Monday, June 7, 2010


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



johan5150 said...

dear Sir,
I am his son in law.please e mail
me at are all in and around taman TAR ampang.

Dahlia said...

Dear Sir,
Thank you for your kind words about my late father. It was most touching & heartwarming to read & brought tears to my eyes,realy. I am so happy & touched that General left such an impression on you as he did with all of us & we miss both him & our beloved mother very much.
Just to let you know that there are 9 of us altogether...all girls! and we all in KL.
Thank you again for remembering my parents & warm regards to you & your family

norzah said...

Xcuse me for joining your comment column again w/o any invitatition, Dato, You may throw this into the trashcan if you wish.
The intrusion is just to ask you if the army bigwigs according to your past experience were ever asked by the Government to give their views on how to deal with the Palestinians and the Zionists issue. It has always been the Foreign Ministry which advices Govt on foreign policy but dealing with the Zionist regime requires astute military and tactical knowledge. As shown by the Mavi Marmara and Rachel Corrie debacles, some military advice on how to react to a siege on high water might have helped to avoid the embarassment or ensure that the humanitarian supplies reached the target. More, our military genius might even advise the Govt on new approaches to deal with the Palestinian issue rather than continue with the diplomatic gambits which had failed to work. Some views on this would be most appreciated.
I laud your eulogy of General Jimmy and join you in sharing the fond memory of the great soldier. Salam.

Arunzab said...

I had the honour of knowing this fine gentelmen and have sent you an e- mail in form of a small write up about him.

Arunzab said...

Saudara Norzah,
Your comments do indeed make sense.
However there is this belief by Politicians that "War is too important to be left to the Generals" As a result politicians
always bugger things up as they did in Iraq, Afghanistan and now also in Palestine. Look at our Foreign Minister he rushes off to Aman Jordan when we already have an Ambassador in Jordan to do the need full for our 'Wira Wira Negara' Our Politicians just like to bask in glory and know best. To hell with advise from the army.

norzah said...

Dear Arunzab,
Thnx for the response. I pressed for Gen. Arshad's view as a fellow blogger cos I'm tired of listening to
politicians squeezing extra mileage from the flotilla
debacle, perhaps not realizing that the US and Israel had a bigger agenda behind the killing of the Turks.Read Mahaguru58 recent entry to get an idea about it. I've also posed some questions on the issue in my own blog. As it is Malaysia's reaction to the flotilla atrocities might facilitate US and Israel to push ahead with their Middle-East agenda. I think we need the military pov to prevent the Israelis from putting their OJV tactics (Operation Justifies Vengeance) into operation. Salam.

ArshadRaji said...

Dear Dahlia, is a reunion of sort. Johan was the first to be in touch and now it is you. I can only remember your name, and I think you are the fifth girl. I did not know that you another 4 was added to the family.
Hope to meet you all one day. Regards

ArshadRaji said...

Dear Norzah,

I fully agree with you, and I personally do not know whether the government has ever sought the advice of our retired military officers regarding issues concerning defence.

I suggest you read my earlier posting dated June 2, titled 'Retired Armed Forces Officers' Club' where I did talk about the club being a voice. I do not know whether the members will agree with me on this matter. Retired military officers of the more developed armies has lots of say, and their govt's do listen to their views.


benadam said...

Dear Pak Norzah,
I have the dubious honour of serving in Mindef for 16 years without being posted out, which was rather odd. My personal view as one who’s not a innocent bystander on the issue that you brought up was and still is that “ …9 out of 10 times that army bigwigs are consulted the purpose is to mitigate policy blunders adopted by politicians or to provide scaffolding to justify policy decision already taken..” To me politicians are masters in the arts of playing to the gallery.
Anyway just as you’ve posted I am also waiting for Gen. Arshad's view on this.
Pak Chad sir, you are at liberty to erase this intervention of mine, if you will.

norzah said...

Gen Pak Chad Sir, I've read your RAFOC comment and concur with the suggestion, and conclusion. I'm a retired public servant and we too are never consulted on policy matters which we have dealt with before and are now seeing the same mistakes being repeated. Once retired you're forgotten; thus the repository of expertise in our country never developed, We see young officers struggling with problems we dismantled years ago (not solved because recurrent problems are never solved and can only be managed!}
I agree with Bro. benadam's comment re the army and the politicians. Your reflections on the Israel-Palestine issue and the flotilla affair would be most interesting to listen to.Salam.

WIRA said...

