12th - 15th May
6th - 12th June
All are morning events around 10'ish if you want a good view.
Being around our boys these last few days reminded me of Pak Tam. Pak Tam was the only one in our family who was in the Royal Malay Regiment. We used to look forward to his return, all dark and sunburnt and lots of stories to tell. One day, he came back with a photograph of a sweet young lady in kebaya and kain ketat who was later to become our Mak Tam.
Pak Tam was always in the jungles. He wore those green army uniforms that never failed to impress us. Having been to the jungles was enough to impress us little ones. Can you imagine if he had been to Buckingham Palace to guard the Queen’s palace?
But Pak Tam, needless to say never made it to Buckingham Palace - not even London. The last time I saw him, he was injured. He broke his leg climbing a rambutan tree. Never been injured in service, yet a climb up the rambutan tree saw to it that he'd never march the same again.
Anyway, last Friday, we were at Buckingham Palace. The sun was out and so was the crowd – mostly tourists and some Malaysians shouting Malaysia Boleh as our soldiers, resplendent in the beige baju Melayu, songkok and sampin marched the short distance through the gates of Buckingham palace.
We were privileged to stand at a vantage point in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, much to the envy of the crowd at the railings, to see them marching in, led by the brass band. But even, before we could see them, we could hear the unmistakeable tune that never failed to tug at my heartstrings.
Inilah Barisan Kita…yang ikhlas berjuang…. And, yes, you guessed it. Right there under the shadows of the majestic Buckingham Palace, I cried.
It was on the bus to Windsor Castle a few days earlier that I had requested that they sang the song in the bus. And bless them, they obliged.
At Buckingham Palace, during the Change of Guards, our soldiers relieved the duties of the Welsh Guards, standing by their posts like tin soldiers. They looked tall in their full-dress uniform of red tunics and bearskins.
Our soldiers marched them out of the palace in what must seemed like countless number of marching across the parade grounds, all the while the RMR band playing songs such as Dikir Puteri, Getaran Jiwa, Puteri Remaja and many more that reminds me so much of home. I was told later that a Malay lady stood at the railings and bawled her eyes out when she saw our boys in the baju Melayu and heard the songs that reminded her of home she had not seen in 25 years.
Well, it wasn’t a day for us to be sad, but to be proud and happy and join in the fun.
It seemed only like yesterday when I saw them arriving in such typical and terrible British weather. I dread to think how they would cope in the rain and the cold harsh wind. But believe me, our boys are made of sterner stuff.
During these last few days I have learnt so much, the stories behind the ceremonies, behind each gesture and items carried or used by them.
Anyway, when the Welsh Guards made their exit in a slow march, out of the palace gates, that marked the historic moment which meant that the soldiers of the first battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment were then in charge of guarding the palace.
During the ceremony, there was an added attraction, a bonus. Two horse drawn carriages carrying diplomats arrived to have an audience with the queen.
The rain stayed away for as long as it could, as a mark of respect. But when we left and boarded the coach, leaving the four young soldiers in their posts, it began to pour!
When I see Pak Tam I will show him these photographs, and I know he will flash his cheeky smile and feel so happy that our boys have made us proud.By the way, Her Majesty's flag was flying high on top of the palace and I felt sure that she was having fun too watching the ceremony.
You can read the write up in the nst here. Not sure I like the headline though!
For you rinformation, there have been write ups and caption stories in NST . BH and The Star. Also in RTM and TV3. At the end of their 2 months here - there will be 6 ten minute features on RTM 1 Galeri Perdana and a one hr docu on TV3's Majalah 3. Insyaallah.