I do not plan to write any new post to eulogize them but to merely reproduce two which I had written more than 3 years ago, not only for us to remember their deeds but to be wary of some pseudo-warriors who in the name of Islam would exploit and politicize them and in the process diminish the contributions of the true warriors.
Last Post to the Malaysian Last Post
06 April 2010
It would have happened sooner or later, for the Warrior Day’s celebration to be syariah compliant. Apparently the Muslim clerics have deemed the military remembrance ceremony held annually to remember our late warriors and the nation’s debt to them as non-halal.
In The Malaysian Insider’s article Ex-servicemen divided over changes to Warrior’s Day celebration we have comments from:
(a) Retired Lt-Gen Zaini Mohamad Said who said: “Moving the ceremony is obviously for the better, I am quite sure it is for the better and will satisfy our multi-religious society.”
(b) Retired Maj Rashid Hassan Basri who said “I hope the celebration in Putrajaya will abandon the old practices; what is the point of playing ‘The Last Post’, it is not ours, it is a Christian tradition.”
While it’s not for me to question the Muslims on their perspective that celebrating Warrior’s Day or better known as Armed Services’ Remembrance Day is akin to idol worshipping I need to correct some errors and in one case, total bullshit, and also to point out what they have missed in their religious-centric pronouncements, as follows:
(i) Not every warrior who gave his life to the nation was a Malay or Muslim. Let me remind you of non-Muslims who were posthumously awarded the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa like Captain Mohana Chandran al Velayuthan, Warrant Officer 2 Lenggu anak China and many others, and those who were posthumously awarded the Pingat Gagah Berani like Lt Choo Yok Boo and Lt Chang Tat Min.
*Additional note (27 Nov 2013):
I wrote to Malaysiakini a letter titled Chinese M'sians, too, have died for one Malaysia in which I pointed out that our killed-in-battle Chinese Police heroes, like:
- Yeoh Chew Bik (killed by communist terrorists (CTs) at Sebarang Perai);
- Koh Ah Cheng (killed by CTs at Bukit Kepong police station; ironically the communist assailants were led by a Malay communist, Muhammad Indera);
- Loh Ah Chu (killed by CTs at Bukit Berapit, Perak);
- Chan Eng Teck (killed by CTs at Bukit Berapit, Perak);
- Ang Lock Say (killed by CTs at Bukit Berapit, Perak);
- Yeap Sean Hua (killed on duty while apprehending a criminal at Setapak; another policeman, Fong Thean Kit, who was off duty but heard the shot gave chase and apprehended the killer); [Important note: Both Yeap (posthumously) and Fong were awarded Malaysia’s highest gallantry award, the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP).]
- Chin Chin Kooi (Special Branch chief inspector who served in the police for 21 years - shot at point blank range and killed by unknown slayers; before he died he managed to shoot back); [Important note: Chin was posthumously awarded the SP];
- Lee Han Cheong (a sergeant and Police Field Force (PFF) patrol leader was killed by CTs near Bidor);
- Deputy Comm Khoo Chong Kong (killed by communist subversives in Perak).
I was also very disappointed by a Chinese person who attempted to diminish the deeds of the above warriors by commenting, words to the effect, that "today's reality" does not reflect the above. Chinese ultimate sacrifices to the nation are just that, sacrifices to be respected and remembered, not to be politicized by running dogs, for them to spin this and that way to diminish the armed servicemen's contributions.*
So while we understand that the Islamists may want to move the location of the service for whatever reasons they have rationalised, please remember some warriors were non-Muslims. Thus it’s presumptuous for Lt-Gen Zaini Mohamad Said to claim that “Moving the ceremony is obviously for the better, I am quite sure it is for the better and will satisfy our multi-religious society.”
Sometimes it’s better not to speak on our behalf as we don’t agree with you, General - it's just that we can't do anything about your nonsense!
(ii) The ceremony is about remembering our respect and debts to the late warriors, and not about idolising or praying to them. Please don’t conflate your religious beliefs with a remembrance ceremony.
Putih tulang dikandung tanah, budi yang baik dikenang juga – that’s all the ceremony has been about, but trust someone to come up with the bullsh*t that it’s akin to idol-worshipping.
(ii) The Last Post has nothing to do with Christianity. This allegation is sheer nonsense.
As Wikipedia and a number of other publications tell us: 'Last Post' was originally a bugle call used in British Army camps to signal the end of the day.
