Friday, December 6, 2013
MY BROTHER IN CONGO
Colonel Hassan passed away three years ago. He was my brother the eldest of eight siblings. I was never close to him but we maintained cordial relationship. I didn't like his temper. Moreover, we didn't get a chance to spent time to grow up together. I am still indebted to him in a great many ways. Every month during my Form 6th years I would receive a registered letter and $60 in it.
Right from secondary school Hassan was away from home. When he completed his senior Cambridge he became a temporary clerk then as a teacher then joined the army medical in the dental section based at Penang. It seems he was popular among the amoys there as judged from pictures of picnics at the beach.
I could hear him singing 'Bangsawan Solo' sometimes when he came back home. After finishing his short-serive commission training at Sg. Besi he said about 'ilmu kebab' that had been tested on him with a parang. That was the start of him of 'Hidup untuk askar, askar untuk hidup' life commitment with Askar Melayu DiRaja. Friends, subordinates and regulars called him 'Hassan Mata Merah' for his eyes were always bloodshot.
Several years after retirement I asked about books in his keeping. He left a crate of them at his last posting at Majidi Camp and he assumed that they were already gone. I wanted to know more about his army experiences for he never talk about his career.
I cannot ascertain when he went to serve in Congo as part of the UN peace keeping force, most likely in the early 60's. I could only allude his experiences based on a book written by a Malayan Special Force (MSF) officer, Tan Siew Soo who served in that heart of Africa.
Artists were sent to Congo to entertain our Malaysian forces.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is now in turmoil of a rebellion.