Of Drums and Blood

First off, rest in peace, Makcik. I never knew you, but I hope that your last moments were happy ones. Though I feel like crying that you were killed at your happiest. God bless your soul, Makcik.

Secondly, and the reason for this entry, is here (will reproduce it below as NST removes articles after a week).

To say that I’m amused is an understatement. But it does underline something that’s becoming more and more apparent as more students leave university and school. It exposes a mentality born of capitalism, nurtured by the chase for straight As, and driven by the need to be materially successful. Being happy seems to be secondary, and unless your interests can contribute to your bottom line later in life, it’s best not to pursue them. Your interests must also be seen as to bringing prestige/honour to your family, else for nothing only you do (this especially applies to music and other non-academic interests).

A lot of jobs that were once seen as honourable and doing service have now fallen by the wayside, and are generally seen as last-resort jobs. Never mind that the responsibilities upon taking these vocations are heavy and numerous; for many it’s just a temporary job till they get something “better.” There are a small number who treat it as something more than just a job; there are a number whom I admire, because they took up the job because they wanted to and not because it was “there.”

The army is just one of those. A lot of people have said that joining the army is a futile thing; low pay and only misfits join the army. Never mind that these misfits are the first in line when it comes to the defense of the country; the army is not for someone who’s educated and has the discipline to go through its many rigours. Teaching is another profession that’s seen disfavourably. Most seem to take the idea that it’s a low-paying job with no benefits, especially if you’re “unlucky” enough to be posted to a school with notoriously low discipline. A lot of the newer teachers also don’t seem to have the same dedication and strength towards their job; I remember one teacher during my secondary school days who always used to skip every other class for no reason. As a result, the class was an utter chaos (It didn’t help that she was pretty much a bitch and so we retaliated in kind).

I talked about this to an online friend of mine who was in the US army herself with a son following in her footsteps and she told me it was the same back in the US. The army does offer a lot of benefits; health, education and a chance to see the world, among others. However, she made a point that a lot of people seem to have forgotten:

L: I think that its a good thing for people to be patriotic, but they have to understand that when they sign up, they sign up for good or bad.

When you sign up for something like the army, you’re not just signing up for the free education, the benefits, the patriotism. You’re signing up and making a promise that you WILL fight and defend your country’s honour, you WILL keep her safe, you WILL lay your life down for her if she asks. It’s a big promise, not a small one, and bring a new meaning to the phrase, “Tanah Tumpahnya Darahku,” translated as Land Where My Blood Spills (Or for Whom I Spill My Blood).

So for all my countrymen and women serving in the Armed Forces this year; SELAMAT HARI RAYA, MAAF ZAHIR BATIN. Happy Raya, and forgive all our transgressions.

Thank you for keeping our country safe. Terima Kasih kerana menjaga kami.

Thank you for your sacrifices. Terima Kasih untuk pengorbanan anda.

Forgive us if we don’t show you appreciation. Maafkan kalau kami tidak menghargai saudara dan saudari.

Terima Kasih. Thank you.

Full Article:

Recruits ‘too soft’ for army

17 October, 2007

KUCHING: Where have all the tough men gone? This question was posed by the army’s First Infantry division commander, Lt Gen Datuk Muhd Effendi Mustaffa, who said that lately there had been only “softees” turning up at army recruitment exercises.

“Recruits these days are too soft for the army. Gone are the days when they used to be tough when they signed up to serve the country,” he said after hosting the division’s Hari Raya open house on Bampfyle Road.

He said although the recruits were more educated, they lacked physical and mental fitness for basic training.

“Those who whine and cry to their families during the first phase of training should not sign up. There should not be complaints from them or their parents.

“This is the army. We train soldiers to be tough to prepare for war. Nowadays, those who sign up are the ‘last resort’ men. They see the army as a last resort for a job.

“During my time, people wanted to be in the army to serve their country and fight the communist threat.

“These days, people sign up because they see it as a job.

“A career in the army is good as they have the opportunity to study and better themselves but this does not mean they can be softees.

“Those who wish to be in the army must have a certain degree of physical and mental fitness to endure the harsh army training.

“They have to be tough because they are the country’s defenders. We do not want those who hide in the event of a war.”

Referring to a newspaper report on Sept 28 about two recruits, Zarul Fahmi Shabsuddin, 20, and Khairul Azzuwan Zainal Rashid, 19, who claimed serious abuse by their seniors and officers, Effendi said their claims were being investigated.

Zarul Fahmi claimed he was forced to drink weapon cleaning fluid while Khairul Azzuwan said he suffered scarring to his arm after an officer cut it with a knife.

Effendi said ragging of new recruits was bound to happen in military camps although the seniors should not go overboard.

“Those involved in the incidents have been ordered to go on leave.”
© Copyright 2007 The New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad. All rights reserved.