If you should hear an anguished cry across the Pacific Ocean in five years, that's because Hong Kong no longer has enough domestic helpers to meet demand.
The governments of both the Philippines and Indonesia are planning to quit exporting overseas workers; Indonesia has set a goal of zero workers by 2017, while no one is quite certain what the Philippines will do, but signs point to a heavy reduction if not an outright ban.
That means Hong Kongers who want maid service will have to look elsewhere, employing local workers, or in the true Hong Kong spirit, hiring people under the table.
Either that or families will have to learn to clean up after themselves, a shock that for some folks may be too much to overcome, given this city thrives on the philosophy that 'someone else will clean it up'. I'm not saying there will be a rash of suicides or anything, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were mass protests in the streets along with a slew of expatriates suddenly decamping to Singapore. Then again, to be fair some families really do need the help, especially with Hong Kong's rapidly aging population.
But I'm glad for the change; I've never been thrilled with the news reports of some poor helper falling to her death from a high-rise because her employers wanted the windows washed (it happens more often than you'd think), or of maids being forced to sleep on the floor or in a tiny room that should have been the pantry, or of helpers suffering physical, emotional or sexual abuse. That's not to say all maids are saints or that all employers are evil cretins, but there have been more than enough horror stories told for people to know the domestic service culture here is broken.
So yeah, if you notice a great weeping and gnashing of teeth emanation from the Big Lychee, don't be alarmed: it's just folks realising (many for the first time) how spoiled they've been.