Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I attended a funeral this morning of Maj Gen Dato Mohd Ramli Ismail (Retired) who passed away peacefully evening Tuesday 6 December at his home in Damansara Jaya, Kuala Lumpur. He was 68 year old. I was informed about the death of Maj Gen Dato Mohd Ramli by the Retired Armed Forces Officers’ Club (RAFOC) secretariat via SMS; a messaging service extended to all members of RAFOC.

The late Maj Gen Dato Mohd Ramli was commissioned into the Royal Malay Regiment in 1962. Upon the formation of the Malaysian Special Service Unit (later to be redesignated Rejimen Gerak Khas Malaysia) in 1965, Maj Gen Dato Mohd Ramli then a Lieutenant, together with three other officers i.e. Maj Abu Hassan Abdullah, Lt Ghazali Ibrahim and Lt Hussin Awang Senik and including nine other ranks became the first group of Malaysian army personnel to undergo basic commando training under the prestigious 40 Commando, British Royal Marines at Majidee Camp, Johor Bahru. These 13young men were to be the pioneer of what is today the Rejimen Gerak Khas Malaysia (RGKM), generally known as the Malaysian Army Commandos.

Sometimes back in 1967, while I was on the firing range for a shooting exercise with my platoon at Pulau Tekong (this island now belongs to Singapore), I came across the young Lt Mohd Ramli adorning his green beret, for the first time on a raiding exercise on the island with some other young commandos. To get to Pulau Tekong, we had to be ferried on a British landing craft from Changi, Singapore. There wasn’t any access to the island from the Malaysian side then, and I wondered how did Lt Mohd Ramli and his raiding party managed to land on the island? I wasn’t too bothered to know, and neither would they want to tell me, if I had asked.

To all his officers and men in the commandos, Maj Gen Dato Mohd Ramli is known for having a love for sports, training, books and the care for his soldiers, especially the food that they are being fed with. He loves visiting the other ranks cookhouse unnoticed, and to see for himself, the menu cooked for the day. It is for this very reason that cooks under his command are at all times alert to his coming, and are forced to constantly keep the cookhouse and its surroundings, clean and tidy. I have never served Maj Gen Dato Mohd Ramli at anytime during my career, but having met him on several occasions, I find him easy going, kind and someone with a good knowledge in military history.

What I witnessed at the funeral of the late Maj Gen Dato Mohd Ramli was something that I as a retired military person am extremely proud. Those that were at the graveyard were not only his military friends that have all retired, but including serving military officers and men proudly in their uniforms, who willingly extended a hand in organizing the entire funeral service. Most of the serving officers and men may not know Maj Gen Dato Mohd Ramli, let alone having served him, but the spirit of loyalty towards an old soldier is assured and an everlasting one. This is the loyalty that each and every officer and soldier has towards their friends and seniors, which strikingly differs from that of politicians. This is what I term as an ‘embedded culture’. Certainly, military officers and soldiers do not need to have their pledge of loyalty written on paper.

Here, I would also like to mention that the role played by RAFOC in disseminating information regarding death or sickness of its members and non members, is commendable. Besides disseminating the information via SMS, such information is also posted in RAFOC’s website at RAFOC, I am told is growing in its membership, and it is this very simple, unselfish,caring and interpersonal approach to its members that makes RAFOC relevant.



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

Why do you still march old man, with your medals on your chest?
Why do you still grieve old man, for those friends you laid to rest?
Why do your eyes gleam old man, when you hear those bugles blow?
Tell me why you cry old man, for those days so long ago?

... ... I'll tell you why I march, young man. With these medals on my chest.
I'll tell you why I grieve young man, for those friends I laid to rest.
Through misty folds of gossamer silk come visions of distant times.
When boys of very tender age marched forth to distant climes.

So young they were... with blossom cheeks. their eyes shone bright and clear.
Scant knowledge of this sinful! world, thought nought of hate or fear.
Their laughter rang through strange bare rooms, hardships, they were soon to know.
All they knew, was beyond their shores was a deadly vicious foe.

They left behind their boring life, they had nothing much to give.
They laid their lives on the line, so you, young man, would live.
With bayonet, gun, and blossom cheeks, the innocence of their youth.
They stood alone with fearsome pride, and perceived the awful truth.

The truth they learnt, they had to die - (It’s not easy when you’re young).
The gods of war had chosen them, and stilled their youthful tongues.
The guns they crashed, and the stukas dived, the shells tore their flesh asunder.
I smelt their blood, watched them die. The war lords claimed their plunder.

And as these warrior gods passed by, they smiled at their obscene death.
Gone were their apple blossom cheeks, scorched by napalms burning breath.
We buried them in a blanket shroud, their young flesh scorched and blacken.
A communal grave newly gouged, in the bloodstained gorse and bracken.

And you ask me why I march, young man? I march to remind you all.
But for those apple blossomed youths, FREEDOM would have been lost to ALL.

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear Rama,

I did not know that you are good poetry writer. They did not teach you this a law school; did they. Certainly not at RMC.

SysOp said...

