A review entirely in German! And it can be read here. This translation is by Sven Alexander Schottmann who works in KL as a lecturer:
Certain follies can only be recognized when one is able to observe them in others and laugh about them. If European intellectual history forms the background and the folly is the story of communism, then the mere thought of the failed “workers’ and peasants’ states” of Eastern Europe is enough to produce a giggle. If on the other hand, one would rather take in the larger view to appreciate the comical impact of how a simple idea spread across the world, Lelaki Komunis Terakhir by Amir Muhammad is recommended viewing.
Malaysia’s last communist is Chin Peng. In the 1920s, he rose to prominence as the leader of the Chinese [sic] Communist Party (CPM) against foreign occupation: first against the British, then against the Japanese and after World War II against the British again. In fact, Malayan guerrilla warfare between 1948 and 1960 represents some of the bloodiest conflict in British colonial history. Chin Peng quickly became one of the most wanted men in the Empire. After decolonization, the independent Malaysian government continued its pro-western oriented policy. This included the prohibition of the CPM and denying its leader a return into his homeland, who is thought to remain in hiding in the Thai jungle to this day.
In Lelaki Komunis Terakhir Amir Muhammad traces the biographical stations of the last communist. He visits the house of his birth, his parents’ bicycle shop and the informer who almost had him imprisoned. The backdrop to all of this is contemporary Malaysia and only text boards re-connect the present with the history of these various locations. Chin Peng, the subject of the documentary, does not even appear even once. Amir Muhammad’s explains that it was intention to document a “landscape,” or somewhat more complex, “contested terrains.” What is shown is not a Malaysia bleeding in the anti-colonial struggle or the Malaysia of the Cold War, but rather the new, multilingual and plural Malaysia. The label “history” is always misleading when one adopts a narrow definition of history meaning past events without a bearing of the present, which is always the outcome of history.
The use of songs is quite strange, but authentically Malaysian. British propaganda itself was often pepped up and spread through the use of these popular songs. Laden with irony, these songs poke fun at the sometimes abstruse history of communism in Malaysia. When the fathers of communism are praised and the typical revolutionary slogans in laughable nursery rhymes, then the partly amused, partly ashamed old European must ask himself how a number of crude ideas meant for a few industrial nations could have reached the last jungle and produced so much evil.