Hmm…hate to bring your celebration spirits down. Malaysia will only be 42 years old next month. Tomorrow we’ll be celebrating the 48th anniversary of the independence of Malaya.
I’ll spend this day thinking of my friends, my squadmates, who are still patrolling the skies: Gabriel Buja Joel (my squadmate, ex-air force helicopter pilot, rescuer of British SAS at Mt Kinabalu, Hornbill Skyways pilot who died in a crash in Sarawak last year), Lt Hamir Fizar (my squadmate, died in PC-7 crash during a Light Attack Squadron exercise in the east coast in 1990), LtM Thulasiram a/l Subramaniam (my squadmate, very good friend of mine, died in the first fatal PC-7 crash in September 1989), Mohd Jamil Abdul Aziz (my squadmate, ex-air force transport pilot, passed away early this year while in employment with Air Asia), Sjn Ali Ahmad a.k.a Ali Boon (he helped me a lot in my preparation for the North Pole expedition, died in 2000, trying to help his student in distress while freefalling at Terendak/Sg Udang camp), Mej Kamarul (my former instructor who died in an Augusta helicopter crash on 31st December 1993), Mej Kamaruddin (my neighbour at the Officers Quarters in Alor Setar..I rescued him in a plane crash in 1994..he died in another plane crash with his student in 1995), and Mej Tan Boon Eap (cool guy, good pilot, devout Buddhist…died of lung cancer in 1996).
Of course we shouldn’t also forget the 6,000 over policemen, military personnel and civilians murdered by the communists during the first emergency (1948-1960)…and those murdered by them after that right up till 1989.
We shouldn’t also forget the unsung heroes of the Malaysian Security Forces..the ones who died in Somalia, Bosnia Herzegovina; and former members of the Home Guards and the Special Constabulary.
Remember, being free now does not mean being free forever. Always remember history, learn its lessons, and be prepared.
SELAMAT MENGHAYATI ERTI KEMERDEKAAN (Happy digesting the meaning of Independence).