Friday, November 2, 2007

The David Marshall Trials -4

Continued from previous extract of The David Marshall Trials by Alex Josey.

"Don't think I won't," he yelled and threw a flaming touch into a nearby box of paper and charcoal. The paper flared up and Bellows* lurched forward and caught Ah Tong by the shirt, preventing him from putting out the flames.

Screaming, Ah Tong's daughter rushed forward, burning her hands while beating out the fire.

"You mad bastard," said Ah Tong. "I'll kill you for this." Ah Tong said with vehemence and drunk though he was, Bellows remembered it later that night when he wrote up his diary. "Must watch Ah Tong," he pencilled. "Today he threatened to kill me."

To the astonishment of the villagers, towards twilight, Bellows managed to stagger to his jeep and drive away. They never thought he would make it back to Johore, where he lived.

He did not die till a week later. When the police summoned by the villagers, arrived they found his body half-way between the general store and his jeep, lying on soft earth soaked with Bellow's life blood. A parang (long knife) was still half buried in his skull. He'd been struck from behind. None of the villagers would admit that they knew what had happened. There was a conspiracy of silence.

At first the police was prepared to believe this was another attack by militant communists, but they were puzzled by the complete silence of the villagers. When the police asked the headman if he thought the communists had been responsible, the Chinese replied non-committally: "Maybe. Nobody saw what happened."

*fictitious name but real person says the author


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