Followers

Friday, May 28, 2010

Historical Event

Readers...I'm thankful to Lt Col Idris Hassan (R) for sending the photographs of the 'boat people' after reading my short write-up entitled "Book Of Memory".  I expressed my regrets for losing a roll of film capturing the evacuees arriving on our shores with the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975 to North Vietnam.
Evacuees trying to board the "Huey" helicopter on the roof of US Embassy in Saigon
These unfortunate populace of the now non-existent South Vietnam arrived at our enchanting islands off Terengganu, guided by the 'gas flare/flare stack' of our oil rigs in the South China Sea by boat/barge loads. I was very fortunate to witness the arrival of these evacuees at Pulau Perhentian Besar, Terengganu. The loss of the film was made up by this e-mail with photographs enclosed...
Saudara Nor,
I read with interest your posting in which you expressed you disappointment at loosing the film in which were photographs of the first exodus arrival of the 'boat people' at Pulau Perhentian Besar with the fall of 'Saigon'.
I remember it was April 30 th 1975 when Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese and the dramatic photos of the last American troops been flown out of their Embassy dangling under the last choppers to the awaiting 11th Fleet. It was about a week later that the very first exodus of Vietnamese refugees began arriving at our shores.
These photos were taken by me as the first refugees landed with their boats behind the officers quarters at Seberang Takir Camp where my Battalion the 12 Inf Bn (AW) was stationed. Later they also landed in Pulau Perhentian Besar and Pulau Bidong .Some days later at P. Bidong I missed a great opportunity to take some dramatic photos as I left my camera on shore in my L/ Rover at Kg Rajah. Here I saw a Huey Chopper gun ship which had crash landed on a fleeing American landing craft which arrived at P. Bidong with the crashed chopper still on it. I spoke to the pilot and he told me he fled with his wife three relatives and three children and lacking fuel decided to land on the departing landing craft which was carrying I am told about 40 refugees . In the process two people on the landing craft were killed by the rotor blades of the crashing chopper. As a Chopper pilot yourself, perhaps only you will understand what must have been going on in the mind of this pilot as he came in for crash landing !!!.
I managed to remove the choppers compass (Air Path) and two bullet proof Pilot and co- pilot seats with laid woven nylon fabric, which I still have in my possession as souvenirs .The large compass in pix was removed from a large Barge. It has the words: Heat & Co London S.E. 9 printed in the center . It is still in V. good condition and is kept as a talking piece in my house.
As I look at the photos of the little children and think they must all be in the early forties by now and wonder where and what they are to day !!! Again looking at the photos we must think how fortunate we are to be away from the ravages of war, death and destruction . I know thousands of refugees were lost at sea, and thousands others were robbed by the Thai pirates, and hundreds more were killed and the women and young children as young as 9 years old were savagely and brutally raped. This was for me the most the most heart rendering sight to witness the blank and dazed looks of innocence destroyed as they landed ashore.

Allhamdulillah God the all mighty has indeed been has been kind to spares us from such ordeal . Amin.
If you want to use the photos and my story in part or whole in your blog you have my permission
Best regards
Idris














Lt Col Idris...Thank you.

8 comments:

FMZam said...

Salam tuan,

Our history on the Boat People was a transit point for their new homes in USA and Europe. Now that the transit camps in Pulau Bidong is closed many years ago but the ghosts of the boat people will remain a grim reminder to us all about a terrible war happened just nearby us, just a 30-minutes flight away from our shores, that had sent us and the whole world the gruesome picture of a true situation of the plight and flight of Vietnam War refugees situation. And we were so spooked by the infamous Domino Theory and we were bracing for the theory to impact on us thinking more than nothing less of our capability to defend our country from the grim possibilities of an invasion of the most fearsome communist armies much much powerful than the Chin Peng's guerillas we were fighting with at that time.

