|L to R: Lt Col Wong Ah Jit (Rtd), Capt Dato Liew Siong Sing (Rtd), Kept Cheah Phee Cheng RMN (Rtd), Brig Gen Dato Lau Kong Cheng RMAF (Rtd), Maj Lee Ah Pow (Rtd) PGB, Maj Tan Pau Son (Rtd),
Sgt Choo Woh Soon (Rtd) PGB, Laksma Datuk Kay Hai Thuan RMN (Rtd), Brig Gen Dr Leong Weng Foon (Rtd), Maj Godfrey Chang (Rtd) and Maj Lee Kong Kok (Rtd).
The Star and Sin Chew Interview MACVA
9 Aug 17
In conjunction with Merdeka Day, The Star and Sin Chew conducted an interview on MACVA.
The event took place at MACVA office at the Boulevard, Mid Valley City. MACVs which related their heroic stories and contributions while serving the Malaysian Armed Forces includes:-
Brig Gen Dato Lau Kong Cheng RMAF (Rtd),
Brig Gen Dr Leong Weng Foon (Rtd),
Kept Cheah Phee Cheng RMN (Rtd),
MACVA President Maj Tan Pau Son (Rtd),
Maj Lee Ah Pow (Rtd) PGB,
Capt Dato Liew Siong Sing (Rtd) and
Sgt Choo Woh Soon (Rtd) PGB.
MACVA would like to express its sincere gratitude to The Star and Sin Chew for highlighting the services and sacrifices of Malaysian Armed Forces Chinese Veterans (MACV) for the nation and thanks to Maj Lee Kong Kok (Rtd) for the coordinating work.
|BG Dato Lau Kong Cheng RMAF (Rtd)
||BG Dr Leong Weng Foon (Rtd)
||Kept Cheah Phee Cheng RMN (Rtd)
||Maj Tan Pau Son (Rtd)
|Maj Lee Ah Pow (Rtd) PGB
||Capt Dato Liew Siong Sing (Rtd)
||Sgt Choo Woh Soon (Rtd) PGB
Remembering Our Military Vets
Star Nation Article
Thursday, 31 August 2017 BY GRACE CHEN
Interview Video Clip
For honour, love for King and country and as a last-ditch attempt to discipline a wayward child. These were the frank revelations from members of the Malaysian Army Chinese Veterans Association (MACVA) on how they ended up in the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF).
Lee Ah Pow, a retired army major and a recipient of the Panglima Gagah Berani (PGB) medal, said he was nearly disowned by his father for joining the army.
Now 80, Lee still tears up and chokes with emotion at the memory of his father arriving in slippers and shorts at the Federation Military College in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, to confront him.
As the only son among six siblings, the then 18-year-old did not tell his father he had joined the cadet wing. For parental consent, Lee forged his father’s signature in Chinese. To explain his absence he cooked up a tale about going for further studies.
But eight months before his passing out, someone from his village saw him in uniform and duly reported it to his father.
“My father came all the way to Port Dickson from Rompin to confront me. When he found me, he said, ‘Come out’.
|Lye Lee’s unit in Congo consisted of a multiracial mix.
“I said, ‘No. I have already signed up’. That was when he turned to me and said, ‘Don’t come back’,” recalled Lee.
For the next two years, Lee could not celebrate Chinese New Year with his family. But in the third year, he braved himself to go home. Lucky for Lee, his father forgave him.
But like many Chinese who had contributed to the nation’s defence, Lee said he had no regrets. As a child, he witnessed Japanese soldiers abusing civilians.
In retrospect, becoming a soldier was his way of exacting revenge, in particular on communist terrorists who had tortured his father so badly that he ended up becoming hunched.
|Lee and Choo showing their Panglima Gagah Berani medal.|
|Choo during his time in the military.|
For Eco World Foundation chief executive officer Captain (R) Datuk Liew Siong Sing, now 61, the army was a turning point in his life. His father had caught him smoking in a coffeeshop and after a tight slap, he was told to either get his act together or get out.
The young and rebellious Liew opted to do the latter, which explained how he ended up in the Royal Ranger regiment.
“The army taught me about teamwork and leadership. No other organisation will have such training to build character,” he said.
He added that most who eventually leave the armed forces for civilian life do very well due to the discipline inculcated during military life and the ability to adapt easily to different situations.
MACVA president Major (R) Tan Pau Son affirmed that there were quite a number of Chinese who joined up in response to a call to defend the nation against communists.
One of them was Sergeant Choo Woh Soon, now 79, who shot dead a communist terrorist during an ambush at a banana plantation in Sungai Ruan, Pahang, in 1959. He was awarded a PGB medal for his bravery.
