Shamini Flint (born 26 October 1969) is a Malaysia-born former lawyer turned novelist.
- [T]here was absolutely no possibility of a successful resolution to the case he had just been handed. There never was when religion trumped rational behaviour and politics influenced police work.
- He knew from his own experience in Singapore that the further up the ladder one got, the more the job was about politics and statistics than actually dealing with crime.
- ....so many languages were spoken in Malaysia that quite often the wheels of justice ground to a standstill for the lack of an interpreter who could restore the tower of babel to a court of law.
- Chelsea Liew! A ridiculous name - par for the course with the adoption of Western names by Singaporeans aiming to give themselves a cosmopolitan air. Unfortunately, they often picked the most improbable monikers. Inspector Singh had come across young Singaporeans revelling in first names like Mayfair and Rothmans.
- No respectable Sikh family would buy art merely for its aesthetic qualities.
- "Buried six feet under, buried facing Mecca, burnt to cinders ... it does not matter. He is rotting in hell this very moment."
- It seemed, pondered the inspector, that no sooner did you give a man a car than he wanted to drive somewhere and do something.
- Singh could not help but think that, in a hospital, the proximity of death was best disguised — and the actual dead hidden. It was not conducive to the right frame of mind for recovery to have the morgue signposted for patients. It would be the medical equivalent of 'Abandon hope all ye who enter here'.
- And yet, the inspector thought, Kuala Lumpur had a certain something. It was difficult for him to put his finger on what it was exactly. There was a sense of freedom perhaps, of anarchy even, that Singapore so sorely lacked. Perhaps it was the lack of deference to authority, the physical space, the ability to take a step back and enjoy a moment of quiet that lent Kuala Lumpur its atmosphere.
- Singaporeans were always adding to the list of reasons each one kept to hand, in case they met a Malaysian, of why it was so much better on the island than the peninsula. They ranged from law and order to cleanliness, from clean government to good schools, and always ended on the strength of the Singaporean economy. But in the end, the Malaysian would nod, as if to agree on the points made — and shrug to indicate that they wouldn't trade passports, not really.
- Sometimes, if you want to protect something you care about, you have to take extreme steps.
- Now he was in a holding pen with various members of the Kuala Lumpur criminal fraternity and they scared him [...] They ranged from a Chinese gang member, whose dragon tattoo foraged up his arm and curled around his neck, to a large, [sic] Indian man with a jet-black moustache and pocked-marked face, brooding in a corner. The majority of his cellmates appeared from their accents to be Indonesians, part of the large contingent of illegal immigrants in Malaysia. [...] At least, he thought, the government should be proud that their efforts to integrate the various races in Malaysia into a cohesive society were bearing such fruit. It was a very multi-racial group that was penned in together.
- The Penan do not have many possessions. They have lived for generations in the Borneo forests in harmony with their environment, taking what they need from the jungle, leaving no footprint but that of bare feet on muddy earth washed away with each rain. It was not difficult for them to regroup and move deeper into the forest. They would not be missed and traces of their ephemeral presence would soon be erased.
- In Singapore, house renovation had only one goal — to convey wealth. He had seen houses that appeared huge, with a vast amount of road frontage, only to pass by another day using another route and discover that the same house was narrower than a long boat.
- The act of speaking, the release from silence, invariably meant that the prisoner would say too much, give something away, let slip an honest truth in the midst of the self-justification. Inspector Singh, like a fine piano-tuner, could listen to these verbal outpourings and pick up those hints of expression or emotion that were off-key and those that rang true. And so he waited for Jasper Lee to open his mouth, and a door to the truth, at the same time.
- The gods were fighting over her children but she could not seek the help of any of them. And she had so much choice. She had grown up a Buddhist, her ex-husband was alleged a Moslem when he died, her own sister was a Christian - so many options for salvation. [...] Chelsea would have settled for solace through prayer. But she did not believe that there was an invisible hand behind the farce that was her life's play. At the very least she did not believe in a benevolent God. [...] Surely it was better to lay the blame for the machinations of fate at the door of chance?
- Rupert did not understand why the parasites in cities did not understand the most fundamental tenet of nature - that a parasite eventually kills its host. Did these people not know that if they continued to feed and spread and grow, with the tendrils of their greed wrapping themselves around their host, the day would come when it could no longer sustain them and when it died they would too?
- But these quiet people, in their animal skin clothes with their diet of sago, were not to be left alone to wander through the lush jungles, living off the land, leaving no mark when they moved on, teaching their children the secrets of the forest. The greed of others could not co-exist with the selflessness of the Penan with their gentle humour and generous hearts.
- He suspected they did it not just because of their voracious appetite for tropical hardwoods and the money that it brought in, but because of a visceral fear that someday they might have to acknowledge that they were wrong. Everything they had sought and bought had not brought them happiness, let alone contentment. [...] It was better to destroy the potential source of such unpalatable truths than have them live to witness the lives of quiet desperation of their tormentors.
- "Why do you buy [shoddy goods] if you think the quality is so poor?"
- "Cheaper," [Mrs Singh] responded.
- "You get what you pay for," [Inspector Singh] pointed out.
- "That's what my father said when I complained about you."
- "That's Mao."