Imagine if Gen D McArthur had been given a free rein to cross the Yalu river during the Korean conflict. Would it not have triggered an escalation perhaps culminating into the 3rd World War involving nuclear exchanges?
Had that happened, what would be political landscape of East Asia be today, I wonder?
Sure, in hindsight, we can say it did not happen. Thanks largely to Providence and Truman's wisdom.
But in any man's word, the scenario clearly shows that war will always remain and continue to remain a political policy.
So much for generals and their unlikely role in politics, as someone had suggested.
Looking to the present, however, I cannot help but view the Gaza blockade more from a political prism rather than a military one. Hence the futility of and unlikely success of any form of military intervention/solution, however and wherever they come from. The fact of the matter is the Israeli Defence Forces are simply too powerful and with the neccessary resolve to do it their way.(supported by the West).
Clearly, the interception of the Aid Flotilla is in line with Israel's strategy of defeating the HAMAS (by all means)in order to bring them to the negotiating table.
So who can stop them? The US, the UN, Europe, the Arab League?
I suggest, none of the above.
Perhaps Ahmadinejad? Maybe, if he can slow down the flow of finalcial and political support form Iran.
The HAMAS leadership? Definitely. If they care to consider the hardship and suffering their policies have inflicted upon their own women and children.
So what next? Send another Aid Flotilla!!!
Sorry folks, you will only play into the hands of our political masters.
To my mind, such incidents are nothing but fertile ground forthe govt to use to soak up political milkeage for the3mselves; and of course, at whose expense? The Yahudis naturally. Just look at today's headlines in the Straits times.
Ha,ha,ha. Welcome to the Yahudi blame game!!!!
Sorry Pak Chad, I know this story is about Jen Jimmy. But, I don't know him that well...
I do know that he was an astute businessman...

Sure, t

Arunzab said...

Saudara Wira,
Well said, you have indeed summed it up well the reality of the situation. Only by accepting reality can we think rationally and explore what little hope the World has to keep Israel in check . All this Sabre rattling will come to zero.

benadam said...

Dear All,
I am certain that, in the present instance no amount of global condemnation will detract Israel from enforcing the blockade since they regarded that, Gaza under Hamas is a self-declared enemy of Israel. The Israeli leaders mindset is moulded in the belief that "they are alone in the world and will always be blamed, and to act accordingly." This mindset in cahoots with the siege mentality of its military, underpinned the Israel Defence Force’s (IDF) strategic doctrine which basically was designed along the “David facing an Arab Goliath” analogy.
Hence this was translated by the Moshe Dayan and his merry men into its traditional ways of defending itself - forward and active defence. I am not going to belabour on this two concept but merely to state that as a result of its operationalisation over the last 58 years it has attracted plenty of brickbats that culminated in the U.N. Goldstone report, which essentially criminalized Israel's defensive operation in the Gaza.
As a result of putting on hold both forward and active defence the IDF is left to wit Passive defence: Without forward or active defence, Israel is left with but the most passive and benign of all defences - a blockade to simply prevent enemy rearmament. As recent event unfolded this too is headed for what I would called ‘international de-legitimation’. The big question is will Israel tow the line? My answer is a definite NO.
My final post on this sir and my sincere apology to BG Jimmy Yusof's daughters for highjacking the original topic.

abdulhalimshah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diana said...

Dear Dato',

It was a great pleasure and surprise to read your blog about my father and my mother, he was indeed quite a special but simple man. Your comment about yourself holds true to his ideals and am sure you both got along well. Anyway, I am married with two children and living in taman Tar. May Allah bless you and family.
Best regards,

muhammad arshad raji said...

Dear Diana,

Now I am getting another of Jimmy's/Kak Comel's family. First is Johan, then Dahlia and now Diana. I will certainly write something more of your father. The good one's of course. Sincerely, there is nothing bad that I can think of your parents. They were such loving couple.

abdulhalimshah said...

Dato' Arshad,
I withdrew my earlier comment on this posting due to an inadvertent remark which involved a dear friend who had served with Allahyarham BG Jimmy. My profound apology to OP Nawawi Desa for any incovenience caused arising from my earlier posting. Btw I share your high esteem for this examplary officer and a gentleman who cared for the welfare of his men. If this tradition is continuous and alive, then it augurs well for the future of MAF.If neglected then it is a sure recipe for disaster for the rank and file.

ArshadRaji said...

Dear Abd halimshah,

Be rest assured that from what I hear, the army is getting better now. The 'work environment' has changed and officers no longer work in fear. There has already been some strict ruling about playing golf. Give them a bit of time and I am sure we will see some positive changes.