9 __­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_Women workers or working women?A case study of female workers inMalaysia ___­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_­_

The usefulness and values of most things depend, not so much on their own nature as upon the number of people who can be persuaded to use them.

(An Advertiser’s Guide to Publicity, 1887)

Introduction

For the last few years the weekly journal Asiaweek has sponsored a short story competition for Asian writers which has produced some excellent entries. The runner-up in 1982 was a short story entitled ‘Mr Tang’s Girls’, by Shirley Geok-lin Lim, a Malaysian.1 The plot of the story revolves around Mr Tang’s second family (wife, four daughters ...

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