Saturday, 13 August 2005

A Day at Sandhurst with Officers and Gentlemen

My earliest memory of a British soldier is one so tall that his head was touching our ceiling. But of course, it could be because I was small and short at that time, a mere toddler, (with bedak sejuk plastered on my face), that he would carry on his shoulders.

He came to the house with Pak Lang who was on leave from duties in Hong Kong. Beside him, Pak Lang looked like a midget. But he was such a gentleman, I remember that so well, because he never sort of dismissed me as a child only to be seen and not heard. I remember the black and white photograph of this officer with my Pak Lang – already yellowing at the edges.

But of course he was a gentleman. He was from Sandhurst – the Royal Military Academy – an academy that provides ‘education for gentlemen’.

The past few days, I have been mingling with such officers and gentlemen, who stood to attention when speaking to you and called you ‘maam’. And gosh, the officers do look so much younger these days and you wonder how you can trust them to defend the country.

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It has been a hectic few days as the Malaysian monarch is here and what is significant about his visit is that for this year’s passing out parade, our King was given the honour by Queen Elizabeth, to represent her as Reviewing Officer at the Sovereign’s Parade. This is such an honour – there’s only a handful of other monarchs being given such honour.

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Anyway, so there I was at the Royal Military College yesterday on a warm summer’s day. The weather, I was told by a young cadet, was just ideal for those on parade. Just the day before, seven passed out in the heat.

Watching the Sovereign’s Parade, so full of pomp and ceremony, so steep in tradition, brought memories of marching in step with the band, flooding back. I was in the school band and I tell you doing the slow march with the drum strapped to your body, while concentrating on how to do the drum roll at same time is not easy. I have never been much of a coordinated person, but I lasted just a year. I think I did better marching with the angklung – not the whole ensemble but just the one with the E note.

Malaysian flag over Salisbury PlainsPosted by Picasa
Anyway, the sound of Negaraku, our national anthem being played in an institution so British, brought tears to my eyes. It had the same effect on me when i saw the Malaysian flag flying over Salisbury Plain the day before when I trooped along with the King’s entourage to a military site in Larkhill.

And yesterday, Malaysia’s 303rd cadet to graduate from Sandhurst was so chuffed that his Reviewing Officer was none other than his own King.Posted by Picasa
It really made his day. Malaysia started sending military officers for training at Sandhurst since 1950 and our very own King spent two years there from 1964 – 65. As His Majesty was telling us, (Ceeewah!!) as we relaxed on the balcony at Queen Building in Larkhill, after lunch of rice and vegetable curry, watching the cattles grazing in the rolling fields, he truly enjoyed the training offered by Sandhusrt. He had the opportunity to do military exercises in Libya as well as Normandy and experienced walking days and nights in the desert.

The King & I Posted by Picasa
It was indeed a rare opportunity, to have the Monarch speaking so freely to us humble journalists, but we were truly honoured and I swear he must have waved at me from his helicopter as it circled above us before flying away.

Back to yesterday’s ceremony, I was so pleased to have this once in a life time opportunity to be there and witness such a grand occassion. It was almost like Ascot ..but for the military. The women were in really fine clothes and beautiful hats, while the men looked so elegant in their military uniforms with medals and swords. So, so handsome and smart. Our own officers were there in the crowd with their wives and you see an interesting assortments of colourful tudungs, with interesting looking hats and songkoks.

On arrival, (the security was of course very tight), we were greeted with 'Selamat pagi', by a Gurkha soldier. Aaaah, of course, I remember them. And when the King and Queen arrived, they lined the route to the pavilion where the Royal couple were sitting.

Excuse me, are you from Malaya? Posted by Picasa
Then, as I took my seat, an elegant lady asked me, “Are you from Malaya?”, “Yes, I am from Malaysia”, I said, correcting her. She was so pleased as our presence there and the King’s made it so much more memorable for her as her grandson, the handsome chap on the white horse was commanding the parade that day. Posted by Picasa
Also, she said, she treasures so many happy memories of Malaya, where they lived for several years when her husband was the State Secretary of Penang. Her son grew up there.

Oh, there’s so much to tell, but I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

The Queen's 'Malay' Guard Posted by Picasa
But one last thing. As we were having our drinks in the building after the parade, we were joined by another dashing, young officer . “Hi, saya orang Melayu,” he said, not quite convincing me. Its true, he insisted, and proceeded to tell me that he was born in Jalan Imbi. His father is English and his mother, a Malay. However, he has joined the British Army and next week, this Malay officer will start his first duty, guarding the Queen of England!
Sandhurst Posted by Picasa

51 comments:

miniME said...

