in the TDC, various other Government bodies and charities and the like, and I propose to continue doing so. But take a person like Alan Zeman, who I don't think has a Hong Kong passport (I may be wrong Alan, and if so, apologies), but what a huge amount someone like him has contributed to Hong Kong.
I have no aspiration to be a deputy minister, but I am sure there are many excellent Hong Kong born Chinese, with foreign passports, who would willingly contribute to this city. I presume they are now precluded from doing so.
I do wish, sometimes, that we would just stop this bickering. This navel gazing, This desire to worry ourselves silly over issues which, if viewed in a broader perspective could be dealt with more maturely than demanding apologies from the CE in Legco for perceived heinous "crimes" that are rarely worth more than a few column inches in the media. Or maybe a few comments in Legco, if our representatives have something worth saying. It is a rearward looking disease, common to Hong Kong, that is generally counterproductive to the way forward, and suggests that we should consider nominating the ostrich to be the national bird of the city.