Malaysian Murders and Mysteries by Martin Vengadesan, Andrew Sagayam

This book consists of 42 of Malaysia's most prominent cases that have been widely discussed among the locals and some probably well-known worldwide. The book begins with crimes from the colonial era that remain unresolved, and up to the publication year of this book - the mysterious epidemic that killed 15 indigenous villagers in a remote Kelantan outpost in 2019.

The first murder case is about the death of JWW Birch (first British Resident to Perak) at the bathhouse, which has strongly captured my interest in this book. It's an explosive truth for me. We never knew how he died when we studied the country's history during school time. I really hope we will know the truth one day. I would prefer that his death was because of his opposition to the slavery of Orang Asli (native) people and not because of his arrogance or disrespect to the local culture. The Maharaja Lela's lucrative slavery business was never mentioned in the history textbook. It only stated that JWW Birch's death is related to his lacking of respect for the local rulers, traditions and culture.

I felt ashamed that I totally had no idea about the Batang Kali massacre in 1948. There is no justice being served, no monetary compensation and not even an apology. And the case is closed forever for the reason that it had occurred too long ago. It doesn't make sense to me. There are still many cold cases with new evidence emerging every day. Even though there isn't compensation or an apology given by the British government, Malaysia should have installed a memorial garden or a memorial day to remember the loss of innocent lives. The country should bring awareness to the people, mainly younger generations, that such history exists.

Can we have more crime stories, especially during the colonial era? This is so fascinating to read, but at the same time, I am ashamed that I never heard most of them. I can visualise the series of events as if they appear in black and white films. I've probably heard some of the victims' names, but I wasn't aware of the details of their tragedies until now. This is so intense and gruesome to read. I just keep researching those names and cases, looking for more additional information. Sometimes, it just makes me frustrated when most of the cases remain unresolved. I'm the type of person who is eager for truth and prefer closures.

When reading all these cases, I cannot deny that sometimes, I just hate humans. Not only were many brutal crimes committed, but many offenders or murderers were acquitted in the end. It's for you to judge whether there's an efficiency issue in getting the actual criminal or something else is going on behind the scenes. In Malaysia, there is always something happening at the back and rumours and conspiracies are always tagging along. Life seems so cheap for the rich and powerful people. Most of the crimes are led by usual motives such as money, power, jealousy, etc. But the worst one was when no reasons were revealed for some of the crimes. I really wish justice would prevail someday, but at the same time, it feels helpless when there are so many unresolved cases, and as time goes by, not many people will remember them anymore and tend to become a cold case. I started to wonder. Is there any hope for this country's future? I always feel other neighbouring countries are more dangerous than Malaysia. But now, after reading all these crimes in detail, the country can be as vicious or probably more than what I can imagine. Maybe living in the country and hearing all these unresolved and injustice cases from time to time has made me numb. It becomes a norm, and people become oblivious to the danger because they are powerless and choose to just live with it.

ISBN: 9789814868822 (ebook)
Number of Pages: 237
Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
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