This book is a multi-faceted reconstruction of the lives and times of Sinhalese emigrants from British Ceylon who form a tiny but distinctive segment of the immigrant population of modern Malaysia and Singapore. Their recollections, orally conveyed, have been sifted, matched with information from independent sources of the sort conventionally used by historians and, where necessary, authenticated with established facts found in authoritative writings of history.
It examines their motivation to emigrate and proceeds with insights into their hopes and aspirations, behavioral values and norms, material successes and failures, placing them against the backdrop of the larger vicissitudes of the past such as the boom at the turn of the century, the gloom of the Great Depression, the convulsions of the second world war including their brief encounter with the Indian Independence Movement and its Indian National Army, the trauma of the communist insurgency and finally the restructuring of Malaysia and Singapore. This book records history as experienced at the grass-roots by immigrants who were probably more detached and objective in their attitudes and perceptions than the natives of the Peninsula. It affords the general reader, kaleidoscopic glimpses of the recent history of the Peninsula; for the professional historian it provides some useful material on the past of Malaysia and Singapore.