“When you're left wounded on Afganistan's plains and
the women come out to cut up what remains, Just roll to your rifle
and blow out your brains,
And go to your God like a soldier”
General Douglas MacArthur"
“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”
“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.” “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.
“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .” “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.
“Nobody ever defended, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
The Soldier stood and faced God
Which must always come to pass
He hoped his shoes were shining
Just as bright as his brass
"Step forward you Soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't
Because those of us who carry guns
Can't always be a saint."
I've had to work on Sundays
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep.
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep,
The Soldier squared his shoulders and said
And I never passed a cry for help
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here,
Lord, It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."
There was silence all around the throne
Where the saints had often trod
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burden well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."
10th Training Regiment, Engineers, Kluang - Basic Field Engineers Course
Saturday, September 17, 2022
The 10th Regiment Training was the Engineers Training School, located in a small sleepy town called Kluang in the state of Johore.
It was a small town, you could walk there. The Engineers camp was large, overlooking a military airfield. It was an old British Army Camp of the Royal Engineers.
In the camp was a pond which they called a “dam”, it was used for waterman ship, training with assault boats and outboard motors. Beyond the dam were other training grounds for bridging, demolitions and for all the stuff that combat engineers do.
We were trained at waterman ship, demolitions, booby traps, (improvised explosive devices), improvised bridging, bridging, construction of landing points, laying of minefields, clearing minefields, river crossing, water supply and anything and everything to do with the field engineers.
Whilst on this course I realized that I would never be able to live a normal life and raise a family. One of my friends invited me for lunch at his house on a weekend. I dressed up and started walking; the area where he lived was a squatter area. He had two kids, he and I earned the same amount, I always wondered how on earth he could maintain his wife and kids. That was the cheapest housing he could afford.
It was a wooden “shed” made out of planks, rejected by the sawmills. It was basic, wooden walls and a zinc roof. The flooring was tamped earth, clean though. The hall too acted as the bedroom. No furniture, he had laid out mats for us to sit and dine on. I bought some fruits and candies for the kids and handed over to one of them.
There was rice, prawn paste (belacan), raw vegetables gathered, blanched in hot water, soybean cakes (tempeh) and one big fat pomfret fish (bawal) in green coconut gravy. I asked my friend whether the kids had eaten. He told me that they would eat later. Whilst I was eating the kids were peering from a partition separating the kitchen. They were all smiles and staring at the food.
Deep in my heart, I knew that it was a mistake to accept that lunch invitation. They had barely enough for themselves, here I made myself a burden to them. I ate as little as politely possible.
The food was delicious though. I thanked his wife, who complained that I ate very little, I complimented her on the food and told her that I was bloated and that had stuffed myself. Soon I took my leave, before I left, I gave each kid $2, that was in 1973. As I was walking back, I made up my mind never to get married, so that I will not force someone’s daughter in a hovel!!
We were being fucked then and now as veterans are still being fucked over by the politicians, now that the insurgency is long over.
After passing that course we had the right to be known as sappers, it meant instead of being addressed as privates we were called Sapper so and so. The course made us proficient in improvised bridging, mine warfare and demolitions, water supply and the most important subject, booby traps and improvised explosive devices. Construction too was taught. The basics of many subjects were thought.
I did very well in that course and we returned to our unit.