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Our Man in Malacca

“Why have you selected Malacca, of all places in Asia, to live and work undercover?” the CO finally asked.
“I would be inconspicuous in Malacca. I could operate my coffee business out of my home and under the radar of the Malaysian Special Branch. It’s a small city. Some call it a ‘sleepy hollow’. I’d be comfortable operating in that milieu.”
I neglected to mention that I had sailed from Singapore to that coastal town with my father during a school holiday when I was a child. Old-world and multi-cultural Malacca had left a lasting impression on me over the years.
Indeed there is no place in Malaysia that has more charm than Malacca. The town lies on the sea at the mouth of a narrow, winding river which runs slowly beneath a four-century-old bridge before it flows into the Straits. The north side of the river has the ancient Chinatown and the ornate seaside homes of the Straits-born Chinese merchants. On the other side of the bridge, south of the river, one finds the large red houses in the middle of town that the Dutch built when they ran Malacca during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. And on a hill above those red buildings, stands the ruins of the fort built by the Portuguese who controlled the Asian spice trade from here in the 1500s until their defeat by the Dutch.
The first Chinese arrived even earlier, in the 1400s.
No other locale in all of Southeast Asia has a more beguiling history than Malacca. The tolerant and peaceful town has always drawn breath, through boom and bust, from its enlivening mix of Portuguese, Malay, Chinese, Eurasian, and Indian citizens. This was the intoxicating setting where I planned to make my home base as an undercover spook.

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About the Author

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I was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Southern California. I served aboard submarines in the United States Navy. I have lived in the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Bali, Indonesia. During my period living in Southeast Asia I ran an export company and played throughout the region as a jazz musician. My debut novel, China Sea, portrays a plot and settings derived from my experience.

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