I guess we were lucky the victorious Vietnamese were more concerned in consolidation period than any idea for expansionism, otherwise our history would have been included with a version of another Boat People of Malaysia. We were lucky the Domino Theory didn't work like a Tsunami, and Tsunami was quite unheard of at that time, otherwise we would hear Tsunami Theory instead of Domino Theory from American propagandists.

Right now another possibility is in waiting and this time from the communist North Korea of 24 million people where 1 out of 20 North Koreans is a military personnel. They said another Korean War, it can be contained from overspilling by the ultra modern South Korean military with US supports. But the North's military imbalance is being equalized with its Nuclear arsenal and the ailing Kim Jong II might be too weak to stop his son Kim Jong Un from taking aggressive steps to mark his succession over his father's reign of power. If the war starts, the Korean Boat People is not too far up to reach any shorelines of the South China Sea from China, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.

Our TUDM would better be ready for another round of the repeating history, but I am maybe a bit too far fetched in painting a very remote picture of another humanitarian crisis.

Abah said...

Tuan,

Kol Idris nie dulu pernah saya berguru dengan beliau sebelum beliau menceburi diri dalam dunia ketenteraan. Beliau merupakan seorang guru saya semasa bersekolah di Tengku Muhammad School Chenor, Temerloh, Pahang. Antara minat beliau ialah memandu kereta Antik. Saya percaya dia mungkin lupa dan tidak mengenali saya lagi, tetapi sebagai seorang murid saya akan mengingati jasa-jasa Guru yang mendidik saya sehingga menjadi perajurit dan salah seorang mantan perajurit tanahair.

Thank you sir.

Mej (B) Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman said...

Dear FMZam,

Nothing is impossible...Korean Peninsular is a 'time-bomb' if wrongly handled.

Saudara Abah,

Saya memang hormati guru saya sehingga kini.

Arunzab said...

Sudara,
Abah I have send you an e mail in reply to yours, some time back but did not receive any reply , so I sent one again today, please e- mail or call me any time.I am sorry it is not always possible to remember all my students but if you call perhaps it will ring a bell.Nothing makes me more happy than to hear from one of my pupils.
Salam
idris

basri bin omar said...

Salam Tuan!

Cerita Guru ni ...nak tambah kuah pada coretan Abah tu.....Guru B Inggeris saya di Darjah 3 Sek Keb Pendang,Kedah dulu thn 1961 ialah Cikgu Razaki Darus...xsilap pencen Lt Kol Razaki Kor Renjer...jumpa beliau sebagai SCQ 5 Bgd thn 70an di Kota Kinabalu....satu kenangan buat seorang Cikgu!

Mej (B) Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman said...

Saudara Basri,

Saya tak faham terdapat murid-murid sekarang ini sanggup 'bertumbuk' dengan cikgu!!

basri bin omar said...

Mungkin inilah akibat dari didikan tak berapa sempurna....dan tak tau menghormati GURU...apa nak buat!

Saya bersyukur kerana masih blh berhubung dgn bekas GURU2 semasa Di STAR dulu(1965-1970)..walaupun 40 thn telah berlalu....antaranya:

Dato'Khalid Abd Halim(x Guru Besar)
Mr Tan Teong Leong(Guru B Inggeris)
Mr Lau Hut Yee(di pggl Pak Lau..Guru Sains)
Mr Kok Kee Chai(Guru PE..coach Ragbi)
Mr Tan Chew Kiang(Guru Matematik)
Mr Sarjit Singh( Guru Sejarah)

Selalu dok jumpa mereka di Ipoh dan p makan bersama atas biayaan Pak Lau..Terima kasih Cikgu!

Mereka ni amat komited terhadap tugasan mereka ..tak pernah erti LETIH nad JEMU!

Mereka ni lah antara yang tak pernah jemu mendidik kami...Subhannallah!

Mej (B) Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman said...

Saudara Basri,

Kita sepatutnya menghormati cikgu yang mengajar kita sehingga kita berjaya dalam kehidupan.