by Dato’ Nicholas Pinder

Book reviews are an important part of HOMME Magazine’s literary contribution. Accordingly, we are extremely honoured to be asked to review MEMOIRS.

“I would like to dedicate this humble book review to two brave officers who tasked HOMME to produce this review, Maj. David Chow Yun Kai and Maj. Peter Yeow Chow Cheong. Also in memory of my late neighbour and good friend Maj. Gen Datuk Lai Chung Wah (1932-2017). Until I read MEMOIRS I did not know Gen. Lai was a Templer’s Twelve. Such was the General’s modesty and another late great friend –Col. Mike Nasir Taib” ~ Dato’ Nicholas Pinder. Editor-In-Chief – HOMME Magazine.

PUBLISHER: Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans Association (MACVA)
ISBN 978-967-16821-0-4 (Softcover)
ISBN 978-967-16821-1-1 (Hardcover)

Before any review is published, the Managing Editor will read it for factual accuracy; however, the byline on the review makes the reviewer responsible for content. The Managing Editor will also review the draft for copyediting purposes. But MEMOIRS is different, it is not the work of one writer or contributor it is the work of many Retired Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans (MACVA) their family, friends and colleagues. These men are national heroes. Their contribution is admired and not criticised.

This emotive history constructs an absorbing narrative from the eyewitness testimonies of those who experienced the period from pre-independence until today. The photographs and newspaper cuttings illuminate their words.

What comes across throughout MEMOIRS is the tremendous morale. Not just a state of mind. It is that intangible force which will move a whole group of men to give their last ounce to achieve something, without counting the cost to themselves. The difficulty with the achievements of nation building is that they are much more likely to be taken for granted than the sins of colonialism.

Discover the Malaysian journey through personal stories. This collection includes a comprehensive selection on the history of Malaysia since Independence. This book includes carefully researched photographs and is presented in a hardback and softback format to create a rare collectable edition.

This is a truly impressive book, large in size, with lots of photographs and illustrations. The authors are former Armed Forces Veterans, their family and friends.  MEMOIRS is a collection of their stories. This is the First Edition which has sold so very well. The Second Edition is in the making!

This book probably contains far more detail than most readers would normal have access to or know and as a civilian I do not feel qualified to comment but  it’s fascinating, MEMOIRS is highly recommended. And we are not the only favourable review. We would like to take this opportunity to include the kind words of a true professional… Maj. Godfrey Chang whose Book Review: Memoirs of the Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans was recently published in the IPOH ECHO: https://www.ipohecho.com.my/2020/02/21/book-review-memoirs-of-the-malaysian-armed-forces-veterans/

QUOTE: “We are fortunate that we live in a peaceful country with relative wealth and plentiful resources. We have almost everything and in the midst of plenty, we sometimes squabble over wealth and pride and speak unkindly of our brethren from other communities, just so we portray ourselves as champions of our race.

Unless we look back, we sometimes forget where we come from and we could lose our direction forward. What everybody needs is a proper perspective of the country’s history.

This is especially so of the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) where all Malaysians, irrespective of race, fought together alongside the British and the Commonwealth Forces against the communist insurgents. The second Emergency started from 1968 to 1989, where a post-independent Malaysia’s multi-ethnic Armed Forces proved their capability to defend the sovereignty of the country.

This part of the recent Malayan and Malaysian history seemed to have been forgotten. One plausible reason is the lack of proper records of this period, where most of the war history is written from the perspective of the British or the Commonwealth forces.

If there is one book that I will recommend to college and high-school students, teachers, armed forces personnel, police and other uniformed bodies, it would be this memoir. This book recorded the contributions of the Malaysian Armed forces personnel during that period, from a local perspective.

This book is well organised and places everything into perspective, in a readable chronological manner. The chapters begin with a brief note of the period in time followed by narratives of veterans who served during the period. The stories are vivid, lively and enlightening.

The book begins with a chapter introducing the Malaysian Armed Forces before, during and after Independence. This gives us a perspective of what our armed forces were like during that time and how it started. The second chapter dived straight into the First Malayan Emergency, detailing the contribution of the Home Guards, Volunteer Forces, Territorial Army and the set-up of the Templer’s Twelve – officers that were groomed to lead the new nation’s military after independence.

The chapter on Counter – Insurgency Warfare was especially riveting. It is amazing how the soldiers fought in a jungle terrain which has been described as a ‘neutral terrain’ by Chapman: Everyone has an advantage or disadvantage, camouflaged and concealed by the dense foliage.

There are also chapters dedicated to the Royal Malaysian Air Force and Royal Malaysian Navy. It is interesting to know the first aircraft and naval vessel deployed and the contribution of RMAF and RMN to counter – insurgency warfare. The helicopter rescue of those injured in the jungle was exciting and admirable.

What charmed me most was the hundreds of invaluable photographs and newspaper clippings of the time. It brings back snapshots of that period.

Before anyone points fingers at who fought for the country and who were the villains, it is necessary that they first read the MEMOIRS

“I would highly recommend the book to all” ~ Maj. Godfrey Chang

The book launch will be held at the Royale Chulan Hotel, Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, March 7. For reservations please call Carol: 012 303 2326 or Mary: 012 335 6760


Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans Association (MACVA)

ISBN 978-967-16821-0-4 (Softcover)

ISBN 978-967-16821-1-1 (Hardcover)

Email: memoirsofveterens @gmail.com

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