The Promise of the Fourth Monkey
by James P. Pandian
Self published?, 656 pages, ISBN 9789671066904
Like New Paperback, minor edge and shelf wear, un-creased spine
About the author: Dr. James P. Pandian is a retired academic. He was born in Kuala Kangsar, Perak and spent his childhood in Chenderoh, a place he returns to every few years to smell the air and revive the memories.
This septuagenarian who has studied and worked in many countries in the world Singapore, Malaysia, United Kingdom, China, Australia still thinks Chenderoh is a magical place. He hopes you too will visit this place after you have read the book, a work of fiction, except for the fact the places are real.
'When is a love story more than a love story? When the lovers realize suddenly and belatedly who they really are and what they represent. He, the handsome, young, newly appointed Superintendent of the Chenderoh power station, Welsh and Methodist to his bootstraps. She, the beautiful and exceptionally brilliant daughter of his Hainanese cook, not yet eighteen, but mature beyond her years. He, a well qualified generation engineer, skilled, disciplined, and uniquely gifted to think clearly and articulate those thoughts better than most of his peers. She, the distilled essence of an ancient culture tested and tried, melted and refined enabling her to think before she spoke a word, smiled impishly to disarm her Tuan especially when she needed more time to think. Were they a match?
The injunction of the Fourth Monkey however was to 'DO NO EVIL'. It decided this could best be demonstrated by placing both its hands between its legs and covering its genitals. This was how the General Manager Mike Campbell warned his young apointees Tony Jones (showing him the wooden monkey) and declaring that fraternization with the local women was forbidden because 'we don't want the finger of miscegenation pointed at us'. But then, Mike Campbell was an ill disciplined meglomaniac who had been too long in the job and fallen too low to be saved.
This is the story of a small place Chenderoh Dam a magical place in the middle of the Perak jungle where a small community was engaged in producing electricity, cheap electricity to run the numerous mines, rubber plantations and light up the towns.
In Chenderoh there are no cinema halls or theatres, but there is plenty of drama. There is no court house, but there is no shortage of kangaroo courts. There are no big shops just one but it has everything. There is a one-teacher school and a one-dresser clinic, but what they deliver is akin to a modern miracle.
And there are people, beautiful, crafty, cunning, poor and even funny.
You will laugh, you will cry and you will reflect about many things about our recent past: about colonialism and about communism, about love and marriage, especially inter-racial marriage, about wealth, poverty, money and corruption, kindness and cruelty, and of course about love, especially about love.'