Military, police veterans turn ‘human books’ to share tales of heroism and sacrifice

10-Sep-2019 Intellasia | | 11:34 AM Print This Post

It was a scene of camaraderie and friendship as Malaysians and ex-servicemen from all walks of life participated in the Taman Tugu Human Library (TTHL) “reading sessions” in conjunction with the upcoming Malaysia Day held near the National Monument here today.

Organised by the Taman Tugu Project and held monthly, today’s TTHL held at Taman Tugu Nursery here featured a total of 14 distinguished veterans from both the military and police.

Among those present included former Special Branch officer Superintendent (Rtd) Datuk Paul Kiong and Lieutenant-General (Rtd) Datuk Seri Zaini Mohamad Said, who are both recipients of — Darjah Kebesaran Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa — the highest federal award in Malaysia.

Even former Port Dickson MP Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah, who is also a retired Navy Rear Admiral, made an appearance today in his session titled “Operation Cabut in South China Sea”.

Among the most popular authors were none other than Kiong, whose story titled “My life as a communist” attracted a huge audience who were keen to listen to one of the most engrossing stories set during the Communist Insurgency in Malaysia between 1968 to 1989.

Kiong, who spent over a decade fighting the communists during the Second Malayan Emergency, had risked his life by going undercover to infiltrate the communist movement and crippled the insurgents from within.

Based on the Human Library concept that started in Denmark in 2000, today’s TTHL was aimed at addressing the lack of Malaysian military history being taught in schools and the lack of public awareness over the sacrifice of those who gave their lives protecting us.

The programme kicked off at around 9.15am with the singing of Malaysia’s national anthem, Negaraku followed by a welcome address delivered by Lieutenant General (Rtd) Datuk Nawi Alias.

After the welcome address, Studio2’s Children Choral Speaking performed a poem recital titled “Young and Proud Malaysians” before the opening programme culminated in a cake cutting ceremony.

Zaini who was flanked by several veterans and wielding an officer cutlass, then proceeded to cut a red cake decorated with the words ‘Happy Veterans Family Day’ to mark the inaugural event.

According to TTHL head coordinator Mienal Hussein, each reading sessions lasted 30 minutes — 20 minutes for sharing, 10 minutes for Question & Answer—with a total of four sessions at one time.

Throughout the three-hour long reading sessions, many of those present — from children to adults — remained affixed to the wondrous tales of military and police heroism shared by the authors as they recall their experience during the line of duty.

During the intervals between the TTHL reading sessions, patriotic song performances titled Setia, Pahlawanku, Selamat Pergi Pahlawanku, Tanah Pusaka and Sejahtera Malaysia were sung by veterans and participants alike.

A Children’s Corner was also made available during the event whereby children were able to participate and win prizes in traditional games such as Congkak, Batu Seremban, tingting (hopscotch) and Wei-qi (Go).

When met later, Colonel (Rtd) Allen Lai who is also the co-coordinator of TTHL, said he hoped today’s event would cultivate better public awareness of the veterans who have served and contributed to the security of the country.

“We have lost a lot of comrades along the way and many of them are not recognised in a proper way.

“For us, today’s library session allows us to reunite and reminisce about the old days of camaraderie regardless of our backgrounds,” he said.


Category: Malaysia

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