John Tsang Chun-wah might have missed his true calling. In his latest weekly blog, our finance chief offers his personal take on the stage production of The Amahs , about three mainland women who came to Hong Kong to work as servants in the 1950s. After reading it, I wished I had bought tickets to the show, which was sold out. Tsang clearly has an untapped talent as a drama critic. After all, appreciation of drama and coffee, as he has famously claimed, is an essential attribute of being a member of "the middle class" like him. It's Tsang's ability as an architect of social and economic policy we have to worry about. The stage show about amahs makes him think about foreign domestic helpers in contemporary Hong Kong. While those amahs of old remained single and economically independent by refusing to marry, their life stories and sacrifices, writes Tsang, mirrored those of many foreign helpers today. But if the previous generations could treat amahs like part of the family, why can't we, Tsang asks, try to better understand and appreciate our helpers? That would lessen tensions and avoid conflicts. Certainly the case of abused Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih has put Hong Kong in a harsh light. And that may be what Tsang is worrying about. After Erwiana, we should really ask about the hidden social and moral costs of having a permanent under-class of domestics equivalent to more than 4 per cent of our population. What does that say about social and racial equality? Tsang is now warning about an ageing population and shrinking labour force, and wants more women to join or rejoin the workforce. But the root problem of having a cheap source of foreign domestic labour over decades is that it has enabled the government and private companies to abnegate their responsibility to develop and provide family- and women-friendly policies, facilities and services. That is why we are practically in the Stone Age in these areas when compared with most other developed economies. Officials like Tsang say we desperately need to do something. But the cheap labour system they have helped create is a source of the problem.