Since young, I have always held the contention that the “police” and members of the “armed” forces are strict, disciplined people. It was therefore a great shock to me to read about a group of hip-gyrating ex-servicemen performing “butt exercises” infront of Datuk S. Ambiga’s residence on 15th May 2012, in protest against the Bersih Chairman’s involvement in the 28th of April’s demonstration in Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur.
First of all, the ex-servicemen’s actions was an “intimidation”. It was most uncalled for. And most of all, the above group’s antics tarnished the good reputation of all members of the armed forces, past and present.
Before proceeding any further with this article, permit me to inform you, that up until now, I’ve always held the highest respect for people of the “armed” forces. Allow me to quote you of a few examples of people from the army that I happen to know of.
In the 1980’s, the High School Klang, or the “Sekolah Tinggi Klang”, a well established and premier secondary school in Klang, had its “discipline” in the doldrums. Discipline, infact, was extremely poor.
And then came Encik Abdul Raof, who was reputed to be a “strict army personnel” from the Royal Military College (R.M.C.). Upon Encik Raof’s taking over as High School Klang’s principal or Tuan Pengetua’s post, the High School Klang’s disciplinary problems underwent a tremendous and drastic change. Teachers and students of the above mentioned premier school, would I’m sure agree, that Encik Abdul Raof did what no other principal or Tuan Pengetua could ever dream to do!
Another “military” person, I personally know, was the Chief Discipline Master, also of the High School Klang. He was none other than Encik Tarmuzi. Although I do not know much about Encik Tarmuzi, I heard that he was an ex-army man from the Territorial Army. As I have reiterated earlier on, Encik Tarmuzi was a man of high discipline indeed. I once witnessed an incident, whereby a well to do Chinese parent, came to confront the Chief Discipline Master, Encik Tarmuzi at the discipline room. The Chinese businessman had taken out his business card and gave it to Encik Tarmuzi.
Encik Tarmuzi was forewarned by the businessman, that he infact was well acquainted with even the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamed and other influential ministers. And that, with a phone call, could have the Discipline Master transferred within 24 hours duration. A no nonsense disciplined man Encik Tarmuzi was. He surprised one and all, when he took the business man name’s card and tore it up and threw it at the business man’s face! He then offered the parent concerned his personal handphone and requested him to call the Prime Minister there and then! “Make a report now”, he was reported to have said.
Now let’s come back to the question of the group of ex-servicemen gyrating their butts infront of Datuk Ambiga’s house. As a student of History in my schooldays, I was told that during the “Cold War” between China and Russia in the 1950’s, a similar incident happened.
My History teacher, Mr. Subramaniam reiterated, that the Chinese and the Russians had quarreled intensively over the issue of their borders. Infact, the questions was over the Uzzuri River. At the height of this complicating problem, which nearly caused the world to burst out into a major world war, Chinese and Russian soldiers armed with heavy weapons were stationed on both sides of the Uzzuri River.
Readers should ideally be informed that Russian villages dotted the entire of the Uzzuri River. Russian women folks and children made use of the above mentioned river. This river was in reality, a life line to the Russian people.
In the Uzzuri river incident, the presence of armed soldiers patrolling the both sides of the river banks heightened the security situation there. Both parties, the Chinese and the Russians went all out to antagonize each other. But short of resorting to using their military weapons. This would have caused a major war to break out between the 2 military giants. Chinese and Russian leaders have earnestly wished that a solution be found to settle their border dispute. They had no desire that a major war erupt.
The Uzzuri River incident had it that, Chinese soldiers patrolling the above river, used to pull down their trousers and bare their “southern” ends to Russian women folks and children across the river. The uncouth actions by the Chinese soldiers, very much embarrassed the Russians.
The Russian soldiers stationed on the opposite side of the Uzzuri River would have very much liked to open fire with their weapons. But such a rash action would have, without a doubt, created a war between the 2 “communist” giants.
No amount of appeals and requests by the Russian authorities to the Chinese soldiers to refrain from using such “unfair” and “uncouth” methods of warfare adopted buy the Chinese, could bring about any results.
Finally, one wise Russian officer thought of an ingenious plan. The Russian women folks and children were equipped with large portraits of the Chinese leader at that time, Mao Tze Tung. From then henceforth, whenever the Chinese soldiers turned their backs towards the Russian people to pull down their trousers and bare their “butts”, the Russian women folks and children would hold up Chairman Mao Tze Tung’s portrait high up.
The Chinese soldiers then got a shock of their lives. No sane Chinese soldier in his right mind was about to bare his “butts” against Mao Tze Tung’s portrait of all things. It would tantamount to being disrespectful to Chairman Mao. For this, a soldier could be accused of treason. And possibly face a court marshall and be shot.
As my History teacher, Mr. S.P. Subramaniam used to remind us his students, “History repeats itself”. Well, what the group of ex-servicemen did infront of Datuk S. Ambiga’s house was in reality, “History repeating itself”.
What Datuk Ambiga and her followers should ideally have done was not to call the police for help. All they had to do, was to do exactly what the Russians did.