A Tale To Tell & Remember

I'm very much inspired by the words of Thomas L. Friedman in his book "The World Is Flat" which renders about the influence of bloggers in this new age. I want to keep the highest integrity and honesty in posting my words to the world. This blog act as a testimony to my alacrity of sharing information with the borderless world. Hope we can share a high regards of veracity and chivalry with this blog because that's why it is here. So help me God!

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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Malaysia and the club of doom

Good book written by Syed Akbar Ali
26 February 2012 - I have just finish reading this book written by Syed Akbar Ali entitled Malaysia and the club of doom. I must say that this is one of the finest material written by a local Malay Muslim in Malaysia explaining the true essence of Islam and how after the death of the prophet, Islam were abused to an extent Muslims all over the world nowadays are in a confused state about the true teaching of Islam. Islam is a way of life (ad-din), simple and easy to be embrace and shouldn't be seen as an absolute law. It is very hard to explain the essence of Islam and such we can see today many people were easily conned by those that wears a robe, a serban, kept a beard and chants a few hadiths, some parts of the holy scriptures here and there for self centered purposes. Many Muslims clerics nowadays stressed more on how Muslims should adopt the Arabs culture than the true teaching of Islam as a way of life. People get easily confused and more easily to be pulled into hating others that are different then them due to these hate preachers. I hope many more Muslims in this country would realize that God is a oneself spiritual journey and not just about memorizing dogma. Encourage more Muslims around the world to read this book, because it was written by a local Muslims that is very concerned about Islam and not about getting votes or seeking an attentions.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Remembering the Battle of Gemas 1942

Australian remembers their gallant history in Gemas
22 February 2012 - I went to Gemas, Negeri Sembilan on my work visit today. I can't help but to stop at the World War 2 Memorial by the Kelemah river built by the Australian government. It was the historic site of the first engagement between the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and the invading Japanese during the Malayan campaign. 

The Japanese invasion of Malaya began shortly after midnight of 8th December 1941. The first attack on the invasion force was carried out by Hudson bombers of 1st Squadron, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). 10 December saw the first naval engagement with the Japanese by an Australian vessel, HMAS Vampire. HMAS Vampire was a V Class destroyer that also managed to save 225 crew of the ill fated HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse during the Battle off Kuantan sea. The destroyer also played a major part in the Battle off Endau and Indian Ocean before sunk by Japanese aircraft in April 1942. My friend Herbert Wong managed to get an Australian flag with the autograph of its crew veterans during their visits to Malaysia many years ago.

Australian flag with HMAS Vampire veteran autograph belongs to Herbert

The Battle of Gemas marks not only the first time Australian troops engaged the Japanese army directly, but also one of the few successful defensive action of the Malayan Campaign. The 2/30th infantry battalion of the 8th Division 27th Brigade, were known as "Galleghan's Greyhound" after their first commander Lt. Colonel FG "Black Jack" Galleghan. The 27th Brigade was the last AIF infantry brigade raised for service during the Second World War and was deployed to Malaya in July 1941.

Rubber plantation burned by the retreating Allies in January 1942 - scorched earth policy

On the afternoon of the 14th January 1942, B Company of the 2/30th Battalion lay in wait at Gemencheh Bridge, several miles of Gemas for the approach of Japanese army. They were camouflaged by the heavy jungle that overlooked the bridge, which they had wired with explosive the day before. At around 4.00pm the first Japanese soldiers appeared, riding south across the bridge on bicycles. They were completely unaware of B Company presence. After several hundred had passed, the bridge was blown and B Company opened fire.

"At 1600, I saw four or five cyclists appear around the bend of the road... it was quite apparent that they were the enemy. I recognized them by the short peaked high doomed cap and their rifles slung across their back diagonally.

About 150 yards or less behind them around the bend, came a tight compact column of cyclist four and five abreast... they were jabbering away, laughing, joking and singing. At 1620, I gave the order to blow up the bridge and all hell broke loose as the whole Company as one man engaged the thoroughly surprised and terrified enemy troops on the road."

Captain J. Duffy, 1942.

Kelemah river, battleground in 1942
Captain Duffy, Commanding officer of B Company recalled "the entire 300 yards of road were thickly covered with dead and dying men. the result of the blast when the bridge was blown and the deadly fire of our bren guns."

The initial action lasted for 20 minutes, not everything went to plan. Japanese soldiers not caught in the ambush cut the telephone line to the Battalion headquarters and as the result, the artillery was unable to fire in support of the ambush. Duffy ordered his men to retreat back to the main battalion line in Gemas.  

Remnants of the old wood bridge blown by AIF in 1942

The rest of the 2/30th Battalion, along with supporting infantry, artillery and anti-tank unit, were then drawn into a battle that lasted well the following day. The 2/30th suffered significantly casualties - 18 killed in action, 55 wounded and 8 missing. Japanese casualties were considerably higher, estimated at around 1,000.