Dear Dato',

I've do have an opportunities to be under his command.. but even though I'm not in the service anymore, I feel that "once a skot.. always a skot" ...

Al Fatihah to him and others who already passed away..

Remembering my time served under Signal Units as an encryption personnel..

tahaneverest02 said...

Dear Dato,
Condolence to the family members of late Maj Gen Dato Mohd Ramli Ismail even though we have never met nor had served in the same Services. But more importantly it brings to mind that during that era both of us were fighting the same enemy,i.e the CPM/CTO Insurgency. Wherever we may be but the passing on of a warrior should always be honored regardless of rank or status.Without these dedicated field-combatants we would not be cherishing the peace , harmony and prosperity existing in my beloved country called Malaysia. I truly believe that in the uniform services like the ATM and PDRM the esprit de corps must be forever bonding until we breathe our last breath whether in times of war or peace. Hopefully such tradition would never end. Politicians need to emulate such traditions instead of 'dog-eat-dog'culture. But someone said that 'politicians have no true friends but surrounded by enemies'. They trust no one, not even themselves. No wonder our Dep Minister Muhkize Mahathir wants UMNO members to sign 'loyalty pledges' which will be just like toilet papers.


Dato, I always enjoy reading your blog because of your very objective observation of events.

A very heart touching poetry written by man of valour.

Keep it up gentlemen.

Mohd Arshad Raji said...

Dear All,

I, on behalf of the family members of the late Mej Jen Dato Mohd Ramli Ismail wish to graciously and sincerely thank you all for the kind words and honour for the late general who had served the nation well.

Once again, thank you.

Pak Oncu said...

alfatihah kepad aruah,,,, agar roh beliau di masuk kan ke dlaam mereka yg beriman .

from ex navy PTI

bruno said...

Dato,first our condolences to the family of Maj Gen Dato Mohd Ramli Ismail.It is always sad to lose a comrade and a friend.It is times like this that we see family members,collegues,friends and even not so good friends come together.

wasitah said...

Semoga roh nya ditempatkan bersama orang2 yg soleh..Al-Fatihah..

Gengis Khan said...


I am sorry to say that Major Rama is no poet he down loaded it in it's totality from the Internet and tried to pass it as if it was his own work. Just check this out on Google search......"WHY DO YOU STILL MARCH OLD MAN" and you will get this:-

When a question was asked a number of years ago why people still marched on Remembrance Sunday, an unknown gallant old soldier who served throughout the Second World War with the DLI penned a poem and this is what he had to say:
Why do you still march old man?
With your medals on on your chest
Why do you still grieve old man?
For those...........
You say "A very heart touching poetry written by man of valour ".You are giving credit to the wrong man of 'valour' my friend !!!!!!! The real man of Valour passed away more than half a century ago.

Maj Rama,
The next time you want to use someone else work please have the courtesy to give him due credit. You are supposed to be an officer and a gentlemen please project your self as one !!!!
Only some weeks ago I repreminded Maurice for being a copy cat :
Gengis Khan said...maurice,
You should not use a wise saying( "I would rather betray the world then let the world betray me.") and pass if on as yours. Always attribute it to the person who originated it. In this case it was said by, Coa Coa a Chinese War Lord (155 – March 15, 220)[ He was the and the penultimate Chancellor of the Eastern Han Dynasty who rose to great power during the dynasty's final years.

Check it out in Wikipedia !!!!
November 16, 2011 2:25 PM

matsingkong said...

Gengis Khan.It was good to point out that an 'officer calibre' person should 'have the courtesy to give the poet /author him due credit'. It's a reminder how we project ourselve but your words are too harsh for Mej up your mind and you can feel that Mej Ramachandran is just copying and pasting what he found in the internet so that it can be shared among bloggers. There's no fast rule of quoting someone's work in blogs...Rama's intention was frank and honest and wants beautiful words to go along with a death of warrior.

matsingkong said...

al Fatiha for late Maj Gen Dato Mohd Ramli Ismail . RAFOC has played its part in disseminating the news. Well done.

Then I went to RAFOC website just to see if this organisation sounds and feel like Persatuan Bekas Tentera Malaysia (very UMNO inclined). I wanted to see if RAFOC was very politicaly inclined to any political party.

Once I got to read Berita RAFOC 2/2011, page 10,,
I felt RAFOC was professional in their stand on Mat Sabu's case.

This is the excerpt "As such it is felt necessary for RAFOC to make our stand known, less it may be misconstrued by the general public and in particular by the retired and serving Armed Forces community, that we agree to what have been stated by Mat Sabu."

I SALUTE RAFOC...probably I will join them as long as my database don't go to UMNO's cybertrooper's

komando said...

The Late Maj Gen Dato' Ramli - as I remembered HIM.

An ole soldier who loved his men, who trained them hard & tough!

He was once my TOK GURU!
Never easy to train under him!
He made boys become real MEN!
Tough soldiers are his priority.
He never mess with training it was tough all the way, and no other way!

I am thankful he was a good trainer, he made us tough and real soldiers!

One can never find another Gen like he was!

Forever remembered and forever deserved to be a REAL FIGHTING GENERAL IN MY EYES!