An autobiography of sorts, in the form of a memoir of the author s time spent in Malaya during most of his adult life Boris Hembry came to Asia during the height of British imperialism in the 1930s, before everything changed when the Japs invaded and took over As an expatriate he enjoyed a higher standard of living than his peers who stayed home Typical for many colonials he lived in a huge property with extensive grounds, overseen by a retinue of native servants, almost like a private kingdom given the distance from head office Meanwhile as an employee of Guthrie he organized land and labor to maximize rubber production while being paid quite handsomely for his efforts Indeed, he lived the life of a globe trotting elite in those days, Really enjoyed this book, great insight into Malaysia in this period and the lives of the locals and the money made by the British Companies Well told story, perhaps the writer took a kudos he was not entitled to, still a brave man doing his duty in WW 2 Enjoyed the book as a History buff Would recommend.
Remarkably light and easy read I actually think the title of this book does it a slight disservice Although the world war period is a key part of the book, there is fartherin to enjoy First of all, the journey of this young man from Britain to the remotest parts of the tropics to build his career is fascinating He has to adapt to loneliness and entirely new cultures and languages for his job The description of colonial life, with its customs and characters also interesting reading Even after the war, the rise of a communist insurgency means he has to deal with an existential threat to both his job and his own family, but he stands firm All in all, this is the story of an extraordinary life in extraordinary times.
If you have to read one book with the history of Malaya as background, make it this one This is the memoir of Boris Hembry, a British rubber planter turned spy turned bandits fighter This is his story in and around the region spanning 25 years or so In a way, it is also a story of Malaya, its people and its colonial masters Malaysians who are familiar with the setting will find many things to relate to People who are not will find themselves learning about a beautiful country in a beautiful era Throughout the book, the writer s extraordinary character comes through so much that you would wish you had known him personally Though since the book was only intended for his grandchildren and great grandchildren, you do feel like you re listening to an old friend reminiscing about the good old days by the fire place It s beautiful Thank you John Hembry, for deciding to p ✓ Malayan Spymaster ✓ Boris Hembry would say he fell into a life for which he was perfectly suited Dependable, determined, driven and really rather fun by the sounds of it Hembry was quickly climbing the corporate Rubber Planting ladder when the outbreak of war changed the direction of his contribution to the world From his initial role as part of the Stay at home party, leading an escape from occupied Malaya, to spying on Japanese posts in Burma through ingenious but somewhat misdirected means, Hembry contributed widely in Asia to the war effort His tales of everyday life are equally as riveting to those of us limeys now living in the region.
Pick it up, enjoy it, hope to carry just some of the determination and optimism back with you when the cover is closed.
Written for his grandchildren, but his son John decided to have it printed so that others may enjoy his memoirs Thank you, John.
Complements The Jungle Is Neutral by F Spencer Chapman, and Our Man In Malaya by Margaret Sheenan on the life of John Davis , and also S O E in the Far East Charles Cruickshank.
all in my library.