A gallant attempt to narrate history through a multidimensional coverage of contemporary events in 19th and 20th century China and British Malaya. It brings to light the effects on the life of the Chinese migrants and the evolution of their role in the new country.
The elaborate insertion of Confucian ethos draws attention to deep rooted attachment of the Chinese to their cultural root and a penetrating insight into Chinese customs and culture.
The story is deeply embedded and wrapped into the events of the time. One can easily miss the narrative by the constant diversions to the multi-dimensional events taking place. They are almost a distraction at times. Yet in an astute display of craftsmanship the interspersing play of characters and events would return to the story and lead the reader on to continue the journey through the 19th and 20th century.
The later portion of the book appears to be summarily presented on the role and impact of politics rather than the life of the characters themselves. Yet anyone familiar with the modern historical development of Malaysia could easily identify with what was narrated in those chapters.
“A very interesting read. A historical novel whose characters symbolised the outlook and culture of different communities within Malaysian Chinese, their contributions to Malaysia and the world, their sacrifices and successes. It ends with the deep problems the country faces and ponders the future.
Different individuals look through different prisms. It’s good to learn more of the different perspectives to better appreciate … History itself is malleable.” —Dato’ Dr. Mahmood Merican, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon