So Indonesia has decided to name a naval ship after the two Marines convicted of bombing the MacDonald House in 1965, during Indonesia's confrontation with the Federation of Malaysia.

What is missing from the mainstream media reports is an important detail: on 9 October 1968, Singapore informed the Indonesian Embassy that the two men, Osman Haji Mohammed Ali and Harun Said, were scheduled to be executed in around a week's time. On 11 October 1968, President Suharto made a personal request that the sentence either be commuted to life imprisonment or for it to at least be delayed. Even Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdul Razak sent in supporting appeals.


(Why this request for clemency? After Suharto seized power in 1967, his aim was to rebuild Indonesia from what he deemed as the excesses of the Sukarno years, which included a seemingly belligerent foreign policy. In some ways, the Marines were seen as people who were loyal to the nation, but 'misguided' by Sukarno's 'folly'. To be able to gain amnesty for the Marines would bolster Suharto's domestic popularity--as someone who had managed to secure Singapore's goodwill and who literally saved Indonesian lives abroad.)

However, Singapore went ahead to execute the two Marines on 18 October 1968. We know the story: the Singapore government, as insecure as always, did not want to seem to be 'bullied' or 'intimidated' by big powers.

Suharto lost his standing among his people. Protests were held, and the Singapore embassy in Jakarta was stormed. As a major face-saving measure, the President declared the Marines national heroes and awarded them the Bintang Sakti, the highest military decoration. They were then buried at the Heroes' Cemetery in Kalibata.

The big what-if: if Singapore had entertained the request for clemency, would the two Marines have been hailed as heroes? Especially since they were Sukarno's soldiers, not Suharto's? Would they have served out their life sentences quietly and into obscurity? We'll never know. What we do know is that this denial of amnesty set off a chain of events leading up to the names 'Osman Harun' now chosen for a naval ship.

The mainstream media should stop perpetuating this absurd notion that the men were considered heroes just for blowing up civilian targets. Heroic martyrdom was also foisted on them because Singapore refused to accommodate and ended up making Suharto look impotent. Now the Singapore media claims that Indonesia's naming of the naval ship is an act of 'unfriendliness' or 'insensitivity'. The Indonesians can always claim it as an act of sovereignty, the same kind of sovereignty the Singapore government chose to exercise when it hung the two men in 1968.

Alfian Sa'at


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You are deluded. The Marines

You are deluded. The Marines are murderers. End of story.

Damn right, they're murderes

Damn right, they're murderes of innocent people, not heros, they're lowest of the low.

What have I just read?

What have I just read?

i don't know whats going on

i don't know whats going on in your head. They were hailed as heroes because Singapore rejected the Clemency? This is the most absurd nonsense. Singapore made the correct choice by rejecting the Clemency. Innocent life was killed, it was not even a military target.

I think you need to see a doctor, please do it fast.

I actually do agree with your

I actually do agree with your post.
Im not trying to be hipster and what not.

But acknowledging that history is written by the victors, and also, that one man's act of patriotism is an act of insurgency to another, I stand by you, as a voice of the minority, who disagrees with the media's attempt to defame the names of the respective ships.

It is their sovereignty afterall.

And the note to take home, is that a war hero of any country, is the spawn-of-satan to the country to whon her was the hero against.
And because history is written by the victor, historical texts and accounts are often biased sources. (I.e. when lenin lead the communists to power in russia, it was not even 1/4 as grand as it sounded)

We are an educated nation, with a large percentage of degree holders, trained in critical analysis, and judge of bias sources. Please excercise your educational worth, before you shoot an article down like an unmatured and uneducated juvenile (well, unless you are one).

Please encourage controversial articles such as these, as they are genuine food for thought, which promotes debate and intellectual maturity.

Cheers dude.

If your father (Sukarno) ask

If your father (Sukarno) ask u go kill innocent people ... u (hero) go kill ... that makes you an IDIOT instead.

Are you Singaporean? You mean

Are you Singaporean? You mean foreigners can be a terrorist here and pardon because the other countries are bigger? You are not qualified to be Singaporean. Get out of here.

The Indonesians back then

The Indonesians back then were out to bully a new state, this happened while we were under the protection of the British (they left in 1971), if we hadn't done what we have done we probably will be a province of indo or Malaysia or a supplicant state.
These murderers ought to be executed. No 2 ways around it

Yours is a hindsight argument

Yours is a hindsight argument. The Indonesians delivered the first blow and Singapore did what was necessary to see justice served. 3 dead and thousands injured. Life imprisonment to save Suharto's face would mean that the dead would die in vain.

Anyway, if our government showed clemency, then Singaporeans would have protested like how the Indonesians did back then. In the end, we did what was necessary and we are not at fault for what is happening now. The Indonesians simply had nothing better to do but to dig out their own dirty history.

will you imprison someone or

will you imprison someone or anyone that is going to jeprodize your country? or sgow that we aint kidding? delusional little man you are.

The author of this article

The author of this article sure hate Singapore....I am not Singaporean but lived there for 17 years and after reading your article. My conclusion is you hate Singapore therefore it is no wonder it is biased...Do you have proof of this ?
'We know the story: the Singapore government, as insecure as always, did not want to seem to be 'bullied' or 'intimidated' by big powers.'

Going by your logic - if a

Going by your logic - if a teacher punished a naughty student and it would be the teacher's fault if that student does things to annoy the teacher subsequently? SMLJ talking you?



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