Monday, 17 October 2011

Inilah Barisan Kita

Dear Skot, Tuan tuan tentunya familiar dengan lagu semangat diatas dan sila hayati lirik lagu ini pula : 'Kini hati ku telah tertawan'. Oleh seorang satria pahlawan. Terpikat dari tinggi baktinya.. yang tak dapat ku nilaikan. Sayang sayang seribu kali sayang. Oh sungguh jauh diperbatasan. Wajah mu belum dapat ku pandang.. cuma tahukan namanya'. Itu ialah intro sebuah lagu yang mendayu dinyanyikan oleh Sharifah Aini. Aku bukan lah minat sangat dengan dia ini cuma kerana beliau adalah se-zaman dengan most of us. Dia disekolah Sultan Ismail which is just a distance away down the road from where my school, Sekolah Temenggong Abdul Rahman, where Zakaria Log, Megat and myself was schooling during primary in Johor Bahru.

I nak tulis ni bukanlah pasal dia but the wording of that song. Ada beberapa lagu lagi yang seni katanya memuji dan menyanjung pahlawan pahlawan negara. Zaman semasa kita masih kecil dulu ada lagu Selendang Sutera and in the mid sixties, lagu Perwira by Saloma, Pahlawan ku., pergilah berjuang untuk bangsa and SiBaju Hijau by Sanisah Huri. Satu ketika diStadium Merdeka during an opening ceremony of a sport carnival, the army central band played an instrumental song. It brought the adrenalin in me when dancers performed in the middle of the field with rentak asli zapin to the tune of a song yang liriknya berbunyi : 'Sekapur sireh, sekapur sireh'.. seulas pinang. Diberi bekal, diberi bekal buat perangsang. Pergilah intan, pergi intan.. pergilah sayang. Ketengah medan, ketengah medan.. pergilah berjuang'. You need to be more than just an army officer to really understand and appreciate that, especially the rest of the wording and the culture or budaya that goes along with it. 

Alas, nowadays they don't make songs like those anymore. Mungkin tiada orang yang mahu menyanjung perwira tanah ayer sebagaimana dahulu lagi.. can't blame them though. One of the earliest diperbatasan atau operasi yang telah saya sertai was Ops Gonzales, probably named after Dato Mej Gen Ghazali Seth who was the GOC of Army 2 Div at that time. It was training cum operation however was successful as many bandits were killed especially in the Sungai Siput area. The transport unit moves at night with just few soldiers sitting near the vehicle tailboard, to make impression that there were more soldiers inside the 3 tonnes as decoy and as though that we were moving out the troops. The enemy, thinking that the army had left, relaxed and came out into the open and 'contact' by the infantry wallas resulted that some were killed along the vicinity of the roadside. Engkau orang ingat KP macam aku ni kerja masak nasi dan supply ration je ke? Kita orang pun terror jugak. 

As a Convoy Commander, you normally travel in a Land Rover however since mine was deployed to somewhere else, as such I had to use the motorcycle, a brand new Honda 360cc which the Speedo meter shows had not even chalked more than 100km. I was soaked wet as it was drizzling all the way and some time around 2000hrs, the last truck drops off the Kuala Kubu based 5 RMR at the jungle fringe some where in the Tanjung Rambutan/Ulu Kinta forest and we proceed to return where we are supposed to set base at the 2 Brigade Camp in Ipoh. With the headlight not adjusted correctly in place, rain drops covering the windscreen that was without wipers and the dark and winding jungle road, it was almost impossible to really see your direction and that was when I hit a 'booby trap' and was flung about 30 feets down the ravine and whether you want to believe it or not, I died. 

The red taillight of the bike was still on, and that was the first glimpse and impression I saw when I gained conscious. I felt numb on the left side of my face and as my cheek or zygoma in medical term was fractured with a deep gash wound just below my eyebrow. I could not lift my eyelid and I thought that I had lost my left eye. The cold midnight wind that blows to my face brought searing pain to my broken teeth. I took my weapon, a sterling along and struggled to climb up back to the road. If not for the tough metal helmet, my head could have crushed open. I remember a Land Rover belonging to the 5 RMR Coy came and the next thing I recalled was that, I was sleeping on a bed under a tent manned by the Field Ambulance. My name top the list of the 'casualty state' white board where soon many more followed.

I was Medevac to Kinrara Hospital on board a C130 with one other passenger and of all the people, the Ketua Turus Angkatan Tentera, the then General Tan Sri Ibrahim Ismail. With a bandage to one eye, I resembled Moshe Dayan in celoreng issued by the Ordnance detachment as I had lost my uniform and wearing it without the rank pips. The General was to himself until we hit an air pocket and that was when he starts smiling and talking to me. It was almost dark when we landed at the Air Force Base in Sungai Besi and I saw officers and Air Force staff were lining up at the tarmac near the door to greet the CAF. As he was about to board out he asked them, 'mana ambulance?' and everybody scrambled and waived frantically for the ambulance that came screeching with the siren. The medical orderlies step in into the aircraft and stretchered me out. The CAF was still standing at the door when I gave him a nod with my head as show of respect to him and he gave me that familiar smile of his.

Just few days in Kinrara, I was later transfered to RSAT in Terendak Camp. I was in a room with an Air Force Capt who was paralysed from waist down. I was told that his CO, for having long hair reprimanded this guy. He became berserk and was admitted for psychiatric. After been given an injection, he jumped three floors down. When he is in a good mood he will strum his guitar and taught me chords, ironically for the song, 'I can see clearly now the rain has gone’ and he sang along like nobody's business. I was administered with the raw peninsilin twice a day. The pain was so unbearable and every time they injected me, so much so that I cringed holding my breath for few minutes before its over. Even that, the Medical S/Sgt told me that I was considered lucky compared to an injection given to a Sergeant, which was more powerful. He was referring to Sgt Maling who was honoured with the Pingat Gagah Berani after his Combat Tracker Team managed to track and kill the enemy. He himself was shot and his dog killed and was buried at the Makam Pahlawan for dogs at PULADA. 

I recovered after over a month and sometime later, I traveled from Sungai Petani to the Alor Star airport. I met Tengku Aziz Bendahara, my Skot in Platun 6 during Sebatang Karah and he was still wearing the RMC suit. He was there waiting to greet the DYMM Sultan of Kedah as he is the ADC and when the entourage arrived, he left together with them and that was the last time I met him personally. Soon the familiar aircraft that I was waiting landed and few other officers and me lined up in a unique ceremonial position to receive a very special person arriving in a.. coffin. This time I did not wear my rank pip on one of my shoulders, as I have to bear and carry the heavy load. The coffin was placed inside a 3 tonne to be taken to Perlis. As a show of respect, I did not travel by my Land Rover or neither sitting in front of the truck with the driver but choose to sit beside the coffin and reciting the Al Fatihah all the way.
As I walk away from the graveyard after the burial complete with gun salutes, I thought a moment to myself on how it feels to die. Except this young guy, a friend and a Skot will wake up in a different world known as Alam Barzakh. He was the late Lt Muda Wan Mohd Ali, also from Platun 6, Sebatang Karah.. al Fatihah.

Video Klip - Makam Shuhada Uhud

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