The recent success of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) commandos against a band of Somali pirates on board a Malaysian cargo ship plying the Gulf of Eden is a notch in the many successes of the RMN. The success in overcoming the threat from Somali pirates upon cargo ships will now place the RMN commandos as equal to its Australian and Korean military commandos that had met with success in dealing with these Somali pirates. Unlike Australian and the RMN commandos, the Koreans had all the pirates killed. Obviously, they do not take the pirates alive and that differentiates the Korean method in dealing with pirates, from that of the Australian and the RMN. I am told that our Royal Malaysia Police adopts a similar method in dealing with kidnappers i.e. take no kidnappers alive.
Somali pirates have in recent time ruled the narrow passage strip of the Gulf of Eden. Many ships had been looted and some shipping companies even had to pay huge sums in order to get its ship and crew released. Private cargo ships are not known to be carrying weapons for self protection against pirates, which is the only known threat to the safety of ships plying the oceans.
Somali pirates have now distinguished themselves as to be the only active pirates
operating the ocean today. I cannot imagine how they could scale a ship of such great heights, and without being noticed by the ship’s crew. I think the pirate of Southern Philippines that has been causing menace to some coastal areas in Sabah is certainly no match against these Somali pirates. Contrary to the views of some, I would regard the pirate of Southern Philippines as not being in the same league with the Somali pirates. I would rather term the Filipino pirates as a band of raiders whose activities are carried on land with the purpose of robbing and kidnapping people for ransom. We have seen such activities happening in Sabah in the recent past.
Now, the RMN commandos heroism deserve public acknowledgement. But comparing the treatment given to Dato Lee Chong Wei by the mainstream media at him winning the Malaysian Open Badminton Championship recently, the heroism of our RMN commandos is but a pale shade compared to Dato Lee’s badminton success. Why is this so? Here we have the RMN commandos facing a life threatening situation, and saving a multi-million ringgit cargo from being stolen, as well as the ship’s crew from being kidnapped or killed. Is Dato Lee’s success more deserving to be acknowledged and given wider media coverage by the mainstream media than the success of the RMN commandos?
I view this as a sad episode in media reporting and the authorities (whoever that may be) ought to realize this fallacy. And unless this is realized soon, there will be no guarantee that soldiers will not view negatively our authorities misguided perception of what heroism is all about. To all soldiers, heroism is about the sacrifice of one’s life in the face danger, and not about winning a badminton match. Winning a badminton match is better referred to as champion; most certainly not as heroes.
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