Kaatu Perumal: Folk Hero of Sungai Siput
In this piece of writing based on oral history, we get a glimpse of Perumal, the communist fighter who was a legend among working class communities in especially but not only the plantations of Sg Siput. Kaatu Perumal was the champion of oppressed rubber estate workers, meting out rough justice to the planters and police during the repressive days of British colonial rule. His bravery and dedication to his cause, his masterful use of disguise to, it seemed, magically elude capture, his talent in football and drama — these attributes of Kaatu Perumal are known and spoken of fondly by estate workers a generation later, and by his foes too though with grudging admiration.
The role of fighters like Perumal in the anti-colonial struggle has been completely suppressed in the official history of Malaysia. Dave Anthony’s ‘Kaatu Perumal’ then is a valuable contribution to the writing of the genuine history of the struggle for independence. — Rani Rasiah
Fantastic story! Really a great piece of oral history, well written. — Arutchelvan, Secretary General, PSM
This is a historically important booklet, a ‘must’ reading for people like me who do not know much about how the Emergency had affected the Tamil communities in the rubber estates. The horror of Chinese squatters herded into New Villages is better known compared to the sufferings of their Indian compatriots within the concentration camps of the plantations. The inspiring and heroic life of Kaatu Perumal reflects their struggle for a just economic existence, and for human respect and dignity. — Poh Soo Kai