"There can be no doubt whatever in the mind of anyone who has lived in the Far East that, so far as social life is concerned, women have a much better time there than they would have as a rule at home. There are many things which conduce to this - the climate; the custom of living in hotels; the large number of bachelors; freedom from housekeeping worries, and all but the most immediate family ties; and the large part which games play in the life of the colony.
A single woman working for herself would live at one of the many nice boarding-houses for about £7 to £8 a month, or at one of the best hotels for about 12 or 15 a month. This would include everything except wines, aerated waters, entertainment of guests, and washing. The latter item, however, is a very small consideration in the Far East, for in Chinese laundries the charge is about a halfpenny per article, and no difference is made for the size.
Office hours are very much the same in the English settlements in the Far East as they are at home. Work begins at nine o'clock in the morning and ends at five o'clock in the afternoon. On Saturday work ends at one o'clock, and working overtime is not very common.
In the summer, that is, from May till September, mixed bathing parties in the cool of the evening are, perhaps, the most enjoyable of all ways of spending the hours of leisure. The usual procedure is for some married lady to get up a party and invite her friends to join and share the expense; or for several friends to join together, in which case there may be twenty or thirty men and women in the one party, two-thirds being men. The ladies take turn to bring tea, which is their contribution to the funds; and the men pay for the launch hire and the " drinks."
It is in the winter, however, that the colony dons its bravest attire and its brightest smiles, and from November to March is, perhaps, as near a paradise on earth as the most carping critic could desire. Dinners, dances, picnics, and tennis parties fill all spare time, and the difficulty is often to keep pace with one's social engagements.
The question is often asked if single working women have more opportunities of marriage in the Far East colonies than they would have at home. The answer is certainly "Yes," but with the qualification that the opportunities are not as numerous as formerly.
In any case, whether or no marriage be the ultimate end and aim of her existence, the working woman will number many men among her friends, and for this reason, if no other, will rejoice in her change of abode. The single woman working for a living in any of our Eastern colonies will find much to compensate her for working in a tropical climate.