On the eve of the battle, Lt Kol Galleghan had told his men, "the reputation of not only the AIF in Malaya, but of Australia is in the hands of this unit". Their effort to uphold this reputation was recognized when they were later awarded the battle honour "Gemas". All Commonwealth forces had withdrawn to Singapore by January 1942, the Australian having lost almost 700 men. After the fall of Singapore, around 22,000 Australian were held as Prisoner of War by the Japanese. At the end of the war, only 13,872 were recovered and about one-third of the POW died during the brutal captivity in the hands of the Japanese army.

En. Abdullah and me at the Battle of Gemas memorial


Updated: 26 February 2012

That's Danny the able ready photographer at the site taking some snapshots on the Sg Kelemah Memorial

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Remembering the Battle of Parit Sulong 1942

Parit Sulong Catafalque
14th February 2012 - Ever since I was a little boy, I was always intrigued by the World War 2 in Malaya stories and some of the personnel accounts told to me by my grandfather and his generations that lived through the war. As such, most of the book that I borrowed at the school library since my elementary days will always be about the World War 2 fought here in Malaysia. The best one I read so far was by John Fleming entitled Twilight in Malaya. Reading it give me the thrilling experience as I was one of the defending personnel against the Japanese agression through the Malayan campaign.

2. I always have my own reservation about the Malayan campaign. Through my reading and life long research, I can conclude that the Fall of Singapore on the 15th February 1942 was the biggest ever blunder made by the British military commanders. It's effect were massive, the British colonial power not only lost their grip and power in Malaya but also the respect of the Malayan people mostly the loyal Malays afterwards which was translated into an independence in 1957.

Battlefield in 1942
3. I was given a rare opportunity by my good friend Suhana  today to accompany her for an official ceremony held at the Parit Sulong riverside in remembering the tragic lost of the Australian 8th Division personnel that was killed during the Parit Sulong massacre and the Battle of Muar. It has always been my childhood dream to meet these war heroes as I always think that the Allied soldiers became POWs due to the British military commanders faux pas in terms of tactics and military decisions. Had they held their ground and put up a good fight in the Battle of Muar instead of retreating and surrendering down south, it would be a much better outcome rather then died unnecessarily, gunned down without mercy during their short captives by Japanese Imperial army near the Public Works Department (PWD) barracks beside the Parit Sulong river.

The location of Parit Sulong bridge defended by the Australian 8th Division
4. The Battle of Muar and Parit Sulong will always be remembered as the the battle where the Australian army and the 45th Indian Brigade put up a good fight against the Japanese Imperial force. The defending forces actually did inflicted a heavy casualties against the invading Japanese starting at their first encounter in Gemas and later throughout the Battle of Johore. Under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Anderson they held their ground stemming the Japanese advanced so much so that the battle fought was so fierce and many of the Aussies personnel were wounded and killed. In the aftermath of the Battle of Muar, the Australian commanders decided to surrender themselves to the invading enemy with the thought that they will be given a humanely care. They were put under Capt Rewi Snelling as the commander in charge to negotiate medical treatment with the Japanese but instead they were rounded up at the PWD barracks, brutally beaten, machine gunned and later lit up fire mercilessly by the Japanese nearby the Parit Sulong river.

5. It was a gruesome massacre but one of the victims, Lt Ben Hackney survived the massacre and the war managed to tell his stories to the Allied war crimes investigator. Of the estimated 150 wounded prisoner who were captured by the Japanese, only three survived, one died couples of days later in the Battle of Singapore and two survived the war.

Australian war heroes
6. I have the highest respect for the Australian 8th Division and Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders from the British force that fought the war in Malaya. Through my reading, the battle that gave some heavy resistance towards the advancing Japanese would involved the Australian 8th Division in Johore and the able unit of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders throughout the Malayan campaign. They were the real fighting man of the defending Allied forces in Malaya. The book entitled Moon Over Malaya by Jonathan Mofatt and Audrey Holmes McCormick offers vivid details of the personnel accounts and dramatic moments of the Argylls and Sutherland Highlanders unit throughout their Malayan campaign against the Japanese invasion and highly recommended by me.

7. Today I have the honor of meeting some of these war heroes. It was truly was an honorable experienced, instead of reading about them in books since my childhood times,  now I have an exclusive opportunity to shake these men hands. I have the highest respect to them, fighting in another country thousand of miles away from their home, just show the true  brevity and spirits of these legendary warriors.