Sounds like a wonderful day Kak Teh. Reading ur entry, I can imagine being there too..hehe :)

Kak Teh said...

Yes, tiring but i really enjoyed it. BTW here's your comment on tyhe young dashing 'Malay' officer. I had to delete it after putting the picture in the text:
kak teh..hemsemnye dia..hehe *cheeky mood*

Jane Sunshine said...

Oh-so-glamorous.

Kak Teh said...

hahaha - Jane, thanks for the double work. Wonder where the first one went! Glamorous? who? who?

Jane Johan said...

oh ohh.. Kak Teh... please ask this Malay officer to come back quick! I am still available! heheheheheheeee.... (just kidding)

anasalwa said...

Kak Teh,
what a wonderful experience!! When I read a capture "The King and I" of you and our king photo I couldn't help it but a picuted popped in my mind, you and the king swirl in a huge balai istana as Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr did in the King and I. :))

anedra said...

handsomenya "Malay" officer tu. I need a guard too ya know.. is he free?

Jane Sunshine said...

You, the glamourous lady with the KING.

atn said...

yr blog should be upgraded to a book SOON

Ewok said...

waaah.. i had this warm and nice feeling after reading this. it makes me proud being Malaysian.

Uja said...

kakteh! Camno ni boleh dua dua cakap pasal school band. Cis bedebah...LOL.

Anyways.. I cannot get over the Guard Mamat! Handsomenyer...pls pls pls jangan bilang (beritahu) ajun ok ? ;)

faux diamante said...

bendera berkibar di angkasa...
gagah semangat waja
pengawal hensem perkasa
sampai uja pun teruja


amboih kakteh, catat notes macam tak cukup tangan tu eh.

lilheaven said...

ah'hah read this news in The Star. that malay guard for the Queen, he was interviewed too. 25 yo chap. yeah, so thats how he looked like. boleh tahan..=P

Ms.B said...

The dashing officer & gentleman's name is Michael Fry kan? Dishy, dishy, dishy!! Sorry haven't had time to visit your blog KT. Bz bz bz!! :p

Sunflora said...

Kak teh oh dear ruginya I can't view the pictures!! the darned ISP banned pictures again ehhehe

fidah said...

kakz.. i feel so 'gatal'(!) cos im going to comment this --> HANSEMNYA MAMAT TU!! kat mana i leh jumpa 'gentleman' melayu hansem macam tu? hehe.. :D kakz, the next time u see him, kenyitkan mata on my behalf eh. hehe.

atieza said...

i browsed for photos before reading your entry..my eyes were glued to the 2nd last photo..i need extra tissue as my saliva can't stop dripping..;)

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh :

Your two series of blog reminded me of something i've been wanting to know more about. Have you ever come across any news articles on the victory celebration held after the end of WW2 where the Malays regiment participated? I really really interested to know.

shidah said...

ask them to march at dataran merdeka :) with hot sunny sun & all sweat. I really fancy man in uniform. Kalau i kat tempat u, i'll fainted - excited! jeles!jeles!jeles!

the kimster said...

very nice :)
The King is a really nice bloke.

Sandhurst sounds like the kind of place I would have liked to go to if only I am a little less pudgy :P

Jade said...

kak teh... pls pls pls.. introduce me to that dashing officer. hehe..

btw, i think i like "Malaya" better. ;-)

miss talking to you.

m said...

Wah... so upclose and personal with the King. How lucky. And yes, the young dashing memang hensem - hehehe *very cheeky mood* :)

Ely said...

kak teh, i am finally here. sorry been busy. mak and bapak going home in 5 days and we're trying to cover places as much as possible.

i sent u several offline msgs, hope u got them :)

missed u!

Ely

thinktankgal said...

KakTeh....handsomenyeee the "Malay" Officer guarding the Queen...Must be soo young...Shucks! LOL :-) he!he! I read the article in the Berita Minggu yesterday - very proud of our King!!

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Kak Teh said...

to all those drooling over the young malay officers...hep!!!! but he was such a gentleman, i tell you...ish boleh buat menantu!
anasalwa, actually, at frst i wanted to use that as my title - The King and I..tapi takut!!!
atn - what? another book?
ewok - felt the same as well.
uja - cecis - keep yr attention on your young hemsem officer!
nazrah - adoi menghilhamkan pantun pulak.

Lollies said...

mak oi handsomenya askar melayu di tanah British itu.

Kak Teh...I feel patriotic too if I were there..National Anthem and the flag. I just love all this menaikkan semngat negara thing. The appropriate way, bukan the cheap Malaysia Boleh buta benda tertinggi, terpanjang, terbesar, termanis, terpahit. Semua ter ter tu. ter can also mean tak seghaja.

