Critics of Hong Kong's low skills base have been momentarily silenced as the SAR shows signs of dumbing-up. Calls for motherland-migrants tooled up in the qualification department were prompted by the realisation that Hong Kong is lacking many essential skilled workers. Lai See believes the Government's dream of the SAR becoming the Asian technology hub were dashed when it was revealed that Hong Kong's sum total of IT expertise was housed in the Wan Chai Computer Centre. Surly youths skilled in the art of displaying a profound look of helplessness when you try to explain that your new HK$30,000 laptop had already decided not to work properly even before it was taken out of the box. 'This computer is deceased. This computer is no more. This, is an ex-laptop.' Hong Kong's dumbing-up started a couple of weeks ago when McDonald's announced that it would be opening its first hamburger university in Hong Kong. The university - the world's seventh hamburger university - would teach burger servers the art of serving burgers with a smile. The drawback from all this education is that one day a fast-food employee will wake up and go in search of a job with an investment bank. The advantage of having employees harvested from the school of mundane repetition is that they are generally not too demanding. A fish slice and a row of stars on their uniform is usually enough to keep most investment bankers happy. Sorry, fast-food outlet employees. Following the announcement that Maccy D staff were to be trained to the level of rocket scientists (deep-fat friers are a direct design off-shoot from the Apollo 13 space mission) came the news that doctorate graduates are vying for the job of weather boffin with the Hong Kong Observatory. Duties of the scientific officer include (although we could be making at least one of these up) correctly predicting the weather. From the 19 people with a doctorate and 233 with a master's degree who applied for the HK$28,075-per-month post, only 88 have been judged as meeting entry requirements after initial screening. Which might suggest that there are 164 graduates thinking: 'Why oh why did I let my career adviser talk me into attending Hamburger University.' Experts in this sort of thing believe that demand for the job is driven by poor market conditions. That, plus the HK$28,075 a month for peering out the window at the weather seems like an easy and stress-free way of passing the day. Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Victor Lau Pak-lung, a career development specialist and lecturer at Polytechnic University's department of management, said when competing for a technical government job, the higher an applicant's academic qualifications, the better their chances. 'Overqualification is not an issue in a technical job like this - it may become an issue if it's not a technical job,' Mr Lau said, referring to a Customs hiring exercise last month which attracted 10 Ph.D holders and 445 holders of a master's degree, suggesting Hong Kong's customs department is in danger of becoming staffed by overqualified luddites. The signs are that Hong Kong will soon have the most qualified unskilled workers in the region. Do you really want to be discussing existentialism at 7.30am with your minibus driver? In fact, do you really want to be discussing existentialism at all?