It is 1938, Malayan Singapore. The last days of happiness for brother and sister pair, Zabir and Zubaida – so sings narrator Shafeeq Shajahan in the opening number of The Fall of Singapore. Shafeeq sets the background and tone of the story: Zabir and Zubaida’s father, Pak Amir, is a successful tradesman, and the family lived comfortably in the years before the Japanese Occupation.
Pak Amir mysteriously dies, however, and conflict ensues: the British have denied the family the right to bury Pak Amir in traditional Bugis burial grounds, and Zubaida wants to reach out to her boyfriend, British soldier Sub Lieutenant Rick Atlee, for help.
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