Climbing high into the lap of luxurious living

THE new Chief Secretary will inherit a mansion with servants, a Jaguar car and a $21,000-a-month entertainment allowance, but not necessarily the fighting force of Volunteers of which Sir David Ford is head.

Anson Chan Fang On-sang will be moving up from her rented Mid-Levels home on MacDonnell Road to Victoria House on Barker Road near the Peak where her neighbours will include Chief Justice Sir Ti Liang Yang and Commander British Forces Major-General John Foley.

For her new lifestyle where her everyday and special needs will be catered for by eight servants, Mrs Chan will have to pay.

But the rent for the colonial-style house, with expansive lawns and a swimming pool, will be just 7.5 per cent of her $156,000 monthly salary, or about $11,700 a month, bills included, which has to be one of the best deals in Hong Kong.

When she is at home, enjoying the spectacular views over Hong Kong island to Victoria Harbour, which are far superior to the urban landscape seen from Government House, Mrs Chan will be looked after by a chief steward, a head steward, a head chef and a number two, and four other domestic servants.

Mrs Chan and her husband Archie will be able to entertain outdoors in style, either by the pool or on the terrace with its sweeping view of the harbour.

Indoors, there is a massive dining room. The house also has a number of sitting rooms for entertaining.

A chauffeur-driven Jaguar Sovereign with its distinctive ''CS'' number plate will whisk Mrs Chan down the hill to work at the Central Government Offices.

But she had better check her passport has plenty of space for visas as overseas trips will become a large part of her working life.

As well as trips to London to brief the Foreign Office, outgoing Chief Secretary Sir David was dispatched to various parts of China, the United States, Canada and Japan to inform other countries' leaders of the situation in Hong Kong and to boost the territory's image.

One of Mrs Chan's trips to London could include a visit to the Queen to be conferred with an honour, a tradition for chief secretaries, and may see her transformed to Dame Anson.

Sir David was passed over in the Queen's Birthday Honours a few months after he became Chief Secretary in February 1987, but his knighthood was conferred the following year.

Mrs Chan will be head of the 190,000-strong force of civil servants, but Sir David may yet keep control of the 800 members of the Royal Hong Kong Regiment (the Volunteers) of which he is Honorary Colonel.