[Photo by contributor: PTE Mohammad Jumadi from 42 SAR receiving an award from CO LTC Koh Ting You]
I came across a series of photos posted by The Singapore Army Facebook page and I am glad to see a Malay soldier PTE Mohammad Jumadi who was awarded the best matador gunner in 42 Singapore Armoured Regiment (42SAR).
Finally, our Malay brothers are accepted in the Armour formation.
For the uninitiated, the Singapore Armour formation do not have Malay soldiers since its inception in 1968 for unspoken reasons. The formation uses armoured vehicles such as tanks and armoured carriers to spearhead advance movements and hold key objectives during times of war. From what I heard from my enciks, there were discomfort in the region after the AMX-13 tanks were first revealed during National Day Parade in 1969 but it was a source of pride among Singaporeans and assuring for those who chose to stay in the young nation. Our leaders then don't have a choice, Singapore was a punching bag and her survival was at stake.
But Singapore is turning 50 this year and she was built on the foundation of mutual trust, respect and harmony among difference races. Singaporeans are highly educated, well-travelled and most are able to understand Singapore's stability doesn't come easy. With social media, Singaporeans could see the mistrust among different races in first world liberal nations where white cops held bias against non-whites.
I cannot deny there was mistrust towards Malays in the very early years of the SAF. It is impossible for me to understand the sense of injustice, discrimination and prejudice my Malay friends felt when they realized they were barred from certain "more sensitive" roles in the armed forces. I am a minority so sometimes I do feel some discrimination in the society but I never felt discriminated in the SAF because I've seen Indian Colonels and Sikh BGs around.
Except for the very tiny segment of the Malay community (Thank to the misguided JI, ISIS and terrorism sympathizers), I am 100% certain our Malay Singaporeans are loyal to Singapore and they will put the country above blood ties, religious ties and fight to their death to defend the country like any Singaporeans would.