The name derives from the practice of inspecting all the sentry posts around such a camp at the end of the day, and playing a bugle call at each of them. The 'last post' was thus the last point of this inspection, and the bugle call signalling that this post had been inspected marked the end of the military day. This custom dates from at least the 17th century.
During the 19th century, 'Last Post' was also carried to the various countries of the British Empire. In all these countries it has been incorporated into military funerals, where it is played as a final farewell, symbolising the fact that the duty of the dead soldier is over and that they can rest in peace.
Where then is the connection to Christianity or Christian tradition?
It is nothing more than a (Commonwealth) military tradition. If Maj Rashid Hassan Basri believes that anything connected to the West is a Christian tradition, then he shouldn't wear shoes (Hang Tuah went around barefooted) or drive a car or a zillion other things that Westerners do.
It’s quite annoying to see people like him jump on the Islamic bandwagon by resorting to nonsense to blame what they support discarding as a Christian tradition.
Tunku Abdul Rahman was the man who had the National Monument built to honour as well as remember our heroes, men who gave their lives for our nation. 52 years have passed with PMs Abdul Razak, Hussein Onn, Dr Mahathir and PM Abdullah Badawi never raising such an issue. All of them were/are Muslims.
Trust Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Islamic Affairs Minister Jamil Khir Baharom to break half a century of military tradition. I wonder whether they were really conscious of their Islamic beliefs or playing politics.
*Additional note (27 Nov 2013):
Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi informed Parliament on 09 November 2010 that the small numbers of non-Malays in the Armed Forces was likely due to, among other factors, their 'low spirit of patriotism'.*
Lest we forget
07 April 2010
They shall grow not old ... as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.
Lest we forget.
Yesterday I posted Last Post to the Malaysian Last Post where I expressed my regrets over the religio-politicisation of Warriors' Day being held at the National Monument, as it had been done over almost the last half century.
But most of all I lambasted one ex serviceman for talking cock about the bugle-call of the Last Post and what it means to servicemen. That bloke would just sprout nonsense in order for him to jump on the religious bandwagon.
As I mentioned, Remembrance Day (Warriors’ Day) is about remembering (not forgetting) the deeds of our national heroes.
We remember their sacrifices and honour their invaluable service in defending our country. And we teach and remind our young citizens to be mindful that where they are today has been in large part due to the sacrifices of our heroes.
It’s regrettable that of all people, the Defence Minister became the person to politicise this important day by portraying the ceremony at the National Monument as idol worshipping and thus haram (forbidden) to Muslims. If he has to do or say something in this regard, he should be the very one to defend the servicemen’s right to continue the ceremony as they had been doing for the last half a century.
If we want to be Wahhabis, fine, then shouldn’t we get rid of the statue of Hang Tuah in the National Museum? Shouldn’t we also remove all the portraits and photos of our national leaders from the school classrooms and public offices?
C’mon, let’s be consistent, and bloody stop playing politics.
Today I read in The Malaysian Insider the news that Ex-soldiers ask for new monument in Putrajaya - it reported (extracts):
Former Malaysian soldiers want a new monument in Putrajaya to commemorate Warrior’s Day even if the celebrations are moved to the administrative capital due to objections from Islamic scholars.
The 130,000-strong Ex-Servicemen Association of Malaysia (PBTM) said a new monument is necessary as a respect to the soldiers even if it isn’t a replica of the iconic bronze monument of human statues in Lake Garden here.
Datuk Muhammad Abd Ghani also said the current July 31 celebrations is only symbolic and a mark of respect, denying claims it was unIslamic as stated by Islamic authorities who claim it should not be held at the site of statues or sculptures of human figures.
“It is an old military ceremony. We are not worshipping the monument as mentioned but it is just symbolic. What is important is our intention to give respect,” he told The Malaysian Insider last night.
I rest my case. And the Defence Minister should hang his head in shame.
Each has won a glorious grave - not that sepulchre of earth wherein they lie, but the living tomb of everlasting remembrance wherein their glory is enshrined. For the whole earth is the sepulchre of heroes. Monuments may rise and tablets be set up to them in their own land, but on far-off shores there is an abiding memorial that no pen or chisel has traced; it is graven not on stone or brass, but on the living hearts of humanity.
Take these men for your example. Like them, remember that prosperity can be only for the free, that freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it - Pericles c. 495 – 429 BC