World: Amahs, Amen!

For generations the white women's burden in steamy Southeast Asia has been shouldered by amahs, the soft-footed, tough-fibered maidservants who were recruited from the Chinese main land. While the amah (literally, "little mother") cooked, cleaned and looked after the children, the colonel's lady or planter's wife spent her mornings at tennis, her afternoons at bridge, and appeared freshly starched on the veranda at sundown to greet her returning husband with cold stingers, hot curry and eternal complaint about the hardships of life in the tropics.

In Malaya and Singapore today, a mem-sahib is more apt to spend her day screaming at the...

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