Doris Van Der Stratten
Author: Andrew Barber Publisher: Karamoja Press ISBN: 9789834337261
BARBER has written several books focusing on Malaysia’s colonial history. A former British diplomat, he was based in Kuala Lumpur for two decades as a consultant.
In this book, Barber focuses on the tragic life and death of Australian citizen Doris Van Der Stratten, who was the mistress of the Japanese commander of the Kuala Lumpur Garrison.
Not much is known of this woman who was found dead in 1946 after an interrogation by the Kempetei.
Accused of being a British spy, she either leapt from – or was thrown out of – a window of the building where she Kuala Lumpur at War (1939–1945). This book, which is supposed to tell more about her, only scratches the surface of Doris’ life.
It is padded up with war history, the story of the Eurasian family she married into, and the trial of the man accused of killing her. As for Doris herself, her history is brief but enough for us to know that she comes from a broken home, was a divorcee who lost custody of her two young daughters, and that she was feisty and determined. Not enough to fill the pages of a book but enough for a TV movie. – S. Indra Sathiabalan