Wreath laying ceremony
8. I also managed to snap some pictures to share with my fellow viewers and it is very sad to note that Malaysian are very poor in treasuring its own rich history. You can see by the photos that I post, the PWD barracks that was once witnessed as the place where the wounded Aussies were held prisoners and later killed are in a poor and dilapidated shape. It should have been conserve and recognized as one of the country's historical site. I realized that we still have a long way to go in our "history department". We need to do a lot of work to inculcate our young-lings on the importance of appreciating history and its teachings. I wonder maybe due to this poor stressing in the history department and our failure to stress the importance of analyzing history, might be the reason why when came jokers claimed that the Communist Terrorist were the true independence fighters, some of our people actually believed in it. It  was very unfortunate and a sheer ignorance on our part, merely sees history as a past affair.

The dilapidated state of the PWD barracks where Australian POWs were machine gunned and lit up fire by the Japanese Imperial army
9. I also managed to get the autograpghs of all the Australian war heroes that were celebrated today. I will definitely show it to my children and grandchildren one fine evening telling them stories of the heroic soldiers that fought well during the Battle of Malaya. Deep down my feelings I know my children and grandchildren will appreciate history and it's teachings as I am today. God bless these heroes and lest we forget!

Teddy at the Parit Sulong catafalque



Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Amazing Thailand


Teddy at Maya Bay

8 January 2012 - It's another year again for me, as we move into the year of 2012, life couldn't be this exciting for me. A lot of things have change throughout the year, and I'm very proud to say that it changed for the better. I can feel the blessing of God descends upon me each day as we discover this exciting year. Life has been very good to me as always.


2. I would like to share with you about my experience travelling to Thailand that I made at the end of 2011. It was such an exhilarating and fantastic encounter taking into account I never went to Thailand before. It got into me that Amazing Thailand tagline suits the tourism campaign for that country. It was truly is an amazing place. Through my travel, I cannot help but notice that Thailand was full of beautiful, warm, soft and smiling peoples. The women are fantastic, beautiful, grace loving warm heart that would just amaze and captures your fascinations. They are truly the true definition of beautiful peoples.


3. I spend a couple of days travelling and discovering Thailand. My journey changed me completely to a better man. It is true the saying goes "as far as you can go, just go and discover the true meaning of life". I did just that and I'm grateful of the gift given to me by God. Truly is God loves me and He loves me very much.


4. One of the places that I went was Phi-phi Island. Almost seven years after the Tsunami devastation, the island was truly is an amazing place. The beaches, the warm sunny day, the food and it's vibrant ambiance just captures me deep down inside I'm feeling like jumping like a toddler having a go at the first swim. I have fall in love with the place if not all the women there. Ha ha.. :-)


5. Phi-phi Island was devastated after the 2004 tsunami. Whats amazed me that the place was rebuilt back by the worldwide volunteers through the funds donated by the world community. As I went there, I know the reasons why they world love Phi-phi. It as a remarkable place, this is the place where everyone just left a piece of their heart permanently as their second home. The efforts done by the world volunteers to rebuilt the place deserved a salutation by everyone. Now the Island is running at its highest gear, and boy do they deserve an excellent testimonials.


6. I also spend my time touring Phuket. My visit to two of the Buddhist wat changed my perceptions towards Buddhism. It was a religion of grace and humbleness. The way the humble monks speaks and greets me, and the way they respect me (not to mention the level of the wat cleanliness) is what we should emulates in our daily life. On my way back, I cannot help but think that you need to respect everything in life, basically everything. From mother nature, the places that you live and work, people around you, things that you owned, just everything. It opened up my mind to a lot of things. How do you deal or interact with peoples around you, how do you respect others and how do you stay humble. This is the reason why most of the Thais that I met were soft spoken and graceful . Not just the Thai women of course. They are gracious people.


7. I also have the opportunity to observe the international community having a great time in Phuket. They are so far forward than us in Malaysia. I can conclude that we are still 50 years if not 80 to be in the same civilized league as they are. This is the first time I was surrounded by an international people, having chat, discuss about life and the true meaning of everything. I observed how they carry themselves and their definition of great life. The way for ones to start a conversation, having a good time, singing the song of our life and respect our years ahead just encapsulates me with the feeling that this is life should be. This is how do we treasure life and pursuit respectable ambitions. 


8. I surely will be back soon, coz I just left a big piece of my heart there. We will never be as graceful warm like Thailand coz we are so besets by prejudices about the gift of our own life. Life in Malaysia nowadays seems to be very  complicated and full of religion narrow minded people. How we have regress this far and why I can't never tell. But it worries me coz we are not as simple as we used to be before. Back to Thailand then, Thailand just amazed me, it changed me to a new person if not better one than the previous 2011 and how I adore the country so much. Love!! love!! love!! empathy and respect. Amazing Thailand! 

Faces of Tun Teddy

Faces of Tun Teddy