From the Preface:
This book is an attempt to make a comparative study of the contemporary political and economic situation in Hong Kong and British Malaya. I have tried to set forth the aims and methods of British colonial policy, and to give some account of economic development and of the effect of Western rule upon the local populations. American experience in the Philippines and Dutch in the Netherlands East Indies have been drawn upon for comparisons and contrasts. Their problems have many similarities to those of the British, but the policies adopted are often different. Little has been written about Malaya and the Hong Kong of the last thirty years so that it is often very difficult to obtain information of recent developments. The Netherlands East Indies and the Philippines have been more fortunate; and there seemed no point in writing another book about dependencies which have been described so thoroughly by Dutch, American, and British authors. For this reason I have referred to them only when their problems and methods shed light upon a similar situation in the British possessions.
The book is the result of a year’s travel and study in Great Britain and the dependencies in 1936-7, and a subsequent visit to Great Britain in 1939 to discuss the manuscript and bring it up to date. It is based to some extent on government reports and newspapers, but for the most part on interviews. My special thanks are due to the British Colonial and Foreign Offices for the very generous facilities which they placed at my disposal, and to the Department of State at Washington. It is fatally easy for the traveller in the tropics to misunderstand what is before his eyes, and in each dependency I questioned as wide and varied an assortment of officials and unofficials as would submit to my importunities. My very grateful thanks are due to the many British, Dutch, and American, Chinese, Malay, and Filipino officials, business men and others, who spared hours of their time to give me the help without which this book could not have been written.