Saturday, July 30, 2011


Back in September 9th 2008, I did post an article relating to the Armed Forces Officers Mess. And it was only yesterday that I saw from a distant a magnificent building raised skywards from the grounds of the MINDEF complex, gazing over the Kuala Lumpur landscape in what resembles a five star hotel. That magnificent building is nothing more than the new Armed Forces Officers Mess that I wrote about in September 9th 2008.

The Armed Forces must be fully appreciative of the government’s kind gesture to construct a first class officers mess befitting the officers (past and present) contribution and sacrifice to the nation. Here, I would like to suggest to the authorities concern that a dedicated warrior’s gallery be set aside within the complex honoring those officers and men that had died in defence of their homeland. It is a sort of a mini museum that adds value to the mess, and be a constant reminder to the younger generation of the officers corp of the heroism and sacrifice of the older generation of officers and men.

Looking back, I wish to mention the names of certain officers that I know had been highly instrumental in building up a case for the construction of a new officer’s mess, and following it through its final realization while they were still in service. The officers are Lt Jen Dato Adnan Mohd Zain (Retired), formally the Chief of Staff, Armed Forces Headquarters and Mej Jen Dato Dr. Termidzi Junaidi (Retired) formally Director General Armed Forces Dental Corp and also the President of The Mess Committee (PMC) at the time when the proposal for the construction of the officers mess was first mooted. I would be failing not to also mention of another officer i.e. Mejor Verasingam Ratnasamy, the present Mess Manager whom I think is the only officer to know the entire history of the beginnings of the new mess until it is finally readied for occupation, reportedly before the close of this year. My humble proposal to the authorities then is to have these three officers be remembered and their names well placed and honored at the gallery.

All said and done, we must not forget the one person who played a significant role in approving the construction of the new mess and setting aside a budget for the construction, and that person is Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak who was then the Defence Minister, and to whom I personally wrote him a letter back in 2001. I must admit that although I have been critical of him at times, but his kind and thoughtful gesture to approve the construction must be recognized, and I am personally most thankful to him. I would also want to suggest that Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak’s name be honored and place prominently in the mess.



Apocryphalist said...

Tuan General,

Correct me if I am wrong. But isn't an Officers' Mess a way to further segregate and affirm the regimentalist tendencies within army officers? Isn't the Officers' Mess just another club where they eat and be merry during certain hours, the ordinary soldiers being totally excluded from entering due to their lowly ranks? Is this not some kind of caste-like sagacity within the ranks of the army? I have not read anywhere that General Khalid al-Walid had different culinary environments than the other lowly officers in his army. And if we were to reel back 10, 20 years ago --- isn't an Officers' Mess a place where there was freely-flowing booze, a nectar that had often been firmly accepted to be a soldier's necessary tonic and regimental drink?

Ah but what would I, a commoner and layman, know of all this. We need some highlights from persons such as you as to what really is the function of an Officer's Mess.

That being said, I am reminded of how you commented on my comments a few articles back, where you wrote, "Please apocryphalist, do not doubt me and if you do not view my writings to bear any truth, just stop reading it".

Unfortunately, Tuan General, it doesn't work that way. You write an opinion for public consumption, you broadcast it for all and sundry to see, and you must be prepared for the reaction of the public. The way I see it, if an error is done in private, then the admonishments must be done in private. And if the error is done in public, then the corrections must be done likewise. It is not as easy as --- "if you don't like what I wrote, then stop reading me".

In fact, the REVERSE is more correct: if you, as blog owner and original idea giver, do not like what I as a commentator write, or do not wish to be corrected, or do not like to be challenged, or do not have the gumption to dispel your commenters' onslaught, THEN YOU CAN BAN ME. This is, of course, a very ungentlemanly thing to do, not much different from what I have highlighted here. And seeing your pictorial profile, you are far from that, and indeed I really do sincerely have faith that you are a true Officer and a Gentleman.

On the other hand, you have every right to ban. Especially when some writers resort to things like Calling for violence or Terroristic tendencies, Calls to being treasonous to King and Country, or merely being uncontrollably vulgar and profane, or when Calls for Freedom of Speech includes the Freedom to sneer or deride other people's belief systems or principles that other people hold sanctimoniously dear.

