Retired and serving officers who had seen service with 6th Battalion Royal Malay Regiment held their first ever reunion on Saturday, August 15th at Officers Mess 4th Infantry Division, Kuala Lumpur. Most were accompanied by their spouses, and in attendance too were a couple of wives of deceased officers who despite having lost their husbands, remain steadfast and loyal to the unit in which their husbands had once served. It is indeed a moving sight to see them at the gathering, and it at once struck me that the bond of friendship that had been developed among military officers does not remain among them only, but it also extends to their spouses as well.
I was also moved at the sight of Maj Manan Abas, a surviving recipient of the Military Cross (MC); a British gallantry award the equivalent of the Pingat Gagah Berani (PGB), who was awarded the MC for his gallantry exploits during the Malayan Emergency. Though frail, his presence with his beloved English wife is the hallmark of what soldiers truly are and true to the saying that 'soldiers never die; they just fade away'. And in the case of Maj Manan Abas, even fading away may not be his living wish at all.
Besides Maj Manan Abas, we also had Maj Gen Dato Rahman Khamis and Maj Dato Kamaruddin Jamal who are both recipients of the PGB, and had their gallantry award allowances increased by the government recently from a meager RM300 to RM 1500. To all that had served the Armed Forces and the police, the sum paid to our gallant worriers is not merely a representative of their sacrifice to King and country, but more importantly, a recognition to the fact that there will always be those who value the security of the nation more than their own lives. Such personal sacrifices has no set cash value, and society must remember that it is because of the existence of such warriors in our midst that the nation is at peace today.
And talking about the MC, I had on July 7th, 2008 posted an article regarding Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw of the Indian Army who was a field recipient of the MC for his exemplary gallantry in an offensive against the invading Japanese Army in Burma during the second World War. Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw is the only Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of Field Marshall, and of whom I was previleged to have met when I attended my staff course at the Indian Defence Services Staff College in 1983.
Among the gathering too were a couple of former Army chiefs, notably Gen Tan Sri (Jack) Yacob Mat Zain, Gen Dato Ismail Hassan and Gen Dato Seri Azumi Mohamed, who in their own respective military career had contributed immensely towards the betterment of the Army. And Gen Tan Sri (Jack) Yacob was one of those who was invited to reminisce his past as an aspiring young army officer, and whom I am fortunate to have served as his Brigade Major, when he was the Commander 6th Infantry Brigade in Sg. Petani, Kedah.
The gathering too brought me to be with my first Officer Commanding Maj Gen Dato Dahalan Sulaiman, and reuniting for the very first time all the officers that had served him in B Company 6th Battalion Royal Malay Regiment; notably Lt Col Badrudin Yasin (Company Second-in-Command), Mej Gen Dato Aziz Mansor (Platoon Commander), Col Zaini Hashim (Platoon Commander) and Lt Col Syed Haider Syed Ahmad (Platoon Commander). I was also then a young Platoon Commander.
There are lots of stories to tell about all the officers of B Company that I hope to document one day.
I am exceptionally pleased to meet up with Lt Col Badrudin Yasin who excelled in athletics, and was the 100 yards sprint champion at the 4th Brigade Athletics meet in the 60's. He was my mentor of sorts, a strict disciplinarian and one whom I feared most at work, but a true gentlemen off duty hours. As a Company Second-in-Command, he set good examples that he is always the best among soldiers in the military profession, and at the shooting range he proves himself to be a marksman and nothing less.
Finally, the gathering that had brought together former bosses and friends that had served the battalion, could not have been organised more successfully, had it not been for the likes of Brig Gen Dato Hanif Taib, Lt Col Zainal Che Dan and their team of former officers and friends. Most whom I had talked to after the gathering is of the view that this reunion should be a yearly feature, and what better way can all those present relive their past memories in the army, other than a reunion like the one organised on Saturday, August 15.
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION