MALAYA: Landlord & Tenant

There is probably no finer house in Malaya than Bukit Serene (peaceful hill), the green-tiled granite palace of the Sultan of Johore. But the Sultan has never occupied Bukit Serene. Four years ago he was persuaded to let it indefinitely to Malcolm MacDonald, the British commissioner general in Southeast Asia, at a nominal rent—just enough to pay the wages of the palace's 37 gardeners.

Yet the Sultan, an old Oxonian, had no reason, especially in his personal history, to like British officials, or planters, or Singapore's British businessmen. They had not openly objected to his marriage back in 1930 to...

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