SCMP Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Unwed women attract admirers from afar


Overseas male readers were swift to e-mail the South China Morning Post yesterday after reading that the number of unmarried women in Hong Kong had soared.
Most of the men, who included lawyers and businessmen, wanted to find out where they could meet the women.
One message from California read: "I am so pleased to hear of brilliant women, seemingly emerging from a somewhat different historical role . . . it would be a great pleasure to explore the possibilities of engaging in intellectual relationships with such extremely interesting persons."
Another American reader asked: "Where do these professional women go in their leisure time? Do they just stay at home in their flats and then go to dinner with their friends on Friday evenings?"
The messages flooded in after the Post's Internet service carried a report that the number of women in their 30s and 40s who had never married had almost quadrupled in 15 years.
Ting Kwok-fai, professor of sociology at Chinese University, said Hong Kong women were more attractive to overseas men than locals because men in Western countries were more open to the idea of women who were well educated and high earners.
"Hong Kong people are still bound by the traditional rule of men being dominant in a family. So men in Hong Kong feel insecure about their role if they choose a woman who is better educated and has higher socio-economic standing," he said. "Also, some local men feel negative about women who are career-minded, with fears they will sacrifice family life for their work."
Women's Commission member Maurice Lee Wai-man said overseas men found Hong Kong women attractive because they were not seen as a threat to the opposite sex.
"I would say Hong Kong women are among the most self-confident, sophisticated and independent. They just look for equality with men rather than being superior," he said.
But Mr Lee said it might be difficult to meet such well-educated single women because they usually spent most of their time at work.