After 1997, when two-thirds of Gurkhas were made redundant, they stayed in Hong Kong.
Hiring former Gurkhas as security guards or bodyguards became a fad among rich and famous people. Also, companies were happy to oblige.
Thanks to their unblemished reputation and popularity, ex-Gurkhas had a relatively easy time finding jobs.
But why were they limited to security-related positions?
The answer is in their background and 200 years of unconditional service to the British crown.
Gurkhas are not only professional, well disciplined and extremely loyal but also honest, respectful and grateful.
In fact, they’re so loyal that if you give them an umbrella to carry, they will not use it even if it’s raining.
In addition, their bravery, will power and combat skills are renowned around the world.
There is no need for more explanation.
But it is their unconditional loyalty and service to the master that helped foster their relationship with the British.
What’s more, it cost very little to keep them in the service.
After they received right of abode in Britain, almost all Gurkhas left Hong Kong. Only a few remain.
Britain’s resettlement program for retiring Gurkhas was nominal.
It was a very old and outdated program created in the early 1900s and had no relevance to the Gurkhas’ present-day needs.
The program taught them nothing more than farming and animal husbandry, something suited to new farmers.
As career soldiers, Gurkhas were taught little else other than how to use their weapons throughout their time in the army.
Obviously, that did not leave much scope for their retirement.
As a result, they were ill-prepared for civilian life. They were not equipped with the skills necessary for other types of work, forcing them into low-paying jobs such as security guard or bodyguard.
First-generation ex-Gurkhas like myself have come a long way since then.
I hope the succeeding generations will not have to go through the same hard life as we did.
They should have more chances as free citizens of this free world, able to choose their own career and allowed to excel in whatever they choose to do.
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