“What’s a girl to do when she has so many choices?”

That’s what I think I would have thought if I had been a Chinese woman in Singapore in 1937, as I flipped through an issue of The Union Times newspaper. Because on any given day that newspaper provided inspiration for women to act in countless different ways.

Let’s take a look and imagine what a Chinese housewife in 1937 would have thought as she looked through the paper in the morning after her husband had gone to work.

cook

“Maybe I should be a dutiful wife and cook delicious and healthy food for my husband and his friend. . . No, because then I’ll have to sit silently at the table while they talk about things that bore me to tears.”

milk

“Maybe I should feed my baby boy some condensed milk so that he can grow up to be big, healthy and strong. . . No, that’s not a good idea. He’s lactose intolerant. . . and every time he drinks milk he. . .”

coil

“Maybe I should coil my hair. . . No, the last time I did that my hair caught on fire. That was a bad idea.”

beauty

“Maybe I’ll just go buy some lotion for my skin so that I can look like a movie star. I’ve always wanted to be a movie star.”

strength

“No, that’s hopeless. After all, my husband keeps taking all of those energy supplements. . .”

tonic

“. . . and ‘love potion’. . . I barely get any sleep at night. So what good could lotion do now?”

supplement

“I just need something to make me feel better. Like a health supplement. . . or. . .”

drink

“I know! I can invite my neighbor over. We can drink together. . . Sure it’s only 9 AM, but what the heck!”

friendly

“Nah, maybe not. . . after all, she always gets so ‘friendly’ when she drinks.”

kill

“Hmmm. . . I guess I’ll just take my frustrations out on the mosquitoes in the house. After all, like the advertisement says, it ‘costs less to kill.’”

good

“Ah, that’s better! Now I feel as ‘fresh as an ocean breeze.’ I’m ready for the day!!”