Saturday, 23 June 2012

Another professional review for 'Merdeka'

According to Trevor Royle 'Merdeka' is ‘.... a crisply told tale with a strong narrative line and a cast of well-drawn characters.’ 

Trevor is a broadcaster and author specialising in the history of war and empire.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a regular commentator on defence matters and international affairs for the BBC and an Editor at The Sunday Herald. His books include:

The Flowers of the Forest, and A Time of Tyrants
The Civil War: The War of the Three Kingdoms 1638-1660, Patton: Old Blood and Crimea: The Great Crimean War 1854-1856.

Another of his books is 'The Last Days of the Raj'

Monday, 18 June 2012

Traditional Malay Dance - Zapin

Watch the Zapin, a traditonal Malay dance.  In 'Merdeka' Sergeant Hisyam and his men dance the Zapin as part of their independence celebrations.  They dance it in a jungle village by a fire.  The clip below shows the same dance being performed by boys from St Joseph's Institute in Johor, Malaysia.  It is a lovely dance........  The Zapin first came to the Malay archipelago in the 13th Century, introduced by Muslim traders.  Read more of its history here.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Natural Hot Springs at Pekan Air Panas, Johor, Malaysia

In 'Merdeka' Ah Sim wistfully remembers a relaxing visit to the hot springs at Air Panas (then spelt Ayer Panas), as she reluctantly heads back to the jungle, passing through Kampung Tenang. More information on the springs and the history of the settlement (founded in 1806) can be found on Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Nyem
Close by is a wonderful jungle waterfall at Taka Melor, with a pool suitable for swimming.  Its worth a visit!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Combat Stress (PTSD) - Do you really understand what it means?

In 'Merdeka' Alick struggles with the aftermath of a stressful patrol, not fully realising the emotional impact that it has had on him.  In the 1950's PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) was not recognised the way that it is today and victims were expected to keep a stiff upper lip and soldier on.  Today there is excellent support available to UK veterans through the charity 'Combat Stress'.   Do you really understand what 'the enemy within' means to PTSD sufferers? The advert below shows a simulated flashback which some viewers may find disturbing.....

Friday, 8 June 2012

A review with a difference - 'Merdeka' at sea.....

A review has been kindly sent by Nigel St George, along with a picture of a yacht called 'Merdeka' taken on the Andaman Sea after a voyage from Malaysia to Phuket.

'Merdeka' at sea
7th June 2012
Dear Lachlan,
I have been meaning to send you this photo for ages.  I was reading your book whilst travelling between KL and Penang, then Langkawi and on to Phuket. 
The photo was taken whilst actually reading your book whilst at anchor off Phuket.
A great read and made all the better by being in Malaysia.

For other reviews of 'Merdeka' see the Review Page of this blog.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Another great review for 'Merdeka'

Many thanks to John Angus for a 5 star review of 'Merdeka' just posted on  Extracts from this review, along with all the others, can be seen on the Review page of this blog.  Work on the next book is underway and the feedback from all the reviewers is hugely appreciated.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Queens Diamond Jubilee 2012

Queen Elizabeth II came to the British throne on 2nd February 1952 on the death of father (her actual Coronation was on 2nd June 1953), and also took up her position as head of the Commonwealth.  2012 marks 60 years of her reign.  Five years later, on 31st August 1957, her photo was taken down from numerous walls throughout the Malayan Federation, which gained independence on that day.  'Merdeka' means independence or freedom in Malay. 

Until 'Merdeka' the young Queen's photo was displayed in Police Stations in the Malayan Federation and there is a section in the book which touches on what its removal meant for some people who served in the Police at that time.

The photographs above are taken from the official website of the British Monarchy.  Queen Elizabeth II is the world's second longest serving Head of State.  Who has been doing it longer?  King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who came to the throne on 9th June1946, has been doing it for 6 years longer!