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A writer from the 1930s answers, “Why Widow is Preferred”

There are so many amusing stories published on the Sarawak Gazette during its years of publication.

However, one article written by an anonymous writer with the pseudonym ‘A Professional Singler’ from Miri left us bewildered both about its content and the questionable grammar.

Published on May 1, 1931, the writer attempts to answer the question, “Why Widow is Preferred?”. This is what he wrote.

“Knowing that we are one of the same modernists nature living on this earthly tragedy world; each one has its own supposition to marry an extractive and fashionable young beautiful girl is really no means for a poor creature to attainment.

Needless to say, young girls often wonder why they are so often left and widows are taken. They need not a wonder.

A widow makes a better wife than a young girl for many important reasons.

The widow takes a man at his face value-having had one husband, she knows more or less what to expect from the next. The widow also usually has a ‘marriage technique’- and who does not require considerable technique?

The inexperienced young wife, in only too many cases, chooses the wrong way is publicly to ‘boss’ one’s husband.

The wrong way again is to remind husbands of things they said before they were married; to give them bad news as soon as they get home from the fieldwork or office, to point sins of omission or commission before breakfast or supper; and to ignore their prejudices, thereby threading on their pet corn; and above all, to order them about.

The right way is invariably the widow’s way. The widow carefully takes note of her second adventure’s peculiar little tastes and habits and idiosyncrasies.

She chooses the right moment – his right moment, not hers – for the denouement – that is when he is well fed, rested and comfortable -and then she makes him feel kind and good and noble when, in answer to her appeal to his want.

A man who has married a widow knows that, although he cannot be certain that he has got gilt-edged security, he is at any rate not gambling on an outside chance – as is often the case with an inexperienced young wife.

He knows that a widow is easier to get on with, is usually more considerate and helpful. No man wants to have to live up to the standard of a super-being indefinitely. It is as much as he can do to be human – before breakfast.

But probably the most important reason of all why a man, although possibly preferring blondes, nevertheless marries a widow – whatever her colour – is that he knows his wife will have to learned how to cook a decent meal, how to get full value for money, and how to buy the best in the cheapest market.

Socially, a young beautiful wife is an excellent partnership-making-equipment for furnishing the social halls, and generally goes out at all costs, when the pleasure seeking satisfies her return home late in the evenings, especially in the nights.

Thankfully, the article was written during the 1930s. If it was published in the age of social media, we wonder what kind of feedback the writer would receive. One of thing for sure, there would have been a lot of memes inspired by his article.

Patricia Hului
Patricia Hului is a Kayan who wants to live in a world where you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight. She grew up in Bintulu, Sarawak and graduated from the University Malaysia Sabah with a degree in Marine Science. She worked for The Borneo Post SEEDS, which is now defunct. When she's not writing, you can find her in a studio taking belly dance classes, hiking up a hill or browsing through Pinterest. Follow her on Instagram at @patriciahului, Facebook at Patricia Hului at or Twitter at @patriciahului.

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