Yawning Bread has a thoughful review of the film "The Last Communist" on his site. In the meantime, I am still trying to gather information on the botanical and pharmacopeial differences between petai papan, petai kacang and petai padi.
As with some earlier movies like Schindler's List, this film (and its published precedent "Alias Chin Peng: My Side of History") is confronting a kind of idiocy rife in Malaysia that regards it as preferable to see, hear and speak of no evil rather than to have an open examination of its contexts and retelling of its lessons. It appears that the sensitivities of individuals who have undoubtedly suffered as a result of the communist insurgency must be mollified to the extent that independent perspectives of that era must be suppressed. Not that there are many non-independent accounts for that matter; the insurgency warranted no more than a few vague paragraphs during my entire 11 years of education in Malaysia.
One can sympathise with those who have suffered as a result, directly or indirectly, from Chin Peng's acts, but there is also a need for people today to know about, understand and analyse Chin Peng's origins, thoughts, ideology and historical context, lest a vital part of the nation's history be suppressed simply because some think it's too painful to even mention it. There's nothing to prevent survivors from speaking out to rebut Chin Peng's claims, highlight atrocities committed by the Malayan Communist Party or spotlight the sacrifices of communities and individuals at the forefront of the counterinsurgency efforts. Don't Malaysians deserve (or are they deemed too immature still?) at least an airing from all participants that sheds light on an episode that shaped the country's political directions in no small way? Or at the very least, might journeys such as Amir's lead to a pondering of how the soul of a nation has changed and inspire watchfulness against the banality of an evil with unassuming origins?