Amok at Chow Kit, A Review


Dubook Press has released the English translation of Prebet Adam by Syahril A. Kadir, a former veteran crime reporter.

‘Amok at Chow Kit’ is the story of Adam bin Jaafar, the soldier who ran Amok in Chow Kit in 1987. Private Adam provides his personal account of the entire incident and some glimpses into his life. He also addresses the rumours  where he allegedly committed the act to revenge the death of his younger brother at the hands of the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The book lacks a little in the build-up towards the incident. The entire amok story is told within the first eighty pages and the next hundred or so pages are reports, interviews and such. Perhaps more analysis or context would have been great. For example, why was this incident even unique? What was the political situation at that time that led the many conspiracy theories surrounding this incident?

The other let down was more to do with the way the book was marketed. (You can see the image above)

“Prebet Adam has finally come forward to reveal the truth“.

As you are reading the book, you have this expectation that there is going to be a big reveal, which sadly never comes.

There are also parts of the book where Adam “brags” about his sex life, which I am not sure was even necessary. Sex sells?

“…she was all smiles after almost half an our of us “playing”. Whether she was satisfied with a young soldier like me, or by her skills to make me part with my money, I never know!” (excerpt from Amok at Chow Kit)

Putting all of that aside, it is still an enjoyable read. As an added bonus, the book comes with some photographs and newspaper clippings of the incident, which may have contributed to the higher price point compared to Dubook’s other releases (normally priced at RM20).

‘Amok at Chow Kit’ was launched at the Arts for Grabs Bookfest in Publika on the 19th of August. You can purchase your copy directly from Dubook Press. If you prefer the original Malay version, you can purchase Prebet Adam by the same publisher.

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