I sense that there is a tendency among retired military officers to harbor a misconception about the revival of the Retired Armed Forces Officers Club (RAFOC) that I had posted in my weblog on June 2nd 2010. The misconception appears to be centered on the argument as described by one of my readers, that the ‘legacy of class separation’ and the practice of ‘rigid social etiquettes’ is still obvious among some officers.
While I agree with some of the comments made by my readers in my earlier posting, I would say that if at all there was ‘class separation’ and ‘rigid social etiquettes’ at any function were senior military officers are involved, then I’d say that it wasn’t done deliberately by the organizers’; rather it was done as a show respect to the senior ones.
I certainly would not like to see, say a retired CDF being left on his own to find his own seat, or walk around aimlessly looking for a conversation. I think the onus lies in the junior who must willingly approach the retired CDF or seniors, and to show them their seat, or to begin a casual conversation with them. I don’t think this is too bothersome for anyone to do; rather it will only show true comradeship and an undiminished loyalty to someone our senior, despite all of us being retirees. And isn’t this being taught to us by our parents when we were small i.e. to respect those who are elder? It certainly doesn’t hurt to be respectful, even if that person is younger than you. It only shows your dignified and honorable upbringing.
As a 12 year old retiree, I do meet my seniors and juniors often at functions, and meeting them gives me a great feeling. It was only last night where I was seated besides my former boss who was a three star general at a wedding reception, and we talked like old friends. I did not feel like a subordinate, and he too did not show signs that he was still the boss. It was just a talk among old friends, and nothing more. And when I am being approached by a junior, it gives me the feeling that I am still being accepted as their friend. I supposed that same feeling will be felt by my seniors, if I were to approach them first.
While I understand that the primary objective of RAFOC is ‘to bring together retired officers by way of social and other activities so that the good fellowship, espirit-de-corps and spirit of caring in the military community does not extinguish’, I have also interjected a proposal in my posting that RAFOC can further its role as a ‘voice of reason’ in matters affecting defence and security of the nation, as well as those affecting the Armed Forces. I personally do not know how the members will response to this proposal, and most certainly RAFOC should remain apolitical.
To do the above, RAFOC must have the numbers, and by setting aside our little differences while in the service, and to look forward to the positive aspects of RAFOC, we certainly can be that ‘voice of reason’. Being retirees too, we are at a different level of our life, in which friends have a great influence in filling the gap in the remaining years of our life.
I am quite sure RAFOC can play that role in filling the gap in the remaining years of our life, and it is for this reason that I would like to appeal to all retirees of the Armed Forces (regardless of rank) to be with us at RAFOC. And for those who have not received any notice, please call the Honorary Secretary, Lt Kol Dato Nawawi bin Mat Desa (Retired) at 019-3139895 and hope to see all of you at our AGM on Saturday, 26th June 2010 at 1400 hrs at Dewan Hikmat, Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College.
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