The Voice of the Tiger
This is a story that takes you on a journey into the rain forests of Malaya at the end of the Malayan Emergency, a conflict that took place over a twelve year period just after the end of the Second World War. It started in 1948 and ended in 1960. Vince Tanner is the main character, a soldier in the New Zealand army who was seconded to Malaya for the emergency after he enlisted with the Kiwi Army. More
A War Romance During The Malayan Emergency
This is a story that takes you on a journey into the rain forests of Malaya at the end of the Malayan Emergency, a conflict that took place over a twelve year period just after the end of the Second World War. It started in 1948 and ended in 1960. Vince Tanner is the main character, a soldier in the New Zealand army who was seconded to Malaya for the emergency after he enlisted with the Kiwi Army. The action, adventure and romance he was seeking was found in abundance and with an intensity that was to test him to the limits.
Soon after arriving in Malaya, Vince finds himself in trouble after contracting a tropical disease. Seriously ill, he ends up in a military hospital where he meets and falls in love with the beautiful nurse that was charged with taking care of him. For both of them, it is love at first site, a war romance which was as unexpected as it was illicit.
Vince, as a lance corporal, was strictly forbidden by the military rules of the army to enter into a relationship with his new love, who was a commissioned officer
They know the rules but unable to prevent themselves the couple embark on an intense affair that, sadly, is destined to go very badly wrong. Destiny intervenes, Audrey is attacked and slumps into a deep coma. The doctors appear helpless and are unable to bring her out of her deep unconscious state.
Vince then discovers that his new love has a dark and secret past; he becomes distraught from what he learns and the situation he finds himself in. When he turns to alcohol for comfort, his life quickly turns into one of drunkenness and depravity which is constantly intruded by strange dreams that, although strangely familiar, he cannot provide an explanation for.
Recovered from his tropical illness Vince has to return to his platoon to carry on with his military duties, leaving Audrey in a hospital bed still deep in a coma. Becoming more and more disillusioned with the military life he has chosen and frustrated with the apparent lack of control he has over his own destiny. Events lead one to another and Vince finds himself separated from his patrol and lost in the Malayan rain forest.
Here he finds a world of solitude and majesty in the jungle, experiences the wonders of nature and after some time alone and lost, discovers the indigenous peoples of the forest.
A symbiotic relationship between Vince and the Orang Asli tribe is established, but Vince begins to suspect that everything that has happened to him was, to an extent, orchestrated by Abu the spiritual leader (Halak) of the Orang Asli tribe.
Vince discovers and begins to understand the cultural differences between his own society and those of the Orang Asli, things that would be strictly taboo in New Zealand are accepted and approved of in the culture of the Aboriginals of Malaya. He feels comfortable in their presence and, for a short time, lives as they live, accepts their protocols and embraces their culture.
He knows he will have to leave eventually, but now thinks that fate will dictate when and under what circumstances that will be, because these are the ways of the Orang Asli. By embracing animism and communicating with the spirits Abu can predict what is meant to be and he knows whatever happens the gods need to be appeased, but can he influence fate and bring about change that will save not just Vince and Audrey but also the peoples of the Orang Asli tribe.
This is a fabulous read that uses the medium of fiction to describe a time and place in a troubled region of the far east, a time when men from all around the world were engaged in war, often found romance and, for the fictional Vince Tanner at least, discovered and understood a completely different culture and set of beliefs.
If you believe in fate and a pre-ordained existence then you will surely emphasise with what is written in this book. And if you don't then you may just find your mind being changed, even if only a little.