And as far as Apocryphalist is concerned, never once have I displayed such obnoxious tendencies. Therefore if ever Apocryphalist was banned before, rest assured that it was never due to vulgarity or being abhorent, but always because of ideas that he promulgated forwards not being in line with ideas writers would WANT people to believe.

And one thing impregnably magnanimonious about ideas is, like what Victor Hugo wrote, "Invasion of armies can be resisted, but not ideas when the time has come".

How appropriate. How very appropriate.


EAGLE said...

New Officers mess of 5 star hotel equivalent... Is there a real need to spent so much money? Anyway what is the cost?
Present military officers spend very little time at the Officers mess especially those in city center.
Well it looks like it will just be another white elephant and very soon will face the unabated maintenance cost.
Good luck to the Armed Forces. Is the priority right?
Selamat menyambut Ramadan tok.

samsaimon said...

Congrates to the Armed Forces!
Dato', care to tell us who got the contract for construction and at what costs /
Damned if its Rosmajibs crony!

TAG said...

Is it an Officers Mess with the strappings of the military traditions of yesteryears or a Bachelor Officers Quarters (BOQ).
Without the spirit and soul of the Officers Mess of yesteryears, that '5 star hotel equivalent' is merely a BOQ with shared amenities.
No big deal lah Dato to warrant such praise to Najib and the gang you mentioned.
When it comes to the military, we must be careful about what we want to 'wah wah' about.
For one I would like to see a very military like and professional looking personnel at all levels and at all times whether on the public road or at official functions.The shape and size of a soldier for example determines whether the the military like image and professionalism is present or otherwise. Nothing beats giving the right perception to the taxpayers/population.

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Samsaimon,

I honestly do not know who the contractors are, but looking at the building from the outside, the contractors have done a good job.

hussin said...

harap2 tak ikut stadium terengganu... dah status 5 star, mesti maintenance tinggi, jangan charge pegawai2 yang numpang dah le...

sunray 27 said...

To answer a few queries by Apocryphalist
In all regimented organisations like Army and Police there are distinction between officers and other ranks for the purpose of command and control. This does not mean that they don’t mix but in a ‘ controlled manner’. Hence there are officers mess, non-commissioned officers [ for the army] while junior officers [ for the police] mess and other ranks mess.
As the name MESS suggest that everything goes in the mess in term of interactions and speeches made between different cadres of officers. Of course within the limitation of stipulated discipline that is practised.
Most of the time I wonder how many officers realised that the mess is a very important and useful place to foster understanding between juniors and seniors, for seniors to know more about his juniors characters and for juniors to gain confidence in public speaking thro’ interacting with his seniors and gain experiences by listening to the yawns made between seniors. Not as some senior officers perceived that the mess is a place solely for booze as claimed by Apocryphalist. Yes, there are booze being served, only to those who wished to booze not otherwise.
In the years gone by during the second Emergency when all the messes were in full swing [ so to speak], the spirit of esprit de’corp and comradeship among officers, irrespective of colour and creed, within one service and also with other services were very pronounce. Unfortunately, this spirit ceased to exist when some misinformed and ‘holier than thou’ senior officers started to place uncalled for restrictions and discouraged officers from patronising the messes. Hence till today one can always hear this remark ‘ officers of today are loners and so different from yesteryears’!
So, Dato, I hope this five-stars mess would be utilised fully to achieve its purpose and not turn out to be a white elephant since most messes around the country are as quiet as a kubur!

Mej. A R Ramachandran (Retired) said...

I hope somebody will allocate a little corner somewhere to allow me to enjoy some cold ones with my retired officer buddies. My mother was wrong, I learnt all I had to learn at the officers'mess bar. My classic senior officers were mentors of unimaginable proportions. I must also mention that our regimental upbringing kept me very comfortable at messes in foreign military establishments, unlike the officers of some countries who were virtually lost as they did not have the cultural experience. You can take me out of the Army, but, you can't take the Army out of me.