Come September 16, 2008, the Malaysian Armed Forces will celebrate its 75th Anniversary. That date also coincides with the Birthday Celebration of TYT Yang DiPertua Negeri Sabah, which is a declared public holiday for the state. One can also associate September 16 with the purported date of the change over of government from BN to PR, which has now been deferred; so says Anwar.
Having left the Armed Forces for a decade now, my love and spirit for the uniform has not withered the least. I still hold dear to the military friends that I had; many have since retired and some of my subordinate officers are now holding high positions. It is unfortunate that none of my children are in the military to continue my legacy. But this is not so for the Indian Armed Forces, especially among the Sikh community. A Sikh classmate of mine whom I had befriended while a student at the Defence Services Staff College, India says that he is a third generation army officer to have served the Indian Army. Both his father and grandfather were army officers, and he has no qualms about getting his son to join the army. He says that the Sikh community in India places the military profession in high esteem.
I watched the Merdeka Parade on TV recently, and was awed by the impressive show displayed by members of the Armed Forces. In just ten years, I see a different kind of army. Its equipments are not the ones that I had seen while I was in the army before. The air force too displayed their ability and skill to handle advanced fighter aircrafts. As I sat watching the parade with my 11 year old grandson by my side, I wondered if he will be the one to follow my career path later, as he grows up.
My thoughts now goes to the many officers and soldiers of the Armed Forces who had placed their lives in defence of the country, especially those who had served the Second World War, Malaysia-Indonesian Confrontation, the first Malayan Emergency and 'second emergency'. Many lost their lives, and some others maimed for life, and their sacrifices are never forgotten. Mention is always being made in speeches during Armed Forces Day.
And my thought specially goes to Tun General Ibrahim Ismail now in his late 80's, who had served during the Second World War and the rest. He is a towering figure of a true general and a leader of men. I would have thought that his rightful place during the Merdeka Parade, was to be seated besides the King, and be attired in full military regalia. This is the sort of honour that the Armed Forces should have accorded him, and in all military functions.
I bless the Armed Forces and its able leadership, and to move ahead in building a strong and formidable Armed Forces.