Anonymous said...

Kak Teh

Hip hip hurray for Msia!

Rgds
Lydia

Anonymous said...

Handsomenyeeeee... ..just too bad I'm married ..huk..huk and my passport pun dah expired.

* Btw Kak Teh, thanks for dropping by *

Yeen

Kak Teh said...

lilheaven, kak teh pun tulis jugak dalam Berita minggu and Sunday Mail.
nlabs - yes - u got the name right!
sunflora - rugi, rugi.
fidah and atiza - ish ish..dotn drool over keyboard.
shidah - kalau pengsan kat malaysia, am sure banyak ladies yangnak tolong.
the kimster - joinlah and u'll be less pudgy! hehe
ladyjade & m- hehe- yes - i love malaya too - soudns better. ya -up close and personal!!
ely - i understand.
thnktankgirl. euwww..yes, he is!
lollies - my sentiment exactly - all those ter ter ter!
Lydia! hi hip hooray!!
yeen- thanks for return visit!

RedKebaya said...

gawd u just gotta love a man in uniform eh lol !! but definitely not the life though.... stuck in remote army camps w/out hubby for looong periods of time may not be everyone's cup of tea & its hard on families.

tapi depa memang hensem habih ;)

dz said...

oooooooo he's cute. me want.

Kak Teh said...

redkebaya - i know - all those months away...
dz, behave, behave! I had to - imagine surrounded by hundreds of them!!!

5xmom ~chanlilian.net~ said...

Wah, glamourous life you lead! Meeting with the King and handsome offier. All in a day's work. Lucky Kak Teh.

Manal said...

I was there too, kak teh! Came with faiz's family...correction: leftenan muda muhd faiz fitri.

Kak Teh said...

5xMom - lilian - that's the perks - the downside is that u wait for hourssssssss!!!
manallllll- and we didnt meeet!

Ms.B said...

I gotta agree with 5xMom .. KT, you sure have an enviable job!! :)

KT, you want anything from KL ke? If yes, pls SMS/YM me ah? Leaving Friday afternoon!!

d'arkampo said...

kak teh...

sorry..

ma'am...

I've read your article in the local newspaper."the King and I"

OOD said...

kak teh,
i almost always get goosebumps readng your postings (even the one about alleycats!)..

Oh dulu kak teh brass band main drum ya? kaki pukul lah ni! Fuiyooo!!!

And kak teh, we will have our Merdeka Day soon. Last two years, I watched the perarakan raksaksa (as a kid, how i always looked out for raksaksa, everytime disappointed) and i cried when the national anthem was played and the armies and all came marching by. I am sure the tears was out of pride (not 'longing'.. but those dashing men in uniforms! woohoo!)

Thank you for letting us experience all this (the queen, king and dashing gentlemen) through your eyes!

Anonymous said...

kak teh,
write more and post picture more..pllisssss!

adus..menusuk kalbu la..malay guard tu...*berangan2 la dah nih*

Endeavour said...

I always wanted to pakai uniform and the closest i get to wearing uniform was the school uniform... darn...

Doreen said...

This is beautiful! I read about the King's visit to Sandhurst in the Saturday's STAR.. but now I get a whole new perspective of that big day! Of course, like all all others, I'm here salivating about that young officer too. Yummy.

petalingstreet said...

wow... hensemnye...! (that malay guard)

Kak Teh said...

blabs - i have sent u a YM. pls check.
Po - memang berangan - The King & I
OOd - anytime - thanks!
anon - yes - menusuk kalbu, matanya -erm biru?
endeavour: hmm..school uniform pun jadilah.
Doreen - long time no see!
petaling street - ish ish - kalau lah masih muda! tapi boleh kut dibuat menantu!

OOD said...

Kakteh,
almost 6pm and your syaer masih tak sampai my computer!

apples4me said...

Hi Kak Teh!Wahhh betul drop dead gorgeous that fella! sorry been busy with school. Have I missed a lot here! Nevermind will take the time to read this weekend, Godwilling.

You have such memorable moments. Just about everyday there's some news!

Keep it up, Kak Teh!

Kak Teh said...

OOD syaer pun kena censor??
apples4me - ah..all in the line of duty and when its nice, its really nice..

Kri said...

Whoa ladies! Quite a hen party we have here! Looks like we guys in sarongs are no match against those dashing uniformed boys, huh?

If you girls are interested, Pak Guard tu ada website kat http://michaelfry.com :) pi la ngorat.

I'm dashing off to the 'back office.'

syafiq said...

nice blog...