He said the influx of Chinese in the armed forces came about after a call was made by the late Tun Tan Cheng Lock in 1955 for participation in the military and police forces to aid in the nation’s defence and peacekeeping missions. The first MCA president was no stranger to the atrocities of communist terrorists, having survived a grenade attack in Ipoh in 1949.
Tan said there was a need to correct the misconception that non-Malays had taken a backseat in terms of the nation’s defence and peacekeeping missions.
Neither was it true that the coalition of communist terrorists were solely made up of ethnic Chinese.
Tan, who was commanding officer of three army ordnance depots in Pahang, a red area, remembered having to deal with the Tenth Regiment of the Malayan National Liberation Army, the armed wing of the Malayan Communist Party.
“They were very active in Pahang. One day when a thunderflash went off near our depot, I thought we had come under communist attack. This branch of the communist wing was made up of Malays,” said Tan.
In his 15 years of duty with the MAF, Tan, 73, now the executive chairman of Tanming Berhad, became the first qualified accountant and chartered secretary. He played a part in the setting up of Koperasi Tentera in 1976.
He added that unlike yesteryear when minimal educational qualification was required, a private in today’s modern army would require a college diploma at the very least. He also said salaries have become more attractive as a sergeant would be able to take home around RM3,000.
|Brigadier General (R) Datuk Lau Kong Cheng.|
But salaries aside, the MAF is where the adventurous can have a fulfilling career, said Brigadier General (R) Datuk Lau Kong Cheng (pic), 68, who joined the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) in 1967.
Lau led two RMAF aerobatic teams in 1975 and 1996, and has flown twice with the Red Arrows, the British army’s aerobatic team, in Butterworth.
For National Day, Lau hopes the nation will remember all the veterans who contributed to its independence, stability and development.
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Retired Navy Captain Recalls His Hectic Task On Historic Day
Star Metro Article
Thursday, 31 August 2017 BY GRACE CHEN
|Cheah with a photo of his days as a navy cadet. The second photo shows a parade on the occasion when Tunku Abdul Rahman accepted the handover of the navy from the British in 1958.|
ON THE morning of Aug 31 1957, as the nation celebrated its independence, Capt (Rtd) Cheah Phee Cheng, then a cadet officer in the Malayan Navy was told off for being too polite.
At that time, Cheah, now 79, had just turned 19 and his job was to usher the VIPs to their seats.
The procedure entailed the guests to present their passes, and based on the allocated seat assignments Cheah was to direct his men to lead them to their places.
But the former English College (also known as Maktab Sultan Abu Bakar) student, just four months into navy school, was still not used to giving orders and kept peppering his sentences with “please’.
“I was still learning how to be an officer. In the military, communication is short and clear to save time,” explained Cheah.
Despite the grandness of the occasion, there was neither time for elation or emotion because he was just too busy. “My only concern then was there be no mistakes with the seating,” he said.
Cheah said precision was the order of the day because of the sheer number of personnel from the army, the police and air force.
Their day had begun as early as 5am. March past rehearsals had taken place two days before the actual day. The navy had sent three platoons, numbering some 30 men, for the occasion.
The route started from the National Museum through the Padang (now Merdeka Square) and ended in Batu Road (now Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman). The navy’s position was after the British navy which had sent a frigate of 100 men.
He also saw military from the Fijian and New Zealand armies joining in the procession.
For accommodation, the navy cadets stayed at the Bok House, which was demolished in 2006.
About 20 men slept in the living room on bunk beds. Cheah vividly recalls being impressed with the bathroom which had modern sanitation, a luxury even in the late 50s.
He said security was tight that day. There were strictly no civilians in the VIP area. Only military personnel. Though Cheah did not get to meet them in person, he knew the most important guests that day were seated on the main stage in Stadium Merdeka field.
They were the first Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Rahman Tuanku Muhammad, Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Al-Haj, Duke of Gloucester Prince Henry who was representing Queen Elizabeth II, British High Commissioner Sir Donald McGilivray and sultans of various states.
Stationed some three floors up in the grandstand, Cheah could see the Malayan flag being raised by Lt Komander Mohamed Sharif Kalam, also from the navy.
Following British tradition, the navy is responsible for the hoisting of flags and looking after the cortege for burial in official functions.
This, for Cheah who was standing upright in salute as the band played the original version of the Negaraku, was a solemn moment.
“I was proud to see this. That was when it struck me that this would be a historic day,” said Cheah.
Shortly after this assignment, Cheah left for Dartmouth, UK, for further training.
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