Someone has asked me why I have not changed the header of my blogweb. My straight answer to him is because I am an avid admirer of the person in the picture, and the picture reminds me of some fond memories of the man in the picture.
For those who do not know the man in the picture, he is Brig Gen ‘Jimmy’ Yusof Abu Bakar, the first Commander of HQ 6th Brigade based in Sg. Patani, Kedah. This picture was taken by Maj Gen Dato Paduka ‘Speedy’ Ghazali Ibrahim who was then G3 Operations of HQ 6th Brigade. I believe the picture was taken in 1970 during a Hari Raya gift distribution to troops operating in the Malaysia-Thai border areas. I cannot recall the unit the soldiers belong to, but I think it was a Police Field Force unit operating in the Kroh-Kelian Intan areas.
If one takes a closer look at the picture, one could see a feature of a lady in the background and that lady is the wife of the Commander, whom we refer to as Kak Comel, a pet name given by the husband himself. I never dared ask Gen ‘Jimmy’ Yusof how that name evolved, but I suppose it was because Kak Comel must have been a pretty lady during her youth, and she was still pretty and a graceful lady in the 70’s. The sad thing about Gen ‘Jimmy’ Yusof and Kak Comel are that they both are no longer with us, for Allah swt loves them more.
I certainly can write a lot about Gen ‘Jimmy’ Yusof and for one, he is an example of a Commander who loves all his officers and men. One striking trait of his leadership is that he does not show his temper when something goes wrong however bad, and the only thing that comes from him is the word ‘bisa’. And to all of us, we know that something is not right.
There was a time when I had to accompany Gen ‘Jimmy’ Yusof to his temporary rented bungalow at Harvard Estate, early during his time as the Commander. The HQ has yet to obtain an official approval for a government house for the Commander from the Kedah state government, through the District Office. During one of my duties as an accompanying officer, and having to stay with him is his rented bungalow, and in some private moments, Gen Jimmy Yusof would confide to me about his childhood life in Segamat, Johor, and the hardship he had to endure having to come from a relatively poor family. His father, I was told was just a ticket collector at one of the Cinema’s in Segamat.
He even told me that he feared losing Kak Comel during his courtship days because of his poor family background against the much wealthier family of Kak Comel, who hails from Muar, Johor. But fate has it that, that they were to be married happily and bore 5 beautiful daughters…………..just wonder where are they now. To remember Kak Comel by, I still have in my possession of a black kain songket that I bought from her at just the cost of RM50. That was the kain songket I used to wear with my black baju Melayu at official functions during my service days.
Certainly the days with Gen ‘Jimmy’ Yusof has a profound influence in my life, in the remaining years of my service with the army, and Kak Comel has been a wonderful Kakak to our families. Gen ‘Jimmy’ Yusof loves ‘briyani gam’, a Johor delicacy and my wife being from Johor had the pleasant opportunity to cook for Gen ‘Jimmy’ Yusof, his favourite food during a function at his official quarters.
Recently, I was told that the new army leadership has directed that all officers to go back to basic in their daily professional life as officers, and be more responsible to their men. I fully understand the reason why the COA has come out with such a directive, and I think such a directive could steer army back to its original form, purpose and priorities. Maybe in some postings later, I wish to share my thoughts on my understanding of the term ‘back to basics’ with samplings of my experiences with Gen ‘Jimmy’ Yusof
CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION